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Tell me what you think

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830ll posted 2/25/2020 11:00 AM

My partner and just got married about six months ago. Before that, we'd been dating for about four years. For a lot of that time, I was keeping in touch with an old friend (my AP) from my home town, which is several thousand miles away from where I live now. The AP and I have had a really unhealthy relationship over the 10 or so years we've known each other. We get along really well as friends, and we also have good sexual chemistry. The dysfunctional part is that we've never actually dated, but we've hooked up several times when one or both of us was already in another relationship, including once after she got married. During the time my partner and I were dating, we texted each other about once a month. I've recreated a timeline as best I can, and I can remember about a dozen conversations that devolved into sexting - no pictures or video, but plenty of dirty talk. The rest of the time, we would share what was going on in our lives. After I proposed to my partner, I stopped the sexting, but we talked about everyday life a few times.

Shortly before we got married, my partner and I were driving home from work, and my partner told about an emotional affair that had just been discovered in a couple we're friends with. They were working on recovery, but the wife told my partner that she wasn't sure if they were going to make it. I have no idea why - maybe because I was finally forced to equate an affair with its consequences - but that was the moment I feel like my eyes were opened, and I could see everything I'd done for what it really was. It wasn't just harmless fun, I'd betrayed the woman I loved and wanted to marry. I white knuckled it the rest of the way home, and when I got there, I immediately went to the bathroom, buried my face deep in a towel, turned on the fan, and cried. I knew I was in deep trouble.

The stress and inertia of the wedding was in full swing by then, and everything happened fast. The wedding came and went, and the stress of it all held me together, until the first day afterwards. I felt like I was having a low level panic attack all day long, every day. For the first time in a very long time, I found myself praying. I cried out to God to please forgive me from the terrible things I've done, but more importantly, to give me the strength to be a better man. I invited Christ into my heart, something that I'd have told you I'd never do if you'd asked me a year ago. I was so prideful for so long, and now I felt so ashamed of what I'd done. That day, I vowed to stop doing anything I wouldn't do in front of my wife, and so far I've kept to that vow. I gave up porn, which had been a 20+ year daily habit for me. I've been entirely sober since then - no alcohol, no drugs, nothing that would impair judgement.

After a brief honeymoon, we came home, and the anxiety got even worse. I was barely functional at work, I cried in the bathroom between meetings, I prayed constantly. I had no idea what to do, but I knew I had to tell my AP that we were done. I reached out to her and told her that I was ashamed of what we'd done, and that I never wanted to do it again. My AP reacted better than I thought, agreeing to end those kind of conversations, but asking if we could still be friends, since we've known each other for a long time. I was terrified of what would happen if I said no, so I agreed.

For a few days after that, I felt better, but it didn't last. The anxiety came back stronger than ever. I bought every book I could find on my Kindle, and devoured them. I read "When Good People Have Affairs" by Mira Kirshenbaum, "Healing from Infidelity" by Michele Weiner-Davis, "How to Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair" by Linda J. MacDonald, "When You're The One Who Cheats" by Tammy Nelson, "After the Affair" by Janis Abrahms Spring, "Betrayed & Betrayer" by Ben & Ann Wilson, "The State of Affairs" by Esther Perel, and "Not Just Friends" by Shirley Glass.

I made a list of everything I'd done, and went over it again and again until I'd cut out all the minimization and rationalization. I wrote a confession letter to my wife every day. I prayed for God to help me let go of the evil inside of me, and to give me the strength to do the right things. I created a worksheet to fill out every day, with questions designed to help me inventory my behavior and moral choices that day. I filled it out every night, and have every day since then.

I realized that I needed help to sort things out, so I decided to start therapy. I joined an online therapy platform, and asked to be matched to someone who specialized in infidelity. I told my therapist the whole story, and that I wanted to figure out what the hell was wrong with me that I would do something like this.

