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seeking advice for my situation

Rose2206 posted 10/8/2020 10:15 AM

long post ahead, basically just typed up what is in my head and would appreciate some input. I am trying to put things in perspective without falling back into shame. Trying to come up with a way to cope and a plan how to go forward.

I feel so confused. After dday 3 Ĺ months ago BS moved out. Left all his things here and he was on the ground depressed to the point of suicide attempt.Which, I am ashamed to say: triggered me (ex husband tried to kill himself in front of me) Then, I fell into a shame loop for a few weeks as you all may remember.
BS has lived with his mom since dday and has not worked. (Just passed his boards shortly before dday) so, he basically went into such depression that he was sleeping on the ground on a blanket and stared at a wall. He went through different stages of anger, hate, sadness and so on. Met with AP with a list of questions, recorded the conversation, played it to his mom and then to me. (1hr recording of details of the A). Came to me, and flipped furniture, threw things.. You can imagine..
From the beginning, BS has told me that he has not completely given up. That there is a small 1% chance for R. I told him that I understand if he never wants to see me again, his reply had always been - "donít let me go, donít stop fighting".

So, since then, I have been going to IC 1-2 per week. Been on here every day. Do daily things BS told me to (kind of like a daily homework list). Been educating myself on communication etc. Digging deep in IC on whyís and howís. In general basically changing the core of who I am.
There's progress, and I can certainly say that my outlook is very different. Changed the lens that I am looking through. There is some fails. There is moments when the old habits knock on my door. Usually I notice them and correct the thought right before or sometimes right after and and then correct myself.
BS has gone to counseling too for the most part 1 per week I think.
Iíve been struggling with his request of NC in the past. And I am not going to lie, I still do.

Saturday night him and I txt and he had told me that he is going to date in this time and prob will have sex with othersÖ it hit me like a brick and I txt him that I want him to do what he must to heal. That it will hurt me but that I do get it.. He came here to bring me something and we hugged and he held me tight and long for the first time in I donít even remember how long. He said he felt hope and that he is afraid of that.. We said our good byes and went NC again. I struggled with the txt about him going to go on dates.. The following nights I did my ďTo do listĒ and journaled.. I envisioned him on dates. Having sex.. (he is an amazing sexual partner). The things he would do with other women.. It threw me right into a shame hole..
Well, Tuesday night, I went to a workout and afterwards, I broke down. 10 minutes I staired at my phone and in a moment of being totally overwhelmed I dialed his number. Nobody answered. I panicked. (this was a fail). So, I got in my car and drove to his moms house to just knock on the door and tell him why I had a fail, how my mind was absolutely going crazy about that txt from saturday. Point blank, I wanted to be honest and apply the things I learned about communication. - He was not there.. It was around 9pm. His mom opened the door and I spoke to her. That he was not there triggered all my insecurities that I have from my past. While Iíve been digging deep, my previous life experience will take a long time of IC to work through and I know this and so I am just not at that point were I can say I am not insecureÖ given that his mom is like a mom to me, or at least was, I broke down and told her. (I felt like a victim without wanting to be. I was hurting. And that was it. Selfishly hurting). She encouraged me to just txt him about the fail, and so I did. I also asked him if we could meet, given that my confusion did not just go away.. He, to my surprise agreed.
We met and talked. We had some very hard but good moments and he was actually vulnerable with me for the first time again. I applied automatically out of instinct my newly adapted coping skills and also tried to apply empathetic communication. It went well. We cried together and even had a wonderful and meaningful conversation totally unrelated to the situation, but about one of his hobbies, passions that I had educated myself about as part of my work towards being a better person and partner.
Then, I confined in him my fears of the last couple of days about that txt, him dating other women while asking me to fight for our future.. To fight to be a better person than I was. Upon me opening up about that, he told me that he did already go on dates. I asked how many and he said 6. Some of them he kissed. I asked if he slept with any of them, he then said yes. He told me that he had sex with a woman shortly after dday (so 3 months ago). Then, he said he had a 3 way, upon me asking when that was, his answer was: yesterday. (my world inside shattered and I felt all hope Iíve been holding on to evaporate, tried to keep it cool on the outside but I was visibly trembling.) BS then told me that he had just lied. That he did not have a 3 way. That it was just one woman yesterday. He said he lied bc it was always a fantasy he had.. Upon me asking further questions, he kind of laughed and told me that I have no reason to be upset. He is single and he wanted to feel alive. He met these women to bump his self esteem, to feel something. I held BS and told him that itís okay. That it hurts me very much but that I do understand.

