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Went out with Friends got triggered - Semi-WS/MH

Mickie500 posted 10/13/2020 11:34 AM

I am a Semi- WS and MH. I refer to myself as “semi” because before this site I had never heard of a Madhatter and being labeled one seems harsh for what I did.
Back story:
I went on 2 coffee dates with the intention of starting an affair with someone. In my head I planned on crossing sexual boundaries with the other person but I DID NOT cross the boundaries I intended to cross instead I pulled back and refrained. However I am labeled a MH because I did cross a marriage boundary ——-this was brought on by my husbands’s infidelity. Still I guess I am a MH.

So I am seeing how it starts in the brain. I walked into the restaurant and feel the eyes and glances. I locked eyes with someone that, before my husband’s infidelity, I would not hold the glance. In my head I told myself why should you break the glance? He didn’t- why shouldn’t you cross the line? —-he did.

I see the justification that occurs. I know my “whys” for constantly questioning why I should stay faithful....
How do you stop the triggers from setting up a seemingly perfect scenario to cross lines.

What keeps you on the straight and narrow when your brain do easily sets up an environment in mind that gives you justification?

I’m faced with the trigger from my husbands infidelity and betrayal that then is connected to a trigger to commit the same act as he did.....it’s horrible. It’s like I have to stop the first trigger to prevent the second one.

I need tips.

crazyblindsided posted 10/13/2020 12:03 PM

I am also a madhatter. I had a short A right after I discovered my WH's A for exactly the same justifications you came up with "if he could do it so could I."

How do you stop the triggers from setting up a seemingly perfect scenario to cross lines.

I know that I don't want to cross those boundaries again because it did not make me feel good. It made me feel used and like I was somehow just like my STBX. I did not enjoy lying and then coming home to pretend that I was a 'good wife' I was not. Looking back now I wish I had the coping skills that I have now that I didn't have then. My coping skills my whole life have been poor. From drinking to doing drugs to escape, then the RA after my first D-Day, to my attempted suicide after my 2nd D-Day. One thing I knew that I had to work on was ME.

Poppy704 posted 10/13/2020 12:28 PM

Literally every single wayward has justifications. My ex-husband was abusive. Guess what? My affair was still not ok. It doesn’t matter what he did to me first, I’m responsible for my affair. You need to get rid of the “semi” in your head, the buts, the justifications, the resentments. We are all accountable for our own misdeeds, someone else being shitty doesn’t make our shit ok. Stop tying your husbands behavior to yours.

JBWD posted 10/13/2020 13:00 PM

What keeps you on the straight and narrow when your brain do easily sets up an environment in mind that gives you justification?

First and foremost it’s avoiding viewing it as the straight and narrow. Fidelity shouldn’t be an obligation or punishment- I know it’s laughable coming from a cheater but I have realized more and more the quid pro quo I placed in EVERYTHING I did... I made the “right career choices” and stagnated, so I stopped playing ball- To no one’s detriment but my subordinates who suffered under my skewed self-interest. I white-knuckled through selfish spells as a husband so my BW would “reward” me with availability. When that didn’t happen I used other people...

In the concept of dharma and right conduct, I have found a better perspective on doing what I know to be right regardless of the outcome. It removes the implied “flip side” of the Golden Rule, that I think a lot of us feel. So how I stay on the straight and narrow is by viewing it as its own merit- And understanding that as I wade into a far more solitary future, I live with only myself knowing the results. Bottom line is I remember the disappointment and despair of rock bottom and know that I can prevent its return- no one else.

Bulcy posted 10/13/2020 13:05 PM

I have to agree with the sentiments of above. There is no "semi" infidelity. Any act of betrayal is infidelity. I have been worse than most to my BS and hidden behind excuses until I finally came to the realisation that any lie or secret is infidelity.

MrCleanSlate posted 10/13/2020 13:38 PM

Mickie,

I think the question is "How do you keep from cheating?"

In a lot of respects I like to look at a lot of EA's and PA' - as situational. There were a whole set of events and issues that added up to the A.

So after a lot of work to understand why I cheated in the first place, I take the effort to not set-up those circumstances again.

It sounds to me like in your case you are dealing with a lot of anger with your WH's affair, and other M issues.

Having an A is just using another person to make up for what we are 'missing'.

Mickie, I hope you take some time to look into why you are still feeling this way. That is where you will find the OFF switch for the triggers.

leavingorbit posted 10/13/2020 13:44 PM

The urges will stop as you heal and stop trying to self soothe externally. When you want to act with integrity and wholeheartedness for yourself.

Semi what?

Bulcy posted 10/13/2020 14:07 PM

I think the point I was trying to make (having just read it again) is that infidelity is infinitely no matter how seemingly small.

As soon as the intention was there lines were crossed. My BS and I have discussed this, it is perfectly normal and acceptable to notice someone who is attractive. Acting on that attraction is a problem.

Triggers are going to happen, I first thought that they were exclusive to BS’s, but this is not the case. There are times we both trigger or just me. We are now acknowledging these when they happen and discussing them. Even just recognising them is a good thing.

Mickie500 posted 10/13/2020 19:23 PM

Thank you for the advice. I guess I’m looking for someone who could help me when I’m triggered not to do the mental acrobatics and turn it into negative self talk.

Bulcy posted 10/14/2020 13:55 PM

A slight twist on this if I may. Do you discuss your and your BS’s triggers? One important way to aid recovery and rebuild the relationship is communication. Honest open communication. Talking about triggers helped me to be more open with my BS. It also helps us both when they happen.

Having someone to discuss them with is really beneficial. You will need to make these discussions about him as well as you.

Of course, you can come on here too and just discuss with us.

JBWD posted 10/14/2020 20:19 PM

Mickie-
If the triggers and negative self-talk drive you to thoughts of an RA, why is that?
Is it revenge to make your WH feel the same as you?
Is it to find some degree of comfort in acceptance following the rejection of your WH?

I think there’s a couple different reasons that can be dissected to help you deal with this- Whatever that reason may be, there’s likely underlying thoughts that could be undone when confronted. The short answer is force yourself to slow down and think through “why” when these thoughts creep in.

MyAndI posted 10/14/2020 23:48 PM

Semi-infidelity is like being semi-pregnant. You either cheated on you spouse or you did not. The first step in solving a problem is fully admitting that there is one.

[This message edited by MyAndI at 11:48 PM, October 14th (Wednesday)]

hikingout posted 10/16/2020 09:37 AM

So, when I cheated I think I was pretty done with my marriage. I just didn't have the nerve to pull the trigger, I think I wanted to monkeybranch into another relationship as to not be alone.

Now, the reasons I was done with my marriage were my fault. I don't think that's the case with you, however the answer is still the same. The best choices you can make are ones that align with your own personal integrity. When we do things that are wrong like this, it makes things a lot worse. Even if in your case you may not have a lot of feelings of responsibility towards your husband, doing things to prop yourself up temporarily is harmful to you and your healing.

The more we become whole the more we heal. You have a gigantic void that you are trying to fill, and you are willing to trade anything to feel better. This is exactly where I was when I cheated. This is exactly where most people are when they cheat.

Unfortunately, all it does is make that void bigger. It's unkind to yourself on so many levels. The best thing to do is think about how you are capable to be alone. That the world will not fall apart if you are, and that you can make it without anyone else. Build your life around what that would look like. Build for yourself. Don't keep tearing yourself down. Do things that fill you with honor and respect for yourself.

Once you have that, the rest will become clear.

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