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Cleaning out the who we were

Zugzwang posted 3/17/2020 09:16 AM

I was posting on another thread and thought this would be a good topic.

Many times I have said that we jump back into our marriage (particularly us cake eaters) like we can pick up where we left off. That obviously doesn't work and for good reason. Though most new WS don't realize they are doing this. Just a chance for new waywards to take a breather and a step back and focus on the reality of it all.

The thing with us is that we think we can pick up where we left off. We know who and what we were. We know what happened and how it all went down. We want to focus on fixing it right away if we want to keep our BS. Not happening. New WS need to remember that at this time you are a proven enemy of the BS. A stranger on the street is better than you at this point. Safer than you. Take that in. A stranger has done less harm. You are picking up without a foundation and sinking in quicksand. Not where you chose to leave off in the marriage.

The BS however, are still in shock and need us to clean out who we became. Not just focus on who we can become. You have to reconcile what happened. You need to validate their experience and become vulnerable to move forward. I know it is a lot to do at one time. Juggling what comes first. This is it. Changing you and cleaning out the wound. Focusing on the marriage and trying to "win" your BS and healing them are not the first steps.

Of course this step is for those that have reached a more remorseful stage and are less regretful.

You will NEVER get the old marriage back. You really shouldn't anyhow. You were toxic in that marriage. You can possibly earn a new one.

TheLostOne2020 posted 3/17/2020 09:28 AM

I don't have much to add, but this seems like a good post.

forgettableDad posted 3/17/2020 09:35 AM

You will NEVER get the old marriage back.
I think it goes deeper than that. You need to actively let go of the marriage to move forward. The addiction isn't just towards the AP it's also towards the [fantasy] marriage. The important part of healing has to be done inwards and disconnected from external reasons. It should be done because you (ie. I) want to be better. And I think it should be pursued with all the energy that the anger and shame towards yourself can produce. At least, that's how I approached it once I realized.

DaddyDom posted 3/17/2020 10:14 AM

You will NEVER get the old marriage back.

Good post Zug. I just want to add to this that the main reason you will never get the old marriage back is because YOU chose to throw it away. You abandoned it. That is something else we tend to struggle with. That this isn't happening TO us, it is happening BECAUSE of us. Keep that perspective in mind and it will help to understand how your BS is feeling.

830ll posted 3/17/2020 12:06 PM

This is a great reminder, and very applicable to where I am right now.

Can you offer some practical advice on what it means to do this? What are some steps a WS can take to clean out who they were? There are some that seem obvious to me, like telling the truth, maintaining NC with the AP, and committing to IC. But what else is there?

hikingout posted 3/17/2020 14:26 PM

What are some steps a WS can take to clean out who they were? There are some that seem obvious to me, like telling the truth, maintaining NC with the AP, and committing to IC. But what else is there?

Go to IC and figure out what is missing. Figure out how and why you were able to do this. What you learn will be kind of a to do list of what you need to work on.

Read books surrounding those topics, talk on here about them and find out what other people learned who had those as issues. The answers are really self discovery and awareness, becoming more mindful and intentional, and changing those aspects to the best of your ability. We will always have flaws, we are human. But the ones that are centered around how we interact in a relationship, how we cope with crisis, personal boundaries, etc...those all can be strengthened.

You also have to learn to be a better partner so at the same time, learn what it takes to help your spouse heal. Communication is so important in any relationship but it's crucial after the affair.
Read as much as you can about that as well.

Zugzwang posted 3/17/2020 17:41 PM

Good additions guys. Fully agree.

What are some steps a WS can take to clean out who they were?
Other than what Hiking Out said. Finding your whys. Validating what you did to your BS. Look to what makes you uncomfortable and you would rather not face or forget. Listen to your wife, who could probably tell you where you are failing. Ask close friends. Pay attention of FOO issues you dismiss or hold resentment towards. My wife had a lot to do with me facing myself. She is very honest in communication and I learned how to be the same. Try checking out Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage. Some good stuff about some basic communication skills and differences between how you and your wife might think. I also read my wife's book she suggested Love and Respect in the Marriage. Some old school stuff in there we skipped over about traditional marriage roles, yet the stuff on differences wants and needs made sense. Of course my wife also wanted respect too.

gmc94 posted 3/17/2020 20:51 PM

Thanks for the thread, Zug.

