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so where I'm at so far

RandomName posted 9/2/2020 22:56 PM

I confessed to BS on 8-30-20 that I had
engaged in an EA lasting ~ 1 week? about 3 months ago.
I had installed the discord app for a social connection with a hobby group that hadn't been able to meet due to covid.

A couple days later I started looking for P oriented groups specific to edging.
After a couple days on a group I sought out, another user contacted me by DM to compliment me on images I was sharing in the public photo channel. We exchanged messages of encouragement and compliments and P photos.
The next day they contacted me again and I told them I was in public and waiting to go to an appointment. They showed interest in me and what I was doing and gave compliments and I felt like I was desired.
It felt like what I later learned to be called catfishing.
We exchanged conversations for almost a week. I felt excited but also psychically drained and a bit 'less than' afterwards. Like the lovebombing was strong, then started slipping until I was pursuing more.
I hit a low and wanted to die. I posted something about this on the public channel, then deleted it after a minute or two, feeling ashamed and exposed and desperate and weak.
Another member saw my message before I deleted it and DMd me with support.
I told them what was going on and they said it seemed toxic to them, and encouraged me to end things with this person and focus on my wife. They gave me support and got me focusing on being a better man to my wife. I blocked the EA person. I continued to share on the public channel, photos and started making captioned P images.
Users started giving positive feedback and asking if I did custom captions. I felt excited to edit P photos and make things that others seemed to enjoy, I felt like I was of use and appreciatedzd, and it was somewhat artistic.
I stopped engaging in other hobbies and was on my phone often when at home, making captions. I dove in to it.

Anyway, the person I had the EA with popped up with a new account, slightly different user name and same avatar.
I saw them posting right after my posts.
I felt like it was a trap, and I also felt this drop in esteem and I remembered that I had felt good at times when talking with them. I messaged them and told them I was sorry for the ghosting, that it wasn't them, it was me, and that I was starting to catch feelings and needed to step back.
They acted as though they had no clue I had blocked them, said they had taken a break and deleted their old account.
They said they had feelings too. We chatted throughout that day a bit, and I realized I was sitting in my car late at night when I should be home with my wife.
I ended the conversation, drove home, and then blocked them when they messaged me again late that night.
I stuck to it this time.

I focused back on my wife and I knew it was messing with her having me in the home with her, but not present. I made efforts to be fully present and focus on us.
She knows me so well, she asked me what was up, if I had an opportunity to cheat, or what? I lied to her and told her only the half that made me look good, and told her about the user who had been encouraging me to focus on her and be her king.
I brushed it under the rug and rationalized to my self that it wouldn't happen again, and it was probably a dude trying to set me up, and that it wasn't cheating because it was anonymous and through P pics and gifs. I lied to myself and to my wife.

Another user posted a challenge to go without an O for days equal to age. I decided to try this and see if I could quit P once and for all. I begsn attending SAA video conference meetings.
I was doing decent until I relapsed and started edging to P again. I stopped attending the SAA calls because I felt like a fake.
It was strange, going without O, and being so wired. I began opening up to my wife, and exposing my fears and insecurities about myself, I had told her about this challenge and she took interest and had decided she was going to try to make me fail.
I was getting attention from her that I always desired and things were going insanely awesome. Like, most open communication and bonding in years.
After S, I had a release of emotion.
I cried, sobbing in her arms, like I haven't cried in 20 years, and never cried like that in front of her before.

She told me nothing I could do would ever scare her away and reassured me that she accepted me flaws and demons and all.

I opened up and trusted, and confessed to her about the flashbacks I was having, from when I was black out drunk age 14 and stuff happened to me. She didn't reject me. I wasn't able to suppress these flashes any more with P, my coping methods were failing, and I got ahold of a sex assault victim advocacy group through RAINN. I've been in IC for that just a couple weeks now after going through screening and counselor pairing, etc.

I continued to not have O, and continued to be open with my wife and things were awesome. I confessed to her about the EA.
It hurt her deeply, obviously. She was in shock that day and played friendly, she admitted to me the next day.
My years of suppressing and lying to myself and to her have really messed me up and messed her up.
I started trying to figure this out, I said goodbye to the P server on discord, and deleted it from my phone in front of her and my laptop, to show her my commitment.

