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BS Questions for WS - Part 14

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MrCleanSlate posted 10/7/2020 06:35 AM

TwoDozen,

I think you will find that most successful R cases include the WS doing the hard work to figure out their Why's, AND the BS and WS both working together to fix their M.

Whether this is done through MC/IC, through church groups, or reading self books, or not, I suppose is another matter. The real issue is if the work is being done.

Not everyone is open to IC if they haven't found the right counsellor yet (that does make a difference). In addition, if you are not ready to turn the mirror on yourself then you will not want to do IC. Then there are people that go to IC and lie to themselves and their counsellor and waste everyone's time.

Many waywards have been lying for so long that being honest and introspective is something we actually need to learn how to do. That can be hard and it may take time to occur.

And, you don't go to IC to make the other party 'happy'. You go because you want to work on yourself.

I know in my own case I was depressed for a few years before my A, but at the time I refused to accept that, and even refused a suggestion from my wife to go see a doctor or an IC. I wasn't ready then. So I stewed in my own shit for a few years and went and had an A as a solution (it wasn't) and that eventually led to my realizing I am not right, and after D-day to actually taking the time to accept my faults, etc.

You need to accept there is an issue before you can ask for help. Has your WS done that?

One final thing - after many years of MC/IC post D-Day the wife and I discovered that we need to work on ourselves and our M continually. We finally communicate effectively which makes a big difference. AND we do not ignore issues. It is a much better place to be.

[This message edited by MrCleanSlate at 6:37 AM, October 7th (Wednesday)]

hikingout posted 10/7/2020 08:06 AM

Hello WSs

During your cheating, did you feel guilty about what you were doing?


How it was affecting your marriage?


Or not until DDay?


WH says he didnít feel bad until after I found out

Intermittantly I would have guilt. I was supressing it the way BSR describes. But it would bubble over into crying at really weird times.

H and I were very busy during A - he was starting a new business. We didn't see each other much at all and when we did he only wanted to talk about the things he was thinking about his business or asking me to help with specific things. I think he felt the disconnection but thought it was a temporary state while we put everything else aside to get things going. It was actually pretty easy to hide.

I felt guilt really strongly after the AP's dday. I started IC and two months later confessed. Guilt is easy, remorse takes more time. And, it's easier to compartmentalize things when noone else knows or is yet effected.

hikingout posted 10/7/2020 09:31 AM

WS-
When did it finally hit you that you destroyed the very thing you cherished about your BSís connection with you?

My IC tells me I donít have to continually remind my husband that he destroyed my feeling of safety and the reminders (please donít bash the therapist I actually agree that the manner in which I do it isnít healthy for any of us) because the WS wonít ever forget the magnitude of their screw up.

If I sigh or a tear begins to well up in my eyes because my favorite song comes on the radio that expresses undying love and I switch it off he feels so low. I just canít listen anymore.

If your spouses pain never leaves how to you handle your pain from that?

This is a tough one.

That first year is a bumpy ride. Your therapist is asking you to try and be more productive in your communication, rather than just going on a tirade I suppose?

That's asking a lot. But, I wouldn't take it as you can't discuss your feelings, ask questions, etc.

Your WS is in IC I take it? He should be working towards healing his shame, finding some self-compassion, and changing his behaviors to the person he can be proud of.

What you are talking about is your WS's shame over what he has done. Shame was a difficult hurdle for me because I had accumulated shame through my life and it was one of the things that kept me from having a good relationship with myself. One could actually trace that shame probably had a lot to do with my conflict avoidance, people pleasing. And, ultimately feeling worthy of the relationship I had with my husband. Self worth is a very hard foundation to build.

So, I do see how from a WS perspective we do have to have some room to work through that.

However, I think it's natural for that to also collide with a BS's need to grasp what has happened, to be able to express their feelings about it, and they are sadly scouring the ashes of what we burned down to find some semblance of security. Some of that security has to come from the WS being able to acknowledge the pain they caused and take full accountability. Shame keeps us from fully doing that because we are used to being avoiders.

