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Feeling Stuck in Anger/Plain of Lethal Flatness Phase

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Thumos posted 1/4/2020 14:04 PM

until those pesky teenagers decided to solve the mystery in August.

I’m a little dense - are you referring to Scooby Doo here? If so, funny!

KingofNothing posted 1/5/2020 10:39 AM

And they would have gotten away with it to, if it weren’t for you meddling kids!!

That really sounds sinister in this context.

RocketRaccoon posted 1/6/2020 01:29 AM

are you referring to Scooby Doo here? If so, funny!

You are not dense (regarding the reference)

Butforthegrace posted 1/6/2020 08:00 AM

At the beginning of this thread, your WW had told you the big picture outline of the A, revolving around the "sex one time only, in the guest room" scenario. You had nagging doubts about the veracity of this.

Now, about 5 months hence, she has given you a more detailed version of the same scenario, and you have stronger doubts about its veracity as a result of the failed poly. In other words, you're sort of in the same position now that you were in at the start of this thread.

In the meantime, I dont perceive that other things have changed. The most important thing is the ability of you two as a couple to discuss the A outside of the mediated environment of the therapists office. To R, you need to be able to heal as a couple. To do that, you need to be able to talk about your pain and raw emotion.

Is there any possibility for that to change? It has always struck me that what your WW wants here is a Mulligan, one where she doesn't have to acknowledge nor address your trauma, one where she doesn't have to bare her soul and look her demons dead in the eye.

Maybe you are okay with that. Some BS's are. But it means you are essentially left alone with the aftermath of the A, your cross to bear.

Of course, if you D, it will still be your cross to bear. This is probably the main reason that deciding to remain married isnt an unreasonable option. No matter what, I think there will always be doubt about what the truth is.

Mainly I think it's about which road leads to more happiness, or less pain, in the long run. The Thumos looking at you in the mirror in 10 years.

It's not an easy decision, I know, but meanwhile time moves on and not deciding is itself a decision.

[This message edited by Butforthegrace at 4:05 PM, January 6th (Monday)]

sisoon posted 1/6/2020 11:54 AM

I hope you go for maximizing your happiness instead of minimizing your pain.

KingofNothing posted 1/9/2020 13:53 PM

are you doing okay, Thumos? I haven't seen anything from you in a while.

Thumos posted 1/9/2020 17:08 PM

Hey I'm OK. Just Ok. I got into the swing of my job this week again and feel slightly better and busy.

I'm seeing my therapist tomorrow - first time for an appt since finding out about the poly.

Last night I had a dream in which I started having a nervous breakdown and collapsed on the floor in front of my wife and kept repeating "I'm going crazy" over and over to her. In the dream, she was standing frozen but weeping in her hands.

I guess that qualifies as a nightmare but when I woke up this morning I was very "meh" about it.

Make of that what you will. I've always been prone to very "dramatic" cinematic dreams.

Tseratievig posted 1/10/2020 00:54 AM

I realize you’ve already addressed this through your own introspection in this thread. I further see you’re active in many, many threads offering solid advice. Yet I’m reminded of something that happened with me a long time ago. I feel I have a good sense of the advice you’d give to someone whose WW miserably failed a polygraph. The next paragraph has stuck with me my whole life and I thought I’d share it with you.

As a teenager in the late 70’s, early 80’s I played a lot of tennis. We had what I considered a very good local pro. He had some very hard beliefs in match play strategy. One of his hardcore beliefs was to NOT hit certain shots under duress. He would really unload on you if he saw you attempting these shots. Enter 1982. I’m 200 miles from home with a buddy and on a whim, we go to the local tennis club. Lo and behold there is a Men’s 35 and over tennis tournament in progress, and I can see our pro is on court playing someone. My buddy and I go over to watch for about 30 minutes. In that 30 minutes my pro attempted seven or eight of those “do not hit under duress” shots. He lost a lot of credibility with me and I never took another class with him again. I just could not follow the advice of someone who in the crux did exactly the opposite of what he advised.

