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I have created so much devastation...

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BraveSirRobin posted 5/18/2020 13:42 PM

Its clear you have remorse, but I see that you are still trying to defend and rationalize some of your actions. It takes a long time to accept the person you are that did this. Its not a compartmentalization, its you. There is something in you that allowed you to behave like this. That's the part of you that you need to own.

I dunno, Pink. Do you think that compartmentalization is an excuse, as in, "I was a good person, I was just compartmentalizing?" I'm the opposite. I think, "I was a self-centered, deeply fucked up person, as evidenced by my compartmentalizing." I'm not using it to minimize my behavior. I absolutely had toxic thought processes. It's just that they didn't manifest in derogatory thoughts or statements. It was all about me, me, me.

I honestly never said a single negative thing about BH to OM, because it wouldn't have crossed my mind to do so. I wanted the ego kibbles, but I didn't have to diss BH to get them. I'll never know, of course, if OM took the affair as an implied criticism of BH's personality or abilities. I only know what was in my own head.

pinkpggy posted 5/18/2020 14:12 PM

I think you can compartmentalize, but a 4 year long affair/secret is a long time to use that as an excuse. At some point you have to realize who you are.

I know I was able to be one person at home and one person during my affair, but I was still the same person. It doesn't change who I am fundamentally because my brain can switch off and I can live two lives. I just don't think its an excuse to do what we did, and the OP was still saying, I don't like to hurt people, I'm a people pleaser etc I think when you REALLY start to accept who you are, the drama, the tears, the name calling of yourself go out the window. Having sex in your home, where you husband lives is disparaging him, its disrespecting him and is a massive violation. Its kind of like waking up and seeing it, and then accepting it. Can I be a nice person and do good things but also do horrible things? Yes. Do both define me, no but I need to look at that really bad side and figure out how to never go back there.

ETA: It took me a really long time to get to the point of accepting that I was not a good person, that I did hurt people. That I wasn't a good mom. Every decision I made, every lie I told, every deceptive act I did, I had to own. That is a really tough pill to swallow. But it has allowed me to see what I will never do again. Being able to "compartmentalize" is not an excuse to do awful things.

[This message edited by pinkpggy at 2:20 PM, May 18th (Monday)]

thatwilldo posted 5/18/2020 14:44 PM

Svreen,

You said:

I am committed to telling him everything. Itís just hard to immediately remember every little detail of what occurred over such a long time, and little things will come up that I never even thought of initially.

It will help you to write a detailed timeline and fill in information as it arises in your mind. I recovered lots of memories by writing the timeline.

Have you read Linda McDonald's excellent book, How to Help Your Spouse Heal from Your Affair ? It helped me so much to understand my BS's point of view. Also, Shirley Glass's Not Just Friends was great.

scrambledbrain posted 5/18/2020 14:45 PM

SV:

I read your H's thread with great sadness.

And even more so yours.

I do believe that you truly love your husband, though perhaps, from a romantic perspective, NOT in the way I would wish my wife to love me.

I also believe you have remorse.

But I'd just offer a few comments.

You are clear in your narrative that you were driven to your A largely by vanity, and this is a vanity which: 1) extended on for several years; and 2) would have likely kept the A going indefinitely.

Your note suggests that you place as high a priority on relinquishing your need to feel young and beautiful -- at least from outside sources -- as any other objective you have.

I think your H understands this. And it's not ideal.

A couple of other thoughts come to mind. First, it's pretty clear that you did most of the pursuing here, and that your AP responded when the mood stuck him to do so.

On a related note, I think you need to understand how deeply your AP played you. You mention that he CHOSE you among all of those beautiful girls. Please. It sounds like he had innumerable partners, and that you were just one of them. Likely, he enjoyed the way you persistently wanted him, at the potential risk to your marriage, etc.

From this perspective, the whole bit about him happening to get a cold sore from a new girlfriend seems improbable. Taken to the extreme, you may have taken multiple plunges into a human petrie dish.

And your H knows all he needs to know about this. And I think his pain must be unbearable. He seems like a truly good man, just not good enough to meet all of your needs. There's no getting around this.

I suspect, though, that you guys will manage to work it out, for a couple of reasons. First, he's broken by this. I don't see him gathering the strength to leave you. Perhaps more importantly, he loves you and knows that you will be way worse off without him -- a divorced woman with an STI, with limited options and prerogatives.

