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Is the BS to blame for not doing their work?

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Striver posted 6/1/2019 16:06 PM

I have some female cousins that are divorced. One remarried. The others did not, seemed diminished by the experience. One of their husbands I did not know except that he cheated on her. Another, I don't know if there was cheating involved. He was a jerky loudmouth guy anyway who went to jail for embezzlement. Anyway, I have been told here that the BS is solely responsible for their recovery from infidelity. Perhaps I am too soft on my cousins who didn't simply shrug off their experiences.

Me, I blamed the men involved in those relationships. They took volitional acts that hurt people they loved. But I guess I was wrong. I did not walk in their shoes, feel their particular devestation. But perhaps a little, or a lot, "tough love" is the cure for BS. Just shrug it off, what other people do to you should have no affect on you whatsoever.

Me, I hold WS responsible for what they do. If the BS can't forgive what they did and they divorce the WS, the destruction of the marriage is on the WS.

Are there people here who feel differently?

Thissucks5678 posted 6/1/2019 16:26 PM

Here is my personal opinion. Infidelity is one of the worst things I have ever been through. It is the most devastating, heartbreaking thing I have ever dealt with in my life. I did not cope with it well for at least a year and a half - maybe closer to two years.

My WH has been better than a lot, although not perfect by any stretch. He trickle truthed for about 6 weeks and even went far enough with that to fail a poly. He was defensive for a long time. He has been remorseful for a long time and we have been in MC since the first week I found out about his affair. He is trying hard to fix himself and our marriage.

He can not heal what he broke in me. He just canít and he couldnít after dday. He would give up anything if he could. My self esteem was destroyed on dday. Thatís because I was codependent and had no self worth and derived almost all of it based on my value as a wife. That was not healthy. I had to build myself up. He could (and has) give me a million compliments since then, but they were all worthless after what he did. I had to do the work on myself to realize I was more than a wife. I had to basically start from scratch and make myself realize that his affair wasnít about me. I had to journal, I had to deal with finding healthy coping mechanisms instead of alcohol that I was leaning on after dday, I had to do some one on one counseling to deal with FOO issues that were triggered by his affair, I had to read a ton of books on codependency and why I was acting the way I was. My WH couldnít do any of that for me.

My WH canít fix me. I had a responsibility to myself and to my kids to get better and get myself healthy again after the shock and devastation wore off. I gave myself an eating disorder after dday. No one could fix that but me.

So, in answer to your question, I do think that at some point, yes, the BS is responsible for healing him/herself. While he/she is struggling to get to that point, the best thing a WS can do is be honest, supportive, helpful and work on themself. It sucks and itís unfair, but itís just another part of the shit sandwich we are dealt.

cocoplus5nuts posted 6/1/2019 17:16 PM

Yet another example of a complete lack of understanding of what I said. You don't have to understand it. You don't have to like. However, I think you should study it a little before you mock it.

If cheating is a dealbreaker for the BS and they D, that is on the WS. The BS still needs to heal from the experience. The BS don't have to do any work to heal themselves, but I imagine life won't be very enjoyable if they don't. Living in anger and pain is destructive, not just to the mind, but also to the body. Forgiveness is not for the WS. It is for the BS so they can move past it and not continue to live in a state of anger and pain. Doesn't matter whether you R or not.

northeasternarea posted 6/1/2019 17:49 PM

It has nothing to do with blame. My WH messed up big time, and yes it affected me. But ultimately, I had to decide whether I would be bitter or better. And this is whether you reconcile or divorce. It is dangerous for any of us to let all our value come from another mortal being.

JBWD posted 6/1/2019 18:33 PM

I have been told here that the BS is solely responsible for their recovery from infidelity.

...the destruction of the marriage is on the WS.

I think thereís two separate definitions of ďdoing workĒ here, and either way blame is a heavy term. Regarding WS owning destroying a marriage, thatís absolutely accurate. But it reads (in context of the thread title) like youíre saying thereís some degree of work that exists in this process. If either party doesnít want R, then I donít see that as work worth doing.