For the past four months, I've been working hard every day to answer that question. My therapist has helped me realize that I learned some really maladaptive behaviors early on (such as being secretive, compartmentalization, etc.), and they'd become so ingrained in my life patterns that I didn't even see them anymore. I've done a lot of work on my own to figure out what kinds of situations triggered me to want to reach out to the AP, and what kinds of moral justifications I had to engage in to rationalize my behavior. I feel like I've learned a lot, but I also think recovery is going to be a lifelong process for me.

My AP reached out to me a couple of times since I told her we were done, and I immediately showed my therapist. My therapist coached me through responses that were neutral, and used closed language so as not to keep the conversation going. I took screenshots of each conversation, and saved them so at least my wife could have that information.

As I was working through things with my therapist, I came to SI, and read everything I could stomach. I learned about the incredible trauma that infidelity creates, and I fell into the deepest despair I've ever been in. Knowing that I'd done things that, if revealed, would inflict that kind of trauma on the woman I love broke me inside. I hated myself so much. I prayed to God to please just let me die. I thought about suicide every day for a while. I thought about ways to die that would look like an accident. I thought at least then, my wife could hold on to the belief that I was a good person who wouldn't hurt her. Please understand, I don't expect pity. I know I deserve all of this pain and so much more, and I know that thinking about killing myself is just a selfish escape fantasy that wouldn't help anyone but me. By God's grace, most of those thoughts have left me, at least for now.

I don't know what to do now. My therapist doesn't think I should tell my wife, because I've committed to changing, and I've done a lot of work towards it. My therapist feels that telling my wife now would be cruel, and only serve to alleviate my own guilt. Part of me can understand that perspective, as I've learned so much about the trauma of infidelity. But at the same time, I hate that I've lied for so long. I don't want to manipulate her into loving me. I've seen the threads on here about people who've found out years and years later, so I know that time won't make this better. Nothing is going to make this better.

As afraid as I am, I'm prepared to completely humble myself before my wife. She's in a good position to leave me if she wants - she makes great money, and owns the house we live in and the car we drive, and we don't have kids yet. If she wants to divorce me, I'll happily give her everything I have too, it's the least I can do to make up for what I've done. I've even thought about having a lawyer write up a divorce settlement that grants her everything I own and giving it to her already signed when I tell her what I've done. I don't care about things or money anymore, I just want her to be okay, even if it's not with me, and if she wants to stay, I want to build from a place of honesty.

I'd like to hear your perspectives - BS included. Hit me with your 2x4s. Tell me what you think.

Stronger4it posted 2/25/2020 11:42 AM

BS here.

This is a tough one. From here you look like a textbook perfect former wandering spouse. All the books, Jesus and sobriety. Many BS's would be happy with just one of those.

What I think you are missing is obviously honesty. Your wife deserved to know who she was marrying. Because it looks like you are a very different man after the wedding. Did she ever ask why all these changes?

If I understand correctly, your transgressions occurred before you got married. This will no doubt be hurtful, but it may not be a deal breaker for her.

If you love your wife, you should respect her enough to let her make the decision for herself as to whether or not she wishes to remain married to you. You took away her choice to marry someone unfaithful. It's time for you to be honest with who you are.

JBWD posted 2/25/2020 12:24 PM

I took screenshots of each conversation, and saved them so at least my wife could have that information.

The screenshot that would make the most sense is of a conversation from you to AP stating something to the effect of:
“I have used you while lying to a woman I made a vow to honor. I will not speak to you again and ask that you please do the same.”

Yet that doesn’t exist, and most vexing, your therapist is coaching you through something significantly short of implementing the kind of change you need to even begin to become a safe partner. Why do you think you continue to believe you can have “innocent” conversations with this woman? I can tell you from personal experience that anything short of firm, dedicated NC is a recipe for failure.

I believe you can change. I believe you don’t yet know why. I believe the first step is placing your effort where it belongs, and you’re at about the 10% mark as it stands now. There IS a formula on this process here, but unless you understand WHY that exists, you’re simply going through the motions. It’s going to take time to fully get from where you are, but as such you really aren’t in a good place to tinker with some of these early, critical steps: NC and disclosure.