So here is my dilemma, I am in no way meaning to diminish what I have done. I hate everything about it and am disgusted and ashamed by it.
That being said, I am really fighting hard not to fall into the ďshame holeĒ again as it prevents any progress.

I feel very confused now. My hope for a new start between BS and I is there. I love him. And I am determined to keep my work up.
However, my feelings are shattered due to knowing what he has been doing these last 3 months while I had no idea. He says heís been single ever since dday, and yet, I would not have said we were since all his things are still here and heís been telling me to continue fighting etc..
For a man to have sex he had to have errections.. So, how can I see that he is feeling so badly while going out fucking other women.. Itís not like he can be super passive about that, so how?

Idk, I think the way I am feeling has lots to do with my past. It triggers my low self worth feeling etc. I feel like I lost trust towards my BS now and then at the same time tell myself that I have no reason to feel betrayed.

I am the WS. We were/are not R.I always considered it an in between stage of not knowing. He did what he felt like he needed. He does not feel guilty about it but does say he is sorry that I am feeling hurt.
So, people, I am posting this bc I am at a total loss with my feelings right now. Is it wrong that I am hurt? Is what cheater thinking or entitlement/ selfishness? That is what BS told me. That I am selfish in my thinking. And all I feel is pain. Idk.

Over all the conversations we had were good and we both agreed it was a positive and big step for us/ him to be vulnerable with each other. We ended the contact by agreeing on NC for 2 weeks and then meeting again. Which I am grateful for! I did do what IC told me, to set boundaries for my own mental health. So I told BS that while I understand the - seeing other people and getting self worth from that, that he can continue to do that if he feels that is what he needs. But that I can not see him then. It is his decision. But if we are both serious about R/ new start and putting in the work, then I felt it was okay for me to ask him to not date others in these next two weeks. (well I was not sure if it was ok of me to say/ ask that, but i did). He said ok. He said he is not doing it for me or because I asked.

So here I am. Sitting on my mattress and typing this up, scheduled a IC appointment for this afternoon too. I do NOT want to be in a victim mentality and truly mean when I say, I get why he felt the need to date etc, but now, I feel that pain. On top of the shame from my affair I now feel betrayed in a way bc I assumed that he would not have sex with others during the time of ďnot knowing what will happen to usĒ. That was my fault I guess. Thinking how I laid here typing in my journal, reading about infidelity, looking up BS perspective and traumaÖ while that same night he fucked another woman..it makes me sick to my stomach.
Parts of me say: A: I have no right to be hurt or feel betrayed and I should explore further why I do.
B: BS tells me that I continue to have a selfish way of thinking and I am wondering what that even means now while really just trying to hold myself together
C: I deserve to feel this. I am not a victim but I am the one that had an affair.
D: Is there such thing as right and wrong in this case? Idk
E: I now see pictures in my head, how he did it to these women. Over and over again.
F: I want to let this go, as BS is right in that he can do what he wants. I do not want to focus on this. He did what he felt he needed. And I do understand it and want to continue the work and fight for hopefully a new star for us.
G: I struggle with the feeling that I can't be honest to BS bc when I am it sounds selfish. While that is not the intention at all. Just explaining my side of things to have propper communication. Asking about his thoughts and views, but then I can't say mine..
So, these are the things that are going on in my head. I am beating myself up over and over again. That I am hurt, why the f am I hurt?! I am the WS!
It feels so torn, parts of me are humble and I want to do whatever BS needs. But now I am also feeling hurt, and triggered to shame, so idk..
And thoughts are appreciated

MrCleanSlate posted 10/8/2020 13:34 PM

Rose,

I feel for you.

As gentle as I can - This seems more than revenge affairs. You need to accept that the M you had is dead and gone.

In a weird way, you seem to be playing the pick me dance. Stop it.

It seems he is relishing rubbing your face in his 'dates'. He wants you stringing along to make him feel in control. Stop it. That is abusive of him at this point.

Go to IC and work on yourself - that is the most important.

leavingorbit posted 10/8/2020 13:39 PM

Lots to unpack here. I think the most important thing you can do is go to IC and figure out why you have your identity so tied up in this relationship and his actions. It sounds to me like you are trying to fill voids with your BS - not attacking, I did this too. I think when you struggle to self soothe and validate yourself, this is a ďnaturalĒ (dysfunctional) coping mech. Itís just like having another affair, okay? I would really strongly encourage you to get to the bottom of your anxiety with the separation from your BS. You are only 27 and have been married before, right? Have you ever been on your own before? I hadnít. After D-Day my BH and I separated for 3 months. I had to grow up at 30(!). I was sooo horribly anxious and codependent. I was a basket case. BH was a wreck. I know it seems scary to stand on your own two feet but I promise you, it is the greatest thing you could ever do.

