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Feeling Stuck in Anger/Plain of Lethal Flatness Phase

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hikingout posted 12/18/2019 16:09 PM

I don't understand it either (taking it knowing she would fail). I think the whole time she thought she could evade the poly and the walls are closing in on her. I am seeing that by how you are describing her behavior. She is saying:

What if I fail?

How can we stay a family for our son if I fail?

The reason I said check her browser is she may really look up how to beat a poly, I have seen that happen over and over here.

I think she is going to do what she can do to wiggle out of it, and as things get closer she is either going to:
1. Again refuse the poly.
2. Create a seemingly legit reason - sick, panick attack, etc why she can't do it then.
3. Realize she is not going to get out of it and confess prior to the poly.

I would never have said this earlier this week, when it was successful disclosure session, then proceeding to the poly. Instead it is looking like she is trying anything she can to find a way out of it, she is panicking, and she is working vague angles to see if she can get you to latch on to any of them.

If she passes this thing, I will feel such relief and will be happy for you. I agree it won't be a fix all, but the way this is going, I don't believe you know the facts right now. I don't think a person how hasn't been lying act like she is on any of it. I would be nervous about it, but I wouldn't be nervous for any reason other than it being a polygraph and maybe not trusting that it will know I am telling the truth. Her reaction just doesn't seem congruent to what is being asked of her. And, I am sure her mom is in her ear telling her that it's crazy. I wish I could say something more calming than this, I really do.

[This message edited by hikingout at 4:12 PM, December 18th (Wednesday)]

Thumos posted 12/18/2019 16:15 PM

I wish I could say I disagree about MIL. I had a long conversation with my MIL after the panic attack laying out all that had happened the past three years, the hurtful things my WW has said, the lack of trust and lack of transparency.

She never objected when I talked about the polygraph, she just started crying and said she hoped we would stay together and that I'd always be welcome in our house. But of course, I haven't VAR'd in three years since the affair. I have no idea what is being said behind the scenes.

I'll start looking at browser histories. I asked her today for her iCloud credentials so I can at least attempt Fonelab on her account. She hasn't responded yet.

[This message edited by Thumos at 4:16 PM, December 18th (Wednesday)]

Buck posted 12/18/2019 16:16 PM

Thumos, I get it. It just seems like your WW is going to extremes to conceal the truth. The panic attack has shady aspects, building her case because of anxiety, trying to sway your therapists are all pretty out there behaviors. All of this for 3 years?! Honestly, just reading your story frustrates the hell out of me and I don't have a dog in the fight. I truly can't imagine how it's impacting you. Are you going to be able to attempt R even with favorable poly results?

How are you doing with all of this?

Thumos posted 12/18/2019 16:18 PM

Honestly I'm freaking out a little. Getting those old twinges of anxiety and panicky feelings, that cold knot in my stomach, slightly elevated BP, headaches, etc. Hard to focus on my very demanding job. If she feels like the walls are closing in so do I. I'm trying to take care of myself, drinking water, sleeping. I notice my appetite has dropped the past few days, which is very unusual for me. I didn't even have a drop in appetite during her affair or after it.

[This message edited by Thumos at 4:20 PM, December 18th (Wednesday)]

Buck posted 12/18/2019 16:25 PM

Hang in there bud.

I think it's wise to mentally prepare yourself for both outcomes. My WW lied so much I had a hard time believing her polygraph pass results and the circumstances around the poly were noting like yours.

Thumos posted 12/18/2019 16:28 PM

I'm trying. I'm certainly not backing down, I'll tell you that for damn sure. I've come this far.

I'm freaking out because I really didn't think we'd get to this point with her acting so shifty. I really thought when she was so comforting back in September and told me to schedule the poly whenever I wanted it that she'd turned a corner and was "getting it."

Now I realize she was banking on the status quo of the past three years and that she was thinking she'd be able to bargain (or even manipulate) her way out of it if push came to shove. She started looking for exits from her commitment in late September and now here we are.

This is a pressure cooker for both us and I can't predict anything anymore about where we will be next Tuesday.

[This message edited by Thumos at 4:29 PM, December 18th (Wednesday)]

Thumos posted 12/18/2019 16:32 PM

if she backs out of the poly, I'll more than likely have to go for an in-home separation given our financial situation right now (a lot of pressure points coming to bear all at once like our daughter's college costs).

I realize IHS is a special kind of hell. I lived it about ten days during the affair when she separated from me after I soft confronted with the phone records.

Striver posted 12/18/2019 16:42 PM

It is all the manipulation and spin I feel from your WW that kills it for me. Yeah, you empathize with her, but does she with you?

I kind of doubt that the poly will end all of the manipulation. I think you will just have to call it at some point, one way or another.

My ex was, is, a very clever woman as well. I have come to see the downside of that.

Thumos posted 12/18/2019 16:48 PM

I have had thoughts of calling the patient more recently.

I can see why a lot of people warn that trying for reconciliation isn’t for the faint of heart. I’ve invested a lot of time in trying to figure things out. I don’t regret the past three years — as I said previously, I ensured my oldest child is almost done with high school, with a great lineup of AP coursework, Latin instruction, good ACT scores and acceptance from half a dozen good universities. My youngest child has had three more years of stability and the presence of a loving father.

