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Feeling Stuck in Anger/Plain of Lethal Flatness Phase

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Butforthegrace posted 8/27/2019 06:18 AM

Thumos, how are you today?

Thumos posted 8/27/2019 11:16 AM

Thumos, how are you today?

Meh.

I will update with some details after having a bit of time to process and think things through. Had a long (and sometimes very ugly, other times deep and resonant) talk with WW this weekend - some good, some really not good. We went round and round in circles about issues like a written timeline, her seeing an IC, the fact that she never got tested for STD's, doing a polygraph, not being allowed to see the texts (that ship has really sailed; the phone was traded in), and the fact that I just don't believe I've been given the complete truth. I was prepared to walk right then and there, but I travel for work and decided to give it a bit of space while I'm on the road.

I also know that my wife loves me, that she understands the gravity of the situation, that she understands divorce is on the table, that she understands the real and lasting trauma this has caused me. She also expressed that she believes it was selfish on her part to pressure me to make a decision, move on, etc. I do believe we have an intractable Catch 22 with regard to the texts: if she is telling me the truth, the texts could have backed her up, and now they are gone.

The jury is definitely out, and maybe it's a bit like 12 Angry Men back in their deliberations room, and they might risk coming out divided and hung. I await their verdict, so to speak.

In any case, I had a very good conversation with my older teen child about the trauma that this causes (without going into the gory details with them) and I believe it really helped this child understand what they've been seeing in the wake of D-Day the past three years. This child already knew the basic outlines because they had witnessed my WW and her AP with each other (didn't witness kissing or physical, but it was clear something was up and the child had walked around for weeks harboring doubts and suspicions but didn't feel empowered to tell me).

Betrayal trauma is a thorny path as I'm finding out, and I allowed it to create some distance with my kids and even extended family members. I'm working on that. I feel much better on that front.

Marz posted 8/27/2019 12:06 PM

Your WW controls the narrative. Don't look for her to change. It's worked out for her so far. Why would she?

Butforthegrace posted 8/27/2019 12:14 PM

I wonder if the texts are the "hard catch-22" you suggest. If I were in your shoes, the thing that would bug me the most would be a haunting sense that there are shared secrets between my WW and the AP - insider jokes, intimate thoughts, derisive comments about me, etc. You indicated that you know they demeaned you (and his wife) to some degree based on your VAR recordings.

She may be able to restore that to some degree with a written timeline, starting from when she first met him, and how. Including when and how he got her phone number and vice versa. When texting started. First kiss. Etc. The basic idea is to give you an insider view of the intimacy they shared, so you no longer feel like the brunt of their private joke.

After all, she wrote and read the texts in real time. Though it would be unrealistic to ask her to recreate them verbatim, she ought to be able to give you the gist pretty accurately. She also ought to be able to explain the emotional element. What was going on inside of her that led her to demean you to another man, and then enter into a relationship with him that included inviting him over for sex in your home?

Has she indicated a willingness or refusal to help you in this way?

Also, I wonder if either of you has discussed the possibility of moving the family to get to a different school district from the AP?

[This message edited by Butforthegrace at 4:00 PM, August 27th (Tuesday)]

Thumos posted 8/27/2019 15:55 PM

I wonder if the texts are the "hard catch-22" you suggest. If I were in your shoes, the thing that would bug me the most would be a haunting sense that there are shared secrets between my WW and the AP - insider jokes, intimate thoughts, derisive comments about me, etc. You indicated that you know they demeaned you (and his wife) to some degree based on your VAR recordings
.

Nailed it. This has been my exact concern for three years.

Butforthegrace posted 8/27/2019 17:20 PM

Your WW made a series of very poor choices, including (a) gaslighting you cruelly during her A and even after DDay, (b) lying and minimizing for a long time after DDay, and (c) intentionally and even maliciously refusing to give you honest and transparent answers to your legitimate questions about the details of her A.

The result is that:

you dont know when the lies became truths (if at all); and

you dont know how much of the truth has been disclosed to you.

Now, years later, she tells you that she has given you the whole truth, but in your gut you dont trust nor believe that she has. In the meantime, your life is such that you encounter the AP almost daily, and of course he knows the truth.

As to whether/when lies ended and truth possibly began, have you confronted her regarding what you have deduced about the Victoria's Secret panties and how they fit into your inference that she planned sex with him? What did she say?

As to the wholeness of the truth, have you asked her point blank about the demeaning comments you captured in your recording and how you infer, based on how casually they were incorporated into their conversation, that this was a regular component of their dialogue.

