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I have created so much devastation...

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BraveSirRobin posted 5/25/2020 16:16 PM

One reason I haven’t is I sometimes get two different impressions from people on the forums (not necessarily in any responses to my thread) about what I “should” be feeling. I have seen posts where someone is talking about loving or needing their spouse and wanting to stay with them – and they were attacked. Told they were being selfish, that this wasn’t about them, that they shouldn’t 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 aren’t fighting for them, or aren’t doing everything they can to show their spouse that they are worth staying with. So sometimes I’m not really sure what I “should” be feeling.

I had a similar conversation with another WW about this last month, so here's what I wrote in her thread.

----------------------

Infidelity itself is a trigger, so as a wayward here, you have to expect that the default is that people are going to be pissed at you. If you're new, and especially if you've been trickle truthing, you are a target for a lot of anger that is still being processed. Some of that may be pointed at you specifically, and some is more generalized, but there's always plenty to go around.

The key is what you do with that. If your goal in hitting the right note here is to figure out the One True Path to help your BS, that's admirable, but problematic, because there are some basic rules but no surefire path to success. If your goal is to establish credentials as "one of the good waywards" and avoid taking the gut punches, that's even more problematic, because an unexamined thirst for external validation is what landed most of us in an affair in the first place.

Here is some of the conflicting advice that will confuse you.

Stop thinking about yourself so much, and focus on your BH.
Stop thinking about your BH so much, and focus on you.

You fucked your marriage up, and it's on you to fix it.
You can't fix your marriage, and trying proves that you don't understand the magnitude of what you did.

You need to prove to your BH that you love him.
You don't love your BH, or you couldn't have cheated.

Affair feelings between two broken cheaters don't qualify as love. It's just fog.
"The fog" is just an excuse, a way to lie about having loved the AP.

Tell your BH the absolute truth about the sex, including size and technique comparisons if asked.
You can't possibly love your husband or hope to reconcile if you say things like that.

Don't give up on your BH. Make sure he knows you're in it for the long haul, no matter what he says or does.
Let go of the outcome. Accept that the marriage is over, and hope that after you heal yourselves, you can build a new one.

So what of this conflicting advice is accurate? All of it.

All of it is someone's personal truth, gained through trial by fire. You cannot come up with a plan that will be accepted here by universal acclaim and protect you from censure. And if you try, you will just keep fucking things up with your BH, the only person in this whose opinion means anything in the end.

----------------

It's tough, I know. I ripped my hair out when I first got here, trying to follow all the directives simultaneously. Eventually, though, I found there were some voices that spoke to me with more clarity than others. Maybe it was because their circumstances aligned most with my own; maybe they just used language that I understood better. It's not that their advice was universally superior, or even that they were going any easier on me. I just had to find the mentors who were the right fit. And over time, the nuances in the advice started to gel, so that it didn't seem as contradictory as it had at first.

You definitely need to find a way to let go of what's been said about you on JFO. That's not a place where I can help you; my H is a madhatter, so he was never able to post there. There's a fair amount of absolutism that can make even BSes feel uncomfortable. But that's your H's department, and you have to trust that he'll be able to sort through and find his own true mentors. You have plenty of work to do in finding yours.

svereen posted 5/25/2020 21:10 PM

BraveSirRobin

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.

If you do find that post, I’d love to read it.


Zugzwang

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.

You are right. I AM devastated. And I’m so scared my husband will decide to leave me. Every single day I wake up terrified that today will be the day he tells me he’s done.
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.

I think the hard part for me is that not sharing my feelings is such an ingrained part of myself that I don’t even realize I’m doing it most of the time. I am trying my hardest to share. I will think I’m doing a pretty good job, and then my husband will point out that he can tell I’m thinking or feeling something, but yet I’m not saying anything. I really hope this leads to a better place for me one day. My husband says that I bottle my feelings up so much I don’t even let myself really feel them, and I have missed out on so much in life by being as closed off as I am.
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.

You are right on. The entire time I was having my affair it was all about me and what I needed to feel. It wasn’t due to any negative thoughts about my husband, I was just chasing that high. And no, I never thought about the repercussions. I never thought about how I was essentially breaking every promise I made to my husband when we got married. How I was showing him zero respect. And now, my choices have completely destroyed every aspect of my husband’s life. All over something I was stupid enough to believe “wasn’t a big deal”.
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…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.

I never thought of it that way, but essentially you’re right. Not only do I need to show him the respect to make the decision, I need to quit worrying so much about it and accept that I don’t have any say in it. It’s not my choice to make.
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.

