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Feeling Stuck in Anger/Plain of Lethal Flatness Phase

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hikingout posted 12/19/2019 09:48 AM

I had thought that part of the “journey” of reconciliation was for the betrayed spouse to go through an expected and agonizing process of liminality — which can last from 3-5 years if much of what is here on SI is to be believed. After this period, a new phase of reconciliation can begin. Or divorce and separation. It feels like I’m at that crossroads, but what a lot of folks here seem to be saying is that given my anger, humiliation, and pain reconciliation seems a risky gamble.
In which case, that would make a certain lady’s writings on this topic more correct than not, wouldn’t it?

I have visited her site as well. And in many ways early on it gave me a good dose of reality in what I had just done, who I was.

The problem is not all people who cheat are irredeemable. Not all who try and R are successful, but not all of them are not unsuccessful.

The timeline to heal is 2-5 years based not just on this site but a lot of other well respected documentation of what happens after infidelity.

I think your situation is a bit atypical in that 3 years out you may not have all the information. I can tell you I am right behind you on the timeline and I can not even imagine that. 2-5 years in my opinion is closely built upon when full disclosure happens.

If you get the poly and she passes, that means as of your disclosure meeting you can possibly start thinking healing can begin. If that's the case, I would probably say your wife and you were ill-advised, you both conceded to rug sweeping, and with a full disclosure in which she didn't lie during then maybe you have the pieces where you can start to heal.

If you get a poly that she fails, then you don't even have someone remorseful enough to see what she is doing to you. This means to me, she has done no work on herself and she has been just self protecting this whole time to keep her world in tact. While that is understandable, the problem is you can't even begin to believe she has committed to be a safe partner for you. Your timeline is going to be significantly longer.

I was a complete fuck up about the whole first year after my confession, but with following this story, and knowing that I confessed to everything at once with no TT - I have drawn a conclusion more strongly than I ever have so far in my own journey - and that is the sooner you just get it on out there the sooner the healing can occur despite other obstacles, despite details, despite anything else.

I don't believe the particular lady that we are discussing is correct for everyone, but I believe there are a lot of people who should not reconcile because their WS for whatever reason is not at a place in which they saw their life at rock bottom and took control of that. And, I think there are times when a BS can't forgive. I don't think you would have been one of those BS. I think if she has not come clean and you D, you can rest assure that if you decide to go, you did more than most anyone would in saving a marriage after infidelity. And, if you choose R after all that, you will need to understand that your wife is not a safe partner to R with, and I don't even know what the requirements could be at that point to get her there.

Thumos posted 12/19/2019 09:58 AM

And, while I agree that sneaking your AP in under the guise of a play date is heinous...I can also see where the playdates and the guy being in their house was commonplace, making it easier for her to justify and lie to herself about her motivations for doing it. I am not saying that's the type of thing that gets any of us mother of the year, but I don't think that it was maliciousness towards Thumos that was driving the behavior, it was her own selfish stuff to prop herself up on.

I think this assessment is correct. As angry as I’ve been to learn of the “dinner dates” with my family recently, l am able to see that she was lying to herself about this. Because it was commonplace. He was a friend. He took most of the childcare duties in his household because his wife worked longer hours.

That’s part of how the EA began in September. Both myself and OBS work longish hours (and I travel) and the bulk of childcare duties fell on my wife and her AP for each of their respective children. They started talking to each other more and more. He began calling and texting her more and more frequently. Etc. You know the drill.

He was a friend of mine, and I invited him into the house. I was thrilled my youngest child had found such a close and compatible playmate, and I enjoyed getting to know the AP over the course of two years. That sounds weird and is sick-making to me now, but its true. He wasn’t my “best friend” by any stretch, but he was becoming more than an acquaintance for me.

So dinner and play dates around town were not uncommon, although before the affair more typically I would have been involved - and in fact, on weekends when my wife worked, I was directly involved in setting up play dates and the childcare duties fell on me during those weekends.

[This message edited by Thumos at 9:59 AM, December 19th (Thursday)]

Butforthegrace posted 12/19/2019 09:59 AM

I think your situation is a bit atypical in that 3 years out you may not have all the information. 

I would phrase it differently. Even 3 years out, your WW is not both feet in with respect to R. She is still, at some level, pushing her agenda of "let's forget about the A and just have a Mulligan. A do-over. I'll be a nice wife for you if we do that. At least for now."

