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Healing after confessing

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M1965 posted 10/31/2020 08:33 AM

BSR,

I am sorry if what I wrote comes across as me claiming to be a mind reader. I am not a mind reader, but I listen to people an awful lot. And I have had various things said to me or seen them play out in real life enough times for me to think, "Hmmm...This must be a 'thing'".

I am sure I am not alone in having seen people with enough good qualities to cover ten tombstones be cheated on or even dumped by a partner who clearly had higher priorities on their list of what they want or feel entitled to.

And having seen that happen repeatedly, to both men and women, I wanted to know why. So I have paid great attention to what people of both genders have told me about their motivations in relationships, and what they give priority to.

And qualities like 'nice', 'sweet', honest', 'trustworthy', 'decent', 'thoughtful', 'kind', etc, do not seem to be the prime motivators for one person to be with another, or - sadly - to stay faithful to another person.

I am not saying that those qualities and elements do not matter (I think they are hugely important), or that they would not appear in a 'Top ten things I like about my partner' list. What I am saying is that they will be lower down on the list than other qualities/factors/elements.

Now, where you say you are not emasculating your husband by attributing positive qualities to him, I agree, and I am trying to clarify that in terms of the priorities/values that are given to those qualities.

The reason I attribute any negativity to words that ought to be positive is because of how I have heard them used in countless conversations with women. For clarity, I must add that the times when those words came across as dismissive, belittling, or writing a man off as a sexual being were in the context of a woman assessing a man in their orbit - sometimes one who had an interest in her - not a man they were already in a relationship with.

And what struck me was how many times women would begin an assessment of a man with, "Well, he's very sweet, but..." "He's really nice, but..." "He's a dear friend, but..."

A good quality, followed by a qualifier that makes it clear that the man in question has no chance romantically. However, the context is everything; I was talking about them in an assessment of a man that a woman is not in a relationship with, and their significance is that they are the first and probably 'best' thing the woman can think to say about the man.

The words themselves are not automatically negative in every context or situation, but I have heard them in enough dismissive assessments to have a sense of where they sit in a list of peoples' priorities in relation to their romantic partners.

You are right to take issue with what I wrote, BSR, because I can see how it can be interpreted as me saying, "Let me tell you about women, because I know it all". I don't, and I never will, and I am glad of that, because the mystery keeps women eternally intriguing and fascinating.

And I am grateful to you challenging my thinking, because it is making me re-evaluate my interpretations and understanding (some might say misinterpretation and lack of understanding).

The theme I tried and failed to get across in my post was about the priorities we have in what we think is attractive in another person, and how we frame them in our thinking.

I have seen a difference between what people say if they had to pick their top five attractive priorities for a generic ideal man or woman, and what their top five priorities would be for a life partner.

And sadly, that is often the difference between an affair partner and a spouse.

Where I believe this has importance/significance to Aching44giveness is the great unspoken priority that hardly anyone ever mentions: how the person makes us feel about ourselves.

Aching44giveness had a boyfriend who presumably loved her, and who presumably was also a nice guy. And yet his love/admiration/validation (including marriage) paled in significance in comparison to the validation derived from an older married man's base and shallow interest.

And that will affect how Aching44giveness's husband views himself in her estimation and list of priorities. So even if he does not ask a lot of questions, it does not mean he does not think about it a lot.

And the worst thing would be for him to reach certain conclusions about himself and the marriage that make him feel he was a 'nice' guy that Aching44giveness settled for, not a man whose attention excited her, like her boss.

When a man concludes that he is second-best in a relationship, it can rob him of confidence, belief in himself and his partner, and faith that the relationship itself has validity. And that process can happen in complete silence, with him saying nothing at all about it.

Aching44giveness, what you really need to do is work on why you gave your boss so much more power to validate you than you gave to your boyfriend/husband, and to communicate to your husband what has changed in you and your perceptions of yourself that make your husband the most important man in your life now, and your number one validator (if that is truly the case).

Telling and showing your husband how you have changed will mean a great deal to him, even if he does not show it.

If you struggle to express yourself verbally sometimes, or in writing, you can express a great deal through loving, thoughtful acts. And through your perseverance.

And this forum can be a great resource for you, because even if I am just a muddle-headed man trying to make sense of life, there are a number of truly great women here who will share their time, insight, and wisdom with you to help you best express yourself, and do the things that you want to do.

And BraveSirRobin, who gave me a well-deserved kick in the pants, is most definitely one of them. She is a great person to have on your team, and there are several more here that I would want on my side if I hit trouble.

Nothing in life is guaranteed, but people here can help give you the best shot at getting through this successfully.

And for what it is worth, I hope that you do.

[This message edited by M1965 at 9:37 AM, October 31st (Saturday)]

Thumos posted 10/31/2020 09:17 AM

We are seriously best friends and have been so happy to have each other.

