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Feeling Stuck in Anger/Plain of Lethal Flatness Phase

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Thumos posted 12/13/2019 15:20 PM

I am not casting aspersions your way for how you’ve handled the fallout thus far.

Cast away, believe me I've got plenty of self recrimination about it. I did some things right early on, exposed, did some shock and awe, and got essential truths, but I allowed other things to fester and participated in rugsweeping. I regret that, and it's one reason I'm so passionate about at least trying to keep folks in the JFO forum from making the same mistakes.

As to your essential question, I'm spending a lot of time pondering that in the wake of the disclosure session. Maybe the problem is that I've spent too much time ruminating about it the past three years and I've overcomplicated what should be a pretty straightforward decision on way or the other.

I don't know.

One thing to keep in mind is that I'm an anonymous poster only giving my side of the story. I've tried to be somewhat balanced, but I realize as a betrayed spouse my anger and hurt are going to bias whatever account I can offer. Once before in this thread I discussed the things my wife has done moving forward so I want to reiterate those things because they do provide context:

1. Many acts of service every single day.
2. Stepping up and completely running the household with almost no help from me.
3. Lots of consistent, spontaneous physical affection (not just sex). Sex whenever I want it consistently.
4. Arranging for and planning trips, concerts, outings.
5. Spoiling me with gifts. These don't feel like bribes, but rather honest gifts.
6. A lot of heartfelt apologizing in writing and in person. Not just "I'm sorry."
7. Updating me all the time consistently on her schedule and where she is. Checking in consistently.
8. Wanting to spend time with me but also willing to back off when I need space.
9. Indulging my hobbies and interests totally.

My wife has been consistent about this, and as someone else pointed out, it would be difficult to do these things consistently for three years if she were faking it.

On the other hand, I have what I call the "tentpoles" in the narrative of the past three years of some outrageously hurtful and wayward things she's said. I don't need to drag those all out here again, because we've discussed them pretty exhaustively on this thread, but they are things like I'm "sexually immature" etc. etc.

And then there's obviously the issue of her lack of transparency (destroying any hope of retrieving the texts) and not doing the things I've asked - STD test, written timeline, polygraph.

But when I took off my wedding ring in August and made it clear I was about to divorce her, she began stepping up. Any defensiveness by her has lessened dramatically the past several months. I realize that's because she's terrified, but sometimes that is what it takes.

I admit I'm also scared. I'm approaching 50 and I feel very strongly that my 10-year-old child's destiny hangs in the balance when it comes to divorce. Our older child would be impacted, but going off to college, and not as severely. I'm not as worried about myself, but I am worried about the impact divorce has on children. (EDIT: And it turns out, in a kind of negatively fortuitous way, that 10 and 11 is the worst time for a child to go through divorce, especially for boys).

I do deserve better than what I've had. I'm not unclear or fuzzy on that. If possible, I'd like to see if I can get that with my wife, whom I love dearly and I've spent my entire adult life with from age 22 to 49 (now).

If I find out significant information has been withheld it's a dealbreaker for me. But if those two things (her timeline I just got and the upcoming polygraph) confirm she's been telling the truth, then I'll need to decide if on balance it's worth it for us to give this a shot.

I can't say today what my decision will be, because I'd be speculating in a vacuum.

[This message edited by Thumos at 4:22 PM, December 13th (Friday)]

ff4152 posted 12/13/2019 18:46 PM

I don’t think your decision is as straightforward as you mentioned. I’ve spent a lot of time reading here and one thing I’ve learned is there isn’t a one size fits all solution. It would be easy for me (or anyone else for that matter) to say “180, divorce her and don’t like back”. Of course it’s not that easy. Your child and their welfare is an important consideration. You’ve spent a good chunk of your life with someone and that’s not so easy to push aside either.

You mentioned all of the things she is doing right. Is that been happen just since August or longer?

But what about Thumos? Let’s say she passes the poly with flying colors, do you think you can finally climb that hill? Can you get passed the fact that your wife gave herself to another man? That she treated you so cruelly for so long? Emotionally, can you reach some kind of accommodation with those affronts that it will allow your relationship to continue?

Butforthegrace posted 12/13/2019 20:33 PM

Thumos:

A few thoughts, in no particular order.

