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Feeling Stuck in Anger/Plain of Lethal Flatness Phase

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Thumos posted 2/21/2020 15:17 PM

If the culprit is mainly stress, what do you think is the way forward from here? What needs to change in your life for this stress to be taken off of your plate?

Great question. It's almost rhetorical, isn't it?

The heart scare has been a great wake-up call.

Start with this: I'll know more definitively next week about echo and stress test which I took this week. I got two pieces of good news the past few weeks: cardiologist thinks a heart attack is unlikely and my calcium score (for hard plaque) is essentially zero. I'm hoping for a clean bill of health next week so I can recommence exercise. I like to ride a road bike, swim and lift weights.

But the low calcium score means as far as "the pipes" are concerned, it looks like I'm clean as a whistle. That would certainly be more in line with the healthy lifestyle, consistent exercise, megadoses of Omega 3's, and the clean mainly Paleo diet I've undertaken since about age 28.

Now what about the cause of the chest pain? I have brought up anxiety with my primary care doc and alluded to it with cardiologist, but I haven't said point blank to my cardiologist or primary care doc that I've been dealing with the fallout from infidelity the past three years.

I'll need to do that next week. That said, my cardiologist was leaning toward a miscalibration of my CPAP device at night not giving me enough pressure. Just enough pressure to mask snoring, but not enough to prevent apnea episodes. Over enough weeks, this stress can mimic angina and cause elevated BP -- because you're basically getting choked out every night.

The one thing I haven't been able to do the past few weeks is see a pulmonologist and get my CPAP device checked. I won't be able to see one until the end of March, if you can believe it.

So would that be my WW's fault if my CPAP were failing me? No. But it would be a part of the pattern of me neglecting my health and being a basket case the past three years. And I think it's too coincidental that the chest pain happened in the past several weeks after she failed the polygraph.

So, regardless, as I said at the beginning of this post, it's a huge wake up call. I can't just go back to the status quo after this. I've told my wife flat out that it's obvious to me that the universe (or if you're a Christian like me, God) is sending a big signal here that things cannot continue like this, and that this situation is literally killing me slowly.

So what am I going to do with that? I'm going to wait and see what my cardiologist says next week. I'm going to see how much all of this has cost me. My insurance is good, but everyone knows there will be bills for this.

And then I'm going to press forward with a post nup, which will also cost money in attorney fees.

This sequence is important to me so I know what a divorce might look like. I know this isn't the way everyone would do it, but it's the way I want to do it.

As far as timing, there are a lot of puzzle pieces. This is my oldest child's senior year in high school with all of the spring activities around that -- including a very big role said child will have in a very important event in May. Also, our house is in good shape but it needs some work if we're to sell it. And there's some debt accumulated from therapy bills.

There's always an excuse to delay a divorce, but I would have to be a real shitheel and frankly not that great of a dad to drop this all in the middle of my oldest child's spring semester and culminating event. For some reason May/June keeps coming up in my mind for a variety of reasons.

I have concluded a couple of things:

1. Forgiveness should not be conflated with staying. R and forgiveness are two separate things.

2. Forgiveness is necessary but it's a process, not an epiphany.

3. Regardless of her lack of transparency, the sex in our home with a friend of mine, preceded and followed by gaslighting and the proximity circumstances I have been forced into the past three years, all add up to a deal breaker. It's taken me awhile to realize that.

4. I love my wife, but not like I used to. The specialness is gone.

5. There are too many quality women in the world out there who haven't brought my friend over to my house for sex -- and it's become obvious to me that I'm an attractive man. I was low on self-esteem after my wife's affair. I'm not anymore.