HellFire posted 2/25/2020 12:30 PM

You need a new IC. A good IC would never encourage you to lie.

Tell your wife. She deserves the entire truth. You don't have the right to keep this from her.

What happens when your OW decides to tell your wife? Because she will.

Tell her today.

HellFire posted 2/25/2020 12:31 PM

Don't delete the screenshots. They will help prove what you are telling her.

Want2BHappyAgain posted 2/25/2020 12:52 PM

You don't need any 2X4's. If you truly have given your life over to Christ...then you know what to do. He is guiding you...and He will NEVER steer you wrong .

EllieKMAS posted 2/25/2020 13:12 PM

BW here.

You need to tell your wife. The truth will out - it always does somehow. And believe me when I say that finding out from you with transparency and all is going to be miles better for your wife than say, your AP contacting her out of the blue in a fit of pique.

My suggestion would be to disclose everything to your wife and let her drive the NC letter/email to your AP and then meet every demand she has for the next little bit as far as social media, transparency on devices, etc. You've been reading around SI, so all the things that are suggested to new BS's to ask of the WS's? Yeah, if YOU do those without her having to ask you for them that would be good.

Good luck to you and to her.

emergent8 posted 2/25/2020 13:18 PM

So far, you've done a lot right. That's good. I commend you for your efforts.

I'm with the consensus of people here who will recommend that you tell your wife. Not just because she deserves the truth and the agency to make informed decisions about her life, but also because your current approach is creating additional distance between the two of you and she deserves to understand what you are going through/dealing with and why.

It sounds like you have had a difficult time coming to terms with what you've done, what it means and the impact it has on the people around you. You refer to a depressive spiral and feelings of deep shame. You have found religion and attend counselling to better yourself. Your wife has been kept in the dark about much of this - this is a continuation of the lying. You are currently closing a major part of yourself off from her and that is not good for the relationship.

Yes, this revelation will,without a doubt, hurt your wife deeply and I absolutely empathize with your desire to spare her from this pain. That said, if you want to truly reconcile and grow with her, it is necessary to let her in and be open with her on this. You are correct that it is a lifelong process. She needs to be on this path with you. I say this as a BS who is in successful reconciliation.

Best of luck.

830ll posted 2/25/2020 13:34 PM

Wow, thank you for the quick responses! I'll try to address each one of your comments.

To Stronger4it:

This is a tough one. From here you look like a textbook perfect former wandering spouse.

That's very kind of you to say. All I know is that I've been a textbook selfish POS for a long time, and I don't want to be one anymore.

If I understand correctly, your transgressions occurred before you got married. This will no doubt be hurtful, but it may not be a deal breaker for her.

Yes, that's correct. All of the sexting happened before we were engaged. After we got engaged, the AP and I had a couple of conversations that were non-sexual, and then after we got married, I reached out to the AP to tell her I was was never going to do that (meaning sext) again. She has reached out a few times, and my therapist has helped me end those conversations as quickly as possible.

If you love your wife, you should respect her enough to let her make the decision for herself as to whether or not she wishes to remain married to you. You took away her choice to marry someone unfaithful. It's time for you to be honest with who you are.

This is what my therapist and I disagree about the most. My therapist's perspective is that I'm doing the work to become the person she thinks I am, and the pain of infidelity is so extreme, so no one would benefit from disclosure. I keep coming back to a moral position that places not taking away my wife's choices above everything else.

To JBWD:

The screenshot that would make the most sense is of a conversation from you to AP stating something to the effect of:
“I have used you while lying to a woman I made a vow to honor. I will not speak to you again and ask that you please do the same.”

Yet that doesn’t exist, and most vexing, your therapist is coaching you through something significantly short of implementing the kind of change you need to even begin to become a safe partner. Why do you think you continue to believe you can have “innocent” conversations with this woman? I can tell you from personal experience that anything short of firm, dedicated NC is a recipe for failure.

