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Manly?

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Investednhealing posted 5/29/2020 21:34 PM

WWTL,
The ons in the beginning was a long time crush from childhood. I was 18 at the time, and he was my idle. That was absolutely crushed that day. I wont hash out the entire details here, but I will never forget him looking at me and saying "This never happened. Tell no one, and if you do, I will deny you were ever even here." You want to talk about feeling like a low low pos... that is exactly how I felt. I wanted to erase it from my memory, and take it to my grave, like it never even happened. Boy was that stupid. Had I come out, and told him IMMEDIATELY, I think it would have made a MAJOR difference in how the rest of our marriage has played out.

"Have you stopped searching for other person rather than him to be close with. Iím not talking about sex, but also things like male friends, flirting, checking out some guys ass as he walks by in front of him? It can even be a close relationship with another woman. Anyone where he is put into the b slot"

I HAVE stopped looking for ANYONE that would put him in the B slot. I do need to say, we are poly, and have both agreed, that we would be open to a woman, a some point, IF we both agreed, and they were open and loving with both of us, in a closed triad. It is NOT something that we actively seek out, but jus last year we reconnected with a gf, and it ended up petering out, before it really began. The way we handled that is that we read eachothers pm's religiously, and the vast majority of communication was done in group chat. We set rules and boundaries, and we checked in with eachother constantly. (I should add that this was a long distance relationship, and while there was some teasing, here was no sexual involvement, and all pictures were clean.) One of the things that DID come up was a question that I had for him. That was " What if things do graduae to in person, where does that leave me? This person has not hurt you the way I have, there is no damage or resentment there. What happens if you decide that you love her more?" It was something we had a very long talk about, several actually, and in the end it did not end up going anywhere, but it DID allow us much time to talk and work through some pieces that we had not thoroughly worked though.

Why do you think you had so many of these experiences and is he confident that they ended or will never happen again?

I was an affirmation junky, and an attention junky. This came from Many many many years of neglect, and mental abuse. I had been manipulated much of my life. I was not spoken to very lovingly, or with much respect growing up. I had very few boundaries, and was just this bubbly, love hungry, little country girl that just absolutely craved attention anywhere I could get it.

I can not speak for him Downforthecount is his name, if you want to ask him directly. However I CAN tell you that "I" am confident that this will never happen again. Through much therapy, soul searching, learning, reading, watching videos, etc I have really strengthened my boundaries. I think the most important is that I have learned to stand up for myself, and to say NO, and mean it. I was easily guilted into doing so many things, not even affiliated with anything to do with affair stuff. Even things like, hey can you watch my kids.... sure. Hey come hang out.. sure. Hey I am coming to dinner tonight... sure. I had no boundaries to be able to say, no. I have plans. No, I do not think that is a good idea. No, I am not comfortable with that. I had to learn to have a voice. Now that I have that voice, and the strength that comes along with that, I have zero desire to go back. That ability has given me so much freedom. It has freed me to spend more time with OUR family, and with eachother, without bending to the wants and needs of others. WE count on EACHOTHER, and validate eachother, and I realized that , you know, it doesn't matter one lick what other people think. As long as HE and I are happy, and happy with one another, that is the only thing that truly matters. So NO, I have zero desire to ever give that up.

"How did he find out about all the activities?"

We had been talking one day, and I got angry. (more at me than him) I was tired of hiding. I was tired of these secrets, and I just wrote it all out. He worked very long shifts, and I just wrote it all out. I ripped the bandaid off, and just bled all over the place. Then we started on the road of getting everything out in the open. With there having been so many years passed, and having only so much time any given day to talk, it took a while to get everything out. I was remembering things in pieces, and it came across as trickle truth, because I would say that is everything, then I would think and think and think, and remember something else, another detail, that I had buried deep inside my mind. (Piece of advice, if there have been many years, and you are trying to remember everything, don't say that is everything, until you are 100000000% sure that it is. Instead try, that is all that I remember at this moment, but I will continue to think about it, and let you know if I remember any more details.) This process ended up taking weeks of very long, very late night conversations. Then months of regular talk sessions to work through it all. We are several years out now, and we still have times where we will stay up to 2-3-4 in the morning, talking about things. Those sessions have gotten less with time. The emotional highs are not as high as they use to be, and the lows are not as low. That constant roller coaster ride has slowed, to a rolling river ride, that has occasional rapids. (usually around antiversary times)

