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Wayward community

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ff4152 posted 10/24/2019 07:52 AM

I do think SI is a godsend for those WS committed to fixing and owning their mistakes. I know it has forced me to look at myself honestly; that has been one of the most sobering things thatís ever happened to me.

I suppose one could call this a community with similar social constructs as in the ďreal worldĒ. You have your extroverts, introverts, those that are ďpopularĒ and those that stay quiet on the sidelines. You have those that swing a 2x4 without a care in the world while some are more judicious in their approach.

But IMO, there is an unwritten script that one is expected to follow if they are to be welcomed here. I have not followed the script because I have not confessed and have felt the full brunt of that decision. I know of others who have stopped posting because they have deviated from this communities accepted norms.

In the same vein, I also agree with Pinks thoughts on WS censoring themselves. In my discussions with others, I know that folks (myself included) arenít entirely candid because of the inevitable thrashing that would come with it. I suppose itís an inevitable byproduct of being on an internet forum, but it exists nonetheless.

hikingout posted 10/24/2019 09:53 AM

I think this is a good discussion. I had a few more thoughts as I reflected:

When I said that the fact there is not a strong community here that lends itself to people not staying long term. I wasn't really commenting about it in reverse. I wasn't saying we don't have a community because no one stays long term. The reverse - community might encourage longer term posting.

For me, I think there is a sense of community, but it's one that I have made. It consists of both BS and WS. There are people who I stay here to cheer for, there are people I stay to get their insight, and then what I get out of contributing is a big deal - because it helps me keep track of where my mind is, it helps me understand how I feel about all sorts of details of my life. But, I have had just as many (if not more) deep discussions with BS as I have WS.

So, I guess I am thinking if having a sense of community is important to you, it's available here. Reach out to others on PM, comment on their stories, be the support you want to have. There are certainly a list of people here I owe more than words can say.

But, for sake of discussion, I guess i will turn it around BSR, since you started the post - what would the WS forum look like if you were able to wave a magic wand? I think those are the things we can take and try and build with some shared vision or find ways to get those needs med?

BraveSirRobin posted 10/25/2019 18:55 PM

But, for sake of discussion, I guess i will turn it around BSR, since you started the post - what would the WS forum look like if you were able to wave a magic wand?
You know, I'm not sure, which is why I asked the question. Everything that I'd say I'd like to limit -- harsh words, 2x4s, sarcasm -- is something I've done myself at one point or another. Usually it was because I made the decision that it was a tactic that might reach the OP, but occasionally it was because I was frustrated or triggered. And there have been instances of the opposite, too -- times when I held my tongue and spoke kindly to someone I'd have liked to smack upside the head. There's no universal for what works, so I try different approaches, though all of them carry an authentic message.

We aren't really here to make friends, though I absolutely welcome and treasure those friendships when they do form. We're here to find our way out of the darkness and then shine a light on the path for other waywards. I wonder sometimes if forming a bond dulls my edge and makes me more loyal to the fellow wayward than to the work. Presumably, they have real life friends, but those friends don't have the experience we do. And those friends may take the attitude of "Right or wrong, I've got your back." We can't do that, and shouldn't.

I guess when I think of community, it's with people who have been around a while. When I first started lurking here, posters like you and Mrs. Walloped and WOES and several others were minor celebrities to me -- people who had found the courage to be honest and had the ability to articulate it in helpful ways. It was weird at first to join the conversation, and even weirder to feel like I had something to contribute. It helped a lot to hear that I was on the right track.

And you know, I'm just realizing as I type this: I find myself drawn to posters who I know aren't wasting my time by lying to me, and those tend to be the old timers. Wow, if that isn't the most hypocritical irony I've ever expressed on SI, but it's true. If you have shameful things in your background, I can understand and empathize and force your head around to look at them, but I find it very hard to bond with anyone I know is trying to deceive me. Which of course is the vast majority of new WS here, and was me for fucking decades. I find myself drawn to the newcomers who I believe are being honest, even when some of their honest observations need a hefty dose of pushback.

So I guess my magic wand for what I want on this forum would be honesty. Everyone just telling the truth in the belief that it's the only way to help each other. Not exactly likely, and crushingly ironic given my history, but there it is. I think I need to do some work on this, because it's like expecting everyone to arrive in kindergarten knowing how to read.