I realized I wasn't very clear about this in my original post - I don't want to have any further contact with my AP ever again. I firmly believe in NC, and it's what I want. When I told my AP that I loved my wife and intended to be faithful to her alone, I was really afraid of how she would react, which is why I didn't specify NC. I've felt really uneasy about it since then. I've been following NC from my end and being as closed as possible when the AP has reached out to me. I asked my therapist, and she said that NC was mostly for people who were still tempted to cheat, which I understood but felt uneasy about. What's your take?

I believe you can change. I believe you don’t yet know why. I believe the first step is placing your effort where it belongs, and you’re at about the 10% mark as it stands now.

Thank you for the honest feedback, I really appreciate it. If I understand you correctly, you mean that I don't understand why the process exists as it does?

To HellFire:

You need a new IC. A good IC would never encourage you to lie.

I think my gut's been telling me that all along, but I wasn't sure and I've found a lot of the work I've done with her to be helpful, so I didn't want to believe it.

To Want2BHappyAgain:

You don't need any 2X4's. If you truly have given your life over to Christ...then you know what to do. He is guiding you...and He will NEVER steer you wrong

I wish I could hear Him more clearly. In the early days, when I was a huge mess, I felt like I was a lot closer to Him than I do now. There was one moment, early in the morning while I was lying in bed praying. I'd just started my prayer, and I had this thought in my head that seemed to come from nowhere. It said "You can't have it both ways". I'm not 100% sure, but I think that was God telling me that He isn't going to listen to me as long as I continue with this lie. Since then I've felt increasingly disconnected from Him.


830ll posted 2/25/2020 13:45 PM

To EllieKMAS:

You need to tell your wife. The truth will out - it always does somehow. And believe me when I say that finding out from you with transparency and all is going to be miles better for your wife than say, your AP contacting her out of the blue in a fit of pique.

Yeah, that's pretty much what my gut has been telling me too. The logical part of my brain can't fathom why she would do that because it would take her down too, and she even promised not to when we agreed never to sext again, but something is still off. Plus, now I have this pact with an AP I want desperately to never talk to again, and my poor wife is once again on the outside. That's messed up.

My suggestion would be to disclose everything to your wife and let her drive the NC letter/email to your AP and then meet every demand she has for the next little bit as far as social media, transparency on devices, etc. You've been reading around SI, so all the things that are suggested to new BS's to ask of the WS's? Yeah, if YOU do those without her having to ask you for them that would be good.

I've been working on a list to share with her of all the things I'm willing to do. This is what I came up with:

What am I willing to commit to in recovery?

1.) No contact with my AP, for the rest of my life.

2.) Allowing my life to be an open book forever. This includes:
- Providing access to all of my accounts, at any time, for the rest of my life.
- Providing access to all of my devices, at any time, for the rest of my life.
- Providing documentation of where I’m going and what I’m doing when I’m not with you. Also providing regular check-ins anytime we are apart.
- Not taking my phone with me when I’m going to be alone, unless it’s necessary. This includes at home, not taking the phone with me into the bathroom, or anywhere else where I will be alone.
- Answering any and all questions that you have, no matter how uncomfortable. At any time, forever.
- Being completely transparent about problematic thoughts, feelings, urges, or anything else, without prompting, for the rest of my life.
- A complete abolishment of secrecy, and a commitment to never do things in private that I wouldn’t do in your presence.
- Relinquishing control of my financial assets, and giving them over to you to control in their entirety for as long as you want

3.) Committing to the work of recovery and maintenance, for the rest of my life. This includes:
- Working with a qualified, infidelity specific therapist to dig deeply into the factors that caused me to cheat, and work on healing and resolving those issues. This is irrespective of whether or not you choose to attend counseling with me, or even if we stay together.
- Establishing an accountability relationship with trusted advisors who can be there to keep me in line if any temptations occur. Meeting with these advisors regularly.
- Committing to sobriety, for the rest of my life.
- Establishing and maintaining a regular prayer life, and a strong relationship with God and a church.

