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Help me to help him...

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BraveSirRobin posted 12/23/2019 10:37 AM

In my evilness, I even said things like "I swear there's nothing else I haven't told you. I swear on the kids. I swear on my deceased dad". Who does that????
Me. But not anymore, and never again.

Regretitall posted 12/23/2019 11:54 AM

Yes, BraveSirRobin, Me. But not anymore and never again. I catch myself saying "I swear" and then correct it to "I Promise or promise". I have never and will never use promise and not mean it.

I will let him know that you're willing to speak to him if he wants some guidance. Thank you. I think he'd benefit (and he said he would as well but he's not a talker) from talking to someone. He won't tell his friends cuz he doesn't want their opinion of me to change. I told him to tell them. He needs to talk to somebody!

Zugzwang posted 12/23/2019 13:31 PM

I didn't truly recognize that until the other day.
in regards to your fishing.

Nothing is moving forward because he has no reason to trust you. Have you done any work on yourself to make YOU safe? Other than to promise to never do it again. Hello, but you had supposedly NO idea you were doing it to begin with. Will you even know it when you do it again to feed your validation and ego. You need IC. To work on you. To gain self confidence and validation from YOU. Not outside resources. You told him you were suicidal. I hope you weren't just flipantly throwing that around. That is a cruel way to bind someone to you. If you are serious. Call the emergency suicidal hotline. Call 1-800-273-8255
To need someone else that bad that losing them means the only option of suicide speaks volumes on how badly you need to get right by you.

I hope you call.

As far as defensive, why bother getting defensive over something that you are guilty of? You don't like getting criticized. Well, when you are guilty of something and you do cruel things to make you happy...suck it up and accept the guilt. Face the shame. Just accept the guilt. Move on. Choose to change instead of staying stuck, self soothing with immediate gratification in an uhealthy way, or rugsweeping. Sit in it and choose change.

Till you change these things. Nothing much will happen.

Stop loving your husband for all the things he does for you. Start respecting and loving him for the man and human being he is. He is not an object to make you happy. No one is. Make yourself happy in a healthy way.

[This message edited by Zugzwang at 1:38 PM, December 23rd (Monday)]

Regretitall posted 12/23/2019 14:02 PM

Zugzwang, I'm not suicidal now. I was very depressed and suicidal almost 2 years ago. I will not go the route of suicide, ever. I won't do that to my children, or to my husband or the rest of my family. By way of my depression, it's not as bad as it was years ago. Yes, I still have depression and anxiety and I always will, but I manage with medication (I have for many years).

For being a safe partner, I'm doing everything that he needs; full transparency, being accountable, total honesty. He knows where I am, always. I check in if I'm out, or I bring a child along shopping. He can see my phone or other social media account at any time. Call history. Chat history. Phone bills. Anything. We discuss the A often. Since Dday 2, I answer everything honestly. I have read this site religiously as well as 2 books, and starting a third. Not to mention many articles online. I am working on my self-esteem and sense of worth. I have better boundaries. We communicate more now than we have in years, so when something is amiss, I talk to him instead of bottling it up and resenting him. My BH has said himself that since DDay2 I am doing everything right. He's just not sure he can forgive it.

As far as respecting and loving him and not what he can do for me, I do. I will be fine if he chooses to leave me. Will things be the same as they are now? Obviously not. He makes more than I do. But I will be just fine, much like any other single mother out there. I don't need him. I want him. I want the kind, caring, considerate, sensitive, loving, incredible man he is. He's not just my husband, he's my best friend. Yes, I resented him and pushed aside my feelings for him for a long while, and then had an A, but I've been committed to him for 17 months. Perhaps only 4, if you look at it that I was still lying, but as far as the OM goes, he's been gone for 17.

I don't want my husband for what he can give me. I want him for who he is. On the good days, we are so good together. We've improved our communication and our sex life immensely. We cuddle and hold hands again. Stuff we haven't done in years. I don't want him for his money. I want him for himself. I am trying to make myself happy. I believe I am growing as a person with having to do all of this soul searching and changing. I have been and will continue to work on making me a better me, with or without my BH.

Zugzwang posted 12/24/2019 14:28 PM

There is more to fixing this than just being a safe partner. Something that you should have been doing to begin with. Get it? You have to dig deeper than just white-knuckling it and doing what you should have been doing all along. You have to fix you.

I don't want my husband for what he can give me. I want him for who he is. On the good days, we are so good together.

I suggest you go through and read your posts about your husband. Even here you contradict yourself.

You either are or you aren't doing what you need to do. I would listen to him. Either it was a deal breaker no matter what you do to fix it or change yourself. Or you still haven't changed and fixed it the way it still needs to. From your posts it sounds like you need to do more work.

Marauder posted 12/26/2019 02:05 AM

Yes, it's one time too many, but this isn't a pattern.

