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I have created so much devastation...

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Lostallalone posted 5/19/2020 18:22 PM

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 don't know you don't seem to get it. You use compartmentalizing as a way to not own up to what you did. To read your responses YOU DO NOT SEEM REMORSEFUL AT ALL. NOT AT ALLLLLLL. you spute out the words but you were ignoring your issues. EVERY TIME YOU LEFT YOUR HUSBAND TO MEET YOUR LOVER YOU WERE MAKING FUN OF YOUR HUSBAND. You keep deflecting this. YOU GAVE YOUR HUSBAND A LIFELONG DISEASE. Stop deflecting. You did not respect your husband.

I hate bringing this so crude but you are forcing it. So the thoughts thru your head while screwing your lover you kept saying...." I love my husband. I love my husband. I love my my husband." And pillow talk you repeatedly told your LOVER "my husband is a great man. My husband is a great man. My husband is a great man."

You are using compartmentalized thinking to EXCUSE YOURSELF. YOU MADE FUN OF YOUR HUSBAND. YOU DISRESPECTED YOUR HUSBAND. YOU DID NOT LOVE YOUR HUSBAND. YOU BETRAYED YOUR HUSBAND. You are not Owning it

pinkpggy posted 5/19/2020 19:06 PM

Just a question- something I struggled/struggle with. Being the need to redeem myself in my husband's eyes. To be given the chance to prove I can and will be a safe partner. In the beginning the over whelming need to be redeemed lead me to try to be a perfect spouse. I'm wondering if you feel that way at all? A strong need to redeem yourself?

It's a slippery slope because it also lead me to mask my emotions which is what I'm working on now. Feeling like you have a safe space again with your BS takes an incredibly long time.

BraveSirRobin posted 5/19/2020 20:41 PM

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.
My BH (TimeSpiral) and I go back and forth on this. In the beginning, he really wanted to see me here doing the work. The consistency of what I posted, even when the information was unflattering to me or devastating to him, helped rebuild his trust. I do not edit myself on his behalf, ever. That's a promise we made to each other.

Over time, he realized that the toughest part wasn't the details I disclosed (I rarely post anything here that he hasn't heard first; the few times it happened, it was because I had a breakthrough that I shared immediately afterwards). The problem was that SI was dictating topics that drew our focus off our own work. TS might be struggling with one issue, and then because I was posting about something else, that thread would trigger him and take center stage. He also would get drawn into those stories, which he otherwise would not know about, and suffer as he imagined the BS's pain.

We tried having me stop posting for a while, but I feel like it's helpful for me to have the reinforcement. We rugswept for a long time, and I don't want to default back into toxic patterns. I feel like the kiln hasn't fully fired me yet. Then we tried having him not read my posts, but that's hard for him. He trusts me, but it's a trigger to have me writing details about OM that he's avoiding reading. And it gets so tempting for me to ask his advice about my approach to other people's posts. Anyone who appreciates anything I write should be aware of the "silent partner" role that TS plays in it.

We've been lucky to never have a he said/she said dynamic here. That's in part because he says so little. He saw me trying to change, and so he preferred to wait and watch. However, I think our story would have been very different if SI had existed in 1989. I believe he would have been much harder on me, because he would have been told (correctly) to stop pick-me dancing and lay down some ultimatums. I might have pulled my head out of my ass much sooner. Or maybe I'd have failed the test, and we might not have reconciled. My greatest fear is that it would have been better for him if we hadn't. In any case, we're here now, and closer than we've been in a long time.

I guess this is a long-winded way of saying to just be honest. If you always tell the truth, you don't have to organize your thoughts for a particular audience. It's a good habit to get into.

etaoin posted 5/19/2020 23:44 PM

OK. I have walked the walk and I can talk the talk. You want to save your marriage? Really? There is a way out of hell. You can start being authentic. "I love my husband so much I would take a bullet for him." That's not what he is seeing. He is seeing a woman who would look him in the eye, smile at him, and then go off to fuck some stranger. For 4 or 6 years or whatever it was, then lie to protect the OM and you when you got an STD. You want a restart? Then quit the melodrama. And we both know that taking a bullet for him was .0000001% of reality. What is real is that every day for years you cheated. Plain and simple. You did it because you wanted to, you loved it, and if you didn't get an std you would still be at it. You lied, and lied and lied again.

So quit the hand wringing. What is it you really want, and what is it that would make your BS want to consider staying with you? Really?

I can tell you, but you have to stop the Joan of Arc act. It is simply this. You need to fall on your knees and convince your husband. Convince him that he is your life and that you will walk through fire answer all his questions, subvert your ego, and save him. Not you. Not the marriage. But him. And frankly I'm not seeing much of that here.

What I'm seeing is defensive talk. "I'm a lone wolf." "I have a good career." I will be fine without him. Fine, then leave him and stop the torment. But if you really, really want him, then stop the defensive behavior and open yourself. Show your vulnerability. Open yourself and demonstrate to him your utter devotion. Show him you are a real person and not a fraud. Show him who you really are.

How do you do that? Quit lying to him and yourself. You can begin by stopping the "it was just sex" canard. Not after 4 or 6 or whatever years. No one can be so cold except a sociopath. So what was it? What drove you to this? Love? Revenge? Thrill? Reveling in the sinfulness of it all? What? Don't say you don't know. Don't say you are a shit. And for crap's sake don't say you "just" compartmentalized it all. Just say what it was.