4.) Committing to helping you heal, even if we don’t stay together. This includes:
- Providing the whole truth willingly.
- Answering any and all questions you may have truthfully.
- Listening to anything and everything you want to tell me, or share with me, at any time, day or night (even if I’m sleeping - seriously, wake me up. I don’t deserve to sleep if you can’t) without defensiveness, without running away, no matter how afraid I am or how uncomfortable I may be. I will not run away from your pain. I will not run away from you.

5.)Signing a post-nuptial agreement (if you want to reconcile) or a divorce agreement (if you don't) that specifically states the following:
- In the event that you decide to file for divorce, whether it is for this betrayal or any future betrayal, I will relinquish any and all claims I may have to a share in our property or financial assets.
- The title and ownership of our home will be in your name, and your name alone. I willingly relinquish any claims I may have to it.
- Any future homes or properties will also be in your name alone. In the event of a divorce, I willingly relinquish any claims I may have to any part of it.
- In the event of a divorce, I will relinquish any claims I may have to any financial assets we share, including any that I brought into the marriage (such as the contents of my 401(k), and other financial investments.
- In the event of a divorce, for any reason, I agree to grant you full custody of our children if you desire that.
- In the event of a divorce, for any reason, I agree to grant you full custody of our dog, if you desire that.
- In the event of a divorce, for any reason, I agree to pay whatever amount of alimony and child support you desire, without contest.
- Any additional demands that you deem necessary.

7.) Taking full accountability for what I've done, in any way you see fit. This includes:
- Making a full confession of what I've done to anyone you ask me to.
- Committing to never minimizing, lying about, or otherwise downplaying what I’ve done.
- Committing to the fact that, while some issues from my past may have contributed to my betrayal, at the end of the day, I alone am responsible for that betrayal, and the lies and deception that went along with it.

8.) Embracing any and all consequences of my actions, including:
- Separation
- Divorce
- Losing the respect of my friends and family
- Abandonment by friends and family
- Losing my job
- Being kicked out of the house, and potentially homelessness
- Financial ruin
- Being hated by you
- Being seen as fundamentally untrustworthy by you, and never regaining the trust you once had in me
- Losing my right to privacy for the rest of my life


830ll posted 2/25/2020 13:50 PM

To emergent8:

I'm with the consensus of people here who will recommend that you tell your wife. Not just because she deserves the truth and the agency to make informed decisions about her life, but also because your current approach is creating additional distance between the two of you and she deserves to understand what you are going through/dealing with and why.

I agree, and I hate that I'm doing that. It seems like the gravitational pull of secrecy that an A creates just keeps generating more, and more, and more secrets and lies. Just when you think you're done, you have to lie again.

I'm really dreading the idea of shifting the burden of knowledge from me to my wife, but the thing I want most in my life other than to heal her pain is to live in the light again.

It sounds like you have had a difficult time coming to terms with what you've done, what it means and the impact it has on the people around you. You refer to a depressive spiral and feelings of deep shame. You have found religion and attend counselling to better yourself. Your wife has been kept in the dark about much of this - this is a continuation of the lying. You are currently closing a major part of yourself off from her and that is not good for the relationship.

Yes, absolutely. I spent the last two months or so in a really deep and intense shame most of the time. I'm starting to pull out of it now, but when I think about the sheer number of people who are going to be devastated by this disclosure, I can feel the pull of the shame spiral all over again.

EllieKMAS posted 2/25/2020 13:59 PM

I am sure other WSs could offer you better advice from the WS perspective, but a word of advice from a BW - please don't start talking about your shame spiral to your wife. Speaking from first-hand experience here, but my xwh did this and the more time I have had to process those parts of the convos, the more irritated I am at them. No matter how honest you are about it (and I am sure you are ashamed and there is honesty there), when my xwh did that to me it somehow made me feel like I didn't have a right to MY feelings of shame. And make no mistake - as a BW, I definitely DID feel shame, even though that part wasn't mine to own.

thatbpguy posted 2/25/2020 14:31 PM

I tend to be a "tell the truth and let the chips fall where they may" person.

