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Why does it still hurt?

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WornDown posted 6/11/2019 12:10 PM

Hang in there BrokenDad. It does get better, it just takes time. A lot of time.

Each day I just go through the motions, and it takes enormous effort to do the most basic things, like getting up and going to work.

I told my therapist that one day and he said, "that's ok. As long as you are still going through the motions, one day you'll get traction back."

[This message edited by WornDown at 12:10 PM, June 11th (Tuesday)]

self-rescuer posted 6/11/2019 16:38 PM

It does take time but healing is surely in your future. There are so many connections and so many memories that detaching feels impossible - but you will.

As well intentioned as I found the "find a new hobby" suggestions, a few months of quiet introspection worked best for me. Being gentle with myself, being with the people who both loved and liked me and being out in nature was my personal method of healing. Well - and intensive IC!!!

Dig deep and see what will be the best way for you to step into your new life. And if you are not already, find a good IC.

I am 8 years out from D-day and 6 years divorced. After a 26 year long marriage and my complete devastation upon learning about his 5 yr affair, I was certain that I would never recover. But recover I did.

Be kind to yourself and know there is peace and light on this side of infidelity. Sending the warmest hug.

BrokenDad posted 6/11/2019 23:54 PM

Thanks guys for your words of support, encouragement and empathy. I value your responses. I've found this group to be therapeutic, although I guess that's its purpose.

RocketRaccoon posted 6/12/2019 23:14 PM

I feel angry and bitter that I spent so many years dedicated to someone who treated our marriage like it was worthless, and didn't respect me.

Don't beat yourself up over this. She did not respect herself also.

I ask myself 'how did I become such a contemptible human being that she concluded that I didn't matter at all?'

You are not the contemptible one, and you do matter, just not to her.

and 'why didn't I deserve even simple honesty?'

You do deserve simple honesty, but you will not get it from a damaged person, as their 'honesty' is damaged also, so you will not get any honesty at all from a damaged person.

I don't want to become an angry and bitter person, but these negative thoughts are inescapable.

You don't have to stay angry and bitter all your life. You will feel like that for now, as everything is still relatively fresh, but given time, and some work on yourself, you will be able to climb out of the pit.

You will find that you:
- are not a contemptible person
- matter
- deserve respect
- deserve simple honesty
- will go on to do bigger and better things without your WWs toxicity in your life

BrokenDad posted 6/12/2019 23:49 PM

Thank you RocketRaccoon for your supportive words. I know what you say is true. I'm trying to be hopeful about the future.

BrokenDad posted 6/13/2019 21:19 PM

One thing that really bothers me even though I know it shouldn't anymore, is the narrative my STBXW has stuck with. Even though she admitted to wrongdoing after I discovered proof of it, she would explain her reasons for her infidelity. There's the bipolar disorder and her impulsive manic phases, and her compulsion to do it, which I find believable. But her other reason is that she thinks I was ignoring her at the time before she started cheating, and that I showed no interest in her sexually. She doesn't say this is an excuse for what she did, but I feel that she uses it as a way to deflect some of the blame for the breakdown of the marriage onto me. She actually has said that I should own up to my part in the breakdown, because she felt so lonely and unhappy at the time.

This always bothered me for several reasons. I recall the time before she started cheating, and for most of that year, she was in a deep depressive state. She would lay on the couch all day feeling miserable. I was really concerned at the time, and made every effort to talk to her and tell her all the reasons why she was an important person, and especially important to me. But my words didn't seem to have much effect. I never blamed her for her depression, and I made a point to let her know that. Somehow, her depression eventually lifted, which was a great relief to me. She began to re-engage with me and the kids, and became more outgoing, volunteering at the school, and reaching out to people. I told her how happy I was that she was no longer depressed and isolated. So when she started joining chat rooms to socialize, I didn't suspect anything.

After the DDay, I saw that the rampant infidelity actually began soon after she started going in chat rooms. I saw that she had been telling her cyber-lovers about how her husband was neglecting her, didn't care about her, and was verbally abusive toward her, calling her all sorts of names which of course, I never did. By her own admission later, she was trying to get sympathy for herself at my expense, and gradually came to believe the things she was saying about me, as a way to rationalize her behavior.

So when she says that I was ignoring her at the time before she strayed, it seems that she's still stuck on this false narrative. Given how quickly she went from a depressive state to an extreme manic state, there was very little time in between. And this is why I don't recall any period of time when I was ignoring her, and acting as if I only wanted to have a celibate marriage. Between the deep depression and the impulsive, reckless manic behavior, I wouldn't have had the opportunity to ignore her for any length of time.

