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Feeling Stuck in Anger/Plain of Lethal Flatness Phase

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hikingout posted 12/19/2019 13:01 PM

I rarely disagree with hikingout, but Mrs. Thumos deliberately pressed her BH to call the AP and thank him for the wine refrigerator that AP brought to the house the day they had sex. She may regret that deeply and sincerely now, but sure looks to me like at the time, they both got a charge out of secretly rubbing the A in his face.

Well some of it might be I should go back and read the thread to its entirety as well. As mentioned previously I only picked up this thread in the last couple of months - like November, and never went back to read all of it.

I am reminded of the story (forget who it was) where the man did his business on the lady's ring. That's what that reminds me of.

Butforthegrace posted 12/19/2019 13:21 PM

Buck and Hiking: "Bad" and "worse" with respect to acts of infidelity are of course personal and subjective. But there are some highlights in Thumos' thread that are as bad as I've seen here on SI or any other infidelity forum. As Thumos notes, they are "tent pole" items, but Mrs. Thumos raises the tent very high with them:

Telling him to go on anxiety inducing drugs when he first asked her about sex with the AP, and being seriously willing to see him drugged rather than stop or admit her A.

Making Thumos call the AP and thank him for the "nice gift"

Trying to get Thumos to rug sweep by telling Thumos, after Dday, that he does not have a mature attitude toward sex (because he has only been with his WW)

Added later: telling Thumos, after Dday, that the AP made her feel like no man had ever made her feel (keeping in mind that unlike Thumos she had been with other men before Thumos)

Suggesting after Dday that she should be allowed to meet with the AP to broker some sort of fucked up truce between him and Thumos.

Choosing to have a PA with a man from the neighborhood, father of their sons friend, a man Thumos will have to encounter regularly for years.

Then there is what she has refused to do, starting with refusing to discuss the A at all. Refusing to remove artifacts of the A from their home. Objecting to informing the the OBW. Refusing to figure out a lifestyle change that would get Thumos away from the AP. I believe she has even failed to acknowledge the AP for the scum he is. His current W divorced her previous husband because the AP was then her AP.

There are others I'm forgetting at the present. Overall, she has bee truly awful. Further, Thumos has been carrying the laboring oar, alone, with respect to R. She is doing zero work.

Thumos, I disagree that finding trauma counsellors and signing up for Retrouvaille is "work". In fact, it's the opposite. You indicate that your IC is helping you heal, which is good, but has IC resulted in any uptick or improvement in direct, unmediated conversations about the A? From where I sit, she is hiring proxies to speak for her, and mediate her interactions with you, so she does not have to interact with you herself. She is your wife for fuck's sake. Three years post Dday and she still refuses to speak with you as a wife about her A. And she is still forum shopping for third party confirmation that the poly is improvident.

Thumos, your recent revelation about your stepdad is imho the most important revelation you have made here. It explains all of the paradoxes of your presence here. The way you are quick to advocate D for other BHs on JFO, but you will chew broken glass before asserting your independence from your WW. Gently, your pain does not have to be your son's pain. Divorce does not mean an end to parenting. This is why I suggest you consult with a lawyer. To see what the landscape looks like. Nowadays divorced parents are as involved with their kids as they want to be.

[This message edited by Butforthegrace at 3:00 PM, December 19th (Thursday)]

Thumos posted 12/19/2019 13:34 PM

My travel has always been semi frequent but never arduous or taking me away for long periods. Little 2-3 day meetings once or twice a month In the busiest times. Iíll go months without having to travel. Itís enough to get me ďA-listĒ flying status but not enough to keep me away for long stretches.

The AP brought the wine fridge over to our house the afternoon of the same day they had sex. It was a ďbirthdayĒ present for her. I was out of town. She sent me pictures of it acting surprised and overjoyed, and wasnít it great?! ó and that it was a couples gift from him and his wife to us (my birthday is near my wifeís birthday). She then prevailed on me to call the AP and thank him and also thank his wife.

My WW and her AP had already gamed this whole thing out. My WW likes to put the onus on him that it was ďhis ideaĒ to sell it as a coupleís gift, that he ďtold her what to doĒ and that his wife was already pissed heíd spent so much money on something like that for people who were still really friendly acquaintances. He managed to convince his wife saying it was a thank you for all that we had done for them, and how my WW had acted as such a great ďbig sisĒ to him.

Yeah read that all again if you need to to let it sink in.

