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Feeling Stuck in Anger/Plain of Lethal Flatness Phase

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Thumos posted 11/12/2019 22:50 PM

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?

I think I can. I hope I can. If that is the outcome, and that all remains seen through a glass darkly and murky.

That said, one thing I’ve learned through the past three years is that nothing about the aftermath of infidelity is linear. It is completely non-linear, circular, spiral even. Chaotic. Unpredictable. So for me to say how I would react in a given situation is really just spitballing at this point.

Thumos posted 11/12/2019 22:59 PM

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.

This has been my struggle and I suspect the struggle of many BH”s and BS’s. We married our spouses for a reason. For a lot of reasons. For very good reasons. We envisioned our lives together, growing old, having grandkids. And then this unbelievable hell with that same person. It’s a lot to take in (understatement of the year).

Someone asked me what our marriage was like before. Well, we’ve had quite a few talks about this, as it turns out. I’ve said, “I was there. I know what it was like. And it was good.”

That said, there were sex droughts imposed by her. Lack of physical affection from her. Lack of respect from her. That was all there. I knew it. Of course I felt it. Of course I worried about it. I just took it in as the ups and downs of a long-term marriage with two imperfect people.

Butforthegrace posted 11/13/2019 07:20 AM

That said, there were sex droughts imposed by her. Lack of physical affection from her. Lack of respect from her. That was all there. I knew it. Of course I felt it. Of course I worried about it. I just took it in as the ups and downs of a long-term marriage with two imperfect people.

If your WW is a "status quo" type, would you be okay falling back into that same ebb and flow going forward? Assume you would be essentially left alone to deal with your trauma.

zen2011 posted 11/13/2019 09:33 AM

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.

This is exactly what you are doing. Your WW still controls the narrative. While you dance around the disclosure session and the poly, the WW remains indignant and selfish.

You need to see a lawyer ASAP and walk in the session with a sealed envelope addressed to the WW. She needs to end this passive aggressive BS and start answering your questions or you walk.

Man Up

Thumos posted 11/16/2019 15:10 PM

I’ve been thinking about the last 2x4 in this thread. Whether I agree or disagree, it is thought provoking. Just wanted to let you know I haven’t gone away.

sisoon posted 11/17/2019 12:26 PM

JMO here, and another 2 X 4, though I think it's a soft one.

It's far easier to make decisions when the WS is either totally checked out, or totally invested.
The trouble is that one can't know how invested one's WS is until you've done months of active work on R.

R requires living with a lot of uncertainty, and I haven't seem much, if any, willingness to do that, Thumos. Instead of the uncertainty of R, i looks like you've lived with the uncertainty of not making decisions about your M.

That's an observation, not a criticism. WRT surviving infidelity, you get to make your own decisions on your own schedule.

Thumos posted 11/18/2019 12:46 PM

I don't entirely disagree Sisoon, but I think the primary reason I've been spinning around the drain in limbo is because my WW hasn't been willing (until very recently) to do the basic things I'd asked for.

I was weak and didn't force the issue enough and let time stretch out, but I've given myself grace for that after reading more about betrayal trauma.

In any case, I'm forcing the issue now. And that's kind of a broader point: The earlier 2x4 maybe didn't understand the context here, and that I'm quite close to resolution on whether I want to reconcile or separate. I can see the Y in the crossroads just ahead.

But I'd be stupid if I made a decision on which branch of that road to take without at least a modicum of more empirical information upon which to make a more informed choice. So the written timeline and the polygraph are non-negotiables. They aren't so much do or die, so much as they are the tail end of a series of things I've asked for that go together as a non-negotiable package.

[This message edited by Thumos at 12:47 PM, November 18th (Monday)]

Thumos posted 11/25/2019 13:38 PM

The formal "disclosure" with the written timeline with our therapists is scheduled. I have talked to the polygraph examiner and have a couple of dates on standby. I want to arrange timing to coincide with me absorbing details in the timeline and then also perhaps "springing" the polygraph appt on her (haven't decided on this aspect yet). In any case, moving forward.

I've addressed this before, but something I wanted to mention: I do love my wife and enjoy her company. However, the specialness went away, and I don't see it coming back at least anytime soon. I don't feel that twinge of aching sadness and longing for her I did the first year after D-Day. It was still there waxing and waning the past three years, but now it feels like it's really gone. I'm kind of sitting with that realization. It's weird to be able to enjoy her company and do fun things, have sex, etc. But not feel any particular strong bond for her.