Regarding the recovery from infidelity, I also think that supposes a degree of universality that maybe doesnít exist. I hope more than anything that my BS will someday trust again and live the fulfilled life we all want. In MY perspective she owes that to herself, but if she doesnít want it, so be it, itís not my decision to make.

There are personal decisions involved in either definition, and if itís more than a BS can pursue I donít really know how to ďassign blameĒ regardless. I think weíd like people to heal, but that might be more than is humanly possible for some- Even outside of discussions of infidelity.

Striver posted 6/1/2019 18:51 PM

Let me expand.

I am a man. Most if not all men are capable of being attracted to other women. Whenever I had any temptation of acting on this sort of thing, my empathy for my then wife overcame me, because I did not want to hurt someone so badly due to actions that were of my volition.

This does not go away just because a WS decides to tune out such feelings. If I can have such empathy, anyone can, and WS that decide to tune these feelings out are not free from blame.

So assume I'm a cheating asshole, liar, serial adulterer, eventually leave my BW for an AP and marry the AP. That leaves BW as a divorced single mom with kids, reduced income, reduced self esteem. If my BW gains a bunch of weight, becomes a recluse, is never herself again, how does that fall on her more than me?

Any more than if I'm a shitty dad I would expect my kids to just shrug it off and turn out just fine. I would like them to try regardless, but if I suck and they run into problems because of it, yeah that falls on me.

People aren't machines. Yes, we care about socializing with others and when they hurt us. God forbid.

fareast posted 6/1/2019 18:53 PM

Striver:

I get what you are saying but you are missing the issue IMO. There is no shrugging off infidelity. He BS does need to do the real internal work to heal after being cheated on. When my W had her A it was devastating, humiliating and emasculating. There was nothing my WW could ever do to heal those injuries. Ultimately, I had to decide as a BS not to be a victim. I worked on my own issues and healing. My fWW was very supportive and remorseful, but she couldnít heal my wounds. That was up to me. She worked on her own brokenness and selfishness, and in the end I decided to give her another chance.

DevastatedDee posted 6/1/2019 19:09 PM

Probably the hardest part of all of this is the fact that nothing the WS does can ever take the pain away or fix the injury. There's no revenge that can make you feel better about it, there are no words that can make it acceptable and there are no actions that can heal it. If there was something a WS could do to heal the BS and make it all better, I guarantee that it would be plastered all over this forum. If an RA actually took the pain away, I guarantee that it would be a recommended course of action on day 1 for people here.

It sucks completely and absolutely and no, it is NOT FAIR that the BS is left to seek healing for themselves. It is what it is, though. I have no words of judgment for those who cannot heal to whatever my level of acceptable healing is, because I know how severe the injury was. I am adamantly opposed to being anyone's collateral damage and yet I will always bear scars from this. I have changed as a person and that's both good and bad. I will continue to be better not because my WH deserves to have his conscience soothed, but because I have a damned life to live that doesn't involve his bullshit.

No one comes out of this unscathed. My heart hurts for all of us, healed, somewhat healed, and not remotely close to healed.

SisterMilkshake posted 6/1/2019 19:48 PM

I have found that infidelity will break you or make you.

Most of us feel very broken and are broken when d-day occurs. I know I was, for awhile. And, after some time, and when I finally found SI, I realized I can stay in victim mentality or get to thriving survivor mentality. Really, nothing to do with my FWH. I mean it was "nice" that he was remorseful and working towards being a much better man, husband and father but, how the fuck does that heal me? Because HE becomes better, my wounds, my trauma are magically healed? Honestly, I don't know how that works. And, I am so fucking glad it doesn't work that way. If I had to depend on anyone else for how I feel about myself, my healing, I would be so fucked.

Some people, though, have been so beaten down by life and non supportive people that they just can't do it. I get it. You can't make anyone want to heal, you can't brow beat anyone into healing, you can't "tough love" anyone into healing, they have to want it to get it. And, then they have to work so fucking hard to get it. If you don't want it bad enough, if it is just too hard, people give up. They aren't weak, they are the beaten, trodden down people.

ETA: There is a caveat, though, some people do consciously choose to stay in "victim" mode.

