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I don’t know where to put this.

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Oldwounds posted 10/24/2020 13:03 PM

He needs to delve into the reasons for the stoicism, and for whom he believes he is helping by burying his emotions.

t/j

Not to get to far into the weeds on semantics, but there is the definition of the word and the Hellenistic philosophy. In other words, a good Stoic doesn't bury emotions -- at all. It's far more about how to spend energy on the stuff we can fix versus the stuff we can't.

And we're making assumptions based on very limited knowledge of why Turnthepage made the choices he made.

For my unsolicited theory, I think we can ALL hide behind logic, reason, theology, psychology and/or faith or ditch them to make choices we wouldn't normally make.

In my journey, I couldn't understand why my mindfulness didn't help me back to center -- for nearly TWO years. My IC explained that infidelity is the emotional equivalent of being hit by a bus. In that sense, the trauma literally re-set my brain and how I normally handled adversity.

The early posts from Turnthepage didn't reveal any of that trauma. I was actually very impressed. He did what so many guys were taught when life goes south -- rub some dirt on it and move the fuck on.

However, his recent update rang hollow -- the confidence was gone and I read the line "getting by" three years in. That ain't Stoic.

We can guess that he swept his feelings under the rug. Hiking wrote out that concern more than once along the way.

But, like anyone else at this distance, I can only guess.

If his initial reactions were a facade, that's a good place for him to start.

end t/j

brooke4 posted 10/24/2020 13:25 PM

I'm so sorry you're in this situation, HO.

In reading this thread (quickly, so forgive me if I'm not 100% up on all the details), I'm wondering if your H might have some subconscious adrenaline junkie tendencies?

The early desire for swinging, the fact that he started an A as the intensity of the aftermath of yours was probably starting to wane. Certainly, he now has your complete attention, and has managed recreate some version of that intensity. Selling the house and travelling, planning to make a major change in your living situation (are you empty nesters now?)-- were you equally on board with that, or was there a feeling of it coming from him?

I'm not saying I'm right, but taken together, these things could paint a partial picture of someone who needs a high level of emotional intensity/risk/attention to feel things. I'm a BS, but one thing my H discovered about himself when he really starting digging in therapy was that he had a hard time really feeling anything deeply unless there was pressure or risk or novelty or a very high level of emotional intensity.

Be well and stay strong and true to yourself.


farsidejunky posted 10/24/2020 13:37 PM

That ain't Stoic.

OldWounds, this is my suspicion as well, and you stated it much better than I could have.

It was about appearing stoic. So... why was that 'appearance' so important to him?

Oldwounds posted 10/24/2020 13:52 PM

It was about appearing stoic. So... why was that 'appearance' so important to him?

Solid point, it needs to be figured out.

I wasn’t trying to ignore your observations, just expanding on the idea it wasn’t necessarily the concepts that got him trouble, but the lack of application of them.

Dudes never like to appear weak is my first guess. Which speaks to a self-esteem that may have been hit harder than he originally wanted to admit.

I hope Hiking gets some answers when she is ready to ask the questions.

gmc94 posted 10/24/2020 19:03 PM

I thought we had climbed that Everest TOGETHER.
. I was never a WS before becoming a BS, but I’d wager that many BS (whether they were ever wayward or not) feel the exact same way - we just thought we’d scaled a different Everest. I know I did.

HO - just want to acknowledge the sending of love, strength, and positive vibes your way. This is one heckuva doozy to be thrown by. I agree with others on this thread that the work you’ve done has been amazing and it’s all yours- no matter what happens in the future. I view your posts on this thread to be a perfect example of how the work of a WS is important for THEM - not the BS, not the M, but for the WS (and the ways in which that work may support/help/ benefit the BS or M are a bonus IMO).

You are back on the rollercoaster, but in a completely different seat on a completely different carriage on a completely different coaster. I suspect some of the twists and turns will feel familiar - and others not at all.

I am absolutely confident in you surviving this - no matter what happens. I often use the “baggage” analogy WRT dday - that we each arrive at the table with our own quirky luggage. I believe the work you’ve put in over the past 3 years means your suitcase is probably packed pretty damn good (there is no perfection). You’ll still likely find some items you’ll see differently- and wonder why they are still in your bag. Stuff you wore for the last journey that doesn’t work on this new one. Yet I have no doubt - and we’ve already seen it - there is stuff in there that’s ready to wear, and working for you in this moment.

