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Bs withdrawal after getting closer for a while

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A2780 posted 1/1/2020 10:35 AM

Iíve never posted before so Iím a bit nervous but I realize I need to do more to gain perspective to help my bs as well as myself. To give a little insight we are 19 months post Dday of discovery of my PA. I had a 2 year PA with a younger co-worker that was 3 years or so plus with it being an EA for sometime prior. My BS discovered my chatting with the OW 2 times prior to the PA happening. When my BS found evidence of the PA I confessed to her the truth. 6 years prior I had an Ea with another girl. I didnít have feelings for her but I was running from my issues and acting out my BS discovered this via Facebook chats. I handled it poorly. She feels our whole 15year marriage is a lie. Iíve always had a tendency to get attention from other woman and was very naive as to how I was portraying myself and the damage I was doing to my marriage. I also had some struggles with pornography not an addiction but I didnít see the harm. Since the last Dday I have I have found a mentor and rediscovered my faith with his help. Iíve left my 15year career got rid of my car that triggered her and of course gave all my passwords to everything deleted social media and always check in and keep myself transparent. I love my BS so much still and I truly hate all Iíve done and had to learn to like myself as that was a big part of my actions out all these years I didnít like me and held everything inside. Sorry for long explanation just wanted to set up my story before I get into what Iím asking....

About 8 months after Dday my BS invited me to move back upstairs and into our room together. About a week later we started being physically intimate again and it stayed some what regular for a couple months. Then kinda went up and down. We started having some nights out together without the kids and things felt like they were progressing. I still kept reading books and being communicative even though I still suck at. About 3 months ago it feels like she just flipped a switch and wants space and no more intimacy. She now stays up till all hrs of the night and regularly goes to the bar. Sheí seems to want to talk or be around anyone but me. INow she says Iím smothering her and she needs space and what sheís doing is normal and I need to accept it. That Iím putting her under a microscope constantly and judging her. Iím just concerned about her drinking and often and Iím hurt by it my father was an alcoholic. She thinks I just want sex from her I need to back off. I just want her.
Is this sudden change normal of a BS a ways in? Any advice on what I can do to help her? I donít want to mess this up because Iím so grateful sheís still here I love her so much but Iím starting to feel a little walked on.

gmc94 posted 1/1/2020 14:32 PM

BS here (no stop sign). Welcome to the club no one wants to join. Weekends & holidays can be slow here, but I'm confident a WS will be around and offer advice from the wayward perspective.

You can only control you. What have you done in the last 19 months to:

- regain trust?
- become a safe partner?
- dig into why you sought an EA and PA? and How you rationalized that as an acceptable choice?
- learn about & find empathy for the trauma caused to your BS?

Whether your BW's behavior is normal doesn't strike me as very important. IMO what's important is the work you have done to become safe (and the things you mention - leaving your job, transparency in your electronics - are the bare MINIMUM. They are not digging into and changing yourself). Do you talk about this? Is this 2nd A a dealbreaker for her?

Reading books is great - but is meaningless unless it is used for consistent ACTION over time.

Are you in individual (or marriage) counseling?

A2780 posted 1/1/2020 17:56 PM

I very much try to apply the things I read and learn about to try and get it so to speak. As well Iíve cut out every behavior that gave me opportunity to cheat. The whys change I understand myself more and how I got so off course with who I am. I had turned into a very self serving entitled ass. I was like a hero at my job and constantly praised at home I wasnít and felt entitled to it. I was very drunk on my own awesomeness but in reality I had low self esteem and couldnít stand myself never felt good enough. Iíve been to minimum individual counseling and no couples nor has she attended any. I know I need to let her heal at her own pace and be supportive in that. Iím just struggling with the sudden change in my Bsís behavior and how to handle it. To know what is or isnít healthy. Iím just lost

gmc94 posted 1/1/2020 21:53 PM

Do you talk about this? Is this 2nd A a dealbreaker for her?

secondtime posted 1/1/2020 22:10 PM

After both DDays, it took over a year for the anger to set in.

