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Seeing Clearly, My New Vows

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kairos posted 11/1/2019 12:01 PM

I must say, with each passing day, the clarity becomes more apparent. The best thing my wife ever did was make the hard decision to terminate our marriage. I couldnít do it on my own. I couldnít fathom it or get past my immense selfishness; I lacked the strength, the constitution. My selfishness was like a disease, and my wife was not the cure. And itís that same selfishness and weakness that couldnít see beyond my own opaque lies.

For those of you who have been fortunate to work through the issues with your betrayed spouse, good for you. I know you will gain great, life-time value from working together. But for me, as absolutely painful as it was to hear her scream the words that she never wanted to be with me again, she gave me the gift of not having to be bound to an outcome, to exhaust my selfishness, and to, in the present, exhaust any previous myths about affairs and why people have them. She unbound me to fall into the trap of my own making, and to thus find my own way out, which is the ONLY way a person can improve.

To anyone struggling with recurrent infidelity (post Dday or otherwise), Iíd like to say, ďgrow the fuck up,Ē but I know itís much more complicated than that. And I canít from my own seat judge you. Infidelity is like getting stuck in a time loop. Like the movies where someone is stuck day after day doing the same thing, the loop can only be broken by a simple choice (typically a simple act of selflessness where no outcome is expected). And yet when you are in this loop, all you can see is yourself, your needs, your wants: you, you, you.

Today I thank my wife (soon to be ex) for her strength. While I believe she now needs to grow on her own path, and I know that I have only taken a mere baby step in my growth path (of which I am so excited to continue), those two divergent paths are borne from an earlier strength that initially brought us together. The relic of that love is our two beautiful children.

To love but not to needÖ. That is true love.

I will continue reading your stories and posts on this site. I hope everyone here finds their own way. In the meantime, I must remind myself of my new vows. Everyday I wake up and think of these vows. Because, when we commit infidelity, it isn't just our marriage vows we break. We betray ourselves. My new vows have affected me in unexpected ways:

ēBe true to yourself; really understand what you want, and advocate for yourself.
ēNever do something that doesnít feel right (period)
ēLove yourself; appreciate yourself; donít believe the negative thoughts, because they are false. You are an amazing person. Remember the inner child you learned to love. 
ēLive with integrity; this means valuing your needs equally to those you love.
ēStop hiding stuff; just stop. Openly be you, no matter what: (for me, atheist, romantic, creative, sensitive, optimist, deep thinker)
ēChoose experience over accomplishment, say it again until you believe it, choose experience over accomplishment.
ēBe authentic with people, with self, even if authenticity is not the ideal person.
ēBe careful with all peopleís feelings, no matter what
ēFace the deep-down dark truth with courage, always; never rugsweep, never rewrite the narrative of past; use this to change the future
ēNEVER STOP DOING THE HARD WORK

[This message edited by Pdxguy at 12:41 PM, November 2nd (Saturday)]

MrCleanSlate posted 11/1/2019 12:46 PM

That list is something we all should strive to live by.

I had my own personal growth journey after my affair, and I congratulate you on yours.

DashboardMadonna posted 11/2/2019 03:04 AM

If I remember correctly, you and my husband have the same background....so forgive me, if I seem biased. This just seems disingenuous.

My husband also seems pretty chipper that I finally filed, while I feel defeated. So chipper, infact that he goes out and celebrate every weekend, but I digress.

I cant help, but think you're thankful that you feel your scorned wife gave you a green light, if I am to be honest. Now you have no one to hold you accountable, much like a mother. Shame only goes as far as a mirror, now.

You believe she now needs to "grow on her own path" and you're "excited". Dude, shes petrified and just trying to muster the strength to wake up in the morning, while praying to God her own children dont repeat what you have done.

She "unbound" you? No one held a gun to your head, when you went out of those boundaries, just as no one said you couldn't file... you didnt do it, because you worried that it would make you look worse...if I am to be real here.

For the next persons sake, I hope you're having a magic wand moment, but her filing only specifies different. You weren't putting in the work and it only continued to demonstrate to her what she already knew and feared. Possessing a piece of paper with the words freedom marked across it just releases the sense of guilt. You have already demonstrated that contracts are of little value to you, I dont see how this could be any different in terms of your healing.