And FWIW, this thread has prompted me to think more about the differences (not “better” or “worse ) in cake eating vs exit/limerant As, as well as what it takes (or means?) to have an RA (esp one that creates a new OBS). They may all be As, but I truly believe those differences impact how we heal.

I am So effing sorry your BH/WH threw a new mother of a mountain in your path.... and I’m confident that you begin this journey with some damn fine tools already in your belt AND the ability to find and use those you’ve not yet acquired.

Godspeed.

Throwaway999 posted 10/25/2020 05:41 AM

HO - I just wanted to reach out and tell you how very sorry I am that you find yourself back knee deep in infidelity again. You posts are always so thoughtful and you have guided and helped many people here. You have most definitely helped me. I just wanted to send you strength and vibes and let you know we all support you.

I hope your BH/WH steps up to the plate...and helps you move the mountains that GMC spoke of...hugs.

sisoon posted 10/25/2020 12:11 PM

I finally remembered something I wanted to contribute.

I urge you not to distract yourself with activities. Recovering from being betrayed takes a lot of energy. Trickling energy into recovery slows you down. Certainly one needs breaks from recovery work, but I recommend doing just a little more work each time you want to stop - that may shorten your recovery time.

MrsWalloped posted 10/26/2020 00:06 AM

sisoon,

It’s so funny you said that because I was going to offer the exact opposite advice. I don’t mean that in a bad way, just that I have a different point of view.

hikingout, you’ve been here for so long and posting consistently for the past 3 years. You are up to the waist in infidelity related advice. That focus on the work is all consuming. And my worry for you is that you will now turn to that part of you. The methodical and logical part and take charge part. Which is fine by itself, but you might then have expectations about what he should or shouldn’t be doing at certain points or times and when he doesn’t or does it wrong then it’s another explosion in your life. And there’s the internal dialogue to deal with, the battle in your brain and spiral of thoughts because of this nuclear bomb that was just detonated in your life and I can only imagine what is going on inside your head.

So I guess my advice is to take a break. Practice self love. Escape your brain. Distract yourself. Do things you enjoy if you can handle it. Go easy on yourself.

You know how when you see a new WS post and they say or do the wrong things and you just want to set them straight? Well, your husband is not your project. This is his journey now. So give it time with him. Be forceful about NC and hold him accountable to all the things you need to, but step back when you can. This is a long road no matter what happens in your M. So don’t get caught in being the expert in WS behaviors and the do’s and dont’s. He needs to figure this out on his own and not you for him.

Your “job” is to lay out your boundaries for him and then focus on your own healing. At this point I think that’s what it’s all about. And that is separate from any decisions about life or your M. It’s about healing now. And we both know that the healing takes time. So give it the time it needs and nurture it. Do things that help you find a real calm. Not the fake “everything is fine” tight-lipped smile, but the real kind. It might not come for a long while, but it will. In the meantime, be good to yourself. A hot bubble bath with candles and a good book, an invigorating run, dinner with friends, whatever works. They sound superficial but if they can take your mind off of this for just a little bit then they’re pretty meaningful. And when you need to a good long cry is healthy too. And totally normal! Give yourself permission to grieve for what you thought you had.

You are always in my thoughts.

hikingout posted 10/26/2020 08:25 AM

Thank you.

Yes, it will take me a while to find my footing in this way. I think detachment and avoidance is the most natural to me. My self protectiveness comes in and I shut down. I am really trying not to shut down.

My time here at SI over the last I don't know, 6 months to a year hasn't been a burden to me. It's been an outlet. It's allowed me to understand all the nuances of my feelings, but the bigger part has been trying to give back where I can, with people who are receptive to it.

I don't know if anyone can understand this, and maybe it's just the shock people think I am in. But I don't feel that conflicted about how to proceed. I love him. I feel what we have together is worth saving with a lot of big IFs that follow that statement. I am in control of none of those IFs. It's honestly all on him.