Thumos posted 12/19/2019 10:16 AM

I get why you feel passionate about this, but honestly what is getting ready to happen for Thumos is going to be probably the hardest decision of his life. And, honestly if he chooses R after all this, that will be his decision. Let's see what happens with the poly, and where he stands then. This next few days is going to be hard enough for him to get through.

My nerves are frayed, and I obsess about this because it is frankly the most momentous decision of my life. I feel the weight of it on my shoulders. I look at my children — and I’m sure many can relate to this experience — and I am paralyzed by what a divorce would mean for their lives. For the rest of their lives. Decades from now. Even after I’m dead rotting in the ground. Generations will feel the impact. This is what is meant by the phrase “generational curses” - it’s not a literal thing, but there are spiritual ramifications to all of this, if you believe in the numinous and I do. I do think generationally (I’m one of those folks who likes Chesterton’s quote about “giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead.”)

The same sentiment applies forward. You think not only about the near-term with your children now. You think about your descendants. Don’t they deserve a vote? Don’t your children? You can’t ask them, of course, but you can project out a kind of “seat at the table” in your mind for their vote.

I think this kind of thinking is what keeps people like me and other betrayed spouses here on SI from ever willfully walking into the trap of adultery in the first place. We can project out the toxic ramifications in ways our WS’s just don’t seem equipped for. Or they did and they decided to plow forward anyway.

That said, the sun is shining and the world keeps orbiting around it. I’m looking out of a window right now at a nice sunlit scene. I keep being surprised by that fact. But there it is.

And in spite of frayed nerves, I continue to exist and work and function like an intelligent adult. I’m not functioning at 100 percent but I’m much better than I was a year ago.

After D-Day and a little bit before, I did one of those things you’re not supposed to do: drink heavily in the evenings for the first time in my life. Not enough to be sloppy drunk, but enough to be inebriated and in no condition to drive 5-6 nights a week. That went on for awhile. I call those first two years “the years of drinking” in my mind.

And here’s a weird fact: That night in early November 2016, when I went to that event alone, that has been the subject of so much speculation here ... it was for a silent auction and live auction fundraiser. I randomly bought a ticket for the “liquor cart” prize. Guess what happened? I won it. A massive wagon loaded with liquor, beer and wine. I took it home. That night and the next morning I began suspecting my wife was having an affair. My nerves were much more frayed than now. Every night, I could barely sleep. Every day, my BP was through the roof, I was shaking and sweating and barely keeping a lid on that yammering screeching panic monkey in our minds most of us are thankfully able to keep caged up for a lifetime. So I began having a glass or two of bourbon at night to calm down. After D-Day, it became more than one or two “singles on the rocks.”

Anyway, I haven’t been drinking heavily in many moons — so I’m sleeping better, thinking better and I’m much healthier. Through the “years of drinking” I also stayed constantly hydrated and I’m a weight lifting and swimming addict. So I kept doing that too. Thankfully that means I’m not an out of shape bum right now.

[This message edited by Thumos at 10:19 AM, December 19th (Thursday)]

BraveSirRobin posted 12/19/2019 10:18 AM

I'm not concerned at all about what's right for everyone. I'm concerned about what's right for you. Only you can decide that, but like many people here, I am worried that your plan of action does not align with what you actually need for a healthy R. I think there's a lot you are ashamed to admit to yourself.

I can't possibly be a member of the burn-the-witch crowd. I'm a witch. Anyone looking at our posts would say you were the card-carrying member of that club, not me. I've read all kinds of absolutist, non-negotiable plans from you in JFO, and multiple regrets that you didn't stick to your guns early and often. I've known that some of that is just lashing out in pain and fear at the unfair situation you've been dumped in. But some of your points have intrinsic merit that you're now trying to walk back.

You live with the constant knowledge that you could run into AP, who knows everything that happened between himself and your wife, while you do not. Your gut tells you that your WW's story makes no rational sense. The stress of this is overwhelming. You're triggered over and over, you're drinking more than you'd like, you're venting your pain by projecting it on waywards here (whom you've argued don't deserve the courtesy of the term "wayward") while trying to figure out how to stay with a woman who is almost certainly still lying to you. You want R, and you're scared shitless that whatever cards she's holding will prevent it. That's the same situation she is in, btw; she wants R, and she's scared shitless that the truth will kill that possibility.

