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Failed RA uncovered more Insecurities

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Mickie500 posted 8/10/2020 09:09 AM

I realize now how effed up the mind of a WS as my inability to move past my husbandís affair is bringing out pathetic aspects of my character that I donít respect..... apparently those aspects can be considered ď wayward behaviorsĒ

So in my attempt to try mask my pain or cancel out my pain by attempting a RA I am realizing horrible things:

I have never pursued someone to be their ďside personĒ and for the affair to begin both parties have to be okay with this sub position. Iíve never put in an effort to be #2. To me, there is a sick power in being willing to be someoneís side person because they know there is no bottom to how low youíre willing to go to get what you want.

Iím starting to feel like the AP has more power in this than I ever realized before! Itís making me feel more fears than before.


I am also realizing how hurtful it is to pursue someone with the sole intention for them to patch a hole. I am frustrated with myself for contacting an ex bf who I knew loved me that I never loved for him to fill the pain my WHís affair left.

It would be cruel of me to continue down that path and I am aware of it. So how could my husband have not thought about the destruction to all 3 parties.

And the worst part- with all these realizations the pain inside grows and summons my stupid ego even more to escape. This madhatter situation is already bubbling things to the surface that I need to resolve within.

Is this post as confusing as my insides are?

hikingout posted 8/10/2020 10:52 AM

Yes, a bit confusing.

First, I am not sure this is really a madhatter situation or that you belong now in the WS forum. Maybe, but if all you did was reach out and then you have recognized your issues right away, I am thinking that you are being a bit hard on yourself.

Yes. It is wayward behavior to try and numb your feelings by replacing it with distraction. It is wayward behavior to look for validation from external sources. And, I do think it's healthy for you to evaluate that. But, it seems to me that this situation has reinforced for you why you do not understand cheating. Unless I am missing something in your story?

MrsWalloped posted 8/10/2020 11:49 AM

Mickie500,

Please correct me if Iím wrong, but some of this may have come from the ďBS Questions for a WSĒ thread where we just talked about an RA being Wayward thinking.

But I read your post the same way hikingout did that this is a thought process youíre going through which youíre having a tough time understanding how a WS can go through cheating to begin with. Iím not a mod, but I donít know that thoughts that donít translate to behavior puts you in the Wayward category. In fact, not acting on those thoughts is the positive and non-Wayward thing to do. Sometimes we canít stop our thoughts and they can go to some unpleasant or unhealthy places. Itís what we choose to do or not do that counts. (Okay, my BH has finally got to me. I now sound like a Star Wars character or something ).

Mickie500 posted 8/10/2020 13:23 PM

Iím confused.
So my husband cheated. I vented about wanting a revenge affair. I shared that I went out for coffee but no sex with one man. He told me I wasnít built for it meaning to be in an affair and cheat. Because I went on the date and hugged him I was deemed a mad hatter.

I had phone flirting with someone else that I ended.

Recently I bumped into an ex Lover and Thought about pursuing the revenge affair with him.

But then all the feelings I described earlier in this thread happened.

Yes- it was sparked by the topic in BQ questions comment which was in response to my post in Madhatters group.

hikingout posted 8/10/2020 13:27 PM

I didn't understand the history.

Okay. I understand a little better.

So, let me ask you - do you feel you cheated? Why or why not?

And, I am trying to get some clarity over this:

Iíve never put in an effort to be #2. To me, there is a sick power in being willing to be someoneís side person because they know there is no bottom to how low youíre willing to go to get what you want.

Most people who cheat, are also selecting a side person, right?

I don't think it's a sick power "that there is no bottom to how low you are willing to go". That is actually more...desparation?

Again, I am just trying to gain clarity on your thoughts to get more understanding of what you are trying to express?

hikingout posted 8/10/2020 13:28 PM

Let me ask you this...do you think you engaged in these activities because really it would have been easier to monkeybranch into another relationship?

In other words, do you think your motivations were more find someone else so there is security there before you left your WH?

Mickie500 posted 8/11/2020 21:13 PM

Yes, a bit confusing.

First, I am not sure this is really a madhatter situation or that you belong now in the WS forum. Maybe, but if all you did was reach out and then you have recognized your issues right away, I am thinking that you are being a bit hard on yourself.

Yes. It is wayward behavior to try and numb your feelings by replacing it with distraction. It is wayward behavior to look for validation from external sources. And, I do think it's healthy for you to evaluate that. But, it seems to me that this situation has reinforced for you why you do not understand cheating. Unless I am missing something in your story?