FoenixRising posted 10/25/2019 23:04 PM

You said itís like teaching kindergarten but expecting everyone to show up already able to read. I agree.

Iíll add, that SI can be so intimidating bc once youíve been here for a while and you think you get it or are getting it and then if you later do something waywardly, itís shameful to admit it bc there is the Ďonce a cheater always a cheaterí motto even if There has been no physical or emotional cheating taking place... just thoughts. . I struggle wiith those thoughts inside my head but I just vault them now to ensure no one knows about them but me. then they cannot be offensive to anyone and I donít need to atone.

Further, I donít admit a lot of things here or aloud bc I donít want to trigger or invoke fear in anyone that their wayward is like me. Itís also that I donít feel like hearing how broken I still am and how much more work I need to do and how my thinking is out of whack and (sometimes) how my thoughts alone have removed me from the category of Ďreformedí.

The work is harder than others some days. It feels heavy with too much on top of all my other responsibilities and furthermore, my H Is lazy and often goes back to his old coping mechanisms of Ďshut the world outí mode and I feel like Iím single parenting or in a co parenting relationship with his parents who weíve moved in.

Some days, I want to throw in the towel and stick a fork in myself. But I donít. I remain loyal. I sleep a lot more. I cry. I ask for help. I struggle though because it seems unless Iím screaming in a corner to myself or saying something drastic to H for the help, then Iím ignored or put off. Even when I do, ití seems bare minimum but then I wonder if thatís resentment again...

If Iím continuing being honest, sometimes I stay in this marriage bc Iím too tired to do anything else and too scared to fuck my kids up anymore than I already have. These are my thoughts on bad days, which lately, I have had more Of the bad than good. Likely this is just part of a cycle or rut or whatever.

I canít change the hand Iíve got but I do get to chose how to play the cards. And the show must go on. Hope nobody is expecting broadway bc this month, itís more like a community center with a low budget and minimal stage hands.

MrCleanSlate posted 10/26/2019 07:30 AM

BSR,

A BS gets a lot of support and compassion for what their wayward is/has put them through and they come here for that support and guidance.

A wayward though...thy come here for what? support? someone to justify what they did was OK? because they were 'told' to come here? they are too scared to lose their BS?

After years of lying to themselves and everyone around them during the affair, and in their marriage for possibly years before, you think they even know how to tell the truth? I didn't. you didn't. When I came clean to my spouse, at first it was out of desperation, it wasn't because i really saw the light then, that came later.

Yesterday my wife and i were talking about my 20yo son and recent diagnosis of bipolar tendencies as part of his ADHD. My wife then said matter of factly "your AP had Bipolar, did you see similarities to our son?" I struggled to answer for a second, that old defence mechanism kicked in, but then I gave my honest answer "totally different, my AP was 'very' bipolar, but I didn't really care at the time because I didn't care about her, I cared about me then". Talk about hitting a lot of things at once - that years on we can talk about my past affair frankly, that in that instance, I went in to defend mode, that our marriage has improved so much that we actually talk.

So, do you assail and push away those waywards that are here but maybe not even honest with themselves yet, let alone with the community. Look at some recent waywards, one female in particular that lied all the way through her posts until she finally started to face the truth. Was it all waste to try to help her?

"Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In that response lies our growth and our freedom." Viktor Frankl

WalkinOnEggshelz posted 10/26/2019 08:55 AM

there is at least an understanding that everyone is 100% on the side of the BS, unless and until something like physical abuse emerges. Newcomers have found a community that has their back.

You might be surprised that many of the shaming and attacking violations occur outside of this forum. Many among the BS population.

I feel like many things, the word Ďcommunityí can hold different meaning to different people. If you look at it as ďa group of people having a similar characteristic in commonĒ, then this Forum is absolutely a community. If you view the term as a ďfeeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goalsĒ, thatís where perspectives will shift. I think we tend to share common interests and goals most of the time (getting healthy, demonstrating remorse), however perhaps it seems we are lacking in the fellowship and sharing of attitudes department.

As many have pointed out, when we first arrive here itís impossible to have the same perspective as those years out. How we process and interpret and react as a fresh wayward will look vastly different than that of one that has done the work.