Anyway I was already highly suspicious that sex had happened that day based on what I knew about their whereabouts. But I called him and thanked him bc I didnít want the affair to go underground and I needed proof which I didnít have. That morning I had asked a friend to drive by the house but my other friend declined saying he didnít want to get involved (weeks later my friend came to me and said he had in fact driven by the house and confirmed the AP was there). I also texted his wife and thanked her for the gift.

It was this episode that compelled me to get VARs and set them up. I had a very tight window over the weekend to pull it off before I had to turn right back around and go out of town again.

When I think back on this episode it is very humiliating to me because I realize I basically called him and thanked him for screwing my wife ó at my wifeís behest. He was probably laughing his ass off and lapping it all up.

hikingout posted 12/19/2019 13:37 PM

I guess my concern is given this new realization of how Thumos sees divorce, I really have to wonder if that is something that is even really on the table here?

I think the best we can hope for is she passes. The second best we can hope for is if she doesn't that she gets to a place of remorse and figures out how to fix the issues she has. I just think given Thumos's ideas towards divorce are what they are I am not sure what it would take.

There is nothing wrong with that if that's Thumos's compass, but somehow the only suggestion I am left with is she needs to not believe that's the case. As long as she can see there are no true consequences of her behavior, I don't think she is going to move in the way that is needed.

Change is something that is almost always selfish. It's done because the pain of where we are is greater than the pain it will take to change. It has to be self driven, self motivated, other wise its someone going through the motions and jumping through requirement hoops.

Here's to hoping you get a Christmas miracle and she passes, Thumos. I will not get to come on as much after today as I have my kids coming to visit for Christmas this weekend and then H goes into surgery the day you have your poly date. I wish you peace as we go into a new decade, in whatever shape you see fit.

Butforthegrace posted 12/19/2019 13:41 PM

I would bet all of my 401k that Mrs. Thumos will never, not ever, get remorse.

hikingout posted 12/19/2019 13:48 PM

I am probably an outlier, but in the story you just told I see it as he wanted to get her a really nice gift but was concerned it wouldn't pass the sniff test by either spouse. So, she enlisted you to call to make it look more legitimate to his wife and probably to you. It created a false openness.

I fully believe some people do get off on making an ass of the spouse, but I don't know that he was laughing at you. He probably needed the call to be from you to calm down his wife. Still it's a very weird involvement and given the timing of the sex, I can't say I blame you for seeing it that way.

I had two friends of mine (a male and a female) that were conducting an affair for three years. I did not know it was happening. I knew the females' husband, not the guys wife. Anyway, they pulled me into these group chats so they had a 'beard' to their interactions, they would invite me to lunch with them so they could see each other. They would want to exchange gifts and she would put my name on it all the time. Eventually, it all came crumbling down when the husband called to see if his wife was with me, and she wasn't. I had no idea where she was. I ended up driving by the guys house and saw her car was parked on the other street near there. I was devastated at the time, and did not remain friends with either of them. People go to weird lengths to make things seem legitimate. I saw the lady's ex husband out one day and he was angry with me, he thought I had covered for them the entire time.

If it was truly part of their relationship to get off on making an ass out of you, I don't really see how you can stay married.

Thumos posted 12/19/2019 13:49 PM

Don't misunderstand my position on divorce. I'm not opposed to it - not for myself or for others. I do think it can have a monumental impact on children.

I don't think I've recommended it on JFO unless it's a case of serial cheating or if it's a case of a younger marriage with no kids. Then, yes, I lean towards divorce. I'm always recommending or leaning toward at least getting a separation agreement out there, because I think it is shock and awe in the early days that will rattle a WS to their core. I didn't do this and regret it.

When there are kids involved on JFO, I tend to VERY blunt about the action steps for what I believe will get the truth and expose the affair quickly, but I don't think I've ever leaned toward divorce and I'm always careful to say and hope that the WS will pull their head out of their ass.

I do have a habit of telling newly betrayed husbands on JFO that their wives aren't special and that they could be happy and compatible with any number of women.

I also believe this for myself.

In the case of my stepdad and mom, I was thrilled they got divorced. She waited a long time, until I was an adult. I was glad for her to rid of that asshole.

I guess you find the stepdad revelation profound because you think I'm worried about my son's interactions with a potential stepdad? In that case, yes, you would be correct.

