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BS Questions for WS - Part 14

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JBWD posted 8/24/2020 14:20 PM


As a WS what helped you the most in IC?

Learning that emotions arenít to be blindly trusted. My Dad was a very strange guy who truly, fervently believed that if you ďgot something,Ē well fine, but if there was something you enjoyed but it didnít ďcome naturallyĒ youíd waste your time to pursue it. This created a weird sense of resignation, that there were things I could be good at and things that I couldnít, which led me to believe that feelings really did guide you.

What I discovered was the mind often anchors on feelings post hoc (Jonathan Haidtís words) to validate emotionally biased decisions. And that I had cognitive distortions that allowed those feelings to escalate unchecked. By simply walking back from those emotions I learned to find the triggering moments beneath the feelings and then resolve the thoughts.

Sorry for the weird rambling up top, but FOO is now where weíre living for the next little bit.

MrsWalloped posted 8/25/2020 08:33 AM

As a WS what helped you the most in IC?

Understanding how I am wired to think and feel, and developing tools to deal with it.

There are a lot of thoughts people have in their head about themselves but they kind of push it down because they are uncomfortable thoughts. So we act without really understanding why. So I learned about my behaviors and more importantly why I behaved the way I did. And we brought all that out until we understood them and where they came from. And I learned that behaviors that I always thought were good were actually not and that they came from an unhealthy place. And then after all that we moved to how to deal with them in a healthy way, to reframe my thinking (or wiring), to watch out for behaviors, methods for changing how I thought about myself or how I heard things from other people and so on.

IC is not a quick fix. It is not learn something about yourself (your whys), and then itís all great, move on. Itís work and effort and you get what you put into it.

HalfTime2017 posted 8/25/2020 14:04 PM

Are there any WWs on this forum that have gone on to be with their AP permanently after DDay, and are active on this board?

hikingout posted 8/25/2020 14:12 PM

Half-time: Not to my knowledge. This environment would likely not support such a person. We have WW's who have left their spouse for other reasons after trying to reconcile, but noone for their AP to my knowledge.

WhatisnowNew posted 8/25/2020 16:14 PM

My question: After DD my husband told me he would go after AP. He was happy that I found out. He ignored my trauma completely. A few months past but he was still not gone. Told me that he is confused and he might be making a mistake. Then he got into this depressed mode, he looks tired and confused. He says he doesnít know how to get out. He says those crazy feelings when the AP calls etc are gone, things started to become more ordinary.This has been going on for months. We at first lived like roommates and now I moved in to a separate home.

Is it pretty standard for most WS to look so depressed and worn-out? I donít understand what he gets from this mess. I suggested separation or divorce too. So I am not holding onto him. Why canít he just leave? Why does he give me hopes to hold onto? (I am mostly NC and not responding to him)

[This message edited by WhatisnowNew at 4:16 PM, August 25th (Tuesday)]

SlapJacks posted 8/26/2020 11:29 AM

Did any ws ever tell his bs that the ow was ďbetterĒ than them?
Ie, ďOW has a career and takes care of kids, maybe I can have her call you and tell you how to do that.Ē

Yes, actually my WW did...but sort of opposite in what happened to you. My WW is a SAHM, and yes, I find parenting "difficult" and not my strong suit. I have always believed that my personality / character was more productive in doing what I did best, which was to provide for my family. Don't get me wrong, I love my kids, but a trip to the park was torture for me. Now that my kids are much older, they are much more interesting. lol.

But oh did I hear about how awesome my WW's AP was and how much time he spent with his kids and the bike rides he would take them on. It was flat out disgusting and cruel. He was such an awesome guy....nevermind the fact that he had been divorced 3 times...and was having an affair with a married woman...

hikingout posted 8/26/2020 14:40 PM

Whatisnow:

Is it pretty standard for most WS to look so depressed and worn-out? I donít understand what he gets from this mess. I suggested separation or divorce too. So I am not holding onto him. Why canít he just leave? Why does he give me hopes to hold onto? (I am mostly NC and not responding to him)

I don't know how far into this you are, but your husband is experiencing Limerance. I did as well, I am familiar with it. There is some really good material on it online.

Some people think it's infatuation. It's not, it's an addiction. It's not even about the AP, it's about the fact that he has put his whole self worth into what the AP feels about him.

