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BS Questions for WS - Part 14

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MrCleanSlate posted 8/20/2020 05:27 AM


Is there any WS out there who feels they did love their partner during the A?

BSR nailed it.

MrsWalloped posted 8/20/2020 07:12 AM

BSR nailed it.

I agree. She did.

My BH wanted to know this too. And I told him I loved him and that I was in love with him. This was right after DDay. But then I questioned myself to him at that time and said how could I be if I did this to him? So I must not have. And that was a shocking revelation to me. And I never thought of that during my A. If anyone asked me during my A if I loved or was in love with my H, my answer would have been of course. Absolutely! But thatís because I didnít connect my actions during my A with what that actually meant about how I felt about my BH. I kept them separate because uncomfortable and painful truths were not allowed in fantasy land.

Iím trying to give you a peek into the warped thinking of a WS. Or at least me. And it depends on how soon after DDay your WS is or how much real thought he has put into this. Realizations like what BSR said and being able to articulate that so well and be honest about it in such a way is not something most WSís get to soon after DDay. So set expectations accordingly.

There may be some self preservation going on too. Like an internal dialogue of some kind. ďI loved her during my A. Of course I did. But my actions prove that I didnít. But if I tell her I didnít, then all sheíll hear is I didnít love her and I had an A and then weíll D. Well, since I believe I loved her during my A, itís the truth. And I donít want to hurt her anymore than I already have. And I really do love her (now). So thatís my answer.Ē

It takes time and effort to be able to be honest and authentic and really work through your thoughts and feelings and recognize that the love you thought you had for your BS during that time was not real love at all.

hikingout posted 8/20/2020 08:13 AM

So what did you talk about for an hour?
My husband talked to the AP a lot according to records while in the affair but says she didnít have much to talk about and wasnít that smart and just made him feel like he was the bees knees (not his words).

He says he talked to her a lot because he needed to keep her interested and on the hook enough to keep giving him ego kibbles.

Really? That doesnít sound like itís true.

WS what are thoughts? Did you spend hours on the phone not enjoying it?

For me, time talking to the AP was my stage. My affair was mostly a lot of self-adulation and I spent a lot of time just trying to impress him. If I could convince him then I could convince myself. I do not even remember many of the conversations we had because I didn't actively listen to him that much. I was more interested in performing.

NotMyFirstRodeo posted 8/20/2020 08:38 AM

First post on SI. I've been lurking a few weeks and intend to share my run-of-the-mill story soon. But in the meantime I am interested in the candid feedback this breed of WS can offer (I mean this in a very positive way).

I'll attempt to outline some general truths as the baseline for my question:

Gas lighting and truth trickling (quite frankly this is far too kind a term for its reality. I digress...) by WS -expected

Multiple DD's from WS -expected (but how long between and, if ever exposed before a BS rug sweeps or the M ends in D...no telling -with R still possible with full disclosure of course)

I experienced my first DD back in 2007. As the dust settled I was sure she was lying about details given but being the codependent person I was, resulted in rug sweeping on my part. I knew she was not honest with me and I acknowledge that I was wrong to accept this and I tacitly approved further unfaithfulness. Not super happy with the 26 year old version of me.

Another DD comes early 2019. This time, she comes to me and willingly cracks open a window to a different A (leaving this open-ended to the reader intentionally) which was a "2016/2017" event, seemingly without any exterior forces. She "was tired of carrying it".

This time around, I decided I would not accept less than full-disclosure and told her so.

That was 18 months ago and a few bombs have been dropped on account of my persistence and ear for detail. Included in this was a huge change in the PA details of her 2007 A, as well as...urgh, you get it...I found myself in a rabbithole. Anyways, 100% of the revisions to her 2007, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 stories came on the back of my arm twisting for the truth.

Here's my question now that context is present:

As a WS who gaslit, trickle truthed, had multiple DD's (not necessarily multiple A's though) and have, you yourself felt compelled to spill some volume of "the beans" to your BS over time and then finally found yourself with the whole story out:

Would you describe how your R, M, BS and you experienced the transition period of going from having unshared secrets/BS knowing that you were sill holding back (pink elephant in the room), to having shared everything while you BS still *feeling* as though there are unshared secrets (*you* could relax knowing that it was all out there, but the two of you were also suffering the long-term effects of the lying and needed arm twisting for truth), to your BS expressing that they finally feel assured that they have the complete truth from you? (mega-sentence much? )

I freely admit I've apprehension believing I have the whole story due to the track record but that it's also not impossible that I do have the whole truth. I suppose I'd like to hear from the experienced WS to understand this dynamic from a view different than my own.