And even if I was ignoring her to the point where she was miserable in the marriage, she could have let me know at the time. Instead, she concluded on her own that the marriage was worthless to her. And even still she could have told me it was over, then taken the steps to separate and divorce. But she decided to stay with me because I supported her financially, while having her sexual needs met by anyone and everyone except me. This is the height of dishonesty, disrespect and extreme cruelty.

But even up until the day she finally moved out, she insisted that I was a contributor to the breakdown of the marriage, because I ignored her, and I didn't show her the love and affection she needed, and she put up with it until she finally couldn't anymore. This is the ultimate slap in the face that continues to haunt me and bother me, even though I know I'm not supposed to care what she thinks anymore. And really, I'm trying not to.

RocketRaccoon posted 6/13/2019 22:46 PM

But even up until the day she finally moved out, she insisted that I was a contributor to the breakdown of the marriage, because I ignored her, and I didn't show her the love and affection she needed, and she put up with it until she finally couldn't anymore. This is the ultimate slap in the face that continues to haunt me and bother me, even though I know I'm not supposed to care what she thinks anymore. And really, I'm trying not to.

Cheaters say a lot of things to make themselves look good.

Maybe you did not do some things to help the M, but that does not mean the WS should go off and have an affair.

WS always need external validation. Your compliments and validation are 'expected' from a spouse, so it does not count, because a spouse is 'supposed' to say things like that. It is like when a parent tells a teen to put on a coat, but does not listen, but then their favourite uncle/aunt/person asks them to put on the coat, they will do so immediately.

Whatever you gave her will never be enough. WS 'grass is greener' mentality shows that nothing will be enough, which is why a lot of them do not do well in relationships. There is not inner contentment, as they don;t know what they want.

Take comfort in that you did what you could, and there was nothing you could have done to prevent her wayward actions.

You will survive, and you will be happy, as long as you are also content. Do not expect any 'closure' from your WS. Closure comes from yourself, and it will bring you peace.

Note: Contentment is not rugsweeping. Far from it. Contentment is acceptance. Accept that you cannot get all the things you want all the time. Some of the things just do not exist.

BrokenDad posted 6/14/2019 20:41 PM

Thanks for your insight.

You will survive, and you will be happy, as long as you are also content. Do not expect any 'closure' from your WS. Closure comes from yourself, and it will bring you peace.

This is the truth! I know it's pointless to hope for closure from my WS. I have no control over what she says or believes, and it does no good to obsess about it. I can't help it that it bothers me when I think about it, but I can (and do) decide not to bring it up with her. It's much better to talk about it with someone who actually cares, rather than trying to make her care.

Somewhere I read that WS are not necessarily bad people, at least in other parts of their lives. Since they most often haven't thought of themselves as bad people, they have a hard time reconciling their view of themselves as good people when confronted about the cruel and dishonest nature of their infidelity. So they rationalize, and give reasons for their actions, to downplay the level of cruelty they've inflicted. They may emphasize the point that there were already problems in the marriage, which led to the infidelity. To deflect some of the blame from themselves, they may say things such as 'you didn't love me the way I needed to be loved' or 'you didn't seem to care about what I was going through.'

As you mentioned, they often do this to create a narrative to tell people to make themselves look better. They might also do it to convince themselves of this narrative, to avoid or reduce the feeling of guilt they might be faced with by looking only at their actions and the damage they've caused.

This explanation makes a lot of sense to me.

cancuncrushed posted 6/15/2019 13:01 PM

Your still expecting her to get it, on some level...YOur expecting her to be decent....and that's where the relationship went wrong...

She is not decent...she is not loyal...she grabs each opportunity for herself...
This was another opportunity to have fun...she took what you said, and made it ok..

My wayward did this...he decided without telling me, the marriage was over..her found a new OW, and relapsed, then prepared the D for 10 months...without me knowing anything...

then they continued the relationship as soon as he left...they couldn't wait...they traveled together, stayed together, etc...while we were still married...this contined for another year...and he wouldn't sign the D papers...Funny...as soon as he did sign the D papers, they broke up..IT was all new opportunity...nowhere was I considered...no respect for the marriage of 36 years...no respect for our family or children...just fun...

I thought he would be decent...instead he was worse...everything about him is a surprise...I stopped hurting when I really saw him...When I really knew he would never be normal or decent...and when I had truly accepted these...the pain went away...I stopped expecting anything from him...he is empty.

