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Back 10 years after affair

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bewuzzled posted 8/10/2020 20:31 PM

He's a WS... and a damned sneaky one if you ask me.

So my therapist kind of said the same thing. And has asked me to consider if he's actually a master gas lighter. The high regard I've always held him in does not allow me to see it. So maybe I do belong there, a little bit. Nothing wrong with just reading and seeing how it feels I guess. I've just been the WW for so long, it's ingrained in me. It's a part of me. I mistakenly put him on a pedestal and stayed in the mud at the bottom. I thought gifting him a girlfriend would put him in the mud with me, we would both live on the same level again. I thought he would see me in a new light, it was selfish..I wanted to be loved and forgiven and at least more equal ( it could never make us the same, but at least more than we were).

ChamomileTea posted 8/10/2020 20:51 PM

So my therapist kind of said the same thing. And has asked me to consider if he's actually a master gas lighter. The high regard I've always held him in does not allow me to see it.

Sometimes it helps to make a list of all the things your WS has done to manipulate you into the direction he wanted you to go. And in your case, I think I'd add ways in which he failed to seek true marital recovery, including a return to equal partnership. He shouldn't have felt entitled to coerce you the way he did.

Let's say for the purpose of this exercise that we give him a full five years after DDay to reach healing or to vacate the marriage. Not that there's some kind of statute of limitation on healing, but we don't want to judge him too harshly either. What was he like as a partner? Was his demeanor toward you consistently respectful? Did you still feel you were in the one-down because of your cheating. If so, was he contributing to that?

I think your therapist is right and that you'd do well to look at your WH with NEW EYES.

landclark posted 8/10/2020 20:52 PM

Whether you encouraged it or not, he still made the choice to go through with it. IMO, it was a revenge affair on his part. As far as engaging in a threesome, it was obviously for the wrong reasons. Thatís not all just on you either.

Oh, the crazy things we do while playing the pick me dance...

I hope you can find some healing and peace after this. Best of luck to you.

gmc94 posted 8/10/2020 23:29 PM

Not that my opinion matters, but I don't see it as "cheating" either. Poly adds a whole new dimension (or wrinkle?) to things.

And..... I don't think it matters if the BH is now a WH/MH.

It's still painful. OP is still very hurt.

But "betrayal"? I just don't see how it falls into that.

Following that one night that they shared, I declared they should really only continue a friendship if her and I met and were friends too
So, OP sets a boundary: only friendship and only if OP & AP become friends.

weirdly, somehow, it turns into a threesome situation. I cannot even explain how.
Seems like that is something that needs exploring?

all lf a sudden this was fun....I liked all the attention and flirting and ' dating'. I didn't ever LOVE the threesome sex, but it was a part of it and it was adventurous and daring and different. I felt like I was this awesome wife who gave her man something noone else would give their man
So, at least at this point, OP is "all in" (and I don't say this to shame or judge, but these thoughts have a wayward ring to them).

Then it ends, albeit on the AP's terms (or so it sounds). Then AP returns. Despite the issues towards the end of round 1, OP states:

we decided to start it up again
But with the proviso that it is "not as intense as last time" I dunno if this is a "boundary". Maybe a part of an agreement? I'm not sure if it's something my (very non poly brain) I could understand or even adhere to. How does one party to a thruple keep it from becoming too "intense"? It seems if we are talking about feelings, I'm not sure how someone can commit to that (which is probably why being in a thruple has never appealed to me).

and that I wanted to be able to say so if I didn't want to do it anymore.
So OP wanted full "veto power" if the thruple no longer worked for her. Makes sense to me (and I've read this is a common agreement/boundary (?) in poly relationships).

He made very effort he could to make me feel like I was #1, the wife... But it became to much and I couldn't live with it anymore
... So, OP decides to exercise her "veto power" and was successful, in that the thruple ended.

The problem is that at that point, the BH chose to S (or do IHS), presumably in order to continue his relationship (whether as "friends" or sexually) with the AP. I don't see that as cheating. At the time OP said she was out - he made a choice. A choice that is VERY painful to OP, for obvious reasons. He didn't make an agreement with OP to end the relationship with AP and then take it underground. He chose to S, which I view as an honest choice.

