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WS to WS

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hikingout posted 10/31/2019 09:03 AM

Happy Halloween! I had funsize chocolates for breakfast, and I am not even going to feel guilty about it.

So, I asked a bit ago what is everyone struggling with? I never answered, but I alluded to it on a few posts. H is traveling again some, and that's been an adjustment for both of us. Really it doesn't seem to be triggering any feelings of distrust, more we have kind of gotten joined at the hip over the past couple of years. Almost to the point that I think we really have to work on that a little more.

I have some friendships with women that have been long term that I put to the backburner, and have in the last six months or so gone to dinner or brunch with. Part of my recovery plans is trying to build better relationships and not alienate myself so much with packing my schedule and being so busy. That's been healthy for me and H supports it. He knows all the ladies, they aren't the type to be supportive of infidelity, we are all older and sometimes we just want to have some wings and bitch and chuckle. They are very welcoming of H, and he feels comfortable with them.

My concern is H has never had a lot of friends. And, for a while he had been working mostly from home and super isolated. Other than a few professional club meeting type things he was going to once a month, he's really relied on me to be his social life. And, that's been very important as we have really been bonding. We both cherish our time together. I think the part I worry about is between a couple of years at home, my infidelity, some new health problems he is having that is really getting him down, he's in a place that isn't as good. When we have pain in our body every day it just really takes a toll on us mentally, and I see that happening to him. When he's home, I am making sure we are doing yoga together, he's been very dedicated to mobility exercises while he's on the road. Surgery is an option, but one he's trying to avoid.

We are keeping an open dialogue about all of it, but it's just generally a transitional point where you start to let more and more life back in. I feel like we have been hiding from the world for a long time, and are ready to let that back in but it's also a bit scary at times to get outside of our bubble again. All and all, I think we are going slowly and taking it one thing at a time. I just thought I would share that, because as we all get further and further out, life kind of has to be integrated back in and I think it's natural some of that is scary for folks. I don't think that we feel like there is going to be cheating or anything, more we have a deeper connection that we don't want to lose by spreading ourselves too thin.

[This message edited by hikingout at 9:43 AM, October 31st (Thursday)]

JBWD posted 10/31/2019 11:47 AM

I can certainly imagine itís a difficult balance at this stage in the game. Yes the profound connection is important but especially in light of R, itís important as well to ďdiversify the portfolioĒ a bit.

I can only speak to pre-A, but BW and I definitely both felt that we really only had each other. Because I, like your BH, didnít have a lot of (I wouldíve told you I didnít have ANY) friends I placed an undue burden on the one relationship I worked to cultivate. When I took so much more than I gave, it overdrew that one account, and because I didnít really understand how to give I couldnít recognize that I WASNíT. And even worse, BW was exhausted from giving, which looked to me like neglect or rejection.

All to say I can see value for BOTH of you in cultivating healthy friendships that are complementary to your improving bond. A great book on the subject is called ďConnectĒ by Dr Edward Hallowell. While it has some degree of ďthings arenít what they used to beĒ nostalgia to it, it helps illustrate ALL the bonds that can/should nurtured in oneís life. Covey touches on it too in ď7 HabitsĒ in talking about that concept of ďoverdrawingĒ emotional accounts.

hikingout posted 10/31/2019 12:49 PM

I actually think it's a common WS trait that we don't have a lot of deep meaningful relationships, because we aren't as good at cultivating them. I doubt it's across the board, nothing is. But, how many of you would say it's true for you?

MrsWalloped posted 10/31/2019 14:10 PM

we don't have a lot of deep meaningful relationships

Itís definitely true for me. I have lots of friendships and social interactions. Iím friendly and outgoing and in some ways Iím a social butterfly. But I have very few real relationships outside my BH and my sister. Thereís only 2 or 3 people I am really close with. There are people who definitely think weíre closer friends than we really are. Itís because I donít share much about myself. The reason behind that is because of my history and FOO issues so Iím very private and keep lots of things to myself. Like I said, Iím very friendly with people and I do BBQís and community functions and block parties and get-togethers and even lunch dates, but tbh itís all very superficial.