Other conclusions:

1 - My WW has lied to me about the sex being awkward. This could be the case, but it's unlikely.
2 - She lied to me about not knowing if he ejaculated inside her. Again, it's possible, but not probable that she doesn't know.
3 - She's lied to me saying she was "going to cut it off" before my final confrontation of her. Much more likely was that she and AP had a conversation, which I can't prove, that they would "cool it" until my suspicions subsided.
4 - After being so deeply disrespected, what am I really getting in return for a potential R and staying with her? Do I really want to be married to this person?
5 - she betrayed me openly and to my face and wanted me to accept the situation.
6 - she tried to bully and gaslight me into submission and even the potential of being on mind-altering medication.
7 - she conned me into thanking him for a gift he gave her after screwing her in our home
8 - She demeaned me to him
9 - She deleted texts and used untraceable communications. She got rid of her phone. She got rid of other physical evidence
10 - There was something in the texts she didn't want me to read or see. There's no other reasonable explanation for refusing me access. Either the relationship was more than she said or the sex went farther with more frequency.
11 - She cajoled me into not telling the OBS
12 - She only admitted that AP invited her to his empty townhouse for sex after three years of arguing about lack of transparency
13 - The AP invited my WW to his townhouse for sex only 5 days after the PA allegedly began. Yet my WW wants me to believe that the first and only instance of sexual activity of any kind happened four weeks after that.
14 - She insists that -- other than the "one time" sex in our home -- during the entire six-week trajectory of PA, almost all physical contact was limited to an imaginary box around their heads.
15 - She wants me to believe that in the 8-12 other hookups/meetups in her car, his truck, her office, nothing sexual happened.
16 - She wants me to believe that she never went to his townhouse the night I was conveniently in another part of the city, after she'd "documented" her attendance at a party for a friend.
17 - She wants me to believe that nothing inappropriate was witnessed by my oldest child when AP was over at our house for repeated dinners while I was out of town.
18 - She still wants to slough off her responsibility on the AP's alleged Svengali-like influence over her
19 - She wants me to believe she wanted to end it several times but AP "talked her out of it." The truth is this is a convenient rationalization exercise so she could retroactively say she "tried" to end it but she knew her AP would always give her an out to continue it.
20 - She refused a polygraph for three years and only did it when I issued an ultimatum. Then she failed it on the essential question of truthfulness.
21 - While she has done a good job of showing me the kind of wife she wants to be now, she's also dug her hole deeper by heaping scorn on my head and adding insult to injury.
22 - She plowed ahead with sex in our home with the AP after I soft-confronted her with my initial concerns.

WalkingHome posted 2/21/2020 16:20 PM

Having her AP at dinner...in your home...with your child at the table...WOW.


That's a level of disrespect that is akin to replacing dad with AP.


Seriously...that gets my hackles up more than the sex part. I kind of expect the sex part...but the bringing him to the dinner table with your kids, if I'm understanding that right, is beyond wrong.


It takes wrong to a whole other level...


I hope I'm not understanding that right.


Good news on the health scare though, congrats on dodging that one.

Thumos posted 2/21/2020 17:45 PM

Having her AP at dinner...in your home...with your child at the table...WOW.

You're understanding it right. It is insulting, yes, but not nearly as insulting as arranging for sex in our home with him while I was out of town. And ignoring my texts and phone calls that morning while they were having sex. And then conning me later that same day into thanking him for a gift he'd given her as an obvious thank you for sex.

The only context I would offer is that: A) He was a friend of mine, so his coming over to the house was not out of the ordinary. B) The dinners were arranged on the pretext of playdates for our two young children, respectively. The two were best friends. AP had most of the childcare duties as the OBS (his wife) worked a bit later many evenings in the school year.

The dinners were new information that came out of the written timeline/disclosure session this fall. I hadn't known about it before.

I only found out about this aspect recently -- after three years of refusing to give me a timeline.

Unsure2019 posted 2/21/2020 18:45 PM

Thurmos,

Following your thread from the beginning, I know this has been just been an agonizing three years for you. I say this as gently as possible Ė you bear a great deal of responsibility in keeping yourself in this ongoing pain and lethal plane of flatness. Itís clear that you still care for your WW and I think the thought of breaking up your family has just been paralyzing for you.