Hard disagree on this. You reached out to several men to make this affair happen, the only reason it wasn't a pattern was that they weren't interested. You didn't "stumble" into this, you didn't "meet someone", you actively sought and found an affair partner.

I'm sorry if this feels like I'm kicking you while you're down. But similar to the issues people pointed out at the start of the thread. You're still quite deep in the denial part about what happened here, about your own actions, your own motivations.

Carissima posted 12/26/2019 03:11 AM

Totally agree with the above post, the pattern us something I've pointed out too. The fact you stay you didn't recognise your own actions until it was pointed out to you means a lot more work needs to be done.

I've been committed to him for 17 months. Perhaps only 4, if you look at it that I was still lying

Respectfully, what other way is there to look at it?

ISurvivedSoFar posted 12/26/2019 08:38 AM

I think the bottom line here is this,

You are focusing on recovering the marriage, which is not a bad thing, but until you figure out why it was okay for you to go and have an affair things will not progress.
This is what you need to understand IMHO. I am the BS. Your BH knows this in every fiber of his being. You are not safe to him. Until you get down to your core, to the reason why you need extrinsic inputs to feel good or to be validated, you are not safe and are at risk of mutilating his heart again.

I laud you for coming here to seek advice and get information. Everyone is telling you to work on you and not on him. It is frankly a bit patronizing for us as BS's to have our WS rely on our behaviors to determine if you are okay or not. It is an unfair burden to put on us after we've been violated so completely by your betrayal.

Listen to what everyone here is telling you. If you really want to be a good partner to your BH, then find your remorse which means you need to put yourself in his shoes. When he gets upset or distrusts, it is not for you to get defensive and list the litany of reasons why external factors are responsible for your behavior. It's because you lost your integrity and instead of digging deep to work at and respect you first, then your H and the institution of marriage, you chose to do what is easy to feed your ego and completely disregard your entire family's feelings for your fix. That is nothing short of audacious, callous, cruel, and inhumane. I chose my words carefully here - not to hurt you, but to help you find your remorse. Every time you use reasons why you did this to your BH, you are continuing that audacious, callous and cruel behavior. The A doesn't stop when this happens - it just morphs and the injection of pain continues.

It is not just the fog that has to lift with regard to the feelings for the AP. It has to lift with regard to seeing yourself. Your BH already sees you - every bit of you. It's not all bad but certainly there is a realization of the true you that has revealed itself to him. The sooner you see you the safer you are for him.

Go to IC. Figure out why you were willing to do this to someone you profess to love. Only then will you actually be helpful to your BH.

Keep up the hard work. You are worth it and certainly your BH is worth it.

TimSC posted 12/26/2019 09:35 AM

Don't be confused about his flip flopping between D and R. He is more confused than you are about it.

I always said that my wife having sex with another man was a deal breaker - no ifs ands or buts. I thought if she did, that I would gladly show her the door and wish her a happy life without me in it. I even told her when we first married that an affair was the one thing I could never forgive. So if she ever felt that need to just tell me and we would divorce so she could be happy with another man. Stupid right? But I was young, cocky and no kids. I had been on my own for years and did not fear being alone again.

She had an EA with a guy from her gym years ago. I was not sure if it went PA of not. As I was preparing for D it hit me that I did not want that.

How could this be! I always said and thought a PA would be the end. I would not have to make that decision, it was carved in stone! Yet here I was thinking about not doing what I always said I would do.

Was I some beta male who could not stand up for his principles? Was I some idiot who did not know his own mind? WHO WAS I? WHAT WAS I?

Very confusing! I think your husband is learning about who he is and what his morals mandate. Thus the mind changing.

In the end it was a combination of things that allowed me to stay.

Zugzwang posted 12/26/2019 13:23 PM

Yes, it's one time too many, but this isn't a pattern.

The word BUT negates everything you just said. It really just screams that you don't get it and it was no big deal because it wasn't a pattern. Broken is broken period. Pattern or not. The poison is just the same.

recovering the marriage, which is not a bad thing, but until you figure out why it was okay for you to go and have an affair things will not progress.
BINGO, and until you figure out you- you will be recovering the marriage from a purely selfish and validation reason. I know that doesn't make sense right now...it will in time when you work more on you and focus on the real root of you.

gmc94 posted 12/26/2019 16:23 PM

It is not just the fog that has to lift with regard to the feelings for the AP. It has to lift with regard to seeing yourself. Your BH already sees you - every bit of you.... The sooner you see you the safer you are for him.
I'm a BS and see this as 100% spot-on. IMO this is a lynchpin for the work after dday. I've seen this put different ways on SI (eg, I think it's Zugwang who often says "sit in your own sh*t", but it is so spot-on.