Maudlin posted 11/2/2019 03:51 AM

What dashboard Madonna said.

bookworm19 posted 11/2/2019 05:13 AM

Keep in mind that English is not my language, but I translate this:

The best thing my wife ever did was make the hard decision to terminate our marriage. I couldnít do it on my own. I couldnít fathom it or get past my immense selfishness; I lacked the strength, the constitution. My selfishness was like a disease, and my wife was not the cure. And itís that same selfishness and weakness that couldnít see beyond my own opaque lies.

into: Yesss, I'm free at last!

Your last point

ēNEVER STOP DOING THE HARD WORK

baffles me a bit, you are "preaching" something you couldn't do, in this case leave your wife. Instead you let her do it, the divorce I mean. And then you thank her. It really sounds twisted to me. But as I said, maybe I don't get it.


undertherug posted 11/2/2019 06:11 AM

I am afraid I have to agree with several of the other posters here. Maybe I am misreading your post, but it seems you are happy to be free and glad your wife pulled the plug so you won't have to. She is hurt and angry that her whole life has been demolished. You seem very excited to begin your new life without your family. It's a shame you could not have had those "insights" before you cheated.

sleepylove posted 11/2/2019 06:21 AM

Pdx,

As a BS this is an infuriating, steaming pile of crap. How would your wife feel if she read this condescending mess?

Sorry, you have a long way to go.

layla1234 posted 11/2/2019 08:02 AM

Selfishness was at the forefront of your decision to cheat so of course you should focus on your self some more. Good for your wife.

kairos posted 11/2/2019 13:39 PM

I feel this forum offers value to so many. I think there is risk of being misunderstood at times. It's hard to convey one's full story in a post. At the same time, I feel like i've learned things and want people to know that it gets better. I appreciate genuine commentary/questions and ways of understanding what others have learned, and I'd like to offer the same. So thank you for your comments.

About 10 months ago, when she made it clear that it was over, I was in free fall. I could not be reliable to her. By letting me go (she was the strong one), she also allowed me to become a better person without being solely motivated by getting back with her. Yes, I wanted to be with her, and I resented her decision. I didn't want to separate or get a divorce. But, my motivation WAS selfish. I couldn't look inward unless I couldn't have her, if that makes sense.

By letting me go, she also protected herself. I was dangerous (emotionally). She needed to protect herself, and I'm glad she did. I was the problem. I needed to go. I lacked the courage to make that happen at the time. Hell, I didn't even consider it. What I thought was fighting for my marriage was not enough, at the time.

This is the distinction, I now had to focus on becoming a better person for myself, only. You see, the thing that I think she saw, and the thing that I now see, is that I had so many issues to deal with, change had to come from within. It couldn't come from a motivation to save my marriage, because the marriage as we knew it was dead. It was a closed chapter (or book) and trying to revisit the relationship through the same old methods, trying to save the marriage, would have resulted in worse.

As I've explored in weekly therapy (over a year now), I have gone to the origin of this mess, and it wasn't some miscalculated marriage. The infidelity was a symptom of much bigger problems, much, much, much deeper, longer term, and serious. Solving those problems inside a marriage would have been selfish and risky for her (and I'm not talking about infidelity). Was it possible? Maybe. But that put her at risk too.

So, call it selfish; call me disingenuous, but it was the right thing to do. It may have even been the expedient thing to do, but it wasn't the easier thing to do (for her, or for me).

As I mentioned, I now feel that I've taken one small step in the right direction. I feel lucky. I don't always make the right choices and still face many issues. But, I do have a pretty good idea of where things went wrong, and I have a pretty good idea of where I need to go.

I don't deserve her. I know that. But I am genuine in my desire to work on myself, and I genuinely want her to have that same opportunity. And I do believe she made the right decision. No, it doesn't absolve me or give me cart blanc to do whatever I want. When we do what's right for others, we will almost always fail. When we choose to do what's right for ourselves, to a commitment to oneself, that is when we find a way to become better people. So... I repeat my vows. I read them. Because if I can find a way to not abandon myself, to not betray myself, to be true to myself and the values I know are true for me, I know I will never cheat again. I also know I will become a better person. And I'm proud of this. And this is what I want to give to my children.