You loved it, you wanted it and you would still be doing it. That is honesty. And your husband deserves that above all. Will that be enough to save him? No. But maybe, just maybe, if you quit the clichťs, if you quit looking for an easy explanation, if you demonstrated that you have something to give him in the long term other than your pension, maybe you can save this.

It will be hard, but I am here to say it can be done.

svereen posted 5/20/2020 01:48 AM

etaoin

You can start being authentic. "I love my husband so much I would take a bullet for him." That's not what he is seeing. He is seeing a woman who would look him in the eye, smile at him, and then go off to fuck some stranger. For 4 or 6 years or whatever it was, then lie to protect the OM and you when you got an STD. You want a restart? Then quit the melodrama. And we both know that taking a bullet for him was .0000001% of reality. What is real is that every day for years you cheated. Plain and simple. You did it because you wanted to, you loved it, and if you didn't get an std you would still be at it. You lied, and lied and lied again.


I know that that is exactly what he sees. That is what he sees because that is the truth. In an earlier response I said that while I was saying I would do anything for him, my actions proved that I obviously would not. Just because I would protect him from others if they hurt him, doesnít mean that I donít recognize now that I was hurting him far more than anyone else ever could. It just means that I was total hypocrite living in some delusional world I created to ignore the devastation I was creating and make what I was doing seem okay.


You need to fall on your knees and convince your husband. Convince him that he is your life and that you will walk through fire answer all his questions, subvert your ego, and save him. Not you. Not the marriage. But him. And frankly I'm not seeing much of that here.

That is EXACTLY what I am trying to do. Maybe my posts arenít making that clear or maybe Iím doing a shitty job, but that is what my actual goal is. I donít care if I save me, although he has told me time and again that is something he wants to see me do. Saving him and helping him see that he has value and worth and that what I did was absolutely no reflection on him is what I want to do. Iím sorry that I still want to be married to him. From what Iíve been reading itís wrong for me to care about that, but at this point I canít help that I do. I havenít figured out how to quit wanting that yet.

What I'm seeing is defensive talk. "I'm a lone wolf." "I have a good career." I will be fine without him. Fine, then leave him and stop the torment. But if you really, really want him, then stop the defensive behavior and open yourself.

I DO want him. I was responding to a post saying I NEED him. I was pointing out that the exact reason I am here is because I WANT him, not because I need the things he can give me. And it may not seem like it, but I am trying to stop my defensive behavior. Am I close to 100% there? Hell no. But I do know that I have opened up to him more than I have at any time before in our relationship.

You can begin by stopping the "it was just sex" canard. Not after 4 or 6 or whatever years. No one can be so cold except a sociopath. So what was it? What drove you to this?

Iíve already done that. In one of the earlier discussions I said that I realized this affair was not about sex, that it was actually an emotional affair. I was there for the attention that I was getting. That I craved the attention and the feelings that a man desired me. That I craved it so much I was willing to sacrifice my husband and my marriage to get it. What Iím working on is trying to figure out why I needed that so much. I donít think compartmentalizing is why I did it, or even a part of why I did it. It is one of the tools I used to convince myself that what I was doing was not as horrible and despicable as it was.

Iím sorry that all my responses are just me being defensive. But I donít seem to be able to answer peopleís questions without doing that. Iím trying to explain why I was doing what I was doing. It doesnít mean that I donít see that all my actions were utterly and completely horrible, Iím just trying to figure out the whys.

But maybe, just maybe, if you quit the clichťs, if you quit looking for an easy explanation, if you demonstrated that you have something to give him in the long term other than your pension, maybe you can save this.

I think what I did was in many ways one big cliche. The middle aged woman that worried about getting old and unattractive. Yes, there is more to it than that, but my husband has told me Iím one big cliche. And it is so sad, but my husband has said that sometimes he feels like he has to consider the practical reasons to stay with me - and the pension is one of them.

It will be hard, but I am here to say it can be done.

I really hope it can be done. Iím sorry Iím doing such a piss poor job of showing it, but I really am trying.

[This message edited by svereen at 5:17 AM, May 20th (Wednesday)]

svereen posted 5/20/2020 01:59 AM

Pnkpiggy

Just a question- something I struggled/struggle with. Being the need to redeem myself in my husband's eyes. To be given the chance to prove I can and will be a safe partner. In the beginning the over whelming need to be redeemed lead me to try to be a perfect spouse. I'm wondering if you feel that way at all? A strong need to redeem yourself?

OMG. Yes, a resounding yes. I know that I have to let this go, but sometimes I feel like I can never move on and come to any kind of peace with what I did unless I can spend all of eternity showing him that I can be a good spouse. Showing him that I have changed, that I can love him fully and treat him the way that he has always deserved to be treated.

svereen posted 5/20/2020 02:26 AM

BraveSirRobin

In the beginning, he really wanted to see me here doing the work. The consistency of what I posted, even when the information was unflattering to me or devastating to him, helped rebuild his trust. I do not edit myself on his behalf, ever. That's a promise we made to each other.

Yes, I started posting here because my husband didnít think I was doing the work unless I posted here. I thought that by going to counseling and reading and learning from this site I could get what I needed out of it, but it was very important to him that I post here. And yes, I have promised to be honest on here. Itís tough since my natural instinct is to not hurt him any more than I already have, but so far I havenít held anything back.

And it gets so tempting for me to ask his advice about my approach to other people's posts. Anyone who appreciates anything I write should be aware of the "silent partner" role that TS plays in it.

Yes, he reads my posts and the responses, and sometimes I wonder if some of what I write is influenced by our discussions about the responses. I donít consciously feel like Iím doing this, but it seems like our discussions must have some influence on me, even if I donít realize it.