I mean this was the first thing she said about her husband ("Best friend") after saying her marriage was wonderful. She didn't say he was sexy, a great lover, a man who makes her weak in the knees.

She said he was her "best friend" right after telling us what a wonderful marriage she had in the years after she couldn't manage to be faithful to him after a mere 365 days of their relationship because a sexy, powerful, older man got her engine running, or whatever. She managed to keep it a secret for years and then unburdened herself.

M1965 is not exactly putting words in the OP's mouth. I suppose she can come back here and enlighten us.

OP, if you do any counseling don't try to drag him along into marital counseling. It's usually a mistake after disclosing adultery. Better to get yourself to a betrayal trauma specialist who understands what you've done and how to deal with it.

[This message edited by Thumos at 9:19 AM, October 31st (Saturday)]

BraveSirRobin posted 10/31/2020 09:25 AM

Thank you for the clarification, M1965.

I 100% support a BH saying "As a man, here is my experience of how I and many other men view the world, and understanding that is helpful in grasping what your BH may be going through." That kind of insight has taught me a lot that I didn't suspect about my BH's thought processes. I've had my issues with Rideitout over my time here, but I'll always be grateful to him for opening my eyes about some things my BH didn't tell me until I read here and asked him.

On that note, I asked my BH this morning if I was being triggery in calling him my best friend. He said no, he loves that. He also validated a lot of the other concerns you expressed about what it does to a man when his WW cheats with a traditionally powerful male figure like an older, charismatic boss. That didn't surprise me, as we covered that territory a while ago, exploring his insecurity over his perception that OM was more sophisticated. I never saw OM that way at all, but it helped us a lot when I listened and validated and explained my own thoughts.

OP, I apologize for the thread jack, but I thought it was important because here on Wayward, you will be told frequently that what you were thinking is wrong and misguided and unhealthy, and it will be absolutely true. We say it because we have been through the aftermath of infidelity and can see your blind spots. That creates, IMO, a responsibility to apply generalizations carefully and to give advice from what we ourselves know firsthand. As I said in my original comment, it's unusual that I disagree with M1965, and his follow-up sounds like the kind of advice that I've come to know and respect from him.

Thumos posted 10/31/2020 09:38 AM

I didnít know how to process it. He continued being flirty at work and then a couple weeks (maybe??) later he made moves on me one day after coming home from somewhere (I had been babysitting for him. Canít remember where his W was but she wasnít home). We had sex. I wish I would have stopped it at that point.

Thereís a phenomenon Iíve seen on some threads on SI I call the ďlittle lost girl in the woodsĒ narrative about a woman telling herself she was targeted by a sexual Svengali or predator (the wolf in the woods she accidentally wondered into).

It isnít true most of the time. For instance my WW has tried a gambit/narrative that her AP was very convincing and preyed on her. She was 45 years old at the time and her AP is 8 years younger than her. I also know him. Heís not convincing at all and somewhat dumb.

I donít know why our culture keeps encouraging women to treat themselves as if they arenít adults able to make decisions. And I certainly canít understand why women themselves buy into it.

Iíd encourage you to stay away from passive language (ďhe made moves on meĒ) and instead start focusing on your active choices here. If you view yourself passively, itís hard to take charge of your accountability.

it is very rare for a woman to not be aware of circumstance, setting, timing, availability with respect to a man she wants to have sex with if sex is not actually on the table and the relationship hasnít already been in some sense sexualized.

[This message edited by Thumos at 3:27 PM, November 1st (Sunday)]

oldtruck posted 10/31/2020 10:02 AM

universal truth is based on the truth

as with all truths there are the exceptions.

as a man i do not want women tell me i am sweet, nice,
a good friend. these words do not show that a woman wants
me as her man, her lover. those words are empty
complements.

as usual hikingout see's it from the WW and BH side. she
should be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for excellence in
posting.

edit to add

when a man asks to do something and his wife says: FINE.

why does the man hear yes dear go ahead with my blessing
and the wife means: i am going to make your life a living
hell if you do it?

[This message edited by oldtruck at 10:07 AM, October 31st (Saturday)]

hikingout posted 10/31/2020 10:14 AM

Old truck thank you, but honestly I would award that to BSR. I also appreciate that she challenges thought often and has often blown me away with her insight. She is one of my favorite posters.

I mean this was the first thing she said about her husband ("Best friend") after saying her marriage was wonderful. She didn't say he was sexy, a great lover, a man who makes her weak in the knees.

I will challenge that a bit. In a LTR this probably the most important thing to me and many people I know who are married. If we have that, that is in itself sexy. It means we support each other, love each other, are playful, enjoy being together, etc. THAT is the biggest panty dropper I can describe to you. Itís what should be in place that gets you through those valleys. I understand what you are saying because I know a bs needs to see that passion, that romance, that sexiness. And that is definitely an important thing for her to know but I donít think we should read too far into that statement.