The narrative of the A that your WW provided – little physical intimacy outside of kissing and passionate holding/groping (outside of clothes), one instance of PIV sex, and then more kissing – sounds unlikely, as you note. But sexual relationships even outside of adultery often take weird twists and turns; add adultery into the mix and they can be bizarre. I can tell you, for example, that I once spent a night in a hotel, as a single man, with a smoking hot single woman who wanted to have sex with me, but I rejected her, and it was purely because of some unrelated demons I had in my life at the time.

The narrative that could explain the timeline provided by your WW: she entered into the emotional affair with the AP because she was feeling starved of affection and he was showering her with it; he was pushy and moved things much faster, on the physical level, than she was ready for but she enjoyed the emotional attention and felt that he was more sexually sophisticated than she was, so she went along with it in order to not appear as a naïf; the sex occurred before she was ready for it and it was awkward for her; you caught then shortly thereafter, before it could ramp up into a longer term PA.

Of course, that narrative brings more focus on the AP, your “buddy”, because for that narrative to fit, your buddy the AP has to be cast as the affirmatively aggressive one who insinuated himself into your home and then looked you in the eye, smiled in your face, and enjoyed your hospitality as he aggressively tried to create an opportunity to fuck your wife and aggressively pushed his physical agenda with her, even to the point of making her feel awkward, uncomfortable, and in over her head.

The stuff you describe above about your WW, the good stuff she has been doing the past 3 years, was that stuff in place before the A? What kind of wife was she in the years prior to the A? Over time, that is the kind of wife she will be in the future.

The stuff she has been doing since August, driven by her nervousness about losing you, how long will that last if/when the threat of losing you is gone?

How do you and/or your WW answer the question about what she would do/feel if the roles were reversed and it were you who fucked the OBW in your marital home?

Most men here on SI feel that a WW bringing the AP into the marital home for sex represents a higher degree of sexual insult to them as men. I happen to agree with that. She shat where she eats. Even dogs don’t do that. That, coupled with all of the other “high insult” stuff she did in and around her A, it’s off the charts bad. I agree with BeyondRage on this point by the way – that there are “degrees” of cheating, some worse than others. The insult meter of your WW’s A is just so high. Inside of your WW is a person who would do that to her spouse. I have not seen you describe anything she has done to figure out what is fucked up in her soul that could cause her to treat you with that level of contempt. Until she figures that out and fixes it, she’s not a safe spouse.

Your son is 10. I think 10 is actually a “good” age for a child whose parents divorce. I understand that divorce can be hard on kids, but in general my observation about 10 is that they’re old enough that they don’t have that “baby” type of need for the parents, but they’re young enough that they can quickly and easily morph to new family arrangements as long as both parents treat him with love and respect. A friend of ours who divorced when her daughters were around 8 and 10 is now looking at her oldest daughter winning a bunch of prestigious academic awards and getting into several highly selective universities. The friend and her ex were devoted co-parents who gave their daughters a loving upbringing.

There are certain themes we see often on SI in terms of things that help BH’s heal:

(a) the WW doing “the work” to help him heal, mostly by patiently discussing the details of the A, over and over – clearly your WW has done almost nothing in this regard;

(b) the WW facing some consequence as a result of her A, such as quitting the hobby that created the opportunities for the A, or leaving a job where the COW AP works, or some such – I’m not aware that your WW has faced any consequences; and

(c) purging the marriage of all artifacts of the A (lingerie worn, gifts given, furniture fucked on, etc.), which includes purging all phone numbers of the AP, deleting social media, etc, and also changing the lifestyle to purge the AP from the family’s sphere of orbit – on this last point, your WW did nothing voluntarily at all in terms of items in the home, and due to the (un)fortunate selection of AP, she has forced you into a life where you must encounter the AP regularly, and again I’ve not seen you mention any steps she has taken to research new neighborhoods to move to and/or selling some favorite things of hers to fund the transaction costs of moving.

I point those out because, although she may be a good wife in some ways, she is not a good wife in the way that matters most: helping you heal from the A. Her entire approach has been to try to get you to simply forget that it happened, put it out of your mind, to rug-sweep. My gut tells me that she will expect this again, that she views her disclosure theater as a one-act play and she has taken her curtain call. R works when the A is acknowledged as a permanent third member of the marriage. Only in that way, by embracing it, talking about it, recognizing it, can it gradually diminish in importance. I don’t hear from you that your WW has expressed a courageous embrace of this challenge, driven by her love for you and her dedication to making your marriage a good one.

I know I’ve hammered this point home, a lot, but I think that what you’re getting now from your WW is the absolute best you’re ever going to get from her. Among other things, this means she is never going to do any work to help you heal, and she is never going to patiently discuss the A with you on a regular basis until you have been able to wrap your mind around it, completely grok it from all angles, and then forget that it’s there.

