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Finally Woke Up

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Wearingmyring posted 4/8/2020 22:08 PM

My background I've been married almost 30 years. I have had issues with porn on and off our entire marriage. About 5 years ago, it became more than porn, I began looking at dating websites. And over 2 years ago I was on a dating app and found someone who was interested in a PA. We made contact and begin to talk and a couple of months later it became a PA.

The PA lasted about 2 years. D-day came when my BW confronted me about it. She had installed tracking on my cell phone, so she knew the affair was going on. I immediately broke off contact with the AP, and gave my BW access to all my electronics.

She asked alot of questions, but I gave few answers. I was under the impression at that time that the less she knew, the less she would be hurt. I know now that was the absolute wrong thing for me to do. I should have told her everything from the start.

It's been almost a year now since D-day and up until the last couple of months have I really put forth little effort to save our marriage. During this last year my BW has found out everything, but not because I told her. She found 98% of it on her own I'm sorry to say.

After much reading and soul searching, I have figured out that I have many traits of a narcissist. My BW agrees, based on how I have treated her most of our marriage, and how I have shown little empathy, and have been desensitized this whole time.

She has given me an ultimatum, prove I still love her, and that I want to heal our marriage, or she's leaving.

I just started IC for my issues, and doing alot of reading in hopes to be the husband my wife fell in love with so many years ago...

Im asking for any help, advice, suggestions on what else I can do to help win back my best friend and save our marriage.

Thanks in advance,

foreverlabeled posted 4/9/2020 09:10 AM

Have you read "how to help your spouse heal from your affair" ? If not start there.

I think you have been given an incredible gift after the hellish year your BW has suffered through.

Now that she has the details I think it would be wise for you to make sure it is indeed the facts. Fill in any blanks that may be left, and offer up any details that you know she's not uncovered.

From personal experience this is exactly what has ultimately ended my M. It wasn't the details it was the continued lies and self-protection.

If your BW is wanting to talk no matter how uncomfortable it makes you, show up without getting defensive. Dont wait until she approaches you either. Be proactive.

I would have given anything for sincere apologies and understanding of how hurt I was. Not for the cheating, but for the shit he put through in the aftermath. It was truly where it hurt the most.

tushnurse posted 4/9/2020 10:07 AM

Long timer here. I was a Betrayed spouse so I am going to give it to you straight from my experience and perspective.

The lies, the lack of truth, the omissions of truth, the half truths do much more damage to your relationship than the actual initial betrayal.

Read that again. It's the lies that kill the M in a large % of cases.

If you truly want to save you M you need to do the following, and do it sooner than later.

1. Write a time line, and include as much of the actual facts that you remember and she wants to know. NO I don't remembers, no I don't want to hurt you. To rebuild we need the full truth of what happened so we can decide if we want to rebuild. It should be the BS's choice to make that determination, not yours. You lost your ability to choose when you started lying to your wife.

2. No more lies of any kind ever again. When you get through this and are healed, and you want to save yourself a confrontation or argument by giving an answer that make life easier for you, and you do lie, you are destroying any ability to trust in any way ever again. You have to be completely and totally honest for the rest of your life. You can preface things with I don't want to argue, or you aren't going to like this answer but... and be truthful. At first it can be really scary, but when you start realizing it actually makes life easier, you will hopefully learn to embrace it.

3. Be kind, be patient, and be loving. This trauma is significant and real. It takes years to recover from even under the best of circumstances. Add in additional trauma of added lies, or half truths, or blameshifting, or lack of ownership of your choices and it takes the BS even longer to heal.

It's time for you to dig deep and deal with the why's of what you did. What made you need/want that attention. Why were you not happy as an individual, and working through that, and figuring out how to be complete and fulfilled as a person.

Keep being honest. Keep being authentic. Life will get better.

gmc94 posted 4/9/2020 11:30 AM

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Read Tushnurse's post. Read it again. Don't think that it doesn't apply to you, your BW, or your M or your "situation". There is nothing special about these basics.

And then read it again.

No more lies. ever. About anything. Ever.

EVERY time you lie, or "fail" to tell the FULL truth, or lie by omission, or "deceive" or anything that is less than 100% candor and 100% honesty, you are basically punching your BW in the face. Last time I checked, punching someone is not "protecting" them. It's protecting yourself. And odds are she will eventually find out anyhow (seems like most of us do).

Doesn't matter if you are lying about infidelity or that you "forgot" to stop at the store for milk. It's still a lie. If those pants make her butt look big, you can be honest in a compassionate way (eg they are not the best fit for you, honey). I think it takes a lot of work for most WS to begin to live in honesty, as they've usually got a track record of doing the opposite (you've got at least five years of forming a habit). I can only imagine how stressful that is.

And by not being candid and honest (remember, lies of omissions are still lies) you are not "just" punching your BW - you are actually harming yourself by not living true to what you've told yourself are your values and character and morals (by lying to yourself).