This is why getting to the point that you are beginning R is so hard. R can't begin until the WS has healed to a certain degree, and the BS has healed to a certain degree. Until then both people are mostly just reacting and that doesn't help feelings of bonding or security.

I think you have to concentrate on your path and he has to fix his own. It's perfectly fine for the therapist to help you communicate your feelings more effectively rather than staying in a place where you are berating. At some point all BS who are trying to successfully R do have to make that transition. At the same time, you should not feel shut down from being authentic. Not being able to listen to a love song is normal. Not wanting to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, other holidays also very normal. That is not punishment, that is natural consequences.

You can figure out strategies on your communication, nothing wrong with that - but he has to figure out his own way out of shame. You are not in control of his shame. And, by stuffing your feelings you would not be doing yourself or him any favors. You can't rugsweep so he doesn't feel shame.

You can change some of your ways of communicating, but in many ways that helps you as well. I tend to think that when we are lashing out that it hurts how we see ourselves. It becomes a pattern and one we don't enjoy. It makes you feel guilty when you shouldn't be having guilt. So, being able to say things differently in many ways helps you build your own self-compassion and self-respect.

I would focus on your own benefits of changing the behavior from tirades (I am assuming) to more productive ways of communicating. I would focus less on hurting his feelings or stirring up his shame because it's him who is responsible for that.

Shame, guilt, regret, are how we feel about what we did, or who we are. Remorse is about how we feel about what we did to someone else. I find remorse to be more advanced because to take someone else in you can no longer fill the entire space with just how you feel. There is a tendency to avoid empathy in that state. And, your tirades or berating (again guessing) is probably because that lack of empathy is triggering you. I don't disagree with the MC, but I would argue both of you might benefit from stopping MC and going to IC for a little while longer.

I had done IC for almost a year before we did MC. The truth is we didn't need as many MC sessions because I had done a lot of work on myself prior. Just some observations from my own experience YMMV.

[This message edited by hikingout at 10:20 AM, October 7th (Wednesday)]

Mickie500 posted 10/7/2020 12:09 PM

Yes hiking out- itís not necessarily a tirade but itís that my focus is sometimes on dumb details and circling back and comparing text messages to me and looking up phone records and those kinds of things instead of encouraging my WH to share the whys.....

Sometimes though itís just about the fact that I could be in the middle of an embrace with him and Iíll feel his breath on my forehead and I begin to feel soothed and in the middle of that I pull away because your breath was on HER forehead as well and that reality ruins the moment. That breath used to soothe and now it can only vacillate between flimsy faux safety and deception because if she felt safe feeling your breath it was a lie and when I felt safe feeling your breath it was also a lie even though you are back here with me and not her.

So I share this with the therapist and not my WH because yo him it might feel like Iíll never come back.....

hikingout posted 10/7/2020 13:25 PM

Yes hiking out- itís not necessarily a tirade but itís that my focus is sometimes on dumb details and circling back and comparing text messages to me and looking up phone records and those kinds of things instead of encouraging my WH to share the whys.....
Sometimes though itís just about the fact that I could be in the middle of an embrace with him and Iíll feel his breath on my forehead and I begin to feel soothed and in the middle of that I pull away because your breath was on HER forehead as well and that reality ruins the moment. That breath used to soothe and now it can only vacillate between flimsy faux safety and deception because if she felt safe feeling your breath it was a lie and when I felt safe feeling your breath it was also a lie even though you are back here with me and not her.

So I share this with the therapist and not my WH because yo him it might feel like Iíll never come back.....

I think the 'discovery process" is long. Traumatized brains mean that you need to rehash the details, ask questions, try and verify what they are telling them. That is normal. And for many, it subsides on it's own. After year one we moved on from the rehashing when H was a) satisfied he had everything and b)could remember what I said about it. B was trauma brain.