Instead, you’re going to stare at a Thumos in the mirror in 10 years with the knowledge that your WW devoted fourth quarter 2016 to emasculating and insulting you to the highest possible degree, in a way that was incredibly insulting and degrading, only stopping because she was caught and cornered, and she has done nothing to heal it and has suffered zero consequences because of it.

I’m not suggesting where you go with that. Only you know you. Part of the equation for any BS, especially age 50, is “the devil you know versus the devil you don’t know.” I think, frankly, that’s what you’re wrestling with now. I’ve suggested meeting with a lawyer, not to file a divorce, but rather to understand divorce. Get a little acquainted with that other devil to demystify the choice a bit. Your hesitance to do that smacks of an insistence on keeping that other devil at arm’s length, truly an unknown. That’s your call if it’s what you want to do, but at least be honest with yourself at the present time about this because I guarantee you that Thumos at age 60, or 70, is going to be brutally and unflinchingly honest with you.

[This message edited by Butforthegrace at 6:42 AM, December 14th (Saturday)]

Thumos posted 12/14/2019 10:31 AM

You mentioned all of the things she is doing right. Is that been happen just since August or longer?

No that has been happening much longer - I would say pretty consistently for almost the entire three years, even in the midst of not doing the other things I asked and while she said the “tentpole” harmful things that have caused me so much angst.

Thumos posted 12/14/2019 10:39 AM

Of course, that narrative brings more focus on the AP, your “buddy”, because for that narrative to fit, your buddy the AP has to be cast as the affirmatively aggressive one who insinuated himself into your home and then looked you in the eye, smiled in your face, and enjoyed your hospitality as he aggressively tried to create an opportunity to fuck your wife and aggressively pushed his physical agenda with her, even to the point of making her feel awkward, uncomfortable, and in over her head.

Yes, I do think that narrative fits actually. He’s pretty much a scumbag and I’ve come to learn some things since then that solidify that I won’t go into here. But one example: his current wife became his wife because he targeted her while she was in her first marriage. They had an affair and she left her husband for my wife’s AP. I think this is one reason the OBS wasn’t responsive to me when I reached out. She’s a cheater too.

Now, I want to be careful about this narrative because in some sense it lets my wife off the hook. He was “directing” her and she “went along” with it but that’s because she enjoyed the ride and liked having him tell her what to do. In one of the conversations I recorded, she’s talking to him with knowing chuckles, very worldly, very aware of what she’s doing. He was NOT some Svengali who had her under mind control.

[This message edited by Thumos at 10:45 AM, December 14th (Saturday)]

Thumos posted 12/14/2019 10:44 AM

I’ve suggested meeting with a lawyer, not to file a divorce, but rather to understand divorce. Get a little acquainted with that other devil to demystify the choice a bit. Your hesitance to do that smacks of an insistence on keeping that other devil at arm’s length, truly an unknown

This is a good push. Thank you.

Thumos posted 12/16/2019 08:56 AM

So in the middle of some final work travel for the year I am trying to get the poly scheduled this week. After talking to some folks who've had them done, I've decided not to limit to 1 question and ask three instead. The accuracy goes down a little with each added question, but not much.

Here are my questions:

1. Did you have sex with the AP more than once?

2. Did you perform any sexual acts of any kind on or near the marital bed?

3. Did you perform any sexual acts of any kind in his truck, your vehicle, or anywhere else?

The poly examiner will help me hone these obviously, but I'm just curious about anyone's opinions who might have been following this thread.

These three questions will get at the heart of whether the narrative she's been giving me is the truth. Yes, they are all about sex, but that is what nags at me in terms of her truthfulness. I also have an IC appt today to talk about all of this.

hikingout posted 12/16/2019 09:17 AM

Thumos, I honestly have only begun following your story in the past few weeks, so I haven't read this whole thread, but this list:

1. Many acts of service every single day.
2. Stepping up and completely running the household with almost no help from me.
3. Lots of consistent, spontaneous physical affection (not just sex). Sex whenever I want it consistently.
4. Arranging for and planning trips, concerts, outings.
5. Spoiling me with gifts. These don't feel like bribes, but rather honest gifts.
6. A lot of heartfelt apologizing in writing and in person. Not just "I'm sorry."
7. Updating me all the time consistently on her schedule and where she is. Checking in consistently.
8. Wanting to spend time with me but also willing to back off when I need space.
9. Indulging my hobbies and interests totally.