I was pregnant immediately after both, which also affected my ability to process.

I process slowly. It took me 2 years after DDay2 to figure out what my issue is with the situation. I'm still not sure my husband will ever be trustworthy. Or, sure, he's transparent and all that. But, all it meant is that he got better at lying to me and hiding his behavior. We've been at this recovery thing for a decade, and my husband has yet to show me any real empathy. Hence, no trust.

And while not that dramatic, as your wife, in terms of change..I do pull away after I get close. Staying up way late, not have sex as often, no engaging in discussions..rather answering with yes/no..The push/pull thing can last anywhere from a week or so to a couple of months. It all just depends.

I imagine it's a dance I'll be doing for the rest of my marriage.

That said, I also don't purposefully put myself in situations that could potentially make things a whole lot worse.

Also, Al-Anon for yourself.


DaddyDom posted 1/1/2020 23:12 PM

A2780

The stages of recovery that your wife is experiencing are very normal. Year one, for the BS, is often a mad roller coaster ride of emotions, with highs and lows that can change on a dime as they struggle to come to terms with the trauma of betrayal. It is also not uncommon to have stages of what's called "Hysterical Bonding" during this time, and periods where things seem "better" in some ways, such as the closeness you describe. In year two, it is typical for the shock to wear off, and our spouses begin to see us for who and what we really are, and are no longer swayed by the person we once appeared to be. They see now, not only the affair and the lies and betrayal that accompany it, but how we (their wayward spouses) have been selfish, dishonest and absent throughout the marriage. During this period in our own recovery, my wife described me as "made of pure slime, disgusting, evil, and gross" and she too did everything she could to be as far away from me as much as possible. It sounds to me as if your wife is in a similar place.

All that being said, what you need to understand most right now is that there is nothing you can do to help her. She is healing at her own pace and in her own time. What you CAN do is not make her recovery worse by continuing to hurt her more. How are you hurting more? By still remaining stuck in the same wayward mindset as you were during the affairs.


We are 19 months post Dday...
I had a 2 year PA with a younger co-worker that was 3 years or so plus with it being an EA for some time prior...
6 years prior I had an Ea with another girl...
Iím starting to feel a little walked on.

Let's look at the math here. You've been living a lie for at least 6 years of your marriage, and have betrayed her emotionally and/or physically not once, but twice. And that's really not even the worst of it. What was worse was that you continued to lie to her the entire time, to get what you wanted, at her expense. In doing so, you took away her sense of safety, of trust, of love, of everything. The amount of time you spent living a lie, at her expense, is 5X longer than the amount of recovery time she's had so far. You should have compassion for her. Instead, you seem unhappy with her response. You place yourself as the victim in this story... you are feeling walked on. I honestly don't mean to sound cruel or uncaring, however... too bad. She owes you nothing. The reason she's drinking so much in the first place is because of you. Your sense of selfishness and entitlement is blaring. I don't doubt that you honestly care for her well being, but I think that concern is overshadowed by the self-concern you display. Her recovery from her abuse is not suited to your own timelines and desires, and so you are finding it difficult to cope with. Imagine how she's feeling, knowing that her life and her marriage were a lie, and that she was kicked to the curb by the same man who now feels she isn't giving him enough attention.


About 3 months ago it feels like she just flipped a switch and wants space and no more intimacy. (Judgement and self-pity)
She now stays up till all hrs of the night and regularly goes to the bar. (Judgement)
She seems to want to talk or be around anyone but me. (Judgement and self-pity)
Iím just concerned about her drinking... (Judgement)
That Iím putting her under a microscope constantly and judging her.

Yes, you are. Now stop it. She's made it very clear that your presence in your life is hurting her and she doesn't want it. She's just trying to not want to put a bullet through her head. She wants to forget about you, the pain, the lies, and the continued self-pity that you display, making HER feel responsible for YOUR happiness! Stop it! Try being supportive instead. Find your own activities and get out sometimes so she can have some peace at home. Offer to move back into the guest room. I do applaud you for seeking out a mentor and exploring religion again, however, this post makes it clear that it is not helping you to develop empathy or compassion for her. Are you in IC? Have you tried suggesting any programs related to recovery from infidelity (e.g. AffairRecovery, Gottman)? What have you done to show her that you are willing to put more energy into saving the marriage than you did into betraying her?