[This message edited by cancuncrushed at 1:14 PM, June 15th (Saturday)]

fallendown posted 6/16/2019 10:53 AM

Brokendad I feel for you. Your story resembles mine in many ways. Bipolar WS, sexual addiction, daughter caught up in it all. My ex also continually blames me for not giving her the attention and love she needed. Man it's hard, but I will say you seem to speak a lot of sense and seem to understand and rationalise your situation with clarity.

I clicked this thread because of the title. It does take a long time and things will most likely continue to hurt for a while.

It's been 3 years since my ex and I separated and I still hurt, I still miss what we had before the cheating started. I still struggle to understand how she could be so destructive to us both. I'm still here seeking support, although I haven't been here for over a year I'd guess. But I came back today.

My advise would be to be very careful of how much you interact with her. I wasn't and I've paid the price. I've let her hurt me again and again over the last 3 years.

Exercise helps me a lot. It could also help you.

Take care of yourself dude.

pureheartkit posted 6/16/2019 16:54 PM

I felt the same learning that my WS hid this kind of roleplaying from me. I think their brains crave something in it. Some extra e excitement and release of chemicals like drugs provide. It was never we weren't enough. They crave something else. The desire for more and more that we aren't going to provide. New people. Risky behaviors, whatever it may be. Yes, shes heading to dangerous waters. You and I want her to stop. Someone could hurt her. That's a real possibility.

No need to turn into something you're not. Anyway, people who pretend to be something else can't go on that way. Its damaging and leads to depression. We must be who we are. I'm sorry, she can't appreciate it. That's her shortcoming.

BrokenDad posted 6/18/2019 22:09 PM

Thanks everyone for your supportive words.

When I really knew he would never be normal or decent...and when I had truly accepted these...the pain went away...I stopped expecting anything from him...he is empty.

You make a good point here. I know I'm not supposed to care what my WS thinks anymore, and I'm trying not to. It's not easy but I accept that no matter what she says, as far as I know, she still doesn't respect me. She can apologize all she wants now, but to me it sounds like she's sorry she got caught. Her actions have shown me how little I've mattered to her, and it throws into question whether she ever cared about me. I think you're right that it's best to stop expecting understanding and decency. Thank you.

My advise would be to be very careful of how much you interact with her. I wasn't and I've paid the price. I've let her hurt me again and again over the last 3 years.

I think this is great advice. Since we've separated (a little over 3 months ago) the only interactions I've had with my WS are discussions of practical matters, such as issues with our daughter (making sure she has health coverage, how we can help/push her to succeed academically). But I spent 6 years thinking that a reconciliation was possible, and hoping for some empathy and understanding, only to find out that even decency, respect and simple honesty were too much to expect. I was the one who finally had to say the marriage has no future. I think you're absolutely right. Thank you.

I think their brains crave something in it. Some extra excitement and release of chemicals like drugs provide.

Yes exactly. It was infatuation, excitement and the feeling of being "naughty" that seemed to drive my WSs extra-marital sex life. It was partly fueled by her bipolar disorder and extreme manic phases. It's so demoralizing because through all of her health problems, psychiatric and otherwise, I was her #1 support person. I advocated for her when doctors wouldn't listen. I took custody of her medication for years because her therapist was concerned she might try to harm herself during her depressive phases. I took her to doctors visits and to hospitals countless times, including psychiatric wards at times when her depression hit rock bottom, and she had to be admitted for her own safety. Her therapist explained to me that it was her not her, but her bipolar disorder that had betrayed me, and I accepted the explanation. I thought this was a problem that could be worked on. As it turned out, the times she wasn't having a health crisis were the times she was looking to cheat. How foolish I feel now. Thank you for your insight.

I think recovering from infidelity is such a difficult thing because the betrayal comes as a shock. The person you trust most of all stabs you in the back, and you're left wondering what happened, and who this treacherous person living with you is. You still remember all the reasons you fell in love with your WS in the first place, and it feels as if the person you once knew and loved is suddenly gone, and you're left mourning the person he/she was (or who you thought he/she was). Traumatic. Devastating. Demoralizing.

RocketRaccoon posted 6/19/2019 03:45 AM

Somewhere I read that WS are not necessarily bad people, at least in other parts of their lives.

Yeah, about that...... There is some truth in that, and I think it should be re-phrased to:

"WS had the potential of being bad people, and they were at the time of their affairs."

Note: I think we all have that potential to be a bad person, but a person with a strong moral compass will usually use the compass to steer away from the bad side as much as possible. I will not say all the time, because we can be 'bad' in certain ways (e.g. shoplifting for the thrill, jaywalking, or driving over the speed limit when nobody is around).