So it's not that I have any thirst to see her punished or to see you divorce. I am pro-R when it can be accomplished in a way that both parties can heal. I'm lucky, far more lucky than I deserve, to be on a path heading in that direction. I don't hate your wife, but I hate what she is doing to you, and I hate watching you cycle over and over as you try to convince yourself that you can live with it. The time has come to honestly evaluate not what you believe you should need, but what you actually do need.

Personally, I think you should stop trying to die on the hill of "I can't reconcile with someone who lied to me for three years." If that's really true, file today, because that is who she is, whether she shows up to the poly or not. But I believe you can reconcile with someone who lied for three years, as long as the lying finally stops. I think you'll be gutted by whatever she's hiding, whether it's more sex or more denigrations or more emotional intimacy, but I think you can accept it, if you know what you are being asked to accept. I think you want this marriage and family badly enough to try.

And Thumos, if I'm right, step one is forgiving yourself for deciding you might tolerate and accept things you never believed you would accept or tolerate. Step 2 is finding out whether what she's hiding fits within those expanded boundaries. But you're never going to get to Step 2 if you insist that lying could save her, while the truth is marital suicide. The last several months suggest to me that the one thing you really cannot live with is continued lies, denial and limbo.

Thumos posted 12/19/2019 10:26 AM

I've read all kinds of absolutist, non-negotiable plans from you in JFO, and multiple regrets that you didn't stick to your guns early and often. I've known that some of that is just lashing out in pain and fear at the unfair situation you've been dumped in.

Yes, for certain. You’ve nailed it as far as my regrets. I don’t think I make any secret about that. I’m being blunt and hard in that forum bc I do feel passionately about keeping others from making the same mistakes. I feel emotional about it, but I disagree with your contention I’m “lashing out” and I disagree that the “package of non-negotiable” I routinely outline is absolutist. You may think that as a FWS. I doubt that BS’s here with any experience would agree with you. There seems to be a widespread consensus that shock and awe and whipsawing the WS’s head around with fast, blunt action is the very best route. And the steps for those actions are pretty well-established at this point.

I think I am dealing with my own emotions to some extent and my own regrets by trying to stop others from walking off the same cliff.

I made a series of mistakes and regret them. Among those: not demanding the texts from her phone, not demanding a written timeline and polygraph immediately, not putting my foot down for an STD test, and not separating immediately.

On this last point, there may be some misunderstanding. Thinking we should have separated immediately — and recommending the same to others — is not the same as saying we wish we were divorced. It’s saying now we can see more clearly, and one of the few things that seems to get through the thick heads of WS’s is divorce as a reality on the table and the quality, loyal spouse they took for granted out the door. My wife should have felt the full weight of that. She never has.

Thumos posted 12/19/2019 10:30 AM

I think there's a lot you are ashamed to admit to yourself.

Can you give me examples of what you’re thinking about here?

I’m ashamed about a lot, no doubt, and I’m pretty sure I can name a few examples: that I allowed a snake into my life to become my friend and that I was so naive and trusting, that I invested 25+ years with a woman who accidentally fell onto another man’s genitalia after a few weeks of pats on the ass. That I wasn’t strong enough to implement that package of non-negotiables I recommend to others. Those things are all quite shocking to me still to this very day.

What were you thinking of?

Thumos posted 12/19/2019 10:36 AM

whom you've argued don't deserve the courtesy of the term "wayward"

Yes, I know the post you’re talking about. I was in an especially bad mood when I wrote it.

We can talk about this later, when my brain isn’t so frazzled, but I’ll note here I do have some pretty strong opinions about this. For one thing, I really don’t think waywards deserve a lot of courtesy on the topic of adultery. We could probably do with a little less courtesy in Anglo-America on this topic — and it seems like some elements of this needful lack of courtesy are starting to finally bubble up in our culture.

I think you kind of agree with that, frankly.

I do think the term “wayward” is fairly euphemistic and such terms really do have an impact on how we deal with real life events. Read Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language” for some more insight into why I think this term is so problematic.

That said, I’ve grown comfortable using it more here because it’s the parlance around here. I shift back and forth from saying “adulterer” and “wayward” because I want to keep reminding people. “Adulterer” still hasn’t quite lost its impact to kind splash people in the face with icy water, or people wouldn’t constantly shy away from it.