I was very drunk on my own awesomeness but in reality I had low self-esteem and couldnít stand myself never felt good enough.

This is a very good realization, and I'll tell you a secret, it is honestly the most likely key to everything about who you are, what you did and why. It is also the reason you still feel stuck. Most WS's share this in common with you, myself included. We lack self-love, self-respect, integrity, healthy coping skills and boundaries. Unable to feel good about ourselves for ourselves, we instead rely on other to praise us, tell us we're great, make a big deal about how smart/funny/talented we are, and constantly refill our empty "ego tank" so that we can stop feeling so empty inside. The problem with that is, when the external validation stops or reduces, it becomes impossible for us to fill it ourselves, and so we suffer from the emptiness inside. An affair is honestly just an extension of this. We find someone to flirt with us, tell us we're great, and put us on a pedestal so that we'll feel good again. It's not about sex or love, it's about making ourselves feel better about who we are. Ironically, by finding someone who is also empty and unloved, and then we just use each other to fill our empty ego tanks.

No one, not even your BS, can really tell you what the future holds right now. All I can tell you is that, unless you fix this problem, and figure out how to stop feeling so empty inside and being able to deal with it on your own, you will remain an unsafe partner for your wife, as well as anyone else. And you will continue to suffer inside and use others to your own purposes, because if you lack self-love, then you have no other choice. Learn to be someone you can honor, love, cherish respect (yes, yourself!) and I think you will find all the answers you need.

sassylee posted 1/1/2020 23:38 PM

Did anything precipitate this sudden change of routine (argument, weight loss, new job, new hobby)? Would she have reported (before the pulling away) that R was rolling along steadily? Be careful here because although you might have thought things were moving along smashingly - was she pleased with the progress in growth and healing of the marriage? Were there unresolved issues she was getting frustrated with?

Honestly, are you concerned she might be having an affair now?

(Sorry a lot of questions - but more detail will result in better advice.)

[This message edited by SI Staff at 12:20 AM, January 2nd (Thursday)]

swmnbc posted 1/2/2020 12:59 PM

You described your wife as needing space and starting to invest in her social life more and then said you feel "a little walked on" by this. I'll tell you that when I do things for myself, my fWH is supportive and elated for me. It's telling that you phrased your feelings about your wife's investment in herself in a way that centered and victimized yourself.

You say you've only done minimal IC . . . please make that a regular thing. We can all benefit from reflection and guidance and you have a long journey ahead.

In my experience as a BW, it took time for it to dawn on me just how imbalanced my marriage had been. My husband took up all the space and time for himself and then acted put out if I tried to take up half as much as he did. Correcting course was difficult because we both had to change old habits. You need to recognize that your relationship has been imbalanced for nearly its entirety and you don't "make up for that" by reading a few books or being transparent. You have to rebuild a new, *healthy* relationship and it will look a lot different than the old one. Healthy relationships involve each partner having their own life, hobbies, and friendships.

A2780 posted 1/2/2020 18:29 PM

First thank you all for your feedback I greatly appreciate it. Even if some of it is telling me how Iím wrong. I want honesty as I am very aware Iím not completely getting it so to speak. Daddydom you are right Iíve read what you have to say multiple times. I am still being selfish and laying judgement in her. You definitely have an amazing grasp. I realize everything I did was around that ego driven ness to feel good wanting someone else to fill my cup. I wanted my wife to fill my cup because I was unhappy with myself. Iím going to take your advice and offer to sleep downstairs again to give her more breathing room. Iím acting out of fear of loosing her lately and probably smothering her. We do watch the affair recovery videos and have read and watch stuff from Gotthman.
I do struggle with the empathy peace which is her biggest complaint about me. I genuinely try but I admit I become discouraged easily when she feels itís half ass or insincere.