I started researching and seeking help on reddit and learned more about what this is and saw TT. Researching that, things I've surpassed for years started hitting me, and I decided to tell her the truth about it.
I visited a massage place on 3 separate occasions about 4~5 years ago and got hand stuff.

I called her from work the next day and asked her if she would prefer to have the bandaid pulled off quickly or slowly regarding our relationship. She told me she was already hurting just tell her. So I did.
What I did, by cheating and deceiving and lying is tremendously destructive to her, to us. We don't really have anywhere else to go physically, so we're in separate bedrooms, we talk a little bit here and there, we sob and cry all the time, and I'm trying to apply everything I'm learning to give her space and be honest and express to her how I feel. I'm not sure where things will go. I'm taking care around the house more so she can have a better environment and not have to worry about things, and I'm answering questions the few times she's asked, she's still in the explosion, I am too.
I came home from work after telling her about my cheating and lying regarding the massages, with full intention of ending things for real this time, but she had the day off and I didn't realize (her schedule shifts around)
I wasn't going to do it with her around. Her pain hit me hard and my focus shifted to trying to fix things, not exit.

Now I'm just kinda in this spot where I don't know what is going to happen, and trying to support her when she seeks that from me, and be honest and hear her.
I want the best for her, whatever that may be. I ruined this, broke it, broke her, I was selfish and cruel. I'm trying to figure this out and fix me instead of trying to get a fix for me, or escape into a fantasy where I delude myself.
I'm trying to minimize damage to her as much as I can, while being available and honest and present when she wants that, and respecting her need for privacy.
I'm new at this and making mistakes but I'm trying and hopefully I can help her get to wherever is best for her.

Also I haven't told my BS about the S stuff because I don't want to manipulate or coerce them into staying to keep me alive. I've been calling crisis hotlines everyday and just taking it moment by moment.

I asked if there was anything she needed from me right now and she said just time.
I'm going to sit with that.

I think she's willing to work to reconcile, like there's been small things she's said, like when I suggested MC and she said that sounds like a good start.
Other people told me get IC for both of us before MC. Talked to BS about that, but I don't know if she's willing or able to see somebody right now, or maybe ever? She tends to shut down and close off from emotion.

[This message edited by RandomName at 4:26 AM, September 3rd (Thursday)]

foreverlabeled posted 9/3/2020 05:09 AM

Hi and welcome.

I agree that right now if counseling is something you are interested in then IC to start. Don't pressure your BS to take up her own IC. Let her control her own healing process. If after say a month? less/more? whatever feels right to her, to you, introduce MC.

There are a few things I would suggest that is easy for you to start this moment.

- at the top of our Wayward forum is a pinned thread titled "things every wayward needs to know" read it.

- to the left of your screen, in the menu box, you'll find The Healing Library. Dive in to all the stuffs there.

- do those things listed above as you download or wait for your copy of "how to help your spouse heal from your affair" to arrive.

Basically education is key. There are things that you and your BW will experience and go through that not many are prepared for in situations like this. Take the grief process, it surprised me, I didn't know that was what was happening until I better educated myself on infidelity. You know when that shock wears off, things tend to get real, real fast. Learn about triggers, the roller-coaster, all the things she might experience.

Its important that you take on your healing while simultaneously helping her heal. The best place to start is taking steps to becoming a safe partner. No more lying, open and honest, showing compassion for her pain, complete transparency on all devices, and any steps you can think of tailored to her to help give a sense of safety.

Also, I want to throw this out there. You mentioned SAA. Do you have a history of this kind of activity? I'm just wondering why you felt strongly enough to attend a meeting. Its very easy to place blame on anything and everything when sometimes the answer is literally just you being selfish and having zero regard for others. You got caught up in an emotion and slipped really fast down that slope. I understand how that could happen.

MrCleanSlate posted 9/3/2020 08:31 AM

RandomName,

Sounds like you are starting to work on you - with IC and I strongly recommend you keep up with SAA. Are you also seeing a psychiatrist?

Suicide is never an answer. Please keep contacting suicide help lines.

You need to share your feelings with your BW. Don't keep it from her.

