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Feeling Stuck in Anger/Plain of Lethal Flatness Phase

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KingofNothing posted 12/28/2019 21:58 PM

Didnít want people to think I had disappeared. Iíll be back with some more thoughts and info soon.

I hope Christmas wasnít too miserable, for your childís sake. My older son and and I did our new tradition of brunch and Die Hard, and he introduced me to the Mandalorian on Disney plus. I wasnít triggered, I didnít drink, and I was, for the first time in a few Christmases, not angry because our old traditions got blown to shit. It was a fun day. Itís possible.

Regretitall posted 12/30/2019 13:30 PM

Sorry to hear about the poly. I hope that your holidays were as good as could be expected and that you've had some time to process. I wish you well.

Thumos posted 12/30/2019 14:31 PM

More detailed update:

As I said previously I'm now going to be in the habit of processing information carefully rather than reacting quickly. I'm still trying to process, but I wanted to offer a short update about how I'm thinking about this going forward.

1. There are some odd details about how the polygraph examination went down. First, I followed the examiner's advice to allow my wife to come separately. My wife elected to have my SIL (her sister) bring her. This was the first time in three years that my SIL has acted hostile and non-supportive toward me. She was angry with me that I'd "forced" (my word, not hers) my WW to do the poly. Second, in order to again follow the examiner's advice on allowing my WW a calm environment, I left the room as he started to prepare her for the questions. My SIL stayed for awhile, and I was able to hear snippets of the conversation. At one point, my WW got the examiner to drop a third question from the exam (on the grounds that I already knew deep kissing had happened in a variety of locations). But that wasn't the question I was asking, and she and my SIL both knew this. I bluntly texted my SIL with the question they both knew I was asking, and she came out to angrily confront me. I remained calm and cool throughout.

2. What this means is that the results of the polygraph are even more stark. My wife passed the one question about whether any sexual activity occurred in or near our marital bedroom. She definitively failed the one question about sex more than once with the AP (in the examiner's words, a clear physiological response on all three charts all three times the question was asked, the same response each time). And essentially she finagled it so that she would not have to answer the third question I wanted, about whether any other sexual activity of any kind (oral, manual or otherwise) had happened in any other location than our house.

3. The morning after the failed poly -- on Christmas Eve -- early in the morning my wife woke me and we talked. I was very blunt with her and told her she was a liar and that I didn't feel I could reconcile with her until she decided to be truthful. During this conversation she, as many predicted, tried to lay the failure at the feet of her anxiety. She also herself floated the idea of taking the poly a second time. Later in the afternoon, I called her bluff, and said I'd take her up on that offer but I would only give her two weeks to move forward with a second poly. She got a deer in the headlights look and suddenly backpedaled away from the idea, after bringing it up herself earlier in the day.

4. My WW called my MIL to let her know she'd failed the poly and my MIL immediately snapped at her "Well, did you?!" when she explained the failed question about sex more than once. This tells me my MIL has not been "in cahoots" with my WW and she now doubts her own daughter. My MIL has remained warm and supportive toward me after the failed polygraph.

5. My WW also had a long conversation with our oldest child. She's already done this once before -- immediately after the affair, but sanitized it a bit for a 15 year old. Now our oldest child is 18, so my WW was more detailed and blunt. She owned it, she said I was thinking about divorce, she explained she'd failed the poly, she explained betrayal trauma, and she made it clear that none of this was my fault and all on her. I have also talked to my oldest child and told her that, yes, divorce is a distinct possibility and that I can't reconcile with someone I don't believe is truthful and transparent. My daughter is understandably upset about the now real possibility of her family splitting up and about what it means for her future as she heads into college. After my conversation with my oldest child, it was also clear to me she'd been under the impression that my wife had shown me the texts between her and the AP. I made it clear to my daughter this was not the case, and I also made it clear she shouldn't be placed in the middle of this, she should be focusing on her life, and she has two loving parents who aren't going to stop being involved in her life and supporting her.