Sassylee as far as something possibly triggering this there was an incident out with some friends were she revealed to someone in front of me that a long time friend of mine who lives in another state propositioned her to meet him halfway to hookup. I knew she had talked to him quite a bit but didnít know this part and I was enraged. I asked what she was talking about and got who are you to be mad and walked away from me. I then went outside to my pick-up and cooked off waiting for her so she could get home safely because sheíd been drinking. I may of not handled it the best but I donít feel it was wrong of me to be angry. I never yelled or swore or anything just was hurt to find out that way.
Do I suspect sheís having an affair no I donít but Iím a bit paranoid still because I feel Iíd have it coming I guess.
I want to do things as right as I can Iím not perfect I struggle
I wasnít meaning to seem like I wanted pity with my post just looking for honest advice and others takes

LLXC posted 1/2/2020 19:08 PM

I donít feel it was wrong of me to be angry. I never yelled or swore or anything just was hurt to find out that way

Why do you feel like it was ok to be angry? A friend hit on her. She didn't tell you. It is understandable that you are hurt. You are also being a massive hypocrite.

If that is why she is upset, I get it because my ex pulled off that same shit and it was infuriating. You are being a hypocrite. She does not need to tell you a damn thing.

If she takes him up on it, then that is a problem.

swmnbc posted 1/2/2020 21:51 PM

It's not empathy if her reaction impacts it. Empathy is an unconditional concern for another's well-being. It doesn't depend on whether she pleases you or appeases you.

You are justifying paranoid and possessive behavior because "you have it coming"? There is no excuse for possessive behavior. You cannot control another person. All you can do is have healthy boundaries and enforce them as needed. It sounds like this is what your wife is doing and you are not responding well. You very much need to get yourself into regular IC.

Zugzwang posted 1/3/2020 15:09 PM

What have you done to build and love yourself enough to not need outside validation? It just isn't healthy and it obviously isn't making you happy to rely on your wife's attention this much. You may have done a lot to become safer. You still haven't changed the core reason why you cheated. You need to be enough for yourself.

A2780 posted 1/3/2020 18:28 PM

Zugzwang
Wow that just hit me over the head what have I done to be enough for myself? I honestly donít know. I have focused so much effort for so long to be successful in my career and make enough money to support my family that I have no idea. Iím not really sure who I am or what makes me happy individually. I donít know what itís like to be alone anymore I donít remember. And my choices have put in a place where I may be very alone.

A2780 posted 1/3/2020 20:35 PM

Zugzwang
Wow that just hit me over the head what have I done to be enough for myself? I honestly donít know. I have focused so much effort for so long to be successful in my career and make enough money to support my family that I have no idea. Iím not really sure who I am or what makes me happy individually. I donít know what itís like to be alone anymore I donít remember. And my choices have put in a place where I may be very alone.

A2780 posted 1/3/2020 20:35 PM

Zugzwang
Wow that just hit me over the head what have I done to be enough for myself? I honestly donít know. I have focused so much effort for so long to be successful in my career and make enough money to support my family that I have no idea. Iím not really sure who I am or what makes me happy individually. I donít know what itís like to be alone anymore I donít remember. And my choices have put in a place where I may be very alone.

Breathinglife posted 1/8/2020 17:49 PM

A2780
Wow you hit the nail in the head exactly what I felt has been my downfall.

We lack self-love, self-respect, integrity, healthy coping skills and boundaries. Unable to feel good about ourselves for ourselves, we instead rely on other to praise us, tell us we're great, make a big deal about how smart/funny/talented we are, and constantly refill our empty "ego tank" so that we can stop feeling so empty inside. The problem with that is, when the external validation stops or reduces, it becomes impossible for us to fill it ourselves, and so we suffer from the emptiness inside. An affair is honestly just an extension of this. We find someone to flirt with us, tell us we're great, and put us on a pedestal so that we'll feel good again. It's not about sex or love, it's about making ourselves feel better about who we are. Ironically, by finding someone who is also empty and unloved, and then we just use each other to fill our empty ego tanks.

confused2007 posted 1/12/2020 13:09 PM

A2780

BW here and when I started reading your initial post I had to pause and reread because your story as the WH could have been written by my WH. At first I thought it was... there are many details of your situation that are similar to my own except I am the BS.