It causes intrusive thoughts, a lot of it is involuntary and not wanted. I wanted to just leave the AP behind and work on my marriage. I blamed my marriage for my unhappiness though, and I associated all those high feelings with the AP.

There is a great article by Dr. Frank Pittman on "Romantic Infidelity" that describes some of it.

You are doing the right thing. He needs to feel that the choice of what happens is not his to make. The worst part is when this is all over I do think he is going to regret this terribly. But, you have a duty to yourself to detach from him or he is going to drag you down with him. Unfortunately he is leaving you no choice. I have read the other thread and you have gotten very good advice in there. Its unfortunate because I am sure this is the opposite of what you want to happen, but he is going to need to feel the weight of his decisions in order to get some reality. I still don't know if that will be too little to late by the time that happens.

WhatisnowNew posted 8/26/2020 15:03 PM

hikingout thank you for your response, I appreciate all this information.
I still have so many questions. For example, why doesnít he just leave if there is an addiction? Iíve given him all the freedom but he tells me many times that he hates what heís turned into, and he doesnít know how to quit.


it's about the fact that he has put his whole self worth into what the AP feels about him.

I read a lot about it and I know it is true. But again I am so confused about it. I am not proud to tell you that I treated him like the most precious thing in the world. My never ending support, my love, my appreciation of him, my dedication to him were all such a huge part of my life. I didnít lose myself and I continued building a life of my own too, but I was incredibly giving towars him. It is so confusing to me that he wanted more. And I donít believe he gets more, no challenges, no sacrifices just empty words and ego strokes mean nothing. And this upsets me very much.

Mickie500 posted 8/28/2020 10:13 AM

When did you realize that When you were rewriting history you were forever altering who you were as a person to your spouse?

I mentioned this reality in another post- while Iím moving away from calling him a piece of shit in my mind I do realize that he will never be the untarnished love of my life again and Iím just not sure I want to be with someone who isnít the love of my life.

Iím 8 months out ..... is this a normal stage?

WalkinOnEggshelz posted 8/30/2020 07:59 AM

SlapJacks, you have a pm.

sundance posted 8/30/2020 10:29 AM

When did you realize that When you were rewriting history you were forever altering who you were as a person to your spouse?

Ouch. Sometimes these questions are just so raw.

However, I don't think it's as "simple" as just altering who we are/were to our BS-- I think it's that we also altered who we are/were to ourselves.

In other words, we don't just lie about the marital history, we lie about ourselves. We give ourselves 1,001 excuses to alter ourselves in order to have an A.

That being said, I think people are fluid-- in that they can change. I don't necessarily think that the altering that an individual did to become a wayward sticks with them for life. While the act of cheating may forever alter the marriage history (you can't take that act back), I don't necessarily feel that the individual is forever altered.

Personally, I don't want to be that "other person" I became ever again. I have faith in myself that I can and will be safe for myself, and for my family.

I'm hoping that in time, you will be able to see your WS in a new light. And that his downfall will not always be what you see first. I'm hoping you will eventually be able to alter your view of him.

I mentioned this reality in another post- while Iím moving away from calling him a piece of shit in my mind I do realize that he will never be the untarnished love of my life again and Iím just not sure I want to be with someone who isnít the love of my life.

Yes, he will never be the untarnished love of your life again. That sucks.

But just because he can't be untarnished, doesn't mean that he can't eventually be the love of your life again, at some point in the future.

There is a Japanese term: Kitsugi-- it is the Japanese art of putting broken pottery pieces back together with gold ó built on the idea that in embracing flaws and imperfections, you can create an even stronger, more beautiful piece of art.

I am hoping that you can put your M back together and create a stronger, more beautiful M.

Iím 8 months out ..... is this a normal stage?

And YES, I think all your questions are very, very normal at this stage.


hikingout posted 8/31/2020 10:06 AM

hikingout thank you for your response, I appreciate all this information.
I still have so many questions. For example, why doesnít he just leave if there is an addiction? Iíve given him all the freedom but he tells me many times that he hates what heís turned into, and he doesnít know how to quit.

Deep down he knows the right thing to do. I understand what he is saying, and why he is saying it. He is addicted to the high feelings, but it's ruining his life.


