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Some Thoughts....

SeekingABetterMe posted 10/3/2019 05:30 AM

I am going to just start posting everything I write and take whatever feedback comes. Not sure that I am looking for anything in particular, just airing my thoughts.

I was not a good wife/partner before the affair, and I havenít figured out how to be after the affair. I have had 3 and 1/2 years but it hasnít been enough to overcome the selfishness that is part of me. I only do what comes easily to me, what is easy and fun, anything else I avoid like the plague or wait for someone to hand it to me. I value the pay offs that I want but not the hard work that it takes to get there.
Things were starting to get hard in my relationship right before the affair. My BH was getting sick of putting up with my laziness and lack of involvement and he was starting to tell me so. His complaints were valid but I didnít like them. They meant that what I was doing wasnít enough, so I would be required to put in more effort that I didnít want to have to give. The affair partner came along at this time. And just as I was feeling sorry for myself and looking for a way to say that all of this wasnít my fault, He was just like me, he was irresponsible, childish, and also always looking for the easy way out. He had recently left his wife and was reveling in the single life. He was just as selfish as I was. He was someone who would let me sit in my own shit and not care to try and get me to rise above it.

I didnít deserve the relationship I had with my Bh, let alone a chance at one after cheating on him. Now I have made him drag me along kicking and screaming. Which of course makes him feel like I donít really want to be here at all and that I donít care if there is improvement - ie. I donít feel like I need to change. As well as I donít care enough about him to dig in and change. I think that I have been telling myself that I needed to change for him, so he would be happy and he would stay with me. I read on SI someone say that no one changes for anyone other than them selves, that change only comes from selfishness. I dismissed this idea as nonsense, people change for other people because they care about them. But if that was the case, I have had all the reason in the world to change and yet have not. So it comes back to what my BH has been saying for so long, I havenít wanted to change. I have wanted things to go back to how they were, easy. I realized today that I want to be no longer be a selfish asshole. I want to change. If I have been unbelievable selfish all these years, then I want to put that into use for something good for a change. I want to get what I want, I want a healthier marriage and to be a person with integrity that can hold her head up high again, instead of being a cheating loser.

My BH said that sometimes he feels like I am trying to prevent him from losing out on something because I cheated, like I can somehow make it so nothing is different fro him. That will never work, the harm is already done, pretending it hasnít already happened gets us nowhere. If this were something I wanted, something fun, for instance we suddenly decided to take acacationn adnhe left the planning up to me, I would be up late researching it, I would dig in and find all the must see places, I would set other things aside in order to plan it out. I would not need to be dragged or forced to do this I would want to and thus make it happen for us even when I wanted to do something else because I wanted this more. Up until now I have been needing to be forced to work on all this because I didnít want to, because despite knowing how awful he felt, not facing my messed up shit was more important, feeling good was more important. I am no longer going to be trying to make 5 years from now better, but just tomorrow. Showing love and dedication to working on us with because I want to. This means acknowledging shame and self-pity when it shows up and moving past it. It means I wonít have much time with him, but hopefully eventually it will mean good time with him instead.

SeekingABetterMe posted 10/3/2019 06:20 AM

Could the stop sign be removed please?

MangledHeart posted 10/3/2019 12:16 PM

It has been removed.

Aubrie posted 10/3/2019 14:27 PM

I don't know your entire backstory, so forgive me if I'm off the mark.

From what I'm reading here, the past little while, your husband has been incredibly gracious to give you another chance, while you're essentially a "dry drunk". You've been white knuckling your way thru this because you're admittedly, too lazy to do any real work on yourself.

I suppose my biggest question is, now that you've decided to really start the work, how do you plan to hold yourself accountable? How to you plan on staying on track and not falling off the rails when your mind starts fighting you that this is took much work? It's something to think about as you begin the journey. The biggest battle is in the mind. You've got to equip yourself for when you begin to self-sabatoge.

hikingout posted 10/3/2019 15:53 PM

I read on SI someone say that no one changes for anyone other than them selves, that change only comes from selfishness. I dismissed this idea as nonsense, people change for other people because they care about them. But if that was the case, I have had all the reason in the world to change and yet have not. So it comes back to what my BH has been saying for so long, I havenít wanted to change. I have wanted things to go back to how they were, easy. I realized today that I want to be no longer be a selfish asshole. I want to change. If I have been unbelievable selfish all these years, then I want to put that into use for something good for a change. I want to get what I want, I want a healthier marriage and to be a person with integrity that can hold her head up high again, instead of being a cheating loser.


I am likely the person you are quoting here because I say this pretty often. So do self help gurus that I have read for that matter, so while I say it and I believe it, it's not like I invented the thought.


The pain of where you are has to be greater than the pain it takes to change.


The reason that it doesn't just work because you love someone enough to do it is because when we start the work we don't even know what love means. We have a very selfish view of love. You have to hit rock bottom a lot of times and say I need to get up I don't want this life.