Investednhealing posted 5/29/2020 21:41 PM

JBWB,

I absolutely agree with what you have said. That is a very good point, and one that I think more people need to hear.

Thank you everyone for your comments, suggestions, and feedback. I know this process is NOT easy. It takes much strength, openness, and a deep level of commitment to work through. I thank you all for your bravery and strength in sharing your stories, and in helping me to figure out ways to help my bh heal. Thank you for the advice and suggestions. It might take me time to respond sometimes, but I promise to respond, when I am able. Please keep the suggestions coming.

Investednhealing posted 5/30/2020 10:24 AM

Fooled 13 years,

(quote)Investednhealing,
Perhaps you have already completed this exercise but I would recommend it if you havenít.
Imagine your husband cheated on you and took from you everything that makes you feel like a woman, a wife and a mother.

What could your husband do to help you get those feelings back?

How could he continue to help you maintain those feelings?

How could he constantly reassure you that you are, and forevermore be, his first priority?

How could he constantly reassure you that you are, and forevermore will be, the only woman for him?

There had to be times in your marriage that you could see his pride in something he did for you or your family, something that gave him a spring in his step, a smile on his face, made him walk a little taller or throw his shoulders back and throw out his chest because of the feeling something gave him.(/quote)

I have not used the html way to quote in color, dftc showed me this morning, I hope I did it correctly.

I spoke with dftc this morning. He feels as though I missed the point of this exercise, so allow me to go back to the beginning, and think this through more thoroughly.

In my previous answer I was speaking from now, having experienced my own pains, and not to how it must have felt to him 23 years ago, an throughout our marriage.

While I can not say for certainty how I would have reacted, I can try and think, from where I was THEN, how I would have reacted. I think my first reaction, would have been to run to my ever so deathly toxic mother. (This would not have been the wisest of choices, but based on where I was then, that would have likely been my reaction 23 years ago.) I would have cried and bawled, and would not want to see or speak to him, at least not at first. We already had one child, so I would have spoken to him at some point, and made some attempt to figure out our next steps. IDK how long it would have taken me to really trust him again.

Had he been the one to do everything I did, and I the one to do the things he did, I do not know how we would have handled it. I do not know how I would have handled finding out some things that I suspected, but were not aware of many years down the road, as he did. I believe I would have been crushed. I believe that I would have watched him like a hawk.

We have very different mindsets, and ways of thinking. I do not know if I would have wanted to, or would have been able to, hear and handle every single detail. It is a place where we are very different.

I would want him to get in therapy, and try to work on things from his past, as far back as he could go. I would want US to get in therapy, and find out WHAT I could have done, to have been the kind of mate that he needed, to support him in the ways he needed, push him in the areas he needed, to where he felt he could have come to me sooner. I would want to get in therapy myself, to figure out my own issues, and what I could do to work through those to be better for myself, our children, and eachother.

Neither of us had great gender role models growing up. I was not taught, by healthy example, what it was like to BE a good mother, wife, and mate. I recall many many trips with my father where he wanted so much to divorce her, and he and I start a happy life somewhere else. (They are somehow still married.) His parents divorced when he was 3, and he had multiple male figures in an out of his life, some neglectful, some down right abusive. None of which gave great example as to what a solid and healthy relationship looked like, or what being a healthy and involved parent looked like. (Though I have to give props to his mother, because she is an AMAZING person, and the kind of mom that EVERYONE in this world should have. I am ever so grateful to have her in my life.)