I was told I was a madhatter because I went on a date and hugged him and hadn't told my husband. I had never heard of the term before but apparently some people believed my actions qualified me as one.

I will say that I really feel like my ego needs to even the score and not evening the score is going to haunt me.

You are correct it makes me feel further away from my husband because the steps you need to take, the concessions you make, the mind set, the disregard for allparties involved is a ahrd realization for me to follow. I don't want to reengage my ex under these circumstances because its cruel. I'm feeling like a piece of shit. How does one NOT feel like a iece of shit when doing that?

Mickie500 posted 8/11/2020 21:21 PM

Please correct me if Iím wrong, but some of this may have come from the ďBS Questions for a WSĒ thread where we just talked about an RA being Wayward thinking.

But I read your post the same way hikingout did that this is a thought process youíre going through which youíre having a tough time understanding how a WS can go through cheating to begin with. Iím not a mod, but I donít know that thoughts that donít translate to behavior puts you in the Wayward category. In fact, not acting on those thoughts is the positive and non-Wayward thing to do. Sometimes we canít stop our thoughts and they can go to some unpleasant or unhealthy places. Itís what we choose to do or not do that counts. (Okay, my BH has finally got to me. I now sound like a Star Wars character or something ).

Yes, you are correct. It's from the other post. I have purposely put myself in a position to have a RA and the person told me I wasn't built for it. I specifically think that maybe a part of why I am not buikt for it is because I was trying to start an affair with someone who did not seem like they would be available and therefore not get attached and so I would essentially be a side person or #2. I have never been attracted to the #2 spot....but if someone is willing to be a #2, in my head they have a leg up because they don't care about being less than. But also, I was thinking about what I was doing. Someone who i know used to love me I was willing to capitalize off that to feel better about this situation. That's cruel.

So my WH leading the OW on and of course she was a willing victim...but still he was lying to both of us.

I just can't pull the trigger and it hurts me to the core that he didn't stop himself.

I stopped trying to rel in my ex with "Good Morning" texts. I felt like a piece of shit.

BraveSirRobin posted 8/12/2020 00:36 AM

Defining madhatter status can be one of the trickier aspects of SI. So much is in the eye of the beholder. Most of us in that category tend to identify more with one hat (BS or WS). In my marriage, I identify most often as a WW, and my H as a BH, but it was an important part of my healing for him to acknowledge that he betrayed me, too. My resentment at how we rugswept his brief As hampered my own journey to authentic remorse.

I think most people would agree that going on a date while married is madhatter territory, though that doesn't make you and your WH equals. Let's worry less about labels and focus on motivations. Clearly, this fixation on evening the score is leading you down some dark paths. Have you explored why that's so important? My H was looking for validation, and also a sense of safety -- proof that if I left him for the OM, he would be able to find someone else and be ok. Ironically, that was a contributing factor in my A, too; BH (who was my BF at the time) had broken up with me once and suggested dating other people, so I was trying to self-validate with OM. Both BH and I had to unpack our deep insecurities and self-esteem issues to figure out why we believed we had to cheat to prove we were "enough."

So what are you compelled to prove? What's in your past that makes such a toxic solution seem so attractive and tempting?

leavingorbit posted 8/12/2020 03:34 AM

Your pain is your pain. Have you confessed to your husband yet? Iím not clear on that part, Iím sorry. Heís allowed his pain, too. Itís not about being equal because it cannot be compared, itís completely different and internal to each of you. Comparing gets you literally nowhere. I know itís hard, I did it too.

Iím wondering if you accept your MH status, that you feel itís somehow based on the level of hurt your husband is able to feel over your actions, to prove his love. I see you talk about how you were labeled or told you were a MH, but not about your husbandís pain. When you discovered your Hís affair, you clapped back, twice, with intent, and you lied to him about it. Why is your fidelity based on your Hís? If he doesnít value fidelity, then wouldnít the answer for you to be to divorce?

I said I valued fidelity. What I really valued was my low self esteem and my discovery of my husbandís affair blew those issues up. I had to really look at why I wasnít enough on my own. The answer was, I was, all along.

Iím so sorry for your pain, Mickie. I think BSR gave some good advice to dig into your whys.

Mickie500 posted 8/12/2020 06:46 AM

I didn't understand the history.
Okay. I understand a little better.

So, let me ask you - do you feel you cheated? Why or why not?

