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Being played. Paralyzed.

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SpeedBump posted 2/9/2019 09:45 AM

Hi All- I'm on my way home, back to Europe, waiting for my transatlantic flight at my layover. I'm doing pretty good today, all things considered. I have booked a hotel until Wed hoping I can find something by then and looking online it seems there is just a ton of stuff available so I'm not too worried. Good thing it's not heavy travel season...small favors, I guess.

I'm reading a lot on SI while I wait and right now it really helps. I appreciate all the advice and as I go back and re-read comments, I pick up new nuggets and meaningful advice that didn't really resonate the first time. I especially appreciate those who provide checklists because that's really me. Having a list and having a focus helps me function.

Sadly, one thing I was not able to get done while home (US) was connecting with a lawyer. I know it was on my list but I couldn't find the time to do it and then the two I did call couldn't see me during my time home. I did ask and if I want, I can do a phone consultation or by Skype or similar. I'll follow-up on that this week. I haven't decided what to do but I know it helps to know my options and the impact of staying and divorcing. I'm a researcher by nature so will definitely get the info I need

I'm also taking the advice of many and not making any decisions immediately other than removing myself physically from the situation - which I guess in a way is making a big decision. I'll leave the house for good, as sad as that is because I really liked our house. But it's just a house after all but now it's a symbol of too much pain and anxiety for me. I have no idea what has taken place inside that house and I don't want to think or be reminded of that while living there.

I also did call WH and told him I'm coming home but not coming to the house but that I'd need to come eventually to gather my things. He sounded devastated and asked if we could meet. I told him we obviously would eventually but I still didn't know what I wanted or needed and didn't want to be in anyway influenced by hollow words, promises or anything else from him until I was better. I admitted I wasn't strong or well but I knew that I needed to protect myself and he was the reason I needed to do that. That was probably pretty harsh but it's also true. I told him I might consider meeting him next weekend but made no promise. I also told him I'm just trying to triage my life right now.

So, I'm asking for advice again. I do have to see him again at some point, though I know some here don't think I have to. But I think I do and if I'm honest, I do want to see him. Eventually I want to hear what he has to say. I think I deserve that and I'm very curious, whether that's good or bad for me, I am curious. I haven't made any decision about our relationship at all and don't think I'll be able to for some time...other than not wanting to be around him, at least for the time being.

My ask is - if you were in my position and meeting your WS for the first time after DD, what questions would you be asking if you hadn't yet decided on staying or going?

Thanking you in advance for wisdom.

nekonamida posted 2/9/2019 10:05 AM

Honestly, I'd be asking for a full timeline. I'd be looking for honesty and accountability and a timeline from his perspective is a good way to do that. I don't think that he has given you that in the few communications that you have had so maybe he needs the opportunity to put it all on the table.

SpeedBump posted 2/9/2019 10:16 AM

nekonamida - you're exactly right. He has told me nothing and I haven't asked for anything other than the "why her?". I guess I felt I pieced together my own timeline because I had the messages but you're right, I should ask for his timeline. It would be good to compare and see if there is any honesty in his.

Thank you.

whodidimarry posted 2/9/2019 10:31 AM

I too would ask for a full and comprehensive timeline as well as what he has been doing/planning on doing in terms of bettering himself. Regardless of whether or not you decide to reconcile, he needs to do some serious work on himself.

HouseOfPlane posted 2/9/2019 10:32 AM

My ask is - if you were in my position and meeting your WS for the first time after DD, what questions would you be asking if you hadn't yet decided on staying or going?

The timeline would be OK, mostly important if you plan to give it a shot. If you plan to D, it still just gives you the truth in your life during that period of time.

It also gives you a look at his devotion to 1000% transparency. There should be zero hesitation in any answer to any question. Hesitation on factual questions = lying.

Conversely, lack of hesitation on feeling type questions probably indicate lack of introspection, or guessing what you want to hear?

I think a potential goal in a meeting would be to determine if he really, truly understands just how horrific his actions were, or help him get to that point. See my previous post on being the mirror. He should understand, if he is not a sociopath, but was just being a total asshole, that his actions were indistinguishable from one. It was that bad. It put you in the hospital.

It is paradoxical, and sad too, that for so many couples the first real, totally frank discussions with unvarnished truths occur after D Day. The layers of BS get blowtorched off, and the truth remains, whatever it is. If you a really devoted to The Truth and total honesty, then it can actually be a place from which to build a real relationship. Maybe you will find that. But it depends on valuing the truth above all, even happiness. Happiness becomes a side effect of living honestly.

Sending strength!

Furious1 posted 2/9/2019 10:44 AM

WTG on standing up for yourself. You were not being harsh. You have every right to defend yourself from the emotional and psychological abuse that he has put you through.