As I reread this post I admit it leaves much out and in other ways is nuanced. My intention is to give what's needed and I hope you can fill in any minor voids. Thanks and I hope

hikingout posted 8/20/2020 08:57 AM

Notmyfirstrodeo -

I do not meet your criteria for this question. We have a few WS's who did the trickle truth thing, but none come to mind with this extensive of a background. So, I am going to attempt to address some of this because I don't know if you will get an answer from someone who meets the criteria.

All WS face themselves at different rates, some never do. We all have the challenge of rebuilding trust within our relationship, and those who are more successful show not only consistency with their BS but can demonstrate true and lasting change within ourselves.

I am of the mindset any couple can have a good chance of success of R if the following exists:

-The WS is remorseful. They exhibit this through complete transparency, honesty, consistent support type behaviors with you (consistently trying to make amends). They seem to understand as much as a non-betrayed person can the damage they have done to you and your relationship.

-The WS goes through a process to discover their whys (all internal to them) and hows. Meaning, what was the motivation of the behaviors, and how was it they were comfortable with those behaviors. Whys are about accountability, hows are usually background information like FOO. They work to heal the hows and change the whys. This can't be faked, this is something they can articulate and actively work on. It takes a long time. I confessed three years ago. I still work on some of it, because the truth is being human means you won't master everything. I have a good handle to be able for both my husband and I to think I have become a safe partner for him, but I know that becoming the best version of myself will be a life long endeavor.

-Both people are willing to work hard on the R process. That means the BS works on their healing, and they both work to restore connection, trust, communication, etc. Sometimes, there isn't enough there for the BS to stay regardless of what the WS does to improve themselves. And, that's okay too.

Trust is obviously harder to build after the enormous amount of years you have been cheated on, the enormous amount of lies. But, that is not a you problem, that's a her problem. You have spent 18 months working on things, do you see some of the signs that there is something here to work on? And, do you want to do that? Regardless of our antidotal stories, every single person is different and every marriage is different. Only you can decide the progress and whether it's worth continuing.

LifeDestroyer posted 8/20/2020 09:01 AM

Hardknocks, I can't elaborate any better than what BSR said.

HardKnocks posted 8/20/2020 09:48 AM

Thank you, BSR. Add me to the "she nailed it" list. This is my perspective as well!!

Thanks, Mr.CS and LD for the confirmation!

MrsWalloped, thank you. That is precisely the perspective I'm looking for. It's hard for me to understand that initial line of thinking, but it exists, it's not just him, and I do need to be mindful of my expectations.

We are 6 months out, but the IC (from week 1) and MC (for the last 3 months) have been intense. The dialogues are designed, in part, to illicit and increase empathy. It will be interesting to see if there has been any noted progress on this topic; any clarity.

Thanks so much to all!

PS-To all Ss: The Personal Vulnerabilty work WS has been doing in IC (and to some extent in MC) has been game-changing. I really, really, really, wish we hadn't skipped this work 17 years ago. Of course, only time will tell.

[This message edited by HardKnocks at 9:49 AM, August 20th (Thursday)]

MrsWalloped posted 8/20/2020 10:01 AM

Hi NotMyFirstRodeo.

Would you describe how your R, M, BS and you experienced the transition period of going from having unshared secrets/BS knowing that you were sill holding back (pink elephant in the room), to having shared everything while you BS still *feeling* as though there are unshared secrets (*you* could relax knowing that it was all out there, but the two of you were also suffering the long-term effects of the lying and needed arm twisting for truth), to your BS expressing that they finally feel assured that they have the complete truth from you? (mega-sentence much?)

I donít meet your criteria either, but your question illustrates why TT is so damaging. Youíre basically starting from Day One all over again, and on top of that you have all the lies and ommissions and questions to deal with, which makes building any kind of trust super difficult if not impossible.

At the same time, what you describe is what I think every BS goes through (just x 1,000 when you add TT to the mix). A WS has unshared secretes and lies that get exposed after DDay and the BS needs to feel they have the truth. I donít know if I ever felt ďrelaxedĒ that all the truth was out there. But I felt unburdened. What I mean is I stopped trying to control the situation. Youíll hear people say ďletting go of the outcome.Ē And thatís what that is. You tell the truth and open up because itís the right thing, you want to help your BS, youíre carrying too much guilt, whatever your reasons are. But you do and whether you D or R is not part of your thought process when you do.

And from the BSís perspective you now have to deal with all of that. So I think TT adds another on top of that, but the basic issues are the same.