My wife's very poor choice of an AP and his character and the type of man he is (based on things I've found out later) make me fear most definitely for my son in terms of whoever she would remarry. I doubt she'll make a good choice (I'm not sure what this says about me, since she chose me, too, but anyway).

[This message edited by Thumos at 1:51 PM, December 19th (Thursday)]

Neanderthal posted 12/19/2019 14:10 PM

I'm always recommending or leaning toward at least getting a separation agreement out there, because I think it is shock and awe in the early days that will rattle a WS to their core.
This is pointless unless divorce is truly an option. Separation knowing full well divorce is off the table.....what's the point? No shock and awe there.

I'm not opposed to it - not for myself or for others. I do think it can have a monumental impact on children.
whats the impact of seeing there father crumble for three straight years or longer?

My wife's very poor choice of an AP and his character and the type of man he is (based on things I've found out later) make me fear most definitely for my son in terms of whoever she would remarry. I doubt she'll make a good choice (I'm not sure what this says about me, since she chose me, too, but anyway).
I struggle with this very same issue. Although things aren't equal between us, since I'm a madhatter. Which means my wife has chosen multiple bad men through the years. I am starting to understand why my wife chose her affair person. Very simply he was available. Good men don't cheat or break up marriages. Knowing that gives me some form of hope that my wife will find a safe partner if we divorce. I know, I know, that doesn't make sense. But if she is actually single, good men may show interest. The odds of her finding a good man, gotta be better right? Or am I just living on hopium?

Thumos posted 12/19/2019 14:23 PM

whats the impact of seeing there father crumble for three straight years or longer?

My older child I have discussed it and Iíve told her without going into excruciating detail that Iím trying to forgive and rebuild. Iíve also said that itís not a sure thing and that it is a struggle ó but that my love for her is completely independent of whatever relationship I have with her mother. I told her regardless of what might happen Iíll always have her back. My wife has also talked to her about it and how she is trying to work to restore trust in the face of her inappropriate relationship.

My younger child is not aware although Iím sure as the years go by he will remember these years and wonder why his play dates with his friend came to a sudden end etc. for the first time hears he asked about why his friend couldnít come over for play dates and I went along with making excuses. He stopped asking this year.

Kids arenít stupid, I know. They are as smart as any adult.

[This message edited by Thumos at 2:25 PM, December 19th (Thursday)]

hikingout posted 12/19/2019 14:28 PM

I do have a habit of telling newly betrayed husbands on JFO that their wives aren't special and that they could be happy and compatible with any number of women.

That is not untrue. And, fundamentally, that is what got my husband through some of the tougher times. I think it's hard when people believe in soul mates and such, it really can be detrimental in times such as infidelity to believe those things.

I am starting to understand why my wife chose her affair person. Very simply he was available.

I think that's almost always the case. Affairs are created most of the time out of opportunity. The ones who go on and create accounts and things like that, to me that is a different kind of cheater. I would suspect serial in those cases without evidence to the contrary.

I would bet all of my 401k that Mrs. Thumos will never, not ever, get remorse.

I am not as sure as you, I know that is not surprising. I don't think I could have gotten to remorse without the conversations that were avoided in Thumos's situation. Just like the pain was in the details for my husband, when we reviewed the details the nuances that hurt him were obvious and made me reflect very closely on all the thousand cuts I put on him. Realizing what trauma was, huge eye opener for me. Reading in JFO, again produced another way in which I could more deeply empathize. But make no mistake, prior to this I was a stone-hearted bitch during the affair and even for some time after. I had convinced myself of a lot of things and hardened my heart with resentment. I saw my husband in a way that he was not, and I didn't like him some of the time. That's why I don't think it's impossible for others to get there. But, by rugsweeping, I would never have gotten there. I would have felt guilt, regret, but not remorse. And remorse is where you learn to put the other person's problems bigger than your own.

If she is telling the truth, then I really don't know if we have insight on whether she feels remorse or not - after all some of these things that happened was 3 years ago and we know very little of what has happened since, we knew very little of the work they have done in therapy until just a couple pages before. And we know very little of her narrative of them now. Certainly, we could hold all the stuff I said and did in year one and say "you haven't a shot in hell to get her to be a safe person" and you would be right. One of the BS's here told me once that I was the foggiest WS they had ever seen and they thought I was going to walk right off the end of the earth because the fog was too thick for me to see.

The inability to have remorse I believe is reserved for people who have serious personality disorders/mental illness. Anyone else?