I've just come to the conclusion that my wife has been a great woman in many ways, a good mom (other than involving her kids in her infidelity, natch) but that I'm attracted to and received reciprocal attraction from lots of women all the time. I meet lots of lovely, quality women and I know from spending a little time around them that I'd be compatible with any number of them. It took awhile for my self-esteem to rebound, but it has and I see myself reflected in the eyes of lots of women and I'm validated.

So I've also been thinking hard about what I get out of this marriage long-term, even if she's telling the truth about "one time" sex with her AP. She's nothing special and she chose to throw away our pair bond for a couple of emotional feelz crackers.

By the way I'm not trying to be insulting about saying a woman like my wife is "nothing special" -- just realistic. She's an attractive, sexy woman with a great smile, gracious charm, a great sense of humor. She's been an attentive and caring mother. But you could say this about so very many women. I could say the same about men. Men aren't anything special either. There's no "one" or even a handful of "ones" for us. Literally thousands of people, if not more, could b e compatible with each one of us and we could have rewarding relationships with them. Not all of those compatible people live within our spheres, but many do.

That's kind of the sad reality that infidelity opens your eyes to. Your spouse was never that special, you just idealized them with admiration and passion as part of the pair-bonding process. Once they shattered that, it's a pretty big cliff to climb to get that back.

Sure, I can share a decades-long history with her, and it's impossible to replicate that with another woman. We "raised each other" from a young age as boyfriend and girlfriend. I'd never be able to repeat all those "firsts" with another woman. But so what?

The past three years really wrung the sponge dry for me as far as passion and intense pair-bonding connection to my WW. That's where we are. So I know I could basically walk away and go have rewarding relationships with other women in fairly short order. I have no one "auditioning" for that role, and I'm not interested in a RA, but it wouldn't be difficult for me to line up dates pretty quickly if she and I separated.

So that's where my head is at the past several months as I've worked through this on SI and in my own thoughts.

[This message edited by Thumos at 1:44 PM, November 25th (Monday)]

ff4152 posted 11/25/2019 20:16 PM

Thumos

Given what you wrote in your last post, I would like to pose a question. Suppose your wife supplies a timeline and actually passes the polygraph with flying colors; what then? Based upon what you’ve written, it sounds like you’re ambivalent about your marriage. Sure you enjoy your wife’s company but it doesn’t sound like you’re going to get “those” feelings back anytime soon, if at all. Could you still see yourself staying with your wife or has she really pushed you past the dealbreaker point?

Thumos posted 11/25/2019 22:32 PM

Based upon what you’ve written, it sounds like you’re ambivalent about your marriage. Sure you enjoy your wife’s company but it doesn’t sound like you’re going to get “those” feelings back anytime soon, if at all. Could you still see yourself staying with your wife or has she really pushed you past the dealbreaker point?

I don't know. I guess that is really what it's like being in liminality. I think I will have to cross that bridge when I come to it. One thing I've learned is this process is not linear. Big dramatic moments that feel like turning points often aren't. Other moments that feel inconsequential later turn out to be huge in retrospect.

I don't want to overstate the feelings I may have for other women. I've not crossed any boundaries, no RA's, no EA's, nothing even close. I'm just more tuned into other women and can sense their attraction.

Thumos posted 11/26/2019 08:17 AM

I wrote about this more succinctly and more accurately on another man's thread in JFO a week or so ago, because I was trying to help him project into the future past the initial shock and trauma he is enduring. I think this describes a common feeling for many, if not most, BS's as we get a little more distance from D-Day:

Here's something you'll find: Your wife just knocked herself off that pedestal you had her on, and then dynamited it. It's sinking in for you (I can tell) that this is the real her, along with the good stuff over the years, too. But you're slowly realizing how utterly unremarkable she is, how many great women are out there, and you're starting to wonder if you want to stay married to this self-absorbed dumb ass. The shine is off and she's not really all that attractive, is she? Sure, she might be pretty. But there are lots of pretty women who are warm and kind and generous and won't commit adultery. Attractiveness and compatibility are common and unremarkable, or our species would have died out long ago. She's nothing special; she never was. And now she's certainly damaged goods.

TwiceWounded posted 11/26/2019 11:00 AM

I think in many cases the pedestal we put our WS on before they cheat is unhealthy. Some of us have Knight in Shining Armor syndrome where we gallantly save and protect our spouses, and our prize is their unique specialness, their beauty or handsomeness or the excitement they bring to our lives.

