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Collective Wisdom

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NeverHealed posted 5/12/2019 09:05 AM

Oh, and one other bit of advice:

Never go to a bar, alone.

NeverHealed posted 5/12/2019 09:10 AM

However, you can never be everything to someone else.

Seems defeatist to me.

HO - I've spent all my life controlling, and being controlled by, others. And I got paid a lot of money to control outcomes. I reject the idea that I cannot influence others. Always? No. But sometimes, many times? Yes. It requires figuring out what is valuable to them.

Striver posted 5/12/2019 10:26 AM

Seems defeatist to me.

HO - I've spent all my life controlling, and being controlled by, others. And I got paid a lot of money to control outcomes. I reject the idea that I cannot influence others. Always? No. But sometimes, many times? Yes. It requires figuring out what is valuable to them.

Name the man who was all things to all people. Name the man.

Most famous men are specialists. Albert Einstein, Hugh Hefner, Napolean. They do a few things well. Name the man that does every last thing well, that cannot be outcompeted in any respect. Who can also morph his body to be skinny, fat, young, old, short, tall, and all races. And also a woman, in case your WW wants to go that way.

You're also ignoring the flipside. So you figure out how to do every last thing well. Now your WW feels bad because you are better than her. So she cheats on you with some loser with no qualities, because that guy is more on her level. That man you cannot be.

But if you are that man that cannot be topped in any respect, why would you want to stay with your WW? What is she bringing to the table, what is she doing for you? She already cheated on you. You can divorce her with a clear conscience. She is a sunk cost. So do so and have fun with the many women who would want to be with a top shelf guy like yourself.

sisoon posted 5/12/2019 11:02 AM

I came to this site looking for insight into my wife's behavior (not getting any from her).
I'm no longer sure about anything she told me.
I am not sure what I read from these statements, but I wonder if the problem is that you don't want to see an obvious answer.

You seem to be saying that your W doesn't communicate with you much, and you don't believe what she communicates anyway. That's not much of a foundation for Reconciliation.

What sort of understanding are you looking for? Your W is an individual. Your M is unique. You can learn something about other Ms and other WSes, but what you learn probably won't fit your sitch.

What do you want to understand? How will you know when you get the understanding you want?

If my wife and I stay together, I am darn sure going to do my best, this time.
IDK ... do you mean you're aiming for perfection? I get the sense from you that you think you can keep yourself from making mistakes. OK. It's possible to prevent some mistakes, but you can't prevent all of them. In fact, The actions needed to prevent some mistakes cause other mistakes.

The very best you can be is authentic.

And I got paid a lot of money to control outcomes.
I'd argue that you get paid to achieve certain results.

Get a contract signed, resolve a conflict without going to court, win a litigation ... those are outcomes of sorts, but they're less complex than (re)building a marriage. If they weren't, you wouldn't be here with a goal of understanding your W.

You call yourself NeverHealed. What's missing?

SisterMilkshake posted 5/12/2019 11:36 AM

I didn't do my best in my marriage, and now I'm left to wonder if doing my best might have made a difference. Many of you would assure me that it wouldn't have; what happened was inevitable. Maybe you're right, but that thinking is just too pat, too self-serving for me. There's a lot of advice here to not let WSs blameshift. Perhaps BSs should think a little about that.
This is the what you are missing, NeverHealed. I wasn't "the best", either. But that came after years and years of trying. I had to beg my FWH to go to MC because I knew there were issues that we weren't able to resolve on our own. He would go but never heard the MC. He felt we were "ganging up" on him. He asked when we were going to get to my issues. He couldn't understand that a lot of the issues I had stemmed from his selfish behaviour and lack of investment in me, our marriage and children.

I gave up and wasn't my best. I lived my life, he lived his. We got along reasonably well and it wasn't awful but neither were we "happily married". We were happy at times and there were good times, but down deep neither of us were happy. He wasn't his best and I wasn't my best. I was getting ready for when our youngest graduated H.S., I was getting my ducks in a row. It was years away but I didn't want to continue living this way and I already tried to get us back on track to no avail. Never would he admit that he wasn't being the best husband and father, it was always all. my. fault. But, I never considered cheating. How would getting some different dick make our marriage and family better? Would that make me "feel" better? Maybe momentarily, but in the long run I would feel worse. I took my marriage seriously. I take my integrity seriously. I could wait until I was divorced if I really wanted some other man's dick to make me feel better about myself. Apparently, my FWH couldn't wait and was too much of a coward, selfish and weak to divorce me first.