I read a lot about it and I know it is true. But again I am so confused about it. I am not proud to tell you that I treated him like the most precious thing in the world. My never ending support, my love, my appreciation of him, my dedication to him were all such a huge part of my life. I didnít lose myself and I continued building a life of my own too, but I was incredibly giving towars him. It is so confusing to me that he wanted more. And I donít believe he gets more, no challenges, no sacrifices just empty words and ego strokes mean nothing. And this upsets me very much.

You have to know this isn't about what you did or didn't do. The void that is within him he has been trying to fill with external sources for years. Other people can't fix it for him.

Think about it this way, for a long time that propping him up that you have done probably worked. Just like someone who drinks escalates the amount of alcohol because the previous amount wasn't enough.

It's part of why he stays as well. He knows you have been very good to him and there is a lot of security in that. But he keeps jeopardizing your security for his own. You can't allow him to do that to you.

Ascott58 posted 8/31/2020 13:54 PM

I feel like im going crazy! I rack my brain 400 times a day. I just want to know why my husband cheated on me. 16 years together. Half my life. Since we was 16. The first affair was a one night stand. Second affair was for 4 months. I just want to know why he did this. He says he doesn't know other than he was lonely. His younger brother passed away tragically 3 years ago. 1 year when he had his first affair. He started taking steroids and lost like a 100lbs. He said non of that had a part in it. He said he was lonely. But we had just had a great trip to NYC 3 days before he had his ONS. I just dont get it! I want to scream it! I was a great wife. I have my flaws but I gave him all of me. I trusted him whole heartily. I knew he would never do this to me. I dont know who this man is. Please someone tell me why he cheated? I've left him and I dont think ill go back. But I just want to know where it went wrong..

hikingout posted 8/31/2020 14:04 PM

Ascott,

I don't think people cheat because of their marriages, or because of what their spouse was or wasn't. I think we cheat to avoid reality. We cheat because it feels good and because we have traits that allow us to be comfortable in doing it.

If you have left your husband, I am not sure you will ever really understand him. I am not saying you should stay to understand, but he is unlikely to figure himself out on his own. He will likely go on to avoid his issues through other people.

My husband understands my whys, but it doesn't excuse the behavior. Those are two separate planes. It doesn't make it better. Just know that whatever the defect was, it was within him and not with you.

If there are things you feel you could have done better, reflect on whether they are things you want to change for the future because you want to be different moving forward. But, those are not reasons your husband cheated.

Dranth posted 9/1/2020 10:20 AM

First, thank you to the WSs who respond in here. It helps.

While I have, or at least I hope I have, a reasonable grasp of the road ahead of me for my own recovery, I am curious about yours. With that in mind, I have a few questions that have been running around my head geared toward better understanding that end of this whole mess.

How did you know you were making progress, that the changes were real and permanent and in what way did you gauge that progress? How much of that progress was even possible early on? For example, I see a number of people mention they had to hit rock bottom before they could really do any work. I can see that would help but what about those who started before then? What kind of progress did you actually make before that point and how did it change once you hit it?

Finally, how did you try and show your BS the progress you felt you were making? Anything specific or did you just act differently and let them notice when they were ready?

I apologize for being so vague as I am having trouble articulating exactly what I am trying to ask but I appreciate any attempts to answer.

MrCleanSlate posted 9/1/2020 13:52 PM

Dranth,

My BW wanted to see actions over words. She measured progress by how I was doing with adversity at home/work, with how much i was sharing about my troubles, how open I was, etc.

I don't know if I can point to one thing. I guess if you will it was following the process of becoming better and more open and honest that helped. I needed positive reinforcement from my BW too. She really helped me improve by encouraging me.

Really it was more my BW that needed to see the progress. You need to be a part of the solution and work together.

Breakingapart posted 9/1/2020 23:35 PM

Iím sure it has been asked a million times over but I will ask again in hopes of hearing opinions and finding some clarity.
How does one come out of limerence? Was there something that triggered it? Will WH ever realize the bomb he has set off in our family?

BraveSirRobin posted 9/2/2020 07:44 AM

I see a number of people mention they had to hit rock bottom before they could really do any work. I can see that would help but what about those who started before then? What kind of progress did you actually make before that point and how did it change once you hit it?
Thanks for these questions, because they made me realize that my progress was cyclical. Sorry for the length of my response, but the context is relevant, IMO.