BUT...

As I continue to reflect, I feel manipulated and conned by someone who is not really trying to get it, and who is not willing to be transparent. As in Joseph’s letter, I have compassion for where she landed herself. I really do. I’m just not sure I need to stick around for the rest of the shitshow. I have a feeling the next few days are going to be quite a rollercoaster.

I feel shaky and anxious but also resolute. I needed this to happen. This should have happened three years ago. It’s like I’ve been frozen in amber.

[This message edited by Thumos at 4:51 PM, December 18th (Wednesday)]

Butforthegrace posted 12/18/2019 17:14 PM

For some reason, my gut feeling about this all along is that she isnt hiding anything. I can't explain why I feel that way. But I do.

I do think she has been cruel and selfish to an extreme degree, even by SI standards.

As to the poly, I think her anxiety condition is causing worry about it to eat away at her.

Thumos posted 12/18/2019 17:18 PM

For some reason, my gut feeling about this all along is that she isnt hiding anything. I can't explain why I feel that way. But I do.

I'd like to think that's the case and certainly hope so. I don't trust my gut like I used to, so it's difficult to say either way.

Her behaviors are of someone in panic mode, but like the old saw about "correlation is not causation" we (including myself, a person right in the actual thick of it) could be misjudging her reasons that could have more to do with the above. Because we're all jaded and cynical and we've seen this play out so many times in the "cheater's script."

In which case, I'm subjecting her to an exquisite torture that I don't feel good about. But I need to know.

hikingout posted 12/18/2019 17:26 PM

That is true- we only have what you are telling us and your own lens could be skewed. I truly hope that is the case.

Neanderthal posted 12/18/2019 17:27 PM

She never objected when I talked about the polygraph, she just started crying and said she hoped we would stay together
This sounds like her mom knows more details than you. She could be possibly advising her to not tell. Think back to that conversation. Could she be crying because she knows what will happen if you go through the poly? This is all speculation, but it could explain the possible set up anxiety attack. Mother's will help protect there kids at almost any cost.

Thumos posted 12/18/2019 17:44 PM

Could she be crying because she knows what will happen if you go through the poly?

While I know blood is thicker than water, after sitting down with MIL, if she's actively encouraging her daughter to keep things from me, I'd be genuinely shocked and devastated. That would be out of character. This woman is probably the best MIL anyone could ever hope for.

(EDIT: She always expressed to me that she could see some of what was happening in the affair, although she didn't know. She was observing my WW's behaviors, losing weight, getting fit, dressing up for AP, the deepening "Friendship" and she got worried. She didn't know, but she has expressed to me several times she wishes she could go back and slap some sense into her daughter and tell her to knock off whatever was going on.)

She has been nothing but kind to me. Consistently. She hugged me and said whatever I did, I would always be welcome in her home. She's never tried to defend what her daughter did, never tried to rationalize it. The only time she ever grew frustrated was back during the panic attack. She didn't yell at me or lash out. She just said, "your marriage is terrible" - it wasn't said in an unkind way, even though it didn't sit well with me. I understand her frustration. She's watching her daughter, a human she birthed and held in her arms as a baby, suffer for foolish choices.

Her tears in the conversation with me were not "abutted" next to our conversation about the poly or my need to get the truth. I feel she really got this.

Her tears were later in the conversation, much later, when she talked about her own grief at the prospect of losing a good son in law she considers a son, and the general havoc we all know divorce unleashes on kids.

You could be right and I've had occasional suspicions, but I can only go on what I'm told or how people represent themselves.

I also want to add that my SIL has been supportive. There really haven't been any major consequences for my WW's relationship with her mother or sister, other than the shame of knowing their disappointment. But my SIL was genuinely shocked when I blew up the affair. She had no idea. She began weeping because she was completely in the dark and realized how deeply her own sister had betrayed her brother in law. I believe her and I believe my MIL when they insist they knew nothing.

Given my WW's absolute secrecy on this, that also lends support to their contention they knew nothing.

I don't think they've encouraged her to keep secrets either. My MIL did not think I should see the texts, but that was less about hiding important information and more about her fear she expressed to me of retraumatizing myself with unnecessary detail (and let's be honest there is legitimate debate on SI about this topic as well). When my SIL did found out that my WW was withholding the information about sex, she encourage my WW to tell me. She said "thank God," when she found out I knew.

[This message edited by Thumos at 5:58 PM, December 18th (Wednesday)]

Thumos posted 12/18/2019 17:52 PM

That is true- we only have what you are telling us and your own lens could be skewed. I truly hope that is the case.

Let's stipulate that my own lens is most certainly skewed. There's no way it couldn't be. That's why I keep reminding people I'm an anonymous poster on the internet giving you my side of the story. I'm hurt, traumatized, angry, at times the past three years I felt I might be having a nervous breakdown, and I've felt paralyzed and numb too.

With all of that in mind, there's no way I am a reliable narrator. That's why I think it's important to occasionally step back and give as much context as I can -- or to cop to something I got wrong (like the detail about the girls night out - I was wrong about that).