My vows are a relatively new thing. Whenever I am confronted with an old habit or issue, I go to them. Sometimes I refine them. But say what you want to say, this is my path forward:

ēBe true to yourself; really understand what you want, and advocate for yourself.
ēNever do something that doesnít feel right (period)
ēLove yourself; appreciate yourself; donít believe the negative thoughts, because they are false. You are an amazing person. Remember the inner child you learned to love. 
ēLive with integrity; this means valuing your needs equally to those you love.
ēStop hiding stuff; just stop. Openly be you, no matter what: (for me, atheist, romantic, creative, sensitive, optimist, deep thinker)
ēChoose experience over accomplishment, say it again until you believe it, choose experience over accomplishment.
ēBe authentic with people, with self, even if authenticity is not the ideal person.
ēBe careful with all peopleís feelings, no matter what
ēFace the deep-down dark truth with courage, always; never rugsweep, never rewrite the narrative of past; use this to change the future
ēNEVER STOP DOING THE HARD WORK

DashboardMadonna posted 11/2/2019 14:03 PM

Again, if I didnt know any better, I would say he wrote this himself.

She didnt decide the marriage was over, you did. The mask fell off and shattered and now you've been exposed. There isnt enough glue to fix this type of broken, so you move on the next unsuspecting sap...someone "young, dumb and full of cum"....words he actually used over the years.

Words are just words and I think that if you repeat these words enough you might actually start to believe them. You state these things here, in search of admiration and praise. I know your type, I married one. The programming is the same, right down to the scripted cue cards.

[This message edited by DashboardMadonna at 2:05 PM, November 2nd (Saturday)]

kairos posted 11/2/2019 14:12 PM

DashboardMadonna:

I feel for you. Your pain is real. And if he doesnít want you back, then maybe itís for the better. I do have one person to hold me accountable, that Iím recognizing for the first time in my life, and thatís ME. I hold myself accountable. I do not and cannot live up to anyone elseís standards. That is exactly how the cheating mind works: if I can live up to otherís expectations, then I donít have to live up to mine. Youíre hurting. I get that. I hope that your husband/ex understands that. But he canít be a better person for you unless he becomes a better person for himself, 100% himself, all in, no self-abandonment, no self-betrayal. And youíre right, ultimately I decided the marriage was over when I cheated. I own that.

And, I donít know if I seek admiration in this post. I do want to tell people that quitting is sometimes ok. That it allows two people to close the chapter on something that canít be fixed, with the hope that someday, who knowsÖ So, yea, I actually do want people to know what Iím experiencing. And if there is ANY admiration deserved, itís for my wife, who I believe is strong.

Also, for what itís worth, based on the ďyoung, dumbĒ comment, your husband may have been seeking something else than what I sought. Sleeping around is futile. Itís a way that many men (and women) hide from having to be vulnerable, which is the only way to have a real relationship.

You say this could have been written by your ex. I would like to learn more about that because I donít want to be that guy. Can you tell me more?

Bookworm19:

Thatís correct. I am NOW doing something that in the PAST I could not do. Youíre right, absolutely. I also canít make up for lost time. I now have to do the hard work. And itís going to be a long path. And I embrace it.

Underthrug:
You are right. It is a shame that I couldnít have had those insights before I cheated and even when she decided to end the marriage. I have those insights now though. I donít know if Iím happy about being free. Iím happy to be liberated from improving myself for ulterior motives.

Sleepylove:

I am sorry you think so. I would appreciate any questions or insights you have. I donít know how my wife would feel if she read this. But if she does, I want her to know she is strong, she made the right decision, and I respect her.

Layla1234:
After more than a year of weekly therapy, careful introspection, dialog with people in similar circumstances, dead-ends, progress, etc., I can tell you from my experience that my selfishness to cheat and my selfishness to focus on myself are two very different things. Not understanding how critical the latter is will impede any progress a cheater could make.

[This message edited by Pdxguy at 2:13 PM, November 2nd (Saturday)]

bookworm19 posted 11/2/2019 14:26 PM

Pdxguy, I wish you luck, I hope this will work out for you.

Thumos posted 11/3/2019 17:51 PM

DashboardMadonna, thanks so much for cutting through all of the TLDR hippy dippy New Age claptrap this guy is toking. I'm only hypothetically speaking, of course, but I'm tempted to think of anyone who could write something that represents such a masterpiece of navel-gazing a self-involved twit and moral reprobate... but of course, I know there's no name-calling here, so I would never do that. It's just fascinating to me that one almost never reads anything this over-the-top and self-absorbed anywhere but in the Wayward section. Thanks for the fascinating insight into Wayward thinking.