At the end of the day I believe that most members that post in this forum are trying to post with the waywardís best interest in mind. Typically when we see someone acting out in a way that is damaging to others, we donít want to just stand by as witness and allow it to happen. We want to find a way to make it stop. I think sometimes itís easy to forget all of the negative impacts infidelity can have...suicide, murder, PTSD, loss of income and homes. Sometimes when you are in the middle of punching a nun, gently touching an arm and asking to stop wonít help. Sometimes you have to yell ďSTOP!Ē

As time goes on you will find that you make connections with other waywards. Some because you feel a connection in their story. Others because you see the potential and want to provide them guidance. Others because you share similar timelines and perspectives. Over the years I have seen cliques form and I know that real life friendships have developed through this forum.

Not everyone will get what they need or want from it, but this is one of the most unique communities I have been a part of. The fact that it even exists is mind blowing and the WS that fought for it (thank you DeeplyScared) was one of the most amazing people I have met. There is no other Forum that exists for Wayward spouses. There is no other that offers the protection that this one does. After over 9 years, I still consider this my ďhomeĒ. If that isnít community, Iím not sure what is.

JBWD posted 10/27/2019 12:12 PM

I think thereís no doubt this is a community. Everything we have likely heard about the ability of online forums to supplant real life community is true, as such we donít share geographical borders but we willingly associate and participate.

I donít have a strong opinion one way or the other on how safe a space this is for waywards- When I first joined I felt ludicrously targeted and singled out. Good thing Iím recently joined enough to have had the opportunity to go back and find those posts that were (surprise,surprise) not at all harsh.

Thatís what prompted me to apologize to Frankly. And to reassess what I understand a 2x4 to be. More importantly I am continuing to rethink what value that may have as a means to bring reason to a newer wayward. Because if what characterizes us early on is defensiveness, then a public shaming certainly isnít a likely effective approach. In fact, I have been taught for the past 20 years in the military ďPraise in public, shame in private.Ē And I busted that. 1, itís a shitty thing to do. And 2, itís, as I assess, immensely counterproductive.

So how to refine the community? I think weíre going to have to accept that we are going to have emotional characters. I think the distinction between this and a geographic community is that we have all knowingly entered and posted here. I think there was a recommendation early on in this thread about a welcome thread that explains how things are likely to progress for waywards as they join and step off the ledge. I like the sound of that.

To emphasize though, Iím firmly in the camp that this is a community. And itís one that I desperately needed. And I am grateful for the occasions where I can help. An occasional refocus is certainly healthy, so thanks for this thread.

BraveSirRobin posted 10/27/2019 20:22 PM

you think you get it or are getting it and then if you later do something waywardly, itís shameful to admit it bc there is the Ďonce a cheater always a cheaterí motto even if There has been no physical or emotional cheating taking place... just thoughts. . I struggle wiith those thoughts inside my head but I just vault them now to ensure no one knows about them but me. then they cannot be offensive to anyone and I donít need to atone.

Further, I donít admit a lot of things here or aloud bc I donít want to trigger or invoke fear in anyone that their wayward is like me. Itís also that I donít feel like hearing how broken I still am and how much more work I need to do and how my thinking is out of whack and (sometimes) how my thoughts alone have removed me from the category of Ďreformedí.

This resonated for me, Foenix. Thanks for saying it.

I, too, struggle with "vaulting" thoughts. Doing the work has time-traveled me back into the mindset of the A. What was I thinking and feeling? What were my motivations? What attracted me to OM? What things did I remember over the years after the A? How did those memories make me feel? Why? These are all questions that my BH needs me to answer. If there was an intimate moment, a fond recollection, he wants to know about it. I can't hold anything back.

I suit up with asbestos gloves when I get near that fire, because I'm still working on the holes in myself that I used OM to fill. I simultaneously need to open my vault to let BH inside it but not open myself to any false self-validation from those memories. When I say that I'm indifferent to OM, I'm telling the truth. He's some middle aged dude that I don't know, presumably with most of the same major red flag issues he had back in the day. But those memories? They were fragments that I cultivated and polished and hid like pirate treasure. I pulled them out when I was feeling stressed and inadequate, the kibble of being wanted and romanced. It helps a lot to understand the flawed thinking that made me see it that way, but rewiring those thoughts isn't like flipping a switch. I gather it is for some WS, but not for me. When I encounter that thought pattern, I'm still in a place where I have to actively debunk it and remember that it was all false, mirroring lies.