That being said I came to this forum looking to understand my WH. As the BS I echo what many have said- your wife is on a roller coaster ride like no other. The hurt and the trauma that actually happens, the reactions and emotions while documented nicely in many posts, books and articles are nothing compared to the reality. I have spent time trying to fit my own reactions and emotions into a box and thinking that I shouldnít R, or canít R or shouldnít divorce or canít Divorce because of what I read and hear. My most recent Dday is a little fresher but like you my WH is a serial cheater which brings out even more emotions and caution. I now look at things from a what makes this different and as noted there have been moments when I can see R Iím all about R and in a matter of a monitor or a random mind movie Iím back to D. I have an exit plan for D and I am going to let you know that most likely your BW does too. This is part of our roller coaster that can last minutes days or weeks. I may have missed it but hopefully you each are in counseling. My faith and my therapist are what has. Helped me throughout. I saw where you mentioned you returned to your faith. In that case you recognize that this adultery was sinful and painful and your BS deserves to process this trauma with your support taking all she gives out from love to anger from happy to sad because the pain caused by that A is like someone rolling over you with a car. Someone on SI used that analogy and it is so true. In the car of serial cheating you hit the BS with a car. Do it again you backed over her. One more time- and itís a hit and run but then this time you stopped and offered to take her to the hospital but yet after rolling over her multiple times you wonder why she puts one foot in the car and has one out... donít wonder just know that right now she doesnít know what to do. Not making a decision is a decision
Here is what I advise- if you truly and I mean truly want to reconcile the best thing you can do is follow her cues. Give her reassurance with actions and words that you want to truly change. Counseling, true remorse all of those things. Transparency is great and all but a reality I came to is that in 2020 there are still ways people can be deceptive so at the end of the day there has to be just more to build on - no as someone noted there truly has to be a new marriage.

If you want to be there do just that. You canít apologize enough. You canít listen enough. You canít hold her enough. Ask her what she needs and DO IT. No questions asked. When you feel frustrated post it here or talk to your mentor whatever you do donít make statements like the ones about feeling like a mat. Iím going to be blunt. We donít want to hear it. You hit her with an entire car multiple times. Hang in there because if she wants R as a fellow BW I want her to get it but if she ends up Divorcing you thatís a consequence of your thoughtless action.

Against all reason your BW is still there. Make it worth it for her. Good luck.

A2780 posted 1/19/2020 09:46 AM

I do truly want to change so so badly. It eats me up everyday that Iíve caused her so much pain. My kids hurt and myself. Iíve learned a lot over the last year and half about myself. My behavior and choices over the last 6 years are disgusting and repulsive and I donít deny it certainly Iím not proud of them. It makes me physically ill at times when I think about it. I wonít give up on changing or working towards R. Iíve never wanted anything so bad. Where Iím struggling is with at what point is her going out staying up all night and drinking not ok. I stay up when she goes out to make sure she arrives home safely. I bring her coffee in bed the next morning cause I know she needs it. (I donít even drink it make it for her) I take care of the kids so she can go and have fun. I work and come home and do what I can around the house to help. Iím just not sure if this is how to handle it.

Zugzwang posted 1/19/2020 11:01 AM

Where Iím struggling is with at what point is her going out staying up all night and drinking not ok.

It is never okay. Especially if it is impacting her health and her children.

Have you talked to her about it? Does she have anyone close that can approach her?

A2780 posted 1/19/2020 12:08 PM

I have tried to talk to her about it. She says itís about needing space and finding herself. That if I am judging and smothering her. Which I talked about initially in this post. My BS says I have to just deal with it because Iím the cause. Iím just clueless as to what to do.

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