Here are some conclusions I've made:

1. My SIL was obviously not a helpful presence at the polygraph and did more harm than good, adding an extra layer of drama that was unnecessary and harmful. It's also apparent to me that her change in demeanor and attitude toward me was because she knew my WW would fail the poly and was upset that I'd essentially forced the issue. This means it is likely she knows more and was hoping all along I'd buy the "one time" sex story. I also feel her presence was another form of disrespect to me.

1a. While my SIL was arguing with me in the waiting area, I said to her "I can't forgive what I don't know" and she replied, "Well, I can." This is why it's important to spend time processing. At the time, this didn't register other than as a disagreement. After processing it's clear to me that my SIL was tacitly admitting there's more I don't know.

2. I am thankful I had the polygraph examiner ask more than one question. Even though one question was dropped because the examiner was confused on account of my wife's elisions, it really doesn't matter to the substance of the polygraph results, which demonstrate a clear fail on the question of "one time" sex. That question is a "universal acid" that gets at the heart of it. And because she passed one question (about our marital bedroom - EDIT: Technically speaking, my WW failed the entire examination, but her physiological response only really showed up for the "one time" question, which makes me believe her when she says no sex occurred in or near the marital bedroom -- this is kind of angels on the head of a pin stuff, but I want to be accurate), it makes it much more difficult for my WW to try to argue her anxiety caused her to fail. This is an important point for anyone considering having their spouse do a polygraph.

3. My WW is not only not being transparent and truthful about the affair, I feel she purposefully maneuvered to get the third question dropped.

4. My WW backpedaled away from the idea of a second poly she herself put on the table, meaning it was never a serious prospect and merely another maneuver.

I have an appointment with my therapist next week. The two holidays falling mid-week are making it difficult to schedule much this week. After talking to my therapist next week, I'll schedule time to sit with an attorney to understand my options. As I said, a divorce will take some time given our financial obligations.

In any case, my attitude has changed towards my wife. I see her as a flawed, broken woman who is unable to be truthful with me, but oddly I feel a more transparent and less clouded love for her now that I know "the truth" insofar as the story she's been selling for three years is false, and I feel a sense of calm knowing it's unlikely she'll present herself as a good reconciliation material. I guess once the hopium pipe can be set down, we tend to think a bit more clearly.

I'm able to have a much healthier attitude overall, I don't feel wrapped up in the endless questioning drama, and I'm not guilty at all about seeking other relationships at this point. That's where I am.

[This message edited by Thumos at 12:52 PM, December 31st (Tuesday)]

Jorge posted 12/30/2019 15:50 PM

You've come quite a distance in 5 months.Stay the course. Your temperament is poised and your conviction has a steely resolve.

The decision to take time and process everything has led you to the probable conclusion about your SIL. Don't blink.

[This message edited by Jorge at 4:05 PM, December 30th (Monday)]

toby posted 12/30/2019 21:44 PM

Iíve been following your thread for a while now and just wanted to say Iím sorry for the hell youíve been through. Iím almost 20yrs from dday and around 12yrs since the poly(Yes, my wife took a poly 7 years after her EA because of continued lying that made me question if her affair was truly just emotional). She did pass, and our reconciliation has improved since.

I must ask, Was one of the poly questions for your WW about any other past infidelities besides the one you know about?

IHatePickingName posted 12/31/2019 08:54 AM

Thumos, i know this isnt easy for you. But i admire your strength of character which shines through your posts. You are going to survive infidelity, even if your marriage doesnt.

Thumos posted 12/31/2019 10:32 AM

IHatePickingName, thanks very much for the pick me up. It's good to get affirmations!

Happy New Year, all!

nekonamida posted 12/31/2019 11:56 AM

Happy New Years, Thumos! You're handling this amazingly and I think as time goes on, you will feel more clear and certain about going forward.

Can I also say just how disrespectful it is that SIL gets to know the full story but you don't? And that your marriage isn't worth enough for her to tell you? She can't even claim she's lying to herself at this point. She's just plain lying.

Buck posted 12/31/2019 16:13 PM

Your wife is really sticking to her story, to the point of absurdity. I'm sorry.

Hoping 2020 holds good things for you Thumos.

Striver posted 12/31/2019 19:21 PM

SIL may be getting a different story. But she may be getting lied to as well.

