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Feeling Stuck in Anger/Plain of Lethal Flatness Phase

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OptionedOut posted 11/8/2019 15:00 PM

The fact that she didnít dispose of it herself gnawed at me, and still does. And yes, Iíve told her that.

Lack of empathy? Trophy? Momento?

AP pirated a Bon Jovi CD and gave it to him because, according to WH, he commented on a song when they were out. ??? He played that CD to death, told me a coworker sent it in the mail. Later he coughed up AP sent it and not a coworker. I can't help but notice that the last track, Dirty Little Secret was not on the pirated version.

He claims he has no idea why. When I told him he couldn't keep gifts from AP, he agreed. And didn't chuck the CD. He was told 8 times to do so. He didn't Until I lost it on him.

He claimed it meant nothing to him and didn't understand why it was a big deal to me.

Believe it or not. Sigh.

So your WH knew that was a sticking point and she also just didn't do anything about the fridge? Has she said why?

[This message edited by OptionedOut at 3:00 PM, November 8th (Friday)]

Thumos posted 11/8/2019 15:29 PM

In fact, she says she doesn't know why she let it sit there. She has said - to her credit - that she should have done something about it. She just didn't. More recently, I came home to find a trundle bed and a rug we'd kept in the upstairs room out in the driveway for junk day.

She let me know she'd moved those out herself because that is where the "one time" sex occurred. I had known previously that sex had happened in that room, just not specifically on those items.

I did find it encouraging she took this initiative, but I was also appalled that a trundle bed had sat around like that for three years.

But everything with her is always in hindsight the past three years:

-Should have done something about that fridge
-Shouldn't have said I was immature about sex
-Shouldn't have rewritten the history of the marriage
-Shouldn't have told you the affair was private

Etc.

She's doing a lot now. I don't want to minimize that. I'm just not sure it's enough if she's not willing to tell me the truth.

I can think of no logical reason for her to refuse the poly or attempt to use her panic attack as an excuse, other than that she's withholding critical information about the affair.

Thumos posted 11/8/2019 15:39 PM

Everything your WW has done post Dday has screamed loudly that she does not want to R with you. Instead, she wishes you would rug sweep and stfu.

This is partially true, but overstating it. I can't agree that she doesn't want R. I think she wants R, but isn't willing to go all the way with me because there's some kind of inner resistance to confronting herself.

I'm always trying to at least give her the benefit of the doubt, so I do want to point out that earlier in this thread I mentioned a number of substantial things she has done to try to help me heal. I can list them out again, if need be, but they are tangible and meaningful.

So it would be inaccurate to say that she doesn't want R or that she hasn't done some very heavy lifting. She has. She just hasn't been willing over time to do a number of very critical steps I've asked for, and she's said and then come back to saying some incredibly hurtful, painful things that I've already listed out ("immature" attitude toward sex, "private" affair, etc).

So when you add it all up, it's a pretty complex picture, and that's probably among a number of reasons I've stayed with her, yet also stayed in limbo.

I want to be clear: It's not like I am walking around in a house daily with a wayward spouse like some of those we read about here on SI -- completely clueless, disregarding their betrayed spouse's pain, breaking NC, hanging out in the fog of limerence, making their BS's do the pick me dance, giving them the cold shoulder, etc. etc. ad nauseuam.

My wife isn't like that. That's what makes this exceedingly difficult.

[This message edited by Thumos at 3:40 PM, November 8th (Friday)]

fatheroftwo posted 11/8/2019 15:57 PM

I hear you Thumos, and I can relate. My WW is also clearly wanting to reconcile but is having difficulty with the process of change that must occur for reconciliation to happen. I think you are on a good path. Do you think you will be able to get through this all if she does go through with the poly and the re results are clean? I can see she is probably is terrified of the poly because she likely doesn't fully trust herself after what she has done. Mine would be on edge too. But say it comes back clear. Can you move on?

[This message edited by fatheroftwo at 3:58 PM, November 8th (Friday)]

Thumos posted 11/8/2019 16:20 PM

I have been asking myself the questions of "what if she fails?" vs "what if she passes?" Here are my options as I've thought about them.

Option A - I have to say honestly I would be relieved if she came clean with new information before the poly. That would make my decisions a lot easier, because I would know she was lying for three years.

Option B - So what if she doesn't give me a "parking lot confession" and still fails? Then I know with a high degree of certainty that she's been lying and I separate from her. It makes me sick thinking of it in that circumstance bc there's still an "unknown" and a small chance that she is telling the truth and just couldn't pass the poly bc of anxiety (this is rare).