[This message edited by Tseratievig at 12:55 AM, January 10th (Friday)]

Thumos posted 1/10/2020 08:19 AM

It’s a good point. I get it. I’m really struggling with what to do. I’ll be seeing my therapist for the first time today since the polygraph.

I think you’ll see in a lot of my comments in JFO I will often say “please don’t be me” or “I wish I’d done these things from day 1” — you will often also see me say in those comments that I’ve been in limbo as a result, which is not unique but is different from a just found out situation. So most of my comments are geared toward preventing others from taking the path I have. I didn’t have anyone shaking that kind of sense in me at the time three years ago.

hikingout posted 1/10/2020 08:35 AM

Honestly, I don't think you need to choose any specific path so that your advice has more credibility here on SI. I think this site is full of coulda woulda shouldas, because noone knows how to do this. And, everyones situation is unique, there are no right or wrong answers. What worked well for some didn't work well at all for others.

You have to do what's best for you. And, while it matters much less in the scheme of things, I have seen you post with nothing but consistency.

Good luck with your appointment. It's hard to imagine what things now look like at your house. I honestly have a hard time trying to fathom sticking to a story through a failed polygraph. Without the capacity to go to IC and pick through that and own her issues, that's going to be a big pill to swallow. Failure to understand that on her part is also unfathomable. I think your approach in not being rash is maybe the highest form of patience, and also the right approach for you.

Thumos posted 1/10/2020 08:42 AM

In our lengthy discussions the past two weeks, my wife has continued to say she is not lying to me, she doesn’t know why she failed the poly other than anxiety, and that she can’t create false events that didn’t happen (I.e. other sex acts with AP). She’s said if she now made something up about additional sexual activity (in a perverse bid to show me she’s “being truthful”) it would be a lie — and she’s done lying.

She’s said she knows this isn’t going away, that she understands why I don’t believe her, and that she would do or say anything at this point for me to believe her (short of lying) — and she’s asked me to think about how crazy it would be for her to deny any more truth at this point if there was more to tell. When she says these things I’m not noticing the “tells” or tics one reads about that indicate lying.

On the other hand I have set of facts counterbalanced against her:

1. A high level of gaslighting during the affair — and very convincing behaviors and words at that time when she was in fact lying.
2. Some trickle truth the first two weeks after D-Day. Since then she’s contended I know everything.
3. Not allowing me to see the texts and then getting a new phone.
4. Not writing a timeline down for me until three years later.
5. The panic attack in November at the prospect of an actual polygraph.
6. Her behavior after the disclosure session in which she wanted me to drop the polygraph.
7. Her sudden offer of a post nup before she took the polygraph and again afterwards.
8. Her unsolicited offer to take a second polygraph and then retracting that offer when I took her up on it.
9. The behavior and words of her sister the day of the polygraph.

[This message edited by Thumos at 8:46 AM, January 10th (Friday)]

Butforthegrace posted 1/10/2020 08:45 AM

I’ve been in limbo as a result

Yes, you are in limbo. I sense this, not as much by what you've said as by what you've not said.

Your 6 or so months here have been in part a quest for truth and honesty from your WW, but also in part a quest for truth and honesty with yourself. You have unfortunately gotten neither as far as I can tell.

I do think that it is clear that your marriage is not anywhere along the path of R as R is normally defined here on SI. Your fundamental reality is that your WW has steadfastly not only refused to tell the truth, but has rued the few small bits of truth she admitted to. Her expressly stated wish is that she had lied to you more than she has, so that you'd know less of the truth than you know. Without that initial starting point, I don't think you can ever achieve Reconciliation.

You may decide to remain married without reconciliation. Many do, including many here on SI, for many reasons: "stay for the kids"; religious beliefs; fear of being alone ("the devil you know versus the devil you don't"). If you do, the one thing that is clear is that you will never experience remorse nor empathy from your WW. You may experience a lot of positive energy from her in terms of being a "good wife" on a going forward basis. Lots of attempts to please you and make you happy. My money, if I were to bet, is that this will taper off over time as she becomes sanguine that you will stay, but you know her better than I do. What is her personality in terms of "stick-to-it-iveness"?