ISurvivedSoFar posted 3/18/2020 06:39 AM

This is why it is so very devastating,

WS need to remember that at this time you are a proven enemy of the BS. A stranger on the street is better than you at this point. Safer than you. Take that in. A stranger has done less harm.
It is very hard to describe the feeling of having your very core ripped out. It's like trying to walk without knees between your thighs and calves - nothing there so how do you walk?

The hypervigilance that transpires thereafter is unprecedented.

The thing with us is that we think we can pick up where we left off.
We want to go back too believe me. I think part of the process for a BS involves seeking and scanning to see if we can go back but the reminders that we cannot are glaring which often leaves us in limbo trying to figure out where the land is amid an endless body of water.

What would help? For me a total letting down of the guard and understanding of how the BS feels. This means attuning to the BS and letting go of self-caused issues such as shame and guilt while interacting. Knowing and relating from the BS's perspective rather than the WS's perspective.

So often we see the BS's complain that they are getting blamed and TT'd. It amplifies the self-serving nature of the infidelity. So I think the cleaning out has to be swift and early - and often is not.

cactusflower posted 3/18/2020 07:23 AM

Excellent post Zug. I'd like to add that while the WS is trying to get the old marriage back, the BS is carefully looking at what the old marriage was. I have read time and again that the BS will look back for clues about the old marriage - how did we get to this? How did we get to the WS straying?

Sometimes the BS blames themselves and thinks they weren't enough, but as time goes on many can see that they were, on the whole, supporting and loving spouses.

As we try and process our marriage now, deal with a defensive spouse who has difficulty facing their behavior, it often becomes more clear to us that we were blind or ignored what the relationship was. Continued defensive behavior and lack of growth by the WS only brings the relationship more into focus. They were most likely this way all along but the exposure of their dalliances brought this out into the open.

Can they change? Only if they truly want to save their marriage by showing their spouse the respect and love they should have been giving them all along. Realize that they weren't "all in" like they should have been, understand why they weren't, and what do they want to do with that? Your BS most likely isn't going to magically return to the same person. There's going to have to be a new and improved you for them to open their heart again.

ChanceAtLife35 posted 3/18/2020 12:38 PM

This is a good post and good responses too. I find myself going back and forth all the time and i am running myself in circles. So while i am working from home for the next 3 weeks, there are no excuses at this point. EVER.

Thissucks5678 posted 3/19/2020 07:45 AM

I remember after dday thinking back to when he when my WH was in the prime of his affair - he was so mean and hateful. He didnít even realize it. I looked back on those times and all I could think about was how he must have wished I was dead. Then he could just go and be with the COW. I really thought they may have plotted to kill me like you see in the news. He was way worse than a stranger, he and the COW were my enemies. I didnít know my husband at all. All of his good deeds were undone. Everything he ever was - meant nothing.

Thank you for this post Zug. I think a lot of waywards, especially new ones have a hard time grasping the strangers they have become to their spouses. I am actually in a pretty great place in Reconciliation now, but it has taken years. It took my WH some time to understand that I didnít know him and that I had triggers lurking around every corner. The sooner a WS realizes this, and stops fighting and being defensive, the better chance they will have to help heal their BS.

Tanner posted 3/21/2020 18:43 PM

Great post. At first WW would not understand that she burned the marriage to ground and fired me as her H. After weekly IC and a recent (relatively ignored) Anniversary she is starting understand this.

Feelinglikethat posted 4/16/2020 08:14 AM

I know this post was for me. My BS has said a lot of times that I tried to dry the concrete before it was smoothed. Thatís exactly what I tried to do. I didnít want to face myself. I wanted to be a victim. But Iím not in any way. I am the abuser, I am the one who destroyed our lives. I am the one who caused the fairytale dreams to be destroyed.

I guess I dont know how to smooth the concrete.

Zugzwang posted 4/20/2020 09:38 AM

You can't smooth the concrete. You have to dig out the foundation. Then pour the concrete and that concrete will never be smooth again.

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