That is really very good that she has done that consistently, BFTG mentioned that the problem is she won't talk about the affair or hasn't worked on herself.

I guess to me this is contradictory - a WW who hasn't worked on herself would not be likely to fulfill this list. She would instead be looking for you to make her feel better, and what you could be doing for her. That does not seem to be the case here? Yes/No?

I know you all just had a big two hour disclosure - so he must be right that she hasn't been forth coming? She is doing this now because you have given her kind of an ultimatum of sorts?

This narrative though:

The narrative that could explain the timeline provided by your WW: she entered into the emotional affair with the AP because she was feeling starved of affection and he was showering her with it; he was pushy and moved things much faster, on the physical level, than she was ready for but she enjoyed the emotional attention and felt that he was more sexually sophisticated than she was, so she went along with it in order to not appear as a naïf; the sex occurred before she was ready for it and it was awkward for her; you caught then shortly thereafter, before it could ramp up into a longer term PA.

I would say this was my narrative to a certain degree as well. I made conscious decisions, but I would say the AP was sexually pushy and often pushed boundaries in that regard. Sometimes he would even recognize it and apologize, without my having said anything, so I think he did it to move things along and then apologized to manipulate me. Honestly, I don't think the physical would have happened any sooner had we been in proximity of one another, I think we would have had a bigger push/pull. The sex stuff wasn't something I really cared about, and so that always brings up the rage of then why do it at all?

Affairs are manipulative in nature. Two people having them almost always have their own motivations, and it's part of the manipulation that the other person is conceding to the others wishes to get their own filled.

I hope the polygraph goes well. I think knowing for sure will help make things a lot more definitive for you.

This list you gave - either you will find out it's a manipulation, or you will find it to be sincere and I think the answers lie in that polygraph. It truly is a long time to manipulate someone though.

For what it's worth, I have given it a lot of thought and if H wanted a Poly, I think I would panic too. There is zero I haven't told him though, it is my distrust in them, worrying about my anxiety in the answers because I over think things. Her resistance could be that, but I guess you will soon know.

Thumos posted 12/16/2019 09:31 AM

For what it's worth, I have given it a lot of thought and if H wanted a Poly, I think I would panic too. There is zero I haven't told him though, it is my distrust in them, worrying about my anxiety in the answers because I over think things. Her resistance could be that, but I guess you will soon know.

This is what she says. She does have legitimate anxiety issues and has for most of her life. She did have a panic attack in her IC's office a few weeks ago when it became clear I was going to insist on the poly. That required an ER visit; however, while it was a legit panic attack, there were aspects of it that did feel somewhat manipulative to me.

And after talking to a poly examiner, it's pretty clear to me that they can account for and adjust their results based on anxiety, elevated BP and heart rate, respiration, etc. Everyone is nervous doing a poly.


She is doing this now because you have given her kind of an ultimatum of sorts?

That's correct. In August, after she reacted very poorly when I sent her links to a podcast about betrayal trauma, I took off my ring and told her that her refusal to do some basic bare minimums (STD test, written timeline, polygraph, going to see an IC for herself) were causing me to want to leave the marriage. She started responding immediately.

I guess to me this is contradictory - a WW who hasn't worked on herself would not be likely to fulfill this list. She would instead be looking for you to make her feel better, and what you could be doing for her. That does not seem to be the case here? Yes/No?

I think it's a mixed bag. I think she legitimately wants to fix things, legitimately loves me, but has bad coping mechanisms and she's horrified and repelled by what she's done and the damage it has caused. All of the fallout I think overwhelms her. I get it. I think she wants to run from the affair rather than confront it and she has encouraged rugsweeping.

[This message edited by Thumos at 9:32 AM, December 16th (Monday)]

Butforthegrace posted 12/16/2019 10:10 AM

has bad coping mechanisms and she's horrified and repelled by what she's done and the damage it has caused. All of the fallout I think overwhelms her.

Fundamentally, waywards become wayward due to selfishness. The thing you describe above, that is simply a continuation of selfishness. Selfishness in this context is simply a continuation of wayward behavior. A failure to address her issues and fix them.

People stay married all the time without R, and you may decide to do this as well. But I'm reminding you that R works when the WW is courageous and unselfish. Your marriage is not in R as that phrase is understood generally here on SI.

Thumos posted 12/16/2019 11:03 AM

I guess to me this is contradictory

Hiking out, here's a Reader's Digest version.