On a bigger picture scale, have you asked her how she proposes fixing this (other than repeating loudly that she has told you everything)?

Edited later:

Echo the poster below who emphasized creating the timeline and then reading it to you, with you.

Among other things, have her define the point when the lies stopped and the truth started. Or, probably more accurately, there was overlap, part truth and part lies. Ask her to define the point where you can be certain it was/is all truth, no lies (including no lies of omission).


[This message edited by Butforthegrace at 8:19 PM, August 27th (Tuesday)]

Jorge posted 8/27/2019 17:36 PM

I also know that my wife loves me, that she understands the gravity of the situation

I have a hard time believing this is possible, as her ability to be forthcoming and prioritize your healing has never been evident. Ever.

DoinBettr posted 8/27/2019 18:09 PM

I keep seeing a facet of your reconciliation she keeps dancing away from that will help you.

You really need her to write out a timeline. You should mention it as being step mother f'ing 1 in the healing from the affair book and she refused. Then have her read it out loud with you. It is ok for her to not remember some things. Then fill in where you know things she forgets.

This accomplishes 2 things.
1) She is forced to relive the terrible way she behaved during the affair and has to put it to paper (Also she should reread it when she needs perspective, but let her control that), giving you the power to expose this to anyone you choose. It makes her vulnerable to you. Something it sounds like she is afraid to do. Vulnerability is needed for love.
2) It allows you to have a written confirmation that nothing else happened. Then you can ask her about details about it again later or have her rewrite it to confirm she isn't still lying.

If she is afraid of you RA (My wife is), tell her you are the sexually mature one who knows by the time you counted down from 10 you would feel so sick to your stomach by what you did, that you would immediately regret everything.

You should talk to your MIL and get the basics, "Will I divorce her if I see those texts?"
Remember she knows what was on them. It might be something stupid. Remember your VBW doesn't know you even though she thinks she does. In her mind the "I love you"s and other such is more impactful.

Last question - Has your wife stated how and why you are sexually superior to the AP?
This is helpful in rebuilding you self esteem. She should write out the 30 ways you are better than AP. You should write out the 30 reasons you aren't going to leave her. There are online books about marriage boot camps. Maybe tell her after her timeline you 2 will do a few.

Good luck.

[This message edited by DoinBettr at 6:22 PM, August 27th (Tuesday)]

Thumos posted 8/27/2019 21:50 PM

Guys, I may be at the end of my rope with this. I started out the day feeling pretty hopeful.

Feeling a sense of hope, I sent my wife a text this morning with links to the two podcasts featuring therapist Marnie Breecker that have been shared here on SI (about the details of the impact that betrayal trauma has on a betrayed spouse). Keep in mind that the podcasts are about betrayed spouses in general, but through the lens of the therapistís experience with betrayeds who are dealing with sex addicts. Several times in the podcasts, Breecker points out her insights can be applied to all betrayed spouses of infidelity.

While I was feeing also somewhat reserved in my hopefulness this morning because of her defensive reaction in our discussion about the timeline and polygraph, I was feeling a tinge of hope about some quite deep and insightful things she said to me that Iíd prefer not to share here. I wanted to reach out to her after weíd had a good conversation last night.

So this morning I told her I wanted her to listen to the podcasts when she had time, no rush, no pressure, and it might help her have a little more insight on what Iíve been experiencing ó and perhaps help us both move out of our corners.

These two podcasts were really enlightening for me ó and I could see a lot of my own behaviors in the things Breecker discussed about betrayed spouses.

So what I received in return from my wife was delayed by several hours, but it was a full-on blast of lengthy invective and anger. She accused me at length of needling her with these podcasts, and that I was implying she was a sex addict. Of course I had done nothing of the kind; it was simply irrational and hurtful anger piled on top of anger. I tried to talk her down with a few short texts to help see this was off base . ... and then I just stopped. The angry texts continued and I just simply stopped responding. Iím choked up just writing about this.

I feel completely out of my depth now, I feel shut down, and I am feeling very close to wanting to simply call it quits. Literally the only thing staying my hand right now is my younger child, who called me tonight happy about a great day at school.

I fear my wife may be right in one sense about my ďimmaturityĒ - that because Iíve been married for a quarter of a century to the only woman Iíve ever been intimate with, maybe I simply donít understand male-female relations, and that I certainly donít understand who Iím dealing with here. Maybe she was always this way, and kept it bottled up inside, or maybe she was always this way even externally and I just wore rose-colored glasses before the affair.