Dday tears off the mask of lies and deceit. The BS sees this, knows this, feels this - to the core of their souls. But so many (most? all?) WS do not (at least not in the beginning). We can attribute it to a ton of factors, but the bottom line is that until a WS can see, accept, and truly "own" the FACT that they are capable of all of the selfishness and cruelty and abuse of an A, they will never be safe. Not for their BS, not for anyone - and certainly not for themselves.

I'm not a WS, but my post dday journey has prompted me to take some hard looks at some of my own hurtful behaviors - not "just" WRT my M, but in all things. Seeing or saying or typing those words is not enough. It is not something that a wrongdoer can merely understand in the abstract. It must be assimilated into one's character or psyche. And it absof*ckinglutely hurts and SUCKS.

After dday I got a tattoo. It's something called a Malin (you can google itn- it's a combo of an arrow and infinity symbol). I've seen different descriptions, but the one I saw that brought me to the tattoo parlor is "the only way forward is through" . To me, that's the journey for all of us touched by infidelity, WS or BS. Lifting the fog to see one's self is an important step in the "through" that is REQUIRED to move forward, just as one cannot do algebra until they learn how multiplication works.

Zugzwang posted 12/26/2019 20:22 PM

^^^^^That is well said.

Just think about it OP. You don't trust yourself. Why do you expect your BS to trust you?

Regretitall posted 12/27/2019 19:05 PM

My BH will tell me that I am doing everything right since DDay2. That he feels the remorse and the empathy. He has said to keep working on my whys, and that I still have work to do, but that he has no complaints at this time. His biggest thing is his morals, it seems. Cuz he will always say that he always told himself that cheating was a deal breaker. I hope that he will end up being like TimSC, and realize that what he said when he was young and childless might not apply 30 or so years later at almost 45 years old. He tells me constantly how much he loves me. He tells me all the time that he does want to stay together and get past this. But when he has a bad day, he says he wants to run away. We've discussed ways for me to help him more when he's in flight mode. Hopefully I will be able to do what he has asked at those times and it will help him to not get so overwhelmed.

As far as my saying this wasn't a pattern. I was meaning that I've never cheated before. I was saying that I didn't cheat 3 years ago and here we are in the same place again. Yes, I reached out to 3 people, subconsciously looking for attention. This was in the span of a couple of months. My entire wayward behaviour was probably 4 or so months, in total.

I have never known anyone, in a longterm relationship or marriage who had been cheated on, outside of my parents. My mom left my dad for someone else and they were still amazing friends. In fact, he was alive for 14 years after my mom left him and had she came back, he'd have taken her back. So between seeing what happened with them and seeing it on tv shows or movies or books and it's always so romanticized, I never knew the absolute destruction it could cause. I felt entitled to have an A after the pain of the few years of our M being exceptionally bad. I told myself he wouldn't care. That he was probably having one too. That he'd never find out. If he did find out, he wouldn't care. So between feeling entitled, my views of adultery based on my parents experience, my low self-esteem, and my need for attention, I put my needs above the needs of everyone else. I'd return to 1.5 years ago and change what I did. I'd go even further back to 3 or 4 years ago and stop us from growing so far apart. But no matter what, I won't put us in this situation again.

I'm not sure where I said I don't trust myself. I absolutely do trust myself. I don't care who comes knocking at my door or who I run into in person, etc. I am not going to cheat. Yes, I realize that having done so, they say it's a higher chance to do it again, but that isn't the truth for everyone. I'm improving myself and my integrity, sense of self and sense of worth, daily. I won't let myself down like this again. I'm better than who I became. I will continue working on myself to be able to hold my head up high once again....perhaps for the first real time.

I thank you all again for your words and advice. I hope the holidays were good to you all.

gmc94 posted 12/27/2019 20:37 PM

RIA - I wonder if we are not communicating clearly, as my impression is that you may not quite understand what many suspect is going on with your BS.

TWO (short) weeks ago you posted that he "needed a break" and a week ago he was booking a polygraph, and ([italics]in the same post[/italics]) that he wants to break up after the holidays, then 4 days ago you posted that he said "if he left January 1st, he has no doubt that I'd have someone new for February 1st" and that " he is really struggling" AND "he's sure that I'm still continuing doing wrong, or will in the future". Yet today you post that your BH "will tell me that I am doing everything right" and "that he has no complaints at this time."

The term "rollercoaster" did not come out of thin air. Some of those comments (eg that you'd find a new person w/in a month of him leaving or that he's sure you are continuing to do wrong) do not - even remotely- strike me as "just" his morals or concerns about it being a dealbreaker speaking.

The thing is that this is trauma for a BS. I know you've heard it and are doing your damndest to let that sink in. Trauma makes our lizard brains go haywire. It's the part of our brains that tells us to not get too close to a hot flame, bc it will burn us. After dday, lizard brain kicks into high gear, bc it knows we have been seriously hurt. It's only job is SURVIVAL, so when we are hurt, it's JOB is to make sure that we do not hurt ourselves again.