And, I think that it's normal to trigger about certain things. I got rid of all my clothing from that time period because 1)some of it genuinely reminded me of the AP and 2) my husband would wonder if I bought something to take my picture in, if I wore it to the business trip. Again, there is a clearing out that has to happen. I don't want to question your therapist, she or he may be guiding you towards better ways to refocus, but what you are describing is normal.

As far as this:

So I share this with the therapist and not my WH because yo him it might feel like Iíll never come back.

I am not sure what to say about the degree in which you filter yourself. Maybe that's a good plan, I am not a BS I don't know.

But, I will say why do you want to give your husband reassurance you are going to come back? I guess you feel like he needs some assurance so he doesn't give up? I feel like part of the process is for the WS to become a solid rock. I can understand not trusting someone well enough to rely on them for those things. That's self protective, and it can take a while to remove that as trust might return. But in this case you are protecting him. I have to ask these questions because it seems like I would resent having to protect someone who didn't protect me? Is that a healthy thing to do?

I am not a professional, and I don't know you or what the plan is so I don't really want to dispel it all, it's just some of this really calls for you to repress yourself in favor of him. I don't know how you rebuild the feeling of his stability in that scenario?


BraveSirRobin posted 10/8/2020 16:45 PM

I agree with hikingout. This is a case of him wanting to help you up off the floor when he needs to get down on the floor with you. Your brain's method of healing requires you to experience and process that pain over and over, and so that's what he needs to do, too.

Betrayed spouses sometimes get angry when we advise WS that "you can't fix your BS." They think we mean that it's not the WS's problem to solve, so we can stop worrying about it. But in actuality, it is agonizing to learn that we broke someone we love and are powerless to glue them back together. Acknowledging that we've inflicted damage that we cannot repair, and witnessing that struggle without defensiveness or avoidance, is a huge part of the work. You don't do either of you any favors by trying to spare him.

jailedmind posted 10/12/2020 05:59 AM

Are waywards actually in love with APs? My wife said she was not but almost wrecked her life . I mean to me love is being there through thick and thin not running behind everyoneís back lying about what your doing. I get limerance and infatuation and I get the taboo nature of an affair. But to be in love with them? That I donít get. The residue of the affair left me feeling like Iím a toy that is easily replaced by something new. She said when your so needy for attention that you would eat out of a dumpster. I just canít see ruining my life for somebody I barely know. Weíre any of you actually in love or you just donít have good self control or you snowballed bad decisions?

TheLostOne2020 posted 10/12/2020 12:47 PM

jailedmind

Are waywards actually in love with APs?

Not in the sense that you might be in love with your WW. I don't think that WW have the same level of love as most people. They see it as transactional - they love you as long as X, Y, and Z. Otherwise they would not do actions they know would hurt their partners. By the same extension, they are hurting their AP as well since it's not a full relationship.

My wife said she was not but almost wrecked her life . I mean to me love is being there through thick and thin not running behind everyoneís back lying about what your doing.

Right, by that metric your wife doesn't love anyone.

I get limerance and infatuation and I get the taboo nature of an affair. But to be in love with them? That I donít get. The residue of the affair left me feeling like Iím a toy that is easily replaced by something new. She said when your so needy for attention that you would eat out of a dumpster. I just canít see ruining my life for somebody I barely know. Weíre any of you actually in love or you just donít have good self control or you snowballed bad decisions?