I know that cheating may not be the fault of the spouse. And cheating is never justified, never the right answer. I just don't agree that a spouse never contributes, or provides any motivation.
What you want to call "motivation" is actually rationalizations and justifications by the WS's. Is there ever a rational reason to commit infidelity? Is there ever a justification for infidelity? Please tell me what these motivations could be. The only motivation WS's had was doing what they wanted to do. And fuck anyone that they may hurt, even if it is just their spouse who isn't being "the best".

I will share what I posted on another thread here in General because I feel it is appropriate.

If you are unhappy in your marriage or with your spouse the motivation needs to be to fix it. If it is determined to be unfixable you need to end it. With integrity. You have to deal with your problems and face the uncomfortable consequences that often come with dealing with an unhappy marriage. It is hard, it is work, it isn't fun, and it can be life changing in good and bad ways.

Even if your spouse is a POS, you don't get to fuck someone else and I will defend any POS that gets cheated on. EXCEPT for the fucking unremorseful, serial cheating, stalking, jr. bunny boiler cumdumpster that my FWH fucked. Hope It falls in love over and over and gets cheated on. every. fucking. time. Or, eaten by Its dogs works for me, too.

I will never let a BS tell themselves that they somehow made their WS go fuck someone else.

I will never let a BS tell themselves that they somehow MOTIVATED their WS to go fuck someone else.

eta: to remove a repeated sentence or two

[This message edited by SisterMilkshake at 11:43 AM, May 12th (Sunday)]

ChamomileTea posted 5/12/2019 12:08 PM

I think you'd do well, OP, to revisit HoldingTogether's earlier comment:

What I can’t figure out is why you seem so heavily invested in convincing other members here that they are wrong.

There might be an answer for you in exploring why this is such an important point. If I'm guessing, I wonder if allowing your WS to take all the blame means that you have to change the way you look at her. Maybe she becomes someone who's unworthy of further devotion at that point? Maybe if you have to admit that you have no control over her behavior, you can't be sure she won't abuse your trust again? Maybe your need to argue a point crosses into other areas of your life? There are so many possibilities, but only you can know for sure what's going on inside your mind. Sitting with it for awhile, exploring anything uncomfortable which comes up, might actually bring you more clarity, even if it feels counter-intuitive while you're doing it.

It might be an old Dr. Philism, but I often try to fall in love with an idea for 15 minutes so as not to reject it out of hand. When I do this with your premise, I find that aside from all the anecdotal exceptions, it doesn't hold us individually accountable for being self-fruitful in the matter of personal contentment. IOW, we're allowed to make other people the root of our problems without expectation that we problem-solve for ourselves and that we do it within the context of our own stated values.

Maybe try that in reverse? See what happens when you "fall in love for 15 minutes" with the other side of your argument.

Striver posted 5/12/2019 12:15 PM

As far as relating this to the world of work, my experience has been the opposite.

Others have said here before. You need to choose you. Relate this to the world of work.

I have been in the corporate world for many years. Anyone can be fired. Regardless of their quality of work. Seen it happen time and again. There is a reorg, and someone decides "I just don't like them", or "I want my own people", and good people are let go.

Your marriage is a partnership with one other person. In today's world, unfortunately that is all it is. Outside support and preventative measures are much more limited than they used to be. If your WW wants to divorce you some day, she can likely weather the storm. Mine did. She had someone to jump to and she did. All covertly on her part. She left for a guy she knew before we ever met. There is nothing in the world I could do to meet what she wanted, because I couldn't be him.

So sometimes spouses just don't like us, or don't like us any more, or there is some grudge, just like there is with a boss or employee or business partner or colleague. My experience is you can spend a limited amount of time trying to fix those situations, then you start getting your resume ready and cut your losses. They are one person, you cannot control everybody, you cannot get everybody to like you. You choose you, make good tactical decisions, and win in the end regardless of who you associate with long term.