Or maybe I'd have failed the test, and we might not have reconciled. My greatest fear is that it would have been better for him if we hadn't.

I worry about this ALL the time. That if we reconcile he may be here, but not happy. Just here. Sometimes I wonder if I should leave just so he can move on and quit having to focus so much on the pain. My very presence is a constant trigger for him, and I hate that every time he sees me it hurts. But thatís not my choice to make, itís his. And I would never want him to think I am anything but 100% committed to seeing this through, that I never stop wanting us to have a future.

I guess this is a long-winded way of saying to just be honest. If you always tell the truth, you don't have to organize your thoughts for a particular audience. It's a good habit to get into.

Yes. Iíve already proven that honesty hasnít exactly been my go-to strategy, so Iím hoping if I can be consistently honest from now on he might one day see me as safe again. It is so hard when I just desperately donít want to cause him any more pain.

svereen posted 5/20/2020 02:48 AM

Lostallalone

I don't know you don't seem to get it. You use compartmentalizing as a way to not own up to what you did.

Iíve never thought it was an excuse for what I did. Just because I said that I compartmentalized doesnít mean that I donít know what I did and 100% own it. It doesnít make what I did any better, or excuse what I did. Itís just one of the strategies I used in making what I did easier. Zugzwang said earlier ď compartmentalization 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 shameĒ This is what Iím trying to say.

YOU DO NOT SEEM REMORSEFUL AT ALL. NOT AT ALLLLLLL.

Maybe Iím not there yet, I donít know. Regardless, I donít think there is anything I can say that will ever make you think I am.

YOU DISRESPECTED YOUR HUSBAND....YOU BETRAYED YOUR HUSBAND.

Iíve never once denied this. Not one single time. What I did showed him absolutely no respect. I betrayed him in the worst possible way a spouse can. I donít know why you keep insisting I donít know this. Or that I feel like I had any excuse to do it.

[This message edited by svereen at 3:02 AM, May 20th (Wednesday)]

Zugzwang posted 5/20/2020 08:10 AM

I went back and read all your posts. Just to see if I got the typical wayward vibe right. Just to see if I was thinking what scrambledbrain was getting at and etaion.

I suggest you reread all your posts. See if you see something about NEED that you are so vehemently against admitting to yourself.

Of course we don't want to admit any weaknesses. It is easier to just admit we are fucked up. For some it is easy to admit that we have self hate. Not really a weakness though, it is just who we are (though most healthy people would say it is a weakness). Not along the lines of admitting we NEED someone else. At least on the emotional level where you can't function without them feeding you that you NEED them so much. There are many forms of NEED. You may not need your husband financially. You were pretty clear to jump the poster to let them know YOU are indeed a very independent woman. Well, at least financially you are. You might find some insight about yourself emotionally. Strong independent woman don't have a NEED so great that they hurt other people to have that NEED fed by others. Don't let PRIDE get in the way of admitting what you really feel. That isn't being vulnerable. Putting on a show to make someone think you don't NEED when you really do. Happiness will never be found insisting you are independent when deep down you really aren't.

I know that that is exactly what he sees. That is what he sees because that is the truth. In an earlier response I said that while I was saying I would do anything for him, my actions proved that I obviously would not. Just because I would protect him from others if they hurt him, doesnít mean that I donít recognize now that I was hurting him far more than anyone else ever could. It just means that I was total hypocrite living in some delusional world I created to ignore the devastation I was creating and make what I was doing seem okay.
No, that doesn't make you a hypocrite. I makes you a liar. You aren't seeing the truth. You can't love that person (though I do believe in object love- object love is not self sacrificing though) and let others hurt them and yourself hurt them and insist you love them and would sacrifice yourself for them because you plainly did not. You chose yourself. It doesn't make you a hypocrite. It just proves you had a NEED and chose it over sacrifice.

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.
I get this. I think this is easy to do for most cake eaters because we really realize it was our fault and the AP is a dime a dozen. That doesn't change the truth for the BS and the fact of the matter that the AP does play a part and did choose to wrong your husband. Don't deny him that truth. Just because you accept his truth doesn't change your own ownership. My point though about that is that you weren't willing to step in front of train for him for a long time. You allowed someone else to get to him too. It is important you stop mixing up the way you feel now and who you want to be with who you were. Your husband is going to want to pick apart who you were. You should too. New WS like to say "yes,but" a lot. Yes I did that, but I love you. Stay in the yes for awhile till that is clean. You can think in your head and say to him...."I will be this from now on."

It doesnít mean that I donít see that all my actions were utterly and completely horrible, Iím just trying to figure out the whys.
For the record. I know you know that. What you aren't being vulnerable about is the NEED. That you aren't as independent as you pretend to be. You want your husband. Your husband wants you to NEED him as much as you NEEDED your AP. Of course you want to get to the healthy you of not needing anyone else to make you happy. You will want a partner to share life with.

There is nothing wrong with both of you being here. My wife was here before me and me posting was a condition of R. Here we are almost 8 years out. The marriage is R, most importantly I am R. I too was a cake eater. I too had no idea what emotional affairs were. I had no idea that needing attention like a goldfish wants food was such an emotional thing. This is possible. You have to want it for yourself though. Not just to save a marriage or keep something. You have to want to be authentic, vulnerable, and truthful about yourself in order to be a better spouse. We would read each others post and discuss them and other posters posts. What we promised to do since my first post was not to post on each others posts.

Zugzwang posted 5/20/2020 08:15 AM

YOU DISRESPECTED YOUR HUSBAND....YOU BETRAYED YOUR HUSBAND.