Have you deleted all apps and accounts related to the porn sites or groups?

MrCleanSlate posted 9/3/2020 09:35 AM

RandomName,

You may also want to take some time and start to write out a timeline - include your porn addiction and the massage parlours, and any other relevant stuff to a EA or PA.

You'll find it helps to write stuff out and you can give it to your BW so she can read it and have a fuller picture.

Everything you wrote so far tells me you are wanting to change and help your BW. That is such a great place to be starting from. Getting help can be hard and it can take time, but stick with it.

I'm always proud of waywards that take the hard path to honesty and improving who they are. That shows something in you. Lets keep working on that.

RandomName posted 9/3/2020 11:45 AM

Thank you folks. I'm at work right now but wanted to check in and let you know I'm absorbing your guidance.
I'm definitely an addict, and that doesn't excuse my behavior, my running from myself, my running to fantasy.
I'll write the timeline. We've talked a bit here and there, I'm focusing on "no excuses honesty", ownership, and sincerity and expressing my regret.
I'll work on the timeline after work. Attended SAA this morning, IC session after work today, will continue to use grounding techniques and stay with this, I'm noticing myself slipping into dissociation, then when I notice, mindfully coming back to real.
Still fighting still here. radical acceptance and mindfulness are being leaned on heavily.

JBWD posted 9/3/2020 11:55 AM

Thanks for providing context-

I will propose that youre putting mixed motives into these periods of abstinence that gave you additional focus. Just to highlight this, you were still in those moments, using sex to medicate. I dont doubt that there were insights that arose, but moving forward you need to get past using sex to cope. I suffered long into separation because I was still medicating with pornography, and it took a long time to recognize.

Im glad you recognize the potentially manipulative aspects of disclosing suicidal ideations, Id say that discussing with IC is a MUST if youre finding it necessary to be on crisis hotlines so frequently. A network of sober friends invested in your recovery is critical to this, and SAA (or SLAA, where I spend recovery time) are good options for that. Bottom line is you are showing signs of recognizing the extent of this as a you problem as opposed to you all.

Lastly, I strongly suggest avoiding initiating communication while apart. Its too late to spare your BWs feelings, and you gain a lot of clarity of meaning by communicating in person. I assume based on what you write that she is less than eager to communicate right now- Good to respect but caution on trying to force it eventually.

Keep coming back- Well see you here, and wishing you both a road to recovery.

RandomName posted 9/4/2020 18:56 PM

Just an update and wanted to share gratitude if that's ok.

We've had some small positive breakthroughs, for her and for me, and for us. She's going to have her first meeting with her own IC on Monday.
I'm digging deeper into my own problems, sifting through my rationalizing lies and deception, finding some truths and coming to terms with them, and seeing choices.

I'm continuing to consider her and how she would feel in what I do, and what I say to her, when I'm not peeling layers into my own problems.

It's very different from my method of operating through extreme selfishness, and I'm appreciating how amazing she is, and what she has sacrificed for me all these years, in the same breath I'm angry at myself for what I've done, and I'm ashamed, and rightfully so, I've done her so wrong.

I had urges today to relapse with porn and I called people in the SAA program twice, and called a crisis line. I didn't relapse, obtained a copy of the white book, and engaged in a healthy activity to process feelings that I haven't done in 3 months, and recognized that I was afraid to feel, but did it.

I'm not running from myself, and I hope I'm not deluding myself, right now I'm concerned that I'm not feeling the anxiety and hurt as intensely as yesterday. I desire to keep moving forward.

I am considering this a small small step in the right direction, not a sign of forgiveness or "everything is fixed now", I'm wary of back sliding into old methods, so I'm recognizing and verbalizing this on here instead of suppressing it and spiralling into shame and destruction.

I appreciate the resources on here and the people who have been sharing their guidance and time. Thank you.

Edited to specify some wording, I considered how I wrote as I reviewed my post, and recognized that I initially was seeing this as me having turned a new leaf, that doesn't mean that I am past this or that I have changed, I see I'm only experiencing some time doing things differently, this is just the beginning and it's going to be difficult, but not impossible, and it's going to continue to hurt in ways I can't really imagine yet, though I'm afraid, but I'm telling myself it's worth it, no matter what happens or where we end up.