Option C - What if she passes? I think I would need to accept the results of that too. Given her anxiety, I would think this would go a long way toward establishing and backing up her truthfulness. In that case, I do have a lot of work she has been doing to fall back on, and I would know I was dealing with a truthful person (most likely - yes, I know there are liars who do pass). But I think I would feel relieved in that direction too. Right now, my heart tells me in that case we would stay together, the cloud of limbo would lift and I would be more committed to an actual reconciliation. I wouldn't hold myself back as much. It would still take a lot of work.

So of those options, A and C are the cleanest, while option B is the murkiest and most difficult.

Thumos posted 11/8/2019 16:22 PM

Option D - She refuses to take the poly on the grounds of her panic attack and ongoing anxiety. In this case, immediate separation.

Butforthegrace posted 11/8/2019 16:35 PM

Putting aside the poly, on the subject of the history to date. I've suggested previously that you try to envision your feelings in 10 years. She was really shitty to you, for a long time. She did this in a way that caused a lot of the detailed information about her A to be destroyed or simply faded with time. No matter what she does now, no matter what is contained in that timeline, the reality is that there will be stuff you will never know. Stuff you could have known had she been forthright with you.

That is the fundamental conundrum that started this thread. Only you know you. Only you know if this will become a cancer for you.

I frankly dont see much upside for the poly. About the best you can get is confirmation of big pieces, such as sex only once versus sex more than once.

Say she passes and you confirm it was sex only once. You confirm that she anticipated it and wanted it. Which is pretty much what you have deduced.

Then what? It will still be the case that she put you through gaslight hell during her A. It will still be the case that she flat out denied you access to the texts, forever. It will still be the case that you do not have a clear and open look inside their cocoon of intimacy, which you will be reminded of each time you see him.

I see your decision point really as whether you want to live with that reality for the rest of your days. Only you can answer that question.

Thumos posted 11/8/2019 16:55 PM

I see your decision point really as whether you want to live with that reality for the rest of your days. Only you can answer that question.

Very true.

TwiceWounded posted 11/8/2019 17:35 PM

I want to be clear: It's not like I am walking around in a house daily with a wayward spouse like some of those we read about here on SI -- completely clueless, disregarding their betrayed spouse's pain, breaking NC, hanging out in the fog of limerence, making their BS's do the pick me dance, giving them the cold shoulder, etc. etc. ad nauseuam.

My wife isn't like that. That's what makes this exceedingly difficult.

It's far easier to make decisions when the WS is either totally checked out, or totally invested. This status quo type of WS makes it difficult. Many of the things you loved about WS in the first place are still there, so you can enjoy your time together, lead successful lives together, lead your family well... but it's not quite enough. And in the meantime, she's done just enough to keep you from walking away. Life is messy.

I frankly dont see much upside for the poly. About the best you can get is confirmation of big pieces, such as sex only once versus sex more than once.

I don't really agree here. I think getting confirmation on some of the big pieces will tell you a LOT. At least, it rules out some of the things you probably would view as dealbreakers. It certainly doesn't make your decision for you, but there will be a very big difference between "passed a poly" and refused to take one after 3 years."

I think anything that provides another data point for you in making your decision moving forward is helpful.

Butforthegrace posted 11/8/2019 19:09 PM

At least, it rules out some of the things you probably would view as dealbreakers.

That's a good point. Especially after the review of the timeline, depending on what she tells him about the progression of the sex stuff.

I guess my point is that if he comes out of the timeline disclosure and poly with reasonably reliable confirmation that he knows most of the "big picture" truth, and if that is more or less consistent with the version she has been telling him, he will still be left with:

1. She acted extremely shitty toward him during the A and for a very long time after Dday, including demeaning him for feeling hurt over the fact that she had a sexual affair with another man, as if a "real man" would be able to get over it, but a "sexually immature" man cannot; and

2. She intentionally prevented him from learning the level of detail he wanted to learn by destroying it all; and

3. Her effort toward R has been tepid and of questionable sincerity, such as not taking an active role (at lease in the past) in terms of getting rid of horcuxes of the A; and

4. She chose an AP who was a friend, is a neighbor, and is a father of a classmate of their son, dooming Thumos to a lifetime of encountering the guy regularly.

So, assuming that after disclosure and poly you are back to the status quo in terms of what you know about the details of the A, how is the unresolved resentment from those four items going to manifest itself in your life? Will it be a caustic presence that eats away at you? I sense that it has been such a presence already, which is why you are posting here. I don't sense it is getting better with time, even though she is proactively taking you out to events you will enjoy, trying to initiate sex, and being affectionate.