I might be wrong though what the poster is trying to say is that you hold onto the love thing and throwing myself in front of the bullet and ...you disrespected your husband and betrayed him. That is not love. That is not being a hypocrite. That is the actions of someone that does not love.

There was a book my wife had me read. Love and respect in the marriage. Though kind of outdated with respects that most people want both...it really focused on the women want love. Men want respect. That men see and feel love through respect. You should read it. Like I said...we don't subscribe to the whole thing about it being separate and it is Christian based so it has some of that Christian stuff about submitting to your husband (which we don't follow as well), yet is has some insight in how men and women can be different.

BraveSirRobin posted 5/20/2020 10:26 AM

Svereen, I saw the same triggered reaction to the word "need" that Zug did, and I was planning to suggest that you look at it, too.

We say here that the things that provoke the strongest negative feelings are the places you most need to examine. The knee jerk reaction is violent -- this person has it all wrong! They aren't getting what I'm saying! I'm being totally misrepresented! Fuck that!

But after you cool down from that angry moment, think about why it was so important to you to be "right" and to put the commenter in their place. I'm not even saying that you were wrong. But why did you jump to the conclusion that "need" was financial need? Why were you so angry that someone might think that? What comforts you in reiterating so strongly that you don't need your husband -- that really, you don't need anyone?

And again, don't get sidetracked into a debate about whether needing someone is good or bad. There's nothing wrong with independence; indeed, it's healthy. But the anger about it, and the anger at the suggestion that you would talk smack about your husband, is a signal to you to pay attention. I believe that you didn't verbally diss your BH. But why was it critical that we understand that, immediately?

Was it an "at least I" moment, as in "At least I didn't do THAT to him?" You need to watch out for those. "At least I" is an otherizing technique, a way of making ourselves feel different from and better than the common wayward. I was a frequent early practitioner of this defense mechanism. Vulnerability requires acknowledgement that the differences in our stories are irrelevant. We don't get credit for the ways in which we did not fuck up.

Was it hitting a nerve deep inside you? What makes you furious that anyone would assume you are dependent on your H? Did something happen to you formatively that made you feel your safety depended entirely on yourself, that you couldn't trust people you should have been able to trust? Is it anger and exhaustion at fighting a lifelong feminist battle to not be seen as a cliche, while simultaneously facing that there is nothing more cliched than seeking validation from a man?

Ask yourself lots of questions, and don't be satisfied with the answers. The response to every answer should be "why?" In my case, for example: why did I risk a relationship I cared about for a guy I knew I had no future with? Because I thought it was safe. Why? Because we both had primary attachments to other people. Why did that feel safer? Because I wasn't invested in him staying with me. Why was that a good thing in your mind? Because I had a long history of not measuring up in relationships, of not being worth sticking around. He didn't have the power to hurt me, because I didn't care enough about him for that to happen. Why was that your coping mechanism, to take less instead of expecting more? And so forth. It would take paragraphs of that kind of internal exchange before I arrived where I needed to work.

The whys are multi-layered. If you find an easy answer, it's probably not the only one. The places that multiple issues intersect is where we lose our shit. If you feel anger taking over, that's like a metal detector beeping at you that something is buried underneath. Pick up your shovel and dig in.

Lostallalone posted 5/20/2020 13:27 PM

Ok I am beginning to see the diff of opinion here. You seem very pragmatic. You look at things and thing well a and b just equals c. I personally wear my heart on my sleeve. I always worry and over think every move I make.
So in the beginning you were saying it was just sex. To me thats seems cold. But to you it was there was no emotion involved so whts the harm.

Also when you say I always been a loner and I'll be fine on my own your thoughts are your being realistic. Which I am sure you will be fine on your own but to say that out loud feels like your marriage doesn't seem to be important to you.

Ok so in your way of thinking try to understand you have caused your husbands pain. I know YOU KNOW that but try to feel that. You come across as a rug sweeper or he should just get over it. You mind and heart are in conflict. I am really not trying to be mean to you at all I just don't think like you do and you are getting beat up. Sorry.

I really hope you can show your husband you love him. But to do that you have to become open and vulnerable.

I do hope you two will be ok. Hang in there plz

scrambledbrain posted 5/20/2020 20:37 PM

Scrambled Brain here.

I just want you to know that I certainly didn't intend to insult you, and, what's more, your affairs are absolutely none of my business.

I think you are right in suggesting that my statement about your needing your husband was presumptuous. I obviously don't know you, so how could I possibly know that?

I was almost certainly projecting and painting you with too broad a brush. I think my comments are just reflective of the main points of your narrative (which I won't rehash), and, again, projecting what it MIGHT look like behind the screen.

I think I touched a nerve with my first post, and that maybe my second one enabled you to convert this into anger. Maybe that's better. I hope it helps.

I too have stepped out, and found, validation. I too have paid a form of a price. When I read here, I'm trying to understand myself better. I still have work to do.

At the risk of projecting again, it strikes me that so, perhaps, do you.

sb

Snowyjune posted 5/21/2020 10:33 AM

Hi svereen, like you, I was a WW who thought i knew better and I needed to heal my BH asap (ie I need this.. I know that).

8 months post D day, I've given my BH 3 more D-days, and only just started to scratch the surface of POSSIBLE R this week, all because I thought I knew better.

Like you, I knew I was shitty, I knew i compartmentalized, I needed to manage my BH, I needed to heal him, I needed to get him over the trauma, I knew his pain, I knew he was hurting and angry.

So?