[This message edited by RandomName at 7:11 PM, September 4th (Friday)]

RandomName posted 9/5/2020 08:50 AM

Projecting, blaming others, masking, escaping, withdrawing, isolating, distracting, raging, lying, self harming, and living inside a false reality,

None of that has brought me any relief from the pain and hurt. I've multiplied the hurt, and hurt others, in my dodging responsibility for my stuff, and dodging responsibility for working through it.

I'm the only one that can fix me, and I can't do it alone, obviously, since this is where I've ended up on my own.


RandomName posted 9/5/2020 12:40 PM

We're making progress together, I confessed to her this morning that I think it would be good for both of us if we made out a contract of acceptable and unacceptable behaviors? and boundaries.
The first marriage is dead, but we can make a better one. She agreed that this was a good idea. I let her know i
I'm ready, and when she's ready, I'd love to sit down with her and begin discussing this. I've accepted I'm not the person that can or should help her figure out her boundaries, obviously. When she brings it up, if she's receptive, I'm going to offer the suggestion that this might be something she would be more comfortable initially exploring and drafting with her IC, but her first meeting isn't until next week, so I know this will take time.

RandomName posted 9/7/2020 12:29 PM

Reading her mood the last couple days, and wrote out and shared my timeline with BW after getting her permission first.
Communication was positive.
I answered questions, and I think my honesty opened the door for her to be b honest and she admitted some of her stuff.

we both took ownership of our parts and admitted our failures. She ended with saying I could have paid her to get that experience, and said "what could have been"
I asked if she meant what could have been, or what will be. She said she doesn't know yet, just that we can't change the past.

I'm reminding myself that this is just 1 week, and it's positive, we're talking.

I'm reminding myself, she may decide against reconciliation. I want what's best for her and for us. That might mean us not together. Continuing to read and absorb and reach out to SAA and continue IC.

MrCleanSlate posted 9/8/2020 08:17 AM

RN,

Best thing you are doing is opening an honest dialogue with your BW.

She ended with saying I could have paid her to get that experience

That there says 2 big things to me that remind me of discussions my BW and I had.

First your BW is hurt because she is saying had she known she would have wanted to share that experience with you, rather than have you go elsewhere.

The second is what a crappy job you both did of communicating.

They are both the same point though - COMMUNICATE!!!!

I felt like such a POS after D-Day when I started to realize that I just needed to talk to my BW. It was that simple (well not really, but I hope you get my point).

RandomName posted 9/8/2020 11:53 AM

thank you MrCleanSlate

we're communicating a lot, it's been growing more positive and open. Just keeping myself present and open and riding the waves of anxiety and fear instead of running away

RandomName posted 9/8/2020 11:54 AM

Edit double post

[This message edited by RandomName at 12:42 PM, September 8th (Tuesday)]

MrCleanSlate posted 9/8/2020 13:16 PM

RN,

Best thing I ever did was finally start being open and honest, not only with my BW, but with myself.
A great weight was lifted.

Second best thing was learning how to communicate with my BW.

Keep talking.

RandomName posted 9/13/2020 09:36 AM

This could be triggering.


We're continuing to talk, and some signs of reconciliation possibility are fluttering up more.

I'm 4 days without porn or masturbation. I keep turning to the healing library and reading BS sides of things on here and subreddit groups instead of going into selfish self destructive. I get the impression BS had a good first session with her IC from our limited discussion.

She's never had IC, her only other experience with therapy was when she and I talked with a therapist I worked with inpatient after my last suicide attempt, as part of my release process.

We talked a little bit about her wants as far as us this morning. I paid close attention to the meaning under the words and her insecurities and I assured her she's done nothing wrong, and that I do want her, and that as hard as it might be to hear and as shitty as it is, my wayward behavior wasn't about her, it was about me, and I wasn't thinking about the future, just about being not me, in that behavior.

She said she isn't willing to give up on 19 years. And then a little bit of her emotions came up and she asked "do you still want me?"
More than ever. More than anyone. I want to be the man that deserves and is worthy to be in her life.