Uugh. I hate that I was that person. Hopefully I'm not anymore, or at least on the way there. I’ve discovered so much about myself since the affair came out, and none of it has been good. I saw something online somewhere – not on this forum, but I can’t remember where – that I wish I had the insight to recognize four years ago:
There is no cake out there that will taste as good to me as knowing that I am still the woman that my husband thinks I am. I will never again be who my husband thought I was. Someone loving, kind, and thrust worthy. Someone special.
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.

Yes, my husband is an amazing man. I wish I could be half the person that he is. Just tonight we were talking about how my poor self-esteem and need for validation were a big part of what led to the affair. And now what do I have as a result of it? I feel worse about myself than I even knew was possible.
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....

You got it! My husband knows me far better than I know myself, and his insight has really helped me to start digging into the whys. He is responsible for recognizing my attachment issues. It has been good learning these things about myself and opening up to him, I just wish we were finding something good in here somewhere! I’m still nowhere near where I should be, but I am already seeing how much better things could have been if I had always been open.

Etaoin – you said…

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.

And like Zugzwang said…
that is the truth though. We didn't while we were cheaters.

Unfortunately, Zugzwang is right. It kills me to say it, but I didn’t give a moments though to him or his wellbeing when I was having the affair. The affair would never have happened if I had. I do feel like I have to say it now, though – because it’s the sad truth. Sure, now I am almost obsessed with him and his wellbeing, but then – no, I obviously wasn’t. I’m not sure how admitting that now shows that I still don’t love him, though.

Zugzwang

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.

Again, you called it. All of it. The AP himself wasn’t my drug, it’s was the rush and the ego boost that I got from his attention. And it could have been anyone that was willing to pay me that much attention for as long as he did. You’re right – this is NOT the reality for the BS. My husband knows intellectually that there was nothing special about the AP, but he can’t help but compare himself to him. Not only was the AP younger, but he was the opposite of my husband in height, build, hair, etc. But I didn’t go out looking for an affair, I wasn’t out trolling for hot guys - I didn’t eye him and think “yep, that’s what I’ve been looking for, got to have me some of him”. He could have been anyone that was even remotely attractive and willing to pursue me. And it was a drug…I did horrible things to get that high. It is very hard for some people to believe that the affair went on that long and I didn’t develop “feelings” for the AP. But like you said, he was just a means to an end. I didn’t need to go to a new dealer for my high, I always got my fix from him just fine.
Truth 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.

They really can’t. He has so much trouble understanding why I did what I did. Because it is completely inconceivable to any normal, non-fucked up human being.
Just like we can't understand the length of the pain we caused to the BS…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.

Yes, I feel like we are in completely different worlds sometimes. Actually, it’s more like we are in the same world now, but I just got here and until recently had been living on a strange planet very different from this one.

WalkinOnEggshelz posted 5/25/2020 21:40 PM

And no, I never thought about the repercussions. I never thought about how I was essentially breaking every promise I made to my husband when we got married. How I was showing him zero respect. And now, my choices have completely destroyed every aspect of my husband’s life.

I just want to point out that at some point you thought about your husband. You thought about the repercussions. You knew that what you were doing was disrespectful.

Had that not crossed your mind, you would never have taken the steps to keep this a secret from him. At some point you knew what you were doing was wrong. You made the decision anyway. Why? That’s a good place to start.

svereen posted 5/25/2020 21:44 PM

BraveSirRobin

If your goal in hitting the right note here is to figure out the One True Path to help your BS, that's admirable, but problematic, because there are some basic rules but no surefire path to success. If your goal is to establish credentials as "one of the good waywards" and avoid taking the gut punches, that's even more problematic, because an unexamined thirst for external validation is what landed most of us in an affair in the first place.

I know it’s completely unrealistic, but I do want to do everything possible to do the exact, perfect combination of things to help my husband. I don’t want to take a single misstep. I have already done so, so much harm to him – I at least want to do anything I can to help him now. And no, I don’t care if I an one of the “good waywards”. I know I am going to say some things that people will read and think “she SO doesn’t get it”, and that’s okay. It can be hard to hear things sometimes, but I totally expect the gut punches, and a lot of times I need them.
Stop thinking about yourself so much, and focus on your BH.
Stop thinking about your BH so much, and focus on you.

You fucked your marriage up, and it's on you to fix it.
You can't fix your marriage, and trying proves that you don't understand the magnitude of what you did.

You need to prove to your BH that you love him.
You don't love your BH, or you couldn't have cheated.

Don't give up on your BH. Make sure he knows you're in it for the long haul, no matter what he says or does.
Let go of the outcome. Accept that the marriage is over, and hope that after you heal yourselves, you can build a new one.