You are a prolific poster on here and offer spot on advice more often than not. If someone came on here and posted your list of 22 ďconclusionsĒ, what would be your advice to them? I donít think it would be what youíve actually done.

Iím hoping for the best possible news next week about your heart. From what you said, itís most likely stress from not dealing decisively with you WW and the A. Demand another poly and this time demand NO change in your questions and DON'T bring the SIL. Finally, I donít think itís too late to tell the OBS. It may be a little messy, but 1) she deserves to know who sheís married to, 2) I think it would give you enormous relief and dissipate some of your anger towards him, and 3) If WW has to see OBS at school functions, sheíll finally get a little taste of what sheís put you through.

Choose to R or choose to D, but make a choice and move on. Itís up to you to get out of this self-imposed purgatory.

Thumos posted 2/21/2020 18:51 PM

Just to be clear: I already told the OBS about a year after D-Day. She said I was a good man. She said she didnít want to talk about it. She elected to stay with AP bc he built her a new custom luxury home on his daddyís dime.

Unsure2019 posted 2/21/2020 18:56 PM

Sorry T, I had forgotten that. Myy bad. Strike that from my post.

Thumos posted 2/21/2020 21:12 PM

Itís clear that you still care for your WW and I think the thought of breaking up your family has just been paralyzing for you.

This has been the problem all along from day one. It is why I started posting my agonized thoughts in the first place.

As for what advice Iíd give someone in my shoes, well, I would probably do the usual qualifications of not pushing them to R or D ó but if Iím being honest: Ēget out while you still have your healthĒ

Thumos posted 2/21/2020 21:15 PM

Demand another poly and this time demand NO change in your questions and DON'T bring the SIL.

I do appreciate this advice. Iím not going to do this. She already had a chance to do this herself. Iím done pushing her. Iím getting the post nup. If she backs out of that commitment I will not pass GO and Iíll go straight to divorce.

Unsure2019 posted 2/21/2020 21:39 PM

T,

I appreciagte you honest replies. I know this isn'teasy. Take care of yourself.

nekonamida posted 2/22/2020 08:30 AM

If getting a post nup is what you want to do before the inevitable D, go for it. It sounds like your health isn't that bad yet but will be headed that way if you don't get rid of the major stressors you're under soon. Keep a close eye on it and keep moving forward.

nekonamida posted 2/22/2020 08:30 AM

If getting a post nup is what you want to do before the inevitable D, go for it. It sounds like your health isn't that bad yet but will be headed that way if you don't get rid of the major stressors you're under soon. Keep a close eye on it and keep moving forward.

sisoon posted 2/22/2020 14:35 PM

Yes, D will be traumatic for your kids.

No, there will never be a good time from your kids' POVs to D.

Freshman year in college is difficult. HS is difficult. Middle school is difficult.

Just sayin'....

Pandora16 posted 2/22/2020 16:36 PM

Hi Thumos. Iíve been poking around the forums for the past month after a hiatus, and I have appreciated many of your responses to other posters. I see we have very similar marriage timelines ó weíre about the same age, got married around the same time and had pretty close to the same D-day.

But I have to say, based on many of your posts to others here, Iím surprised youíre still with your wife. Mostly because you donít seem to have had a good reconciliation experience. (Apologies if Iíve misread this) My heart goes out to you, and Iím so sorry your health seems to be compromised, possibly because of the stress of your spouseís actions.

I donít really have a ton more to add, except to say I hope you are able to find some peace and happiness. And just one aside ó my kid is so glad I finally left his father. Itís not necessarily better for the kids for someone to stay in a marriage. I did (I wasnít aware of my exís many transgressions, but he was not a great husband and it wasnít a happy home, although I wouldíve claimed it was at the time and meant it), and it was not for the best for anyone except my ex. Iím not saying thatís the case for you and your wife, but kids are resilient.