We're touching now and then, always with her consent first, the last couple days. Held hands. Sat next to her and leaned my shoulder against hers, we've hugged a few times. she told me she loves me. I've taken that as a gentle invitation and I've expressed my love to her, it's been mutual the lady couple days now.

I've explained to her what I've discovered about why I wayward, and what I'm doing with SAA and my IC to address the root and choose better ways, healing instead of destroying.

There's a lot of tension and anxiety in my body from going from daily edging and ruining and now not looking at porn or engaging in masturbation for release. I'm surrendering to my higher power, whatever that is, multiple times a day, surrendering to my higher power to take this out of my hands and asking for help.

I'm going to go play a musical instrument and let out emotions while my BS is away for a work thing, I've really needed to play loud for awhile now, but I haven't because I don't want to disturb her.

Anyway, we're talking and I'm reassuring her. I'm considering her more than ever, and recognizing now when I'm being selfish and making amends and apologizing as soon as I realize, like when I asked for a hug yesterday, she gave permission, but I apologized for it this morning and admitted I knew it was fucked up of me to turn to her for comfort after I hurt her.

That's when she asked in response if I still wanted her, and if I was sure i wanted to be with her.

I think that's a good sign, it's been mainly me confessing and being open and honest, I see now writing this out, that was her responding and being vulnerable with me. I'm going to thank her when she gets back, for her gift of being vulnerable with me and that I appreciate her and won't take her for granted.
On the other hand I don't know if I should say that, my words have been lies in my deception, and she admitted she doesn't know me, well she says, she knows me, but there's parts of me she feels she doesn't know.

I responded ask me anything I'm an open book. Anything you want to know. She said she already knows the details of what I did, wants to know if I'm wanting to keep going to reconciliation. Absolutely yes, us together is what I want more than anything.

Sorry for anybody reading this, I'm kind of processing as I go. Ok time to go play music and get the feelings out.

[This message edited by RandomName at 9:41 AM, September 13th (Sunday)]

RandomName posted 9/13/2020 19:44 PM

Now I've fucked it all up.
It's been 4 days without orgasm and I was trying to find this picture my wife has framed of a harley quinn drawing that says
"It's better to say what you mean and fuck it up
than to say nothing and let it fuck you up"
I wanted to set it as my phone wallpaper

I was looking at google images for it and went to the bathroom, which is where I'd escape before.
I started touching and my wife came looking for me, and I came out and told her I was touching and looking at harley quinn drawings and she started crying and breaking down.
I asked her please talk to me, say what you are thinking please.
She said no, it was spiteful.
I told her I want to hear what you have to say but I can't force you.
I went outside for a cigarette.
Came back in and asked her please talk to me, please.

She started crying and said I couldn't even make it 12 hours. I told her I haven't cum in 4 days, and I've had a few slip ups of touching, but I'm trying to do better.
She said she was going to leave and to take food out of the stove when the timer goes off.
I begged her please don't leave, I'm trying I'm just not there yet, it's talking time.
She said everything in her was screaming to leave, and how could she trust me?

I said I'm sorry, I'm trying, please don't give up on me.

She said she has to go for a drive and left.

I'm such a fuck. I don't want to be me. I'm waiting on hold for a S hotline. Its been an hour of waiting, getting disconnected, calling back, still waiting.
I fucked up any progress I hate myself for this what the fuck is wrong with me

[This message edited by RandomName at 7:45 PM, September 13th (Sunday)]

JBWD posted 9/16/2020 23:47 PM

Sorry to hear this, RN!

I dont know what the latest is, Im sorry this post went somewhat unnoticed. Im hoping by now youve had an opportunity to get to your IC post crisis.

Whats wrong with you is that you need to absorb that at this point in time theres things that you absolutely cant do with any degree of safety. There is some continued association between orgasm and control that I believe has some deep roots in what I think you mention is an instance of SA.

The best thing I can offer you is this- You need a network of sober fellows who are available to reach out. A sponsor as well- I know sometimes sponsors can seem elusive, but in absence of that meetings, meetings, meetings!

Thank you for reaching out to a crisis line when it felt overwhelming. I think extra effort on groups may help in the interim- This highlights that even if you cant salvage the M, you are still worth the effort to get better.