You may lose your relationship by telling her the truth, but even so things like honesty and integrity are basic and fundamental aspects of being a person she can love and feel safe with. If you don't tell her, you lose that and any R will be shallow and false. Eventually it will kill the relationship.

Oh yeah, find a new therapist. This one's an idiot.

Zugzwang posted 2/25/2020 15:20 PM

and the pain of infidelity is so extreme, so no one would benefit from disclosure

This always gets me with WS that don't want to tell. THE Pain of infidelity is extreme. Well, of course it is. It is for a reason and it isn't because you aren't the perfect person.

It is because you chose to lie and manipulate to them. News flash... that doesn't change just because you choose to not tell. You still lied and manipulated and on top of that you are choosing to do it more and worse....you take away free agency...making it even more lying and manipulating.


Get a new IC and tell your wife. Give her life back to her and don't keep her like a caged bird.


Every WS that never told can bullshit all they want that they are sparing their BS pain. The pain was already caused. The reason why they have pain if they found out isn't because you are some lost broken soul...it is because we lie and manipulate them. Anyone that doesn't tell is still doing that and causing pain.

Not telling is simply a selfish cruel choice from a bad person that has control issues or is afraid to be seen by their BS in a badlight or condescending manner. They simply want to keep the upper-hand in a relationship.

830ll posted 2/25/2020 16:06 PM

Zugzwang:

Every WS that never told can bullshit all they want that they are sparing their BS pain. The pain was already caused. The reason why they have pain if they found out isn't because you are some lost broken soul...it is because we lie and manipulate them. Anyone that doesn't tell is still doing that and causing pain.

That hurt, but I'm glad you said it.

sisoon posted 2/25/2020 16:50 PM

IDK ... I asked my W's therapist what she would have done if my W said she didn't know whether to tell or not. Mind you, my W's A could have been covered up under legal confidentiality.

She (therapist) said she would have insisted my W tell me in a way that she (therapist) could verify. That means a joint session if I was willing to come in or a phone call that she (therapist) was part of.

This therapist holds a very responsible position in her highly respected national professional organization.

*****

I recommend telling your W about your cheating because a good M requires honesty.

JBWD posted 2/25/2020 19:06 PM

I asked my therapist, and she said that NC was mostly for people who were still tempted to cheat, which I understood but felt uneasy about. What's your take?

My take- When you show your wife these screenshots, she’s going to notice that you continued to let AP contact you after you “ended the affair.”

You’re continuing to rationalize the process of not really ending the affair. You’ve provided multiple rationalizations
1) “I’m concerned about what AP might do.”
2) “My therapist says it’s OK.”

You just lined out everything you’re willing to lose in the process of disclosure. Where was that when AP texted you? Because if it really is worth everything you’re putting on the line, why wasn’t it before?

My guess is that in the process of disclosure you’re going to highlight all the things that your IC said were really great ideas and your BW is quickly going to recognize her as a friend of the affair.

I’m sure you’re going to say that these texts are legitimately harmless and that it’s really possible that you ended things but still allowed this contact. I’d ask you though, and don’t care the answer as this is for you to think about- How did you feel when AP texted you? Were you ever around your wife when they arrived and if so, did you hide? Why did you keep them long enough to have your IC pitch in on “how to respond neutrally?”

I am guessing you’re not as ready as you think you are, and that doesn’t mean you can’t work on yourself and maybe R. But this NC piece is serious and needs to be thought about. Wishing you strength and integrity, proud of you for deciding to disclose.

830ll posted 2/25/2020 19:37 PM

JBWD:

I appreciate the tough feedback. I don't think I was very clear in my initial postings or follow up, and I know you didn't want an answer to the question, but I'm really lonely and scared and depressed right now so I'm going to answer anyway if that's alright.

I’m sure you’re going to say that these texts are legitimately harmless and that it’s really possible that you ended things but still allowed this contact. I’d ask you though, and don’t care the answer as this is for you to think about- How did you feel when AP texted you? Were you ever around your wife when they arrived and if so, did you hide? Why did you keep them long enough to have your IC pitch in on “how to respond neutrally?”