Years ago I knew a poly couple. The wife wasn't really into it, but the husband really wanted it. Wife said she felt if she was having sex with other men she may fall in love. And sure enough, a few years into it, she did. And she left her husband and married the other man. I never saw what she did as "cheating". She and her husband made an agreement, and then it just didn't work out. There wasn't any fraud, or lies, or deceit. Just two humans with problems that went down a path that also meant the end of their M.

And I don't see coercion either. OP talks about how - during round 1 - how wonderful it was - at least at first. Heck, it sounds like quite a powerful ego boost to be the "cool wife" who was Ok with the thruple. And at the time the AP wanted to get back into the picture, OP could have said "NO. That was a fun experience, but I ultimately became "scared, insecure, conflicted, [&] jealous", I was relieved when it was over, and I don't want to continue". That didn't happen. Now, maybe that didn't happen bc OP was never really healed from her A -never truly / in her bones forgave herself. And - that status (of unhealed/unrepaired WS) is bc of her A. From my lens, that doesn't make her BH a wayward.

This is a truly sad situation. I feel heartbroken for bewuzzled. Just shitty all around. And I don't want to say that BH's choice/behavior was healthy or OK. It wasn't. But not being healthy or OK does NOT mean one is wayward. One can be a jerk w/o being a wayward.

his protestations that he's not leaving because the OP broke up the threesome rings FALSE
I agree - but those protestations were (unless I missed something) after the end of round 2. Feelings change - and as everyone on this site knows, they can change quickly. If I had a $1 for every time I've read on SI that the WS could have filed for D or left BEFORE they began their A (aka their SECRET sexual life), I'd be buying a very nice 5-star dinner. There are tons of posts saying that ending the relationship before engaging in deceit is the 'honorable' thing to do. Now, saying he's ending the M for some bullshit reason is not 'honorable'. But behaving dishonorably does not equal wayward.

And Bewuzzled, I REALLY feel for you here. I suspect a lot of the feelings you are experiencing are identical to those when becoming a BS - feeling horrified. The 'coulda, woulda, shoulda' on so many fronts. A deep mourning and sense of grief. Anger (tho you don't discuss that) at yourself, your BH, the AP, the world, etc.

It's not your "fault"... and from what you've said, I don't know that it's your BH's "fault". From my view, it's not really anyone's "fault". It's just a really super crummy turn of events.

I am sending all the positive mojo and peace to you, Bewuzzled.

[This message edited by gmc94 at 11:30 PM, August 10th, 2020 (Monday)]

ChamomileTea posted 8/10/2020 23:43 PM

When she csme back after a year, we decided to start it up again. I said at the start that I didnt want it to be as intense as last time, and that I wanted to be able to say so if I didn't want to do it anymore. He readily agreed and we had a gifriend again. Well. It not only was just as intense as the first time , it was much much more so.

He told me during this second time that if I ended things because I couldn't control my emotions, that he would have to re evaluate everything. I felt utterly trapped and like if I ended it, he would leave me.

How can it be both? Sure, she's got veto power, but he's going to "reevaluate" the marriage if she uses it.
That's NOT real veto power. It's coercion because she can't keep her marriage without continuing to allow him to fuck the girlfriend. He's slick. I'll give him that... oilier than a duck's back. But I don't get how he's NOT a WS just because he did his dirt out in the open rather than behind closed doors. His INTENT was to keep the girlfriend at all costs, same as it would have been if she'd caught him going behind her back and then said, "no, I'm not stopping".

I do NOT feel one bit sorry for this guy. If cheating was a deal-breaker for him, he's had ten years to say so and to do something different. Now that he's got a new sidepiece and his fWW won't let him keep her, his marriage is intolerable.

bewuzzled posted 8/11/2020 00:12 AM

But I don't get how he's NOT a WS just because he did his dirt out in the open rather than behind closed doors.