As you mentioned, they often do this to create a narrative to tell people to make themselves look better. They might also do it to convince themselves of this narrative, to avoid or reduce the feeling of guilt they might be faced with by looking only at their actions and the damage they've caused.

We never like to see the truth if it is ugly, so, we tend to fool ourselves that we are 'really not that bad'. WS know that they committed a heinous crime against their BS/family, a crime that changes people in fundamental ways, and the changes are usually ugly.

The WS wants to avoid this, because it will show them up as 'bad' people. So, like typical wayward actions, they minimise their (pivotal) role in the change of the BS.

I was her #1 support person. I advocated for her when doctors wouldn't listen. I took custody of her medication for years because her therapist was concerned she might try to harm herself during her depressive phases. I took her to doctors visits and to hospitals countless times, including psychiatric wards at times when her depression hit rock bottom, and she had to be admitted for her own safety.

In your eyes, you were there to support her in her healing. In her screwed up WS mind, you morphed into her nurse, and no longer her spouse. The Nurse looks after her medically, her boyfriends look after her 'other' needs/wants.

Two words: Let go.

There is nothing you can do to help, especially when you are not healthy yourself. As I had posted on another thread, you should take the Flight Safety Briefing advice that the passenger puts on their own oxygen mask, before they help others. You are no use to anyone if you are not healthy yourself.

Tigersrule77 posted 6/19/2019 08:18 AM

BD, you've been through hell for five years and you really only pulled yourself out of it back in March. From what I am reading now, you are doing very well for such a short time. It is going to take a while to recover from this. Perhaps I missed it, but did you say that you are in IC? If not, please do. It can be a great help.

You have done a good job analyzing your STBXWW's thought process. She apologizes to you so that she can see herself in a better light. It allows her to say to herself that she is still a good person, and look how sorry she is. i think you are right, she doesn't really care about how this affects you, it is still about her.

Everything you write about your WW's actions show that she is very selfish and is making no attempts to change that. She blamed her infidelities on BPD, etc., but didn't really pursue help for it or make an attempt to stop. She was selfish. She wanted to continue doing what made her feel good.

She tells you that part of the breakdown in the M is your fault, again, so that she is not a bad person. And she has been telling herself this for five years and told it to many people. She can't change this in her mind now, because it has become "her truth". You are doing the right thing by not fighting against. You know the real truth.

You said that you aren't sure if she ever cared about you. I think you know very well that she is not the person you married. She became someone else. So the love she showed you at the beginning of your relationship was real. But she has changed so much from that person. You are not to blame for this.

Butforthegrace posted 6/19/2019 08:40 AM

Perhaps it is helpful to consider that you are seeking logic and rational understanding for what is largely just plain bad luck. Bad things happen to good people, and often there is no rational nor logical explanation.

BrokenDad posted 6/19/2019 19:36 PM

Thanks again for the supportive words and insights. It's good to hear from those who understand and empathize.

The WS wants to avoid this, because it will show them up as 'bad' people. So, like typical wayward actions, they minimise their (pivotal) role in the change of the BS.

You're absolutely right. They want to downplay the severity of what they've done. Assuming they have a conscience, they find it easier to convince themselves that there were mitigating circumstances making it not all their fault, rather than to wake up every day overcome with the guilt of having done permanent damage to their BS/family, who in no way deserved it.

In her screwed up WS mind, you morphed into her nurse, and no longer her spouse. The Nurse looks after her medically, her boyfriends look after her 'other' needs/wants.

Yes exactly. This was a painful realization to come to. I basically became her nurse, and pharmacist, and financial support. When I discovered her explicit texts which included a plan to meet up with a stranger in person the next day, I finally handed her the medicine cabinet with her meds, told her she would be responsible for them now, and told her she had to leave. I'm naturally very slow to anger, but I really reached my breaking point when this happened.

Perhaps I missed it, but did you say that you are in IC? If not, please do. It can be a great help.

Yes, I've been in IC for about 5-6 years now, starting soon after the first D-Day.

She blamed her infidelities on BPD, etc., but didn't really pursue help for it or make an attempt to stop.

I actually wouldn't have minded it as much if she had blamed everything on her BPD. What really bothered me was that she deflecting blame for the breakdown of the marriage onto me. You're right that she used this as an excuse, or "reason" for her infidelity. Her bipolar disorder was medically diagnosed, so I know it was real. However, there's a stigma towards mental illnesses that I think she held on to. I think she found it easier to deflect blame onto me, than to think of herself as a "crazy" or "insane" person. But either way, it boils down to decisions that she made. And you're right. She was thinking only of herself.