And, I am trying to get some clarity over this:

Iíve never put in an effort to be #2. To me, there is a sick power in being willing to be someoneís side person because they know there is no bottom to how low youíre willing to go to get what you want.
Most people who cheat, are also selecting a side person, right?

I don't think it's a sick power "that there is no bottom to how low you are willing to go". That is actually more...desparation?

Again, I am just trying to gain clarity on your thoughts to get more understanding of what you are trying to express?


I do not feel like I cheated.

MrsWalloped posted 8/12/2020 07:23 AM

Hi Mickie500,

So how could my husband have not thought about the destruction to all 3 parties.

I don't want to reengage my ex under these circumstances because its cruel. I'm feeling like a piece of shit. How does one NOT feel like a iece of shit when doing that?

I just can't pull the trigger and it hurts me to the core that he didn't stop himself.

There was something that was nagging at me about your posts. Not in a bad way, just the focus of them. Then it hit me that they are coming from the perspective of a BS and not a WS. Then you posted this

I do not feel like I cheated.

which kind of confirmed that for me.

As a MH, you are both. You are a BS and a WS. And since you are a MH like you said, and you lied to your H and tried to engage in an RA and flirted on the phone, why do you think what you did is not cheating? Is cheating only physical in your mind? Why were you willing to betray yourself and your H by attempting to have an RA? You may not have gone all the way, but that was clearly an option for you. How about the phone flirting?

It just seems like you say you are a MH but also say you arenít a MH and part of the work you need to do on your end is to accept that you are a WS as well and understand why your boundaries were malleable that you gave yourself permission to go outside your M.

I guess what Iím saying is that it might be helpful for you to use the Wayward forum to focus on yourself regarding your Wayward behavior and willingness to cheat and why you were okay with that and the other forums for how you feel about what your WH did. Other MHís May have a better idea how to navigate the two.

hikingout posted 8/12/2020 08:46 AM

I tend to agree with BSR, that I wouldn't necessarily worry about titles.

And, I agree with LeavingOrbit, you must tell your husband if you plan to reconcile with him. I hate that in a way because some WS will use that as "you did it too". But, open honesty about what went through your mind, how you are a feeling, etc...those are all opportunities for your husband to understand more deeply what it is he has done to you.

Let me be clear here though - if you approached a married man in hopes of garnering his attention, then you were also willing (even fleetingly) to do to another woman what was done to you. I don't say that to shame you but I do think that what Mrs. Walloped is suggesting is probably best - that you come to terms with the parts of yourself that is wayward. I think for me, I minimized a lot of what the pain would be. I feel like that might be partially what stopped you, the lack of the ability to do that - you couldn't lie to yourself about the pain you would cause because you knew the truth too well? Just a theory.

All in all, a lot of WS are in pain when the A starts. I know I was. You are in a tremendous amount of pain. We tend to want to escape our situation, we want someone to make us feel better. You need to heal that part of you that will allow you to self soothe, your coping mechanisms, to respect yourself, to be able to stand on your own two feet. I feel very badly for you because unlike many of us, your husband directly put you in this pain. I never think that anyone deserves to be cheated on, and I never think that anyone can blame another person for their own weakness. However, I have deep empathy and compassion for how you got here at the exact same time.

I feel that honestly the things that likely need healed for your WS side are the same things you probably need to heal for your BS side - self-love, self-worth, self-respect.

I would tell any new WS something I also see people tell a new BS - this starts with self care. We show our love and respect through actions, so it only makes sense that to show self-love and self-respect you start with Self-Care.

Get good sleep, take walks or do something that consistently is you exercising (so important for the happiness chemicals to wash through your brain and body), try meditation, take vitamins, read books (I can give you suggestions if you think you can concentrate - that sometimes takes a while to get back), go to IC. You need to get your internal world back in order and right now I can read what you are saying and see you are in a state of total and complete inner chaos.

Take good care of you, and keep posting - we are here.

[This message edited by hikingout at 8:48 AM, August 12th (Wednesday)]

Mickie500 posted 8/12/2020 14:00 PM

Thank you.

FYI
I did tell my husband about the date after being advised by my IC.

He was upset but relieved I didnít kiss or sleep with the guy.

He at one point mentioned that if sleeping with someone would help me get back to him then he would be fine with it. Thatís a whole different story. If I did with his permission it wouldnít be the same.