Robert22205https posted 1/1/2020 17:53 PM

I learn from every one of your posts (here and elsewhere on SI). I admire your strength and moral character. Thank you for sharing your painful and frustrating experience.

Thumos posted 1/1/2020 23:48 PM

I must ask, Was one of the poly questions for your WW about any other past infidelities besides the one you know about?

No. While in the wake of one case of adultery our reality has changed and we can never be certain, my gut tells me this has never happened before. Of course I canít be 100 percent sure about that, but polys are also not 100 percent accurate. Nothing in life is 100 percent certain except for our eventual death, I suppose.

Butforthegrace posted 1/2/2020 13:12 PM

Thumos, I feel for you. Infidelity is always a nuclear bomb in the life of the betrayed, but in your case it is so inextricably intertwined with the holidays. First the actual A and your Dday, then, 3 years later, the failed poly.

I'm reminded of her wish that she had never admitted to sex at all. It seems that somehow in her mind she holds tightly to a belief that the best thing she can do is deny and withhold the truth from you. I dont know if there is any way for her to understand that this is the wrong response.

KingofNothing posted 1/2/2020 19:00 PM

Thumos. Perhaps you have posted on this topic before but this is really the only thread where I became aware of your backstory. You post in a lot of threads, and since itís impossible to search on anything I donít know if this exists or not. Your reconciliation thread starts three years post DDay with a summary of the major events, and really focuses on the post revelation series of events. You say you discovered what happened through the use of VAR recordings, with which you confronted your wife. If it is not too personal or painful, would you share what behavioral changes were evident in your wife that led to a conclusion of infidelity? I know you rely strongly on your gut instinct. What was it telling you that made you run to Best Buy to purchase recorders?

Again, if this is too painful, I understand. I just havenít read that part of your story yet.

Thumos posted 1/2/2020 19:52 PM

If it is not too personal or painful, would you share what behavioral changes were evident in your wife that led to a conclusion of infidelity? I know you rely strongly on your gut instinct. What was it telling you that made you run to Best Buy to purchase recorders?
Again, if this is too painful, I understand. I just havenít read that part of your story yet.

Yeah I've had to summarize a lot because unlike a lot of people, I stewed in silence for three years.

Here are the essentials that I hope answer your question (as I explain keep in mind the AP was a friend who was an active part of our lives at this time):

1. I became suspicious almost as soon as the PA portion of the affair began. Now, keep in mind, this based on a timeline provided by my WW, so grain of salt and all that. But it seems to add up.

2. The EA portion began in September of 2016 (this is consistent with the rash of texts and phones calls between them that began in mid-September, something I found later by hacking her phone account and retrieving the records). In August through mid-September, only a few calls to set up routine playdates for the kids. In mid-September, an explosion of texting and phone calls. While this EA phase was heating up, I didn't clue into this aspect and I didn't note anything odd about my wife's behavior.

3. The PA began on Halloween 2016 (again according to my WW) when he touched her rear end, held her hand, touched her back inappropriately and so on. She welcomed this. I still wasn't clued in and nothing was suspicious about her behavior.

4. Then in early November, only a week later, one night both of us had to attend separate events. I had gone to my car to leave, something made me come back in the house, I can't say what and it's eerie that things work this way. I came back in, she was on the phone with him and her reaction seemed odd to me when I asked who it was. Since he was a routine part of our lives, I also talked to him a lot as one would with a friend. She just seemed a bit off and nervous about the call. It didn't completely register, and I went to the other event. But later that night, around 3 a.m., I woke with a start, sweating and breathing heavily. I woke up with an absolute certainty she was having an affair with the AP. This is actually called "the 3 a.m. epiphany" and it is likely a phenomenon that happens after the unconscious intuitive part of our minds have processed information in the early stages of sleep.

4. From that night on, I was suspicious and in a state of heightened anxiety and panic attacks. I'd never had a panic attack in my life, but now I know what that gnawing feeling is like, the elevated BP, the inability to focus and catch one's breath.

5. I started "mate guarding" and at first monitoring her and springing into her office unannounced, changing my plans to accompany her places, etc. She exhibited all the usual behaviors - guarding her phone, password locking it, acting cold and withdrawn, suddenly giving me starfish sex, etc.