These are the ones that hit home to me the most. I’m like “Aargh! Which one do I do!?!?. I want to do what’s best for my husband and potentially healing our relationship, and I’m always afraid I’ll end up picking the wrong one!
Tell your BH the absolute truth about the sex, including size and technique comparisons if asked.

I really had trouble with this. My BH wanted to know EVERYTHING. I mean everything. I felt like it would be doing more harm than good. Providing more ammunition for the “mind movies”. But, this is his rodeo now, so I told him. It still makes me sick to think about it. If he had cheated on me, that kind of stuff would be the last thing I would want to know about.
Eventually, though, I found there were some voices that spoke to me with more clarity than others.

Yes, I’m finding that to be the case. There are some responses where I will think – “Yes, that’s it!”. Not that they agreed with me, or were even saying anything nice (many times they weren’t), but some things just really stick with you. I hope as times goes by things will start to become clearer to me as far as making the right choices.
You definitely need to find a way to let go of what's been said about you on JFO.

It seems that I do not have the ability to do that. But it’s not a problem now. I was getting so torqued up about it my husband and I both decided it would be best if I quit reading his stuff – at least for now.
But that's your H's department, and you have to trust that he'll be able to sort through and find his own true mentors.

Yes, Zugzwang said kind of the same thing – I have to trust him. By assuming that he is going to take what some of these people say and run with it, I’m not respecting him.

Zugzwang posted 5/26/2020 11:14 AM

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 haven’t is I sometimes get two different impressions from people on the forums

I can answer from my POV. You should want him. That much is a given. I mean otherwise, why bother. You should let him know you want to be with him and him only. Share that vulnerability and that want. You should be focusing on fixing you. So, you are safe enough to be in a relationship with. Focusing on you means still treating him with respect, answering questions, expressing specific things you are sorry for and understanding his POV, caring for him, trying to find ways to bond. Letting go of the outcome is not expressing to him how you will be just fine without him. It means you have come to the point of remorse where you want what is best for him regardless of if you are in his life or not. Knowing that you will also move on and still become a healthy adult. Some WS stay stuck on the marriage and winning their BS back. Never really working on themselves, yet instead just doing the fluff and stuff to be the Stepford wife or husband. Having that as a driving force is purely regretful without remorse. It is all about their self interest simply because they never choose real change for themselves and to become a better emotional partner for their BS. You can never go wrong with simply thinking and saying...you deserve better and I am going to earn it. It is cheesy, but it is like that line from As Good As It Gets..."You make me want to become a better man." Yes, I did use that line on my wife. I meant it.

You are right. I AM devastated. And I’m so scared my husband will decide to leave me. Every single day I wake up terrified that today will be the day he tells me he’s done.
Share that with him. That is being vulnerable. Putting yourself out there even with the chance of being turned away.

My husband says that I bottle my feelings up so much I don’t even let myself really feel them, and I have missed out on so much in life by being as closed off as I am.
Then be mindful to change that and share. Especially if your husband is asking. He wants an adult partner. Don't pass up the chance to have a good healthy relationship because of fear. Focus on why you are that way. FOO issues, you might even have to confront parents and build new doors and windows when it comes to that type of stuff. I did. My mother was very passive aggressive and manipulative. I had to change the dynamics of my relationship with her in order to progress and grow up. I can't become an adult if I still carried that unhealthy immature interactions in any area of my life. There were times I didn't talk to her for weeks because I stood up for myself and her behavior.

I will never again be who my husband thought I was. Someone loving, kind, and thrust worthy. Someone special.
You weren't that person, so it doesn't matter. You can become that person. Trust might be hard. You can certainly do it and earn it. It will be up to him to give you that gift. First, you have to trust yourself enough to be truthful about everything dark thing about yourself and sharing it with him.

WalkingonEggshells is right though about at some point you thought. I did. It didn't have to be an every time thing. It was really just a ....I will cross this line now. How and why. You most likely set boundaries. Like me. How, I began treating my wife like a mother. Making it easier to seek out peers. Take her for granted, then subsequently take advantage of her. I most definitely thought about her when I decided to move forth. Don't confuse the intentional choice to hurt if they found out with the intentional choice to do it to hurt them on purpose. Many WS stop there and say, "I didn't think about him or her...I wasn't having the affair to hurt them." it was more like "I am going to do this....insert your reasoning, and I know if they find out they will be hurt...however, it will be okay I will bank on their unconditional love." (that was me, I banked on it and really didn't think much about it after that- like a one time pass).