Yes, it is very contradictory. That's why I'm in limbo. She has also done and said a number of hurtful things since D-Day. She trickle truthed initially before admitting to "one time" sex in our home.

Other things include:

* She never got an STD panel to see if she’d exposed us both to disease. She was upset and embarrassed about having to reveal this to me, and got angry and shouted “That’s what adults do!” (After I grew upset that they’d had unprotected sex).
* She never wrote out a detailed timeline
* She told me “I don’t remember” and “I don’t know” and even once “that’s private” to many of my questions. (My head is so muddled now I can’t even track which questions I’ve asked and can’t even remember her responses or when she said these things. I just know she did).
* I never scheduled a polygraph. She thought it was a ridiculous idea and was angry and hurt about it. She only has agreed to it recently.
* She never let me see the texts. They’re long gone now - she has a new phone.
* She read McDonald’s book but told me it was heavy-handed and that she felt she was already doing it. She hasn’t read much else (unless you count Esther Perel) but finds time for pleasurable novel reading every single night.
* She never got rid of a key memento/gift from OM from the affair that was given to her the day they had sex and then was "sold" to me as a gift to both of us; It was left to me to do that. She simply told me I could get rid of it if I wanted to. Several months later, I dragged it to a dumpster and threw it in.
* She deliberately put herself in a situation where sex was not only possible but guaranteed to happen. She planned it. She won’t cop to this and kept insisting "it just happened."
* She delivered many usual/cliched lines “it was meaningless sex” “I didn’t mean to hurt you” “It wasn’t about you” “I thought you wouldn’t care” “It was just a fling” - these things and more have eaten away at me and eroded my affection.
* She has grown increasingly suspicious that I am going to cheat. I have not. I’m not interested in an RA. I will say that if I meet the right woman and I want that, I will definitely consider separating and then pursuing another relationship. That hasn’t happened.
* She tore down my character to the OM and I got to hear that. I got to hear them joking and laughing about me and the OBS. At one point they both commiserated about "why are we married to such assholes?"
* I got to hear her tell OM “I don’t care” about me.
* I got to hear her use little mannerisms and verbal affection cues I thought were exclusive for me.
* She’s told me my attitude toward sex is “immature” because: 1. I’ve only been intimate my entire life with one woman, her. Implying I lack experience to understand mature sex. 2. Because I can’t understand that the “one time” she had sex with OM was just “meaningless” and she didn’t enjoy it anyway.
*We had a strange conversation in which she tried to argue that I saw our wedding vows in black and white terms while she saw them differently and said "We've both violated our vows in different ways" (which isn't true).

Most of the hurtful things that were said happened in the first year after D-Day, but it was incredibly damaging to what shred of trust I had left, and diminished my affections for her rapidly (I now would liken my "love" for her more as a combination of the kind of affection one might have for a live-in girlfriend, the respect I continue to have for her as the mother of my children, and the lust I would have for any attractive woman). I've never been able to get back a feeling of specialness for her or a sense of being deeply in love. I hold myself back and it's difficult for me to see how that changes any time soon.

And there's a compound nature to the affair that makes it "off the charts" in some key ways:

1. It was with a friend of mine. A man I still have to see often. He was in our home all the time, over to have a drink of wine in the evening, doing work in our home for us, etc.
2. He was the father of my youngest child's best friend. They still attend school together and are in the same class, and yes they are still friends. It's confusing for them that they can't have playdates.
3. There were some gaslighting elements that were hard-edged and cruel, including separating from me when I soft-confronted on the phone records showing how much they were talking, successfully convincing me I'd falsely accused her (and the guilt I carried over this), trying to convince me to go on anxiety/SSRI medication for my "unfounded paranoia, and also essentially rubbing my face in the affair in a number of different ways.
4. She also plowed on through my soft confront and then invited the AP over to have unprotected sex in our home, a place that is supposed to be inviolate, while I was out of town.
5. Our kids were caught up in two ways: Our youngest in the form of "dates" that masqueraded as playdates and our oldest child suspecting that something was going on (and now she knows definitively that her mom committed adultery).

Anyway, it sounded like you were new to the topic, so this provides a bit of a recap.

So here's where I am after the two-hour disclosure session last week:

1. I believe the general outlines of it. I'm withholding judgement until she passes a poly.

2. I believe she is still not completely taking responsibility for her choices. In some respects yes, in other areas, no. For example, during last week's disclosure session, there was a continuing narrative about how manipulative and convincing her AP was. This may be true, but it shows a mentality seeking to put the onus for her choices somewhere else, seeking to make this into a story about how she was manipulated into having sex with him.