[This message edited by Striver at 12:17 PM, May 12th (Sunday)]

Oldwounds posted 5/12/2019 12:20 PM

I don't think we disagree.

After your extended response, maybe not as much as I originally thought. But there does seem to be some distance on the point of being able to 'control' an outcome.

I do agree we can help, hurt or influence a number of outcomes, but the wildcard in life is free will.

Ultimately, I have found control a complete illusion -- when it comes to other humans. We can only control our response to their behavior at the end of the day.

And it's infidelity that changed my concept of control. For my wife, it changed her perception of control as well.

A quick recap of my story. My wife was suffering postpartum depression, AP was a friend of the family and took advantage of that instead of showing compassion or respect. After the A, my wife was certain I would never forgive what happened. So, she kept it a secret for 18-years.

In our MC, like so many betrayed members here, I blamed ME for not knowing more or seeing more -- I announced in counseling that I had failed to protect my wife and my family.

My wife wouldn't allow me to take any blame. We went over our lives at that time and our marriage with a fine tooth comb and at the end of the day, she turned away to AP instead toward me or our relationship.

I wouldn't call it a perfect marriage, but a normal one. The A started just after our 5th wedding anniversary. I had just taken a second job, since her biggest "communicated" concern was money.

Anyway, sometimes we do all that we can with all that we know. And cheating still happens.

Sadly, it was a tragedy that didn't need to happen in our relationship. Our rebuild is going very well, because it does seem we have figured out how to be the best possible partner to the other -- and not too little too late.

What we learned is that maybe -- maybe -- if we had the modern communication tools we currently possess (mostly based on a lifetime of being around each other now), we could have avoided the path my wife chose.

Should we all always try to be our best to influence the best possible outcome in marriage? Yes. Does it always make a difference? Not always.

hikingout posted 5/12/2019 13:19 PM

I like what oldwounds days about trying to influence the best outcome of a marriage.

And maybe neverhealed that will work from here on out. But marriage takes two people. If she is not giving it back will you be happy?

And if she thinks she has an out with”he readily admits he was a bad husband” does that not give her an out in doing her work? A. D should she choose to look at the glass as always half empty she can continue to concentrate on your flaws rather than what is best about you.

If she is giving her 100 and so are you then great. I m just realistic that there are times one person has to give note than the other due to the season of life they find themselves in. Just make sure she is going to be able to do that and not retreat to a place where everything still needs to continually be about her.

I cheated. I understand this from a different angle.

cocoplus5nuts posted 5/12/2019 17:13 PM

Not defeatist, realist. As striver said, it is impossible for any one person to be everything all the time.

The only thing we control is our own actions. We can control outcomes. That is a fallacy. We can certainly do our best 2influence things in our favor, but we can't make other people do things. They always make their own choices. Short of abuse, I guess. If you think you can control others, you are fooling yourself.

It's scary to face that fact. It means that, no matter what you do, your W could cheat on you again. That's part of the risk we take when we attempt R.

Lemondrop10 posted 5/12/2019 18:01 PM

I agree with OptionedOut that teaching how to set healthy boundary is really important. I’m learning that’s a huge issue in my life not only in relationships but at work too. I’ve had red flags practically beating me to death in the past and I have not done anything. I allow people to treat me like shit and take advantage and when I try to walk away I feel bad for hurting them by leaving even though they deserve it.

I still believe in marriage, not for myself anymore maybe, but I think it can be a beautiful thing if two healthy commited people are involved. I see couples at work who’ve been married 60 plus years and make me tear up was watching them interact. But it takes a ton of work, good communication, and maybe a little luck to get there.

HoldingTogether posted 5/12/2019 19:47 PM

HT - what have I missed?

You are kidding right? I had assumed you were being hyperbolic summing up the advice here on SI in a single short paragraph.

I’m not sure I am smart enough to even hazard a guess as to how many posts are currently active on this site (I wonder if MH has a script he could run that would tell us) let alone how many are archived. But Im certain that, since the sites inception the number would have to be in the high hundreds of thousands of post at least. So, hundreds of thousands of posts from upwards of 70,000 members and you want to go ahead and sum all that advice up in a single paragraph?