What I don't think will happen is much redemption here. Like you state, you would take a bullet for him, defend him against anything, except those poor choices you cannot unmake.

It. wouldn't make any of us feel like much of a man to have that kind of love as our sole emotional succor.

But I do have one suggestion, albeit an off-beat one. Maybe you could perform some acts of anonymous charity. Not giving money or volunteering in a soup kitchen. Instead, find someone in need and help them meaningfully. Then do it again.

I've travelled down some of these roads and it has helped me. I'm not saying you shouldn't do all you can to provide whatever is in you to your H. But both of you will know that these efforts, no matter how superhuman they might be, will also be matters of your own self interest.

Just a few words from an old sinner....

sb

svereen posted 5/18/2020 15:41 PM

Pnkpggy

Good people don't do these things

I know this. Iíve never thought I was a particularly good person, and I definitely donít think so now. Iím sorry I gave you that impression. Iím not saying this a self-pitying way, it is what it is. Iím working to change - to be more cognizant of my selfishness, think about my actions instead of letting my impulsiveness rule my behaviors, love by my actions, etc.

Being able to ďcompartmentalizeĒ is not an excuse to do awful things.

Iíve never thought of it as an excuse, itís just the strategy that I used to make my horrible decisions seem acceptable.

svereen posted 5/18/2020 15:51 PM

ĒI was a self-centered, deeply fucked up person, as evidenced by my compartmentalizing." I'm not using it to minimize my behavior. I absolutely had toxic thought processes. It's just that they didn't manifest in derogatory thoughts or statements. It was all about me, me, me.

Yep. My ability to compartmentalize so completely and thoroughly, was evidence of how fucked up I was. A normal person canít compartmentalize so thoroughly that they actually become blind to the fact that what they are doing is one of the most horrific things you can do to a person.

svereen posted 5/18/2020 15:56 PM

scrambledbrain - yourís is a tough one. Brings me to tears. Iím gonna need a little time to process before I can get back with anything.

svereen posted 5/18/2020 16:01 PM

thatwilldo

Have you read Linda McDonald's excellent book, How to Help Your Spouse Heal from Your Affair ? It helped me so much to understand my BS's point of view. Also, Shirley Glass's Not Just Friends was great.

Yes, my husband and I actually read McDonalds book together early on. And it was so helpful, It really helped me start to see how much damage I had done to my BH. I will take a look at the other - Iíve heard it mentioned, but not looked at it yet. Thanks!

ff4152 posted 5/18/2020 16:58 PM

svereen

I wanted to add that I hope you stick around. You sound as if you want to do whatever is necessary to work on this. As you may already know, staying and hearing hard truths can be excruciating. Youíll find yourself wanting to leave and give up. Please donít. This will be one of the hardest things youíll ever do. Stick with it.

Best of luck to you.

BraveSirRobin posted 5/18/2020 19:22 PM

Scrambled, I see some good insights in your post, but I have to take issue with this:

He seems like a truly good man, just not good enough to meet all of your needs. There's no getting around this.

The A had nothing to do with how good a man OP's husband is. He could have been a Greek god with a seven figure income who gives mind-blowing orgasms and rescues abandoned puppies. The A happened because of flaws, not needs, in svereen. Her husband could not have prevented it by being "good enough."

Lostallalone posted 5/18/2020 20:19 PM

BSR
The A had nothing to do with how good a man OP's husband is. He could have been a Greek god with a seven figure income who gives mind-blowing orgasms and rescues abandoned puppies. The A happened because of flaws, not needs, in svereen. Her husband could not have prevented it by being "good enough

I don't think thats what he is saying. He is talking from her talking in absolutes that her husband is a great man. (Except to fulfill my needs) but he is a great man and I would take a bullet for him (Except maybe give him a lifetime disease) but my husband is a great man I would never make fun of ( Except having sex right under his nose and he is to blind to notice i am right outside having sex with a kid) But he is a great man.

scrambledbrain posted 5/18/2020 20:29 PM

Brave One:

First let me say I love your handle and would be honored to be one of your minstrels.

I agree with your qualifying point. In fact, in this case I believe it applies in spades.

