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Feeling Stuck in Anger/Plain of Lethal Flatness Phase

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Thumos posted 9/23/2019 09:25 AM

Hi all,

Itís been a bit since I provided an update and wanted to share where we are for all of the kind people who have taken the time to comment and offer advice here.

There is good news. Itís not hopium news, because Iím done with hopium. Something changed in me the past couple of months, and when I started here it was the boiling point of frustration and feeling stuck in limbo.

The good news is that my WW has taken tangible steps the past several weeks to get her butt in gear. I think she has done this because she knows itís now or never. Some of you may remember this came to a head in August when I sent her the Marnie Beecker podcasts links on betrayal trauma and she reacted so badly.

Today, as I write this, sheíll have her first IC appointment. Iíll see where it goes. The IC is part of a group that seems to ďget itĒ as far as infidelity is concerned. They host weekends on betrayal trauma and the like. I find this encouraging and find it encouraging she picked this group of therapist specifically.

Two weeks ago, she got a full STD panel and shared the results with me. No surprise, she was clean. She did this more as a symbolic act but of course it was a meaningful act, considering that she had not taken initiative to do it before.

She signed us up for Retrouvaille by we had to reschedule because of other commitments. In any event, she took this step without any prompting by me.

She has not ďlove bombedĒ so much as really stepped up her acts of service she was already doing. She has also stepped up her already significant efforts to show me that she is physically attracted to me. I prefer not to go into detail here, but itís tangible and feels real.

She is working on a detailed timeline, and it is detailed. Because itís been almost three years since D-Day, Iíve wanted to give her the space and time needed to do this. Iíve seen snippets because Iíve peeked at it. Sheís really trying to reconstruct detailed events.

On the phone and texts, this is an impassable one, but sheís including in her timeline detailed references to texts and conversations. She also reached out to her cell provider and to the extent possible is trying to get all of the records for that time. This wonít provide me the texts, but she believes it can help at least somewhat prompt her memory and also demonstrate that the timeframe matches her portrayal.

She is also willing to do a polygraph. She wants me to set the appointment up when Iím ready, as she is aware of stories where WWís and WHís have tried to manipulate that process.

Iíve told her our house feels tainted and that the school situation is untenable long-term. She is willing to move and to move our child to a different school, which is probably something we would have done in middle school anyway.

She is also much more tangibly empathetic and understanding when it comes to questions and discussions. The defensiveness hasnít been there like in the past, even when I grow angry. She has talked a lot about how she spent too long in a defensive crouch or even DARVOíd me. She has talked a lot about how sheís let me swing in the wind and how we rugswept, and how she is refusing to do that now.

Thereís more Iíll reflect on when I have time, but I wanted to provide some of these developments. As I said, I find all of this encouraging and Iím cautiously optimistic. Thatís as far as I can go. I find myself loving her, but also (worryingly) often feeling indifferent to her, sort of like how Iíd feel about a short-term girlfriend. I donít like feeling this way, but itís certainly the case.

Iím obviously still troubled by her refusing to let me see the texts, by her ditching the phone when she had the chance to get a new one, by her trickle truth and a lot of the very hurtful things sheís said over the past three years, and Iím still haunted by the gut feeling that thereís more I donít know. So the juryís out and weíll see where this goes.

Thumos posted 9/23/2019 09:34 AM

As you note, the circumstances suggest she was excited for the sex with him, she planned for it and anticipated it, and it was part of a bigger emotional relationship that would have likely grown even larger and stronger if you had not caught them out.

The way she treated you post-DDay is most consistent with the thesis that she was angry and resentful toward you for catching her and putting a stop to her romance. You were the fly in her Vaseline.

As always, insightful and spot on.

Yes, weíve had several recent conversations about these particular aspects. Sheís not in denial like she was before, but weíre still circling around it.

Iíve pinned her down several times on how it beggars belief that any woman would put herself in proximity to a man with very specific time, location, circumstance unless sex were on the table and it was being anticipated with lust and longing.

I think she understands that Iím not simply going retreat back into depressed silence like before.

Thumos posted 9/23/2019 10:54 AM

Also in terms of full disclosure something I havenít talked about before here is that Iíve spent the past three years in a state of constant sleep deprivation and drinking heavier than I should. Several nights a week, not to the point of sloppy drunk but certainly inebriated. I was never much a drinker before D-Day. A clean diet, lots of water during the day, and weightlifting have counteracted that but itís made it harder to think straight. The night owl reading sessions and drinking too many nights have taken a toll. Iím exhausted and that certainly must have something to with my emotional flatness.

sisoon posted 9/23/2019 12:18 PM

Yeah, well, drinking may be part of your sleep deprivation. Reading good stuff (you define 'good') keeps one awake, too. But you know that. I hope you start to get enough sleep.