Welcome to rock bottom. There's nowhere to go but up.

One of the main things that could help add some structure is write out your whys or your character flaws that led you to have the affair. This will be a road map of things you will cognizantly work on. I can guess you have low self esteem for one. Think of things that you can do that shows yourself that you are worthwhile? Things that you can practice and become good at? These can be basic self care things, hobbies, ways that you nurture your soul. For me, I started running. That sounds silly, but running has brought meditation, endorphins, perseverance, accomplishment, self care to my life. It has been a tremendous help in seeing myself and my life differently. Find your thing.


Read some books. Start with self help ones, you need to fix you if you are going to fix anything else in your life - including your relationship. I like Rising Strong by Brene Brown, that was an early on for me and it lit quite a lot of bulbs.

Make tangible goals. One of my things was I said I would tell no lies. Not even white ones. I wanted to work on my integrity and this was an easy first step for me. (But I wasn't a big liar outside of my affair)

Make a few goals through the week of giving something of yourself. I would aim them for now at your husband. So, each week my goal was to make his favorite meal once a week and set the table and put away our phones and talk and eat together. I also planned a date night once a week. (We are empty nesters so if that's too much, then make it twice a month or something). Follow through. Giving is our way of truly experiencing love. So, try to hit three things each week that are somewhat reasonable but also sacrificial (it takes an hour or more of your time, it's especially for him, etc)


Start there and keep posting. Get consistant and we'll add to it. Believing you are worth a better life is also a really good thing to try to put in your thoughts.

SeekingABetterMe posted 10/4/2019 12:08 PM

Aubrie - I think you have hit it right on the mark. Just last week I came across a post on SI about a WS relapsing and they realized it was because no real changed had occurred, as you said, they were white knuckling. I told my BH I think that is exactly what I have been doing. He has expressed the feeling that I have been checking boxes, nothing more. I couldnít understand at the time what the problem with that was. If you give me a list of things to do and I meet them, where is the problem. Now I understand that in this context the problem is that by checking the boxes all you are doing is putting on an act. I have been resisting the idea that I am too lazy to do the work. As Berne Brown puts it, I was serpentining. Free time I would have, I would clean the house, wash windows, basically exhaust myself and avoid the real issues, all while patting myself on the back for taking care of so much and more then I did before the affair.

You are right, and I had not really thought of making a plan to prevent that from happening, and self-sabatoge is a skill I am particularly good at. One thing I had planned on doing just to help me really dive into the work to begin posting on here regularly. I feel like in a way having a constant conversation going will help push me to keep thinking and responding. Another thing that I recently thought of in order to hold myself accountable to writing and posting, was to take notes of these thoughts and conversations to go over with my IC every week. Perfect example being self-sabatoge. I really appreciate your perspective, was there anything you did in particular to help you, if this was an issue you dealt with?

Hikingout- I was fairly certain it was from something you posted. Everything you said is spot on, I am realizing my view of love has been very messed up from the beginning. I expected him to do everything for me and spend every moment with me or he didnít love me. Yet I did not have the same expectations for myself.
I am glad you said that you have to hit bottom a lot before you decide to get up. I feel like I keep hitting bottom and either the bottom is further away and I have further to fall or I have wondered if I just donít care that I am sitting at the bottom of the pit. I think I have definitely hit bottom several times and am starting to get really sick and tired of it. Honesty, some posts on here have really hit me and shifted my perspective recently and I realized just how little I was doing.

I have begun my list of whys and flaws and will post it as I work through it. Running has been on my list, I used to and have been wanting to get back into it.

Tangible goals - I just brought this up in IC this last week. I feel like I have no tangible goals and so when my BH asks me or I ask myself, what am I doing to work on us, I have no answer. I also have no chance to show myself that I can follow through on anything or for my BH to see it either. I end up not having any idea what my goals are or what I am getting accomplished, then I feel shitty about myself, end up sitting in shame and then feeling even worse when my husband ends up feeling frustrated and not worth my effort. This only perpetuates the negative cycle we are stuck in.
So here are some tangible goals I will start with -

Goal 1 - Running 3 times a week
Goal 2 - Spend time every night writing and posting and on my days off.
For my BH - Honeslty, right now with how I have acted over the years, I think what he needs most right now is for me to dedicate myself wholeheartedly to digging into the affair.

EllieKMAS posted 10/4/2019 12:23 PM

BW here.

SABM I just wanted to pop on here and commend you for these realizations. They can't have been easy to come to and they are incredibly huge ones to have; and not only having them but putting them down like you did... I don't think you realize yet just how big a deal it is.

Good for you on not only coming to them, but also finally being willing to try working on them!! That is miles further than a lot of WS's ever get (hell, miles further than a lot of people ever get). It will be hard I am sure, because digging into one's personal shit pile is never easy. But the rewards for doing so are priceless.

Sending you good juju as you start your journey.

