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Iamtrash posted 3/2/2020 21:05 PM

I mean this in the least snarky, judgmental way possible......

Do people actually grieve the loss of their AP? If so, why?

For me, I held no positive feelings by the time the affair came to light. I know I had mentioned in a response that if he hadnít outed it, my original (shitty) plan was to keep it secret and take it to my grave. In hindsight, terrible, destructive, shitty idea. One that Iím glad didnít happen.

His lack of presence was never bothersome. It was quite the opposite and I still find myself wanting to pretend he never existed while realizing that isnít an option for my BH. I canít imagine trying to repair my broken life and all the trauma Iíve put my BH through while still having good thoughts for the AP. Is it even possible to repair a marriage while thinking that way? Do people have to teach themselves to hate their AP in order to repair?

foreverlabeled posted 3/3/2020 05:23 AM

Yes some people do. I don't have that experience either. And it surprises me as I thought I loved AP. But something about getting caught popped that bubble I was living in. And truly just like that I was over it.

So while I don't have a lot to say on this subject I do believe that there can be zero reconstruction or repairing of the M or any real work as long as a WS still has feelings and fondness for AP.

I've also read in my time here that it's a process and the goal isn't hate for AP, its indifference. There is a withdrawal guide that gives more insight on this issue that many relate to. It might give you some answers that you are looking for.

Owl6118 posted 3/3/2020 09:11 AM

Yes, they do. I have struggled with it.

This is a very, very hard question to answer candidly and honestly at SI. It's almost an axiomatic lose-lose. Any account you give, of why you felt these positive feelings toward the OP and why some of them linger after the affair, goes against the kind of neural reprogramming SI offers, excels in, and insists on. It also has the potential to be very hurtful to BSs, which is the last thing I for one want to be.

But it seems like your question deserves some kind of answer, so I will offer at least an outline of one.

I had a mid-life emotional affair with my childhood first love. It was long distance, conducted mostly through text messages. If was not overtly sexual, in the specific sense that it did not include sexting or pics. And there was no physical contact at all.

The life-blood of this affair was therefore exchanging emotional intimacy at a time when my and APs marriages were both under stress, and we each felt isolated and alone. It was an extreme test case that highlights the general emotional components of affairs, separated from the physical/sexual components.

Here in no particular order are some of the qualities my affair had which made me feel something like grief at the loss of the relationship:

1. It was a very limerant connection. Limerance unleashes tornados of brain chemicals which are very, very addictive, and I have an addictive personality/brain wiring. Recovering from limerance feels like grief, even when you know rationally that what you are grieving is an image you invented in your own head and projected onto the AP.

2. In my case there was also a legitimate preexisting pre-affair relationship at various times in life between me and AP, of decades total duration. This meant that I had and still have an impression of her qualities, good and bad, from contexts predating the emotional affair. Its not the case that AP and I lied at all times, or from the beginning, over the total scope of the relationship.

3. During the affair, each affair partner was able to show the other, for a time, certain emotional capacities -- interest, care, playfulness, intense caring, vulnerability -- that were impaired in the primary relationships. Those capacities were actually real. However they were bought at the cost of making each other unhealthy and morally wrong, because, we were each turning the other further away from connection with our spouses, when a true friend would have supported turning back toward the marriage and the spouse.

4. AP and I each let need and selfishness overcome real friendship. Real friendship was destroyed and will remain impossible now and forever. But she was, once and for a long time, a real friend. The loss of that remains a source of grief.

I will only say in summary that I am very unsatisfied with this answer I have given you. I do not offer it as any kind of justification. You asked a question that is almost impossible to answer without insulting the framework SI teaches us to recover from affairs. I assure you, I do see my own bullshit and sit in its stink and corruption.

But I felt someone should answer, and, my type of affair might show you how this can be. It's wrong. All affairs are wrong and unhealthy. But I did experience grief along with the consciousness of wrong and those are some circumstances -- not justifications -- but some circumstances contributing to why the grief was there.

forgettableDad posted 3/3/2020 10:30 AM

I grieved to begin with. I was actually completely convinced that I had found my soulmate. A love that transcended time and space (I shit you not). But it wasn't grieving any more than a junkie grieves the loss of his heroin. I was immature and did not know how to differentiate between the lies I told myself and the reality of my actual emotions (fear, shame selfishness).