I'm glad life has been going well or at least better for you.

On the timeline, have you considered working with your W on it? That is, instead of going into painstaking detail on her own, let her do an outline and then the 2 of you discuss topics evoked by the outline.

I make that suggestion because honest communication over the TL really worked for me and for us. Also, my W just doesn't think like a historian, and I do, which means I wasn't going to get a TL that I liked.

So I may be projecting - but I still think working together on the TL is beneficial.

As I say, just a suggestion.

[This message edited by sisoon at 12:20 PM, September 23rd (Monday)]

Thumos posted 9/23/2019 12:58 PM

On the timeline, have you considered working with your W on it? That is, instead of going into painstaking detail on her own, let her do an outline and then the 2 of you discuss topics evoked by the outline.

Thatís a great suggestion but I wanted to allow her to come up with as much ďunadulteratedĒ (no pun intended) narrative as possible before I started reacting to it with my own list of substantial questions. In a way itís a bit of a test for me to see how much work sheís willing to do on her own.

Jorge posted 9/23/2019 13:54 PM

Fantastic news Thumos. I was wondering how you've been.

Thumos posted 9/23/2019 14:36 PM

She just returned from her first IC appt, and she was sobbing with relief.

I feel a tremendous amount of relief myself: Her therapist gets it. No rugsweeping, blameshifting, or pathologizing of the victim.

The therapist is encouraging a completion of the timeline, a polygraph, and has offered to help with a guided disclosure process that they recommend for all couples whether the marriage lasts or not.

I'm going to make an appt with another therapist in the same practice as well.

Butforthegrace posted 9/23/2019 18:05 PM

Before you review her timeline, let me suggest you listen to episode 2 of the podcast "Criminal" (on Spotify). It deals with lines of questions that can be asked to identify lying. For example: "I'm standing next to the AP when he arrives at our house to have sex with you. What am I seeing? What time of day is it? What is the weather like? Do I arrive alone, or with you? Do I ring the bell? If you answer, what are you wearing?"

Episode 3 is also interesting. It deals with how we can become infatuated with an imagination of a person, even though the real-life person is not actually attractive due to obvious negative attributes.

[This message edited by Butforthegrace at 9:00 PM, September 23rd (Monday)]

Thumos posted 9/23/2019 21:09 PM

Before you review her timeline, let me suggest you listen to episode 2 of the podcast "Criminal" (on Spotify). It deals with lines of questions that can be asked to identify lying.

Very good advice, thank you.

Butforthegrace posted 9/24/2019 05:43 AM

As Billy Graham noted, ĎStealing a loaf of bread is vastly different than exterminating a million people. Sins may also differ at their root.Ē

Even if youíre not a Christian you can just look at this as ďharmful actionsĒ and discern that some harmful actions are worse than others. If I was intentionally late for an appointment or just plain careless, itís clearly a lesser ďharmful actionĒ than Crazymaking and dropping a radioactive dirty bomb in the middle of a normal functioning marriage and families.

Iím only bringing this up because I canít myself leave it at that my WW was selfish and wanted to enjoy exciting illicit sex on the side with a forbidden relationship, and never thought she would be caught. It goes deeper than that for me. Much deeper.

Interesting point. We often see R discussed here on SI as involving two elements:

(1) The WW figures out her "whys" -- she figures out what was broken in her moral compass to enable her to make a decision to cheat, and fixes it. Makes herself into a safe spouse.

(2) The "ephemeral matter of the heart" -- the WW, through her consistent actions over time, shows the BH that her love, respect, and desire for him is true and real, in a manner that his heart can feel loved, respected, and desired.

I don't think those two issues have been discussed in a systematic way on this thread. For example, I can't recall you describing things that she has done to make herself into a safe spouse to you, nor can I recall you saying that you feel loved, respected, and desired by her. In fact, mostly you seem to still be smarting because you feel disrespected by her.

But in addition to the two elements above, I have observed that there is often a third factor in some threads, what I sometimes call a "line in the sand" factor: some element of the A that shows such a deep level of disrespect and contempt by the WW toward the BH that, no matter what she does, the BH cannot get to a place where he is comfortable loving a woman who has the capacity to treat him with such levels of contempt. This is personal and subjective to each BH. I have seen threads where the WW had unprotected sex with the AP where he finished inside her, then later in the same day allowed her BH to perform oral sex on her. Or where she stopped by the AP's house to perform a BJ to completion, and then drove home and kissed her BH. There was a thread with a WH who had unprotected sex with his AP, then returned home and let his BW perform oral sex on him. There have been threads where the WW got pregnant by the AP and didn't reveal this to the BH, who unwittingly raised another man's child as his own.