My words were in part rhetorical device to bring out largely unavoidable BH thoughts. If my wife was carrying on with a younger man for 4+ years and brought home the gift of an STI, a part of my self-worth would probably be crushed for all time. It would take a heroic effort on my part to crush these demons.

I truly hope these people get there, but, as I pointed out, one of the main obstacles, I believe, is that all efforts made by OP in this regard align with her own self-interest. I believe she is authentic in her remorse, but she also NEEDS her H.

As such, it will take superhuman strength for her efforts not to ring a bit hollow.

I weep for these people, these situations. But then again I have my own problems to deal with,

sb

BraveSirRobin posted 5/18/2020 21:07 PM

First let me say I love your handle and would be honored to be one of your minstrels.
Minstrels are valuable, as they're the ones who call me on my bullshit.

Sounds like we're on the same page here.

NaturalX posted 5/19/2020 06:51 AM

WS only

[This message edited by SI Staff at 1:33 PM, May 19th (Tuesday)]

Zugzwang posted 5/19/2020 09:46 AM

As even he has said at times, why would he?
Yes, I am waiting for him to tell me that Ė and Iíve never thought that he should be fighting for me. I feel like I HAVE been fighting

Think outside the box. If you are waiting for him to tell you that...then you are wanting him to fight for you.

And Iím not expecting anyone to argue against me on how fucked up Iíve been Ė Iím well aware of that.
I wasn't making it a point that you are doing that to us. We have been there done that and that stuff is just fluff. It seems you are waiting for your husband to do that. To fight for you. You just said you are waiting for him to tell you.

If you are waiting for him to tell you why he should stay married to you. You are putting him in the seat to validate you. To make you feel better. To fight for you. You don't see it, yet it is true. Regardless of what you think about you not expecting him to fight for you.

When you talk about your timeline be sure to explain what you wanted. What you were feeling and what you were looking for. What the AP did to fulfill that.

I know you have made some points about what you think and own about your compartmentalizing. I just want to sound off on it too. For you and for those that read.

But when you have completely compartmentalized your two lives and have convinced yourself that as long as they stay separate no harm, no foul Ė you develop the ability to do some heinous and fucked up shit.

This is very important. You were willing to do bad things because you didn't think you would get caught. You need to focus on this BIG TIME! It is like the saying goes. Do you choose to not commit crimes like murder or what not because you fear the repercussions and getting caught? Would you do it if you were promised you were never caught and there were no repercussions? OR would you never do it because it is simply wrong to use people and hurt people that are already going through their own struggles in life? Because it is the right thing to do to treat people well and respectfully.

Compartmentalizing is just another way to say you don't care about how you treat people while making it so that you don't have to face guilt or shame. The root of it all is really the lack of respect for other human beings and their own struggles and their own health, joy, and everything else. It is all about doing what you are okay with doing. Hurting people and stepping on them while still feeling good about yourself while you do it. The whole focus should be why you feel it is okay to hurt people period as long as you aren't caught doing it. That is the truth of it all. I agree with BraveSirRobin on this at least when it came to my own compartmentalizing. It is just a road and means to do what I wanted and didn't have any issues doing while hoarding away any little shred of guilt or shame. You must see compartmentalizing as a way you did it. Not that you were some whole other person that was doing it.

I would also like to point out that you aren't the only one that shot him. The AP did too. You opened the door. You didn't protect him from yourself or the AP. Hell, even the APs partners.

pinkpggy posted 5/19/2020 14:26 PM

Compartmentalizing is just another way to say you don't care about how you treat people while making it so that you don't have to face guilt or shame. The root of it all is really the lack of respect for other human beings and their own struggles and their own health, joy, and everything else.

And Iím not expecting anyone to argue against me on how fucked up Iíve been Ė Iím well aware of that.

I wasn't making it a point that you are doing that to us. We have been there done that and that stuff is just fluff.

These were the points I was trying to make, sometimes I can't get my thoughts out clearly and its hard for me to go back to where I was almost 4 years ago. I think you need to get past the fluff, the hating yourself, the I did a bad thing, and get to the point of the root of it and how you make sure you don't go back. Your actions above all else will show your BH over time if you become a safe partner, your words are pretty meaningless right now. I also find it hard when both parties are on SI, I feel like the WS can never be fully transparent and vulnerable because the BS may read here. You are doing a great job so far of flushing everything out.