About his behavior, NC... the following is not to give ammo to wedge more contact between you and your BS. It is to clarify some things I saw in your post. Good for you for setting the boundary!!!! That was probably really freaking scary and hard!!! Setting boundaries for yourself is not a victim mentality. Feeling pain is not a victim mindset! I think it makes perfect sense that you are hurt, and yes, it sounds to me like heís blameshifting and defensive. Heís coping poorly with his pain after your affair. He lied about something to hurt you. Thatís hurtful! So you have taken careful action using your tools that you are slowly accumulating.

You cannot stop him or fix his pain, only support. He has asked for NC. Itís not like because you cheated first that gives BS a free pass to be dysfunctional, ok? Maybe itís miscommunication, fine, you couldíve hammered out more details about your separation. Well, you have now, havenít you? And heís agreed. This is how you get out of drama triangles, really. You get to decide what is healthy for you. I struggled with this, too. Particularly because I had no healthy identity. I had blown any semblance of it to hell and gone, so what right did I have? But thatís shame talking, and itís dishonest. Is it hypocritical? I donít know, I guess, does that matter? I believe in empathy, not enabling. I kind of get the ďwell you had your funĒ and ďI want my self confidence backĒ strains of thinking, because I have been there. I was dysfunctional and abusive, though. So, I advise you to figure out with your IC what your plan is when the two weeks are up, and if he doesnít want to commit. Then take the two weeks and do not reach out. Make it nonnegotiable. Rubber band your wrist if you need to.

Boundaries are healthy. Not weaponizing them, but just getting healthier, getting stronger, getting authentic. You can be empathetic and compassionate and doing your work, and still say, ďthatís all I can stands, I canít stands no more.Ē I know people are imperfect, everyone heals differently.

However, to the biggest point: I donít think healing can be found in anyone else and Rose, youíre not gonna heal chasing after him. Why do you want this? He distances, you chase. Even if he wasnít seeing other people, do you understand that he cannot fill the hole in your soul? Fill yourself. Focus on yourself. Read edifying books. Walk in the sunshine and rain. Visit animal shelters or volunteer. Journal. Get to know your outsides, insides, your ugly parts, get on a first name basis with your history and traumas. Be kind to yourself and if your BS wants to try, then that kindness you are building in yourself can flow in BSís direction, too. Stop googling things about your BS. Have you read about codependency? I have been where you are. It is so hard.

((Rose))

forgettableDad posted 10/8/2020 15:32 PM

Like leavingorbit said; lots to unpack.

The main thing that struck at me is that it seems like you've put a lot of responsibility for your healing on your partner. There's a sense of a very strong dependency on your part for his approval. In my opinion, that kind of motivation is not conducive for healing.

From the beginning, BS has told me that he has not completely given up.
Do daily things BS told me to (kind of like a daily homework list).
It's not up to him to tell you what you need to do to heal. He can set boundaries later if you both choose to enter a new relationship.

There are a lot more quotes I could give from what you've just said that illustrate the fact he's being abusive (word seems to pop-up a lot lately on SI) but understand this: Rose, you are a person. Your actions were abusive. You cheated. You are now working on healing yourself. You are not defined by a single label "WS". Nor is your partner defined by "BS". Those are part of the roles you take in your interactions. Your partner needs to go to IC and figure out his own "whys" regarding his behaviour. You need to keep going to IC. And you need to let go of your relationship with him if you want to heal.

Perhaps down the road of healing you'll find each other again; perhaps not. But at the moment the bubble you and him have sounds toxic.

I wish there was some magic to fix it all instantly. But there isn't. These parts of life are a desert that has to be crossed; no way around. Just keep walking. You're not alone. Call a friend, call your IC. Drop a post here on SI. It's hard, it's painful. But it gets better with time.

ff4152 posted 10/8/2020 17:05 PM

Rose

Iím generally not in a WS corner when it comes to infidelity. What we did was shit in our vows, spouse and family. Generally I think whatever consequences we face are ours to bear.

That stops with RAís. RAís are A. I donít give a shit how someone tries to spin it. You two are still married. Your bad behavior doesnít give him a pass to do the same and then rub your nose in it.