Need2Do posted 11/1/2019 10:08 AM

Hi, thank you for accepting me on this forum, I don't think I have had one meaningful relationship, friendship or romantic in my adult life. I haven't been able to give that much of myself for fear of being exploited and publicly humiliated (all related to FOO issues I guess - just beginning to look at that with my therapist if I can keep her and myself on topic), This has been keeping me, imo, from reaching what I have (to start) been searching for, I think its emotional freedom. At least with this last affair. Even now, with all the hurt, disrespect, dishonesty and distrust I have inflicted on my H, I still have a very difficult time opening up, and letting go. I still feel like I have to 'protect' parts of me (and what is left of my marriage), and that doesn't show him how I feel about him - I need to show him that he isn't 'plan b,c,d, or e', yet I still feel reserved. I really don't know how to have a meaningful, open relationship with anyone, even with myself. I have been questioning my authenticity because of this, I don't know who I am; who I ended up being is not a person I would want a relationship with, maybe that is why I haven't had a meaningful relationship with myself? I simply didn't like who I was? As my IC has said, 'I fling my poo at everyone, as I stand in my own pile of it' I keep everyone away by not engaging in deep, meaningful relationships because I don't want anyone to see me as I see me? As a defence response I put 'masks' on, so no one can see the real me...it makes sense, but I am missing something...not sure what though.

Flawed posted 11/1/2019 10:33 AM

I actually think it's a common WS trait that we don't have a lot of deep meaningful relationships, because we aren't as good at cultivating them. I doubt it's across the board, nothing is. But, how many of you would say it's true for you?

This is a great question. I'm not sure how common this is, but I have definitely withdrawn from my friendships to varying degrees at different times in my life. I've always had a couple of close friends. When I look back, the times I was most withdrawn - even from my closest friends - coincided with times when I was most at war with myself, hiding from them out of fear of being seen at my worst. This is painfully the most true for me for the reason I'm here - the fact that I lied about having an A for 12 years to my best friend and H. It hurts to look back and see how hiding this secret kept me from ever being truly vulnerable with him, from ever allowing him to really see a complete, whole picture of me. I stole his agency when I lied, and I also robbed both of us of the potential to be truly, authentically, deeply intimate with one another.

I think cultivating deep, meaningful relationships with friends requires a level of authenticity and vulnerability that I am guessing makes a lot of us WSs uncomfortable. That risk of being seen and rejected is so great that it's easier to maintain surface-level relationships. This has definitely been true for me for the majority of my life.

As I get older and busier, I'm more discerning about who I spend my time with. I'm happy having a few close friendships, possibly because that's what I've always wanted/needed. And I'm much less interested in engaging in the fluffy acquaintance-level friendships that I used to thrive off of. The kinds of "mirroring" friendships that were transactional in nature, filled with lots of compliments and ego kibbles - the stuff that a lot of As are made of I guess.

I'll also say that as a mom of young kids, the challenges in maintaining close relationships are also sometimes logistical. Sometimes I'm just worn out and don't have the energy to maintain all my friendships as much as I'd like to. And in the past year, I've really been focused on my H and family so have withdrawn a bit on purpose. But somehow, despite the trauma I've caused, my H and I have still managed to engage with our mutual close friends through occasional social gathering and play dates and maintaining that has provided a small semblance of "normalcy" as we ride the rollercoaster.

Need2Do posted 11/1/2019 10:34 AM

I don't know how to do this effectively,I guess this is something I really struggle with, but I need ask for help from you all. I have been reading as many of your posts, and advice to others, I have gone through the healing library, I have a short list to address with my IC that I emailed to her for our next session, I am reading posts relating to 'why's', but my H is still 3 years ago when the A happened, he hasn't decided if he is in or out, he occasionally posts here, he reads like I do, but on the BS side...would you recommend that I start a new thread? Hikingout, I find you very relatable, in many of your experiences, not all, but many. I hope the administrators don't find this inappropriate, if they do, please accept my apologies, I will correct. Thank you.