I see an element of this in your thread. It wasn't an expressly sexual element. Rather, it was the contempt she directed toward you, both during the A, when she gaslighted you to such a degree that you were actually considering going on medication to quell your warning alarm bells, to the way that, after DDay, she flatly refused to share information with you, leaving an intimacy hole in the fabric of your marriage. As part of this, there is also the fact that she chose an AP who is a man that is part of your quotidian life and will be for some time in the future. The overall result is forcing you into a life where you feel like the brunt of a private joke between your WW and her AP, and you are reminded of that status repeatedly through your interaction with him. These were all choices that she made, intentionally and knowingly.

I recognize the whiff of hopium you are now smelling because of her extremely belated attempt to fabricate some version of a timeline now, years later, when all evidence is erased or destroyed. But frankly I don't know what she can do to overcome this trauma you have endured for so long. I have not heard a single comment from you in this thread that goes to the "ephemeral matter of the heart" piece, nothing suggesting that she has, over the past three years, gone over-the-top to make you feel loved, respected, and desired by her in a manner that is genuine and heartfelt.

[This message edited by Butforthegrace at 7:39 AM, September 24th (Tuesday)]

Thumos posted 9/24/2019 13:32 PM

I have not heard a single comment from you in this thread that goes to the "ephemeral matter of the heart" piece, nothing suggesting that she has, over the past three years, gone over-the-top to make you feel loved, respected, and desired by her in a manner that is genuine and heartfelt.

I think I have addressed this somewhat in the earlier portion of the thread, but your question gave me pause, because what has she REALLY done?

I donít know that I have a good answer for that.

I was thinking about your question earlier today and formulating an answer of things sheís done ó but when I began verbalizing them as I drove around I didnít know what to think of them.

Anyway hereís a partial list:

1. Many acts of service every single day. This has also included arranging for my family to stay with us repeatedly for holidays and the like - something she never took on before.
2. Taking over the complete running of the household in order to let me sleep (Iíve felt consistently more tired and run down the past two years) let me rest and not feel overwhelmed. I was never the tidiest person in the past, but wasnít a slob. Frankly, Iíve become a bit of a slob the past couple of years and she doesnít say a word.
3. Lots of consistent, spontaneous physical affection (my love language) ó not just sex. She was never all that touchy feely in our marriage 1.0 and she knew that this was important to me.
4. Sex anytime I want it that includes anything she can do to please me. We had a good active sex life before but it was pretty vanilla and got interrupted by some sex droughts on her part in the past. We didnít have a dead bedroom, but there were times when I was very unhappy with the long stretches without sex.. She would never initiate sex in the past; she does a lot now.
5. Arranging for and planning trips, concerts and other outings together consistently the past three years. This is something she never did in the past.
6. Lots of ďspoilingĒ me with gifts - I should note that these havenít felt like bribes, but honest gifts.
7. A lot of apologizing in writing and verbally. Not just the ďIím sorryĒ perfunctory apologies, but heartfelt and specific.
8. Updating me all the time on her schedule, where she will be, checking in, etc.
9. Wanting to spend lots of time with me, as much as I want, but also willing to back off when Iím needing to be alone. Also indulging my hobbies and interests completely.

On the other hand, she really screwed up that last one with a really horrible apology last year that Iíve already written about. And I think any BH can relate to the feelings of embarrassment and a level of hollowness that come with being showered suddenly with gifts, physical affection and wild sex when those things werenít there before.

For the sake of reference, what are other ways WWís have shown their BHís ďover the topĒ that they loved them? Iíd like to know what that looks like for them.

[This message edited by Thumos at 1:36 PM, September 24th (Tuesday)]

Butforthegrace posted 9/24/2019 14:08 PM

And I think any BH can relate to the feelings of embarrassment and a level of hollowness that come with being showered suddenly with gifts, physical affection and wild sex when those things werenít there before.

I completely understand that sentiment. It brings to mind that quip by Pontius Pilate in Andrew Lloyd Weber's "Jesus Christ Superstar", where the crowd has brought Christ before him seeking punishment. Pilate chides the crowd for its motive, asking them why they were only recently calling him "king", and now were seeking punishment.

"We have no king but Caesar," shouts the crowd.

Pilate: "This is new. Respect for Caesar. Until now this has been noticeably lacking."

In that case, the stated respect for Caesar was of course ersatz, motivated by a desire to see Christ crucified. Clearly the hoi polloi would resort to underground resistance once their goal was achieved.