As Iím writing this, I donít even feel the motivation anymore to ask for a ďlistĒ of ďnonnegotiablesĒ or really anything at all. I feel used up and no longer want to try to get her to see anything or have any ďinsightĒ into the trauma, etc. Iím worn out with giving her ďassignmentsĒ to read or listen to. At the moment, I feel completely apathetic about some search for the truth. What I know is horrific enough. My desire to know the truth was originally motivated by a feeling that if there was more I didnít know, it would help me ďfill in the blanksĒ in a vast hole in my life, and then I could have the capacity and clarity about either moving forward with her or not, and breaking the cycle of limbo I feel stuck in.

Now... I feel like walking away. I donít know how to summon the strength to do it in light of how I know it will affect the kids. I just got done telling my older teen child yesterday that divorce wasnít on the table for now.

But in one fell swoop, thatís where I am.

I really appreciate all of the help and advice Iíve received here. Iím just not sure itís worth it.

[This message edited by Thumos at 10:33 PM, August 27th (Tuesday)]

Butforthegrace posted 8/27/2019 22:15 PM

I tried to talk her down with a few short texts to help see this was off base . ... and then I just stopped. The angry texts continued and I just simply stopped responding.

This is your fundamental problem on this sub-issue. Texting is, BY FAR, the LEAST effective way to discuss a problem.

Can I go on record here. GOD! I HATE TEXT! IT IS THE DEATH OF HUMAN COMMUNICATION!

Write out your thoughts, schedule time to talk, and talk to her face to face, while looking her in the eye. Read what you wrote if you get stuck on the words. Even suggesting a video to her, if you do it in person you can emphasize that you don't think she is a sex addict, but rather that the BS side of the video expresses many of the things you've been feeling. Now is not the time to be passive aggressive.

[This message edited by Butforthegrace at 10:17 PM, August 27th (Tuesday)]

Thumos posted 8/27/2019 22:16 PM

lying and minimizing for a long time after DDay,

Not that it matters anymore, but this isnít entirely accurate. D-Day 2 when she admitted to sex ďone timeĒ was a little over a week after D-Day 1. So far as I know, she didnít withhold the truth insofar as the narrative that I have.

She may, in fact, be telling the truth ó and thereís the tragedy: by refusing to write out a timeline, do a poly, and by deleting and wiping out the texts, she has cornered herself and left me with few options.

What you say is true in that she minimized and continues to do so.

[This message edited by Thumos at 11:11 PM, August 27th (Tuesday)]

Butforthegrace posted 8/27/2019 22:19 PM

She may, in fact, be telling the truth...

What you say is true that she minimized and continues to do so.

My gut is that what she tells you is true, but it's not the whole truth. My gut is that there was a lot more invective against/about you in those messages, enough so she was afraid for you to read them. Have you asked her: "Why did you think I'd divorce you if I read those messages?"

Thumos posted 8/27/2019 22:21 PM

Texting is, BY FAR, the LEAST effective way to discuss a problem.

That may be true, but in our case, with my travel for work and jam packed meetings when Iím traveling ó and her own work schedule during the day ó it is often the only chance we have to communicate during the day.

If youíre under the impression that our texts are of the LOL/emoji variety with lots of abbreviated words, acronyms and the equivalent of grunts, I want to make it clear weíre both literate people. We write in clear sentences and paragraphs. If texting the way we do was a problem, then communicating back and forth with you and others on this Internet forum is the same problem, because thatís how we text.

Marz posted 8/27/2019 22:21 PM

D-Day 2 when she admitted to sex ďone timeĒ was a little over a week after D-Day 1.

It's always one time (cheater script). While possible it's not very probable.

Thumos posted 8/27/2019 22:24 PM

It's always one time (cheater script). While possible it's not very probable.

Agreed. Weíve covered that ground here and you and I are in sync. My only point was to provide context that insofar as Iím able to prove, she hasnít been lying for a long time.

Striver posted 8/27/2019 22:24 PM

This is your fundamental problem on this sub-issue. Texting is, BY FAR, the LEAST effective way to discuss a problem.

Write out your thoughts, schedule time to talk, and talk to her face to face, while looking her in the eye. Read what you wrote if you get stuck on the words. Even suggesting a video to her, if you do it in person you can emphasize that you don't think she is a sex addict, but rather that the BS side of the video expresses many of the things you've been feeling. Now is not the time to be passive aggressive.

Eh, Thumos is right. It really doesn't matter.

WW is going to be obsessed with controlling this narrative. She has told him the version she cares to and will take the rest to her grave.