I think neko is spot on with getting a timeline from him. I will caution you to not tip your hand or try to call him out on any discrepancies in his story. Think of this as a test for whether or not he is going to be fully honest with you about all of his misdeeds.

In my own marriage, I made the mistake of calling my STBXWH out on everything I knew to be a lie. All I accomplished was to help him be a better liar. He changed and crafted his story to fit what it was that I tipped my hand about knowing. I lost the advantage of knowing that he wasn't being fully honest by handling it the way that I did.

If I had it to do all over again, I would make sure that I gave him enough rope to hang himself by letting him lie as much as he wanted to. I should have acted like I believed every word of his lies and then simply observed his lies without absorbing them by trying refute them. Had I done it that way, I would have spared myself a lot of grief by realizing early on that he had no intention of being honest and therefore was not giving me anything to work with so that R could have a chance of succeeding.

I also wish that I would have kept in mind that I should not make any rush decisions that he was trying to pressure me into making. In my case, my STBXWH pressured me to commit to giving him another chance right then and there. I caved to that pressure instead of taking my time and giving myself permission to take as much time as I needed in order to carefully consider how I felt and what I needed. By caving in to his pressure, I was so busy thinking about what he wanted and how he felt that I didn't get more than an honorable mention tossed in as bare minimum.

So give yourself permission to make your decisions on your timeline and not his. Give yourself permission to make you, your feeling, and your well-being your first priority. If you get pulled into giving him an answer that you later regret or decide wasn't in your best interest, you have every right to change your mind at any point in the future. I truly wish that I gave myself a mandatory 24 hour minimum cooling off period before giving him any kind of answer to anything he wanted, proposed, or questioned me about. I wish I would not have made all of the rash decisions and split second choices that he was pressuring me to make back in the early days when he was in full panic and damage control mode.



sinsof thefather posted 2/9/2019 10:44 AM

The thing I'd want most is a written timeline too. I'd need it to see if he was capable of being honest. If he is, there is always a chance he could be R material if that's what you want. If you're still undecided, tell him that his only chance is honesty now, and you'll know if you don't get it.

What you eventually decide is up to you Speedbump, and you will find support for whatever decision you make. R is always possible if you want it and your WH is prepared to work for it.

GrayShades posted 2/9/2019 11:00 AM

Here's what I'd ask:
* Timeline. Some here have asked for a general one and a more specific one that you may or may not review later (the details will be more hurtful).

* An account of what he's doing and plans to do moving forward to fix whatever it is inside of him that led him to be so incredibly cruel to you.

* I'd also add that he owes you an accounting of and accountability for whatever held him back from true intimacy with you even before the A, e.g., keeping you at arm's length emotionally, not sharing his feelings about the death of his first wife (esp. since he did do the latter with the AP)

The above is the minimum I would accept to even consider R. And even if his answers are honest and satisfactory on all, you still can choose not to R. You can decide later, and you can always change your mind.

Be well, and good travels.

ShutterHappy posted 2/9/2019 11:10 AM

To expand on Furious1 good post, itís like an interview really (have you done interviews before?) The rťsumť might look good, but is the candidate lying? Does he have the ďskiilsĒ (e.g. the bahavior) to meet your needs?

When you interview him, is it all about his hurt? About what the OW made him do?

Good luck!

Cooley2here posted 2/9/2019 11:56 AM

The most powerful weapon you have is silence. I had suggested having him write a timeline and then read it out. I still suggest this. Donít blink, donít shrug, donít cry, just listen in silence. Let him hear his own voice reading what he did to you. If he has a good heart at some point the horror of this is going to hit him. If he has skated through life on charm and lies and conning people then this is not going to have any effect on him. Heís going to try the poor me, Iím so sorry, what can I do story. He already should be doing things. He should be in therapy. He should be paying bills on time. He should be talking to real estate agents about how to put the house on the market. There are things he can do like reading books. You just need to be silent and let him either dig himself deeper in the hole or pull himself out of it. This is your future you are looking at and you need to be in charge of it. Not him and his crazy con job.

alphakitte posted 2/9/2019 11:59 AM

Hindsight being 20/20 Iíd not have wasted breath on what happened, or why, or how, but have asked questions to discern if WH had the skill set to heal himself and the marriage. Iíd have asked for a detailed plan and agenda as to what he has done and what he intends on doing in that regard.

Cooley2here posted 2/9/2019 13:19 PM

Alpha, I politely disagree. Cheaters try to wriggle out of owning up. They love to rug sweep. He needs a huge wake up that what he did has consequences. Reading out loud every phone call, every text, every sex act, everywhere they occurred, when they occurred, every time they laughed at SB is as in his face as it gets. He needs to write and then read out loud Every,Single.Word. He needs to do this on paper. Then he needs to write down how he plans to fix it.