[This message edited by hikingout at 2:30 PM, December 19th (Thursday)]

hikingout posted 12/19/2019 14:29 PM

Kids arenít stupid, I know. They are as smart as any adult.

But without the emotional maturity.

Buck posted 12/19/2019 14:31 PM

BFTG, Every BS here has a few tentpoles. I was casually around the my WW's COW AP. His wife and child were in our home on two occasions. We were in there home together on one. I was at work functions several times with AP. I knew him and he knew me. The first two times they had sex was in his home which is around the corner from ours. 2 blocks away. She and he bought concert tickets to a band I was a huge fan of at the time. She went with me and he went with his wife, we didn't sit anywhere near each other, but I still can't listen to that band without thinking about that bullshit. Her 6mo A started on our son's 3rd birthday and spanned mother's day, father's day, easter, her bday, my bday, youngest daughter's 2nd bday and our anniversary. Also, spanned the non celebrated things like when we started dating and the first time we had sex. She left our home one Sunday evening to meet him at the grocery store and ended up having sex with him in the parking lot. Towards the end of the A, the OBS walked to my home and told me she thought something was going on with between our spouses. I asked my WW about it, she gaslit me. She proceeded to call AP and told him to get his wife "under control". He assaulted his wife. She ended up in the hospital with a broken orbital bone and nose. He was arrested. Did my WW stop the A then? Nope. She thought "well, he didn't do those things to me". How fucking stupid is that? I didn't get the ILYBINILWY. I got the plain old I don't love you. After the OBS visit, I got suspicious and it wasn't as easy to lie to me. She started trying to end the A. AP begged for "one last time" and that happened while I was away for business at some seedy motel. It couldn't happen at our house because we lived too close to each other. His wife would have found out. My WW shuttled our kids to her mom's house for the closure fuck session. She thought it was over and she felt she could manage my suspicions. She repeatedly told him throughout the A that she had no intention of leaving me. Then AP stalked her and followed her for a few weeks after work. It terrified her. She drove to police stations a few times. She couldn't tell me. One day he was stalking her and she ended up going to a walgreens next to a fire substation. She told him to stop the craziness because he was scaring her. He asked her to marry him ring and all, she said no and he outed her to me a few days later. The aftermath was a lot like Thumos experienced, just not so long. It took me 1.5-2yrs. We had the blameshifting MC too. My WW started to recollect the A favorably and told me AP was a "good guy". That was my final straw moment. I had an RA that I rubbed in her face for a year and a half. I was cruel to her. I would come home late reeking of sex and another woman's perfume, flop into bed and ask her if she wanted to fuck. I would remind her she had no problem fucking a married man knowing he was having sex with his wife, why would it bother her to fuck me in the same circumstance. I was an asshole and I punished her in every possible way I could think of. I treated her like complete shit for years. I took some of the light out of her. a 4.5 year A a few years later. It didn't end well, they never do. I realized I was done, I was exhausted and completely burned the fuck out emotionally. I had I presented her with D papers and that's when she started to figure things out. I started IC at that time too.

No A is "clean", we all end up covered in shit and every BS has a few complete mindfuck tentpoles to contend with. It's the nature of the beast. Unfortunately, Thumos' WW is a lot like mine. She's simply a delusional cheater. She chose AP because of availability, he's not special. Two fucked up people with shitty boundaries met at a vulnerable time in each other's lives. She deluded herself into mentally okaying cheating. She's deluding herself in her R attempt. She doesn't have the tools to fix herself or mend her M. She's not deliberately evil because of that either. She's simply lost.

Thumos posted 12/19/2019 14:35 PM

Certainly, we could hold all the stuff I said and did in year one and say "you haven't a shot in hell to get her to be a safe person" and you would be right.

Yes, most of the hurtful gobsmacking things she said were in year 1 after D-Day -- so that's two years ago. However, as recently as this year, she wrote a non-apology apology: "I am sorry for my contribution to the status of our relationship."

And only four months ago she spewed some vitriol at me when I sent her those links to the podcasts about betrayal trauma. In fact, it was that reaction that propelled me to be ready to walk and I decided to give it one more shot by telling I wanted an immediate STD panel, sign up for an IC, write out a timeline and do a polygraph.

So this whole four months was precipitated by an episode of her lashing out.

That said, I do see remorse. I don't see it all the time. I see flashes of it, I guess. It's hard to say. There's a lot of debate here on SI as to what exactly remorse looks like.