I sometimes think that's not fair either because I cheated first (at least as far as I know until I can get more information) and you hear so much about the BS having the burden of the decision to divorce. So, him being the original BS, now he has to do all this work and eventually have to woo me consistently enough for me to see he wants this. At the same time, you kind of think to yourself, does he have it in him after I destroyed everything 3 years ago? I mean it's obvious he has not healed from that and went in a direction that distracted him from it rather than actually doing it. I said the other day I don't know if I have a mountain in me right now. I can actually understand if he doesn't either. That's not blaming myself, I know everyone is trying to get me not to do that. It's really just the reality of this situation.

hikingout posted 10/26/2020 08:30 AM

I was never a WS before becoming a BS, but I’d wager that many BS (whether they were ever wayward or not) feel the exact same way - we just thought we’d scaled a different Everest. I know I did.

I know. I get that.

I wasn't really trying to say I had it worse. And, I am not trying to compare. Of course when I cheated my husband felt that way. But, at the same time he didn't just spend the entire 3 years prior, making the other person the complete priority on a daily basis. Marriages do not work that way when they are healthy. I did not resent that because I caused it, but I resent it now to a certain degree.

I don't regret my work on myself, I don't regret my efforts to try and help him and work on our marriage, it's just hard to deal with the level my efforts were and how high the focus was and I didn't see him cheating underneath my nose?

Again, not comparing, not saying it's worse, just stating my experience.

Neanderthal posted 10/26/2020 10:47 AM

I sometimes think that's not fair either because I cheated first (at least as far as I know until I can get more information) and you hear so much about the BS having the burden of the decision to divorce. So, him being the original BS, now he has to do all this work and eventually have to woo me consistently enough for me to see he wants this. At the same time, you kind of think to yourself, does he have it in him after I destroyed everything 3 years ago? I mean it's obvious he has not healed from that and went in a direction that distracted him from it rather than actually doing it. I said the other day I don't know if I have a mountain in me right now. I can actually understand if he doesn't either. That's not blaming myself, I know everyone is trying to get me not to do that. It's really just the reality of this situation.
I completely understand what you're saying. It really isn't fair for anyone involved. Logic will probably fail you as well. I tried my damndest to understand it from every angle. The conflicting feelings can/may drive you nuts. Please take your time. When you think something makes sense, give it a day or a week. You'll probably change your train of thought. I hated not having my bearings, or a sense of direction. So I just went full speed to nowhere.
The part I have bolded may just be a simple description and you know better. Just in case its not, here's what I consider a distraction: A SQUIRREL!.....to a dog.

I hope you were able to find a few moments to mentally rest this weekend. My poor hamster wheel in my head just kept running till he died. lol

hikingout posted 10/26/2020 10:52 AM

The part I have bolded may just be a simple description and you know better.

I don't know if I agree with you, N. What I mean by a distraction is not so much that was what he was doing, or it was his why, or whatever. What I mean is BECAUSE he was doing it, there was a huge distraction from his healing. He was falsely propping himself up with this other person and I think it's how he was handling himself so well. I am sure when he was feeling low all did was change gears and focus on her.

hikingout posted 10/26/2020 10:54 AM

I completely understand what you're saying.

I do appreciate this, however. Both cheating adds complexities on complexities. You can boil it back down to simple sometimes, but you are right, that doesn't stay long.

Evertrying posted 10/26/2020 12:47 PM

I don't regret my work on myself, I don't regret my efforts to try and help him and work on our marriage, it's just hard to deal with the level my efforts were and how high the focus was and I didn't see him cheating underneath my nose?


Oooooo yeah. I totally get this. I can only imagine your frustration learning now that he was cheating when you were doing what you needed to do to "fix" yourself and work on the marriage. And just as you have stated, no regrets as this is what YOU needed to do, but I know how you must feel now.

When dday came for me, I remember feeling like a fool. That these two people were fucking around right under my nose and I had NO clue. ZERO. I knew things weren't right in my marriage, but would have never dreamed this could happen. I almost felt like they were "laughing at me". They were getting away with what they were doing and I had no idea.

I am curious about how your husband feels now that it's all out there. Better yet, how are you???????

hikingout posted 10/26/2020 13:31 PM

I don't know.

I think he feels a mixture of guilt, relief, shame, sadness with a lot of fear. I don't know, I don't think I have really asked that, that's just been my observation.