SB. This might be too harsh for you when he does it but you already know most of it. You need your power back and he needs to know there are no excuses for any of it.

Let him come up with answers. Let him come up with plans. He was certainly busy enough doing that behind your back.

fareast posted 2/9/2019 13:49 PM

I agree with Cooley2here:

In life Aís happen, and her WH needs to develop a written timeline as well as follow the usual steps for transparency. But as SpeedBump has said, the hardest thing for her to come to grips with and reconcile is the cruel treatment from a H who heretofore had never demonstrated cruelty or animosity. What has really hurt is the cruelty of the way he and OW treated SpeedBump. There needs to be a conversation. He needs to be faced with each of his cruel words and actions. How could he call her TBB? You need to see his response and how does he propose to make you feel safe with him. Could he lie about his motivations? Of course. But if he has any hopes at all he needs to explain how he could do such cruel things to a W he claims to love and cherish. And SpeedBump you need to assess his response. One positive note, he is still around apparently hoping for a chance at R. He has his own wealth and doesnít need to stay in Europe. He could just go home and move on with his life if he in fact hated you and just wants to be rid of the M. And as far as you know he dumped the OW on DDay, and has had no contact with her. Good luck.

[This message edited by fareast at 2:16 PM, February 9th (Saturday)]

steadychevy posted 2/9/2019 14:46 PM

I agree with the written timeline. It should, IMO, include facts like what, when, where, etc. It should include the emotional side, too. How did that make him feel, could he hardly wait until you left for work so they could connect, etc.

I also think that he should be able to answer questions like "what have you done since this happened to work towards understanding your "whys"", "what is your plan going forward to show that you would be worth reconciling with", "why, in your mind, do you think I (SpeedBump) would want to reconcile", "what's in it for me (SpeedBump)", "what are you going to do that will make the only rational decision for me(SpeedBump) to make would be to reconcile". You get the idea.

As others have said, calm, cool collected. I did none of these so take that as a suggestion to do as I say, not as I did. I would also suggest to not meet until you think you are ready and strong and meet on strong ground for you - your element, not his. Keep the advantage. Best wishes.

Stevesn posted 2/9/2019 15:19 PM

Wishing you smooth travels Speedbump.

You may not read this until Sunday morning Europe time so I hope youíre settled well into your hotel if thatís the case.

And Iíve stayed in lots of European AirBnBs. One recommendation I have is to read the reviews and message with the property owner before submitting an official request.

As for your WH, The one thing I highly recommend you do, and I believe Iíve posted it here before (and others have said as well) is to tell him that he needs to work on a comprehensive WRITTEN plan to repair the damage he did to your relationship and how to help you heal.

Iíd tell him that when you meet next weekend (or whenever) he should present the first draft of that roadmap you will use going forward.

Itís fine to tell him that you make absolutely no promises to work that plan with him, but without it, there will be no chance for him at all. Tell him to research how to repair the damage from his affair. He needs to do lots of reading.

Let him know you will use his draft to create the plan together. You may change, delete or add things. As you said, I (via PM) and others have sent you lists of things that potentially can be in an R plan. You should come prepared with whatís important to you.

And remind him that such a plan, if you decide to try to work it, can take years to get to a point where you can say you are Reconciled as a couple. You may be apart for a while working toward that. Reconciliation is a point you get to, some day, after the hard work has gotten you there. Each step in that plan, most of which is on him, gets you closer.

And number one on that list is IC for each of you. As you are seeing with cultural differences id recommend you tell him it needs to be via Skype with and American specialist in Infidelity.

And as others have stated second should be a more detailed timeline of his A then he provided in his last email to you in response to why her. You donít have to do this, but if it were me Iíd give him a hint. Iíd say something like:

ďI know almost everything that happened so no minimizing. If you think it helps your cause to make yourself look better by leaving something out, let me tell you, it doesnít. I want to know where you went, what you did there and how many times you did it, in her home and ours and elsewhere.

And not just sex. Everything you did behind my back or right in front of me. Lying and trickling our the truth will not help me heal. I canít promise how far down the path of recovery I can go with you, or how quickly, but only the truth will give us any chance at allĒ.

Let him know youíll review that timeline with him as well.

Speedbump, youíve been so impressive in all of this. You are taking the best path possible, leaving all your options open. I truly believe that over time you will be able to tell if he is ALL IN and can become a man whom you can trust and someday even love again.