I generally don't like to compare threads, but for some reason my mind, on its own, tends to compare yours to that of Walloped, mainly because the big picture elements of your thread are the diametric opposite of the other:

T-gaslighting after being caught, and sex with the AP after confrontation; W-immediate NC and no further contact after confrontation.
T-persistent lies, truth withholding, after Dday; W-100% blunt honesty after Dday.
T-DARVO, cruelty, blame-shifting, minimizing after Dday; W-ownership, attempts to fix what is broken and become better, no minimizing.
T-complete head-in-the-sand pretend it doesn't exist as to your trauma, but making a desperate, over-the-top effort to be a "good wife" to prevent you from pursuing D, for her own selfish reasons; W-threw herself into healing his trauma without regard to whether they would divorce or R.

Then there is the ephemeral matter of the heart. Can your heart cherish her again, knowing that she has the capacity to do what she did and at present is has not been addressed nor fixed. To that end:
W-the A was highly compartmentalized, completely out of the home, mostly in a far-away fantasy bubble, with almost no impact on W's home life at all. W never knew the AP, and hasn't had contact with him.
T-The A took place mostly in your actual home, and a lot of the courting occurred with you actually physically present. The horcruxes of the A remained in your home until you personally got rid of them. The AP is a man you must interact with regularly due to life's circumstances, and a man you once considered a friend.

For some reason, to me the facts and circumstances of your WW's A smack of a contempt toward you, an intentional effort to humiliate and demean you, a form of hatred on the level of spitting in your food or putting your toothbrush in her ass. I do not recall reading any post by you in which you describe comments or actions by her that address this element of her A. I do not buy the theory that the AP was merely a matter of coincidence, proximity, and opportunity. You describe your WW as an attractive, outgoing, easy-to-like woman. Women like that are beleaguered by sexual opportunities with men. If she was suffering some sort of mid-life crisis and vulnerable to feelings of validation, I have to believe that was readily available to her from many different men. I think that, possibly subconsciously, she chose the AP specifically because she wanted to shit in her home. The scary part is that I don't think she has made any effort to get to her why's, to figure out what was so broken in her that she would do the things she did, utterly despicable things, which means she is still broken in the same way she was before her A.

Again, you know all of this. I do understand that you may choose to remain married in spite of it, and I cannot say that, if I were in your shoes, I would have any easier time making a decision. But I'm quite certain in my own mind that if you do stay married, the Thumos who will be staring you down in the mirror in 10 years will have, to some degree, the same feeling described in the title of this thread.

BraveSirRobin posted 1/10/2020 09:12 AM

I think there's a difference between "don't do what I did" and "don't do what I'm still doing." The former is a hard lesson learned through bitter experience. The latter is "those who can't, teach."

You don't have to handle this any way but the way you're comfortable with. It's your marriage. But if you think you might stay despite the overwhelming evidence of continued gaslighting and lies, it's inconsistent to tell other BS that the only smart options are non-negotiable, time bound and absolutist.

As to the why she's sticking to her guns at all costs and against all logic and reason: one fear I have is that it's loyalty to the AP. She may be afraid that you'll tell OBS, and AP will know she threw him and their shared memories under the bus. She may also be afraid of what he'll disclose in retaliation.

Thumos posted 1/10/2020 09:21 AM

She may be afraid that you'll tell OBS

That’s a certainty. I would do it immediately. One of the mistakes I made was not telling the OBS right away.

Their situation is a little interesting: my wife’s AP stole his current wife from her first husband. So she’s a cheater too. And my wife’s AP is a serial cheater.

OBS is “reconciled” to my wife’s AP bc AP’s daddy built them a big new custom luxury home (after I exposed the affair). I hope it was worth the trade off. In any case yes I would tell her immediately. It wouldn’t matter much to the OBS bc she’s obviously a pretty shallow person.