Having been in his shoes in my younger days, I do understand the pain and the desire for revenge. But fucking other women isnít going to solve the underlying rot.

Personally I think you really need to enforce NC for your own piece of mind. I donít know whatís going through your H mind, perhaps he is just stringing you along so you can experience some of your own pain. Maybe he needs to get this out of his system. Whatever his motivation, itís his to work out.

You two are separated. Focus on fixing yourself. If the time comes and you two get back together, youíll be that much further along. If either of you two decide to end the marriage, the same thing applies.

JBWD posted 10/8/2020 18:38 PM

Figure Iíll go kinda methodically through these-


A: I have no right to be hurt or feel betrayed and I should explore further why I do.
C: I deserve to feel this. I am not a victim but I am the one that had an affair.

Doesnít necessarily matter HOW it is you arrive at feelings. We canít control feelings, but we can certainly understand how we arrive at them and renounce them when we know them to be deceptive. ďFeel good cultureĒ has programmed us to never question emotions- People profit much from a person led by whims. If YOU feel it, you feel it. Just donít let it lead you. Feel it, and pass. Suggested reading- ďHow to MeditateĒ by Pema Chodron.
B: BS tells me that I continue to have a selfish way of thinking and I am wondering what that even means now while really just trying to hold myself together

What has been a constant example of your selfishness in your time here? In this post too, you broke down and called him- Then showed up to apologize. Think through an effective way to demonstrate remorse in this scenario...
D: Is there such thing as right and wrong in this case? Idk

Of course there is. Itís to heal yourself. Youíre doing that already. Everything else is up to others. Itís going to take a while to absorb. Iím 2 years post DDay, 18 months after being sent packing, and most days I STILL think something might change...
F: I want to let this go, as BS is right in that he can do what he wants. I do not want to focus on this. He did what he felt he needed. And I do understand it and want to continue the work and fight for hopefully a new star for us.

Just like above, your new start is all you can manage. And if you let yourself get distracted by ďus, we...Ē youíre likely going to slip in the arenas where you can make the most change.
G: I struggle with the feeling that I can't be honest to BS bc when I am it sounds selfish. While that is not the intention at all. Just explaining my side of things to have propper communication. Asking about his thoughts and views, but then I can't say mine..

The reason it sounds selfish is because it is- He will likely get to the point where he directly tells you your feelings donít matter to him. Understanding to be understood in this case, will lead you to understanding that heís not interested in your perspectives, your healing, right now. I know thatís harsh but heís defensive right now and he has to protect himself. Sharing with his abuser is low on the list.

I disagree that the timing of RAs doesnít entirely matter. I think heís reacting from a place of hurt, and I think there is certainly a pleasant sensation of vengeance to it. But you have to treat him as ďotherĒ for right now. The more you want to lean on him the more pressure you exert that inhibits both of your progress. Find ways to undo this urge for contact, let him observe your recovery through his own lens, support your own recovery, and maybe things will align later. You are seeing that putting the square peg in the round hole is not doing it now, you need to remain patient and influence what you can- Hint, itís ONLY YOU.

You got this.

Buck posted 10/8/2020 18:39 PM

Rose, I'm a MH myself. My wife had a 6mo A and I had an 18mo RA. I also had another A later. I hope it's okay if I post in your thread. It's hard for me to read your posts because it pegs my shame meter. I was a complete asshole to my wife and it's hard to read about someone's experiences from the other side.

Are you and your BS officially not together or are you in some sort of limbo? Has your husband agreed to attempt R at the end of some separation period? You mention your BS said there's a 1% chance at R and I guess I'm not really sure what's going on.

So, now for my 2 pennies. I don't think all shame is bad. I'm not talking about shame one feels from sexual abuse\assault or something similar. I'm talking run of the mill "I fucked up and I need to change" shame. That kind of shame isn't saying you, as a person, are fundamentally worthless or worse, instead shame should have a bit of room for improvement and offer some hope for growth. Shame should also prevent you from making the same fuck up in the future. I'm trying to say to view shame in this manner instead of a 'shame hole' that makes you feel completely worthless and defeated. I hope this makes sense...

Also, leavingorbit's point about enforcing a boundary is spot on. Good for you for standing your ground and good on your BS for agreeing to your request. That's something positive in my mind.

Lastly, sometimes you just have to let go of the outcome. You have to focus on yourself. Stick to the NC. Focus on sorting out your issues and not fixing your BS. You're going to be okay Rose.

JBWD posted 10/15/2020 22:03 PM

Rose, howís it going?

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