And I get what you mean about not wanting to trigger anyone. I've never been to an AA meeting, but I always imagined that "I'm feeling low and tempted to take a drink" is met with something like, "I understand, don't do it, think of all the hard work you've done and what that would mean to your life and the people you love." I envision a response that is not surprised that someone's struggle is ongoing. But here, where so much pain has been inflicted by infidelity, I fear a reaction of "Wow, I thought you were recovered, but this just proves yet again that all alcoholics are hopeless drunks and incapable of change. Shame on you, and shame on me for believing you." Like you, I'm referring to thoughts and not actions, but I think that's still a trigger. So I tell things like that to my BH and don't explore them here, even though I feel like there are people who would understand, and support my struggle in a way that really helps challenge the unhealthy thinking.

So that introduces a new question, I guess. Do you trust this community? Or are you wary of truly opening yourself to it?

[This message edited by BraveSirRobin at 11:26 PM, October 27th (Sunday)]

hikingout posted 10/28/2019 09:08 AM

I suit up with asbestos gloves when I get near that fire, because I'm still working on the holes in myself that I used OM to fill. I simultaneously need to open my vault to let BH inside it but not open myself to any false self-validation from those memories.s
.

See, for me, I went about this differently, but I realize that mine was way more recent than yours. When I would get feelings of self-Validation I used that as another why. Why do I need this to feel good. Why is this like a worry stone that I rub inside my pocket. Putting on the gloves would have taken away from that process, and I only point it out because it may be keeping you from examining what that hole is.

When I say that I'm indifferent to OM, I'm telling the truth. He's some middle aged dude that I don't know, presumably with most of the same major red flag issues he had back in the day.


Well, even though my A was far more recent, I feel like in an A situation you never did KNOW them. Everyone is on their best behavior. In your case the OM was trying to "win", and there is so much distortion because that relationship was a big self-adulation fest". You were likely not even you during it.

But those memories? They were fragments that I cultivated and polished and hid like pirate treasure. I pulled them out when I was feeling stressed and inadequate, the kibble of being wanted and romanced.

I wonder if that's really just a product of remembering youth, and it's simplicity but he's just simply entwined in it?

I also think some of what you are sharing here is very vulnerable. And, vulnerability breeds connection, which would add to your sense of community. You just have to let go of the badge of whether people see that you get it or you don't. We are here to explore these feelings, and sometimes that means that people will judge what you are saying with the lens of their own situation. It's not a product that they want to shame you, it's just the things you are talking about harboring is their absolute worst fear so they want to squash it because they trigger seeing it.

It helps a lot to understand the flawed thinking that made me see it that way, but rewiring those thoughts isn't like flipping a switch. I gather it is for some WS, but not for me. When I encounter that thought pattern, I'm still in a place where I have to actively debunk it and remember that it was all false, mirroring lies.


This is the process that I had to take as well. The difference is this is more engrained in you because it was dealt with such a time gap from the A. In my situation, it's something I have had to do since the day the A ended, and so those thoughts really didn't get a chance to engrain or become part of the fabric of my history.

I was in a very limerant/addictive state after the A. It wasn't something I could drop, even though I would have given anything (and really did try to put everything into) getting past. It was a source of torture and great pain to me. I needed that story, because as you said there were holes I hadn't filled or fixed, and latching onto that story was all I had. It was a huge process. I have a hard time understanding those who say they never had that but had feelings at the time of the A, but I have chalked it up to the difference between those who were cake eating and those who were having an exit affair. Cake eaters I don't think lose contact with what it is that they really want. They can drop the AP on their head because that confusion was never there.

So that introduces a new question, I guess. Do you trust this community? Or are you wary of truly opening yourself to it?