Anyway, yes I hope I'm wrong. I have a professional background that does give me an odd ability to step outside myself sometimes and try to provide you all with "objective" information. The way I've represented the past couple of days is, I believe, largely objective. But again, we don't know what's going on in the black box of my WW's own mind.

[This message edited by Thumos at 6:00 PM, December 18th (Wednesday)]

BraveSirRobin posted 12/18/2019 18:22 PM

I mean, don't get me wrong. I have a bottle of champagne in the refrigerator, and if Thumos comes here Monday night and says she passed the poly, I will pop the cork and drink the whole damn thing and celebrate into the wee hours (put this on the Google calendar, TimeSpiral).

But it's my New Year's champagne, and I don't think I'm in any danger of having to replace it. Why did Neanderthal's wife agree to a poly she knew she would not pass? Because she thought the truth would kill the M, and she hoped against hope that she could find some way to avoid admitting it. That he would decide to believe her. A liar trying to avoid a poly by agreeing to take it is nothing new under the sun.

I just don't want you to have any false hope here, Thumos. And I don't want you to fall for her backup plan, which could be to go ahead and fail it and then either (A) blame it on anxiety or (B) tell you one more piece of TT and say, "That's all now, that's everything." Then you'd have to schedule another poly to confirm that's really it, which she is pretty sure you won't do, and in any case, she still has "they don't always work" as an ace in the hole.

I want to mention one more thing, since I'm being such a Debbie Downer. This is your life and your marriage. It is not anyone else's. No matter what you say you're going to do if she fails it, you don't actually KNOW what you're going to do if she fails it, and you won't know until Monday night, and possibly long after that. And that is your right.

My concern is just to be sure that you make your calculations with a clear head and not a pipe full of hopium. If she fails the poly, it will be because she is continuing to lie, and about serious things, not little details. When that happens, you may find that despite everything you believed about a "package of non-negotiables," you don't want to break up your marriage. You may make the call she's banking on, that your family life matters more to you than the truth does.

I think that would be a mistake, because the uncertainty has tortured you for three years. My BH had to know everything, and now he does, and a lot of it was devastating, and it brought him as low as a person can go. But he will tell you that the worst things he learned are things he can heal from, and the unknown was not. This is after 30 years, not 3. For some BS, it just does not go away.

But that's me projecting. Your marriage is yours. Your choices are yours. The power is yours. You can do anything you want after the poly, whether she passes it or fails it. Everyone here, including me, will be chock full of opinions, but you will make the call. And it does not have to align with anything that you told a bunch of strangers on the internet.

So hang in there, Thumos. One way or another, you're about to learn some very useful information. What you do with it is still up to you.

Striver posted 12/18/2019 18:42 PM

From personal experience I would be cautious about expecting too much, even if you have a good relationship with your in laws.

First, there are your in laws, and there is your wife.

The best thing would be if she still respects them, respects them as a source of family discipline, even as an adult, and listens. I am not sure that really happened in your case. Either they won't keep her in line or she won't listen. I don't know what happened with my ex, but she does not respect her parents. Has a supposedly "close" relationship with them but does not respect them. I don't really think my ex respects anyone at all.

Really that is what you need to look at. The leading lady in the Broadway hit of Post Affair Shiftiness is your wife. She is showing you a central part of who she really is.

Thumos posted 12/18/2019 19:03 PM

just don't want you to have any false hope here, Thumos. And I don't want you to fall for her backup plan, which could be to go ahead and fail it and then either (A) blame it on anxiety or (B) tell you one more piece of TT and say, "That's all now, that's everything." Then you'd have to schedule another poly to confirm that's really it, which she is pretty sure you won't do, and in any case, she still has "they don't always work" as an ace in the hole.

And what do I do with this strategy? She’s been cleverenough to set that up. I don’t really know what to do if she says “ I failed bc of anxiety”

BraveSirRobin posted 12/18/2019 19:03 PM

Either they won't keep her in line or she won't listen.
I don't think it's the role of parents to administer "family discipline" to adult children. I'd sure let my daughter know how I felt if she behaved like Mrs. Thumos, and I'd extend my love and support to my betrayed son-in-law whether she liked it or not. But the hierarchy ends when she moves out of my house. She's committed many moral crimes, but refusing to follow her parents' orders isn't one of them.

BraveSirRobin posted 12/18/2019 19:14 PM

And what do I do with this strategy? She’s been cleverenough to set that up. I don’t really know what to do if she says “ I failed bc of anxiety”
You don't believe her. If you think that's possible, there is no point in insisting on this polygraph at all.

Everyone is anxious going into a polygraph. I'd be anxious, and I've told my BH the truth. It's just inherently scary to be hooked up to a machine by a stranger and asked intimate questions about your life. But since everyone is anxious, the test adjusts for that by taking proper baselines, so as long as she answers honestly, she will pass it.

If she fails and you believe it was just anxiety, it will be because you want to believe it's anxiety, not because the science supports that. You're planting your own seeds of doubt inside your head because you already know how this is going to play out.

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