Browsing41 posted 5/28/2020 20:27 PM

WS only

[This message edited by SI Staff at 5:12 AM, May 29th (Friday)]

svereen posted 5/29/2020 23:37 PM

I'm sorry it's been awhile...long week.

WalkinOnEggshelz

I just want to point out that at some point you thought about your husband. You thought about the repercussions. You knew that what you were doing was disrespectful.
Had that not crossed your mind, you would never have taken the steps to keep this a secret from him. At some point you knew what you were doing was wrong. You made the decision anyway. Why? That’s a good place to start.

I did think about my husband. Then I decided that he was never going to find out. That was the extent of my thought processes. I truly didn’t think about the repercussions. Not to my husband. Not to our relationship. Not even to me. It hurts me to write that.

I don’t know who or what I was. I mean, I know it was me...but when I think about everything I did, I just can’t even comprehend what the hell I was doing or thinking. I want to find out 1) why I thought that as long as my husband didn’t find out, it was okay to do something so absolutely horrible to him. And 2) I never thought cheating was okay. That lying to my husband was okay. What happened? Why did these things suddenly become so unimportant to me?


Zugzwang

You should let him know you want to be with him and him only.

I have been doing that. A lot. I just don’t know if he will ever believe me. Like I said, intellectually he knows the affair wasn’t about him – but he still can’t stop comparing himself to the OM. Thinking that I had the affair because he wasn’t enough for me. Just the other day he said that if we end up staying together and are even pretty happy, he doesn’t think that he will ever believe that I “want” him that way.
Letting go of the outcome is not expressing to him how you will be just fine without him. It means you have come to the point of remorse where you want what is best for him regardless of if you are in his life or not. Knowing that you will also move on and still become a healthy adult.

Oh, I’ve told him that I would be absolutely lost without him. Many times. And I truly do want what is best for him, even if it’s not me. However, I haven’t gotten to the part where I move on and become a happy adult. I have every intention of working on myself and becoming the kind of person that he deserves. The kind of person that he is. But even if I become that person, I’m still always going to be the person that destroyed him. The kindest and most selfless person that I have ever known. This wonderful man that has always treasured me and treated me with far more love and kindness than I have ever deserved (and that was before I did this). I feel like if we stay together, I can at least spend the rest of my life treating him like he has always deserved. Making sure that EVERY day he knows how loved and treasured he is. I feel like if I am able to do that, I will be able to accept what I have done and maybe even be proud of the person that I’ve become.

If we don’t work out, though – that’s another story. I LOVE this man. Thinking about him left in this world, alone and in so much pain - knowing that I literally destroyed him. No, I don’t see myself as ever being a happy adult again. I will think about him and his pain for the rest of my life.

I would love to think that he would move on and find someone that could love him so much better than I have – but I don’t see it happening. He says that not only will he never be able to fully trust me again, he’ll never trust anyone again. He told me that before this happened he thought that if you loved someone enough and did everything you could to show them that, they would never do this to you. He said that he thought we were lucky. That we were so much better than other couples and that I would never do anything like this. He says that now he knows we were just like everybody else. Nothing special. His mantra now is “It doesn’t matter. Nothing matters”. That no matter what you do, anyone is capable of hurting you this way. And that there is nothing in any relationship that is remotely worth the amount of pain he is in now. I don't know how I will ever get past doing this to him.

You can never go wrong with simply thinking and saying...you deserve better and I am going to earn it. It is cheesy, but it is like that line from As Good As It Gets..."You make me want to become a better man." Yes, I did use that line on my wife. I meant it.

That’s what I want to do. He deserves SO much better than what I have been. And, yes - he really does make me want to be a better person. I want to show him that I’m willing to put in the work, that I WANT to put in the work that it’s going to take to be someone worthy of his love.
Share that with him. That is being vulnerable. Putting yourself out there even with the chance of being turned away.

I have. I told him exactly that - that my greatest fear every day is that this will be the day he tells me he’s done.
Then be mindful to change that and share. Especially if your husband is asking. He wants an adult partner. Don't pass up the chance to have a good healthy relationship because of fear. Focus on why you are that way.

This is probably the number one thing I want to work on. Why the hell am I like this? My therapist and the internet both say I am the textbook example of someone with an Avoidant Attachment Disorder, but I have no idea why. Typically it comes from having a pretty shitty and fucked up childhood – but I don’t think I did. So yeah, that’s a why.
"I am going to do this....insert your reasoning, and I know if they find out they will be hurt...however, it will be okay I will bank on their unconditional love." (that was me, I banked on it and really didn't think much about it after that- like a one time pass).