FoenixRising posted 11/3/2019 18:21 PM

Pdxguy- good for you. It sounds to me like you are at peace the letting go of the outcome and accepting it isnít ideal but for the best. That saves so much pain.

Youíre right... sometimes, it is better to walk away. The way youíre handling it and the push back here is admirable. Youíre taking the feedback and asking questions to learn more. Remember, take the best, leave the rest.

I think this post is a great example of how we waywards here on SI, have to tread to avoid some triggery. This might be an area where you can now work on. Empathy and compassion for yourself but also others. I hope Iím making sense. I can just tell how much learning youíre doing. Of course the work of a wayward is never completed but it seems you know that and are ready to face more. Keep working on you pdxguy. I think youíre going in a positive direction, especially in your own headspace.

DashboardMadonna posted 11/3/2019 20:09 PM

Thumos-

Theres been a few that parade through here. I do believe there are some, that actually are committed to being better, but posts like these are not doing anyone any favors.

This type of person is manipulative, patronizing and condescending, at minimal. They seek validation from others and haven't a sense of self. Their idea of work is a performance. If you're falling asleep in the back of the class, theres a good chance you'll flunk.

I'm a facts and statistics person (those numbers vary, but its splitting hairs) and with that I dont believe most of waywards change. There are some that I do think have potential to grow as a person.

With that said, I am just being realistic, some will attempt to argue with my views, but "FEELINGS" are what keep people stuck, in abusive situations. Some may read more into what is being said and that is fine, I learned to avoid bantering. My points of view arent up for debate, just as I am not out to change anyone's mind...I am a straight shooter and haven't any interest in "winning"... There might be a unicorn in the woods, but the wolves out number them.

[This message edited by DashboardMadonna at 8:24 PM, November 3rd (Sunday)]

FoenixRising posted 11/4/2019 08:38 AM

I disagree. Posts like this are very helpful for other WAYWARDS. (Which, in case youíve forgotten, that is the side of the street PDX is posting on...)

Itís important for waywards to do what is compassionate, healthy all while being true to ourselves and considerate if our BS. Pdx IS doing that. Heís doung the work he needs to and heís continuing along the way to make the most of the moment heís in but with an open mind for the future and further learning. Thatís what I read.

Maybe itís some triggery stuff for BSís who are reminded of their own wayward and current situation. Perhaps it invokes fear that maybe their BS is staying not out of genuine love but guilt. Sadly, some waywards stay for just that. Or just for the kids. That reality may hurt a BS while they read here but it doesnít mean the wayward shouldnít say it if itís their truth. Not all waywards are the same person. Were growing. At least trying to.

Pdx is here now, after reading counter opinions asking for more information into what he may be not seeing and seems appreciative of the counter advice. frankly, coming over here with an aggressive attitude (thumas, Iím speaking directly to you) only reflects upon yourself.

sickofsurviving posted 11/4/2019 09:12 AM

Well I'm glad you are so proud of yourself. I'm sure your wife would agree.

It's insane to me that you consider this growth! Its crazier that its encouraged.

Where is your empathy? For your betrayed? Your kids? That would be growth.

Not pride. Look at me! I blew my family's life apart! But I'm happy! I'm proud! Because I'm living my truth!

How can you not see this?

ETA: Look, I dont know you. It may be your writing style. I dont know. This is one of the most off putting posts I've seen here. It sounds so disingenuous. So "therapy speak".

[This message edited by sickofsurviving at 9:28 AM, November 4th (Monday)]

HellFire posted 11/4/2019 09:44 AM

Waywards here are,typically, working themselves, to fix their faulty thinking. They post,and,if necessary people will call them out on their shit.

It may be their truth. But, truth can be distorted.

HellFire posted 11/4/2019 09:46 AM

OP, your wife didnt decide to end the marriage. You did that. You are a serial cheater, IIRC. So, you decided,several times,to end your marriage. The marriage was over. All she did was save herself.

[This message edited by HellFire at 9:46 AM, November 4th (Monday)]

FoenixRising posted 11/4/2019 09:55 AM

I agree with both your responses hellfire.

Lord knows youve pulled my selfish, idiotic head out of my own ass a few times. I sense Madonna doing that. I think she is well with in her rights to present another way of looking at it for pdx. That is t what Iím discouraging.

There is a difference between posting to promote growth and posting to be insulting.

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