[This message edited by pinkpggy at 2:26 PM, May 19th (Tuesday)]

svereen posted 5/19/2020 15:40 PM

I plan on doing a more detailed response in a bit, but I question something you have said scrambledbrain:

I truly hope these people get there, but, as I pointed out, one of the main obstacles, I believe, is that all efforts made by OP in this regard align with her own self-interest. I believe she is authentic in her remorse, but she also NEEDS her H.

What do you mean - I "need" my husband? I want to reconcile with my husband because I love him and want to share my life with him. I do not NEED him. I have a successful career for which I am well compensated. I have a full pension that I am less than 10 years away from. By nature I am a loner, and would be quite content living on my own. Would I prefer to spend my future with my husband? Damn straight. But to somehow imply that I only want to reconcile with him for some self-interest beyond wanting to share my life with him and do my absolute best for the rest of my life to show him that he is a loved, wanted, and desired man...that's an insult to both me and my husband.

[This message edited by svereen at 3:50 PM, May 19th (Tuesday)]

svereen posted 5/19/2020 16:46 PM

Scrambledbrain

Your note suggests that you place as high a priority on relinquishing your need to feel young and beautiful -- at least from outside sources -- as any other objective you have.

No, I would say my highest priority is probably to get my head out of my ass and quit being a selfish me, me, me person. After that, Iím focused on continuing to work on the ďwhysĒ that led me to think that an affair was a valid choice in dealing with my problems.
On a related note, I think you need to understand how deeply your AP played you. You mention that he CHOSE you among all of those beautiful girls. Please. It sounds like he had innumerable partners, and that you were just one of them. Likely, he enjoyed the way you persistently wanted him, at the potential risk to your marriage, etc.

No, whatís sad is that he didnít play me. I knew these things all along and still went ahead with the affair. Yes, I was flattered that he was younger and interested in me, but I was under no illusions that I was ever special to him in any way.
And I think his pain must be unbearable. He seems like a truly good man, just not good enough to meet all of your needs. There's no getting around this.

Yes, he is a truly good man. And his pain is unbearable. But my affair had nothing to with him being ďenoughĒ for me. It was because I wasnít enough for myself. No man or other person would ever have been enough for me. What I was lacking was something inside myself.
I suspect, though, that you guys will manage to work it out, for a couple of reasons. First, he's broken by this. I don't see him gathering the strength to leave you. Perhaps more importantly, he loves you and knows that you will be way worse off without him -- a divorced woman with an STI, with limited options and prerogatives.

He is broken by this. And knowing that breaks me a little more every day. However, my husband is a strong, smart man and I have faith that in the end he will do what is best for HIM. I do find it quite insulting that you say that I would be way worse off without him. Would I be missing out on spending the rest of my life with an amazing man that is far more than I deserve? Yes. But, I donít in any way feel that I have limited options. And whatís more Ė I donít need options. I am perfectly capable of navigating life independently.
What I don't think will happen is much redemption here.

Well, I guess itís a good thing Iím not looking to get it from you. Or anyone else, in the end. I have to get to a place where I can accept what I have done, focus on becoming a better person, and live a meaningful life. I will never forget what I have done and it will always be part of me. But I will not let it be the ONLY thing I am for the rest of my life.

JBWD posted 5/19/2020 16:57 PM

Svereen,

When you look at the following two quotes you need to have a bit of perspective on your credibility given where you are in time/space-

Despite what I did, and as unbelievable as it may seem, even during the affair I would have gone to the ends of the earth for him. I still would.

I want to reconcile with my husband because I love him and want to share my life with him.

The simple fact of the matter is that in the very recent past, you very aggressively and dramatically REFUSED to share with him. Ditto for the ďends of the earthĒ- Gently, you didnít stop having sex with a man not your husband after years, that seems like a lot less effort than going to the ends of the earth.

In light of that, my suggestion is to take the words being offered here and hold on to them. You will likely see them through a very different lens soon enough. All that to say, this is new territory for you and there is potential here to discover things that you donít know about yourself yet- That, after all, is the one uniting factor of all cheaters, a tragic lack of self-awareness.

svereen posted 5/19/2020 17:45 PM

First off, I'm making an edit to my first post. I said I was 43 - my husband pointed out that no, I am actually 44. I really thought I was still 43. Bummer.