[This message edited by Pandora16 at 4:48 PM, February 22nd (Saturday)]

Butforthegrace posted 2/22/2020 23:03 PM

I have a few thoughts about your situation, in no particular order.

_____________________________________________________

I wonder if you have explored, in your MC, the question of her ďwhyĒ. As discussed, the nature and details of her A suggest that, for at least that time period, she harbored outright hostility and contempt toward you. She consorted openly with a mutual friend, in your home, even with you present. She demeaned you to him. She played house with him in your home when you were away, even involving your kids. She gaslighted you cruelly, to the point of self-medication. There was a complete lack of compartmentalization. The time they had sex in your home, she had to have known, deep inside, that you knew, and her response was to gaslight you more, forcing you to call the AP and thank him for the ďgiftĒ.

Who does that even to an enemy? The question Iím curious to know the answer to is: what place had her heart gone to enable her to act so hatefully and contemptuously toward you? Why did she feel a desire to crush you in that way? The other part of that question, of course, is what could she possibly do to make you feel safe she wouldnít do it again. Somewhere, that hatred and contempt she felt toward you must still be lurking. When will it come out again, and how?

_________________________________________________

On the subject of her current truthfulness about the extent of sexual activity in her A, here are your data points:

-You know she can lie to you very convincingly. She has a history of doing so, and gaslighting you.
-She has expressed a strong wish that she had lied to you more about the A than she has, and specifically wishes she had never confessed to having sex the one time you know about.
-She fought any sort of disclosure for years. As part of this, she destroyed her texts (probably because there were things in there that she knew would be deal breakers for you), she destroyed your VAR, and she bullied you to rug-sweep.
-As noted above, there is an element to the A that suggests an undercurrent of contempt by her, toward you, which would be consistent with ongoing dishonesty.
-The poly results were very strong on the question of whether there was more than one sexual encounter.
-The timeline and circumstances of the A that you know about suggest more than one sexual encounter, and in particular that oddly contrived evening when she encouraged you to attend the fund raiser far from home and she sent you a photo to "prove" that she was with a group of girlfriends. As discussed frequently on SI, APís engaged in PAís generally fuck whenever they have the opportunity, and your WW and her AP had plenty of opportunities for sex other than the one time she has confessed.
-As we see here on SI, it is common for APís, when caught, to agree to a ďstoryĒ about the A that they will each stick to. In your case, that ďstoryĒ is that they had sex only once. The AP is probably telling the same story to his BOW.
Your WW has consistently guarded the cocoon of intimacy that she created whilst playing house with her AP, over the marriage, which would be consistent also with protecting their agreed-upon ďstoryĒ over truth to you.
-Your WW has not shown empathy for your trauma and has not taken steps to help you heal. Rather, she has consistently tried to advance a rug-sweeping agenda.

You might ask her in a counselling session that, if the shoe were on the other foot, given those data points, what would she conclude? What is the logical, rational conclusion?

I'm reminded of a comment she made in a rare moment of candor, when you were confronting her about sex with the AP, something along the lines of: "That's what adults do." Indeed it is, and given the timing, opportunities, etc., the logical conclusion is that your WW and the AP did what adults do.

_________________________________________________

I completely understand your ambivalence about D versus R. To that point, let me suggest a few thoughts.

D would not be breaking up your family. You will still see your kids, and vice versa. Your WW will also still see them. It is likely your family will do things together. I think you know I was dumped by my WxGF for her AP. I was shattered by the experience, yet familial love soldiers on. Even after that her son (who was my informal stepson) spent weekends with me, some weekdays, vacations, etc. All of us together took (as a group with mutual friends) ski trips, back-country trips, etc. We attended spelling bees and soccer matches and such. In other words, the family soldiers on, albeit in slightly more complicated form.

D would also not mean the end of your relationship with your WW. You can still spend as much time with her as you (and she) agree you wish to spend. You can date, sleep together, etc. In fact, with the D behind you, you might be in a position to talk more frankly about the two questions posed above.