[This message edited by Need2Do at 10:39 AM, November 1st (Friday)]

hikingout posted 11/1/2019 12:47 PM

would you recommend that I start a new thread?

I think that's completely up to you. I would recommend making a new thread if you have specific things you want to work on and want input on. If you are not ready for BS input, put up the stop sign. This thread is really not meant for anything than a stream of consciousness for us all to collaborate on things we really aren't looking for a lot of input on, but want to explore or discuss with each other. Kind of meant to be one long conversation. Having our own threads would just be when we want to have specific conversation with a lot of feedback? So, by all means, start a thread. We're listening!

Flawed and Mrs. Walloped;

I have been thinking about this really since early in my recovery. I am very self protective.

I think cultivating deep, meaningful relationships with friends requires a level of authenticity and vulnerability that I am guessing makes a lot of us WSs uncomfortable. That risk of being seen and rejected is so great that it's easier to maintain surface-level relationships. This has definitely been true for me for the majority of my life.

I could have written this especially. I have had a hard time getting friendships off the ground because I won't invite people to do things. I wait to be invited. I tend to assume they will feel obligated, or will even worse say no. This is a reflection of how my self worth was.

Now, I am trying. I don't go out much, but I am making an effort to be consistent. I try and reach out more and ask how people are doing. Even here, I find myself reaching out more to have deeper conversations. I find myself less concerned with how I look to others and whether people will understand. It's hard for me. I will say that putting myself out there may never be totally in my comfort zone. I feel like this comes a lot from FOO. Because my family was so dysfunctional, I always felt I was weird. And, I am afraid of rejection because I dealt with so much rejection. It's difficult, this is a core place where you wouldn't think there is a lot of pain but there still is.

It's shame based, and in many ways the A just piled onto that. You kind of can be in awe of all the areas where you have collected and stored shame since you were a child.

Need2Do posted 11/1/2019 15:30 PM

"And, I am afraid of rejection because I dealt with so much rejection. It's difficult, this is a core place where you wouldn't think there is a lot of pain but there still is.

It's shame based, and in many ways the A just piled onto that. You kind of can be in awe of all the areas where you have collected and stored shame since you were a child."

How many times do you 'shame' yourself? I find that is the hardest thing to stop doing, I could be wrong, but I think that is what keeps me in the 'victim' mentality, aka 'head up ass'.

You are absolutely right, this goes so far back that we probably couldn't get to the core to resolve it in IC properly. Just typing is building the horrible lump in my throat.

But it sheds light on some of my 'whys'...the shame factor. Would you mind if I asked a question? Did any other BS' cause you to feel like you were even more defective (lesser person) because you couldn't have a deep conversations with them or a deep authentic relationships, like other women (spouses)?

Thank you though, I don't feel alone.

hikingout posted 11/1/2019 15:43 PM

I do think you can work on it in IC. Sometimes when we understand the sources, it does tend to evaporate some of it. It's like you take all these childhood thoughts and when you put them into the air you hear their falseness. My IC worked with me to think about protecting that little girl the way my parents did not.

Shame is a hard thing to irradicate. I think for me, I have focused more on counteracting it with trying to do things that help with my self love/self worth. Doing the right things (exercising morals and integrity), making goals and meeting them (and other forms of working on my self discipline), self-care (protecting my boundaries, not people pleasing, doing things from an authentic place and with pure motivations, taking time to do things I enjoy, celebrating my personal victories, etc).

Think in terms of being proactive. Living right and wholesome is something that will radiate into your being and it makes the shame hard to infiltrate as much. But, some shame does have to just be recognized and aired out, and IC can be a great source for that. Knowing why you have pain is another really good step.