I have never seen him as wayward, since he never did anything without me, or without my express consent.
I want to say that he made every effort to make me feel better, he really did. But when I didn't..I was accused of betraying him, deceiving him, refusing to be his partner and ultimately telling me I only think of my self, his feelings don't matter now and never have. He doesn't understand that there's nothing he could have done to change it once I didn't want to be with her anymore. I simply wanted to break up with her, not him. But here we are. I didn't see him as wayward, but I do feel betrayed, I do feel like he left because that ended. And I do expect them to be together again at some point.

bewuzzled posted 8/11/2020 00:24 AM

Not that my opinion matters

on the contrary. I want and need opinions and perspectives and thoughts and advice.


But with the proviso that it is "not as intense as last time" I dunno if this is a "boundary". Maybe a part of an agreement? I'm not sure if it's something my (very non poly brain) I could understand or even adhere to. How does one party to a thruple keep it from becoming too "intense"? It seems if we are talking about feelings, I'm not sure how someone can commit to that (which is probably why being in a thruple has never appealed to me).

valid observation. and I would like to add that he's very upset that I can say " no, too intense" and walk away from that, but be upset if he feels like I am too intense with him. To me it was a big difference, the threesome or GF versus the marriage. To him, same thing.

And Bewuzzled, I REALLY feel for you here. I suspect a lot of the feelings you are experiencing are identical to those when becoming a BS - feeling horrified. The 'coulda, woulda, shoulda' on so many fronts. A deep mourning and sense of grief. Anger (tho you don't discuss that) at yourself, your BH, the AP, the world, etc.

Thank you, so so much. Most nights I'm beyond sad. Tonight, I'm mad. I'm mad that it went this way, when it shouldn't have. I'm mad that I ever agreed to meet her. I'm mad cause I truly believe we MIGHT have been ok, if after their night, it was all left at that. Not that I'm saying that was right or healthy, I realize it wasn't. I just want to wake up from this nightmare.

It's not your "fault"... and from what you've said, I don't know that it's your BH's "fault". From my view, it's not really anyone's "fault". It's just a really super crummy turn of events.

Honestly, I think that's mostly true. It's feelings, everyone's different feelings. AP never wanted to hurt me, I believe that about her. She was careful never to hurt me. Until now. I haven't heard from her. If she really cared, wouldn't she say something? Or is she truly biding her time, waiting until he's a free agent. Ugh. I think I'm going to go throw up now.

thank you for listening and offering what you have. You have no idea what it means to me.

Dragonfly123 posted 8/11/2020 03:20 AM

Bewuzzled, Iím totally naive when it comes to threesomes amd their dynamics, but my gut is telling me that all of your decision making has been driven by guilt and self loathing, over the affair all those years ago. This all stems back to you not healing.

Whether or not your husband intended to manipulate the situation, your guilt allowed that turn of events. It feels to me that you found it difficult to say no and although you talk about boundaries, Iím not convinced that you felt able and empowered to enforce them, and that makes me feel uncomfortable as to your husbandís motivations. I canít help but feel that your comment about feeling like the Ďawesome wifeí was more to do with pleasing your husband and alleviating your guilt and not about you feeling important.

And I sit more with with chamomile, in that I feel all this damage was used to satiate your husbands needs, although maybe not consciously by him, You are right to feel betrayed and abandoned. At some point he has made a decision to choose the AP over his wife, that is abandonment, despite how you got here.

I really hope you can start to find some peace now, and move forward with determination to let go of your past hurts.

[This message edited by Dragonfly123 at 5:55 AM, August 11th (Tuesday)]

ChamomileTea posted 8/11/2020 04:53 AM

I have never seen him as wayward, since he never did anything without me, or without my express consent.

Is it possible that you can put more context to these opposing statements then? Right now, I'm just not seeing what you're seeing, because in my mind, it can't be both. If he said both of these things, then you really didn't have the veto power he agreed to.

When she csme back after a year, we decided to start it up again. I said at the start that I didnt want it to be as intense as last time, and that I wanted to be able to say so if I didn't want to do it anymore. He readily agreed and we had a gifriend again. Well. It not only was just as intense as the first time , it was much much more so.

He told me during this second time that if I ended things because I couldn't control my emotions, that he would have to re evaluate everything. I felt utterly trapped and like if I ended it, he would leave me.