Thumos posted 10/31/2020 11:07 AM

Of course friendship is key in a successful marriage. With certitude.

But a marriage is first and foremost an intimate sexual relationship for most people. Asexual marriages typically lack intimacy. Same with sexual incompatibility. Thatís not the same as a marriage In which sex becomes difficult because of illness.

If a marriage doesnít start from that first principle, it usually doesnít work very well.

OP told us how wonderful her marriage was and then followed that up with what a great friend her husband is ó right after explaining to us that their sexual history as man and wife has had a cloud of adultery hovering over it from day one.

etaoin posted 10/31/2020 11:41 AM

Aren't you getting tied up in semantics? She did not treat him as a friend or an alpha lover. She treated him badly and he is feeling used and furious.

Let's see what the original poster thinks instead of debating.

Striver posted 10/31/2020 11:43 AM

As a BH, I have to agree that the sexual relationship is the forefront, the absolute linchpin, of the relationship. You can be friends with many people. Sex is the only thing that's supposed to be for couples only. Come on now.

I'm divorced. Really reluctant to get married again for many reasons. Actions mean more to me than words. With women there are plausible deniability issues. As with the OP, sort of a claim that I was too young, this guy was too successful to turn down. That would never fly with a man of similar age and experience. It's a go to with women, I get it due to biology and cultural history, but it is what it is.

OP, I'm going to be a little blunt on this. I have a problem with an affair that overlaps the time of your actual marriage. If you read here, BHs and BWs have a real problem with anything that happened during the A, even memories that once were enjoyable or pleasant are now tainted. Well, your A was active at the time you were married. To me, that's not grounds for divorce, that's grounds for annulment. The marriage was never real due to misrepresentation on your part.

Now you've got kids, he's got kids and divorce could be a big setback for him in more ways that one. Moreover, you're enmeshed in the Christian lifestyle, and many denominations don't handle adultery very well, preferring to paper things over, wanting to keep families intact for appearances' sake. I attend church as well, so I am not speaking as an outsider. But support for betrayed partners in a church environment can be shaky at best.

You've got a lot on your plate to atone for.

hikingout posted 10/31/2020 12:12 PM

I agree we have gotten off track so this is the last of my t/j. But it occurred to me that we are in essence saying the same thing except without what I am talking about I canít give you what your are talking about. Period. When I am emotionally connected I am physically connected. Sometimes I have to give the physical to get the other back in balance and vice versa. But when we are getting along well and having fun then I am always up for it, it just flows. So this could be a higher complement than you guys are seeing. And then I laughed because this sums up about every debate I have ever participated in on this site. But yes we have to get back to supporting this person. But it illustrates how differently her husband is likely thinking about this and I think that is still an important aspect to helping her sisís out some of the way she can possibly help him see he is number one.

[This message edited by hikingout at 12:21 PM, October 31st (Saturday)]

HellFire posted 10/31/2020 12:20 PM

I mean this was the first thing she said about her husband ("Best friend") after saying her marriage was wonderful. She didn't say he was sexy, a great lover, a man who makes her weak in the knees.


And if you go to any number of threads in JFO, typically in the first few sentences of their introduction, they say they thought their wife was their best friend,and how great they thought their marriage was.


This back and forth is ridiculous. I hope this thread doesn't, for the umpteenth time, turn into a battle of the sexes. Where men truly believe they know how women think and feel, and women tell the men they know the same. It's unhelpful to the OP, and most people on this site.

[This message edited by HellFire at 12:21 PM, October 31st (Saturday)]

NotMyFirstRodeo posted 10/31/2020 12:33 PM

A44giveness: "I had been with one other before my H. But I was H first and only. 😔

So now Iíve been with 2 besides him and heís only been with me.

He has brought that up too. I know thatís extremely hard for him.."

I don't want to get lost in the semantics but no you don't. You have no idea. The best you can do is ***attempt to imagine*** what this does to a man who has only had his wife who knows she made the repeated choice to share herself with another after vowing dedication to her H. It gets worse when she's also stolen years from him by withholding the information. 100% of it comes at a great cost to him and he knows in his heart that it's all due to this person who has his heart wanting to save face and protect themselves.

In my experience it's the adult version of child abuse. -having experienced both

[This message edited by NotMyFirstRodeo at 12:46 PM, October 31st (Saturday)]

OLDMANSEA posted 11/1/2020 10:14 AM

Hi Aching,

I have three daughters. They are 37, 35 and 33 years old. Very close to your age. They are capable young women but I still love and worry about them like they were still my little girls. When issues arise in their adult worlds, I canít fix stuff like I used to. But I can let them know that, even if the issue is ďtheir faultĒ, I will love them no matter what.