There is no point knowing, if you aren't gonna do anything about it. But to "do" something, it is to do nothing and just understand HIS pain. See it from HIS perspective.
Only when you TRULY understand his pain, is when you can help him, as you will TRULY see your own devastation.

My BH told me what I did previously was akin to him crying and eating the shit sandwich in the toilet, and I was locking myself in the bedroom room and asking if he was alright.
On better days, I would be like cooking him some soup happily for him to eat with his shit sandwich.

We know.... nothing.
The shit sandwich which we dish out, and expect them to eat, in order to be with us, is HUGE.

We will never know 100% of their pain, especially from a BH's perspective. The humiliation, the emasculation of having your wife ripped from you and into another man's arms is a new level of pain women find it hard to understand.

BSR is right.

The whys are multi-layered. If you find an easy answer, it's probably not the only one. The places that multiple issues intersect is where we lose our shit. If you feel anger taking over, that's like a metal detector beeping at you that something is buried underneath. Pick up your shovel and dig in.

This is really difficult and something I still struggle with. Its easy to go 2/3 layers of why down and stop there and say you've done the exercise. But you have to keep going down that rabbit hole to get to true remorse..
The epiphanies that hit you.. share that with your BH honestly, even if its the most cruel thing in the world.

You cannot go around it.
You cannot find the quickest way to resolve it.
You cannot be you.

You have to go through it.
Eat the shit sandwich with him.
Understand his pain.
Sit with him and cry with him.
Take it when he's angry.
Listen to him when he's ranting.
Love him harder/ more than ever.
He should be your king cos you sure made him feel like a pauper for a long time.
Only he gets to decide if you are safe enough.


TL:DR
1. Try to understand him as much as possible. Know that you know nothing remotely close, and use that to help him and listen.
2. Be vulnerable and brutally honest with yourself and him. It will never be enough.

svereen posted 5/21/2020 23:01 PM

Okay, let me just start by saying that a lot of you had some things to say about need Ė and so do I Ė but this was just getting so long I really had to table the need stuff for later. Itís going to get its own separate post Ė hopefully in the next day or two. Iím going to respond to what you guys all said on the subject, and try and sort out what my thoughts are.

And pinkpggy - I got your PM - I'll be getting back to you...running a little behind on stuff.

Zugzwang

For some it is easy to admit that we have self hate. Not really a weakness though, it is just who we are (though most healthy people would say it is a weakness).

Yes, I would say that the self-hate is just who I am. Been trying to overcome this for years. Actually, maybe I havenít been trying to overcome it Ė I just recognized it was there.
Strong independent woman don't have a NEED so great that they hurt other people to have that NEED fed by others.

You are right on that.
No, that doesn't make you a hypocrite. I makes you a liar. You aren't seeing the truth. You can't love that person (though I do believe in object love- object love is not self sacrificing though) and let others hurt them and yourself hurt them and insist you love them and would sacrifice yourself for them because you plainly did not. You chose yourself. It doesn't make you a hypocrite. It just proves you had a NEED and chose it over sacrifice.
I see - youíre absolutely right on the liar front. I am having EXTREME difficulty accepting that I didnít love my husband. It was absolutely NOT a self-sacrificing kind of love, and thatís the only true kind of love.
I think this is easy to do for most cake eaters because we really realize it was our fault and the AP is a dime a dozenÖ My point though about that is that you weren't willing to step in front of train for him for a long time. You allowed someone else to get to him too.

Yes, thatís pretty much how I feel Ė the AP really didnít mean anything to me. And no, I obviously wasnít protecting my husband from him. He hates the AP, and that has been hard for me to understand, because yes, I see it as all my fault. I think I understand a little better now.
It is important you stop mixing up the way you feel now and who you want to be with who you were
.
Yes Ė that is hard for me. I think I have been burying (not consciously) my love for my husband all along, and now that I have let myself really feel it, it is overwhelming. And no, thatís not who I was during the affair.
Your husband is going to want to pick apart who you were. You should too. New WS like to say "yes,but" a lot. Yes I did that, but I love you. Stay in the yes for awhile till that is clean. You can think in your head and say to him...."I will be this from now on."

He definitely does - I do as well, although there is some ugly stuff in there. And as for the ďYes, butĒ Ė Iím starting to see a bunch of that in some of my posts. I have been telling him things like "I will be this from now on.", but of course he doesnít really have much reason to trust me on that right now.
I too had no idea what emotional affairs were. I had no idea that needing attention like a goldfish wants food was such an emotional thing.

I know! I had never thought of it that way until you pointed it out. Neither had my husband, so this really was kind of Ďbreaking newsí for us.
There is nothing wrong with both of you being hereÖ We would read each others post and discuss them and other posters posts.

He reads mine and the responses, and weíve had some really good talks as a result. I was initially reading his, but Iím not now. I was having A LOT of trouble with the responses Ė not really the ones that were justifiably hard on me for what I did - but the ones that made assumptions that werenít true, or tried to convince him that I was going to start making false domestic violence calls, try and get pregnant on purpose, etc. There were some that were upset that I was on the site and told him I was only here so I would know what I needed to say and how to get an ďedgeĒ on him. I would get really worried he was going to believe those things, and when I would reassure him that I wasnít he would say that he never imagined I would cheat, so how could he assume I wouldnít do those things. That was early on, and I donít think he actually believes I would do those things now Ė I hope, anyway.
...you disrespected your husband and betrayed himÖThat is the actions of someone that does not love.

That makes me very afraid. Am I not capable of love? Could I be that fucked up? Is that even anything you can fix? These are rhetorical questions, Iím not really expecting an answer.