Like I said, you are being hyperbolic of course. So yah, I don’t think I’m gonna be able to fill you in on what you missed all on my own.

There are as many different pieces of advice on this site as there are different stories. And not all of it is gonna work for everyone. Fucking obviously. Which is why the single most consistent piece of advice I see written here is, again, take what you like and leave the rest.

I do agree that there are certain themes here on SI that are pretty well accepted as generally good rules of thumb. Those weren’t handed down from on high. They aren’t established and codified by some shadow cabal of guides and moderators. They have naturally evolved and arisen by trial and error of the tens of thousands of people who have passed through here long before you. There is hard fucking won wisdom to be gained here. Wisdom gleaned from people sharing their stories of pain and anguish as well as their victories and healing.

So, maybe, instead of trying to take the piss out of people who have no other earthly fucking motivation than to help you. You might just be thankful for the advice and help that you agree with and respectfully decline the stuff you don’t particularly care for. You might want to give that shit that you don’t care for more than just a cursory glance before you dismiss it out of hand though. Just another bit of advice from me to you that you can take if you like or disregard if you don’t. Believe me, I don’t have any real ego attachment either way.

One thing to think about though... this idea of taking responsibility for your part of the conditions leading up to infidelity? I am far enough out of this mess that I can objectively hear what you are saying with that. And, although I don’t necessarily agree with it, I can see the logic of where it is coming from. But I wonder if you have considered the following:

A BS coming to this site has often had their entire world view utterly destroyed, their self esteem is often in tatters from having the one fucking person in their life that was supposed to have their back seemingly completely and utterly reject them as a person. How well equipped do you suppose that BS is at that point to shoulder the idea that, not only did you just get treated like human fucking garbage but, “oh yeah, you also brought that shit on yourself through your own personal failings.”?

Maybe while we are at it we could go to a support group for parents who lost their children in auto accidents and advise them that they should have bought a safer car.

Or we could hang out at rape survivor support groups and suggest dressing more conservatively.

Maybe alanon meetings could benefit from learning to be better spouses and loved ones so the alcoholics in their lives would be more inspired to sober up.

See? Hyperbole again. I could give you logical and reasoned arguments for every single one of those examples. But I wouldn’t ever do any of those things because it would be fucking hurtful and mean and destructive and, most fucking importantly in my opinion at least, counter-fucking-productive to healing.

So, again, if that narrative works for you? Good on ya. Go for it. If you want to add that advice into the mix? Great, toss it in there. If it proves to be helpful then maybe in 5 years that will become the “collective wisdom” I don’t pretend to know for sure.

But I still don’t understand the snark, sarcasm and low key hostility that I feel coming from your original post. And I still don’t understand why you seem so threatened by the idea that people who have been here for literally years might have some hard won knowledge and experience that might, just maybe, trump your super great ideas. And I still don’t get why you seem so damn invested in trying to change the “common wisdom” that has helped so fucking many before you.

HT

[This message edited by HoldingTogether at 5:27 AM, May 13th (Monday)]

KingRat posted 5/12/2019 20:17 PM

I didn't do my best in my marriage, and now I'm left to wonder if doing my best might have made a difference. Many of you would assure me that it wouldn't have; what happened was inevitable. Maybe you're right, but that thinking is just too pat, too self-serving for me. There's a lot of advice here to not let WSs blameshift. Perhaps BSs should think a little about that.

I guess that's fundamentally the difference for me. I don't spend time wondering what could have been. I have no interest in calling on Captain Hindsight and his trusty sidekicks Shoulda, Woulda, and Coulda. What's the point? You cannot change the past. You can only make the best of going forward. Do you feel like you were a complete asshole or something?

NeverHealed posted 5/13/2019 06:16 AM

Was I a complete asshole? I don't think so. I hope not. I don't even think I was a little bit of an asshole.

But that's exactly my point. Without some introspection, it's hard to learn from our mistakes, if we made mistakes.

My wife says I had stopped paying attention to her. Is that true, or re-writing? I think there's some truth there. I don't think it was as bad as she “remembers,” but I was certainly paying a lot of attention to my career.

Does that justify what she did? Of course not. Was it my “fault”? Of course not. Would it have made any difference, if I had paid more attention to her? Who knows? But insisting that it wouldn't have made any difference, that there's nothing for me to learn from this, that it's all on her to change and improve, doesn't work for me.