3. I stopped wearing my wedding ring in August. So it took four months from that time for her to deliver this timeline. Four months. And that's after I'd been asking for it on and off for three years.

4. I was hoping my WW would offer more insight for her cruel gaslighting during the affair. She didn't do that, so it remains a big question mark in my mind. It makes me very wary of her in so many ways.

5. She let drop a fairly significant new piece of information: That on a particular night early on in the physical aspect (according to her timeline) he'd invited her to come over to an empty townhouse -- obviously for sex. Her narrative is that she turned him down. On this same night, I was at an event in a far flung area of the city, and she was at a Christmas gathering at a home with girlfriends. She engineered the circumstances of that evening to make sure I would be at the separate event, and even pushed me into going to this other event as an obligation ('one of us has to go') while she was with her girlfriends. She documented it with a group picture for me - something she never does (this gathering with her girlfriends is an annual event). Now, she's telling me for the first time that night he invited her to an empty townhouse. This is also the evening I woke up in the middle of the night with a "3 a.m. epiphany" suspecting my wife.

6. I'd be some of kind real chump and pitiable putz if I accepted at face value her claims that over a four-week period all of their kissing and touching was limited to deep kissing and warm embraces, except for the "one time" they had sex in our home. I still don't believe this narrative, even after she repeated it in our two-hour disclosure session.

This is why the poly is so important at this stage.

[This message edited by Thumos at 11:07 AM, December 16th (Monday)]

Butforthegrace posted 12/16/2019 12:58 PM

Hiking, the big two hour disclosure fell almost on the eve of the 3rd anti-versary of Thumos' DDay. It took three years of badgering and demanding, including 4 months of "ring off, I want a divorce" for her to do even that minimum level of disclosing.

And I'm pretty certain that there have been essentially zero discussions between Thimos and his WW about the A at any substantive level outside of the setting of MC.

hikingout posted 12/16/2019 13:12 PM

Fundamentally, waywards become wayward due to selfishness. The thing you describe above, that is simply a continuation of selfishness. Selfishness in this context is simply a continuation of wayward behavior. A failure to address her issues and fix them.

I don't know if waywards become wayward due to selfishness. For me that was a symptom, not a cause. But, I agree there is always work that has to be done, so I am not disagreeing with you on what I think you are fundamentally saying.

It's never going to be as simple as saying "stop being selfish", the behaviors we ALL have are ingrained due to a pattern of thinking. Rewiring that is a process that does take a shit ton of work and motivation, so I do get that I may be splitting hairs on that one.

BraveSirRobin posted 12/16/2019 13:18 PM

Honestly, I think you are limiting yourself too much with those questions. What I would ask is: Did you deliberately withhold any information about sexual contact with AP from your written timeline? Did you have sexual intercourse with AP at any time other than the confessed incident in the marital home?

That's what you really need to know. Whether it was in a truck or a few feet from the bed isn't likely to be the deciding factor in R or D. The heart of the matter is whether, at this late date, she still doesn't believe that you are entitled to the truth. You need broader questions to determine this.

I would absolutely love to be proved wrong, but my gut is telling me that she is going to fail.

Buck posted 12/16/2019 13:38 PM

Thumos, what is your plan if she fails the poly? Your questions seem like you already are anticipating her failing.

Like BSR mentioned, question 3 seems to overlap with question 1. If she's confessed to sex once in your home, no oral ever, why ask the sex acts in the vehicle question? Just wondering if I'm off base on what you've posted.

Maybe ask if she deliberately lied during the recent disclosure? Of course, the examiner will likely church up the question, but you get the idea.

hikingout posted 12/16/2019 14:18 PM

It's unacceptable she wouldn't have an STD panel.

The other day you gave a list the other day in the WS forum and then some of those things are here and more. My first reaction was, H would divorce me. But, as I dissected some of those things were me early on. I realized only had the reaction to them knowing you were 3 years out (which is a little more than H and I - my A ended 2.5 years ago). I can see that she hasn't gone back and reflected on her behaviors on that first year and how they were maybe as harmful or more harmful to you as the affair. This is something you both are going to need to sit down and talk about if she passes the poly. You will very much need to see her evolution on this, I think that may even be a bigger obstacle than the poly itself.