For me, I am an open book NOW. But, when I was struggling with all the stuff I just talked about, I wasn't open as much with that here. It wasn't that I didn't trust it, but for me, at that time, I needed this community to be able to figure out the truth of the story I was telling myself. I didn't have to be open about it to have gotten that, and I did know that it just wasn't something I could deal with here because people just kept either giving me logic or shame for not appreciating my husband. I knew the logic was right, and I could derive that on my own, I just couldn't get my thoughts and feelings to line up with it. I had shame in spades, I already felt horrible that I was still dealing with this and not appreciating I was getting ready to lose my husband, which I knew even then was exactly the opposite of what I wanted to do and would have been the most devastating thing that really could have happen. The mind of a cheater is such a paradox.


But, the reason I can be an open book now is I am truly past so much of all of those things there really isn't anything that I hold on to or don't see about my situation. I have eradicated the thinking and behaviors, so I don't have to hide those things.

But, trusting this community to give any of us anything but logic or trying to tell us how horrible what we are doing is for our BS, that's not the trust anyone should be looking for. What I trust this community to do is to tell me the logic I am missing and to call me out if I am being selfish or not appreciating my situation enough. It's the same thing we do here for the other waywards. So, I think it's fine for WS's to explore these thoughts here, but you have to align the expectation with people trying to talk sense into you or telling you that you don't yet get it. And what's the harm in admitting you don't or someone telling you that you don't? Why does this scare you?


I do think that when you express it the way you have expressed it, people can understand or see the struggle in trying. But, you are able to use words to paint a picture, most WS aren't able to articulate themselves in that same way. It's probably a product of you cheated decades ago and got the communication and relationship skills in between that others who are fresher to the scene are at step one on building.


[This message edited by hikingout at 9:12 AM, October 28th (Monday)]

Pippin posted 10/28/2019 09:35 AM

When I think of community I think of norms. And in particular, what are the unstated norms, how do they operate and for whose benefit? There are a ton of unstated norms here, as in any community, some of which are generally beneficial to most waywards and some of which I think are appalling and destructive. If you feel like a member of the community, it's probably because the norms are working for you, you've organized your participation more or less around them, your situation lends themselves to them, or you've got the internal fortitude to ignore or defy them. And if someone doesn't feel like a member of the community, it's probably because they are inadvertently running afoul of them. I think there is little to no appetite for making the norms explicit, looking at them non-defensively, asking how they work or don't work, getting organized around more intentional norms, etc. And fair enough, in the other critical friends/courageous conversations types of groups I'm in, there's a clear leader of the group, the norms are explicit and organized to address the likely difficulties in the group, there are strong personal relationships, and we have fun together to balance the seriousness and difficulty. And it's still hard, and groups that disintegrate often disintegrate because one or more of those things is lacking. I don't know if there is a model in an online setting or if it's possible, so there is a default to unexamined and sometimes heavily enforced norms (and piss-poor logic to defend them) which drives me crazy. I don't feel like a member of the wayward community except insofar as I have found the niche places to participate where I don't run afoul of them and can push against the ones I really don't like.

hikingout posted 10/28/2019 10:52 AM

This is a very interesting and thought provoking response, Pippen.

There are a ton of unstated norms here, as in any community, some of which are generally beneficial to most waywards and some of which I think are appalling and destructive

I can see what you are saying here, but I do look at this a bit differently. I feel like whatever "norms" there are can be very subjective and open for interpretation - so we could in essence look at the same norm and have very opposing views on whether it exists, whether it is helpful, whether it's destructive. We simply have different people in their journey of healing, and you have people from a lot of different backgrounds here with different cultural influences, different levels of maturity, age, experiences in relationships. I think that you are always going to have people project their situation to some degree as well.

So, some of it can come to a matter of simple organization - but I don't know we ever have enough members here at any given time to lend itself to sorting that. I don't know what it would look like - separating cake eaters from exit from SA/Serial - or going by first year, second year, and one for beyond? Gender? Age? Some of those things can provide clarity and true patterns that each of those groups have separately in terms of infidelity, but the amount of participation would cause conversations to become even more limited, when you think about how few new posts hit the WS forum by the week.

If you feel like a member of the community, it's probably because the norms are working for you, you've organized your participation more or less around them, your situation lends themselves to them, or you've got the internal fortitude to ignore or defy them. And if someone doesn't feel like a member of the community, it's probably because they are inadvertently running afoul of them.