Wish you the best.

BraveSirRobin posted 4/9/2020 13:14 PM

I was under the impression at that time that the less she knew, the less she would be hurt.
The first step is to acknowledge that while this may be true, the far more important motivation was that the less she knew, the less YOU would be hurt. You got caught, you decided that you wanted your wife more than the AP, and you pivoted to the course of action that you believed would protect you. Your BW proved more tenacious than you expected, or you would still be doing that right this second.

I understand why your goal is to "win back your best friend and save your marriage," but focusing on that will get in the way of what you actually need to do. You have to give your wife the information she needs in order to start healing REGARDLESS of whether the result is that she loves you again and decides to stay. That's what you owe her now. This is known as "letting go of the outcome," and fuck, it is hard, but if you don't do it, you will just keep lying and protecting yourself and inflicting further damage. And ironically, as these very intelligent and experienced BWs are telling you, every lie has more of a chance of killing your marriage than it does of saving it.

We have a WW here who arrived insisting that she had told her BH the full truth and asking us how to convince him that that was the case. Despite our open skepticism of her story and pleas that she be honest, she stuck to her story right up until the day of the polygraph. Once her back was against the wall, she admitted everything -- too late. She's doing some solid work on herself and has been building a reputation as a genuinely reforming wayward, but her BH filed for divorce anyway. It was because of the lying, not the cheating. Now she's another voice in the chorus to the newest WS who think they're an exception. All of us think we're exceptions. I thought so, too, to the unspeakable detriment of my husband.

My other piece of advice to you is that you are already the same man your wife fell in love with years ago, just as you're still the man who betrayed her. Whatever led you to cheat has always been in there, waiting to come to the surface. You don't go back to some mythical time when you were a better person. You dig and confront the darker side of yourself so that it can be acknowledged and dealt with. Another SI maxim: this is a marathon, not a sprint.

Wearingmyring posted 4/9/2020 14:33 PM

All of you are right. I realize I've got to be honest with everything. But how do I answer the questions that I literally don't know the answer to?
Like "How could you do this to me?" Or a specific event, day during the PA that I can't remember?

HellFire posted 4/9/2020 14:49 PM

"How could you do this to me?"

Dig into your why's. There's your answer.

If she needs you to remember specific things that you've forgotten, she doesn't believe you have really forgotten them. If she feels you are purposely holding back, R will never happen. So schedule a polygraph, and put her in touch with the administrator, and he will help her form questions she can ask. And take the test.

sisoon posted 4/9/2020 14:53 PM

My other piece of advice to you is that you are already the same man your wife fell in love with years ago, just as you're still the man who betrayed her. Whatever led you to cheat has always been in there, waiting to come to the surface. You don't go back to some mythical time when you were a better person. You dig and confront the darker side of yourself so that it can be acknowledged and dealt with.
Very well stated.

I'll add: if you have difficulty writing a timeline, working with your BS to create it together may be very fruitful.

tushnurse posted 4/9/2020 15:29 PM

But how do I answer the questions that I literally don't know the answer to?
Like "How could you do this to me?" Or a specific event, day during the PA that I can't remember?

Two very different questions - They why's are difficult especially when you don't understand your choices yourself, or are still wrestling w/ understanding who you really are.
The actual dates etc - this is why a timeline is so essential. Use old emails, texts, calendars, etc to help you figure things out. Rough it out, and then fill in more. When she asks questions, so I am not sure, but let's see if we can figure it out together - What else was going on then. Typically one of us in the relationship is good about remembering who's birthday is when, what holidays are around certain memories and so forth. Be willing to work through this, and be as honest as you can be. But brother "I don't remember" will get you no where. An "I don't remember" is essentially the same as saying I'm not gong to tell you the truth, regardless of if you do or do not remember. Your words are meaningless, that is why actions (making a timeline and working together to fill in the gaps) matter.

As far as the Why's of what you did, you need to dig deep - you need to figure out if it was lonliness, or validation, or selfishness, or escapism, that allowed you to make this all ok in your brain. You have to be honest with yourself first and foremost.

gmc94 posted 4/9/2020 17:01 PM

"I don't remember" will get you no where. An "I don't remember" is essentially the same as saying I'm not gong to tell you the truth, regardless of if you do or do not remember. Your words are meaningless, that is why actions (making a timeline and working together to fill in the gaps) matter.
And why YOU need to be PROACTIVE in putting it together - every damned detail. And then see if your BS will help fill in the gaps.

Trust me, half-assing this is a really good way to further hurt and alienate your wife. It sure as hell did for me.

IMO, shame is a huge "memory block" for a WS. I think they don't recall bc they don't WANT to recall bc it forces them to look deep and hard into the painful choices they made. So, if nothing else, you could view it as an exercise in courage against shame which, like mold, grows best in the dark.