[This message edited by SisterMilkshake at 7:58 PM, June 1st (Saturday)]

CaptainRogers posted 6/1/2019 21:08 PM

SMS is spot on. Yes, there are some people in all walks of life, whether dealing with infidelity or anything else, who choose to be a victim. There could be any number of reasons for making that choice. It could be that, yes, they are just so beaten down by all the circumstances of life that they just do not have it in them to fight. Others find some sort of satisfaction in being a victim.

The reality is that each individual is responsible for their own behaviors and their own healing. When it comes to healing the relationship, that falls more heavily on the WS. The BS can choose to either participate (work on R) or walk away (choose to D).

As the BS, are there things that my WS could do to make the environment more inviting and fertile for healing myself? Of course, assuming that we both have the goal of R. My spouse can cease any and all lying and TTing. She can work to become supportive and empathetic. But even in doing the work of making the ground more fertile for growth, I have to be the one willing to do the work of tending and caring for the crop. It's FULLY on me to do the self-care necessary.

Just like I didn't do anything to make my WS cheat, she can't do anything to make me heal. It is as simple as that.

AbandonedGuy posted 6/1/2019 21:15 PM

I agree. I never wanted to think of myself as a victim because that's inherently giving the perpetrator power over you. As ra ra as that sounds, it's truth. It's like letting someone's name calling get under your skin. Either get over it, or fix the problem you have that triggers a negative reaction so that you can eventually get over it. Life moves too fast to spend so much of it lingering on the negatives, of which there will always be *plenty* to focus on at any given time. Nobody, I mean nobody, likes a constantly negative person, especially that very person him or herself. Positive thinking leads to positive action leads to positive life outcomes.

Rustylife posted 6/1/2019 21:51 PM

I won't comment on reconciliation because that wasn't my path but lots of divorced BS do get stuck in their recovery. A loss of future plans, shared history etc etc. Now there are some who get absolutely shafted in the divorce decree along with the shit sandwich of infidelity. So for anyone who gets financially decimated and/or tied down to a situation they don't want(loss of assets, less time with kids, loss of friends, away from hometown till kids grow up etc), their bitterness is a bit more justified. But for someone like me who essentially got a clean break, I'd say if you're still in that morose phase after 1-2 yrs, then it's an issue.

There are no winners in infidelity but some people lose more.

Edit: Plus sometimes the WS gets what they want and come out much better after the dust settles. That along with no remorse is a huge reason for extended bitterness as well.

[This message edited by Rustylife at 9:54 PM, June 1st (Saturday)]

Striver posted 6/1/2019 23:10 PM

It sucks completely and absolutely and no, it is NOT FAIR that the BS is left to seek healing for themselves. It is what it is, though. I have no words of judgment for those who cannot heal to whatever my level of acceptable healing is, because I know how severe the injury was. I am adamantly opposed to being anyone's collateral damage and yet I will always bear scars from this. I have changed as a person and that's both good and bad. I will continue to be better not because my WH deserves to have his conscience soothed, but because I have a damned life to live that doesn't involve his bullshit.

No one comes out of this unscathed. My heart hurts for all of us, healed, somewhat healed, and not remotely close to healed.

Thank you. You expressed this better than I could.

I don't want to be dragged down either, but the pull of this bad event is immense. I will not judge other's struggles.

Thissucks5678 posted 6/2/2019 00:10 AM

Striver, I just want to say for the record, even though I said the BS has to heal his/herself, I absolutely do not judge those who canít pull themselves out. This is hard. It is not easy, and I had terrible coping skills in the beginning. Had I not lucked in to an amazing MC right off the bat who also saw me occasionally for IC, I donít know where Iíd be. I will never ďblameĒ a BS for not healing.

None of us asked for this. None of us expected this. I hate that we are all here commiserating over it. Since infidelity entered my life, I rarely judge anyone anymore on how they handle things. I realize now that you truly donít know anything about anyoneís situation until you are in it.