Aubrie posted 10/4/2019 12:45 PM

Hello Seeking,

My first thought is, with your self-sabatoge and constantly finding little things to do, you're not sitting with your feelings. The distractions, the chores, the projects, all the stuff you're doing is kind of like when a kid crams their fingers in their ears and yells, "Lalalalalaaaaaaa" so they don't hear their parent getting onto them.

Waywards are conflict avoidant. We don't want to look at the problem. We distract ourselves from the issue. We reach for our vices. Be it other people, alcohol, gambling, whatever. One of the first things we need to do is slow down. Learn to sit. And feel uncomfortable. Feel those feelings. Remember the memories. Work thru the emotions.

It's wicked hard. I remember very clearly how miserable it was. However, when we learn to sit with those uncomfortable feelings, we then pick them up, we turn them over and over in our hands, we pick it apart, we find our peace with it, we set it down, we move on.

There are two vivid memories of me having to sit with some very uncomfortable memories. One, a WW here asked me a question like, "What are you holding onto so tightly that you can't let go of?" We had been sparring back and forth. I was indignant that I was FINE, leave me ALONE. But truth be told, I'd suffered a miscarriage between my two living children. I'd stuffed that time period in a box and walked away because the pain was just too tremendous to deal with. The inadequacy I felt within myself. It was my fault. I did something wrong. I wasn't enough. Not only that, but my husband had said some pretty nasty things to me in the days after losing it. I had literally felt the door of my heart slam shut in that moment. I knew I wouldn't be taking my pain to him ever again because he'd showed me that it wasn't safe to do so. I stuffed all my pain, my hurt, my worthlessness into a box and shoved it into the back of my mental closet so I wouldn't have to deal with it.

Only, I did have to deal with it. And boy was it was ugly. Ask anyone here. All the sudden, years of mourning came pouring out of me. I mourned that miscarriage like it had just happened yesterday. Bless these people, they gave me the space to do it too. It took much longer for me to bring this to my husband and for us to have a conversation and for us to work out our differences.

Super long story short, (sorry) checking boxes is great. But it goes much deeper than the surface, which you've discovered. The deeper box checking is much more difficult. We've got to unpack our mental closets. Brush out all the cobwebs, unpack the boxes. 1. Slow down. 2. Push the distractions away. 3. Learn to sit in the uncomfortable.

It's good that you are working with an IC. They can help you with that process. I think it's a good idea to create big and small goals. Big goals are fantastic but it can get extremely discouraging when we're working towards it and there's still SO MUCH to do. Create small ones so you have a sense of acomplishment in the middle of the heavy stuff.

[This message edited by Aubrie at 12:46 PM, October 4th (Friday)]

hikingout posted 10/4/2019 15:53 PM

I wondered why on your goal list you didn't start working on your whys? I think this would give you a great list of tangible things you need to work on and will help.

If H needs you to dig in, does he have a timeline?

SeekingABetterMe posted 10/6/2019 18:54 PM

Hikingout - I am sorry if I didnít make it clear, figuring out my whys and dealing with the affair head on is what I meant as Goal 2. I am going to do that by working on it every evening, posting on here much more, if not daily. I want to work running/walking as part of a meditative and anxiety reducing routine as well as to help with my health as I have gained a lot of weight the last few years.

I have given him a timeline, but he doesnít feel it is 100% all of the truth. He doubts that he has the truth about anything because of the TT for so long. I plan to revisit it again as part of digging into the affair and addressing the affair. I am not sure that there will be anything to add to it, but I want to go back through it.

EllieKMAS- Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. I am not sure that they are deserved, but they are definitely appreciated.

Aubrie- Thank you for sharing your story, I am sorry for what you went through and the pain it caused you.

Constantly finding little things to do, you're not sitting with your feelings. The distractions, the chores, the projects, all the stuff you're doing is kind of like when a kid crams their fingers in their ears and yells, "Lalalalalaaaaaaa" so they don't hear their parent getting onto them.

I feel like you are absolutely correct again. I think that I have been doing that for a long time - since before the affair as well. I am always seeking distraction, I am very uncomfortable sitting down and being still. Just yesterday I was driving home from work - about an hour and half drive - I thought it would be a perfect time to make myself sit and try to recall feelings and thoughts from before the affair or during it. I would start to think about things and literally the next moment I would catch myself thinking about something completely unrelated. I was not aware of the transition. It happened multiple times. I think this happens frequently with me, just for the first time I was aware of it. I guess it is as you said, these are things that make me uncomfortable and the habitual pattern I have been in is to avoid, numb, distract. My brain is on autopilot set to avoid. If I am ever going to improve myself breaking this habit and gaining conscious control so I can be present is the only way. I think that a large part of my work in dealing with this is not only working on it every day, but sitting here and engaging with it. I think that finding my whys is in a way working backwards through this pattern. I didn't want to think about the affair, I have wanted to avoid it and here we are still trapped in trying to deal with the wounds inflicted on my BH, but also working back through what I was avoiding pre-affair, that allowed me to have an affair in the first place.

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