Here is what I can best remember from my original thought process:

I am going to do this…Why did I do this? I just remember at the time I felt like I HAD to do this. That this was my last chance to feel alive. That there was nothing before me but middle-aged drudgery. That I was very close to starting to “lose” my looks…just a few years away from the age where a woman starts to become practically invisible in our society. My husband has some health issues (just typical stuff – diabetes, high blood pressure, a little overweight), and because of my job I see that you’re almost a ticking time bomb as you get older if those conditions haven’t been well controlled. So then I started to think that for all I knew my husband might have a heart attack or a stroke at any time and then I might end up being a caregiver. I feel so, so horrible for saying that. It must hurt my husband so much to know I was feeling that way. So I remember those were the thoughts that we're going through my head. And then he kept paying me more and more attention. And it's so pathetic...but he was 26 and I was 40. I just could not believe that he was actually interested in me. And when you've never really had good self esteem, and it was starting to take even more of a hit because I was older. Well, apparently you put those things together and I completely lost my sanity and started to create my own little delusional world.

and I know if they find out they will be hurt…so I just won’t let him find out. And that was it. I just put them each in their little box and went on my merry way.

[This message edited by svereen at 4:50 AM, May 30th (Saturday)]

Lucky77 posted 5/30/2020 08:37 AM

I also have Type II Bipolar Disorder and Major Depression

So here's the think about this. Your AP likely viewed you as that wild chick that showed up on Saturdays. There's nothing quite as fun as a BP II person in their manic moments. Just wow. Let their crazy fly. Sane people can sometimes be pegged as a bit staid, maybe call it boring. You were memorable to your AP since the beginning. He looked forward to seeing you on Saturdays. Guess what, you were likely preyed on. He targeted you. Same for me. My AP was a wild thing. Wow. She had her crazy on all the time. I confess she was a hell of a lot of fun. Can you say Whack Job.

So here you go........if this AP didn't exist you might well have not gone over to the other side. Some BS's here will say that their WS's AP "could have been anyone"........that would imply that the WS was simply an affair ready to happen. That might be true with you. Although it might not. I'm not blaming AP for hunting you but, in a sense I am. For you to decide.

Zugzwang posted 5/30/2020 09:52 AM

Your husband sounds like a healthy mature guy,

Thinking about him left in this world, alone and in so much pain - knowing that I literally destroyed him.
so I highly doubt this would be his outcome if he left you. He would most likely move on. Become more cautious and find someone else. You destroyed his trust in you and you destroyed the marriage. I don't think you destroyed him. I would bet he will regain his self confidence and realize what most BS seem to realize...why care what a cheater thinks of them. I mean that in the kindest way. My wife hit that plain of lethal flatness. We talked in depth about her thought process. She just realized what she was fighting for was a cheater. She was worried if I wanted her. She just realized that a cheater wanting her wasn't worth it for her. She didn't value that. What was of value was a cheater facing their shit and changing. She became empowered and I could tell the difference. I hate to say it, but in the beginning I enjoyed the pick me dance. I enjoyed to a degree the APs still trying to reach out to me. Having 3 women trying to get my attention. Till I got out the fog and realized it was hurting my wife, yes, however what it was doing was really just making me more of a monster.

Long story short, my wife moved on. She made lemon meringue out of lemons. She found a way to use what I had done to better herself. She became even more independent. She cultivated her "fruit of the spirit". She made new connections with other women from church. She found grace and mercy. She grew and healed.

So, yes he is devastated at the moment and questioning his confidence. I bet it will not last. The BS go through stages of grief. If the anger phase hasn't hit, it most likely will. He will naturally 180 you as he focuses on healing himself and that Plain of lethal Flatness will happen and it will probably scare the shit out of you like it did me.

Zugzwang posted 5/30/2020 09:56 AM

I feel like if I am able to do that, I will be able to accept what I have done and maybe even be proud of the person that I’ve become.

Breaking it up because that other was long. You have to have acceptance because it is the truth. The reality and you can't change it. You can't base acceptance on his healing. That is staying unhealthy and dependent. That isn't change. That is exchanging one addiction for another. You find forgiveness for yourself because you want it and have a right to learn from your choices. If your child had committed this would you want them to never move to forgiving themselves if their betrayed had never forgiven them? Would you want them to live in self hate? No, of course not. You would want them to accept and learn. To find a new healthier path.