6. In mid-November, I soft confronted with the phone records. At the time I knew nothing about terms like "soft confront" I was just limping along blindly. In response, she invoked an in-home separation, told me I was trying to ruin the "one male friendship I've had in my adult life" and convinced me I'd falsely accused her. She also almost had me convinced to seek psychiatric help and get an SSRI Rx for my "unfounded paranoia." During this time, I found out about the 180 through the book "Divorce Busters" and implemented it. I was doing this at the time because I thought that I had screwed up and was preparing for her to divorce me for my false accusations. I was detaching and trying to get my head straight around what it would be like to be single.

7. The 180 helped clear my head and it evidently scared her. After two weeks, she stopped the IHS and I unfortunately allowed her back in our bed because I was desperate for her. However, my head had cleared and my resolve had solidified by this stage. I knew I wasn't crazy or unjustly paranoid, but I was still at war with my old expectations for my old idea of who my wife was. I was also worried based on advice I'd read elsewhere about the affair going underground, so I played along at this stage like I was just happy to have her back.

8. I went on a business trip and realized on a certain day that the circumstances were perfect for them to be having sex. I had a panic attack in a hotel men's restroom and managed to convince a friend to do a drive-by of my house that morning. My friend refused to get involved (and only later confirmed for me he had in fact done the drive by and confirmed the AP's presence at my house).

9. So at this point, with my friend's refusal to help me (though I didn't he actually had done as I had asked), I was getting desperate. I had a very short window of 48 hours returning from one trip and then having to go right back out for another business trip. I sat in my house one day and thought and thought. Then around noon I sprung into action and figured out everything about VAR's, got a few and started setting them up. Stashed one in her car and one elsewhere. All of this took quite a bit of maneuvering in a short window of time, and I was so on edge my teeth were practically chattering. Then I said a prayer asking God for the truth, and went out of town again.

10. I returned from the trip more than a week later, retrieved the VAR's, and listened to them. I really was expecting to find nothing or hear innocuous conversations, and I was even prepared to face that I might need psychiatric help if everything turned out to be innocent. Of course that wasn't the case. I confirmed the terrible truth and confronted. D-Day was mid-December 2016. The recordings revealed an appalling disdain for me, mirth about their affair, disdain for AP's wife, and of course a level of intimacy only possible between sexual lovers.

11. At that time she would only admit to an EA, and she even tried to write an NC text saying that I knew "Everything about our emotional affair." I had the presence of mind to stop her and change that text to "knows everything." Then she trickled truthed me and admitted to sex about 1.5 weeks later.

EDIT PS: Anyway, I've always strongly suspected there was more between them. More sex. More intimacy. More of an emotional attachment. It simply beggars belief that a total of 3 months with about 6 weeks of PA only resulted in one single act of awkward sex that she didn't enjoy.

Everything I know for a fact about the affair is already a dealbreaker. It would be a deal breaker for most men. Full stop. That's always been clear to me. Inviting another man over to our sacred family home for unprotected sex she willingly and wantonly wanted. Allowing another man's seed in her if you want to get graphic and paleolithic about it. That's a deal breaker for me.

I didn't leave because I simply couldn't bear the thought of breaking up the family and creating instability for my children. Call it weak or not, that was my original motive for staying. I felt trapped.

Then my WW started doing a number of things to show me what kind of wife she intended to be going forward and she's been consistent in that. These helped.

But the idea that I don't know the full truth and I would be potentially moving forward with a "reconciliation" under false pretenses has tortured me.

Add to that the lack of feeling "special" about her now in the wake of her betrayal (I "love" her but I don't feel "in love" with her, I enjoy her company and enjoy sex with her, but I don't see her as remarkable or particularly admirable). Add to that again the fact that I'm still constantly triggered with living in the same home where all this happened, and seeing the AP constantly. Add to that even more the fact that our kids were wrapped up in her behavior - she was having the AP over for "play house" dinners while I was out of town and arranging for playdates that were really just cover for dates. Add to that again the many hurtful things she's said over the past three years and the fact that she buried the texts between them and tried to blameshift and rugsweep for the first two years.

All of this has left me in the limbo I described when I first began posting here in August.