Rideitout posted 5/13/2019 07:19 AM

Maybe while we are at it we could go to a support group for parents who lost their children in auto accidents and advise them that they should have bought a safer car.

Or we could hang out at rape survivor support groups and suggest dressing more conservatively.

Maybe alanon meetings could benefit from learning to be better spouses and loved ones so the alcoholics in their lives would be more inspired to sober up.

It depends on what the purpose of the group is. I know this won't be popular, but, much like I believe about my A, there are children killed who would be alive today if they were in a safer car seat. And people, men and women, raped who would not have been if they'd not dressed that way or not gone into a situation likely to lead to rape. There are 2 sides of this, there's "dealing with the trauma" and "preventing the trauma from happening again". And the 2nd part is where people get very upset, rightfully so, but it's also the part that I'm very interested in because I really don't want to go through this again. "Preventing the trauma" is more interesting to me that dealing with the trauma. And there are ways to prevent it; without question, the most obvious is "get a D, never get romantically involved again". I can promise you, 100%, that'll be the last A you ever have to deal with. Or "never drive a car again" for one of the other examples. That's not overly helpful though, because most people want/need those things. So, we start refining it down further, buy a Volvo and a top rated car seat, for example. Reducing the risk while still allowing you to enjoy the freedom and utility that driving provides.

Was it my “fault”? Of course not. Would it have made any difference, if I had paid more attention to her? Who knows? But insisting that it wouldn't have made any difference, that there's nothing for me to learn from this, that it's all on her to change and improve, doesn't work for me.

I agree with this. To use the tragic death of a child in a car wreck as an example, I was darting my classic Ferrari through traffic with only lap belts on and someone died when I was cut off. It wasn't my fault, but, if I'd been driving a modern car with airbags and shoulder harnesses, it's very, very likely that the accident would not have happened (better brakes) or, if it did, would have been much less severe (better safety gear). That doesn't make the accident my fault; but it does mean that I could have (and now do) reduce the chances it happens again and the damage done to others if it does happen again. I can't get on board with the "BS has no power to change WS" message, honestly, if that's true, why even bother having a "d-day". Just pack up, move out and change your number, you can't stop/change them anyway, right? But we all see that as false, there are ways you can change their behavior, confront, expose, demand timeline, etc. What's the point of all that if not "change their behavior"? Because it would be far easier/less traumatic for many of us to just throw up our hands and say "nothing I can do" and walk out the door.

A BS coming to this site has often had their entire world view utterly destroyed, their self esteem is often in tatters from having the one fucking person in their life that was supposed to have their back seemingly completely and utterly reject them as a person. How well equipped do you suppose that BS is at that point to shoulder the idea that, not only did you just get treated like human fucking garbage but, “oh yeah, you also brought that shit on yourself through your own personal failings.”?

It does NOT need to be said or delivered this way at all. Again, to the car analogy, "Hey RIO, if you'd not been driving a 1950's classic, this wouldn't have happened". Not helpful at all. But if I'm on a support site saying "I'm afraid my other child is going to be killed in a car wreck", someone saying "Well, RIO, the Volvo minivan and the Gerber Airbag 1000 is the safest carseat made", that, at least to me, would be helpful. And intellectually honest. I think one of the hardest things for me to swallow is that I didn't "do all I could do" in our M. I didn't "give it my all", not even close. I coasted, I ignored red lights, I chucked my empty beer cans out the window texting and driving. No, it's not my fault, some idiot still cut me off and caused the accident. But I'd not exhibited the standard of care that I expect from myself.

[This message edited by Rideitout at 7:23 AM, May 13th (Monday)]

Striver posted 5/13/2019 07:46 AM

NeverHealed and RideItOut,

I read a couple of the marriage self help books after my ex separated from me. I don't remember which, if it was the love languages one or the one where you were supposed to be putting stuff in the love bank.

Anyway, what I concluded is that even before my ex began her PA, I was putting more into the marriage than she was. She had been slacking off for a while.

RIO, I know there were things missing from your sex life prior to the A.

Why didn't you cheat? Your was sleeping on the job, leaving the door wide open for an A.