MrCleanSlate posted 8/20/2020 10:10 AM

Hardknocks,

After my A I really had a major re-evaluation of who I was. I changed dramatically. My BW often comments about how much improved I am. I too wish I could have changed this way many years earlier, alas, I also know that I wasn't ready to accept all my faults back then.

My BW really helped me move forward after D-Day. She was supportive of my digging into my whys and she did an amazing job of being a positive force for change rather than critical. We both worked on fixing our M. It does take time - maybe 2 to 3 years to really get there.

HardKnocks posted 8/20/2020 10:26 AM

Mr.CS

I'm happy for you and your wife. It's always nice to hear of genuine success stories!

I'm also grateful for your willingness to provide clarity and inspiration for others on this journey.

Honestly, I've got one foot in the City of Hope and one in Los Bamboozled, so my story is yet unwritten.

[This message edited by HardKnocks at 10:26 AM, August 20th (Thursday)]

TwoDozen posted 8/20/2020 10:56 AM

Betrayed here

Full disclosure Iíve recently posted in general about my own single instance of poor behaviour many many years ago and how that affected me deeply and how I think it has partly shaped who I am and how I behave today.

In that story I owned up to my poor behaviour immediately, held nothing back, there was no TT, I did not minimise, I did not blameshift and I made immediate conscious and I guess sub conscious changes to how I interpreted situations and kept myself out of harms way.

Step forward 22 years and my GF of 24 years now WGF was discovered to be having a 3 month PA 8 months ago.

I understand that the emotional turmoil of going as far as a full blown PA is going to be significantly more than what I had to own, but Iím struggling a little with the pace at which she is owning her choices. Iím feeling daily that sheís not doing enough, minimising, blameshifting, she wants to get through this with zero consequences and she doesnít want to see her true self in the mirror. .

Then I read this in another thread, from an experienced WS who is in R and I guess it made me spark up the hopium pipe again

At 6 months, I was still trying to prove not just to my husband, but to myself that I was actually a good person. I still wasnít ready to take a deep look inside and address the things head on that resulted in horrifying behavior. Which meant that I couldnít look at the raw pain I knew I had caused not just one, but two people. That early out I felt sorry but at the surface. I knew I messed up. I knew I was wrong. I knew that she hated me, but I couldnít go much deeper than that because doing so would have required a lot insight on my part that I hadnít yet gained.

Am I just expecting too much at 8 months? Is it just time I need to give her?


BraveSirRobin posted 8/20/2020 12:24 PM

Am I just expecting too much at 8 months? Is it just time I need to give her?
I don't think you should just sit back and wait. Resistant WS need their feet held to the fire. My BH and I both wish he had taken a harder line with me at the beginning.

I think the message is more that if they don't get it right away, that's not proof that they never will. Assuming a willingness to do the work, it can still take a while to break down the defenses and see ourselves for what we really are. My BH's patience in that case was a good thing for our R. He wanted us to stay together, and he wanted me to get to a place of true remorse, and busting me down when I was making a genuine effort was not productive.

If you're not seeing real attempts to do the work, then trying to wait it out only prolongs the agony. Most WS will gladly rugsweep if given half a chance. We're inherently self-interested, so we need to see why it hurts us more than helps us to pretend the problem will vanish on its own.

NotMyFirstRodeo posted 8/20/2020 12:28 PM

hikingout

I do not meet your criteria for this question. We have a few WS's who did the trickle truth thing, but none come to mind with this extensive of a background. So, I am going to attempt to address some of this because I don't know if you will get an answer from someone who meets the criteria.

Regardless of the criteria, thank you for taking the time to try by sharing.

All WS face themselves at different rates, some never do. We all have the challenge of rebuilding trust within our relationship, and those who are more successful show not only consistency with their BS but can demonstrate true and lasting change within ourselves.

I'll save deeper thoughts on it for the time I share the whole story. But for now I'll say that this is an area I recognized as vital mid-way through 2019, one I've been on the lookout for and one I feel has been avoided by my WS.

I am of the mindset any couple can have a good chance of success of R if the following exists:

-The WS is remorseful. They exhibit this through complete transparency, honesty, consistent support type behaviors with you (consistently trying to make amends). They seem to understand as much as a non-betrayed person can the damage they have done to you and your relationship.

-The WS goes through a process to discover their whys (all internal to them) and hows. Meaning, what was the motivation of the behaviors, and how was it they were comfortable with those behaviors. Whys are about accountability, hows are usually background information like FOO. They work to heal the hows and change the whys. This can't be faked, this is something they can articulate and actively work on. It takes a long time. I confessed three years ago. I still work on some of it, because the truth is being human means you won't master everything. I have a good handle to be able for both my husband and I to think I have become a safe partner for him, but I know that becoming the best version of myself will be a life long endeavor.