Honestly none of that is healthy. We are all normal, broken people. It's true that none of us are that "special" in the traditional sense. There are always other people who are attractive, smart, talented, kind, generous--and that's ok. I've come to the realization that it's ok to not be head-over-heels in love with WW. I mean, who would be at this point?

Yes, I can go start over with someone and get those warm fuzzies again. No damaged goods, no baggage. But I'd still have my issues--trust issues, communication issues, sex issues that stem from WW's traumatizing influence. If I go chasing the warm fuzzies, I'll be looking to fill a void just like WW was doing.

My therapist has pointed out that my relationship, 3 years out from D-Day, is a dream for most people. We communicate well, parent well, have fun together, are on the same page regarding finances and work and life goals. We have a lot of shared history and good memories. It's not that she is convincing me to stay--she's helping me justify, to myself, why it's ok to stay with someone who did so much damage to me over the years.

I'm still not thrilled about losing that feeling of specialness, but I accept that it was never healthy to put her on that pedestal. Healthy relationships aren't filled with limerance. They're ups and downs and sometimes a grind.

Neanderthal posted 11/26/2019 11:47 AM

But I'd be stupid if I made a decision on which branch of that road to take without at least a modicum of more empirical information upon which to make a more informed choice. So the written timeline and the polygraph are non-negotiables. They aren't so much do or die, so much as they are the tail end of a series of things I've asked for that go together as a non-negotiable package.
It's hard to push back given how many big words I have to google before replying. lol

But to me as an outside observer, it has been exactly that....negotiable. Its been three years, why would she think you will actually go through with it?

I've given myself grace for that after reading more about betrayal trauma
Again this seems to be an excuse or reason to not work towards getting the truth. No one here should be rushing you to make a decision to divorce or reconcile. But we are pushing you to learn the truth!

Personally I felt like I waited too long myself and it was only three months, not three years! I was hoping she would do the right thing and tell me everything on her own. But I realized it wasn't going to happen. I'm guessing you probably figured that out a long time ago too. So why are you really waiting?

I'm sorry if I'm over stepping. Maybe I'm not in a place yet to be commenting to other people. I just see the similarities in our hesitations.

You are an excellent writer as well. It's kind of intimidating.

Thumos posted 11/26/2019 13:49 PM

Neanderthal, you're right. I've dithered. Because I was scared. I'm pushing now.

I'm willing to go along with the IC's desire to have a "managed" disclosure during which she reads the written timeline to me first -- and then the polygraph will happen.

Just for context: I'm willing to go along with this because the IC's are not rug sweepers. They aren't interested in excuses and blameshifting. My IC hasn't steered me wrong yet. He's like a breath of fresh air after the damaging MC we did the first 1.5 years after D-Day.

The disclosure appt is two hours and has been scheduled. The polygraph date isn't firm yet, because I want to know what I'm dealing with in the disclosure document first.

I'm not that great of a writer, more like diarrhea of the keyboard.

[This message edited by Thumos at 2:03 PM, November 26th (Tuesday)]

Thumos posted 11/26/2019 13:50 PM

Neanderthal, you got a parking lot confession, right? You're legendary on this board!

Thumos posted 11/26/2019 14:14 PM

Neanderthal, I guess what I meant by giving myself grace was I've tried to stop going through ruminations and self-recriminations about how I should have stepped up after D-Day. I did that for a long time, and bemoaned the fact that I let truth get buried. There's no use in this and the only way is forward.

Neanderthal posted 11/26/2019 14:43 PM

Yeah I got a parking lot confession. Legendary? Not me, maybe my WW, she's the star of the show. I'm just a dumb ape.

ruminations.... self-recriminations..... bemoaned
There you go again. lol

As a wise philosopher once said:

I dumb down for my audience and double my dollars
They criticize me for it, yet they all yell "Holla" -Jay-Z
I'm just messing with you. The vocabulary I'm learning here is worth it.

Butforthegrace posted 11/26/2019 15:18 PM

Onomatopoeia

Refulgent

Auto-da-fe

Risible

All might be words that could work in a post on SI.

Thumos posted 11/26/2019 15:24 PM

Onomatopoeia
Refulgent
Auto-da-fe
Risible
All might be words that could work in a post on SI.

It's good to have goals. I'll work on it.

Butforthegrace, I love it when you use "ersatz" - it's become a favorite new word for me.

Thumos posted 11/26/2019 15:25 PM

I'm just messing with you. The vocabulary I'm learning here is worth it.

I love it.

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