An action doesn't have to be done in secret in order to be wayward. If a guy comes home to his wife and states his intention to go fuck his secretary, and btw, if she doesn't like it, she can feel free to file for divorce, he's still wayward and he's still cheating. It doesn't matter that she knows. What matters is that he's NOT upholding the vows he made to her. He's rejected fidelity. So, I'm not getting how your situation is different other than the fact that you instigated it at the beginning.

No means no. So, let's say you're single, you instigate a make-out session with a guy, things are cooking along a little too fast and you say 'no'. If that guy chooses not to take your 'no' for an answer, he's committing rape and going to jail. Instigating doesn't make you automatically guilty of EVERYTHING that happens next. You two had an agreement regarding your veto power, but how could that agreement be in good faith if your WH was threatening to end the marriage if you used it? Like I said, maybe there's some kind of context to that I'm not getting, but I honestly don't know what it could be since he did in fact leave you when you said 'no'.

DoinBettr posted 8/11/2020 06:39 AM

I won't claim to have too much insight, but I don't think the threesome is what is getting to him.
Here comes the gentle 2x4, cheaters think they control the marriage. They know what is good for it and what is bad for it. They are selfish that way. You knew your husband wasn't healing. My wife offered me the hall pass and I couldn't take it. It sounds like you did it as well because it was about you.
You wanted to fix that part you took away from your husband. I bet you cry a lot when things get tough instead of continuing communicating and aren't listening to your husband. You most likely are fixated on this other girl when your husband is trying to talk to you. The part about him at first not being that into the threesome then you insisting yourself sounds like you were worried he would have something outside of the marriage you weren't controlling.
There most likely are other issues at play here.
I don't believe this master manipulator stuff. You have been married way too long for that kind of thing to work. If that was the case, he wouldn't have been so ok with the first time ending.
How did he handle things then should enlighten the situation? How did you handle things? It sounds like maybe you thought things would somehow be back to where you controlled the whole marriage but he liked how things with threesome lady let him be in charge.
Are you in couple's therapy with someone who isn't your therapist? I wonder if you need to get out of control of the marriage and start being a parallel partner.
BTW - A good test for if you are the controlling one. When he speaks and gets emotional, do you try to change how he feels or understand it? Are you just waiting for your turn to talk to "fix" how he is feeling? Do you ever let him be the only one who is sad and hurt or do you feel like you have to cry every time as well?
My friend's wife is like this. She had an affair a while ago and things changed a bit. She still went back to the in charge partner after a couple of years. She said, "Someone has to make decisions in the marriage." He puts up with it and they have a hurting mild resentment.

[This message edited by DoinBettr at 12:31 AM, August 12th (Wednesday)]

landclark posted 8/11/2020 06:57 AM

OP, do you think itís possible they carried on behind your back during the first break? Reading purely from what youíve written here, it sure seems like he caught the feels for her, which also seems to be a violation of the agreement going into it. Now instead of admitting he wants to keep his fuck buddy and that he has feelings, heís pushing it on you making you the bad guy, and continuing with her anyway. So clearly this is deeper for him.

People can argue all they want about whether or not itís cheating. However if what youíve written is true, he pretended you had veto power knowing that wasnít true, and acted like a child and is divorcing you because you used the power you thought you had. Thatís still a betrayal.

I think people also need to remember the timeline. This is not months after the initial A. This is YEARS after.

Edited to add: why do we continue to crucify people who play the pick me dance after an A? Honestly in many cases, both sides do it. I feel like this was a pick me mistake. Mistakes are often made in pick me process.

[This message edited by landclark at 6:59 AM, August 11th (Tuesday)]

bewuzzled posted 8/11/2020 12:04 PM

I bet you cry a lot when things get tough instead of continuing communicating and aren't listening to your husband. You most likely are fixated on this other girl when your husband is trying to talk to you. The part about him at first not being that into the threesome then you insisting yourself sounds like you were worried he would have something outside of the marriage you weren't controlling.

Yea, there's truth to this. I'm a highly emotional person and this is a highly emotional thing for me. Understand though, they put me in charge of this thing, agreed that's the way it should be. I was the one with concerns and issues and boundary requests. So why, when it's over, is my being that person now this horrible, terrible thing he simply can't accept.

Are you in couple's therapy with someone who isn't your therapist?