Perhaps it is helpful to consider that you are seeking logic and rational understanding for what is largely just plain bad luck. Bad things happen to good people, and often there is no rational nor logical explanation.

This is a very insightful observation. For a long time there's a negative message that's been circling in my head, which is that I was so inadequate that any woman would have been miserable after being married to me after a while. My WW has said things like:

"I looked at other women around me and their husbands were showering them with affection, such as by sending them flowers at the workplace, and holding their hands whenever they were together, and then I looked at my marriage and noticed that you were ignoring me. I assumed you weren't attracted to me, and weren't into me anymore. I was unhappy in the marriage, but I put up with it until I no longer could."

This narrative of events has contributed to the erosion of my self-esteem, and has made me feel the need to continually justify the kind of person, and husband I was. I know the narrative is full of holes and rationalizations. I know that I'm not obligated to take my "share of the blame" simply because she admits to her own wrongdoing. And I know that the only reason she admits to it is because I discovered it and confronted her. At no point did she feel so overcome with guilt that she voluntarily confessed to anything she had done. And I also know that even if there was any truth to it, it still wouldn't justify the infidelity.

So rather than letting this narrative bother me, I agree that it makes more sense to accept that I simply had the misfortune of marrying someone who changed so drastically that she became a person I no longer knew. And that's something I could not have foreseen.

crazyblindsided posted 6/19/2019 19:53 PM

it makes more sense to accept that I simply had the misfortune of marrying someone who changed so drastically that she became a person I no longer knew. And that's something I could not have foreseen.

Honestly this is the conclusion I'm coming to as well. I married someone with a personality disorder and I didn't start to see it until my WS's first A. It wasn't until his IC pulled me aside, members here started pointing it out to me, and I finally believed it for myself after False R that I realized I married a severely broken person.

fallendown posted 6/19/2019 22:40 PM

I've also heard that line about other men treating their wives so nicely, sending flowers, holding their hands in public etc. I have a few thoughts on this.

Firstly we should all try not to compare our lives to others. We live for our own approval, or we should. Secondly perhaps those men who treat their wives so generously are lucky enough to know that their wives won't wake up in a foul mood, won't spend the day berating them for being not enough, don't have to first check in with their wives before they plan a social event. I wasn't lucky enough for this.

BrokenDad posted 6/20/2019 21:47 PM

Thanks for your insights once again.

Firstly we should all try not to compare our lives to others. We live for our own approval, or we should. Secondly perhaps those men who treat their wives so generously are lucky enough to know that their wives won't wake up in a foul mood, won't spend the day berating them for being not enough, don't have to first check in with their wives before they plan a social event. I wasn't lucky enough for this.

Excellent point! This has sort of been my thinking too. Once my wife's IC asked me if I thought I could behave more romantically toward her, such as sending flowers. I told him that's something I would need to feel inspired to do. He agreed that would be a good reason to do it. Then I said I would not like to feel like it's something I have to do, or else she'll go back to cheating again. He agreed that this would be a wrong reason to do it.

Then it occurred to me that my WS didn't compare me to the many men that are dishonest, are verbally or physically abusive to their wives, don't stick around and take care of their kids, don't think they should help with any housework, and aren't concerned about their wives' health and wellness. It probably sounds like I'm setting the bar very low here, but I made a conscious effort to put my marriage and family at the very top of my priority list, and to go above and beyond expectations relating to being a family man, and being there for her in sickness and in health. And I took the 'sickness and in health' marriage vow very seriously.

So I wondered why she didn't recognize these things as signs of how much I cared about her. Why did she only make comparisons that made me appear inadequate and uncaring?

All expressions of affection should be done out of inspiration and desire, rather than obligation. And I felt less inspired as the years went by.

RocketRaccoon posted 6/21/2019 00:08 AM

So I wondered why she didn't recognize these things as signs of how much I cared about her. Why did she only make comparisons that made me appear inadequate and uncaring?

Sad truth is, the reason why a lot of WS are WS, is because they always think that the grass is always greener on the other side. Whatever you did would not have mattered.

She would have hooked up with the mailman/pool boy/gardener/neighbour/friend's spouse/Boss because the mailman was under no obligation to tell her that she 'looked amazing'.

To the WS, there will never be enough. There must always be something better out there for them, because they 'deserve' it for whatever f**ked up reason they give themselves.

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