[This message edited by Thumos at 10:44 AM, December 19th (Thursday)]

hikingout posted 12/19/2019 10:40 AM

Hiking, I appreciate your perspective, but I think your point of view is a bit of a one size fits all explication of adultery. Certainly selfishness and thinking only about one's self are usually hallmarks of wayward behavior during an A. No argument with me there. Also, dishonesty and deception as they sneak around and manufacture opportunities for time with the AP.
But compartmentalization is also a factor, and my observation is that is plays a big role in R. Here, almost the entirety of the A other than the actual intimate physical contact occurred in Thumos home with Thumos present, or in the presence of the kids. Or both. I cannot imagine, honestly, a more bold face exclamation point "fuck you" by a WW than carrying on in this way. And then there is the fact that the sex itself, at least the sex he knows about, also occurred in the home. And the fact that she left all artifacts of the A in the home for Thumos to dispose of.
I really dont think I'm overstating things, at all.

So it's truly your point of view that she was having an affair in the manner she was doing it to intentionally make it worse for Thumos?

I am not saying that it doesn't make it worse it was in her house or that Thumos knew him, but you think that was part of her plan?

I have a hard time believing that, and I don't thank that comes from a one size fits all mentality towards affairs. I think the majority of affairs truly have nothing to do with the BS (at least at the time in the WS's head). The fact that she was more of a cake eater than an exit affair kind of person, means to me that she would have wanted to keep her marriage, and I believe she does. If she was doing this other stuff to say Fuck you to Thumos, it would have been an exit, I truly believe that.

And, even I had an exit affair, and while I didn't go through with it, it wasn't done out of malice towards my husband. It had the same effect, and I don't dismiss that, but what we are speaking about is motivation and I strongly disagree her motivation was to "intentionally cause him as much pain as possible". That's maniacal. I don't fail to see it happens, I would possibly tell you about another poster whose wife fits that description way better. So it's not that I don't believe it exists, I specifically don't believe that's what the case was with Thumos wife.

I believe she had a typical affair in which it escalated while she justified it at every turn. I think she did the marriage counseling, was given bad advice along with Thumos, they were both complicit in the rugsweeping but it caused him to go to a slow boil because rugsweeping never works. She has hoped to return to status quo this many years later, and sees that is not going to happen and is panicking. Because she has lived comfortably in avoidance from sometime in year 1 until this August. I don't think she is particularly worse than most waywards.

But, I think if she is in fact lying as we suspect she may not have ever gotten remorseful. Guilt and regret? Sure. But remorse comes from knowing what you did to the other person, and some of their rugsweeping allowed her to keep pulling the rug over her eyes that was what she was doing. I think she told herself a lot of lies that she never debunked, and so a lot of things that normally get worked on by discussing the affair openly never happened.

Thumos posted 12/19/2019 10:43 AM

Speaking of Orwell, I’ve used this thread as a four-month long journal of my thought process. I used to journal almost constantly as a younger man. After D-Day, I kept reading advice to journal about one’s thoughts, but I simply found myself frozen and unable to do it. I’d approach the page, my pen would hover over it, and then I’d put it down and walk away. In any case, this has helped to track my thinking and even (as was demonstrated recently) to more clearly discern patterns in my wife’s behavior. I thought I’d share this Orwell quote:

“To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle. One thing that helps toward it is to keep a diary, or, at any rate, to keep some kind of record of one’s opinions about important events. Otherwise, when some particularly absurd belief is exploded by events, one may simply forget that one ever held it.”

hikingout posted 12/19/2019 10:52 AM

I think you got some really good advice from BSR that I will second.

I also think that in terms of divorce - there are a lot of fears there that I think might come from somewhere. Either you have seen it play out that way for others, or you haven't had people close to you divorce.

We have a blended family. My husband and his former wife divorced a year or a little more before we started dating. Their kids were 3 and 5 at the time of their divorce. They always put them first. They sat together at games, plays, graduations, and soon to be weddings. We have had holidays together as a family. Their mom and I exchange gifts at Christmas, unprompted because we genuinely have a relationship. Do I love her? Yes and no. Yes in that she created two of my favorite human beings and was for the most part a really good mom. I think she has mental illness and sometimes that was a problem for me, but overall we still share a bond and a relationship.

Both of our kids had more role models than most kids and they had a parent to go to and get help or advice on just about any topic. When done right, divorce can really look like a different family rather than a tragedy.

So, you are putting a lot of pressure on yourself and in the end, the best thing to do is what is best for you. The rest you guys can make it work very well for the kids.