-Both people are willing to work hard on the R process. That means the BS works on their healing, and they both work to restore connection, trust, communication, etc. Sometimes, there isn't enough there for the BS to stay regardless of what the WS does to improve themselves. And, that's okay too.

From 18 months ago I began to work on myself and my view of our M with the tangible facts as my basis for how I feel more than allowing my feelings to drive what I perceive. This was not a fast process but after about 8 months I was finally beginning to accept things for what they are...which I will touch on in regards to MrsWalloped's thoughts. At any rate, once I stopped breathing the gas that codependents are prone to inhaling, my tears dried up and my personal growth began to improve at an accelerated rate.

Trust is obviously harder to build after the enormous amount of years you have been cheated on, the enormous amount of lies. But, that is not a you problem, that's a her problem.

Well, it's sort of an us problem until there's closure as a couple or a D. But I know what you mean and agree. It should be her priority.

You have spent 18 months working on things, do you see some of the signs that there is something here to work on? And, do you want to do that? Regardless of our antidotal stories, every single person is different and every marriage is different. Only you can decide the progress and whether it's worth continuing.

Technically, progress has been made. To me, said progress feels and looks like only the low-hanging fruit (for her) areas were worked on and only to the point of taking the sharp edges off of my clearly voiced concerns and issues. But to be fair, I am a person who is very in touch with what I feel and can share them if someone asks me. She has never been the sharing kind. So my words are merely "one of three sides" as they say.

Since November of 2019, I've told her:
∑ I will no longer press her for information and that as the only person I can communicate with which knows the whole story, it's up to her to make my standing questions whole. Which was met with, "ask whatever questions you have." At that point I was bored of getting non-answers to my questions and she knew the questions I still felt were incomplete.
∑ And that I would no longer request she research what we faced. Gone were the days of me asking her to read up, watch videos (by herself or with me) or bringing up infidelity-related topics.

I stopped this not because it would end with me rug sweeping the situation. But she has no space to play ignorant to what I've felt, what I question, etc. and her natural, unprompted actions would lift the fog that's been hanging over her heart condition towards her betrayals, myself and our children for me.

Thank you for the thoughts hikingout.

MrsWalloped

I donít meet your criteria either, but your question illustrates why TT is so damaging. Youíre basically starting from Day One all over again, and on top of that you have all the lies and omissions and questions to deal with, which makes building any kind of trust super difficult if not impossible.

I view the issue as driven by the empirical data now because I've learned I can not blindly trust my feelings and at the core of that is the TT, not her mistakes. Anyone can rationalize previous actions, mistakes or judgement calls. Early in 2019 I even told her that I understand how an EA can happen and one can get sucked in but that if she wants our endgame to be our family staying whole, I need nothing but the truth. That when it comes to the truth, it's absolute and any excuses for lying are insulting to me. It's one thing to live a lie of omitting her acts of betrayal. It's another to express a desire to be whole with me and out of the other corner of her mouth bold-faced lie to me repeatedly. It's as though you're saying not only do you not love me by the act of lying right now, but you also believe me to be stupid enough to believe it.

What I mean is I stopped trying to control the situation. Youíll hear people say ďletting go of the outcome.Ē

This is actually where I've been at for the last month or so in my own head. While it's common for WS's to be told that they must let go (of control), it feels good for me to finally feel as though it's what I've done. And so here I am setting more emotional boundaries for us and I perceive that she is beginning to understand that I've accepted that our M may end. Historically, we've accepted that I be a lap dog, she fusses enough and I bow. I'm done with that. As my mom always told me, it's better to be alone and by yourself than lonely in a marriage. But no matter what people say, when children are involved (and simultaneously safe from abuse), any major act should be given the gravity it deserves. This is not the same as inaction. But my actions do affect more than myself so I am exhibiting patience, focusing on myself right now while still keeping my eyes open to the possibility of us healing together.


And from the BSís perspective you now have to deal with all of that. So I think TT adds another on top of that, but the basic issues are the same.

Basically, same stuff. #1 issue right now is safety.

Thanks for sharing with me MrsWalloped.

[This message edited by NotMyFirstRodeo at 12:30 PM, August 20th (Thursday)]

hikingout posted 8/20/2020 12:47 PM

From 18 months ago I began to work on myself and my view of our M with the tangible facts as my basis for how I feel more than allowing my feelings to drive what I perceive. This was not a fast process but after about 8 months I was finally beginning to accept things for what they are...which I will touch on in regards to MrsWalloped's thoughts. At any rate, once I stopped breathing the gas that codependents are prone to inhaling, my tears dried up and my personal growth began to improve at an accelerated rate.