Yes, we were, until the seperation was agreed on.

A good test for if you are the controlling one. When he speaks and gets emotional, do you try to change how he feels or understand it? Are you just waiting for your turn to talk to "fix" how he is feeling?

I do have to watch it here, I have a tendency toward fixing and not listening as well as I should.

bewuzzled posted 8/11/2020 12:08 PM

OP, do you think itís possible they carried on behind your back during the first break?

I don't. She literally disappeared, and he was very upset with her for the way in which that ended.

He comtinuedtto give me things that I had been getting from him during the relationship, deals we made.. Things he did to make sure I was happy, after she left. I got extra cuddle time, I got some of the things the marriage didnt have before, but did during. He didnt
" take it out on me" that she chose to leave.

Thumos posted 8/11/2020 16:04 PM

I'll confess I'm really confused by these polyamorous situations.

I think it's generally the position of most here on SI that there's no statute of limitations on a betrayed spouse's grief and trauma, and that it can come roaring back years or even decades later. It's also true that anyone can divorce for any reason, although some reasons are objectively better reasons than others -- such as betrayal via adultery.

If I understand the situation, you blameshifted onto him after D-Day (and maybe DARVO'd him too, if your hint about "emotional outbursts" is perhaps a clue?) and then you both rugswept the affair. Maybe trickle truth, too? You don't say, only that you didn't handle D-Day well or the subsequent months. I can only say in my own circumstance, my wife also didn't handle the "subsequent month well" and it did incalculable damage.

I myself am nearly four years out and participated in rugsweeping my WW's affair. She did her fair share of blameshifting, rationalizations, trickle truth and lack of transparency I won't dive into here. But it led me to the place four years later where I've told her I definitively want a divorce and I'm working actively to bring that about now.

I don't think anyone would say that I'm somehow in the wrong for now moving forward with divorce, or that I misled her. Indeed the vast majority of folks on this website seem to think I should have done so earlier, and that I've given this attempted reconciliation every effort.

I'm not at 10 years out, but I can see how I would continue to be triggered and traumatized by the situation that far out, if somewhat less than now. In fact, I'm sure I will be, guaranteed, even after divorce. if I had continued to swallow my pain, I could definitely see a scenario where in four more years or five more years from now, I would be a shell and just as completely done as I am now if not more so.

If I also understand your situation, you broached the idea of an open marriage/free pass but he initially shut that down. Then when an opportunity presented itself years later, you actively encouraged it and then participated in it joyfully.

So then "weirdly, somehow, it turns into a threesome situation. I cannot even explain how." Ok, but I think with a little more self examination, you could probably dig down and explain to yourself and perhaps to us something a little more detailed than "weirdly, somehow" -- frankly, that sounds a lot like the typical elision we read and hear from WS's all the time.

So if I'm keeping up with the situation here, you betrayed him, he was traumatized by the initial betrayal and your subsequent actions and words, you both rugswept, you offered a free sexual pass, then 8 years down the road he takes you up on the offer after additional cajoling on your part. Then he sees you not only encouraging but also actively and willingly and jubilantly participating in it.

Am I right so far? And that then developed into a polyamorous relationship in which you both took part. Then, predictably, as they seem to in these situations dangerously toying with the human heart, things turned dark.

He started developed independent feelings for her. You felt threatened. You also had feelings for her.

It ended, sort of messily and abruptly.

Then it started up again, and you said you didn't want it to be as "intense" as the first time, but that seems a pretty vague word, doesn't it?

What does "intense" mean specifically?

Regardless, things were "intense" the second time around --and somewhere along the line he then he invoked an in-home separation.

And now he wants a divorce.

I understand the "on this hand, on the other hand" viewpoint of this -- but what I don't understand from some of commenters here is how the onus for this is on the spouse who was originally betrayed. If I'm doing a thought experiment and reversing the genders entirely throughout, I can't see how I'd blame the original BW in this situation either. In fact, I wouldn't.

You betrayed him, handled the fallout terribly, may have even tried to DARVO or gaslight him, rugswept, and then indicated by the offer of a free pass that you saw sex as sort of a transactional act.