A corollary to that is whether you believe the "good wife" stuff she has been doing over the past, what, 9 months? 14 months? is genuine. Is she faking it and white knuckling it so you'll stop reading and posting on SI and simmer down, at which time she can return to what she was like before?

To that end, what was she like before. Say in 2015? or the first half of 2016? Did your heart feel a small joy when you heard her pull into the driveway? In other words, is there a time in your marriage where you felt both of you were genuinely happy?

[This message edited by Butforthegrace at 7:31 PM, November 8th (Friday)]

CoastalCalm posted 11/8/2019 22:05 PM

Thumos
Iíve followed your thread, but not commented before.
Iím so sorry youíre here dealing with a double betrayal. Itís absolutely soul crushing on so many levels. My husbands AP was a good friend. Itís hard to wrap my mind around the fact that she could walk in my house and hug me after spending the day with WH. The only way to describe it is that Itís a pain so hot in the pit of my stomach that it gives me chills and makes my skin crawl daily and Iím 6 years out. Just want you to know I empathize and think youíre doing great even though it may not feel like it.
I ran back through your thread real quick.....I apologize if It was asked and I missed it, but did/does your wife have an iPhone? If she does, even if you donít physically have the phone anymore because she traded it in, if she backed up to the cloud regularly some of those texts could still be there and recoverable by using Fonelab. I was able to recover from the cloud and the phone as I had both. You would need her Apple ID and password to run it. Just something I wanted to throw out there just in case itís an option for you.
And fwiw....I do believe she is minimizing. Iíve dealt with some pretty severe anxiety since DDay and had GAD before DDay. I canít see where taking a poly, if she had nothing to hide, would cause her to have a panic attack and prevent her from going forward with it. If anything I think it would give her a little comfort knowing that she could use it to prove her honesty to you up to this point and would all over it. Just my opinion. Wishing you strength. Hang in there.

Thumos posted 11/8/2019 22:31 PM

.I apologize if It was asked and I missed it, but did/does your wife have an iPhone? If she does, even if you donít physically have the phone anymore because she traded it in, if she backed up to the cloud regularly some of those texts could still be there and recoverable by using Fonelab.

This is interesting. I consider myself pretty tech savvy and didnít think this was possible. Yes, she has an iPHone. I suppose it is worth a shot. I am not holding out hope for much in the cloud from three years ago.

pureheartkit posted 11/9/2019 08:12 AM

Hi Thumos.

I was gaslighted big time. I think it is one of the biggest sources of my A related pain. Also I think about the gaslighting AP did to her BS and carrying on in her home then forcing her BS to apologize to my WS for being suspicious. I believe obs put a tracker on my WS car and I saw it, WS lied about reason it was there, contacted AP, then OW forces her gaslit BS to apologize.

This is a big pain to carry. I think about the cruelty of those two. I do think they egged each other on as it were. I think they brought out the worst in each other. Now I can never forget.


Do I hate him? No. But what he did was so mean and selfish. I know he feels humiliated by it but honestly, I wish he'd just work on himself and stop living in that mental place. I want for him what I want for everyone....to be loving and decent and be a person he can like and doesn't have to fake to get attention.

You have kids so it's harder. You think about them. You have an incredible amount of effort in you. I admire that. Put some of that power into you. After waiting a while for my WS, I could see that he wasn't going to put in the hard work for me, for us, for himself. I think it's sad. He could be so much more.

Whatever you decide to do, you put energy and care into you. It benefits you, your kids, everyone. Be the best Thumos that ever was. Don't hold back. Ask your W to step up. Keep asking her to be her best. Sure it's hard. Sure it's scary. Sure it's embarrassing. I think that if she was sincere and let her fear go and was completely honest and understood you fully, you'd both be in a healthier place regardless

Butforthegrace posted 11/9/2019 09:36 AM

A couple of thoughts and questions.

Given the double betrayal aspect, it occurs to me that the OBW might have also been a social friend of you and your WW. Given the proximity, it might also be the case that the OBW encounters your WW on a semi-regular basis. I'm curious if there has been any process of attempting to make amends by your WW toward the OBW, and/or if there has been any talk between you and your WW about tension between those two caused by your WW.

On another point, you mentioned earlier in this thread that your WW had been initiating sex, but you had begun to experience difficulties performing due to mind movies, so she stopped trying to initiate.

Is that still the state of things? How long has it been since the two of you had sex? It is my belief that marital sex is one litmus test for whether R can succeed, or not. I realize it's not the same for everybody, but I think in most cases it's not realistic to think that it is possible to R a sexless marriage, especially where the sexlessness arises in the aftermath of an A.