BraveSirRobin
Again, Iím going to do a separate post on need, so Iím not ignoring everything you said here.

They aren't getting what I'm saying! I'm being totally misrepresented! Fuck that!

Yes Ė I feel that quite often. Iím trying to be chillÖI wouldnít say Iím doing a great job, but Iím working on it.
I believe that you didn't verbally diss your BH. But why was it critical that we understand that, immediately? ÖWas it an "at least I" moment, as in "At least I didn't do THAT to him?" You need to watch out for those. "At least I" is an otherizing technique, a way of making ourselves feel different from and better than the common wayward.

Yep, definitely an ďat least IĒ. I see now that getting upset about that was stupid. My husband said that with everything else I did he couldnít give two shits about that. It wouldnít have made what I did any worse than it already is.
Why did I risk a relationship I cared about for a guy I knew I had no future with?

Thatís a damn good question. I am working on the whys and I feel like Iím really starting to make some progress. At this point probably just starting to scratch the surface, but progress is progress. What worries me is that while Iím pretty sure Iím going to find a ton of whys now that Iíve started digging Ėdoesnít it all really come down to the fact that at the end of the day I was a selfish dumbass that was too stupid to see she already had perfection right in front of her?


Lostallalone

Ok I am beginning to see the diff of opinion here. You seem very pragmatic. You look at things and thing well a and b just equals c. I personally wear my heart on my sleeve. I always worry and over think every move I make.

You pegged me Ė I am pragmatic to the core. Sometimes to the point it makes me look cold. And I definitely donít wear my heart on my sleeve. I have been known to say ďfeelings are for other peopleĒ. Not that I donít have them Ė I just typically donít let anyone see them. I know thatís a problem, just never realized until now just how big of a problem it was.

I would be much better off if I did a lot more worrying and thinking before I do things Ė obviously. My husband is like you, the man can THINK. And then think some more. And some more. Me on the other hand Ė the last group I supervised at work got together and said that what they learned the most from me was ďItíll be fine!Ē Apparently that was my motto and I said it all the time. Unfortunately, that has pretty much been the extent of my thinking before acting throughout my entire life. And thatís if I even gave it any thought at all. Works really good at my jobÖnot so much in the rest of my life.

So in the beginning you were saying it was just sex. To me thats seems cold. But to you it was there was no emotion involved so whts the harm.

Exactly Ė to me it was just sex with no emotional attachment, so itís not like it was really going to do any harm. I understand now that there was a lot of emotion involved Ė not for the AP, but how my emotions were so dependent on getting this validation. And there was SO MUCH HARM. Long before my husband found out, he could see that I was different, he just didnít know why. And it is very cold to say it was just sex Ė I honestly donít know WTF I was thinking. Looking back I wonder if was just another way I was trying to rationalize to myself that what I was doing wasnít that bad. But also, I have always been much freer with my body than my thoughts, my feelings, my passions. My husband is probably the only one who has ever seen much of any of them, and I have never even fully opened up to him.
Also when you say I always been a loner and I'll be fine on my own your thoughts are your being realistic. Which I am sure you will be fine on your own but to say that out loud feels like your marriage doesn't seem to be important to you

Iím going to touch on this in my "need", but it never even occurred to me that it made it look like my marriage wasnít important to me Ė I was trying to show that my husband was what was important to me - not his money, not a sense of ďsecurityĒ, but HIM. I can see from several responses that a lot of people did see it as me not caring about him or the marriage Ė and I was actually trying to show how much I cared. That one really backfired on me.
Ok so in your way of thinking try to understand you have caused your husbands pain. I know YOU KNOW that but try to feel that.

I really do think I am starting to grasp it. I do feel it. More every day. Seeing his utter and complete devastation every day, knowing I caused it Ė I canít even begin to describe it. I sometimes wish he had never met me. He would probably have a good, happy life right now Ė instead I have sentenced him to this living hell. I'm not trying to be melodramatic, that's what he said I have done. And he's not wrong. Since Iím a compartmentalizer I can ďput it awayĒ for a while, but when it comes roaring out and it all hits me Ė those are the times when I lose it. For some reason they tend to be in the middle of the night.
You come across as a rug sweeper or he should just get over it.

OMG - Iím so sorry I come across that way Ė I donít think that at all. I know that he will never get over it. That if we stay together we will always be dealing with it in one way or another for the rest of our lives. And that makes me so sad. We had a wonderful history and quite probably a wonderful future Ė and thatís all gone now. And he didnít deserve that.
I am really not trying to be mean to you at all I just don't think like you do and you are getting beat up. Sorry.

I know you arenít, and Iím sorry I reacted badly to some of the things you said. I can see you are coming from a good place, and I need to quit being so sensitive.
I really hope you can show your husband you love him. But to do that you have to become open and vulnerable.

I hope so, too. So much. And open and vulnerable are two things that I have NEVER been, so this is rough going for me. Iím trying, and I think Iím making some progress Ė but 43 years of habits are hard to break. And Iím so scared, because my husband has said that he believes I can change and be better, but he thinks it will take a long time and he doesnít know if he is willing to waste any more of his life and time on me than he already has.
I do hope you two will be ok. Hang in there plz

Thank you, Iím trying.


Scrambledbrain

I just want you to know that I certainly didn't intend to insult you, and, what's more, your affairs are absolutely none of my business. I think you are right in suggesting that my statement about your needing your husband was presumptuous. I obviously don't know you, so how could I possibly know that?