[This message edited by gmc94 at 5:13 PM, April 9th, 2020 (Thursday)]

Wearingmyring posted 4/9/2020 18:12 PM


Have you read "how to help your spouse heal from your affair" ? If not start there
.

No I haven't. Is it in the healing library, or do I need to find it elsewhere?

EvolvingSoul posted 4/9/2020 19:09 PM

You can get it on amazon and many other book sites. It's $7.99 for the kindle version, $10.99 for the paperback.

Worth 10 times that in the advice it lays out for WS who want to know what behavior on their part will help reconciliation and what is likely to hinder it.

I've also heard there is a free pdf of it you can download on the interwebs but I don't know where.

Do not skip this book. It lays out a succinct road map that, if followed with sincerity, conviction and valor, will give you the best chance of reconciliation. It is not a guarantee. But it is your best shot.

secondtime posted 4/9/2020 20:06 PM

Have you considered that you could be a sex addict and not a narcissist?

The progression from porn to websites to cheating is pretty typical.

As is the lack of empathy. My husband has been sober for 6 years, with "just porn" as his method of choice to get high...still no ability to empathize with me.

And, well addicts do tend to look like narcissist.

Did your "porn problems" predate your marriage? If so, you need to be honest with your wife about that.

Turns out, I can be super understanding about the behaviors and sympathetic towards the choices.

What I can't forgive is the fact that my husband misrepresented himself to me and I could not make a fully informed decision of who I was going to marry.

Your wife also may cognitively understand you could do what you did to her, even if you don't yet understand about that yourself. She may be looking for not a reason why. She just might be looking for you to own your behaviors.

At least, when I ask my husband why he could do this to me..I already know why. What I'm really asking for is for my husband to take overt responsibility for his choices. Meaning using his words...repeatedly, instead of just assuming that I just "know" how he feels.

Zugzwang posted 4/10/2020 08:40 AM

You really need to start owning who you became and be truthful with yourself and her.

Start with why you really didn't want to tell her.

Bulcy posted 4/10/2020 10:20 AM

I'm in a similar position. I've been supplying my BW with lies, lies, trickle truth, anger, minimal information, half truth....You name it.

We have had multiple d-days due to her finding out things I have either omitted (lies by omission) to say or lies being uncovered. Like you, most things were uncovered by her and met with anger or denial by me.

I am now in the process of doing the time line. My wife has written one too and we are working our way through these to uncover what the hell happened. We will use this to try and uncover they "whys". It is an incredibly hard process (for both of us, but more so her of course). She has told me that it's the lies that hurt more. We're still together after multiple revelations. If she wanted a divorce, I would have had one before now!

I've promised, once again, to do this. Keep going and good luck. I know I regret everything I've done and need to work on that side of me who allowed these things to happen.

I resisted reading these forums for such a long time. I resented their existence and the fact the my BW would read them and want to use them to help us. It's crazy.... But I'm going to get this done. I will probably be reaching out for help on this site.

I would recommend reading "Things that every WS needs to know" It's helpful.

Wearingmyring posted 4/14/2020 20:26 PM

Have you considered that you could be a sex addict and not a narcissist?
The progression from porn to websites to cheating is pretty typical

Yes, I don't know if it is sex addict or not. But I do believe my porn issues was the "gateway drug" that sent me to dating sites, and ultimately to an PA.

Wearingmyring posted 4/14/2020 20:44 PM

Write a time line, and include as much of the actual facts that you remember and she wants to know.

I plan to start on the timeline this week, and I know it's gonna be hell. But to aid in the healing of this $#/+storm I created, I'm going to do it.

MrCleanSlate posted 4/16/2020 06:14 AM

Go to the first post on the Wayward Side Forum : Things that every WS needs to know.

MrCleanSlate posted 4/16/2020 06:15 AM

Duplicate post


[This message edited by MrCleanSlate at 6:16 AM, April 16th (Thursday)]

ThisIsSoLonely posted 4/16/2020 16:43 PM

BS here - and the most important advice I can give you is this:

Don't bother trying if you don't 100000% intend on sticking with it. My WH tried and gave up several times because it was simply too hard and we were not having any fun (he said this even while he had returned to the A unbeknownst to me). He wasted 2 years of my life with his lies and ambivalence and his sincere inability to stick to trying...IMO he really honestly 100% tried for about a month. I wish he had not bothered dragging me along.

So, whatever you do, do not give your BS the idea that you plan on trying 100% if you don't think you are capable of doing that. If you think you are, make a promise to YOURSELF that you will stick to that plan.

The aftermath, and then the false-R of course, were so much more devastating than the actual A to me - there is no contest. The half-assed attempt he made at R and then him telling me that he did not want to try anymore was so hurtful - so much worse than him fucking someone behind my back I cannot even tell you.

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