I feel worse after all the details. It was a rough weekend in so many ways. I struggled a lot with the fealings of separation after soo much closeness and found myself in some sort of two personality yo-yo mode. He is my comfort and who I usually talk to and that is a huge struggle. I want him there and then I don't. I hate it all.

hikingout posted 10/27/2020 08:14 AM

So here is a thought I am having.

I think I have accepted too much blame for our pre-A marriage. I have rugswept his selfish nature and the ways he took advantage of my good nature, and it just pisses me off.

I don't want to lose site of the work I did, or why, it's not that. Or any of my humility. It's more I think it makes me want to adjust some of what I settled on. I don't want to re-write either though.

MIgander posted 10/27/2020 08:53 AM

Hi HO, hang in there. It's hard. I'm sharing this because of your comment on re-writing history. You're not re-writing history, but taking a more careful stock of his role in your early marriage. Both of you need to look to your own responsibilities in the situation you're in, but if you're going to hold him accountable and help him make positive change, you're going to have to have an accurate assessment of what his contribution to your mental state was at the time of your affair.

I think (from reading your posts) your affair was a way to escape the mental and emotional anguish you felt over yourself and was a last ditch effort to prevent a total mental breakdown from the exhaustion of trying to hustle for your worth throughout your marriage. Your internal reserves of strength and energy were shot because you had a hard time asking for and accepting the love and care you needed from others in order to recharge. It sounds like you had a hard time allowing yourself the necessary self care that it takes to maintain a sense of self and equilibrium we need as working married mothers over the years as well.

All this to say, yeah, you had a role in your own mental condition prior to your affair. However, where was your husband in all this? Where was he in being a perceptive partner and encouraging and supporting you with care and taking up some slack so you could get enough time to yourself to recharge? An attentive and perceptive partner can sense these things and act as cheerleader and helpmate to their spouse and push in a positive way for the good of their spouse. My husband would feel guilty about his hunting trips with friends, but I insisted he go because he needed that time to recharge. Where I went wrong was never insisting on time for my self- which led to resentment. I expected him to pick up on my needs like I had with him and for him to actively encourage me to pursue what I needed to keep my self energized for our family. You mention he was selfish. We all are incredibly selfish when we first are married. Perhaps you didn't encourage him to crawl out of that by setting healthy boundaries. However, he should also have been reflecting internally and making changes for himself to be a better partner to you.

My husband thought our marriage was fine before my affair, not perfect, but fine. I never asked him to deal with his own selfish tendencies in a healthy manner and took on too much of his criticism and negativity as a sign that he didn't love me. I ended up with an attitude that I had to enable him, take the blame for everything (since I was so defective he was criticizing me) and not put my needs as a priority in our marriage to keep him happy. As everyone knows with me, this came out in my complaining to everyone, yelling at him and eventual justification of my affair.

My husband, like yours, early on post affair sought comfort emotionally from the female "friend" he was beginning an EA with (the same one he was carrying on with and comparing me negatively to). I told him it was unhealthy and approaching the level of an EA. He stopped talking to her, but months later I found him signing up for Catholic Match (ha!) and downloading Tinder. He said he was just exploring options... just like he wasn't beginning an affair with my friend... the Nile is not just a river in Egypt... I held him to account for that- no yelling or demeaning, just telling him how my affair had torn me apart and did he really want to do that to himself? My husband has strong moral sense and refrained, deleted the apps and cancelled his account.

This is not to blame you in any way for not detecting your husband's affair, I'm sure if you had known, you would have held him accountable too.

Just thought that sharing this would help you put some perspective on your early marriage and understand how you may have got to this place you're in now? You're not alone in this and you're not rewriting history by taking a critical look at your early marriage. Often times, not taking conscious stock of what is owed to us as spouses (before the affair) is what subconsciously allows us to justify our affair. In my case, my eyes were wide open to the flaws in my marriage, I had never built a healthy coping mechanism and boundary setting in order to address the wrongs created by my husband. It sounds like in yours, you had a hard time setting healthy boundaries on your husband to keep your sanity.

Having an affair is so destructive, you'd have to be insane on a certain level to pursue it. How you got to that point and your husband's role in it is a good thing to look at.

Oldwounds posted 10/27/2020 09:55 AM

He is my comfort and who I usually talk to and that is a huge struggle. I want him there and then I don't. I hate it all.

I sure know every one of those words and feelings.

