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Need some affirmation and advice

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gmc94 posted 9/5/2020 22:18 PM

BW here. First, I want to say I absolutely agree with this:

A kiss is sex and in some ways is more passionate than the sex act itself. So please don't try to minimize what happened to your BH by saying it was only kissing.
I suspect it would sound strange to most WS (and prolly many BS too), but the thought of my WH kissing (or making out) with his APs haunts me more than the other sexual acts. I think of it as the "Pretty Woman" syndrome to the extent that it can feel more intimate than "just" sex. So, IMHO, trying to really SEE how that may feel to your BH is part of your work, and a way to work through/away from minimizing the behavior that is a COMMON wayward trait. My goal isn't to shame on this front - but to shed some light on the ways in which that minimizing doesn't help you become a healthy/authentic person, and can also actually further hurt your BS.

Gently, I'm not sure I can see how one can reconcile this:

The EAs did not make me love my husband less
with this:

I think I loved the "idea" of him more than appreciating the actual human being.
or this:

I loved being a married woman.

While my intent is not to be harsh or shame you, this strikes me that you loved being married and loved the "idea" of your WH. So, if that's the starting point for one's idea of "love", I can see how one can rationalize that having an A didn't make one love their BS "less", bc the kind of "love" you felt for your BS wasn't very healthy to begin with. It's what at least one WS here on SI would call "object love", or love for the feelings one RECEIVES from another, but not love OF the actual other. IOW, if the baseline for one's idea of "love" is really only object love, it's pretty easy to not go lower. Make any sense?

An oft-asked question of tons of BS here on SI is "did my WS love me during their A"? In my 2+years here on SI, I've seen countless threads of this nature. There are different perspectives here. After a lot of processing, for me it kind of came down to two equally shitty ways of seeing it:
(1) either my WH did not "love" me during his As, or
(2) even if he feels he did "love" me during his As, he has a pretty crummy idea of what love is or means, one that is wholly inconsistent with my own, and one that is outright dangerous to me and my emotional well being.

Now, is it possible to love two people at the same time? Sure. Yet, affairs are born and thrive in the darkness of dishonesty. And IMHO, dishonesty and "love" cannot be in the same boat.

But, that's just my opinion and my - or anyone else's - perspective isn't necessarily relevant to you and your journey. What IS relevant is how your BS feels about it, the concept, etc.

I raise it bc your posts talk a lot about how much you "love" and "loved" your WH.... yet there also is the tricky matter of those sentences I quoted above. IMHO (and again, I'm just some BS stranger on an Internet forum), your beginning to see that what you "loved" may not have been the person who is your BH as much as "being a married woman" or the "idea" of your BH is a really good insight. My hope would be that a WS can work to see this dichotomy through the lens of their BS... and to find & express empathy for how that must FEEL to the BS. I can say from personal experience, "empty" is absolutely one of the ways the very idea of my WS believing he "loved" me during his As felt to me.

[This message edited by gmc94 at 10:19 PM, September 5th, 2020 (Saturday)]

WaywardRecoverer posted 9/5/2020 23:24 PM

Hi GMC94,

I really, really appreciate your thorough and thoughtful response. Thank you, it means a lot. Your words brought me to tears.

On the first point, thank you again for reaffirming that for me. I deeply regret dismissing this kissing earlier in our relationship. My H has nightmares about those so I see what you mean about being "haunted." Could you elaborate on what you mean by "pretty woman syndrome"? Is it that my H would fear I covet those women? Or that I act entitled like a "pretty woman"? Or something else? Your point on doing the work to see how he feels is well taken. I read the book recommended above and I know learning to empathize more will be a major task. Thank you. I will fight the temptation to minimize my actions and their impact.

On your second point... this is so hard. You are right. As I was typing my reply, I could feel something was wrong. I am realizing these things about myself as I reply to these comments. Thank you for your gentle honesty. Yes, what you are saying makes sense. This is maybe why I felt blindsided when he said the first EAs (before the kiss) made him feel like I was turning away from him. I think I fit into the 2nd description you gave. It has been hard for me to process because (except for the 5th A, which I blocked out/kept secret for a year) I confessed to all of them and they unfolded in front of him.

As you said, trying to realize how it must feel for him, empathize with him deeply, and see it from his view is what I need to work on. I can see better now how my "empty, addictive, object love" is so painful and makes him feel betrayed. My idea of love is so flawed. Learning to care and have emotional depth is my challenge.

Thank you again for your gentle, thoughtful, and necessarily hard to hear response. It helped me understand a lot and I appreciate it.

EvolvingSoul posted 9/5/2020 23:45 PM

Hi there WaywardRecoverer,

Could you elaborate on what you mean by "pretty woman syndrome"? Is it that my H would fear I covet those women? Or that I act entitled like a "pretty woman"?
I think this is a reference to the film "Pretty Woman" with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. She plays a prostitute that won't kiss her clients on the mouth because she feels it is too intimate (I think "personal" is the work she uses in the film).

WaywardRecoverer posted 9/5/2020 23:54 PM

EvolvingSoul, thank you for that context. That makes sense in relation to the post and my story. And it definitely makes me feel so much worse and guilty about what I did. I am glad I at least am starting to see this more clearly and see my actions for what they are.

gmc94 posted 9/6/2020 00:30 AM

yes, it's from the film (and thank you evolvingsoul).

WaywardRecoverer posted 9/6/2020 00:42 AM

Thank you again gmc94. I understand.

WaywardRecoverer posted 9/7/2020 19:03 PM

I'd like to thank you all one last time for your difficult and honest input. My BH and I have decided to temporarily live apart. I started a new thread, if anyone has input for me there. Thank you.


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