So, in your case, what if your WW's flood of affection and generosity is ersatz? What could she be seeking with this? From where I sit, what she seeks is a lifetime with you. But of course that means a lifetime of this new affection paradigm.

In other words, why would she shower you with this affection if, ultimately, her goal was to be done with you?

What you describe is a lot. Way more than many BH's get.

Perhaps you listen to that episode of "Criminal" I referenced and get your lines of questioning worked out in advance. I would strongly suggest you use it as an opportunity to clear the air on all of your nagging soubt issues: she demeaned you to the AP ("I'm looking over the AP's shoulder, reading the texts as he is chuckling. What do I read?"); or, she shopped for fancy panties to wear for him on that special occasion, and on more occasions if you hadn't caught her.

Then, talk to us to see if you still feel like there is any remaining undisclosed private intimacy between them.

[This message edited by Butforthegrace at 2:09 PM, September 24th (Tuesday)]

Butforthegrace posted 9/24/2019 16:12 PM

I would add also that, from what I've read, your two issues are (1) the deep disrespect she directed toward you during the A and continuing the year or so after Dday, including hurtful and emasculating comments like the "immature view of sex" comment, and (2) the ongoing lack of transparency in the aftermath of Dday, protecting the intimacy of the A over your marriage.

The two are linked, creating a sort of feedback loop. Part of the disrespect was the dishonesty/gas lighting, and because of that disrespect, you're not able to trust that she has ever given you transparency. The aggravating factor is the AP's presence in your life, reminding you always that there may be a secret reality that you dont know.

I honestly dont know how to solve that at this stage. If you wanted to write a textbook for cheaters on how to sabotage R, she hit all of the high points.

By the way, did you ever write up and give her the "memo" that was discussed earlier in this thread? It would seem this would be a good time to do that -- as she works on her timeline, you work on your memo.

[This message edited by Butforthegrace at 5:51 AM, September 25th (Wednesday)]

Butforthegrace posted 10/3/2019 05:32 AM

How's it going Thumos?

Butforthegrace posted 10/10/2019 13:09 PM

Thumos, have you had your Q&A session yet? Another poster, in another thread, offered some interesting question suggestions:

Write down a big pile of questions and ask her one by one. Everything you can think of and more (at least a few dozen questions) including the obligatory NC stuff / GNO stuff but also stuff like 'how long was she realistically planning on cheating for?' and 'did she have her sights set on anyone else on the running circuit as number 3?' (she must have found others attractive) and 'is there anyone she has met at work she would consider affair material?'

Lob in some curve balls like 'Was she going to buy them gifts on their birthdays?' or 'Did she ever tell them a secret or something she never shared with you?' or 'What would she have done if asshole 1 showed up at your house?' or what if he blackmailed her by threatening to tell you? 'Did she have a plan incase of STDs because she must have considered it?' and 'did she read up on how to respond to being caught before you caught her and if so where?'

ThisIsBS posted 10/11/2019 20:00 PM

You are describing me exactly, Thumos. I am choosing this flatness to spare my kids the experience of competing for attention with the kids of their dadís inevitable fling(s) if we divorce. My sister and I have been kids and adults like that, and we are still dealing with the hurt.

I also keep wondering if I will always feel like I missed out on the opportunity to be with someone who shares my values. It is a gnawing ďwhat if?Ē

I wish you strength and the ability to find joy and meaning in life that is not attached to the choices of your WS.

Butforthegrace posted 10/15/2019 07:33 AM

Thumos, are you still with us? For some reason your thread resonates in my head. In ways, it has elements of a "found out years later" thread.

Putting aside the sex with the AP, it seems like one of your big issues is the degree of. contempt your WW directed toward you, in multiple ways over a continuum of time. Gaslighting during the A to an extreme degree. Refusing to give you transparency after DDay, even to the point of openly destroying the messages, thereby dooming you to wonder how much of the timeline she now gives you is manufactured. And finally belittling you and demeaning you because you are hurt that she had sex with another man.

How can you R with a person who harbors such a deep reservoir of contempt toward you? How can you know she has changed?

[This message edited by Butforthegrace at 8:20 AM, October 15th (Tuesday)]

Butforthegrace posted 10/22/2019 07:19 AM

Thumos, are you with us?

Thumos posted 10/27/2019 15:43 PM

Sorry for the long delay in updating - Iíve been on vacation and then a very busy work travel schedule. Somehow I managed to squeeze in my first IC appt in there. Iíll provide a more detailed update this week.

BeyondRage posted 10/27/2019 23:50 PM

Thumus

Do the polygraph! Then youíll get you answers .

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