Zugzwang posted 5/30/2020 10:04 AM

I am going to do this…Why did I do this? I just remember at the time I felt like I HAD to do this. That this was my last chance to feel alive. That there was nothing before me but middle-aged drudgery. That I was very close to starting to “lose” my looks…just a few years away from the age where a woman starts to become practically invisible in our society. My husband has some health issues (just typical stuff – diabetes, high blood pressure, a little overweight), and because of my job I see that you’re almost a ticking time bomb as you get older if those conditions haven’t been well controlled. So then I started to think that for all I knew my husband might have a heart attack or a stroke at any time and then I might end up being a caregiver. I feel so, so horrible for saying that. It must hurt my husband so much to know I was feeling that way. So I remember those were the thoughts that we're going through my head. And then he kept paying me more and more attention. And it's so pathetic...but he was 26 and I was 40. I just could not believe that he was actually interested in me. And when you've never really had good self esteem, and it was starting to take even more of a hit because I was older. Well, apparently you put those things together and I completely lost my sanity and started to create my own little delusional world.

and I know if they find out they will be hurt…so I just won’t let him find out. And that was it. I just put them each in their little box and went on my merry way.

I had the same type of things going on through my head. That is why I mention what I did. It is easy to take people for granted and then take advantage of what you have. Mid life crisis stuck in there. Wanting to feel alive like your 20s. You know new relationships bring that feeling too. Outside validation because you have become immune to your BS validation. You have them caught. You need more. It isn't that they aren't enough. No one is enough. Multiple at the same time is never going to be enough. What you need is to learn how to validate yourself. Those things you were striving for to feed you don't matter. Stop looking at people as objects to prove your worth and start looking at them as human beings with their own lives and struggles. Start remembering partnerships. Start filling your own bucket. Find fulfillment from yourself. New hobbies. Healthy ones. Learn who you are. What your passions are.

etaoin posted 5/30/2020 10:20 AM

Your last paragraphs are probably the most revealing and honest so far. Like you, my attitude was I want to do this, I am going to do this, I know the risks, but it's what I want. I won't get caught.

One oft repeated saying on here is that the one person who hurt the spouse the most is the one person that can heal the spouse the most. I'm not sure heal is the right word. Palliate?

And yes, just as loving someone will not keep them from cheating, loving someone will not heal the injury. So we flounder about.

All I can say is some of the most awful public affairs can result in long term reconciliation.

So just keep on the truth path and wait and see.

Pippin posted 5/30/2020 16:47 PM

Svereen, I scanned your thread and I think you wrote about avoidant attachment. Can you talk more about what you know about that? I have seen it mentioned on other threads and I haven't read adult attachment theory.

What I do know is from early childhood studies done decades ago. There's a very famous study, Bowlby and Ainsworth I think, that looked at how young toddlers reach when their mothers left them in a room alone for a brief period. (it's a cool trick of nature that right when toddlers are learning to walk, they do NOT want to walk away from their caregiver. They toddle off a bit, come right back, go a little further, return, etc. So separation even for a brief time is very distressing to a typically developing 12 month old in a way it is not to a 3 or 6 month old, or an older toddler who has language to understand that their mommy is coming right back).

B&A identified three broad patterns based on how the children responded. Securely attached children would be distressed and cry, and when their mother returned they would cry a little more and then be comforted by her. Anxiously attached children would cry and cry and not be comforted when she returned. Avoidant attached children were maybe a little distressed or didn't seem to care that their mother left, and avoided her when she returned. They seemed to know that her comfort was not being offered or would not help them. There were subcategories but those were the broad ones.

The implications are are super interesting. Their responses are obviously impacted by temperament (some babies are just really anxious or really independent) and culture (the same study done with Japanese and German babies has almost all Japanese babies looking anxious and almost all German babies looking avoidant). But setting that aside, pre-verbal babies have already absorbed so much about the person who is supposed to love them and take care of them. They know whether their distress will be noticed and effectively comforted. It reminds me of that saying - the saddest thing about badly run orphanages are not that the babies are crying all the time, but that they are NOT crying. Because they know their cries won't get them attention.

Anyway, I'd dx myself as massively avoidant and that shows up everywhere, and it is obvious where it came from in my FOO. I work pretty hard to be aware of my needs and let my husband help me. And he is the same - very hard for him to even articulate his needs and letting me help him with them is terrifying to him. So I'm curious to hear what you know about the theory and what you have noticed in your adult life.

svereen posted 5/31/2020 13:57 PM

I'm going to get out a reply some things above a little later, but I don't have it in me right now. I just finished a new post, but I didn't want anybody to think I was just ignoring your other posts...anyway here's where I am now:

_________________________________________________

I don’t know what to do. Because there is nothing I can do. I feel so hopeless.