Mickie500 posted 8/12/2020 14:16 PM

BravesirRobin-

Crazy my husband said the same thing- that I was just trying to have someone lined up if things donít work out between us.
That never crossed my mind. In fact in a weird way Iím wanting to do this because I WANT to be okay staying in the marriage.

I know that doesnít make sense. I resent how screwed up my thoughts are now.

I have to get a hold of myself.

BraveSirRobin posted 8/12/2020 22:15 PM

It wasn't that he wanted someone specific lined up. In fact, he went out of his way to choose an OW that he didn't see as a prospect for a long term relationship. It was entirely a self-centered act. He wanted to confirm that he could get someone else in the sack if he chose to, but he had no intention of building from there. Like you, he believed it was a way to feel ok with staying with me.

It was bad for us in several ways. He felt guilty about using her, and I took it as an excuse to rugsweep. We didn't do a lot of important work because we thought we'd found an easier solution.

Pippin posted 8/13/2020 09:28 AM

Mickie500, I haven't followed your story and haven't read the responses - not because you are not important and they are not helpful - just allocating time. That's the reason my response will come out of left field.

I was listening to an old interview with Toni Morrison on Oprah. Oprah points to that moment as one of the biggest aha! moments of her career (pause - let's give that the weight it should have! She's had a lot of aha moments and spent much of her life in reflection). Her insight is that we all are searching for validation from other people, all the time. Which doesn't seem like much of an insight! but truths rarely are. We want to be seen, known, appreciated and loved by people important to us. Lots of people would be nice, but for many, just one person works if we are REALLY seen, known, and loved (note: it's not your spouse's fault for not providing validation if you aren't letting them get to know the real you). Children look for it in their parents and their teachers. Spouses from each other. Friends. Boss/employee, though relationships where there is a built in power differential are tricky. It's one of the reasons it's so nice to be separated from a loved one, because when you are reunited, the pleasure of your presence takes center stage rather than daily logistics or the unquarreled issue hanging in the air.

I wonder if most wayward stories would benefit from a validation analysis. What were your sources before the affair and what are you working toward now? Are the new sources reliable and trustworthy? Were you someone who always sought validation from anonymous others, building them up in your mind to someone important so the validation seemed to have more weight, or did you have a crisis of validation in other parts of your life that led to you seeking it from an AP for the first time? Most people would probably benefit from a close look at their sources of validation, even if they haven't engaged in infidelity, but I'll leave that suggested unsaid :) It's not the only thing - and I don't know if SA is part of your story but habit patterns and rituals take on their own power - but it's a piece of the puzzle.

Learning about your partner's infidelity must be such a massive un-validating experience - how does one cope? There is probably a huge range of responses (after the initial shock) - searching deep for other sources within yourself (which I think are sources that you previously developed, perhaps in childhood from family members or a trusted adult, and hanging on to that), denying that you need validation at all, etc. It looks like you went looking for validation of some kind from another person and now you are questioning how horrible that makes you - using the other person for that, the exact degree of what you did or did not do, etc. Don't get sucked into a shame spiral - it will do you no good. Forgive yourself, make whatever amends you need to if you can, understand it thoroughly enough to be repulsed by the idea of doing it again, and move on.

I do think it will help you think about your experience from a validation point of view and start to find sources that are steady, sturdy, align with the person you want to be (ie so you can get and feel validation for what you value and believe in even in the face of temptation or other people trying to get you to do something different).

The validation that healed me came from God. External validation is important to me, from people I know and trust and love, but my husband, my friends, my mother, my family, my IC, my pastor - at one point or another, they have failed and will fail again. Not always and some of them rarely, but the times I really need them and they fail are the most dangerous times, when I am feeling empty, unseen, unloved, and desperate. (Those times are few and far between now, and I know what to do when they come). When I can see that their imperfect love is a reflection, shadow, signpost to perfect love, it's extremely comforting during the worst moments. I line up what I need with God, rest easy in the knowledge that I am doing what He wants, and all is well. And I can live an exuberant life!

I hope you can find strength and rest Mickie500, good luck to you.

Mickie500 posted 8/13/2020 15:59 PM

Pippin- thank you!

Everyone- thank you.

Followtheriver posted 8/15/2020 11:13 AM

Mickie500,

While I don't post very often, I do read here a lot and I am pretty sure that I've read most of your posts here on SI, but this is the first time I have really felt the need to reply. So I am going to be completely honest with you about what I see as "wayward behavior or wayward thinking" in you, just as I would any other wayward.

First off, let's address the fact that you have minimized and actually left out parts of your story that explains exactly why you are considered a MH.