That damaged him beyond the original betrayal, in my view. Then he viewed the limping wounded marriage as a kind of half baked commitment with a lot of rugsweeping, and finally took you up on the offer of sex with another woman after you re-introduced and encouraged the idea.

He's not wrong, as you say, about your outbursts or about your lack of care for his feelings.

And now he's done.

Anyway, did I miss anything?

waitedwaytoolong posted 8/11/2020 18:06 PM

Maybe I am missing something, but it seems that posters on this and the other thread are not choosing to listen to, or believe bewuzzled as they are so hell bent on demonizing her husband.

She had an affair. By all accounts he forgave her and things were pretty good. She pushed to open up the marriage, not him. She participated in the open marriage and from all accounts, enjoyed it for a long period of time. He wasn't sneaking around. He always put her first. After 2 years of an on and off relationship he either developed feelings for the third partner, or for the lifestyle.

He then did what everyone here espouses which is separate or divorce before going and having sex with another outside the marriage. How many threads have we seen where the consensus is that you don't cheat. You end the marriage first. This is exactly what he did.

I get that people feel sympathy for bewuzzled. I have sympathy too. this hits home for me as I also divorced my wife after 30 years even though she was remorseful, loved me, and would walk across hot coals to save the marriage. But when you are done, you are done.

She opened up the marriage for him I get that. I also get it was a huge gift to him to level the playing field as she was his only partner, and he lost that with her to the other guy. He intentions were very noble. It just backfired on her.

i also think she has a right to feel sad or in a way betrayed.. She offered up this huge gift to him and instead of this bringing them closer together, it broke them apart. He rejected her in the end for the other woman or lifestyle. I'm not really sure which. But rejection is way different than cheating.

I guarantee he feels awful about this. I still have regrets about ending my marriage. And ours was never as good as theirs after the infidelity.

How are your kids taking this? Do they know much of the story? I hope the full blame doesn't fall on his shoulders. My kids still are a little pissed at me. They viewed what she did a a horrible mistake that could have been overcome. They view what I did as a calculated decision to destroy the family. Its better now, but the underlying feelings from my kids are still there. I hope you navigate this better than I did. It's painful as hell for everyone.

Maybe im naive, but I can see him coming back to you after a period of time. You clearly love each other. Do you think if he sows some oats with her but decides to come back you would be open to that?

I really do feel for you. Your intentions were very good, although in hind site misguided. I dont think you story is over just yet.

I just hope the posters here stop making him out to be a monster

beenthereinco posted 8/11/2020 18:23 PM

I simply wanted to break up with her, not him.

This is probably the crux of this whole thing. Despite the fact that you were married it looks like your husband didn't see a relationship that was just the two of you as viable. It sounds like in his mind there was a completely three-way relationship and when you broke up that it ended for him with you as well.

ChamomileTea posted 8/11/2020 18:58 PM

I have to admit, I feel like I'm not seeing what you guys are seeing, because I can't understand how these two statements can both be true and somehow absolve this guy of wayward dirty dealing. Can someone explain it to me?

When she csme back after a year, we decided to start it up again. I said at the start that I didnt want it to be as intense as last time, and that I wanted to be able to say so if I didn't want to do it anymore. He readily agreed and we had a gifriend again. Well. It not only was just as intense as the first time , it was much much more so.

He told me during this second time that if I ended things because I couldn't control my emotions, that he would have to re evaluate everything. I felt utterly trapped and like if I ended it, he would leave me.

survrus posted 8/11/2020 20:25 PM

Bewuzzled,

Although oddly if you had sex with OW that also counts as another affair so you are still one ahead of BH/WH.

waitedwaytoolong posted 8/11/2020 20:32 PM

Bewuzzled,
Although oddly if you had sex with OW that also counts as another affair so you are still one ahead of BH/WH.

Give her a break. This is totally piling on and not helpful. Actually downright cruel

LifeDestroyer posted 8/11/2020 21:02 PM

Although oddly if you had sex with OW that also counts as another affair so you are still one ahead of BH/WH.

Survrus how is that an affair when it was mutually agreed upon to add a third person to their relationship? She did not do it behind his back nor did she keep it a secret. She allowed another person in to satisfy her husband after being afraid he would leave her.

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