D does mean that you wonít come home in the evening to her at home as your wife. That is both good and bad. As of late, she has been an attentive, good wife. You get along with her. You enjoy her. She wonít be home any more after you D.

At the same time, you have been stuck in the POLF for some time. Seeing her triggers memories of the cruel gaslighting and the wicked non-compartmentalized nature of her A. Coming home and seeing her might be a drag because of all of the baggage. You would free yourself from that.

[This message edited by Butforthegrace at 11:30 AM, February 23rd (Sunday)]

Thumos posted 2/23/2020 01:28 AM

But I have to say, based on many of your posts to others here, Iím surprised youíre still with your wife. Mostly because you donít seem to have had a good reconciliation experience.

Pandora, thank you for posting.

First, let me say, that my younger child (and older child) will not be happy or relieved about a divorce. They just won't. Also I would actually like to be in your situation, with adult children. But that's not my situation. One child is 18 in high school. The other child is 10 in 4th grade. This will in most ways blind side my younger child (while this child is aware of arguments, we've done a decent job of shieling this one). For my older child, they know it's a distinct possibility. They don't want it.

That's because, in spite of her horrible decisions and actions, my wife is actually a very good mother. That sounds crazy, but it's true. She's also done quite a bit since D-Day to show me very consistently the kind of wife she wants to be going forward. It would be difficult to fake that for three years, but I suppose it's possible.

The problem is with transparency and authenticity -- as we've discussed ad nauseam on this thread. I don't think I'm getting truthfulness about what happened. It's torturing me. My wife knows this and insists she's being truthful, but I simply don't believe her, and there's plenty of behavioral and other evidence to suggest she's not being truthful.

By themselves, the actions of the adultery are clear dealbreakers. They have been from day 1 after D-Day. I chose to stay because I didn't want to be a part-time parent. To be fair to me, I'd never been a betrayed spouse before, it's not what I wanted, and to think about splitting up my family completely paralyzed, nauseated and unmanned me.

Here's something else: I don't think I've had a real reconciliation at all. That's taken some time for me to realize. I posted here I think in August of last year (2019) thinking I was in "reconciliation."

That, I think, led me to believe that getting along and having a functioning household and trying to figure this thing out was "reconciliation." I have since come to realize that actual, real 3D reconciliation in our human space-time continuum is TRUTH---->RESTITUTION---->RECOVERY------->RECONCILIATION.

I don't think that's ever been outlined that way on SI, but I now believe in strongly. You can't skip the steps. Truth must come first. All truth. Total truth. Skip this and you get nowhere. Then comes some form of restitution. Financial, emotional, time commitment, consistent physical and other affection, self sacrifice. SOMETHING showing real restitution. Then comes recovery. That's the "2-5 years" thing we keep reading about here on SI. Then, finally, after all that, comes reconciliation.

The problem is my WW tried to vault over step 1 to step 2. She provide lots of restitution. But the lack of truth festered. Thus recovery came to a standstill. And reconciliation never started.

It's true that for the most part (I'd say 80-90 percent of the time) we've been able to provide a stable, tension-free household. We've taken vacations, had regular family dinners several times a week, shown affection for each other in front of our children, avoided arguing in front of them, done lots of activities, had extended family gatherings at our home and more. We have sex, there are warm embraces and consistent physical affection. That in and of itself is a problem for me, because I feel conflicted about it and have tamped my feelings down.

As has become clear very recently, this has come at a great personal cost to me. I'm good at burying it. But it comes back and surfaces.

Posting here starting in August was an eye opener, and started me on a path of thinking about things more clearly. So you could say that my limbo of almost three years was an experience of being frozen in amber in some ways.

So consider my "clock" really starting in August to now. That's really six months.

Regardless, I'm trying to process and figure out what to do. I don't find the prospect of divorce an easy one for a variety of reasons. I don't find the limbo of what I've been subjecting myself to (my responsibility) any easier.

But something's got to give.