As to pre-A stuff, the relationship before and settling after — that sounds to me like your R was in danger anyway, with or without the additional betrayal.

If one “settles” that suggests resentment or resentment waiting to happen. I don’t think a WS should settle anymore than a BS should. Otherwise, the rebuilt relationship is far too unbalanced.

I’ve had to help my wife realize she can’t stop asking for what she needs because of her past sins, or it sets us up for future conflict. Eventually, anger catches up with compromise, especially if it’s a bad compromise.

Your relationship, pre-A (and his eventual A) is a good place to start if you guys choose to find a good MC.

In my case, we saw horrible communication patterns and a very unhealthy competition for affection. Our MC actually considered compromise a BAD thing, and we were a marriage of compromises and bad trades. To clarify, his position was that compromise means one person gives up something instead of giving something. Most compromises end up being one person taking from the other.

As to early recovery, the first thing is knowing how valuable you are as a person, I think you got that down. Your progress made on you is still there. Second thing is knowing what YOU NEED from ANY relationship. In your case, it sounds like you need more balance, more give than take from a partner.

Insisting on what you need and not settling for less is a solid approach to whatever happens next.

[This message edited by Oldwounds at 9:56 AM, October 27th (Tuesday)]

hikingout posted 10/27/2020 10:37 AM

I agree oldwounds.

I think we had "rebuilt" (is that possible when someone is cheating on you? It seems like some of that part was real work we did?) to where there was more balance. Meaning, I don't feel like I was settling in the relationship I thought we had grown. I was getting actually very good at communicating what I needed and wanted.

I know I was not being very clear so I can see why you took it this way. What I meant was is that as the WS, I settled on most of the pre-A problems being all mine. For not speaking up, and holding resentments I didn't realize I had.

Him cheating is obviously making me see him in a different light and I think maybe he didn't take enough responsibility for our pre-A issues.

And, I have been around the block enough to know that we can't even get to addressing any of that yet with the bomb that just went off. But, it's making me think he's always been selfish and I let him get away with it. It's funny there is a BS here that sometimes says stuff about her WS that I am always like "my husband does that all the time".

I think in the past year or maybe a little less he has acted less selfish, and we had been communicating very well, and working hard to meet each other's needs. Now, I just wonder if he was doing his part because he felt guilty.

I guess this is me just trying to figure out what's real. What have I been glossing over, and really going back and looking at this whole situation with a whole new set of knowledge.

I know that both people in the marriage have to have a reasonable amount of their needs met, and I have gotten a lot better at sharing my interior world with him. It's just this has changed so much, and I am seeing him through not the best lens right now and it's making me feel like I have taken too much responsibility for our pre-A issues. Even if we aren't really ready to deal with all that at this exact juncture it's hard not to try and piece some of that together.

My mentality before was really just go clean slate and just worry about how things were going to be moving forward. But, finding this out impacts the whole way I see him and our issues and it's hard not to have that happen but also not rewrite either.

[This message edited by hikingout at 10:43 AM, October 27th (Tuesday)]

BraveSirRobin posted 10/27/2020 10:39 AM

I don't want to lose site of the work I did, or why, it's not that. Or any of my humility. It's more I think it makes me want to adjust some of what I settled on. I don't want to re-write either though.
My H and I have talked about this over the last year. Sometimes, it's hard to find our place on SI because as we stay here, our needs evolve. At first, black and white thinking is essential, because new arrivals tend to seize on nuance and turn it into self-justification. I personally had a big case of "at least I" when I first showed up: at least I did this, at least I didn't do that. Learning the irrelevance of those differences was a critical part of the work. One of my early posts was a response to a thread asking "How is your affair different from everyone else's," or something to that effect. I answered that that question made me very uneasy, because I was newly absorbing how common and tawdry and unexceptional I was.

But as we stay here, we get more able to handle nuance. The conundrum is that we don't trust our own motivations. How do we know that developing layers of understanding about underlying marital issues isn't backsliding in disguise? How do we have those conversations without validating newbies who grab at any opportunity to blame their cheating on flaws in the marriage, or triggering BS who think we're blaming them for the affair?

I don't have the answers, but the questions are very familiar to me. The gray areas are intimidating.

[This message edited by BraveSirRobin at 10:40 AM, October 27th (Tuesday)]

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