BraveSirRobin

"I was a self-centered, deeply fucked up person, as evidenced by my compartmentalizing." I'm not using it to minimize my behavior. I absolutely had toxic thought processes. It's just that they didn't manifest in derogatory thoughts or statements. It was all about me, me, me.

You got it again. I was the queen of the me, me, me brigade. And I used compartmentalization to convince myself that everything I was doing was a-okay.
The A had nothing to do with how good a man OP's husband is. He could have been a Greek god with a seven figure income who gives mind-blowing orgasms and rescues abandoned puppies. The A happened because of flaws, not needs, in svereen. Her husband could not have prevented it by being "good enough."

THIS. Intellectually, my husband knows this - but he still struggles with thinking that the affair might have been about something he didnít do, some way he wasnít good enough, etc. I know that there is really no way to expect that something like this can happen to a person and they not see it as a reflection on themselves, but it isnít. It is only a reflection of what is wrong with me.

Ff4152

I wanted to add that I hope you stick around. You sound as if you want to do whatever is necessary to work on this. As you may already know, staying and hearing hard truths can be excruciating. Youíll find yourself wanting to leave and give up. Please donít. This will be one of the hardest things youíll ever do. Stick with it.

Thanks, and youíre right Ė itís not easy. The truth hurts sometimes. I plan on staying around and keep plugging at it.

Zugzwang

Think outside the box. If you are waiting for him to tell you that...then you are wanting him to fight for youÖ If you are waiting for him to tell you why he should stay married to you. You are putting him in the seat to validate you. To make you feel better.

I really didnít word that well. I donít literally mean Iím waiting for him to tell me, I mean the ball is in his court to make the decision whether he thinks Iím worth staying with. He doesnít have to tell me why he thinks I am or why he thinks Iím not Ė itís just his choice to make.
When you talk about your timeline be sure to explain what you wanted. What you were feeling and what you were looking for. What the AP did to fulfill that.

That is a really good idea, I had never thought of that.
This is very important. You were willing to do bad things because you didn't think you would get caught.

Yes, as much as I hate to say this, that was the simple truth of the matter.
Would you do it if you were promised you were never caught and there were no repercussions?

Whatís really awful is that in the first week or so after the affair came out, I felt this way. That there would have been no problems if it hadnít come out.
OR would you never do it because it is simply wrong to use people and hurt people that are already going through their own struggles in life? Because it is the right thing to do to treat people well and respectfully.

This is one thing I am really confused about in myself. Growing up and in the past (and right now!) I always felt that way. But obviously, something changed somewhere along the way and I just decided to completely ignore that. I have to figure out how the fuck I became capable of forgetting or ignoring those simple truths.
I agree with BraveSirRobin on this at least when it came to my own compartmentalizing.It is just a road and means to do what I wanted and didn't have any issues doing while hoarding away any little shred of guilt or shame. You must see compartmentalizing as a way you did it.

Yes, thatís exactly how I feel about my compartmentalizing. It was just the method I used to make it easy to do horrible things.
I would also like to point out that you aren't the only one that shot him. The AP did too. You opened the door. You didn't protect him from yourself or the AP. Hell, even the APs partners
.
My husband feels this way, too. I have trouble placing the blame on anyone but myself. Not because I think the AP was some innocent flower or anything, but it was ultimately me that set this in motion. I brought the AP into our lives.

Pinkpggy

I think you need to get past the fluff, the hating yourself, the I did a bad thing, and get to the point of the root of it and how you make sure you don't go back. Your actions above all else will show your BH over time if you become a safe partner, your words are pretty meaningless right now.

I know youíre right, but it is just so hard to get past the self-hatred. I am committed to figuring out what led me to make these choices and making sure that I never fall into the kind of thinking that led to them, but itís so hard seeing the pain my husband is in every day. Knowing that I did that to him. He keeps telling me that I will never be a safe partner as long as I still have so much self-hatredÖbut itís hard!
I also find it hard when both parties are on SI, I feel like the WS can never be fully transparent and vulnerable because the BS may read here.

It is tough. I thought about asking my husband not to read my posts, but since lying and keeping secrets is a big part of what led to this I didnít want to make him feel like I was still trying to do those things.

__________________________________________________

Thanks for everyone's continued help and insight. This is going to be one long, hard road - and I'm going to need all the help and slaps upside the head I can get.

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