I do not know what he could have done, then, to help me feel like his wife again. I had not experienced healthy relationships, so I didn't have a solid grasp on what that did or should look like anyhow. I was so freaking young, 17, maybe we should have taken marriage and parenting classes (beyond how to labor and change a diaper), from the beginning.

Had he been the one to dump on me several years ago, I do not know how I would have handled that either. At that point we had been married for a very long time, we had history, we had 4 bio kids, and had helped raise many other kids, through mentoring, and fostering. There was a bit of solidity there, and we were tied together in a way that it was not as simple as "I can not deal with this, bye." We had already distanced ourselves from the vast majority of our family and friends. We were in a little town, where therapy was a town or two over, and many didn't accept insurance. (We did manage to find one, and stayed with her, until we moved back north.) I think I would probably have reacted much in the same way as he did, in some areas. I would have doubted what little self worth I did have. I do not know if I would have turned to or away from god. (As it is, I turned to, and he turned away from, and then I slowly slipped away from my faith as well. That is a whole different story for a different time.)

I don't know what I would have done to help regain my self worth, because honestly I have not ever had much self worth to begin with. In the past I didn't like myself very much. (I AM learning to like and love the person I am becoming.) I didn't feel worthy of love. I do not know what he would have, could have, done to convince me otherwise. I can tell you what we have each done at this point, which is the point of view I wrote my first reply from, but I honestly do not know how I would have handled everything if things were flipped. That depth of pain is not something that is easy to grasp. While I do understand, to a point, I do feel pieces, because of how our life did unfold throughout the years, I think it would have put me in an even greater depression than I have ever felt, and I have lived depressed the vast majority of my life. I think I would have needed serious therapy and counciling to work through it.

I think the way he could have helped me continue to work through it would be by being accountable, being present, learning how to, and speaking my love language, encouraged me to get the help that I needed to heal, encouraged me to do things that helped ME feel strong, self confident, and worthy. I think I would want him to praise me, and recognize the little things I did for him. Though honestly I do not know how much of it I would actually hear at first, I would not want him to give up. I would want him to introduce me as his wife, whether or not I was present. I would want him to boast about me, and lift me up, not only to me, but to others. Again, I do not know if I would be able to hear or believe it at first, but I would not want him to give up, and would want him to keep lifting me up, until it got through. I would want him to read and learn what it is a good husband and father is, and practice being those things, not just from a biblical standpoint, because seriously, that was thousands of years ago, and those roles have been redefined through changing times.

The way he could have reassured me would have been verbal and action based, by practicing safety, love, reassurance, accountability, and being there each and every day. Communication, talking, watching videos from people that have been there, and come through to the other side, and practicing the things that they teach. I would want to see more actions in person, than him reading, or communicating with others on a forum, (I understand that is how we learn, and this is a good place to learn, but personally I would have wanted more of a presence.) I would want him to focus more on ME, and on taking the steps to better himself. I would want to hear his input on what HE feels the roles of wife/mother/and partner are, and what he thinks the roles of husband/father/partner are, because it varies from individual to individual, and what works for one family or couple, does not for all. Then I would have wanted to discuss what those views are on my end, and compare notes. There is no written cookie cutter way to be a good wife/husband or parent. That means something different to each person, and each situation. I think it is something couples should openly discuss, instead of just winging it and playing the guessing game.

The last one, I am going to have to discuss further WITH him. I say that, because I do not want to guess, and project what I saw and thought, and pretend that I know what HE was thinking or feeling. That opens a window of discussion for me to ask him about things that made HIM feel manly, worthy, and proud in the past.


Again, thank you for allowing me to take a deeper look at this, think about it, and express those thoughts. Thank you for the continued advice, input, insight. Imagining this scenario flipped, well you can imagine, empathize and theorize, but it is difficult to KNOW how you would react.

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