I completely understand what you are telling me here. My H wasn't co-d, he was more of the driving the hard-line from the beginning. But, it allows me to see why that person is healthy. This will serve you well in what ever you chose moving forward.

While it's common for WS's to be told that they must let go (of control), it feels good for me to finally feel as though it's what I've done.

I agree with you on this as well. I think fundamentally this is an important step on both sides of the fence. My husband asked me for a divorce in month 10, we wrote everything up and did in house separation. This allowed him to feel like he could stop pressuring him self in either direction somehow. I see BS here try and rush themselves into a decision because being on the fence is a lot harder in so many ways. Letting that struggle go can help with peace. I think all WS and BS have a journey to be on to get there though.

NotMyFirstRodeo posted 8/20/2020 13:01 PM

hikingout

I agree with you on this as well. I think fundamentally this is an important step on both sides of the fence. My husband asked me for a divorce in month 10, we wrote everything up and did in house separation. This allowed him to feel like he could stop pressuring him self in either direction somehow. I see BS here try and rush themselves into a decision because being on the fence is a lot harder in so many ways. Letting that struggle go can help with peace. I think all WS and BS have a journey to be on to get there though.

A marriage in this state is like a ship taking on water. In general, ships are not inexpensive and if there's a practical way to save it one should. But if it's impossible to keep it from taking on water or it's just taken on so much that there's no purpose to saving it, hop in that lifeboat and live another day.

My marriage is 19 years deep with multiple young children. The ship has great value if it can be saved. But I need both ship officers to be in on saving it.

hikingout posted 8/20/2020 13:25 PM

I do agree with you.

Our children are grown, but even without those pressures we still find it to have great value as well. But, you are right you need both officers working their butts off...and especially the officer that ran it into the iceberg to begin with.

Merti posted 8/20/2020 20:20 PM

Merti, why are you competing with the AP?

I am not competing with anyone, if I did I would let my husband stay in our house and do the pick me dance. I am not trying to reconcile either. That is why I separared from him despite his objections. Ever since we are separated, I am NC with him. He recently started sending me text messages of I missed you, canít do without you etc... which I am not responding to. Is separation helping him clear his mind slowly? I donít know. Is he lying?Who knows. But all I can say is, it is not easy to throw away such a long marriage so these messages are still confusing to me, but I will not break NC.

[This message edited by Merti at 8:22 PM, August 20th (Thursday)]

MrCleanSlate posted 8/21/2020 06:12 AM

Merti,

Your last post is a lot more clear and I guess I sort of misunderstood where things stood from your first post.

Is separation helping him clear his mind slowly? I donít know. Is he lying?Who knows. But all I can say is, it is not easy to throw away such a long marriage so these messages are still confusing to me, but I will not break NC.

By staying NC you will never know.
If he is messaging you perhaps you need to open a dialogue to find out for yourself one way or the other. It may at the minimum give you some closure.

UnstuffedGiraffe posted 8/24/2020 09:19 AM

As a WS what helped you the most in IC?

hikingout posted 8/24/2020 13:10 PM

As a WS what helped you the most in IC?

Oh my gosh, so many things but maybe the over arching help was hearing myself say things outloud to another person. When something isn't true it hits the air differently, when something is so true and you never realized it, you are thunderstruck by it.

But, more specifically:

1. It allowed me to understand the way I am in relationships and why. I am a people pleaser, a perfectionist. I have spent my entire adult life hustling for love and pushing down my own needs and feelings. This has been detrimental to myself and the marriage. I had to learn that my husband would love me with a dirty house, unmade dinner, and as an imperfect human being. She gave me exercises that sounded simple, were really freaking hard, and very enlightening.

2. I think an important aspect is understanding how we were comfortable in the affair. That means figuring out how our past relates to the present. Knowing where we learned things helps us relate more deeply to it and that's important for changing our behaviors.

3. Finding our self compassion. Healing means that we heal our past shame and our current shame. We can only be whole and safe if we have good self worth - and that means that we have to overcome our bad choices. This was hugely important to me and probably the hardest part of my journey. Being able to say I like who I am again, and being in tune with what I want in my life, how I want to spend my time, what I need, those are important touchstones I lost sight of. It allows me to exist in the present, it allows me to understand now joy is manufactured, and it keeps me accountable to my relationship. That accountability means not being perfect, speaking up, raising conflict as needed, etc.

It means different people to different issues but I would not have gotten to where I needed to go without it.

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