I think BFTG is right - the problem is she feels she can fix this by being a better wife, but she really has to examine how she got to this place to begin with. Reading Esther Pearl is a problem, because all that has done is validated some of her decisions and enabled her to assign further blame to you for her affair. That lady really should be banned.

To me, it was the individual work that made other things work. I read a lot of self help more than I did affair books.

IC is important. FOO is important, I know you are not a fan. We have to trace who we are and how we got to be that way so that we can break inherent patterns.

FOO is not what caused the cheating
, but it's what gives you clues as to where some of our character flaws comes from and finding healthier thoughts and behaviors to replace them with.

The whys of the affair, are really not whys of the affair - it's really understanding what your deficits are that
1) made you want the affair
2) allowed you to go through with the affair
3) enabled you to act certain ways after the affair

From those, needs to be plans to work on all those things. I had a pretty big list. Some of those things will only ever improve, not be resolved.

The other thing that was hard was H really didn't communicate a lot of the things that he found hurtful. You would think I could figure it out as a fellow human being, but it really took reading here and what other BS's were feeling to see it in him and to acknowledge that was another facet of my behavior. Would you ever consider her joining here (passing the poly contingent)?

The things she said were horrible, and of course it's beyond hurtful and would keep you from wanting to be vulnerable enough with her to feel that you were in love with her. Hard to forget when someone tears you down in that way, especially the person who is supposed to love you.


I can only tell you that was very likely her way of justifying her affair. We do tell ourselves stories that aren't true so we can continue to do whatever the hell we want. I told myself that my husband had too many expectations of me and that made him controlling. I can tell you my husband is the least controlling person I know...like by a landslide.

I know it's hard to dismiss those things, but if she does pass the poly and you do decide to reconcile, you are going to probably want to understand how cognitive dissonance works a little more so that you can eventually dismiss it. But, that's down the road stuff. If she doesn't pass these are the things you can use to fuel your resolve.

You may really think "the fog" is bullshit. And, it really is in the context in which you understand it. But, did you read my last couple responses to your "Myth's" post. Honestly, when we are fucked up enough to have an affair, it's because of the stories we fed ourselves. We lied to ourselves. We justified. We made the BS the villain. I said a lot of sketchy things, maybe not as shitty as some of these things you list, after the A. None of it was true, it was complete bullshit. Does she tell you that what she said and did was bullshit? Does she try to relate to you how she feels about it now? These are important things for you guys to discuss, after the poly of course. You all will not be able to move forward until that happens. And, honestly if she hasn't done some of the work I mentioned I am not sure she has learned these things. Until she learns them she can't even begin to claim to be a safe place for you.

* She’s told me my attitude toward sex is “immature” because: 1. I’ve only been intimate my entire life with one woman, her. Implying I lack experience to understand mature sex. 2. Because I can’t understand that the “one time” she had sex with OM was just “meaningless” and she didn’t enjoy it anyway.

Is this still something she believes? I hate to be a broken record but most every ws will say shit in the beginning to deflect what we have done. I And, I also get how if she never apologized for these specific statements and explained how her thinking evolved (if it in fact did). These are below the belt for sure, and I can't even imagine the salt that was in the wound. It's really putting into question your manhood and sexuality. I think this is something that needs to be revisited in MC or IC or somewhere.



(I now would liken my "love" for her more as a combination of the kind of affection one might have for a live-in girlfriend, the respect I continue to have for her as the mother of my children, and the lust I would have for any attractive woman). I've never been able to get back a feeling of specialness for her or a sense of being deeply in love. I hold myself back and it's difficult for me to see how that changes any time soon.

I can understand that. And, in the end it really might be a deal breaker for you. After the poly, if she passes, and you decide to move towards R, you have some big discussions ahead of you. A lot of the success of moving towards R would be on her to show her thought evolution enough to demonstrate remorse for those actions, as well as be able to show how she has worked on those character flaws to be a better person.

This is why the poly is so important at this stage.

I don't question that. i would never question any bs who felt they needed one.

Thanks for the recap. I had started following more closely prior to the disclosure session. I can understand some of the situation is more aggravating than others. I am not sure that my H could handle having to see the AP all the time, for example.