Probably true, I never considered that before. It's definitely food for thought. But, I would also maybe say this site isn't for everyone, it would be impossible for any site to be that way. Either you believe the overall logic of it or you don't.

For me, it's helped me clarify some extremely huge things, and even the times when I found myself running against the norms, it still taught me a lot about myself and what makes me tick. Sometimes when we feel defensive, it's helpful to take time to reflect on that. I don't think everyone is capable of that, instead may let those things fester and resentments build. The more empathy you have for where someone else is coming from even if it feels to be an attack on you personally can be an enlightening experience. However, I think there is sometimes lack of understanding that not everything is true for every situation, or what this person experienced is not what happened in another person's situation.

I think probably the one that is most prevalent as a pet peeve of mine is is that there are WS who are here (who should still not have cheated) but their affair was a drop in the bucket of all the traumas in their marriage. It should be not assumed that all WS want to reconcile or should even want to reconcile. Or that they put the only break or trauma in the marriage. It's almost always assumed that the BS is good and right and the WS is the one who just disregarded that and did shitty things. I think that's commonly the story though - in my case my BS was good and I was the one who did the shitty things. But, in some cases, the WS doesn't even know if they want the marriage, and I don't think it's healthy to assume they should want the marriage. I don't think it was right they cheated at all, or that they had more of a license to do so. Those situations press my buttons, but it's so hard because so many WS show up here after DDAY and haven't yet taken any stock and have likely rewritten the marriage. We also lie. So, you almost always have to cookie cutter someone to not enable really bad and destructive behaviors.

For me, it's not about norms to have a community. I simply connect with the posters here I relate to and they are my community. I may learn things from others I connect with less, but that too can be community. Just like we have more in common with some of our neighbors in our neighborhoods than others. It's a collective of many levels of experiences, and while we have posters who fail to see that (not you, I mean those who can't see their situations as different from anothers), we have a whole bunch who do see it. I guess that was a long winded thing where you concentrate on the sub-community you want to be in rather that the community as a whole. Just like if you were at a party and you gravitate to certain people and avoid others.

And fair enough, in the other critical friends/courageous conversations types of groups I'm in, there's a clear leader of the group, the norms are explicit and organized to address the likely difficulties in the group, there are strong personal relationships, and we have fun together to balance the seriousness and difficulty


I do think that we have leaders here (guides, moderators, etc), and guidelines for posting. So, I am curious about the difference in experience. This is a free site with the express goal being one thing and one thing only: getting out of infidelity, so the posting and moderation is geared for that to be the case. There are no mental health professionals leading it, and it is free. Are the sites you reference free, is it for a group that has largely been recently traumatized in some way, and is it ran by mental health professionals? Is the subject matter less broad or more broad? I would say that's a different thing than a peer community that's why I am asking.

I think the fact that we have the perpetrators and victims in the same place is a blessing and a curse, but probably more blessings come from it than anything else. I just think sometimes the lightness/fun doesn't really belong in the WS forum where many people are losing their marriage or hanging by a string, but there are forums here that you can visit and participate in that are off topic and just for fun.

I am honestly not challenging you, I am asking to understand. In fact, I have thought about exploring some self help type groups in addition to this one. So, your experience is interesting to me.

JBWD posted 10/28/2019 11:09 AM

I would be curious to see if there WAS an appetite to establish explicit norms. Iíd be all for it. I think it might be beyond the realm of feasible in an online only forum but you never know!

I think BSRís post perfectly encapsulates the statement that pink made earlier- Itís hard to feel safe here. And itís based exactly on that paradox- That for us to put the inferior self behind us, we MUST be open and honest. And I think for the reasons BSR states, that honesty has some real limits in the forum. Yes we can control our thoughts and actions as they relate to emotions, but controlling emotions is another matter.

I think for me personally this has a strange ďtotemicĒ component. I am eager to be honest, most of it lately being vents more or less because I am not likely going to reconcile. However when I really dig, the most compelling reason I find is that I donít want to put something up here that will be read by a different BS from my own that might trigger and close the door on someone elseís R(!) I am used to confirmation bias in dealing with my Aís aftermath, and I know thatís not universal. But itís a worst case I find myself trying not to trip for others here. I stand by my goal to never explicitly advocate for any one partyís D or R while online- Thereís simply too many individual nuances that canít be explored in text. But perhaps Iím offering less than I could out of superstition(?)