BH and I weren't married at the time of the A, but we were in a committed LDR. He knew I was casually dating OM but not how far it had gone. I used all the standard wayward tricks to justify a full-fledged EA/PA. I was in college, the A had a predetermined end date of OM's graduation, and I thought about taking it to the grave. However, I had a few weeks alone between the end of the A and the next time I saw BH, and that gave me time to clear my head. This was at the height of the AIDS crisis, and I knew that I couldn't expose him to a deadly risk by hiding unprotected sex with another partner.

And so, I voluntarily confessed. I accepted that BH might break up with me the second I told him I slept with OM. I packed my suitcase in a way that would allow me to leave quickly if he threw me out. I let go of the outcome, expecting anger and resolution.

What I got was disbelief and devastation. BH was crushed. He clung to me in an effort to reconnect. I had steeled myself for rejection, and when it didn't appear, I shifted to damage control. I was appalled at what I had done and believed that I could "fix it" and rebuild with BH. Until I learned that was a possibility, I hadn't realized how much I wanted it. Letting go of the outcome went straight out the window.

Unfortunately, I was such a dumbass that I refused to perform the most critical elements of R, which were NC with OM and complete honesty with BH. I was trying to "fix" OM, too, because he had major limerence for me and was pining over the end of the A. I told myself that BH had won and OM had lost. BH had promises of a future together, continued expressions of love, and sex; OM only had friendship and sympathy. I insisted I owed OM that limited support. This was the fucked up narrative I constructed in my own head, and it conveniently ignored my addiction to the ego kibbles of the A. I interpreted BH's reaction as giving me control in our relationship, and I used that power to hide important facts about both the EA and PA.

Fast forward 29 years. I thought the A was fully rugswept. BH, unknown to me, had suffered periodic mind movies throughout our marriage. He blamed himself for being unable to fully recover. He started asking questions about elements of the A, hoping that he could find the key to final healing. I panicked. I had buried the lies so deep that I had started to believe them myself. I performed mental gymnastics where I believed, simultaneously, in two conflicting narratives: the things I was hiding were just details, so inconsequential that he didn't need to know, and also a time bomb, far too dangerous to ever disclose. These were things like specific sex positions and dialogue that would change his understanding of the nature of the A.

So that's when I started the TT. There wasn't much of it after D-Day 1, because I gave BH a story, and he believed it. He was far more focused on getting me to go NC than on grilling me for details. He also knew about one instance where OM pushed me farther than I wanted to go, and he didn't want to traumatize me by asking me to reconstruct it. The combination of these factors meant that he never got what he needed to heal. Now he was asking the tough questions, and unlike D-Day 1, I had not let go of the outcome. I had to get to that point again, where I recognized his right to leave me, before I was able to give him the full truth that he always deserved.

How did you know you were making progress, that the changes were real and permanent and in what way did you gauge that progress?
There is a huge mental difference between telling most of the truth and all of the truth. If you tell most of the truth, you're still a liar, and you think like a liar. Once it was all on the table, and I was practicing radical honesty, the whole world looked different. I had no idea how much fear I had been carrying over something I would honestly have told you I never thought about. I would find myself stopping ten or twelve times a day, ruminating about how to protect an old lie, and remember that he already knew the worst. The wayward brain is a mine shaft, and the fact that we dug it ourselves doesn't make it any easier to see or breathe inside of it.

Finally, how did you try and show your BS the progress you felt you were making? Anything specific or did you just act differently and let them notice when they were ready?
I asked how my BH was doing and proactively offered to answer questions, whether new or ones we had gone over before. My old pattern was to avoid the topic of the A, because you don't walk into a minefield voluntarily. Once all the mines are blown, though, you can go wherever you need to. I'm not saying that's easy or pleasant, but it allows me to focus on the work.

MrCleanSlate posted 9/2/2020 08:53 AM

Breakingapart,

Iím sure it has been asked a million times over but I will ask again in hopes of hearing opinions and finding some clarity.
How does one come out of limerence? Was there something that triggered it? Will WH ever realize the bomb he has set off in our family?