To that end, what is the truth process about in terms of final destination? One possible outcome is that you ferret out a withheld "dealbreaker" fact. Is it your intention to pursue D if, for example, there was a second instance of PIV sex? What if you learn there was only one instance of PIV sex, but she was giving him BJ's regularly for a period of time before the sex? What if you learn these things via her disclosure timeline, as opposed to a parking lot confession at the location for the poly?

What if she cannot complete the poly due to anxiety? Every time you get it scheduled, either a day or so before, or on the way there, she freaks out and needs hospitalization? What will you do then?

What if you get all the way through this and don't learn anything new? Frankly, if I was a betting man, I'd bet on this outcome, based on what you've told me. Actually, I'd bet first that she won't be able to complete a poly, but assuming you get past that, I'd bet that there won't be any major new revelation.

What if, after the dust settles, the timeline is exactly as she has described -- a period of increased flirting, usually in the context of drinking wine, leading to stolen intimate moments, increasing in frequency and intentionality, surreptitious kissing morphing to fondling, etc., and then, finally, when you were out of town, one instance of actual sex. Will you be left exactly where you were when this thread began?

What will you do about the cuts and wounds of her awful behavior towards you, rubbed raw by the salt in the wound caused by the A. When you desccribed the good things about her, you described things she has done and is doing to be a good wife to you. What I have not seen from you is any description of what she has done by way of sustained, consistent, heartfelt effort to heal the wounds she inflicted.

To that end, in most of the threads here on SI where R is truly successful, one major element is the WW being willing and open to talking endlessly with the BH about the sexual and other details of the A, over and over and over again, ad nauseum, until he is finally able to wrap his mind and heart around them and accept them as a presence in his consciousness. As I read your thread, this is the one thing that your WW has specifically refused to do. In fact, she has demeaned and insulted you when you tried to do this.

As stated above, when I re-read your list set out a few pages up outlining the positive things she has done, what I take away is that she has made some considerable effort to be nice to you and have a "good relationship" going forward. What I don't see in what you have described is any work by her to actually help heal the wounds she has caused. Indeed, it sounds like she would prefer not to acknowledge them, to rug-sweep them. For example, has she ever taken ownership of the deep gaslighting she did to you? Besides telling you that you have an immature view of sex, I mean.

So, again, back to your initial post. I think that's your future. A woman who is trying, for the time being, to be a good wife. You have no way of knowing how long that will last. My gut says that if you stay together, at some point she will become complacent, she will assume/presume the A is "behind" you two, and she will take her foot off the gas. You'll be back to the marriage you had in 2015/2016. Not the marriage you had first quarter 2019.

I'm mindful of what you said about your conversation with your MIL:

I immediately called my MIL who was cold and distant and began talking to me about how bad my marriage was.

I'm also mindful of your recent comment about how it seems your WW says and does things to make it seem like she's both feet in, but her true feelings are lurking just below the surface, manifesting themselves in comments like "I'm sorry for my contribution to the state of our marriage." My gut is telling me that she has long believed that you have a bad marriage, and that you are at least partly to blame even for her A. It seems that this is a fungus that thrives in the dynamic she has with her mother. Maybe her mother is the root of it, though that doesn't matter.

What matters is that, at least from what I read in your posts, it doesn't seem that your WW is prepared or equipped for a marriage in which the A will be a permanent companion to the two of you. From what we see here, true R works best where the WS and the BS accept the A as a permanent companion, talk about it whenever they want, as much as they want, and learn to make peace with it. R does not work by ignoring it and wishing it were not there.

This is why I keep asking you to imagine yourself looking at your reflection in the mirror on Christmas morning, 2029.


[This message edited by Butforthegrace at 1:04 PM, November 9th (Saturday)]

Thumos posted 11/11/2019 09:11 AM

This was said in a JFO thread today and it hit home. This is precisely what Iíve been doing the past three years:

My observation on your focus on getting "the truth" (as I did initially) before making a decision, is that you can waste years chasing an illusion. It sounds like your wife is your main source of information and she is being less than forthcoming
.

and then this


As you can't trust her words you have to look at her actions and make your decisions based on them
.

BraveSirRobin posted 11/11/2019 11:02 AM

Frankly, if I was a betting man, I'd bet on this outcome, based on what you've told me. Actually, I'd bet first that she won't be able to complete a poly, but assuming you get past that, I'd bet that there won't be any major new revelation.
I'd take that bet, unfortunately.