I don't think they were harmless at all. In content, maybe, but regardless it was still a communication with my AP. I kept them long enough to get my IC's help because my IC had suggested that if I was afraid of what she might do if I went NC, I should try encouraging her to lose interest by only responding with the bare minimum if she reached out.

Honestly, every time I've received a message from the AP since I tried to end things, it's wrecked me. I've felt like I'm betraying my wife all over again (which I guess I am). I just want her to leave me alone. I wish I could make her see how wrong what we did was, but I don't think I'll ever change her mind on that.

Finally being able to burn that bridge forever is one of the tiny bright spots of disclosure, and one of the big motivators to do so. I know that I have no desire to reach out to her ever again, but I also know that I'm not a healthy person right now, and even though I want so badly to get better, I can't predict what I'll do in the future. If the bridge is still there, I might walk across it again, so it has to go.

My guess is that in the process of disclosure you’re going to highlight all the things that your IC said were really great ideas and your BW is quickly going to recognize her as a friend of the affair.

That really wrecked me, but you're probably right. I feel like all the progress I thought I'd made has just evaporated in an instant and I'm back at square one.

JBWD posted 2/25/2020 20:37 PM

What were you afraid AP would do?

My goal is not to wreck you. My goal is to show you the places where it appears you’re letting yourself off the hook. I don’t know if your IC is trying to go easy on you, but I believe that’s how your wife’s going to see it.

I’ll tell you this because this sounds a lot like me, it might not be in your case... But even the times in my A when I was “calling it quits” and “torn up by what I was doing” I would still get butterflies when AP texted me. I hated what I did, but really deep down got off on the idea that AP had to have me, couldn’t stay away. It was absolutely adolescent, and convinced me that I was thoroughly modern and trapped between two loves. I was actually using almost everyone in my life to make me feel better about myself.

Bottom line in all of this is- You broke NC. You let AP contact you. Acts of omission are insidious in these situations and you’re going to have to reconcile what you’re saying about how ready you are for consequences with the fact that you weren’t previously, and felt entitled to “let AP down easy.” You STILL, at that point, put your needs and your AP’s above your wife’s right to know the truth.

Once again deciding to disclose is a great step. And involving BW in a NC communique is absolutely a great idea. I just want you to grasp early on that there’s things that your wife is going to see through, and I think the sooner you think about them, the sooner you can orient to what’s important which is helping her process and move forward in whatever direction is best for her.

830ll posted 2/25/2020 21:03 PM

JBWD:

I totally understand that you didn't mean to wreck me, and I didn't mean to insinuate that I did. I really appreciate your plain spoken and honest responses, especially as I'm now realizing how much the IC I thought was helping me was really letting me off the hook and not calling me out.

What were you afraid AP would do?

I was afraid that she would tell my wife. I told her I was done back in October, when I had no idea what I was going to do, and before I'd started therapy with my IC. At that point, I was pretty much in survival mode, and I wanted to make sure that if my wife found out, it was from me.

Bottom line in all of this is- You broke NC. You let AP contact you. Acts of omission are insidious in these situations and you’re going to have to reconcile what you’re saying about how ready you are for consequences with the fact that you weren’t previously, and felt entitled to “let AP down easy.” You STILL, at that point, put your needs and your AP’s above your wife’s right to know the truth.

You're right. I really wish you weren't, but you are. I'm sorry I got defensive about it in my previous messages. I have really low self esteem right now, and I fought to defend the little bit of positive feeling I had about myself for "ending things".

I hated what I did, but really deep down got off on the idea that AP had to have me, couldn’t stay away.

I wouldn't be surprised if I feel that way too, although at least at this point, I can't say one way or the other. But that's exactly the impulse that's been driving my behavior with her for years. I have a great life.- a good job, some great friends, a loving family, a loving wife - but I've still sought out that dopamine hit that came from the AP's validation. I don't know what's wrong with me, but I hope another IC can help me figure it out. I signed up for another online therapy platform tonight and I'm waiting to be matched to a new therapist.

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