I came out of my limerence about month 10 of my A, and it took another 2 months to end it and then another few weeks to D-Day. At 10 months into my A I realized I was not right and and wanted to fix my M with my BW. The real trigger for me was at D-Day when my BW displayed more grace and love than I thought possible and offered me a ray of hope. I understood how much she really loved me.

For some you need to understand that the A was exposed and they are reeling with emotions and to some degree withdrawal of the A. It can take time to become honest with ourselves.

As for realizing the bomb that we set off on our family - that for me was a slow process that as I worked through my whys i understood more and more. Now 5 years later I feel worse than ever about my actions leading up to the A and the A itself.

I firmly believe it takes 2 willing parties to make R and a new M possible.

[This message edited by MrCleanSlate at 8:54 AM, September 2nd (Wednesday)]

hikingout posted 9/2/2020 09:41 AM


How did you know you were making progress, that the changes were real and permanent and in what way did you gauge that progress?

Learning and growth do not happen in a straight line. And a WS's issues can be mild to severe. For me, I would say my issues were mild to moderate. I didn't have boundary issues, there were no other affairs, I didn't have a history of lying. But, I had poor coping, my perfectionism was a way of hiding shame that I carried and accumulated. It also kept me from being too vulnerable, and that meant that I wasn't always living authentically. I was playing more of a role in the way that I thought it should be played and kept esculating it due to the perfectionism. I was and am conflict avoidant (though better on the scale).

You might be wondering what did that have to do with cheating? It means I constructed a life that I could not longer carry or manage. I was resentful, a martyr, I felt I deserved this thing that was making me feel better. I used it to escape. I am not a good compartmentalizer so that meant that I also rewrote my marriage and felt my marriage was over.

So, with all that said, the first year was a lot of spinning my wheels. I figured out my whys and some of my hows, I actively tried to practice different skills, to learn about them by reading. I did IC religiously, I journaled, I wrote here. I also wanted to save my marriage so I did anything I could think of to help. I think the 8 or 9 month mark I realized that if I couldn't figure out a way to deal with the shame and the spiraling that I wasn't going to make it through. It also left me understanding that I was filling up all the space and I wasn't giving my husband the space and room to feel what he needed to without being worried about my fragility. It was a breaking point for both of us.

He asked for a divorce. I agreed to it but didn't want it. We did in house separation for a short time and drew up papers. I think in those weeks I woke up to a different path that I needed to be on. I began to see what I had done to him. So, I would hold myself to be present and accountable each day. If I needed to bring something up, instead of avoiding I forced myself to do it. If I saw I was trying to hide in my perfectionism, I would make myself come back out. I would make myself bring up the affair and what I was thinking. I would fail and learn and try again. It was probably the most vulnerable I made myself our entire marriage. It was a process. It still is sometimes. As life has progressed there have certainly been tests. We have hit some things this year that I can see my reaction was to go back to some of my ways of being. The covid stuff had me over-doing again - we were home a lot and I was in over-cooking and over-cleaning mode.

How much of that progress was even possible early on?

The early times to me were a lot of struggles and flailing. I didn't know how to be different, and I still had a lot of blindspots of what needed to change and how. But, I think there was progress it was the slowest in the first year.

For example, I see a number of people mention they had to hit rock bottom before they could really do any work. I can see that would help but what about those who started before then? What kind of progress did you actually make before that point and how did it change once you hit it?

I was in counseling two months prior to my dday in which I confessed. I would say my rock bottom was in month 9/10 when we were separating and divorcing. But, I already was in enough pain to know I wanted to change. I think the rock bottom suggestion is just we have to get sick of our own bullshit. Change is generally selfish, and it's most lasting when you are changing for your own reasons.

Finally, how did you try and show your BS the progress you felt you were making? Anything specific or did you just act differently and let them notice when they were ready?

I don't think I can be super clear in my answer. It's all those things. I went to counseling every week and I would have assignments and I would share with him what we discussed, things I was going to try, goals I had, etc. Sometimes I would be doing some of the things automatically and he would notice and comment. It just takes a lot of open and clear communication through the process.

I apologize for being so vague as I am having trouble articulating exactly what I am trying to ask but I appreciate any attempts to answer
.

I thought these questions were very articulate.

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