When I was really committed to ending TT, I used the possibility of a polygraph as a self-auditing tool. I thought of the blanket question, "Are you deliberately withholding anything about the A from BH?" and asked myself whether it made me anxious. When I felt a gut uneasiness, I knew I still had work to do. I found several places where I had twisted my own thoughts to mischaracterize details of the A, usually motivations and intentions, and also some things I felt I hadn't really made clear about my post-A thinking. My goal was to be able to face that question without fear.

I think there's always a bit of residual, irrational anxiety about the formality of a polygraph, but I also assume that if they don't correct for that somehow, they'd never work on anyone. So if my H ever says, "Good morning, get in the car, we have a poly appointment in 30 minutes," I'd be nervous but not afraid. I know I've told him the truth.

I don't get that sense at all from your description of your WW. She reminds me of myself in lockdown mode, when "I've told you everything" meant "I've told you everything that I feel I can tell you without risking the M, in other words, everything I intend to tell." I believe she has not let go of the outcome and is still using rationalizations to exonerate her internal guilt at lying. You're trying to force her head around to look at herself in black and white terms, and it makes her panic. She still thinks she can avoid it.

Also, if she's aware of how you've framed Options A, B and C, she has zero incentive to tell the truth unless she's prepared for you to leave her. You've outright stated (at least to us) that failing the poly gives her a better chance of staying married than telling the truth does. She doesn't strike me as remorseful, so I think she'll play the odds. I still believe you should go ahead, because you need the peace that confirmation will give you. And you may just get some parking lot confessions if your WW doesn't grasp how useless it will be for her if she confesses on those terms.

I'm taking the bet that there are still revelations you haven't been given. But beyond the facts, the essential truth the poly will confirm is that she never reached a point where she felt you deserved her honesty. And that feeling is not something that anyone can force. The wayward finds it in themselves, or they don't.

Butforthegrace posted 11/11/2019 16:06 PM

BSR, you may be right. Given the friendship, proximity, easy familiarity, I gather WW and AP had ample opportunity to get private time together.

To me, something is bothering me about the role of WW's mother. She was a voice encouraging WW to withhold the texts from Thumos, and pressuring Thumos to rug sweep. It seems she views Thumos as some sort of adverse party.

Thumos posted 11/12/2019 07:37 AM

Not accurate about MIL. We have always had a great relationship and she was thrilled when her daughter married me. She and I met for coffee yesterday. She is not in favor of rug sweeping and there was much she didnít know about the last three years. She will obviously have her daughterís back, this is her child after all, but she is under no illusions. She wants us to stay together and loves our beautiful family ó but told me if I decided to divorce she would support that, she would always love me as a son, and I would always be welcome in her home.

Also she didnít actively encourage my wife not letting me see the texts. She was going along with the MCís advice on that. She didnít push for me to see them either, but she wasnít whispering in my wifeís ear to deny me.

[This message edited by Thumos at 7:39 AM, November 12th (Tuesday)]

Thumos posted 11/12/2019 07:56 AM

About polys:

1. Cost is $200-500

2. Takes about two hours

3. About 94 percent accurate

4. For highest accuracy, one question is recommended.

5. Accuracy goes down with each added question. This is because they measure the ďone big questionĒ against the baseline of other questions the WS canít possibly lie about - with more questions, that baseline gets jumbled up and harder to measure against, so to speak.

6. Yes they account for anxiety, elevated heart rate and BP, etc. They ask a series of ďlevel setĒ questions for this.

7. Itís available with multiple examiners in every major city in the 50 states, so I would recommend that it should become SOP in every infidelity situation. I understand it can be expensive but cheaper than divorce and much cheaper than not having peace of mind.

8. Given the widespread use in law enforcement, corporate, military and intelligence settings the debate about accuracy is pointless in my opinion. Nothing is 100 percent accurate and this is one more tool to help get at the truth. Full disclosure and truth must happen for a betrayed spouse to be able to at least put that aspect to rest and to make an informed decision.

Thumos posted 11/12/2019 22:46 PM

My gut is telling me that she has long believed that you have a bad marriage, and that you are at least partly to blame even for her A.

She certainly believe this and convinced herself of it during the affair, no doubt about that. As for a long time, I donít think so. Remember, I was there too and I know all about that marriage.

Recently she volunteered on her own that she had, in fact, rewritten the history of the marriage to justify her decisions. This was refreshing.

That said, I am fully cognizant of the fact that Iím dealing with someone who is now desperate to remain with me, fearful of losing me (for whatever reason), so now could feel compelled to say something like this in order to mollify me.

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