That's a good question. I'm a BS, so I can't answer but my suspicion is that they don't truly love anyone, at least not in the way it's commonly understood. They might love someone in the same way that a violent spouse claims to love their partner, but it's not the same quality as most normal people.

landclark posted 10/12/2020 15:49 PM

I am curious, based on a post over on the Wayward side. Does the Wayward always fall OUT of love with their BS? It seems to be pretty common that a W talks about how to get the feelings back for their BS after DDAY. My own WH of course insists that he still had feelings for me. Still loved me. Never planned to leave me. After DDAY, we had zero issue reconnecting as a couple (meaning he never showed that he was struggling to love me), zero reason to believe he had to somehow find his feelings for me again, that they were gone, unless he is a damn good actor. I do wonder if some of that was just the timing. His first A, the one that went the deepest, was long over before DDAY. I do wonder how things would be different if I found out back then. Even then though, we planned a baby, etc., and he acted loving.

Anyway, is this a common thing that when you're in an affair, your feelings for your BS completely go away? That seems a bit odd to me. So like all those reasons you were with them, fell in love, got married, just POOF, gone, because somebody else comes into the picture? So much so that upon DDAY, you have to work to find feelings again?

And on that note, if you have no feelings, and are still pining for an AP, why bother trying to R? That's just so unfair to the BS.

[This message edited by landclark at 3:54 PM, October 12th (Monday)]

MrCleanSlate posted 10/13/2020 08:08 AM

Landclark,

Does the Wayward always fall OUT of love with their BS?

There are so few absolutes when it comes to cheating so I can only speak to my experience.

In looking back I never stopped loving my wife. Our M and our personal lives were suffering beforehand - finances, kids, deaths in family, etc. What I did do was paint a scenario in my head that my wife didn't love me, etc. - this happened over some time BEFORE my A. So in a way I set myself up for my A by being too afraid to deal with issues in my M and creating a scenario in my head.

In my case the A was an escape and an ego booster for me. I can understand now, after the A, that I never loved the AP. I loved what the AP made me feel - I was taking all the ego boost and then some.

So yeah, I can see how things pick-up after the A. For my BW and I it was the realization that we needed to fix ourselves and our M. We couldn't keep ignoring and rugsweeping our issues. So there was an almost immediate uptick in our relationship - as we were now both focusing on it.

if you have no feelings, and are still pining for an AP, why bother trying to R? That's just so unfair to the BS.

I agree.
In my case I ended my A before D-Day, heck I was looking for an 'easy' out for about 3 months before I ended the A. In the end the AP went all nuclear on my BW and I so....
For a lot of waywards though the exposure of the A is a seismic event and they may need time to process what their feelings are.

WalkinOnEggshelz posted 10/13/2020 10:24 AM

This is a reminder that only WS members are to answer BS questions. Thank you.

landclark posted 10/13/2020 10:48 AM

For a lot of waywards though the exposure of the A is a seismic event and they may need time to process what their feelings are.

Thank you, MCS. I do think that if I had caught him in the middle of the first A, things might have been different. The later ones were very superficial, all about the ego boosts you mention, and loving the feeling over the person. He says that was the case with the first one as well, but given what I've read between the two of them I just find that really hard to believe. I still struggle with that one.

So there was an almost immediate uptick in our relationship - as we were now both focusing on it.

Yes. This is what I was not so eloquently getting at. lol

Thank you for your insight. I really appreciate it!

forgettableDad posted 10/13/2020 10:51 AM

Does the Wayward always fall OUT of love with their BS?
I think love is a very complicated issue. Both emotionally and behaviorally. I doubt there's a one-size-fits-all answer here.

For me, the affair was a dysfunctional coping mechanism I used to escape from a situation I caused prior. My wife actively told me she hated me before my affair, I betrayed her and hurt her deeply (nothing to do with another woman). At some point she would yell at me to go and have an affair. And instead of seeing that as her own coping mechanism and a cry for help (I had many issues with empathy), I chose to run away.. By the time she managed to pull herself out of that hole I was tangled emotionally and would soon take it [somewhat] physically - suffered from panic attacks and terrible anxiety, couldn't really function sexually much to be honest.

Did I love her during my affair?
No. Most of the time I hated myself. I hated her. I hated my affair partner and I hated my affair partner's husband.