As for wayward, I don't care if we call us cheaters or adulterers or whatever it is. I did cheat, I did commit adultery. It is the reason I stayed off your thread and didn't know the story fully because I didn't feel earlier on you could really receive my opinion objectively, but that seemed to take a shift a while ago.

[This message edited by hikingout at 10:53 AM, December 19th (Thursday)]

Thumos posted 12/19/2019 10:53 AM

I strongly disagree her motivation was to "intentionally cause him as much pain as possible". That's maniacal. I don't fail to see it happens, I would possibly tell you about another poster whose wife fits that description way better. So it's not that I don't believe it exists, I specifically don't believe that's what the case was with Thumos wife.

I believe she had a typical affair in which it escalated while she justified it at every turn. I think she did the marriage counseling, was given bad advice along with Thumos, they were both complicit in the rugsweeping but it caused him to go to a slow boil because rugsweeping never works. She has hoped to return to status quo this many years later, and sees that is not going to happen and is panicking. Because she has lived comfortably in avoidance from sometime in year 1 until this August. I don't think she is particularly worse than most waywards.

I agree with hikingout here. In this case, I am giving my WW the “courtesy” of this description. For awhile, I wanted to believe that my wife was potentially NPD or sinister on some level. All BS’s have experienced this to some extent after having witnessed the “body snatcher” effect during an affair and wondering what happened to the person they loved for decades.

I’ve tested this idea of her having some kind of long-standing contempt for me — or even just some kind of newly developed contempt before the affair — and found it wanting. Yes, there is probably an element of contempt in almost every affair. How could there not be? Selfishness is in some sense a form of contempt. (EDIT: But that element of contempt, while it may have existed, was not the driving factor here. I don’t believe that now. She’s too devastated by what she’s done. She has a hollowed out look and she’s desperate for her family to stay intact, not just for her kids, but because she loves me. I don’t doubt in any way her love for me, but I am mindful of the repeated advice here on SI about remorse vs regret and how sometimes the wounds caused by someone cannot heal in their presence).

What I am struggling with now is more akin to what hikingout and BraveSirRobin describe: being complicit in rugsweeping, being ashamed by it, realizing it is not going to work for me, breaking out of that straitjacket, suspecting I don’t have the full truth and transparency from my wife, trying to figure out what that means in terms of her remorse vs. regret, being fearful about what horrid information she may be withholding yet desperately wanting the truth, etc. All of that.

[This message edited by Thumos at 10:56 AM, December 19th (Thursday)]

hikingout posted 12/19/2019 10:59 AM

That rings true to me, especially having been told by my first counselor all the reasons I should not disclose my affair to my husband. A therapist I eventually had to fire because of the difference in that view.

nekonamida posted 12/19/2019 11:00 AM

You think about your descendants. Don’t they deserve a vote? Don’t your children? You can’t ask them, of course, but you can project out a kind of “seat at the table” in your mind for their vote.

Thumos, I don't think this is a fair question when it comes to the BS. What's best for you may be different than what someone else votes at this table. We see it all the time - family members telling the BS to just back off, to trust, to accept ongoing abuse and misery, for everyone else's sake. And it's not helpful at all. It's asking someone to martyr themselves because their situation makes someone else slightly uncomfortable. Outside of your kids, no one else has to live with your WW. No one else has to live with daily pain, guilt, and shame. And no one who lives in a situation, willingly, that causes them to feel that way is a healthy person who is capable of giving their all to everyone else.

Divorce is not a multi-generational curse. It's a little insulting to even read that which I'm sure is not your intent but it stings a little none-the-less since my own parents have been divorced since I was a baby. And yet, it's going great in my marriage. My husband's mother has been D'd twice. Both times it was necessary and a toxic environment but even so - he too wanted and sought out a compatible partner and has no plans of D'ing. Divorce can hurt kids, especially if the parents are hostile and aggressive towards each other. But divorce can also have very little impact on kids if the parents are amicable and put the kids first. Divorce is also sometimes a vote the kids want to make like many friends of mine whose parents had toxic marriages and not all of them were actively hostile. Some of my friends just genuinely wondered why their parents bothered when they were cold, indifferent towards each other, and lead parallel lives. Divorce IS NOT the end all be all you're making it out to be.