So, one minute our executive brains are running the show, and things may feel or seem OK or even fantastic (hence the BS says the WS is doing everything right, says they love their WS, who has the capacity/space for compassion and R, etc). The problem is our lizard brain can come out of somewhere (ie via a "trigger" that prompts our nervous system's subconscious - or conscious - memory of harm) or out of nowhere (I get what i call emotional hangovers after a good day or two or five). IMHO, our lizard brain is screaming at us that we are not safe (you may not be old enough to remember "Lost in Space", but the robot used to say "Danger Will Robbins" - that's a simple way to describe what it feels like, but without actual words like "danger" ) So, not only are executive and lizard brains kind of duking it out, but the fact that lizard brain has so much power scares the sh*t out of us. Most of us were able to have some level of control over ourselves and our emotions, and then all of the sudden we just don't. It reminds me of folks struggling with dementia and how they can cycle through joy, anger, depression, fear, and a host of other emotions, as their brains' ability to comprehend what is lost ebbs and flows.

I know you've probably read/heard this all before. Yet I think it's gotta be super hard for a WS to let it click just how completely haywire our brains get. I'm a very well educated, strong, professional, pulled myself up from my bootstraps "badass" (like, scary for some folks kind of "badass" ). I have ALWAYS been able to keep my sh*t together, until dday, when, for months, it was not at all unusual for me to have to excuse myself from high level biz meetings to go to my office (thank God I had one) to cry (snot, shaking, the works) in a fetal position on the floor. While some tolerate it better than others (thank goodness), there is a definite sense for most of us that we simply do not have a clue what is up or down.

I don't say this to shame or guilt you. This is why understanding what a safe partner looks like and feels like is important. This is why as you demonstrate - through consistent action OVER TIME - that you can become safe, his lizard brain can start to take a break. It's pretty unlikely that will happen lickety split.

This is why folks say it's a marathon, not a sprint. Two to five years is REALISTIC. You are what, 4 months out from dday #2?

ETA [or delete] the emojis that pop up with my parenthesis.

[This message edited by gmc94 at 8:40 PM, December 27th, 2019 (Friday)]

Marauder posted 12/28/2019 02:35 AM


Honestly, it feels like Ria herself is all over the place. And that in many ways she feels her husband should just get over it and take her back. Like her father would've done with her mother given the chance.


Your husband is currently undecided and it could very well go either way. I think you guys still have the lie detector coming up, no?

I hope that he will end up being like TimSC, and realize that what he said when he was young and childless might not apply 30 or so years later at almost 45 years old.

Sorry, but this makes it sound as if not wanting to stay with a cheater is "childish" and "wrong". As if falling for the sunk cost fallacy and sticking around because of the children would be the "adult" thing to do. I hope you're not telling him this because while it might help in the short term it can and should very much create resentment. Because it's a shaming tactic.

As far as my saying this wasn't a pattern.

This still wasn't a drunken misstep while out partying. You actively sought out and made an affair happen. It exposed a character flaw that was always there and will always be.

My mom left my dad for someone else and they were still amazing friends. In fact, he was alive for 14 years after my mom left him and had she came back, he'd have taken her back.

Honestly, this almost sounds like you feel entitled to it. Because "my dad would've taken my mom back if she had wanted him after she cheated!". Your parents did you absolutely no favours here.

I felt entitled

It's called rewriting the marriage history to come up with justifications. It's pretty par for the course.

I am not going to cheat.

Out of curiosity, would you have said the same thing in the past? Before all of this happened?

Regretitall posted 12/29/2019 13:21 PM

gmc94 - Wow. Thank you for that. Yes, I've read before about the lizard brain but have not seen it described so well before. It makes so much more sense to me now! Not only does it make more sense to me, I can see similarities to my husband in your descriptions. Your explanation and description are very helpful. Thank you. Truly.

Marauder, I was not saying that his thinking was childish or wrong. As Tim said, he thought it would be a deal breaker for him, but in his adult life, it wasn't the same and he had to re-evaluate. My husband has flat out said the same thing to me. If we didn't have the kids, he'd be gone. No questions asked. But we do have kids and a life and a mortgage and bills and everything else that a long term marriage has. And he is taking everything into account while deciding how he wants to proceed. He is also very vocal about how very much he loves me. I hope we will be able to build a new marriage where he will be able to feel safe and secure with me.

Yes, I did always say that I wouldn't cheat. And I truly never thought that I would. As my BH would tell you, he never thought I'd cheat either. And no, this wasn't some bar hookup or druken night hookup. What I do know is that I am committed to not putting myself or my family or my BH in any compromising situations ever again. I can confidently say that I won't cheat. And I will keep working on myself to ensure that it stays that way. I will be a better person.

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