Butforthegrace posted 12/19/2019 14:39 PM

Buck, your WW does sound like Mrs. Thumos. In response, though, you essentially divorced her and lived the life of a single man for 5 or so years, except she hung around so you could beat the shit out of her (emotionally). Eventually, you two started dating again and building a marriage.

In hindsight, do you wish that, instead, you had done nothing, allowed her to continue lying and avoiding, and just rug-swept?

Thumos posted 12/19/2019 14:40 PM

My WW started to recollect the A favorably and told me AP was a "good guy".

My WW did a version of this. In year 1 after D-Day she tried to mention a few times that AP "really liked" me and thought highly of me. I gave a cold smile and that shit stopped real fast.

She also told me during year 1 that her AP made her "feel like no man, ever" -- and that would include me, of course.

I've really struggled with those things. It's hard to just roll over and go "oh well, you didn't mean all of that horseshit you spewed at me for months after you'd already betrayed me, right?"

hikingout posted 12/19/2019 14:50 PM

That said, I do see remorse. I don't see it all the time. I see flashes of it, I guess. It's hard to say. There's a lot of debate here on SI as to what exactly remorse looks like.

I would define true remorse it as more consistent than that. Once you truly understand what you did to the other person, you can't unsee it. It's a driving force to truly make a lot of new concessions, it humbles you, it softens you, it makes you a more compassionate person to that person's pain. For me, it created a bigger curiosity, I asked questions, I wanted to understand how I could make amends.

The flickering is usually guilt and regret. Those are positive too, I don't think you can get to remorse without those things. But they are about how you feel about what you did. Remorse is really about trying to understand and experience what the other person's experience was.

The lack of discussions around the affair can allow the cheating party to be avoidant in recognizing the damage. In some ways my husband would just grow quiet, and I didn't know what it meant. SI filled in the gaps for me, and when a BS would express things that I knew I was guilty of - then I would take that home and use it.

To feel remorse you have to really sit down and understand what the other person feels. For a long time waywards can not handle that part. I felt blindsided when H asked for a divorce in month 9 - because his quiet meant to me everything was getting okay again.

I agree with Buck, even my affair had these "tentpoles" and the Ap and H never met. People conducting an affair are often in a mode of justifying every single thing to the point they don't acknowledge the evil things they are doing. What an asshole they are being.

Butforthegrace posted 12/19/2019 15:04 PM

I've really struggled with those things. It's hard to just roll over and go "oh well, you didn't mean all of that horseshit you spewed at me for months after you'd already betrayed me, right?"

A baby step in that direction would be her taking ownership of that horseshit, acknowledging the pain it caused, apologizing in a heartfelt manner, and trying to change your environment in ways to help you heal.

Thumos posted 12/19/2019 15:04 PM

To feel remorse you have to really sit down and understand what the other person feels. For a long time waywards can not handle that part.

I don't know - seems like I've been waiting a pretty long time for this. What's the payoff, other than stability for my kids? If it shows up eventually, will it be worth for me? How long is too long?

And couldn't I have something just as good if not better with someone else?

[This message edited by Thumos at 3:05 PM, December 19th (Thursday)]

Butforthegrace posted 12/19/2019 15:23 PM

Thumos, what you said above. That has been my point all along. If it ain't happened by now, the odds of it ever happening are about zip point shit. Ten years from now, a wrinklier Thumos is gonna be staring you down in the mirror, and his face will either be scowling ("Why in Hell did I stay and wait?"), or relived ("Every day I thank Heaven you moved out of that toxic marriage.")

hikingout posted 12/19/2019 15:25 PM

I don't know the answers, only you can answer those. I was getting towards the end of the first year I think.

I think yours was delayed either (and I don't know I only have what you have said) because of the rugsweeping/avoidance, or because she is incapable of it? Or she has it and noone can tell it because you still feel suspicious of her telling the truth and it's clouding everything so you are discounting her consistency. I will only think its the latter if she comes out with a clean poly. Then, I think you may have to decide if you are glossing over parts due to fear. I don't get that sense either, btw...but we are people on the internet, you know?

If she fails then it says she can't truly be remorseful. If she was, she would have come clean because she would have truly understood that you not knowing was torture and that she was drawing it out. Remorse and empathy go hand and hand. If she does pass it I think it will be interesting if it changes what you see and how you narrate.

[This message edited by hikingout at 3:27 PM, December 19th (Thursday)]

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