Bulcy posted 9/17/2020 12:25 PM

RN. Sorry that things have gone bad for you. Stick with it. Ive made so many screwups since dday. You have to keep going and communicating. Stay on here and keep posting your feelings. There are better people than me who will help you. Im a long way from being fixed, but will offer my support whenever I can.

The advice and support on offer will help.

RandomName posted 9/20/2020 00:33 AM

I'm still working the program and BS came home and we made progress in communication.

I reached out to a person in the SAA program that's been sort of pressured into temporary sponsorship for me by others in the zoom meetings.

He pointed out to me that it sounded like I was turning to my BS for accountability and leaning on her for support, which I agreed with, I had that thought as I was explaining to him, like saying it out loud, I could hear how terrible it was, to betray, cheat, and deceive her, then turn to her for support and details of my recovery and cornering her into helping with my accountability.

Like, if someone robbed me at gunpoint then told me the next week "hey wanted to let you know I've changed and I've turned over a new leaf, but I'm having urges to rob again, blah blah blah"

I'd want to punch them in the face.

I can only imagine what she's going through with what I did.

Anyway, making progress in the program, though I'm not without error, but I'm not giving up.

Making progress with IC too, homework has been to identify what my authentic self is, and after two weeks I've had some clarity and realizations about authentic me.

BS has had 2 sessions with her IC. We shared with each other our homework assignments, and I immediately recognized hers is a mindfulness practice, though I haven't told her that, because she just needs to work the homework, so I'm just encouraging her to keep up with it.

It's very different to be like a ghost, I give her space and don't really talk much other than the basics like "here's money for bills, etc" unless she approaches me.

I've been consistently doing lots of housework chores and stuff every day, since the day I confessed, it gives me a sense of peace to do that for her, I look forward to doing this for her, for us.

I know how much she appreciates when I help, my efforts are like 120% more than ever before in our nearly 20 years.
Also, I understand that it makes it easier for her to process all this when she doesn't have to worry about doing A, B, C, D, etc.

We've been talking more and more, and she's giving it her all and she's willing to work on this toward reconciliation.

She even tells me she loves me, and she cut my hair without me asking her for that.

In my head I'm just focusing and accepting every day that she'll end things and that it's over, and that once she's healed she'll be gone.

Strangely, this takes pressure off of me and frees me of clingy desperate controlling behaviors. The more I accept that it's over, strangely, the more she seems to reach toward me, in small ways.

I don't know what that means, I'm filled with hope and I try to bring myself back down with reality of "she will leave once she can fly again". I don't know, it's a strange tight rope, but honestly, I want what's best for her. I accept I am probably not what's best for her.
And, in the next breath, I'm doing the work to become a man worthy of her and worthy of my authentic self.

But that's not my decision, that's up to her.

If she talks to me, it's a gift. If she makes food, or let's me make food for her, it's a gift. If I wake up with all my body parts intact, it's a gift (having some weird nightmares)
If she says she loves me, it's a gift.
Anything she does to remain in the same room or acknowledge me or talk to me, it's a gift.

I'm just going to keep going. I surrender. I have no control over the outcome. That's in some higher powers hands.

[This message edited by RandomName at 12:37 AM, September 20th (Sunday)]

RandomName posted 9/24/2020 00:06 AM

I'm kinda in a weird place, she initiated kissing me a couple days ago and we've kissed every day since, and hugged.

Is weird to not feel the anxiety waves hitting every day. I don't know if that means the IC and SAA is working? She is letting a little bit of her pain out here and there, and I feel it when she lets it express. She expressed not wanting to be hurtful and say what was on her mind the other day when I told her she's wonderful.

I encouraged and welcomed her to express her thoughts. She said she has doubt when I say nice things because "if she's so wonderful why did I cheat?" I told her that's a totally normal and reasonable thought.

I told her again it was not a lack in her but something in me. She admitted she played a part in distancing from me.
We had a good honest talk about it.

I'm making more break throughs with identifying my authentic self and understanding through working SAA.

She's working with her IC also.

She told me she wants to sleep in the same bed again but isn't ready to yet.

I affirmed to her that we have all the time, no pressure, it's her decision and I won't push her, and if there's anything she needs for comfort and security, too let me know and I'll accommodate

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