Why did I want to reconcile?
That decision came later. I started IC (I knew something was wrong with me, didn't have the tools to handle it). It was only a couple months of separation and therapy that allowed me and my wife to see whether there is something to salvage; I feel lucky and privileged and grateful that we did.

Did I/do I pine for my AP?
No. I don't hate her or love her. I don't know whether in another life there could've been something there. We had a lot in common (and not just being shitty people :P ) but the truth is; I want to love my wife and so I do.

landclark posted 10/13/2020 13:11 PM

forgettableDad, thank you for the insight. Your post really hits home for me. The last few years before DDAY my marriage was not great. I was depressed for a number of reasons, was angry about finances (my WH was not paying his share of the expenses), angry about the state of my relationship (I tried to figure this out and better it with no help from him), and I didn't get help for myself. My depression lead to overspending to try and fill a hole or get temporary happiness, and of course that caused more depression and stress. Like you instead of recognizing I needed his support or understanding that he was causing a lot of the issue, my WH turned further away from me. Such a mess!

[This message edited by landclark at 1:13 PM, October 13th (Tuesday)]

MrCleanSlate posted 10/13/2020 13:57 PM

Landclark,

I do think that if I had caught him in the middle of the first A, things might have been different. The later ones were very superficial, all about the ego boosts you mention, and loving the feeling over the person. He says that was the case with the first one as well, but given what I've read between the two of them I just find that really hard to believe. I still struggle with that one.

There are probably a lot of BS's that struggle with an A that was done and over with years earlier. And maybe things would be much different.

I started to play the what if game as well after D-Day - I kept thinking only if this or that was different then I would not have had the A. The fact is it happened. We can't change that.

What you can do, hopefully, is talk about these feelings with your WH (ideally during MC so there is a guide present).

In your response to forgettableDad I see where you identify some issues in your M, and how your WH

instead of recognizing I needed his support or understanding that he was causing a lot of the issue, my WH turned further away from me. Such a mess!
-
no matter how hard my BW tried I never learned how to listen to her telepathic signals and even barely to the not so subtle hints she gave me, so a huge chasm formed between us before my A. She ended up learning to spell things out for me. The difference post D-Day was that I was learning how to listen.

I also had to learn how to express my issues and wants and complaints - I never did that before.

I hope you find some path through all this, but don't let this stuff fester.

Westway posted 10/16/2020 13:51 PM

Not so much a question about experiences or what to do... I'm divorcing my serial cheating WW; rather, I have to ask the opinions of the ex-waywards here: how much of a role do you think pride or pridefulness plays in the actions of those waywards who don't want to do the heavy lifting and self-examination needed to become safe partners for their BSs? Could pride be one of the reasons why so many waywards actively walk away from their marriage and go be with their affair partner than do the hard work to restore their spouse's trust? Is it because they are too proud to admit they made a series of very poor decisions? Is it both pride and shame? I've often wondered how pride and shame work together to keep a wayward frozen in non-remorse?

hikingout posted 10/16/2020 14:11 PM

I am curious, based on a post over on the Wayward side. Does the Wayward always fall OUT of love with their BS? It seems to be pretty common that a W talks about how to get the feelings back for their BS after DDAY. My own WH of course insists that he still had feelings for me. Still loved me. Never planned to leave me. After DDAY, we had zero issue reconnecting as a couple (meaning he never showed that he was struggling to love me), zero reason to believe he had to somehow find his feelings for me again, that they were gone, unless he is a damn good actor. I do wonder if some of that was just the timing. His first A, the one that went the deepest, was long over before DDAY. I do wonder how things would be different if I found out back then. Even then though, we planned a baby, etc., and he acted loving.
Anyway, is this a common thing that when you're in an affair, your feelings for your BS completely go away? That seems a bit odd to me. So like all those reasons you were with them, fell in love, got married, just POOF, gone, because somebody else comes into the picture? So much so that upon DDAY, you have to work to find feelings again?