Iím sorry I took it so hard, it just really hit a nerve. Partially because of some responses my husband has gotten on his posts Ė one saying that the only thing I see him as is a meal ticket. That PISSED ME OFF. So when I saw what you said, I immediately assumed that you were implying the same thing and got a little worked up.
I too have stepped out, and found, validation. I too have paid a form of a price. When I read here, I'm trying to understand myself better. I still have work to do. At the risk of projecting again, it strikes me that so, perhaps, do you.

Youíre not projecting there Ė I have a HELL of a lot of work to do.


Snowyjune

Only when you TRULY understand his pain, is when you can help him, as you will TRULY see your own devastation.

I think now, at 4 almost 5 months out, I am just starting to really begin absorbing his pain. Just yesterday he and I had a discussion about this very issue. It was triggered by a sort of mini-epiphany (one of many Iíve had) where I saw just a little bit more of just how fucking awful this was and how awful I had been Ė and yes, devastated was exactly how I felt.
My BH told me what I did previously was akin to him crying and eating the shit sandwich in the toilet, and I was locking myself in the bedroom room and asking if he was alright.

Ha! Thatís a good one!
On better days, I would be like cooking him some soup happily for him to eat with his shit sandwich.

I could be wrong, but I hope my husband at least sees me at this level now. I know Iím probably not any better than this, but I hope Iím at least this far.
The shit sandwich which we dish out, and expect them to eat, in order to be with us, is HUGE.

I know. And Iím terrified, because frankly Ė I wouldnít eat it to be with me.
The humiliation, the emasculation of having your wife ripped from you and into another man's arms is a new level of pain women find it hard to understand.

Yes. He tells me this a lot. That being a woman I canít possibly understand it. And heís right. I just wish I could make him realize that it really didnít have anything to do with him. He intellectually understands it, but he canít help the way it makes him feel.
You cannot go around it.
You cannot find the quickest way to resolve it.
You cannot be you.
You have to go through it.
Eat the shit sandwich with him.
Understand his pain.
Sit with him and cry with him.
Take it when he's angry.
Listen to him when he's ranting.
Love him harder/ more than ever.
He should be your king cos you sure made him feel like a pauper for a long time.
Only he gets to decide if you are safe enough.

This is such great advice, and it's all true. And itís funny because recently I actually referred to him as my King!
Be vulnerable and brutally honest with yourself and him. It will never be enough.

And that is so hard to accept. That nothing I can do will ever be enough. That there is no way, nothing I can do, to ever come close to repairing the damage I have done.

BraveSirRobin posted 5/21/2020 23:34 PM

What worries me is that while Iím pretty sure Iím going to find a ton of whys now that Iíve started digging Ėdoesnít it all really come down to the fact that at the end of the day I was a selfish dumbass that was too stupid to see she already had perfection right in front of her?
Yes, and I wrote something to that effect in a post when I was in the early stages of working through my whys. I'll see if I can find it for you. Being a self-centered asshat is always one of the whys, but that doesn't mean the rest of them are irrelevant.

Zugzwang posted 5/22/2020 10:17 AM

That makes me very afraid. Am I not capable of love? Could I be that fucked up? Is that even anything you can fix? These are rhetorical questions, Iím not really expecting an answer.

Yes, you can. The first step is choosing to be vulnerable. Which you really aren't doing. I would bet you are afraid of your husband denying you and you act independent because you are protecting yourself from that pain. Secretly you are devastated.

My husband is probably the only one who has ever seen much of any of them, and I have never even fully opened up to him.
What do you have to lose anymore? What do you have left to protect? I guarantee there is nothing there to protect. There is everything to gain. I have never been happier in my whole life like I am now. By choosing to work and be vulnerable with my wife. For me, maybe because I am a male...it was reputation and pride with a bit of being denied by wife. I wanted her respect and I was afraid of confessing my weakness in fear she would turn away from me. Respect! I cheated on her, there not much more that could have someone lose respect for you like that, yet I could not see that because to me it was no big deal. It wasn't about her. It was about me and getting fed. At first I didn't realize what the actions did to her. Everything I promised to her in our wedding vows I did not do. The affairs were not about her, yet by having one...the aftermath and the repercussions from it were. I made it about her. There is a big distinction in that.

I would get really worried he was going to believe those things, and when I would reassure him that I wasnít he would say that he never imagined I would cheat, so how could he assume I wouldnít do those things. That was early on, and I donít think he actually believes I would do those things now Ė I hope, anyway.
I am going to give you the opinion now from a male perspective. This is controlling him. Allow him to hear whatever they choose to tell him. Then trust him. Trust him to know what he needs and what is good for him. He is an adult male. By being afraid he will be influenced by others...you are saying I don't trust you enough to make your own decisions as an adult I respect. You are essentially treating him like a child and further emasculating him. He doesn't need your advice. It isn't just about him trusting you. It is about you disrespecting him and treating him like a child that needs you to navigate others opinions. He doesn't want his wife acting like a mother hen. Let him fight his own fight.

Me on the other hand Ė the last group I supervised at work got together and said that what they learned the most from me was ďItíll be fine!Ē
I think this pragmatic, not talk about feelings, live in the moment, instant gratification, present focused, entitled, and self absorbed personality is a huge part of being a cake eater.

Seeing his utter and complete devastation every day, knowing I caused it Ė I canít even begin to describe it.
I get it. Not only have you hurt a good and compassionate human being (who probably goes out of their way to not hurt people- just speculating there), you have done the opposite of what you set out to do. You have further hurt your own self, pride, integrity, honor, and reputation that is at the root of needing that validation and attention to make you feel good because you caused this.