I have not met with the prospect who lives here. I did meet with the prospect who doesn't live here in my city....and besides a few hugs and touches we did not go any further.

This is from your very first thread on SI, in your own words and since then you have minimized or glossed over or even lied by omission about your interactions with these 2 men. This in itself is usually seen as wayward behavior.

Now you have been talking to a 3rd guy, an ex lover with the same intent that you had with the first 2. Again, I see the intent as wayward behavior.

Then add in how you feel the need to justify your actions, to the point of being defensive and/or dismissive along with the minimizing, lying and the intent of your behavior with 3 different guys, to me, all are wayward behaviors, even if you refuse to see or acknowledge it.

What I believe about wayward people is that the affair is a symptom of some inner crap. It seems from what Iíve heard, people with self esteem issues are the ones who end up cheating and I usually attribute that to childhood trauma.

So what inner crap do you have that is contributing to your wayward thinking?
What childhood trauma has affected your self-esteem so badly it has you thinking that a RA will make you feel better?

Like MrsWalloped, there was definitely something about your previous posts that has bothered me for the exact same reason. I've wondered all along why you seemed to easily dismiss the idea that you are anything but a BW.

I do think part of the problem is your ego, how you want to see yourself and how you want others to see you. I think that it bugs the hell out of you to be considered a BS/WS, a MH because your ego won't allow you to admit that how you see yourself or your actions might not eactly be how others see you or them. But I also think that part of your struggle is that you were so sure of yourself, your life, your M and your self-esteem was wrapped up with all it before your WH's A, that now you will do anything to feel that sure of yourself again.

Basically, I think it's fear that is clouding your brain, leading you to doubt yourself even more and it is fear that has led you to the dark side.

Mickie, I hope I not coming across as a total bitch because believe it or not, I really do understand where you're coming from. We actually have some things in common with some similarities in our stories.

See, I had my own version of a revenge A. (If you would like to read my full story, go to my profile then recent posts and look for "My Whys and Exposing the Monster Inside" If you can't find it, I'll bump it for you because I think it may be of some help to you.

But, I personally know that the feelings you're having will only get worse with revenge and the only thing you will accomplish will be to destroy your own soul.

I'm going to leave you with a couple of quotes to think about.

"Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering."

"In the end, cowards are those who follow the dark side."

But remember this: "In a dark place we find ourselves and a little more knowledge lights the way."

(Yes I just quoted Yoda.)

Mickie500 posted 8/15/2020 20:32 PM

Follow the river-

First of all there is no need for me to lie here or omit here in this space. You certainly cannot believe that my first post regarding this wouldnít contain different ideas and revelations months from my first discussion.

In fact, at the time of the first post on the subject there wasnít a
Third person I was actively talking to.

I resent that you are accusing me of not being forthright in this group. If you need clarification I can certainly provide it.

And Secondly- I can guarantee you without a doubt that my views change by the day sometimes on the subject of infidelity and my place in handling it AS I WAS BLINDSIDED and I donít know who I am or what is real and true and authentic anymore. So please step off with trying to catch me up in a lie.

I believe myself to be honest in that I did not sleep with nor did I kiss the guy- we went out for coffee and flirted. He said I wasnít built for it and it pisses me off. My views on why I was there and what I hoped to gain changed slightly as it was revenge and also power I was seeking.

And since you are reading my posts you can also recall that I said if my husband had only done what I did I wouldnít be so destroyed by the betrayal.

I have since pursued an ex as of last month which I said I would never do as I didnít want any person getting needy or the fear of accessibility. I crossed that boundary I set for myself. In the conversation with that ex I realize heís probably the worst candidate because he is single and lives here and WAS in love with me back then when it was purely only sexual for me.

While I still believe my husbandís decision to become wayward is multifaceted there is an aspect of childhood trauma attached to it. Mine is a combo of 2 thingsóóone being that I just donít think I can eat the shit sandwich and be okay with moving forward. I have always been someone who needed the scales balanced and MY EGO says that I need to balance the scales. I am also aware that I like to know I still have it.

I also had a desire to take my revenge AP to the same places he took her.... but Iím not sure that it is still a need.

For me to deliberately lure someone in for the sole purpose of filling a wound is not what I should do. I was more willing to do it with a person who would not be emotionally available and not get attached not someone who could possibly get attached.

Bottom line is Iím confused - Iím not trying to trick anyone here. Iím working my way through my pain and hoping for some insight.

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