Now let's talk about my "muse" in this thread, BFTG, who has posted consistently.

Who does that even to an enemy? The question Iím curious to know the answer to is: what place had her heart gone to enable her to act so hatefully and contemptuously toward you? Why did she feel a desire to crush you in that way? The other part of that question, of course, is what could she possibly do to make you feel safe she wouldnít do it again. Somewhere, that hatred and contempt she felt toward you must still be lurking. When will it come out again, and how?

BFTG, you have hit upon one of the most troubling aspects of this. I've gone deep, deeper than many, and so we've surfaced some very troubling aspects here. I suspect this sort of "contempt" or hatred exists in many adulterous actions but it's kind of the graveyard too many whistle past. On JFO and elsewhere, we can catch glimpses of it. It may be that part of it is simply a misanthropist impulse similar to Daniel Day Lewis' character in "There Will be Blood" when he says: "I hate most people...there are times when I look at people and I see nothing worth liking."

I think that if many WW's and WH's are brutally honest, they will see more than a little of Daniel Day Lewis' character in themselves. As the old saying goes "Character will out."

In a very real sense then, the contempt has no factual or other basis in the marriage itself. It is within the wayward. But it IS REAL. This is something WW's and WH's seem to try to reject all the time here on SI. I think they are not being terribly honest with themselves or us. I think they have a deep-seated misanthropic contempt -- and I think adultery directs this contempt at innocent spouses. I think the degree to which adultery happens in what should be and arguably are "good marriages" is actually quite high, and probably more prevalent than in so-called "bad marriages." 99.99999 percent of the onus for adultery falls on the wayward's skewed sense of reality -- and I do believe that contempt and a hatred (both an internal boiling hatred and a hatred that is externalized but misplaced) is to blame.

Now, I don't want to make this a gender discussion, but I do feel this contempt is probably a bit more common among WW's. Here's my theory: I think they are projecting a wound from a father, either an absent one or a failed one. I hate FOO as an excuse, so my take here is that WW's who carry around this father wound are really ultimately selfish because they know in their hearts and empirically that their husbands are NOT their failed fathers. But they have decided to act out a deep-seated anger nonetheless. So it's FOO, but that only provides us with the motive. We are still left with the troubling reality of a person who lets their wound drive them to do evil against an innocent man.

You might ask her in a counselling session that, if the shoe were on the other foot, given those data points, what would she conclude? What is the logical, rational conclusion?

This is great advice. However, just to be clear, we are NOT doing MC. We are doing IC respectively, but the two IC's do partner together for things like disclosure. So I'd have no opportunity to ask her this other than in a face to face in our home or elsewhere, but not in a therapeutic setting.

I think MC is a waste of time, and we racked up quite a bill doing MC over 1.5 years after D-Day. I finally cut off that nonsense, and then insisted on IC with two therapists who each specialize in betrayal trauma.

You will still see your kids, and vice versa. Your WW will also still see them.

I do know this, and thank you for the reminder. It's something I have begun to grow at peace with more recently.

I've even thought about maintaining our home as a co-parenting space allowing the children to remain. We could afford it.

D does mean that you wonít come home in the evening to her at home as your wife. That is both good and bad. As of late, she has been an attentive, good wife. You get along with her. You enjoy her. She wonít be home any more after you D.

I have thought about this and I'm OK with it. Because I travel for work, I spend days apart from her. I enjoy being with her, but the weird thing is I don't miss her in that aching way I did before the affair. When I'm on the road, I'm just fine. Now that's for short spurts rather than long periods, and then I get to come home and play family and have her. Regardless, I won't know for sure how it will feel until it happens. And I suspect that, as you say, her absence will also mean somewhat of an absence of pain from the memories.

The real struggle for me is also the absence of my children on a day-to-day basis. I'll have to adjust to a new reality -- and that's no small thing for someone verging on 50. It's scary. It's scary to worry about either child failing to thrive, either academically or otherwise, or developing behavioral or other issues.

