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Time to come out of the shadows of SI

LastChanceDaddy posted 2/19/2020 19:10 PM

It is time time for me to get out of the shadows of SI and tell my Story. I have been married to my wife for 20 years. We have two very successful daughters and and awesome son-in-law, who is like the son I never had and one of my best friends. Our marriage has been packed full lies and mistrust from me since the beginning. Here is a little back story. I had a profound stutter as a child. I have delt with intrinsic shame and self esteem issues my entire life because of this and my upbringing. And to deal with it, I learned, from my parents who had self esteem issues as well, to lie and present myself as someone I was not to escape these feelings. I became a master compartmentalizer, used disassociation , lying and gaslighting to protect myself.
My wife was sexually abused by a family member for over ten years and had married three times before me. She had spent years in counseling and therapy to deal with this trauma in her life. She had done great work on this too I need to add. Our two daughters are, actually, my step daughters. I never call them that as I have raised them as my own.
My wife was single for several years before she met me. She had resolved herself to going to be a single mom and was happy with that. Then I came long.
As I stated earlier...our marriage has been packed full of lies and mistrust. My poor wife had no idea what she was getting herself mixed up with. To be honest, I had no idea I was as messed up as I was. If I had, I would have told her to run. Run like hell away from the likes of me. There have been three major events in our marriage. All my doing. Early in our marriage I was looking at pornography. 2016 she caught me steeling from one of our customers ( if caught by them, she could have gone to jail also), and this past October 2017, October 17th to be exact, her world came totally crashing down. She discovered I had been having a 3 month affair. The one thing she thought I would never do. Me too, was have an affair. But here I am. Looking back on myself, with my FOO issues, inappropriate boundaries, needing to give and receive affirmation from people and on and on and on. I was a prime candidate. Now let me stop and say, this was not an ACCIDENT nor a MISTAKE. It was a choice. A conscious decision to leave my wife and family on the curb and engage another woman for my “kibble bits” of affirmation and “unconditional acceptance.” Shit... my wife had been the one giving me unconditional acceptance for twenty friggin years. Let me, also, add that in between these three major events in our marriage there have been countless lies and disrespectful acts by me to her.
So here I am, as I type this my wife is on the other sofa... probably on Surviving Infidelity trying to decide if she should stay or go. I have been a self preserving, trickle truthing, gaslighting, lying SOB.
Our marriage and family life have not been all bad. We have made great memories as a coupe and a family. They have just been overshadowed by all of this. At last count, we figured well over 100 people know about my affair. My wife knew this was the only way to, possibly, get my attention. And it worked. My ability to be SLICK and snow people into thinking I am this awesome guy are over. Everyone knows my game. I mean everyone. Right down to the women in the dental office we go to.
My healing journey has only just begun. I have years of work to do. I am, finally, in that place in my life where it is more painful to continue as I am than to face myself for who I am and do the work needed to heal. I am in individual counseling for trauma. My wife is in individual counseling for trauma. We are in marriage counseling. We are on a hard ass road. Hard whether we stay together or not. It is as volatile a range of emotions as one can expect. And then some. My heart is breaking for her. All my wife wanted was a good man and husband. She had all the hopes and dreams for the future that all betrayed spouses have on their wedding day. Our marriage in all sense of the word is over.
I can do is just hope that.. as I work on me and she works on her that there will be an us in the end.

Any words of guidance and wisdom are definitely welcomed.

EvolvingSoul posted 2/19/2020 21:05 PM

Hi there LastChanceDaddy,

Welcome to SI. This place helped me so much and I hope it can help you too. Here on the Wayward side there are many of us who are on the healing path. Some of us are years out and reconciled, some are just stepping onto the path like you, most are somewhere in between.

It's good that you recognize that healing is a years-long process. I totally underestimated the timeline at first. The conventional wisdom is 2-5 years but for me and my BS it was more like 5-7. It has only been in the last two years that it has felt like we are reconciled. A lot of the hold up was me. I had a lot of growing up to do and there were some things he needed for his healing that I was just not able to give him until I had done a lot of personal work. If you're not in IC that would be a good thing for you to get started on, because until you can identify the thought processes that got you to where you are now and take steps to change them, you're not going to be a safe person for your BS (or anyone, really) to be in relationship with.