My husband has spent the last two days sobbing probably 95% of the time. He doesn’t want to be around me, just wants to sit in his room alone. I can hear him sobbing, and there are no words for what I feel. His pain just destroys me like nothing I could have ever imagined. I want to comfort him so much, but I can’t. He said he is in mourning and feels like a widow. His wife is dead and gone. I can hold him and love him all I want, but to him I’m either a stranger or something worse. He said he will look at me and feel just overwhelming love, and then everything comes pouring in and then I’m just the person that destroyed his life and all he sees is the OM fucking me while he was here alone. He says none of the memories he has of us over the last twenty years mean anything anymore. Not only is the person in those memories gone, he doesn’t even know if she ever existed. That if those memories meant anything to me I would never have been able to do what I did. I try to tell him that the person I was is still in there, and he said that person was just a fantasy of his. Not reality.

But even these last two days, a few times he has seen me crying and come to comfort me. He’ll tell me he loves me and that he wants more than anything for us to be able to somehow make this work. I’ve been trying to get a lot of things done for work this weekend, and he’ll tell me that he’s fine. Not to worry about him and just get my work done. Or better yet, I should go out and work in the garden because he know how that always makes me feel better. His love makes me absolutely hate myself with every fiber of my being. So I’ll start working again, and a half hour later I’ll hear him sobbing again. I try and go to him because all I want is to hold him and love him, but then he starts saying the stuff I mention above and tell me he just wants to be alone.

I am so, so scared that he simply won’t be able to stay with me because it is just too painful for him. It’s been five months now. I never thought things would be any better at this point, but I didn’t expect them to just keep getting steadily worse every day.

I feel guilty and disgusted with myself for even writing this. All of this is my fault. I deserve every second of my pain, and I know the pain I feel is nothing compared to how much pain he is in. Anyway, I just had to get this out.

Jorge posted 6/1/2020 00:14 AM

His wife is dead and gone. I can hold him and love him all I want, but to him I’m either a stranger or something worse.

Every faithful husband holds their wife on a pedestal. It separates you from every woman in the world. Infidelity is often the only thing that knocks her off of it and typically there's no re-mounting. This is a very hard reality for him that he knows he'll have to live with for the remainder of his time with you. Tough one here.

Nonetheless, it's possible you can become special once again, even if not at the level prior to the the affair. Being on that pedestal is important to many spouses. His pain partly stems from this, among many things.

All he sees is the OM fucking me while he was here alone.

Being alone while you were with AP having sex may be a very, very, prickly pain point for him. Unfortunately, this image wiped out all previous memories with my wayward fiance'. Everyone's different though. I was with my fiance 5 years, vs your 20.
But even these last two days, a few times he has seen me crying and come to comfort me. He’ll tell me he loves me and that he wants more than anything for us to be able to somehow make this work.

I believe him, but it can and will change within 15 minute at times. His conflict lies between his heart and what he sees image wise in his head. When combined, utter confusion.

For a settled, middle aged man who's lived with absolute certainty, uncertainty abounds. It's like having a perfect home that caught fire and burned down. The comforts of home and the security that comes with it suddenly vanishes.

But even these last two days, a few times he has seen me crying and come to comfort me. He’ll tell me he loves me and that he wants more than anything for us to be able to somehow make this work.
I’ve been trying to get a lot of things done for work this weekend, and he’ll tell me that he’s fine. Not to worry about him and just get my work done. Or better yet, I should go out and work in the garden because he know how that always makes me feel better.

He's compassionate even when hurting. Says a lot about him. He probably thinks you were the same way, which is why he's having such a hard time, as he's having difficulty seeing how this possibly could happen, when he wouldn't do the same.

Just trying to give you some of what he's thinking here.

Westway posted 6/1/2020 13:53 PM

WS Only

[This message edited by SI Staff at 2:15 PM, June 1st (Monday)]

svereen posted 6/1/2020 21:30 PM

Lucky77

There's nothing quite as fun as a BP II person in their manic moments. Just wow. Let their crazy fly.

You know what’s weird – I didn’t start out manic. I was just this middle aged woman who liked pancakes. But then he started paying attention to me, and I think it ended up triggering some sort of manic episode. My prior manic episodes have always shown themselves in massive spending sprees, and that started happening. There were some new kids (early 20s) that started where I work – they just couldn’t get over how fun I was. They said they had never seen someone their parents age be “so cool”. I wasn’t cool. I was manic.
if this AP didn't exist you might well have not gone over to the other side.

I 100% believe that. I never gave a thought to having an affair. Never even remotely considered it. Until he came along. In a sense it could have been anyone, but if he had just flirted with me a few times, nothing would have ever happened. I’ve been hit on by good looking guys plenty of times before. Never considered doing anything for a second. But this guy consistently flattered me and paid me attention for like a year. I guess he was really working on his end game. I don’t really blame him. I’d guess he wasn’t doing anything a lot of guys his age would do.