What's changed now is that she failed the poly and that was the only empirical basis I had for confirming or denying her transparency or truthfulness.

[This message edited by Thumos at 8:24 PM, January 2nd (Thursday)]

KingofNothing posted 1/2/2020 23:44 PM

Thumos: thank you for filling in the gaps a little. I wasnít nearly as prescient as you were. It took a third party telling me as a friend to wise me up, which was humiliating at the time (but I was thankful to her later).

I donít mean to be nosy, but your story has helped me more than you know, even if I am post D. Thereís a real power in the subconscious. I wish I had listened to mine more.

10. I returned from the trip more than a week later, retrieved the VAR's, and listened to them. I really was expecting to find nothing or hear innocuous conversations, and I was even prepared to face that I might need psychiatric help if everything turned out to be innocent. Of course that wasn't the case. I confirmed the terrible truth and confronted. D-Day was mid-December 2016. The recordings revealed an appalling disdain for me, mirth about their affair, disdain for AP's wife, and of course a level of intimacy only possible between sexual lovers

This is the part I wanted clarity on. Did you play the tapes for your wife? Did you see her react to listening to herself show contempt for you and the AP the same for her? That part. How did she try to talk around that? I canít picture someone making light of or minimizing such blatant disrespect when she can hear herself saying the words. How can you lie your way out of it in that situation? In my case, I didnít have texts, but did have extensive emails, where I was vilified between the two of them (her passwords were pathetically easy to guess). I ended up reading them out loud to her mounting horror. I wonder, really, if they mean such vile statements at the time or are they putting some kind of show for themselves. I wish I had thought of VARS, now.

Thumos posted 1/3/2020 00:58 AM

I wonder, really, if they mean such vile statements at the time or are they putting some kind of show for themselves. I wish I had thought of VARS, now.

I think itís a little bit of both. I think they mean it in the moment, I think they are also putting on a show for themselves and their AP.

Her statements werenít off the charts vile, just a very strong subtext of disdain and ďI donít careĒ (she said that about me). Also they both commiserated about ďwhy are we married to such assholes?Ē She joked a bit telling him ďI told youĒ alluding to the fact sheíd warned him I was smart bc he was freaking out I was onto them (at this time Iíd figured out he was using a Google Voice type phone number, and I had been calling it regularly for a couple of days from another anonymous phone number I had set up myself).

And they joked around and chuckled about being sexual with each other. She also used little quirks and mannerisms in her conversation with him that I thought were special for me. I ended up concluding these are just part of her bag of tricks for whatever lover she happens to be involved with, and thatís part of the loss of specialness. This was one of those weird details I found truly heartbreaking. You realize they arenít that great of a person and youíve spent a quarter century thinking they were.

I didnít play the conversation for her. Obviously i shouldnít have even told her, but I wasnít thinking clearly so cíest la vie. She ended up finding the VARs in one of my briefcases and took them away (like she took the panties away and like she traded in her phone). She claims she destroyed the VARs but of course I canít be sure. In any case, Sheís not technically very adept so I doubt sheíd have the ability to even find the conversation buried in hours of mundane recordings.

[This message edited by Thumos at 1:02 AM, January 3rd (Friday)]

KingofNothing posted 1/3/2020 07:09 AM

She ended up finding the VARs in one of my briefcases and took them away (like she took the panties away and like she traded in her phone). She claims she destroyed the VARs but of course I canít be sure.

On what grounds or rationale? If the underwear was ďhers, you canít have thisĒ than surely that applies to you. Your wife went to great lengths to deceive you, but her reasoning was fundamentally flawed throughout.

Thanks for more info. I had the confrontation I described. Iím not sure how much good it did and even somewhat regret it, since it was done more out of revenge at the time. Dealing with the anger and injustice of it all has been a struggle for me.

Thumos posted 1/3/2020 13:39 PM

On what grounds or rationale?

None. Of course. She just took it.

RocketRaccoon posted 1/3/2020 21:57 PM

Looks like your WW values keeping her reputation clean over the M. Her rugsweeping (yours included) worked well for three years, until those pesky teenagers decided to solve the mystery in August.

My wish to you for 2020, is that you get what you need to feel at peace.

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