But fear is the mind killer.

[This message edited by Thumos at 11:07 AM, February 23rd (Sunday)]

Butforthegrace posted 2/23/2020 09:20 AM

while this child is aware of arguments, we've done a decent job of shielding this one

I'm nearing the empty nest stage, with one kid out of college and the second about halfway through. Like you I was a very involved parent, volunteering in the school for many parent assistant roles, managing sports teams, chaperoning musical tours, etc. I was around a lot of parents and kids at various ages.

I think generally parents give themselves way too much credit over the idea that they can shield young children from issues like this. Consider this:

Your child is as intelligent as you are. They have less life experience, so they may have to work through problems that you now react to automatically as a result of a history of hard knocks, but that slower processing isn't an indication of less intelligence. Rather, it's an indication of less experience.

That less experience also corresponds with the fact that their brains are not yet cluttered with all of the extraneous information we accumulate in adulthood. They have a TON of brain power that is unused, available to gather data and process it.

The boundaries of their world at age 10 are rather narrow. Home. School. Maybe a sports team or extracurricular. Meanwhile, their brains are hungry for information, and their young senses are keen.

In other words, big brain, lots of brain space, hunger for information, keen senses, small world: they grok basically everything in their universe way more deeply than we do as adults. Further, your two kids almost certainly have sotto voce conversations. I'd bet my next paycheck that your 10-year old knows way more than you think he knows, though I would also reckon that some of what he knows is difficult for him to comprehend and therefore he may misunderstand it.

That's sort of a long way of going to the concept that he may actually find some relief and comfort if you were to separate. He would see a lot of involvement from you, and from your WW, but sans the tension that he almost certainly recognizes at present. A relaxing of the detente.

As to the shared home concept, I know a woman who was married with kids and then realized/discovered/acknowledged that she is gay. She divorced her male husband and married her female spouse, bought a house across the street, and every evening she goes to the male husband's house and has a regular dinner and evening with the kids (who live there full time), puts them to bed, then returns to her new home with her female spouse.

Not suggesting that as the best model. Rather, just saying that there are models out there where both parents can remain very involved, especially where the family has the socioeconomic means to afford two households, which I gather yours does. It is good that you worry about your son thriving. I reckon your WW worries about this too. That shared worry can continue to be a shared project of the two of you.

Staying together doesn't guarantee that he will thrive. I have known plenty of intact nuclear families with highly involved parents, including families of substantial means with children afforded every advantage in terms of fancy private schools and such, where kids slide off the rails in their teens and descend to drug addition or other maleficence. No matter what, there is no guarantee, but my experience is that the first 10 years matter more than the second 10. That is, if you get them going in more or less the right direction the first 10 years of life, the teenage years are, for parents, mostly a matter of hanging on and hoping for the best, being as present as possible.

As to your daughter, if she is away at college her freshman year and you D, she will probably need more reassuring than your son. Being away as a freshman is a scary step for most young people. She will need to know you are still her anchor and her rock, the place she can return to no matter what. I say "you" and not "the two of you" because I think daughters at that age need their dads, a lot.


BFTG, you have hit upon one of the most troubling aspects of this. I've gone deep, deeper than many, and so we've surfaced some very troubling aspects here. I suspect this sort of "contempt" or hatred exists in many adulterous actions but it's kind of the graveyard too many whistle past.†

Do you know whether she has made any effort to figure this out specifically with respect to herself? Doing this would of course require her to face the reality of what she did with clear-eyed honesty, and the fact that she still attempts to chalk this up to the AP's Svengali-like influence suggests she has not.

There is also a bitter irony in that tack. She has tried to weaponize your relative (to her) lack of experience as the main hurdle to R.She has tried to tell you that NSA sex is something adults do. Yet when it comes to the question of why she herself made that choice in the way she did, she demurs. She lacked agency because she was a naif and he was Wile E. Coyote.