What is interesting is the higher chances of kids repeating infidelity in their own relationships once infidelity has entered into their parent's marriage. What's interesting is kids going on to play out their parent's marriages even when they stick together. If what is going on in your marriage has greatly impacted your kids, I'm sorry to say it's already happened. The damage is done. What you choose to do with that will have a bigger impact now whether that's R or D. And that impact will be determined by what's right FOR YOU. What brings YOU the most happiness. If that's R with your WW and she steps up to the plate, it will show that marriage can be tough but rewarding. If that's D because your WW won't step up to the plate, it shows that it's okay to have lines in the sand in marriage, you're not required to stay in a harmful situation, and that there is life and happiness on the other side waiting for you if you choose to take it. Either one can be a success story. Either one can have a meaningful, positive impact. What doesn't have a meaningful, positive impact is that dad stays because he feels like he has to even though he's clearly not happy. And what's even worse is if/when kids find that out, they always blame themselves for it. No one wants to be the reason one of their parents chose to sacrifice their happiness.

So stop worrying about how many votes need to be accounted for at the table. It's not helpful. It's not useful. You're the CEO. You make the call. And that call needs to be what you think is best FOR YOU. Ultimately, your happiness will reflect in every voter. Your happiness will bring more to the table than your misery. Your misery alone can tank the entire panel. It's not fair to place the burden of your happiness on those voters so that they can make the choice for you.

It also doesn't even make sense to ask them for their vote because they don't know what's really happening. They don't have all the details. They would be voting blind and hoping for the best. I'm guessing when you are asked for your input on an important decision, you don't just shrug and flip a coin or go with whatever option sounds better in the moment. You inform yourself first about the pros and cons of each. You're the only person who can truly make this vote because you're the only one capable and with all of the information necessary in order to make a good choice. It's a crappy position to be in so you don't need to make any harder on yourself by trying to tally up hypothetical votes.

Thumos, do you have IC for yourself? Would you be interested in that? I only ask because it seems to me that this is an intense fear and anxiety response you're experiencing. It's not exactly based on the reality of the situation. It sounds like your mind is grasping for straws to keep you firmly placed in the status quo. A status quo that has been absolutely horrendous for you, I might add. I know that doesn't mean you will give in to this but it's pretty out there to try and come up with imaginary votes for your great great grandkids who will not even know you as a reason to doubt yourself.

Butforthegrace posted 12/19/2019 11:01 AM

So it's truly your point of view that she was having an affair in the manner she was doing it to intentionally make it worse for Thumos?

Do I think she intentionally sought out a friend to commit a double betrayal of Thumos, under his own roof? No. I agree that, like most As, its genesis was a combination of opportunity and happenstance, catalyzed by whatever demons or false narrative she was wresting with that put her in a cheating frame of mind.

But I do think she harbored a reservoir of contempt for Thumos and this reflected itself in her choices. Keep in mind this could have been an exit A. Thumos caught his WW after an period of horrific gaslighting, via VAR conversations in which she openly mocked and demeaned Thumos. After Dday, she continued to demean him and belittle his manhood.

In most cases, cheaters sneak and hide and deceive. One of the ways they do this is by compartmentalization. Even a person inclined to cheat, in many instances, would think twice about the double betrayal: the friend or sibling. It takes a special level of wicked to go there. Even dogs dont shit where they eat. It's more than careless. IMO. I think there has to be at least a lurking sense of "eat shit asshole" toward the BS to go there, especially to the degree that she did, in the home, around the kids, with a friend, a man whom she knows Thumos will continue to encounter regularly, gaslighting him to the point of telling him to get medicated when he first confronted her, laughingly deriding Thumos to her AP, insulting and demeaning manhood after Dday.

And, ultimately, taking zero initiative toward R, zero actions to help him heal from his trauma (hell, she had not even a knowledge his trauma), forcing her agenda for years, doing nothing to seek family lifestyle changes that would remove the AP from their lives. Hell, she didnt even remove the gift the AP gave as a lagniappe for the lay. She left that for Thumos. Every action reveals a deep contempt for Thumos at every level.

[This message edited by Butforthegrace at 11:03 AM, December 19th (Thursday)]

Thumos posted 12/19/2019 11:01 AM

Personally, I think you should stop trying to die on the hill of "I can't reconcile with someone who lied to me for three years." If that's really true, file today, because that is who she is, whether she shows up to the poly or not. But I believe you can reconcile with someone who lied for three years, as long as the lying finally stops. I think you'll be gutted by whatever she's hiding, whether it's more sex or more denigrations or more emotional intimacy, but I think you can accept it, if you know what you are being asked to accept. I think you want this marriage and family badly enough to try.