BraveSirRobin posted 6/2/2019 00:41 AM

I think there is confusion in these threads between "A WS should do everything in their power to help their BS heal" and "It is not within a WS's power to do everything that is necessary for their BS to heal." Both of these assertions are true. The first is a statement of commitment and intent, and it is what every WS should dedicate themselves to after D-Day. The second is a statement of reality. The WS cannot uncheat, unlie, or unfuck the AP. The BS is the only one who can decide if that is a deal breaker or something they can attempt to live with in R. A WS cannot, and even more importantly should not, decide they have the power to make those decisions for the BS. And so, by definition, the BS has to do some of the work of healing alone. It's the only way they can take back their agency and chart their own destiny.

BearlyBreathing posted 6/2/2019 00:45 AM

The BS must heal themselves, but I see it like a broken bones (or a lot of broken bones and infections and cancers and whatever else- we are decimated). The WS can help put on bandages to protect the woundsó this is to me what them becoming safe partners is like. They create a safe space for us to heal in like a bandage does. But can the WS actually do anything to heal us? No. Can they fix bones or heal infections? No. We need to do that, alone or with the help of IC, sometimes AD drugs, friends, family, and faith. If this exacerbates or causes flair ups in any FOO issues we have or any existing medical conditions, then the damage is worse and the healing may take longer. How abusive (emotional or physicallyI was the WS toward the BS and for how long? This increases the damage. Add things like a challenging financial situation, challenging children, or loss of a homeó it can be too much. And for some, it may overwhelm. Like when a flu on a compromised immune system becomes deadly....or your body reacts poorly to a medicine. There are outcomes for some BS that we cannot predict and they may not reach a level of healing that allows them to trust again.

So that some donít really recover is a horribly unfortunate statistic, and may not have anything to do with them wanting to be a victim or wallowing. Some just canít get better. Part of the utter tragedy that infidelity brings. I hope they keep fighting the good fight and gain a little more ground all the time to get to recovered enough to be happy or content. But donít judge them.

Those of us that do heal are the lucky ones. Yeah, we work hella hard to get better, but we are still lucky that we were able to. And each will bear different levels of scars and residual pain. Kinda like the concept of a phantom limbó the pain is there even when the appendage that caused it is long gone.


The1stWife posted 6/2/2019 04:58 AM

Itís ironic in this situation that the BS was traumatized by the BS yet we (BS) expect the CS to help us heal.

We are relying on broken people who are morally bankrupt to heal us or help us heal.

The CS can only help the Betrayed spouse so much. The rest is up to the Betrayed spouse.

HouseOfPlane posted 6/2/2019 07:52 AM

Me, I hold WS responsible for what they do. If the BS can't forgive what they did and they divorce the WS, the destruction of the marriage is on the WS.

Are there people here who feel differently?

I doubt it.

But even after the marriage is gone and the WS has ridden off into their next storm of disgust, there is healing of the BS to be done.

Who is responsible for that healing? Who is the only possible person who is in control to try to heal the BS?

Itís you and no one else.

Sending strength!

swmnbc posted 6/2/2019 07:56 AM

You can heal whether you divorce or remarry. A BS is never to blame for not choosing reconciliation after infidelity. The WS has to know that they are all but pulling the trigger on killing the marriage when they cheat.

R takes work. Healing and moving on after D takes work. I don't like to throw the word "blame" around. I just hope everyone can find health and healing after infidelity no matter which path they take.

hikingout posted 6/2/2019 08:09 AM

Itís a good question. But there is no one size fits all answer. As there can be a lot of reasons reconciliation doesnít work - like sometimes there are a lot of pre A issues that just canít be fixed for whatever reason. Maybe the bs is also abusive. Or maybe the ws should have ended the marriage due to conditions rather than cheating. So you canít really fit it into one neat answer for every situation. And when a marriage is over blame is essentially useless isnít it?

But letís take my situation as an example. Good marriage Prior to A. Both bs and ws try to R pretty whole heartedly. If h wanted to end it tomorrow, unequivocally I would believe that I killed the marriage and I would be right. He would not be to blame because he was unable to heal within the marriage and needs to end it in order to find his own sense of peace. Him taking responsibility for his own healing could look a lot of different ways and none of them would be wrong after I committed the crime.

But like I said, there are all sorts of scenarios that could play out where maybe itís not as clear cut.

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