I don't have a good answer for you, Thumos. Your WW obviously does not respect you on certain levels. She has chosen her hill to die on. I do not know what would be best for you. I would not waste any more time on R with her, soft measures are going to be pointless.

So it's swallow your pain or D. Or an RA. Which is frowned upon here, but you really don't have good choices, and if you still want to keep your role in life might be the best of bad options.

Thumos posted 8/27/2019 22:28 PM

In the meantime, your life is such that you encounter the AP almost daily, and of course he knows the truth.

The frequency has waxed and waned, but daily is not accurate. Anyway, Iím making a distinction without a difference so not sure why Iím even bringing it up: Iíve had to see him several times a month for periods, multiple times weekly for some periods. The impact is essentially the same as if I had to encounter him almost daily.

Thumos posted 8/27/2019 22:46 PM

Now is not the time to be passive aggressive.

Thereís a difference between being passive aggressive and just being done. The latter is where I am.

Striver pointed out sheís obsessed with controlling a narrative and that she simply lacks respect for me in certain areas.

I think itís highly likely that she and her AP expressed a high degree of hateful contempt for both BSís ó and she canít bear the thought of me seeing that. I think that may be more likely than other possibilities (sexting, expressions of loves, plans made, etc). Or, hell, all of the above.

She has continually insisted that the sex was one time bc it was the only time during the affair I was out of town, and that her work schedule is mighty tight (this last is true). But we all know this doesnít really pass the smell test. So itís more likely than not that Iíve been sold a bill of goods so she could negotiate a soft landing.

She knows what I want and need. Iíve made it abundantly clear. If I keep going back to that well, sheís just going to dig her heels in and lose more respect. I can keep asking her to put together a timeline, but her refusal to do so has worked out pretty well so far, hasnít it?

(This weekend when I brought up how her refusal to get an STD test was a symbol of deep disrespect, she told me that sheíd gotten a Pap smear not long after the affair and they always test for STDís. I looked it up - this is false.)

As to the panties, this is a grey area, but Iím sick of playing Sherlock Holmes ó and IT DOES NOT MATTER: The fact is she planned the circumstance, timing and location of the sex. It took awhile for this to sink in, but it has.

As for the demeaning comments captured on the recording, yes Iíve asked her about that point blank numerous times. She keeps saying I only captured one conversation on one day and it doesnít accurately portray their discussions. Of course this is a lie. So why would I continue to have this circular discussion with her?

On the bigger picture of ďhow is she going to fix thisĒ instead of loudly insisting sheís told me everything (and that made me laugh out loud because itís so true), I was actually thinking of asking her this, but I donít think it matters now. I was softening today, thinking ďwell maybe Iíll let her fudge this a little bit. Maybe I tell her, Ok you didnít do a poly or an STD test, why donít you come up with a list of things you are going to do to help me.Ē But I donít want to do that anymore. I have given her numerous opportunities, and only showed how weak I am in the face of her transgressions.

I guess I wouldnít be the first BH played like a fiddle by a WW, but damn it sure is humiliating to realize youíve been such a chump.

[This message edited by Thumos at 5:02 AM, August 28th (Wednesday)]

Thumos posted 8/27/2019 22:54 PM

Some time ago, I read a great blog series called ďSo Your Christian Wife Cheated on YouĒ - although my wife is only nominally Christian, it was a very helpful series of posts. One of the writerís recommendations was to immerse oneself in reading the three ďPí sĒ - Paul, Proverbs and Psalms.

Two Proverbs continue to reverberate and I thought Iíd share them here. They are as true 3 minutes ago as they were 3 thousand years ago - any betrayed man here should read them and think about them deeply.

Proverbs 30:20 ďThis is the way of an adulterous woman: She eats and wipes her mouth and says, 'I've done nothing wrong.'Ē

Proverbs 21:9 ďBetter to live in a corner of the roof than with a quarrelsome wife.Ē

Thumos posted 8/27/2019 23:07 PM

I have a hard time believing this is possible, as her ability to be forthcoming and prioritize your healing has never been evident. Ever.

I donít know why I continue to feel the impulse to add context and be fair, but I do want to point out that my wife did many things to demonstrate her love. I listed them at the beginning of this thread. I fully understand what youíre saying and Iím not arguing the overall point. I think sheís been telling herself if she just holds out long enough, Iíll get over it and we can move on and be happy. I donít think she truly understands the damage sheís done. Thatís on her, but I donít think that means she doesnít love me. Regardless, she can love me and she can be disordered and she can lack the courage needed to help me heal - all at once. And I donít have to live with that person.

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