So are you saying that I should extend some form of olive branch in advance of the polygraph? Sort of a “our marriage doesn’t hang in the balance with the polygraph, but our ability to reconcile successfully does” kind of thing?

Does that get at it?

Wouldn’t that let her off the hook? Isn’t one of the main points of the polygraph to put psychic pressure on the wayward spouse to come clean? Just thinking out loud here.

[This message edited by Thumos at 11:02 AM, December 19th (Thursday)]

Striver posted 12/19/2019 11:10 AM

The same sentiment applies forward. You think not only about the near-term with your children now. You think about your descendants. Don’t they deserve a vote? Don’t your children? You can’t ask them, of course, but you can project out a kind of “seat at the table” in your mind for their vote.

No one chooses to be born. No one gets a vote.

To be honest, in a way, you are making too much of your decision. With your WW, things are never going to be hunky dory if you stay anyway. I do not believe your WW is capable of real change. She wants to rugsweep this too much. Also, one of your kids already knows. From what I read on here, children of families where there was infidelity are not all that happy about it even if the BS sticks around.

At best you have a 50% contribution with your WW. Really much less than 50% when you account for random genetics, other influences, just plain luck. You have some ability to influence the outcome, but not nearly as much as you think.

When I married my ex, I did the best that I could do. Knowing what I knew then, she was my best choice. At least my ex feels guilt about what she did and the coparenting goes as well as could be expected, finances aside. The stepdad fortunately does not attend many things when I am there, which is as often as I can be.

But when you have kids with someone, it's really a roll of the dice. The alternative is to stay single and pure and die alone. Marriage is a messy business and I don't consider it a particularly holy one. Not after what I've been through. It's messy and animalistic.

WhyteDynamite posted 12/19/2019 11:21 AM

If i could hit you, @thumos, with the men in black mind eraser flashy thing and had you read your own thread what kind of advice do you think you'd give yourself? I think you'd throw a few 2x4's your own way

Butforthegrace posted 12/19/2019 11:21 AM

The same sentiment applies forward. You think not only about the near-term with your children now. You think about your descendants. Don’t they deserve a vote? 

Staying married is not a guarantee that your children will be successful, nor is divorce a guarantee they will fail. I know plenty of married parents who are bad parents that mess up their kids, and plenty of divorced parents of happy, well adjusted, successful kids.

One especially insidious thing a parent can do, in my opinion in is model a dysfunctional, unequally yoked marriage for a child as the paradigm to which he should strive.

Thumos posted 12/19/2019 11:21 AM

she continued to demean him and belittle his manhood.

It’s important to clarify something for more recent readers of this thread.

BFTG is talking about how my wife told me I was “immature” about sex because: 1. I would not consent to her definition of the “one time” sex in our home as “meaningless sex” 2. I have only ever been sexually intimate with one woman, her. Thus, by her definition, my lack of sexual experience with multiple partners was “immature.”

I admit I was enraged by this, but I did also find it immediately laughable. I think I even laughed the first time she said it and responded with something like “pretty sure all vaginas work the same, unless there are some with teeth I don’t know about.”

She’d also said “that’s your problem” when I told her I was struggling with the fact that I’d elected bc of my own beliefs to only be sexually intimate with one woman, ever, and that I was finding those beliefs severely challenged in the face of her actions.

In a way it was like she was trying to get me to accept a form of cuckoldry, and I simply wasn’t going to allow that, so she lashed out with venom.

She would even say “that’s what adults do!” when I’d express disbelief and shock about the circumstances of the affair.

Really look at these words “immature” “what adults do” “your problem” - I realized these were the words of a child.

So the clarification is this: At first, these kinds of statements stung. A lot. They heaped insult upon injury, and left me bereft in dealing with the sense of emasculation I did have and still struggle with.

It did take some time to get my head around these statements and not feel belittled by them. But now, the shock and anger I continue to have around these statements is more about that she would simply say them and believe them at all.

They are words from the Enemy. They aren’t true. I realized the flawed logic inherent in calling someone who has been faithful and loyal and passionate sexually with one other human being for decades “immature” was laughable on its face. And of course I realized the real person who was immature about sex was her.

It took me awhile to get my head around this, I’ll admit. I’m not *less* angry about it , I just think about it differently.

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