Edited for spelling

[This message edited by JBWD at 11:11 AM, October 28th (Monday)]

hikingout posted 10/28/2019 11:22 AM

I think for me personally this has a strange ďtotemicĒ component. I am eager to be honest, most of it lately being vents more or less because I am not likely going to reconcile. However when I really dig, the most compelling reason I find is that I donít want to put something up here that will be read by a different BS from my own that might trigger and close the door on someone elseís R(!) I am used to confirmation bias in dealing with my Aís aftermath, and I know thatís not universal. But itís a worst case I find myself trying not to trip for others here. I stand by my goal to never explicitly advocate for any one partyís D or R while online- Thereís simply too many individual nuances that canít be explored in text. But perhaps Iím offering less than I could out of superstition(?)

I can certainly appreciate where you are coming from on this. I have read some WS posts here over the years and thought "jeesh, you are stating every BS's worst nightmare" and I know they are going to trigger the hell out of a lot of people. But, honestly, BS tell a lot of horror stories here too, and there are many BS that are moving towards separation, Divorce, or post divorce and happy about it. So, I think it's okay that there are all sorts of stories. We can't examine our thinking without people talking about the things we are thinking about. So, I wouldn't hold back for those reasons.

With limerence, enough people experienced it that it was talked about enough here for me to get a lot of perspective on it. I talk about it a lot now for the same reason - because I know we have WS who are here that are struggling to make those same mental breakthroughs that I know have to be made.

JBWD posted 10/28/2019 11:22 AM

But those memories? They were fragments that I cultivated and polished and hid like pirate treasure. I pulled them out when I was feeling stressed and inadequate, the kibble of being wanted and romanced.

I wonder if that's really just a product of remembering youth, and it's simplicity but he's just simply entwined in it?.
I wonder if that's really just a product of remembering youth, and it's simplicity but he's just simply entwined in it?

I donít think itís just youthful nostalgia. Those fragments were EXACTLY what I used to validate breaking NC on a handful of times. I think every cheater here who breaks NC or insists on continued contact but ďnot romanticallyĒ is turning that worry stone. I canít align my subsequent contacts to specifically difficult days in attempting R, but those were generally difficult times and I can recall those warm sensations at hearing a ďfriendly voiceĒ when I did call her up or text.

Those ďlost sensationsĒ are still something to counter (I started with ďfightĒ but I think thatís too forceful a term) when I am lonely. Itís not hard to do but annoying that they still exist.

hikingout posted 10/28/2019 11:29 AM

I donít think itís just youthful nostalgia. Those fragments were EXACTLY what I used to validate breaking NC on a handful of times. I think every cheater here who breaks NC or insists on continued contact but ďnot romanticallyĒ is turning that worry stone. I canít align my subsequent contacts to specifically difficult days in attempting R, but those were generally difficult times and I can recall those warm sensations at hearing a ďfriendly voiceĒ when I did call her up or text.
Those ďlost sensationsĒ are still something to counter (I started with ďfightĒ but I think thatís too forceful a term) when I am lonely. Itís not hard to do but annoying that they still exist.


I can appreciate that, and obviously I had many moments until I could get to a certain place in my healing. I know what you are saying. The perspective that I was reflecting on is, I am just over 2 years out from the end of the A...and I no longer rub that stone and haven't in a long time. BSR is a COUPLE of DECADES out from her A, I can't imagine that she is still even carrying that stone in her pocket. I completely believe she feels indifferent towards AP, because I do as well. I feel indifferent in the terms of not having any emotional response, but also know I do not like him or think he is a good person - so logically I am not indifferent, I am adverse to him.


You are not as far out and are separated. I would not think you had any other reason that you still had the stone sometimes other than you are not as long out as I am yet, and you would be lonely and of course that's hard when that's one of the voids you were also trying to fill with the affair to begin with. It's harder to understand BSR's perspective because of the amount of time that passed, other than she didn't debunk it earlier and so it kind of got lumped into the good memories of some glory days? I am still not sure I have that any where near right, but that's why I put it out there, but would not say the same to you or a WS in which their affair was in the more recent years.