I do not have a case where my H was shaming or critical of me. I will say though, just prior to the A, he was very frustrated with me and my ability to deliver on things he needed me to do. He didn't recognize I was exhausted and I didn't try hard to make him understand. It was the first time in the marriage that I can honestly say that I felt like I was failing him, and I do think that had to do with the timing of the affair. Not because it was his fault at all...but because I didn't recognize it was triggering me or why it was triggering me. I didn't communicate my own frustration back. I just internalized it and in many ways, it was how I dealt with my mother growing up.

There were a lot of other factors too, but keying into the idea that we as WS are likely to have traits that we may not know how to cope with criticism. I also think perfectionism is an attribute people have that is a toxic response to trying to feel "good enough" to eradicate the shame. My perfectionist tendencies are really bad, even still I have to be very mindful of when I am leaning in that direction. I have to stop myself and ask myself what that's about. And, sometimes I don't see it at all. I have had people here say "Hey that's some of that perfectionist stuff" and I would feel completely blindsided to realize it was.

But shame really shows up a lot of ways, and knowing it's source and the way it manifests could help you to move forward in a better way. Shame in a lot of ways is what keeps us from being vulnerable, keeps us from going to places with people that gives us a deep belonging. I have said many times that I had an affair because I kept feeling like I wasn't being "seen". In reality, I wasn't doing any showing to be seen. It's very difficult to get a clear enough mirror to be able to finally see how you are getting in your own way of the things you profess you want.

JBWD posted 11/1/2019 20:39 PM

Funny to think about being very young and I was SO VERY OPEN to everyone. And I can distinctly remember my older sister disparaging that openness and somewhat vividly hear her instructing me on the importance of being popular. And I didnít buy it, but classmates seemed to be picking up the same cues, and so I somehow bought into this, even though I didnít WANT to have to be popular.

My response was to go opposite. If I was going to be judged by appearance and excluded, I was going to opt out. Punk rock gave me a place to ďbelong,Ē but so much of that was just reacting in the opposite direction. I was looking for acceptance but didnít look for within. And that defensiveness stayed with me, and I never went back to looking at my value and who I was.

So leaving adolescence I still didnít see value, and living an itinerant life in the military meant that I had further reason to not worry about cultivating friendships, because I was just gonna move again anyway. It gave me a great ďoutĒ to never challenge this fear that lived just beneath the surface.

MrsWalloped posted 11/15/2019 08:13 AM


Because this thread is a great idea.

And because there are other threads that make me want to pull my hair out and rant and rave and I need some serenity.

We have our oldest granddaughterís birthday party this weekend. Sheís turning 3. Weíre hosting and itíll be lots of family, ours, our SILís fam, and a few of our DD and SILís friends and a few of our GDís friends (including one boy in particular who lives on her block and apparently she gets super shy around ). She loves princesses, so thatís the theme. And we have a few games planned with prizes for everyone. Weíre probably overdoing it, but thatís the grandparentís prerogative! Besides, once we fill them up with sugar and cake, we get to send them home!

I hope everyone is doing well and that you all have a great weekend.

hikingout posted 11/15/2019 08:39 AM

Oh that's so awesome! I don't have any grandkids left but my oldest is getting married next year! Last weekend we got to spend a lot of family time with all three kids. Two of our kids live in the same city about 3 hours from here. H and I and the other daughter drove to all meet up there. We aren't going to get to be together for thanksgiving, so we kind of did our own version of that. And, we got to see my daughter's choice of wedding venues (she had two she couldn't decide between) and that's been fun to dream about. I also got to see my sisters grandbaby who is also almost 3 - and I absolutely love that age!!!

I am looking forward to this weekend for a different reason - downtime. We have traveled a lot of weekend trips this year. My house is clean for the moment, and I have only my long run to complete this weekend, so it's one that has a complete blank slate. It's rare! But my favorite! I will enjoy doing my 10 miler on Sunday morning knowing that I can loaf the rest of the day if I want to! Can't wait! Enjoy that grandbaby!