This process was detrimental to my progress. Like anything with an affair. It's toxic.

ff4152 posted 3/3/2020 12:10 PM

Iíve often thought that we donít grieve our APís. Theyíre just a physical manifestation of what he were really jonesing for. Whether it was the kinky sex, the illicit exciting nature of the A itself, or getting smoke blown up your ass, we craved those intense feelings. Letís be honest here, the AP could have been anyone. Anyone as broken as your or me willing to destroy another persons relationship.

thatwilldo posted 3/3/2020 13:18 PM

Iamtrash,

You asked:

Do people have to teach themselves to hate their AP in order to repair?

No.

This reminded me of a line from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. "The fault, dear Brutus,is not in our stars, but in ourselves..."

We are the ones responsible for our own bad decisions and choices. I agree, the AP could have been anyone. Look within yourself for answers.

thatwilldo posted 3/3/2020 13:19 PM

duplicate!

[This message edited by thatwilldo at 1:20 PM, March 3rd (Tuesday)]

MrCleanSlate posted 3/3/2020 14:08 PM

IAT,

In my case I broke things off before D-Day. So I wasn't grieving the loss of my AP.

In a lot of cases I think that post D-Day waywards realize that the AP was not who they made them out to be. In my case I realized I didn't care one bit about my AP. I used her for my own selfish ends. Mind you, she was also using me and following her own agenda as well.

A time passes I was able to really appreciate what and why I had the affair. I remember one day about 3 years post D-Day my BW asked me a question about the AP and I replied " I don't know, I never really cared about her to bother to ask".

Often it is not grieving the loss of the AP as much as the withdrawal from the 'narcotic of the A'.

Iamtrash posted 3/3/2020 20:17 PM

Thank you for all the responses. I did want to focus on something Forever said that I was hoping to hear more on.

I've also read in my time here that it's a process and the goal isn't hate for AP, its indifference.

It is not possible to have true healing (whether R of D) if you still have hate for your AP? I feel like, in some cases, the AP doesnít just bow out silently into the night. Some put up a fight, some are vengeful, some refuse to let go or act out in scorn. I feel like, for some people, it may be extremely hard to not hate their AP. (Not that they donít or shouldnít hate their own choices, too. There wouldnít be those issues without an affair, after all.) Not letting hate consume you is probably for the best, but whatís the harm in never having good feelings for an AP again? Is indifference that important?

[This message edited by Iamtrash at 8:18 PM, March 3rd (Tuesday)]

hikingout posted 3/4/2020 09:08 AM

Yes, I did go through a lot of painful emotions at the end of the affair. It wasn't because of him though, it was because I relied on the affair to make me feel happy and I lost my source for that. I wanted the affair feelings. I told myself a lot of stories to excuse my behaviors and believed my own bullshit.

As for indifference...I can only tell you what it is for me.

I don't "actively" hate the AP, but I don't think he is a good person. I think he helped me cause my husband a lot of pain, and he didn't give a shit about either of us. I also believe the same is true in reverse.

I don't have any strong emotional feelings towards him - positive or negative. But, I don't think I feel indifferent towards him. I feel negatively towards him, just like I feel negatively towards myself for my decisions to have an affair with him.

The difference really is, at some point you have to gain self compassion, but you live with yourself. That other person really just drops off and you wish you had never associated yourself with them. I feel humiliated that I ever let him touch me.

So, indifferent in that I don't have any kinds of emotions that keeps him alive in my head. More just feelings of regret, remorse, and overall feeling like he was a really shitty person.

WalkinOnEggshelz posted 3/4/2020 16:56 PM

It is not possible to have true healing (whether R of D) if you still have hate for your AP?

I guess I would question why you hold onto hate for the AP? What purpose is it serving you? I feel like there are usually multiple layers to this. Having here towards your AP can keep you in a victim role. But I also think there is a stage that you see the AP for who he/she is and it can make you angry. Then in my case, the affair was a double betrayal. At this point, all of my anger at him goes toward the betrayal of my husbandís friendship, because of that I have not been able to quite reach indifference.

Hate doesnít need to consume you. It doesnít interfere with our daily lives or at all.

People have varying degrees of ďhateĒ. Whether or not itís unhealthy will depend on how you let it affect you and what the motivation for it is.

Zugzwang posted 3/5/2020 16:55 PM

Yes, while we are in the fog and we don't identify what it is we really are grieving. A month later, I knew I was just grieving what she gave me. Not who she was as a person. So, with that insight and perspective. No..we really just grieve the end of seeing our false self in their eyes and what they give us. We grieve the companionship while sitting in shit. We grieve the easy way out. We grieve commiserating. I couldn't tell you my APs dreams, likes/dislikes or the color of her eyes. Who her mother is if she had siblings and got along with them. So, no ....we don't grieve APs.

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