My best advice would be if she passes the poly, and you still lean towards R is she is going to have to show a lot of thought evolution, and where there are still deficits she is going to need to work on that. And, you may need to soften and look at some of the concepts that right now it seems you completely dismiss as hogwash. FOO, cognitive dissonance, etc. I don't say that for her sake, I say it for your sake of really starting to understand some of the psychology that is so common to an affair it's cliché. I think you resist some of those things because you need to hold on to some of your anger for now (understandably so), but by dismissing them out of hand (and some of the concepts you just have them defined differently than the way a healthy WS would define them) is going to keep you from being able to see that all this stuff about you was likely just a web of lies she fed herself. Obviously, she finds you worthy to work on being a good wife - I would guess she is just really not informed when it comes to some of the other heavy lifting she needs to do.

I say all this with your best interests in mind because if you are going to stay in this marriage some of those things will be the way you can unlock some of your peace of mind in doing so. Best wishes.

[This message edited by hikingout at 2:21 PM, December 16th (Monday)]

Butforthegrace posted 12/16/2019 14:30 PM

Hiking, I like your "below the belt" comment. Thumos' WW fought dirty, and she did it (a) to preserve the intimacy of the A and protect it from her marriage, and (b) to bully Thumos into rug sweeping. Yes, much of it occurred in year 1 after DDay, but I think that is mainly because Thumos STFU after year one and just quietly simmered in his own resentment for a year.

Thumos WW has not, to my knowledge, made any attempt to make amends for some of the truly awful things she did and said. For example, during her actual PA, when Thumos suspected and confronted, she told him that he was crazy and needed to see a psychiatrist and be medicated. Yes, that's right, she pushed for him to be medicated so she could carry on with her PA. It was only after he recorded her with a VAR and confronted her that she confessed.

Since then, it has been DARVO, blame shift, and rug sweep.

[This message edited by Butforthegrace at 2:30 PM, December 16th (Monday)]

Marz posted 12/16/2019 14:33 PM

Maybe you should put some thought into "is it a dealbreaker or not"?

hikingout posted 12/16/2019 14:55 PM

I don't doubt any of that BFTG.

I think that in many ways, some of her behaviors are of someone who had an affair and is uniformed in many ways in the aftermath. That's not to excuse any of it, but I think there is a lot that this site and other things teach that would have helped inform. If you have Esther Perle and possibly the wrong kind of marriage counselor, a wayward could easily continue to believe things that are not accurate. That they cheated because of the marriage, the spouse, etc.

The evidence I see towards the positive is she has tried to fix it by being a better wife because that is what she knew to do. If she actually passes the poly, there is more progress that needs to happen. I am hopeful for Thumos that it will happen in that case because I do believe despite everything, he wants his marriage. If she passes the poly, that will set a lot to rest for him. However, I would agree with you the bigger issues are still to be addressed.

I like Sisoon's way of looking at it - wayward heals wayward, BS heals BS, (wayward provides an environment in which BS can heal), and together they heal the relationship. I don't think it's all that uncommon that many people just try and heal the relationship. They think that's what needs to happen, and for this couple that's what has gone on and for too long. His wife still has unhealthy attitudes, Thumos has understandably not been able to heal in that environment.

Butforthegrace posted 12/16/2019 15:11 PM

I think that in many ways, some of her behaviors are of someone who had an affair and is uniformed in many ways in the aftermath. That's not to excuse any of it, but I think there is a lot that this site and other things teach that would have helped inform. If you have Esther Perle and possibly the wrong kind of marriage counselor, a wayward could easily continue to believe things that are not accurate. 

I have had the same thought many times. Thumos early posts mention that he and his WW had significant pressure to rug sweep by their Christian community, by the MC they engaged right after Dday, and by her family.

Yet there is the matter of degree. Thumos WW gaslighted him during the A in a manner that was shockingly cruel even by SI standards. Her betrayal was a double betrayal and she carried it on in his own home, right before his eyes. The man she chose to have an A with is a man whom she knows Thumos will encounter frequently as a part his regular life, a neighbor and father of their sons friend. She involved the son in her A, using play dates as a subterfuge for A meetups.

In the aftermath of DDay, she impugned and belittled and demeaned his manhood in her effort to cudgel him into rug sweeping.

In the big picture her A, though short lived, paints a picture of a WW who was intentionally making an effort to injure him badly. To grind his face in it and leave him with a lifetime of salt in the wound. A level of malevolence and emotional violence that should scare anybody who is in a relationship with her unless and until she does the work to figure that out and fix it.

In the three years since, she has done nothing to help him heal. The lagniappe he gave her for the sex, Thumos had to throw that out. The bed they had sex on. Never mind make zero suggestions to change their lifestyle to remove the AP from Thumos daily life.

[This message edited by Butforthegrace at 3:17 PM, December 16th (Monday)]

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