After you dig and find your whys sharing it with your husband who probably has more insight than you do...if he is anything like my wife....stop and think about how you feel afterward. Do you feel better. More relieved. It is easy to get addicted to that feeling. The release of stress and anxiety from sharing for once. Just make sure that you follow that up with change.

etaoin posted 5/22/2020 21:46 PM

No sermon from the mount today. Just go easy on the "it had nothing to do with him" stuff. If you've been reading the JFO board, you will see that is on of the worst things you can say.

It sends a message that you did not give a moment's thought to him and his well being and it screams that you did not love him, and by saying it now you still do not love him. Get it? Nuff said.

Zugzwang posted 5/23/2020 09:30 AM

^^^

and by saying it now you still do not love him.
please elaborate with what you mean by "now". Do you mean still feeling and saying that?

It sends a message that you did not give a moment's thought to him and his well being and it screams that you did not love him,
that is the truth though. We didn't while we were cheaters.

"it had nothing to do with him" stuff. If you've been reading the JFO board, you will see that is on of the worst things you can say.
Just NO NO NO. You are telling her to lie in order to spare feelings or to make the BS feel more at ease. The truth is if you are referring to the AP...it had nothing to do with him. With what he fed her yes, and unless you are a cheater and a cake eater...you wouldn't know and comprehend that is the truth and the reality for the cheater. yes, that isn't the reality for the BS...it has everything to do with the AP...that is the one that decided to come into your backyard. For the wayward...the AP is disposable and anyone at the stage in their life willing to put themselves out there and flirt would do. If she was still needy and desperate anyone else would do right now too. Easily replaceable. That is how cake eaters are serial cheaters or have more than one partner at a time. It isn't about the AP, it is about the "drug" the AP gives. The OP knows this. I truly do not think she is hiding anything in this regard. The AP was simply put and means to an end. A burger at a fast food joint. I know it is hard to believe because she was with the same one for so long, why would she get a new "fix" if that one worked just fine? That explains the length.

OP please do not hold anything back in fear of upsetting your BS. That is not letting go of the outcome. That is you controlling in order to get something in return. Choose to be honest and vulnerable. You need to share and you need to be vulnerable. Truths are truths even if the BS doesn't like the explanation or makes no sense to them or the explanation drives them crazy. And it will because a healthy functional selfless adult could not possibly understand us. Just like we can't understand the length of the pain we caused to the BS. The truth is their issue to tackle and accept. Their reality isn't always going to be the same as yours. Simply because they are betrayed. They are on the receiving end of your actions and you are the perpetrator.

svereen posted 5/25/2020 13:31 PM

I said I would talk a little about need, so here it is.

BraveSirRobin

But why did you jump to the conclusion that "need" was financial need? Why were you so angry that someone might think that? Ö Is it anger and exhaustion at fighting a lifelong feminist battle to not be seen as a clichťÖĒ

I immediately jumped to a financial need because of some things I had seen on one of the responses to my husbandís posts. There were several along these same lines, but the one that comes to mind is when someone said that the only thing I see my husband as is a meal ticket. Then when I read Scrambledbrainís first post where he said ďÖyou will be way worse off without him -- a divorced woman with an STI, with limited options and prerogativesĒ, that was already rubbing me the wrong way. Then when he followed up with another post saying ďall 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 HĒ. There are also a few times my husband has said that maybe I just want to be with him for the extra income and stability. Add that to my inner feminist monologue Ė thatís when I lost it.

I was just getting an overall vibe that there were quite a few people out there thinking that a woman was somehow not capable of functioning without a man to support her. That if I didnít have my husband, I would somehow ÖI donít know Ė be ďless thanĒ? Have no value? I was probably reading into some things, but thatís the impression I got.

ďÖwhile simultaneously facing that there is nothing more cliched than seeking validation from a man?Ē

Any yes, Iím well aware of that. As a woman, itís something that really disgusts me about myself. And I have no idea where this comes from in me. Itís definitely a why, but so far I havenít gotten anywhere with it. Iím sure the fact that society as a whole tends to place most of a womanís worth on her appearance and desirability to men, but that doesnít make all women fucked up, so I feel like there must be more to it than that.


Zugzwang

What you aren't being vulnerable about is the NEED. That you aren't as independent as you pretend to be. You want your husband. Your husband wants you to NEED him as much as you NEEDED your AP. Of course you want to get to the healthy you of not needing anyone else to make you happy. You will want a partner to share life with.

You know, I think I have made it very clear to my husband that I DO need him, but not so much here in my posts. One reason I havenít is I sometimes get two different impressions from people on the forums (not necessarily in any responses to my thread) about what I ďshouldĒ be feeling. I have seen posts where someone is talking about loving or needing their spouse and wanting to stay with them Ė and they were attacked. Told they were being selfish, that this wasnít about them, that they shouldnít care about the outcome, etc. Then I will see a post where someone is attacked for not seeming like they want their spouse enough, they arenít fighting for them, or arenít doing everything they can to show their spouse that they are worth staying with. So sometimes Iím not really sure what I ďshouldĒ be feeling. Am I being selfish to want to stay with my husband? Or callous and uncaring to "let go of the outcomeĒ? And since I constantly want to do everything right, sometimes I just get torn.


To be honest Ė this is how I feel:

I 100% need my husband. I canít even begin to imagine a world where I could not see him and talk to him every day. To feel his arms around me. But, I donít need him to pay my bills, or make my life more ďcomfortableĒ. And the last thing I would want him to think is that I only want to be with him for money, stability, etc. I need him because of who he is as a person, and how much I love that person.

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