Zugzwang

…I highly doubt this would be his outcome if he left you. He would most likely move on.

I hope so, but I really do have my doubts.
I hate to say it, but in the beginning I enjoyed the pick me dance. I enjoyed to a degree the APs still trying to reach out to me.

At least I never had to worry about that. My husband was convinced (and still thinks it might happen) that the OM would try and contact me or just show up at the house one day. I knew there wasn’t a chance in hell of that happening…and I was right. My husband gets upset because the OM is always “going to have memories of us having sex” that he can fondly remember and replay over and over for the rest of his life. I’m not that great – he probably hasn’t thought of me once since the day I ended it. The only pick me dance going on here is me praying my husband will pick ME again one day.
The BS go through stages of grief. If the anger phase hasn't hit, it most likely will. He will naturally 180 you as he focuses on healing himself and that Plain of lethal Flatness will happen.

I don’t know what to expect anymore. He definitely has moments of anger, but the longest they’ve ever last was a day or two. I have gotten really scared when he has gone through a totally emotionless state. He’s not mad, he’s not sad…he’s just blank. Some of these have lasted over a week. At least when he’s mad or sad I know he still cares, but when he gets flat like that…I get scared.
Would you want them to live in self hate? No, of course not. You would want them to accept and learn. To find a new healthier path.

This is another reason my husband is so amazing. He has told me over and over that this is what he wants for me. He is always telling me that I’m not a horrible person. That he hates what I did, but he doesn’t hate me.
It is easy to take people for granted and then take advantage of what you have. Mid life crisis stuck in there. Wanting to feel alive like your 20s. You know new relationships bring that feeling too. Outside validation because you have become immune to your BS validation. You have them caught. You need more. It isn't that they aren't enough. No one is enough.

I just have to say that this is so, so true. What I don’t understand is why I’m like that. It seems so easy for my husband and most other people not to get caught up in that kind of thing and become selfish assholes. My husband says he just doesn’t understand – I was all he has ever needed, and he doesn’t understand why he wasn’t enough for me. But like you said, nothing was enough.

Etaoin

Like you, my attitude was I want to do this, I am going to do this, I know the risks, but it's what I want. I won't get caught.

It just hurts to see this, knowing that it was the absolute truth. I really was a despicable human being.
All I can say is some of the most awful public affairs can result in long term reconciliation. So just keep on the truth path and wait and see.

I hope so. So, so much.

Pippin

I scanned your thread and I think you wrote about avoidant attachment. Can you talk more about what you know about that? I have seen it mentioned on other threads and I haven't read adult attachment theory.

I had never even heard of avoidant attachment until this happened, and my husband actually ended up seeing something online and showing it to me. It’s like you said, it develops in infancy and early childhood and stems from having parents ignore you, or sometimes berate you, when you’re upset. Apparently, the child eventually just learns to stop expressing emotion and quits seeking comfort from other people. These are some of the things you see in an adult with an avoidant attachment disorder:

• Tend to be loners
• have a tendency to seek out isolation
• Self-critical or self-hating attitudes toward oneself
• Prefer not to reveal personal feelings and emotions with their partners, even in long term relationships
• Feel uncomfortable with emotional intimacy
• Avoid conflict and stress by isolating from others
• appear to be more focused on themselves above their partner
• Prefer casual sex over intimate sex

I hit like 100% of these. This explains SO much to me about why I am the way I am. Which is fucked up, basically. I was confused at first, because I think I had a good childhood and am still close to my parents. Then I saw this somewhere online “adults categorized as avoidant report very few memories of their early relationship with parents. Others may describe their childhood as happy and their parents as loving, but are unable to give specific examples to support these positive evaluations.” I don’t remember much before age 9 or 10, and I can’t really come up with any sort of details. I can also say that looking at my father knowing this he is obviously very avoidant – and I am the spitting image of him in almost every way.

Jorge

Every faithful husband holds their wife on a pedestal. It separates you from every woman in the world. Infidelity is often the only thing that knocks her off of it and typically there's no re-mounting… Nonetheless, it's possible you can become special once again

This makes me so sad. I never realized until now how important it was to me that my husband thought I was special.
Being alone while you were with AP having sex may be a very, very, prickly pain point for him.

So far it has definitely proven to be one. And I am really worried it always will be.
He's compassionate even when hurting. Says a lot about him. He probably thinks you were the same way…

Yes, he is the most compassionate and kind person I have ever known. I’m so, so sorry I’m not more like him and couldn’t be the person he thought I was.

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