One of the best things you can do now is start getting educated about the true nature of infidelity and how it impacts the people involved. Here's some reading that will help you start getting up to speed:

1) The book "Not Just Friends" by Shirley Glass. This is a good general education on infidelity, how it happens, how it impacts the people involved, and most importantly how to affair proof yourself going forward.

2) The book "How to Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair" by Linda MacDonald. Don't skip this one. It lays out a good road map for WS who are hoping to reconcile and it is short. You can read it in an afternoon.

3) The post "Things Every WS should know" by HUFI-PUFI on this board. It's pinned at the top.

4) There are a lot of good posts in the Healing Library. Mostly they are from a BS perspective and I found them to be really helpful for beginning to understand that what my BS was going through was a normal response to a life-changing trauma.

Another good thing to do would be to start developing some tools for dealing with difficult feelings in a way that isn't destructive. A counselor can help you with this. Journaling worked well for me, it gave me a place to barf my feelings out and the physical act of writing forced me to slow down my thoughts enough that I could actually reflect on them instead of just getting overwhelmed. Those journals have provided a good record to go back and look at, too, to see how much my thinking has changed. Also, a mindfulness practice with meditation as its foundation has been invaluable for learning to be present with my thoughts and feelings without getting overwhelmed or carried away by them. Approaching difficult feelings from a place of curiosity rather than defensiveness will go a long way.

Keep reading here and post when you have questions or just need support. I know this is a club you never thought you'd be in, none of us did, but here we are and we're here for each other as fellow travelers on the healing path.

Proceed with conviction and valor.

Best to you from a fellow EvolvingSoul.

Lucky77 posted 2/20/2020 07:52 AM

The good news is that you made it here.
The bad news is that if you were looking for any kind of gold star for being a special snowflake of a mess you won't get one.

We all are a bit of a mess here in our own way. Mine included the usual midlife mess of infidelity, massive drinking, porn, fast Porsche, all that. Sounds like you have been dealt your own cards and are ready to take stock of your life.

The good news is that your awesome wife is still with you. Fantastic. Cherish that.

I'm sitting here leafing between my SI reading and the Bernie Madoff book "Betrayal". It's just astounding how we men have the ability to let our life go so far off the rails. The good news is that life is long and we get chances at starting over and beginning again. Go buy that wife of your some flowers, right now.

Find yourself some quieter hobbies. Plant a garden, take a good long daily walk. Make sure you never talk to that old AP again.

Take good care brother, fellow Wayward.

LastChanceDaddy posted 2/20/2020 17:40 PM

EvovlingSoul, thank you very much for the reply. I have read “How to help your wife heal from your affair” and am almost half way through “ Not Just Friends.” I have been listening to affair recovery pod cast on YouTube with Samuel and Wayne. Listening to “Helping Couples Heal” podcast and various other media. Man I have a long way to go. I know I do. I know it is going to take years and years if we survive my affair.

Luck77, I cut off all contact on D-Day. I knew her from a clients office. We were their vendor. We no longer have the account because of my affair. 20 year account I threw away for three months of nothingness. I have absolutely zero desire to ever see her or talk with her. All I want to do is focus on me and helping my wife heal.

We both need to get to a better place mentally. Food and alcohol are not a long term solution. It has helped curb some of the pain. But Iknow I need to feel the pain. And I have received an abundance of it with more to come deservingly. The past couple of days have been some of the worst in a bit. We have marriage counseling tomorrow. She is an awesome counselor and I hope she can give us a little clarity and guidance.

Thank you both for the reply. Even though I feel alone, it is comforting to know I am not.

Zugzwang posted 2/21/2020 15:33 PM

Two questions

1. Have you put your wife into a mother role?

2. Is your wife anything like your mother?

LastChanceDaddy posted 2/23/2020 07:03 AM

Zugzwang. You are spot on. With mine and my wife’s FOO, that is exactly what has happened. My shame and lack of esteem and self love. Her sexual abuse and fear of abandonment has led to a parental type of marriage. We addressed this last week in marriage counseling. As I work on my life and healing and help her to recover from the trauma I have felt her over the years, that is one of the aspects of our marriage that has to change for a healthier us. We have an absolutely fantastic marriage counselor who is supportive and honest with both of us. She has been instrumental as we have begun our journey.

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