[This message edited by hikingout at 8:39 AM, November 15th (Friday)]

LifeDestroyer posted 11/15/2019 08:55 AM

I actually think it's a common WS trait that we don't have a lot of deep meaningful relationships, because we aren't as good at cultivating them.

This is true for me. When I was younger in school, I had tons of friends. As a grown-up though, I have very few friends. They aren't friends that i could truly count on, bh was the only one for that. The ladies I do have, I talk to once in awhile, but I always kept them at a distance. They don't know everything about me. It always took me awhile to warm up to people and "open" up. My closest friend, I am still worried to tell her everything about me because of fear of judgement from her.

hikingout posted 11/15/2019 09:10 AM

Life Destroyer -

100% the same for me. And, it pointed to a lot of things I needed to work on:

1. Not being so self involved and making time for others. Doing the work to cultivate those things.
2. Being vulnerable with people in general.
3. Not creating enough diversity in my life of sources of happiness and support.
4. The people that I did have, picked me. And, to be honest some of those original friends I have distanced myself from because they are unhealthy.

I have been working on building deeper relationships since I discovered this to be an issue. With varying results, but the growth has been in the trying. You will have some time on your hands, try to do some coffee dates and see if you can become closer to any of the ladies you might be interested in.

I relied on my husband for all my needs too, and that's not realistic or healthy. He can't meet them all. He is the same way too, I wish he would cultivate more friendships as well. We are both working on it. It's hard because so much of your life gets into trying to spend time together, the energy the kids need, work, and there isn't much left over. Self care is so important, and having friends and outside hobbies can be as well. Don't be like me - your kids grow up and leave you and then you have no sense of self or what you would like to use the expanded time for!

JBWD posted 11/15/2019 13:43 PM

How do people view letting go?

Folks here know my situation, which is progressing as I now have an attorney (mediator wants them IDíed up front just so thereís no delays IF issues arise.) So I KNOW I will divorce.

But I still hope. I donít articulate it because itís unwelcome, but I still hope. And I feel stupid, and I feel like an asshole because she feels pressure just by knowing. I recognize ďall or nothing thinkingĒ in extrapolating to a solitary future, but I donít necessarily fear that. So be it- Itís not ďIf I canít have her,Ē itís more recognizing this was one of the greatest gifts of my life. And itís one I miserably squandered, at great cost to her. And so for now I canít see trying to replicate that. And Iím happy to give her all the time she needs to process and get to the point of believing this wasnít her fault, knowing full well that doesnít guarantee anything between us.

But is there an attitude adjustment to make? Is there some other way to reframe this? Iím generally confident that Iíll know if I get there, but the .1% is when I am terrified that Iím making things worse for me- And her.

ETA: I fully understand that the asshole horse has left the barn, so to speak. And further that Iím quickly diverging from the WS forum.

[This message edited by JBWD at 2:03 PM, November 15th (Friday)]

FoenixRising posted 11/15/2019 14:03 PM

Mrs walloped! I hardly thought youíd be old enough for grandkids! Itís funny to not meet someone and imagine them in your mind and then alter it as you go. I hope this isnít a weird realization. Kinda like how you can hear someoneís voice but not see their face so you visualize them a certain way? I dint know. Maybe Iím not making sense. Is thus me poorly cultivating a friendship? Kidding but not really. 🤭

HIO- I cant imagine you selfish. You care so much for others.

JW- oh man... Iím sorry to hear itís gotten this far and that you still arenít settled with it. Be kind to yourself. Allow yourself to feel whatever YOU need to. Keeping the feelings to yourself is probably best for now to spare your W the pain youíre concerned about. This is all part of letting go I think. Youíre doing better processing it all than you were a few months ago. Focus in your progress. And remember... one day at a time.