[This message edited by Butforthegrace at 7:14 AM, February 24th (Monday)]

Organic2003 posted 2/23/2020 21:47 PM

I hate FOO as an excuse, so my take here is that WW's who carry around this father wound are really ultimately selfish because they know in their hearts and empirically that their husbands are NOT their failed fathers. But they have decided to act out a deep-seated anger nonetheless. So it's FOO, but that only provides us with the motive. We are still left with the troubling reality of a person who lets their wound drive them to do evil against an innocent man.

Thank You Thumos!!!

I have never read a more accurate succinct statement regarding FOO issues and how I have felt for over 20 years. You have helped me.

WalkingHome posted 2/24/2020 15:43 PM

Forgive me for asking if this has already been fully addressed-


Do you have the full truth?

Has she given you a complete timeline?

Do you even know what you are trying to forgive?

Do you know who and how she had the A, how they communicated, funded it, and so on?


It seems like there are some items required to be the basis for a successful R...and I don't recall that you have them or that she is willing to give them?

So...what exactly are you doing?

Thumos posted 2/24/2020 17:38 PM

I had an interesting insight today, nothing too profound and it doesn't change my situation but I thought I would share.

In the years leading up to my WW's affair, she told me about a married female co-worker of hers who had gone home with a stranger she met at the gym and "fooled around." My WW and other female co-workers didn't approve of it, but they didn't exactly disapprove either. And it was clear they all found it titillating to talk about.

On reflection, I've heard my WW and other women of her age and means use the phrase "fool around" as a euphemism to cover a variety of sexual activity short of PIV sex. "Fooling around" covers a lot of territory ranging from deep kissing to oral sex.

Saying the phrase "fooling around" is a great code phrase women seem to deploy among themselves and with others. It allows them to demur and avoid talking about actual specifics of sexual activity, while at the same time communicating that something sexual occurred.

This is a great example of minimization and wayward thinking. Just wanted to share it.

[This message edited by Thumos at 5:47 PM, February 24th (Monday)]

Thumos posted 2/24/2020 17:46 PM

Do you have the full truth?

Has she given you a complete timeline?

Do you even know what you are trying to forgive?

Do you know who and how she had the A, how they communicated, funded it, and so on?


It seems like there are some items required to be the basis for a successful R...and I don't recall that you have them or that she is willing to give them?

So...what exactly are you doing?

Answers:

1. No I don't believe that I do. She insists that I do.

2. She gave me a detailed 17-page timeline this fall after three years of my requesting it. There is new information in it, among the most "tent pole" items:

-That the AP was over at my house regularly for playdate dinners while I was out of town.
-That at the alleged very beginning edge of the PA, the AP invited my WW over to his empty townhouse for sex, but she allegedly declined. Yet she also wants me to believe that for four weeks after this, no sexual activity happened.

3. No, I don't believe I have the full truth, so recovery and forgiveness have been frozen in amber, so to speak.

4. Yes, I know the who, what, when, where, how they communicated, etc. I don't know the "why." She wouldn't allow me to see the texts and then she got a new phone. And while I believe the essential outlines of her story, I don't believe I have the full truth. For example, I don't believe she only had sex with the OM one time.

5. This fall, my WW met all my requests for her to go to IC with a betrayal trauma specialist, complete a full STD panel, for her to complete a written timeline, and to do a polygraph. She failed the polygraph. She "offered" to do a 2nd polygraph, but that was not a serious offer and she retracted it. She has also offered, without my request, to do a post nup. I am taking her up on this and it would be the last "item" I suppose.

But I am leaning toward divorce.

6. So what am I doing? Well, right now, for the last several weeks, I'm dealing with a minor health crisis (a heart scare) which increasingly looks like a false alarm. I was told initially I had had a heart attack, but that looks to not be the case now. I'll know more definitively tomorrow.

But the experience has been a jolt and it's been a great wakeup call.

[This message edited by Thumos at 5:49 PM, February 24th (Monday)]

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