JBWD posted 10/28/2019 12:30 PM

Yes, at the same time I could see it having had so much time to cement that it became as powerful an emotional reserve as an ongoing A in some ways. I donít know if BSR would agree with that but the force of habit is a STRONG one.

BraveSirRobin posted 10/28/2019 13:27 PM

I do agree, JBWD. I don't know that I'd equate it to an ongoing A, exactly; it hasn't been a continuous habit for all that time. There were years on end where he never crossed my mind. However, there were periods of stress that brought it out, and then my 25th reunion triggered some cliched midlife crisis thoughts. It's probably a mix of what you and hikingout are describing, though not with any temptation to break NC. I mean, I found out he was married through alumni magazine notes, and didn't learn he was divorced until 21 years later, which was ten years after it happened. All that time, I assumed he was living the dream with his wife, 2.5 kids and dog. I wasn't keeping tabs on him or looking to reconnect.

But in those stressful times, those mental trips back for ego kibbles did get quite ingrained. I suspect this is because BH and I have been together since we were 16, so we don't have most people's history of significant past relationships. OM looms large in our lives not only because he was the AP, but also as the only other man I've slept with. If I had met him before BH, he'd be a footnote, a guy I dated in college where things fell apart pretty quickly. He occupies a space that is far out of proportion to what it would have been if I hadn't lied and rugswept. It's new to BH because he didn't know the truth, and new to me because I've finally learned how fake and pathetic those stale kibbles actually were. We have to tolerate him in our heads again in order to do the work.

At this point, I am so, so sick of the thought of OM. I've considered dropping off SI just so I don't have to tell any more accounts of the A. The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind has started to look quite appealing.

[This message edited by BraveSirRobin at 6:10 PM, October 28th (Monday)]

hikingout posted 10/28/2019 15:28 PM

At this point, I am so, so sick of the thought of OM. I've considered dropping off SI just so I don't have to tell any more accounts of the A


I can completely identify with this. I think the evolution of thoughts on what happened and why and what I have learned and how slowly that has happened...it's crazy. It's taken me to the last couple of months to understand that it's not that my husband isn't good at forming emotional connection - I think we were both bad at it and I was probably the worse of the two. When I had that epiphany I truly wanted to slap myself. The evolution of the story and the layers underneath is a never-ending onion. But, I do think as I have gotten more and more to the base of the onion, the more at peace I am. If it doesn't suck you aren't doing it right.

BraveSirRobin posted 10/28/2019 17:43 PM

However when I really dig, the most compelling reason I find is that I donít want to put something up here that will be read by a different BS from my own that might trigger and close the door on someone elseís R
I think hikingout is right that BSes see plenty of nightmare stories as it is. What they desperately want, and usually can't get from their own WS, is honesty, and I assume that's the principal reason they read here.

I appreciate how seriously you take your responsibility as a wayward spokesperson (and it is important, because there are so few of us). I also would hate to have a BS read here and think, "Fuck it, BSR just proves that no wayward can get past their own selfishness and cruelty, I guess it's time to file." But I don't really think I have that kind of power, and even if I did, that doesn't mean I should lie or hide. Quite the opposite -- that makes it doubly important that I don't manipulate them the way they've been manipulated in their M.

I suspect that even if what we have to say is truly frightening, the majority of BS would tell us to just speak our truth and leave them the agency to decide what to make of it.

FoenixRising posted 10/29/2019 06:08 AM

BSR- you posed the question:

So that introduces a new question, I guess. Do you trust this community? Or are you wary of truly opening yourself to it?

This gave me pause and I really had to think about it. It isnít that I donít trust the SI community or my real life community. Itís just that my wayward ways/thoughts are a monster inside of me. They are there. I acknowledge them. Then I try and release them without much rumination bc I suspect theyíll always be there. Theyíre unhealthy though so I do try to NOT indulge virtually or realistically. Only individually. Otherwise, in some way I feel like Iím just reinforcing theyíre return. The less attention to them, the better. My situation is quite different than yours though as I am never asked to explain or retell. In fact my H chooses to not discuss it all. I respect that for him. He has said that it isnít that I had sex with another man. Itís choice of whom I picked to have sex with. I suppose that is why he doesnít want details. Either way, it allows me to live inside my head my memories or thoughts. Does that make sense?

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