[This message edited by Thumos at 9:23 AM, January 10th (Friday)]

Marz posted 1/10/2020 09:33 AM

It’s all up to you. Obviously you haven’t figured out what you want yet but you’re searching and questioning so at some point you’ll get there.

It takes more time for some but that’s ok. Everyone is different.

Your biggest problem is she put you in this state by her questionable behavior. No one can go back and correct that now. Is she telling the truth? That’s the problem. Her actions and behavior say no. Words mean what?

hikingout posted 1/10/2020 09:55 AM

I am glad someone else brought up the other OBS - you all have compared notes in the past? I just wondered if she would have info you don't. If I were you I believe I would want the truth and your wife obviously isn't going to budge.

ISurvivedSoFar posted 1/10/2020 10:09 AM

I'll offer something counter here, not to confuse you Thumos, but to allow you to see the different lenses through which you can consider your next steps.

If you do, the one thing that is clear is that you will never experience remorse nor empathy from your WW.
On the surface, it would seem this way and I'd say that in your WS's current state, this is a seemingly true statement. But I wouldn't say never. The actions of your WS smack of pure fear and survival. This isn't your problem to fix but it is an issue because of its impact to you.

She is reacting to you. She is trying to do what it takes to survive based on your behavior.
So what will you do to ensure your health and safety? What are your actions?

My WS became frustrated with me because I wouldn't do certain things and he felt sorry for himself. I left him to fend for himself. He had to grow up. We separated finances, got a post nup and so on. He continued to make decisions that weren't in his best interest. When he had to deal with the consequences and I wouldn't help him he realized that he had to change.

This is a process. It doesn't come easy nor fast. Your WS is classically in the second stage of fog - she wants to behavior it away, bargain it away, wants to flip that switch to make it all better. That's not reality. She has to dig deep and do the work. Unless you require it of her, change your behavior towards her, stop the normal interactions that were you M with her, she won't change because it is too easy to continue and there is no impact on her.

She won't find her empathy until she gets past this stage. And I found it gets worse right before the switch flips for the WS to "get it." Absent consequences that are meaningful to her, she might not get there and hence the supposition that she will never have empathy.

Alpargata posted 1/10/2020 10:53 AM

One fear I have is that it's loyalty to the AP. She may be afraid that you'll tell OBS, and AP will know she threw him and their shared memories under the bus. She may also be afraid of what he'll disclose in retaliation.

-Puts on foil hat-
If this is true then NC has been broken at least once (likely when he showed up at a school event the week before the timeline reveal after months of not showing up), it should be easy for you to check this since you know their methods, old dogs dont learn new tricks.
-foil hat off-

FreeAsABird posted 1/10/2020 11:21 AM

I think Thumos should stop posting a lot everywhere whilst his own house is on fire. There is now a sense of hypocrisy to observers like me who see someone pushing a hard line to others but do nothing in their own situation. He gives his wife all the time in the world to do very little but preaches shock and awe elsewhere.

nekonamida posted 1/10/2020 11:44 AM

Thumos, keep going to IC and thinking about this. She may not be showing signs of lying now because she's had time to process and stick to her story. This is a lot of evidence to the contrary that she's telling the truth. She even rescinded a second polygraph after offering it. You knew in your gut before that she wasn't being honest. You've known it for years. That feeling is not going away but your attempts to second guess yourself now are what bargaining looks like.

I think your only way through this is to really examine what matters most to you, if a lack of honesty and real R is a true deal breaker for you, and if you're capable of getting enough of your needs met to stay married in spite of your feelings about staying. I have a feeling though that this isn't just going to go away. You've tried that for years and it didn't work. And you also put this off for 3 years so the idea that you can just try to believe her and go back to rugsweeping probably looks very enticing to you. It's up to you whether this is enough, enough for now, or if you just need some more time to get your ducks in a row emotionally.

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