Today marks my two year DDay anniversary. Itís funny. I hadnít even thought about it really. I knew it was here but it just feels like any old day. H and I dint acknowledge it but ironically for the first time in FOREVER I woke up in the middle of the night with no kids in our room and I crawled over as cuddled behind. He hasnít been feeling great and I coukd year his congestion as he snored. I rubbed his back and scratched his arm just how he likes but hasnít gotten lately. It was so nice sleeping curled up with him. I woke up and to a text from him today that said Ďthank you for the million little things you do. I love you more than I coukd ever say and feeling your arms around me last night felt better than it ever had before. Thank you.í

Iím thinking itís going to be a lovely weekend. Take care yíall. Big love!

hikingout posted 11/15/2019 14:05 PM


That's a tough question, and honestly one I can only speculate on.

When H asked me for a divorce, I believed him. We in house separated. I think even though it was a short time there was some perspective of I didn't want the divorce, but I could and would eventually be okay. We have something rare, he and I, and I fully recognized that at that time. It's hard sometimes to find the compatibility that you can live with someone day in and day out for years. Share a similar sensibility and similar desires and visions. Be able to compromise when needed.

But, even with all that said, I don't believe in the concept of soul mates. Except when I was acting batshit crazy in my affair - but all logic was gone, I was really telling myself the soul mate story to justify what I was doing. So, back to not believing in that. I believe there are lots of people we can be compatible with and love. While I find it hard to imagine striking gold like I did with my H, I could have continued to work on myself and eventually have found love again. As could he - him probably moreso than me.

I am sure there is also an ideal when it comes to thinking about your kids. If you all can keep it about them, that will work out.

I don't know if you are putting added pressure on her just by not wishing to be divorced. I am thinking you have conveyed to her that you understand and respect her decision. Are you throwing any guilt trips on her? What are you saying to her? Even without you doing anything but being respectful, I am certain that she feels guilt that doesn't belong to her. It's a hard decision to pull the trigger, even if you know that's what needs to happen for you. Even if you know that the other person broke it.

As for letting go, I said this somewhere the other day. We all have these struggles of letting things go in life. I had a lot of struggles over the summer in which I wanted to control my narrative, and I wanted to forgive myself. I was just so pissed at myself. I think for me, the more I struggle against what is that's where it makes it worse for me. But, I don't know that's a feeling someone who is grieving a marriage or a vision for their life (even if we are the ones who ruin it) can just let go of. I don't know if you have ever looked at the grieving process, but it's just not linear. We get better over time, the struggle becomes less. I wish I could remember the quote of when you are in a body of water and you just let go you float. That's much more pleasant than when you are treading water or trying to swim after you are tired and you are swallowing water because you can't just stop going.

Maybe picture the divorce finalization as peace. Anything can rise from the ashes, but I know plenty of circumstances where the divorce marked a new beginning. I think you have to not look at it that way though. I think you have to strive for the floating. And, keep working on yourself. What is meant for you won't miss you. And, you will always be a family. I am so sorry I don't have better words for you. I am sure you also recognize this is harder for your wife than it is for you.

MrsWalloped posted 11/15/2019 14:12 PM

I donít have anything really to add to what hikingout said.

I think your BW will get there with time and work, but thatís going to be up to her with you reinforcing that message if she brings it up to you.

Iím glad youíre not pressuring her. Hoping is okay, and her knowing your hoping is okay too. As long as you respect her decision and let her know that too, I think youíre on safe ground.

Anyway, I really just want to say that Iím sorry youíre going through this. Just because we caused it doesnít make it easy.


hikingout posted 11/15/2019 14:12 PM

HIO- I cant imagine you selfish. You care so much for others.

Well thank you for that. But, I am a wayward, which means I am completely capable of being selfish and numb to the feelings of others.

I mostly said self-involved though, you do have to remember that part of what landed me here is that I was overdoing for my family to earn and deserve their love. I didn't feel worthy for just being me. So, I was skipping friend time due to my own self-absorbed state of overdoing, hiding in being busy.

I don't think I am completely selfish by nature though. I don't think you are wrong about that. I do care about others, and I have a big capacity for love. It's just like you have said many times, I have had to learn to extend that capacity to love myself.

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