Why didn't you cheat?

Maybe there is a case here where the WS is investing more in the marriage than the BS, but I do not recall one. Maybe someone can point one out. I do not know of any. WS is less invested in the M even before A occurs.

cocoplus5nuts posted 5/13/2019 08:05 AM

NH, I think maybe you are reading one thing and thinking it means another. Or, maybe you just don't want to acknowledge what has been said.

I haven't seen anyone say that BPs don't have any work to do. There's a reason it's suggested that BSs go to IC.

There's a difference between understanding and accepting that other people's actions are their own responsibility and you have no control over that, and thinking that means that you couldn't improve. Everyone has room for improvement. That should be for you, though, not to try to control someone else. If it's just for control over another, it becomes manipulation.

Maybe reading about nonattachment would give you more insight.

Striver posted 5/13/2019 08:06 AM

Here's a better car analogy.

You are driving a car. Your wife is driving her own car. You don't get in an accident. Your wife gets in an accident. You blame yourself because you weren't riding shotgun, pointing out all of the dangers. Despite not needing such help yourself. Who's the better driver?

hikingout posted 5/13/2019 09:38 AM

Was I a complete asshole? I don't think so. I hope not. I don't even think I was a little bit of an asshole.
But that's exactly my point. Without some introspection, it's hard to learn from our mistakes, if we made mistakes.
My wife says I had stopped paying attention to her. Is that true, or re-writing? I think there's some truth there. I don't think it was as bad as she “remembers,” but I was certainly paying a lot of attention to my career.
Does that justify what she did? Of course not. Was it my “fault”? Of course not. Would it have made any difference, if I had paid more attention to her? Who knows? But insisting that it wouldn't have made any difference, that there's nothing for me to learn from this, that it's all on her to change and improve, doesn't work for me.


I don't disagree with ALL that you are saying here. I am glad to know you know it wasn't your fault in the least. Because it 100% was not.


Where I agree - I do not think reconciliation can be done by the WS alone. If the WS has worked on themselves and treasures that fact that you are giving her a second chance, then I do think you should do that if you want to stay married to her. Rebuild the marriage, I mean. And, that takes both people - 100%. If you aren't willing to do that I don't think you are really offering reconciliation.

My concern is if your wife still thinks this is because you didn't pay attention to her enough, then the next time she thinks that she will use it to justify whatever she uses to cope...it might not be another affair, but it might be divorce, it might be drinking, shopping too much, gambling, etc. She has to understand how to fulfill herself.

And, she has to be willing to step it up too. That means speaking up when she is unhappy. That means showing YOU in actions consistently that she loves you too.


But, rest assured...life is long...and marriages that span 20, 30, 40, 50 years - a lot changes over time. There are lots of seasons we all go through. We can't keep another person happy that long, they do have to be able to make themselves happy and to take responsibility for their own happiness. You will become distracted with something again. It's inevitable. Your WS needs to get the life tools together to be there for YOU when that happens. Deaths of parents, empty nests, menopause, job changes, big life changes, existential crisis (no one is immune from those).

Marriage means that when things get distracted, when one person needs the other that it's about taking turns sometimes who is giving that 80 and who is giving that 20. In the best circumstances, you can both be giving 100 and that works great, but there are just times one has to do more than the other. That's why it's important what she does or doesn't do in terms of her work.


I had an affair because I was unhappy. I blamed that on my husband when it was my responsibility to make myself happy. That means that I have to speak up when I need or want something. That means I have to stop being entitled to all of that. YOU the BH can not do that for her. I agree, you can have a better marriage. I agree you can probably influence how she feels about you to a certain extent. But any reconciliation where the WS has not done the proper work on themselves is called rugsweeping. It's kind of a form of the pick me dance.


[This message edited by hikingout at 9:38 AM, May 13th (Monday)]

Striver posted 5/13/2019 10:22 AM

HO above summed it up very well.

There are many BS here that reset things in their marriages that they do not like post-A. If you need to rebuild your house anyway, why keep things you don't like any more?

But the rebuilt house is still going to have new things you don't like. And as HO said, if WS does not do their work, the WS is going to blame the new things that are wrong on the BS and have another reason to act out.

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