And on that note, if you have no feelings, and are still pining for an AP, why bother trying to R? That's just so unfair to the BS.

No, I don't think it's always that way.
I do think WS's all have to reevaluate what they think love is, and what their capacity to love is and why. And, what barriers can be removed to make that more substantial.

I tend to think that there are two types of cheaters: ones who compartmentalize well and ones who do not. I have noticed that men who have been serial cheaters are better at compartmentalizing. That's a generalization of course, but typically speaking I think they tend to have emotionally shallow affairs, and they can separate it well from their home life. They are the cake eaters.

I was not a good compartmentalizer at all. I can't have feelings for two people at once. My feelings go where my effort goes.

I will also just add that feelings and love are really two different things.

Yes, you feel fondly towards someone you love. You have feelings about them. Love though is more than feelings. There is sacrifice and commitment. Actions. Feelings for the most part are changeable. Love is dedication, a constant.

Do I think it's possible for your husband to have fond feelings for you throughout his affairs? Yes. I do. Do I think he might have had feelings that signal love to him? Yes, I do.

When we talk about WS not loving their spouses, it really hasn't to do with the feelings, but more the contradictory actions.

hikingout posted 10/16/2020 14:21 PM

Not so much a question about experiences or what to do... I'm divorcing my serial cheating WW; rather, I have to ask the opinions of the ex-waywards here: how much of a role do you think pride or pridefulness plays in the actions of those waywards who don't want to do the heavy lifting and self-examination needed to become safe partners for their BSs? Could pride be one of the reasons why so many waywards actively walk away from their marriage and go be with their affair partner than do the hard work to restore their spouse's trust? Is it because they are too proud to admit they made a series of very poor decisions? Is it both pride and shame? I've often wondered how pride and shame work together to keep a wayward frozen in non-remorse?

I don't know the answer to your question, it's very interesting though.

I think shame is the one I can speak more about. Not feeling good enough causes people to feel like they don't want to try because they don't want to fail.

Not feeling good enough makes you hide who you are, sometimes even to yourself. Listening to your spouse about how much you hurt them can feel like a criticism to someone living in shame. It's not a criticism, it's a natural consequence of ones actions. But, hearing how they failed that spouse on top of how they already feel about themselves is too much.

I have often said remorse takes time because to have it you have to know what it is you did to this other person. How much you hurt them. All the ways it hurt. If you are swimming in shame, you can't bear to hear it. It's the evidence that you are a POS. So, is that prideful at the same time? Maybe. I had never considered it that way before. I know that humility is something that I have learned a lot about as a WS, and how important it is to creating an environment in which your BS can heal.

As far as why do people run off with their AP's, I think that is an entirely different answer. They are caught in the belief they are happier with that other person. It's often a misguided belief however.

Darkness Falls posted 10/16/2020 15:04 PM

Westway,

Iím sure pride can certainly be part of it. Other factors that I would consider likely are simply an unwillingness to do what so many ďtypicalĒ BSs need. For example: being location tracked, having their devices & social media checked up on, cutting off communication with opposite-sex friends or persons the BS deems not friends of the marriage, etc. I think a lot of WSs who leave are just not willing to give up their personal agency and freedom to that extent, and especially for an outcome that isnít guaranteed (reconciliation). I donít know for sure, but itís just what I suspect.

Mickie500 posted 10/16/2020 17:34 PM

Thanks so much for answering our questions.

A nagging question for me:

When you as a WS see your destruction of your BS and the impact of your betrayal when your betrayed spouse takes you back and decides to work on the marriage do you have respect for the BS?

How do you look at your BS when they are fighting to love you and carry on and forgive you? Does it translate to feeling grateful? Does it make you look at them poorly? Are you proud that someone could love you so much that they forgive the unforgivable?

Iím very prideful and itís hard for me because I donít know how heís internalizing my sticking around......is he looking at me in a good way because Iím swallowing my pride?

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