I hope you have somebody to help you. Not to excuse your choices but to let you know that they will help you and love you.

A couple things that you might wish to consider or discard as you wish:

All energy used to go forward should be about getting you where you want to be as a person in the future. What is written is written. It sounds like you are a person of faith. Turn your face towards God and ask that you are guided in all future decisions. Ask yourself whatís right in a larger sense and try to block out self-interest.

Try not to want. If you do what is right from now on, accept the consequences of your actions, both past and future. Credibility is built over a life time and destroyed in an instant. You will probably never have the complete trust of your husband again. Your family will never be what it would have been if your choices had been different. I hope you can accept that and put your efforts into making good choices in the future. Any emotional capital you expend on past ďwhat ifsĒ is a waste.

Please have empathy for your husband. He thought he knew you. Knowing is easier than believing. When we know something, we can relax. When we believe, we are constantly challenged to maintain our belief. Your husband thought he knew you. Of all his challenges, you were a constant positive and even aid. Now you are asking him to believe you after showing him you canít be believed. He has more doubt than he ever has and has fewer resources available to address all his issues because heís not sure he can rely on you.

I hope you have family that you can rely on, that will love you unconditionally. I never want my kids to think that there is no way out. That is when people make really bad decisions. Iíve been there personally. My belief is that you will come through this if you keep your faith and focus on doing whatís right. I believe the pertinent phrase is ďgo forth and sin no moreĒ. Thatís all any of us can do. I hope your dad gives you a big hug. I am and will be praying for you.

Aching44giveness posted 11/1/2020 16:14 PM

Oldmansea,

You said you donít post much because there are others who speak on the matter better than yourself.

I want to thank you for choosing to respond to me. Your post brought me to tears.

My Father died when I was a baby so I donít have that daddy to love me and tell me everythingís going to be okay. My husband is normally who I go to for that comfort. And I cannot do that now. I donít say this to make anyone feel sorry for me. Just responding to your comment about you hoping my father can hug me and tell me he loves me no matter what.

I know what I did was terrible and I take full and total responsibility. When I posted to this board and welcomed the betrayed to reply, I knew I would get ripped to shreds. I fully expected it and fully deserve it.

But thank you for being a breath of hope in my hopeless life right now. That meant more than you know. I will continue to read your response over and over again. Because even though we are strangers, I feel like you care.

Aching44giveness posted 11/1/2020 18:19 PM

Oldmansea,

Also, your daughters are incredibly lucky.

Thumos posted 11/1/2020 23:43 PM

Write out a detailed timeline

Take a polygraph to validate the timeline

DNA for the kids

Offer a postnup

STD testing

Confess to Other Mans wife

So we know how lucky you think oldmanseaís daughters are but what about this? What about some tangible hard actions? Ready?

Robert22205https posted 11/2/2020 07:31 AM

ExAP is blocked on any social media account.

Is my understanding correct that prior to D day you were connected to the AP on social media (e.g., facebook)?

If the affair was over, why remain connected?

HellFire posted 11/2/2020 07:53 AM

You weren't ripped to shreds. This forum is heavily moderated,and if the BS get too harsh, the mods are quick to put an end to it.

No. You were given some hard truths. A dose of reality. You were told how your husband may feel,or what to expect. You were given several different actions you could be taking to help heal some of the damage you've caused.

Not everyone gives advice wrapped in a cozy hug. That certainly doesn't equal ripping you to shreds.

NotMyFirstRodeo posted 11/2/2020 08:17 AM

Hellfire hit the proverbial nail on the head. My own words to you may be candid and free of any fat but I certainly don't intend to squash your spirits. I'm not better than you and I am not free of bad life mistakes myself. But none of us do anyone else any favors by watering down the reality of infidelity, lying, gaslighting or TT.

Thumos' last post gave you some quality recommendations. I'd urge you to strongly consider it. If I were your H and you made the efforts to follow through on those it would make a positive impression on me. It's some tough medicine to take but it's effective medicine nonetheless.

Thumos posted 11/2/2020 10:47 AM

My Father died when I was a baby so I donít have that daddy to love me and tell me everythingís going to be okay. My husband is normally who I go to for that comfort. And I cannot do that now.

My father also died when I was a baby. Two years old. I miss never knowing him and wondering about whether he would be proud of me, what my life would have been like with a stable dad, etc.

Know what? I used that to drive me to be a faithful man and loving father.

If I can offer some advice, gently, don't fall into the trap of using FOO issues as a false narrative in your head about why you were unfaithful.

My WW was essentially abandoned by her father at a young age -- and unfortunately she has allowed herself to use this is a FOO (family of origin) crutch to help her feel better about her infidelity.

I see too many fall into this trap and it's a crutch you will come to loathe if you use it.

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