In the meantime, in the next few weeks get IC set up and do have those conferences with the lawyers. There may become a time where you decide D is the best path for you. Itís best to be prepared for that as well.

Youre doing great. Take care.

kaygem posted 2/9/2019 18:30 PM

I might be different than others but I would want him to write to me and I'd allow him to write anything he felt he wanted to share, I would be looking for either remorse or gaslighting. I'd not give him any directives so as not to influence his writing...I'd just want to see what direction he was heading in..remorse or ass covering. I would demand a timeline and of course see if he tries to minimize. My fWH starting writing to me almost right away as I wouldn't allow him to talk much..I mostly screamed at him, .

Booyah posted 2/9/2019 21:47 PM

As others have suggested I would ask for a written timeline. However I would look him in the eyes and tell him you know more than he thinks you know.

Tell him this is his ONE chance to come clean about EVERYTHING!!! Any bullshit from him (minimizing) you're going to get up and leave.

Before you meet with him print out a lot of the cruel games he was playing. More than likely he's not going to mention any of this. When he's done...pull out the copies and put them in front of him and say, "seems you forgot about all of this".

At some point (IMO) you're going to have to let him know how much you really know and why this has gutted you and why you feel like you have NO IDEA who he is and if you ever really did.

Than leave!!!

Gather your thoughts away from him (where you'll be staying) and go from there.

You're doing good and you'll get through this.

Hang in there SpeedBump.

otter posted 2/9/2019 23:04 PM

While I wouldn't be strong enough for my own advise, I think you should ask him nothing and sit silently and let him talk to you. Just sit and listen to what he has to say. If you ask him questions your giving him insights into what you want to hear and know. At this point what you need him to prove to you is that he can help you heal. That he knows what you need to hear. If he cared, while you were googling 'what to do when your spouse cheats' he should of been googling 'what to do when you cheat on your spouse'.

If he cared he would be prepared.

If he asks you to tell him what he can do to make it better, that is basically telling you that he wants you to help him clean up his mess.

SpeedBump posted 2/10/2019 04:05 AM

So I'm back and resting after a long trip. I've caught up on all the excellent replies here and the advice is unanimous on the timeline. I really appreciate the advice on not leading him in his replies and not letting him know all that I know.

I really doubt I'm ready to have this conversation face to face. It's not about not being able to control myself and keep my cards close but I know I'm likely to breakdown and become a blubbering idiot. It's what I do. It's why I like some of the advice to communicate doing the timeline by email. It seemed to work well with my last email. I would though like to discuss it all with him face to face at some point to watch his demeanor but not sure how or when I'd be strong enough.. maybe after I've been able to read his reply if he gives me one, digest it, poke holes in it and prepare for what I might still need or want to know. It also seems all really frightening to me, too. I mean, it's not like we're talking about friends we's my actual life!

All the advice is amazing so timeline request it shall be. Wish me luck and send strength.

ChamomileTea posted 2/10/2019 07:57 AM

There are some pros and cons either way. For example, speaking to him in person allows him an opportunity to manipulate you, but it also offers you the chance to observe his body language and facial expressions. So, there's no right or wrong answer here. It's all about what you need in this particular phase of healing and only you can decide that.

It also seems all really frightening to me, too. I mean, it's not like we're talking about friends we's my actual life!

Here's the thing though, your autonomy is your own. He doesn't get to make any of your choices or tell you what to do at this point. If the scariest thing you can imagine is that the marriage has ended... that's already happened. The marriage you knew before has ended. Part of getting the fear under control is recognizing that you don't have anything to lose which isn't already lost.

But of course, there's only so much you can do with the logic of the frontal cortex. Quite a lot of this fear response is stemming from the trauma and the hyper-alert "lizard brain". It's why we end up feeling like someone has sneaked up on us and shouted "boo" in our ear a hundred times a day for the first couple of months after DDay. If you read through a copy of The Body Keeps Score by Bessel van der Kolk, you'll discover that the frontal cortex and the amygdala only have a limited kind of communication, so you can't really talk yourself out of it. There are trauma treatments like EMDR and Mindfulness training which can help though. The important part to remember is that even though the fear seems very real, it's mostly the result of an overactive amygdala and that it will pass. You're still free to chart your own course. We're so accustomed to these signals from our body meaning that danger is impending, so it's hard not to react accordingly, But your body can't tell the difference between emotional danger and physical danger... and the mechanism is malfunctioning, stuck on hyper-alert as it were.

Long and short, yeah.. it feels really scary, but that's normal. The body's trauma response is "fight, flight, or freeze", but the danger signal is a false one because you're still "reacting" to a thing which has already happened. You still have agency and any choice you make is a valid one as long as it's contributing to your healing and goals.


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