Subject: Madhatter trying to find remorse... it's hard!!
My story is a long, winding road filled with all kinds of angst, but true love does exist here... it's just covered in all kinds of shitty past behaviors.
We met within the first few weeks of college, doing a musical together... yes, we're actors - there's your first clue to the drama that will ensue. :-)
I was a wide-eyed Christian boy, who'd never really had a real relationship, other than dating a few girls in high school for a few weeks max, never amounting to more than making out: no oral sex - not even heavy petting. I was still a virgin at 19... both proud and embarrassed by this fact, knowing I was coming out of a private school situation and going into the "lion's den" of public institution higher ed. I was nervous about this, knowing I'd been very cautious around women all my life, mostly because I was scared shitless of what sex would really be like, but wanting it SO badly at the same time. I'd been masturbating like mad since puberty, also believing this was "sinful" behavior for much of that time. My "ideal" first time, I thought, would be to find another virgin so that there would be no comparisons, and that it would be an exploratory experience and new discoveries for us both. So... plenty of self-generated and church-generated angst "going in" to my first experience.
She was a non-Christian girl, who acted more Christian than most believers. She was (and is) a gorgeous, tall, long-haired beauty, who treated everyone with respect, had a great sense of humor and was very disarming. She had that same look of wide-eyed innocence I did, and I fell hard. It took a while for me to work up the courage to actually make a move. We "hung out" a lot with others, as I watched to try to be sure she would respond in kind... I was very cautious with my heart. But she was exactly what I was looking for - that "ideal" virginal woman with whom I could discover our first time together.
We started dating, and moving very slowly toward getting more and more intimate together. At the time I had thought this cautiousness was two-way - that she was also nervous about her first time. A few months in, she reveals to me that she is not a virgin. My heart sank. How could I have been so wrong? I know it's ridiculous thinking now, but I truly felt I'd been cheated on. If I had waited for the ideal mate, why hadn't she? I was in emotional agony at this revelation, because she still was, in every other way, the "ideal" girl I was looking for. The closest person to me at the time was my mother and I confided in her my angst over this situation. She basically said "honey, at your age, you're not necessarily going to find your "ideal virgin" out there. If you truly love this girl and she loves you, should it really matter?" At first my naïve response to this was "YES! It matters!" but I wrestled in earnest with these thoughts for several weeks. It didn't help that I was seriously embarrassed to talk to my girlfriend (future wife) about any of these feelings, because I had felt so naïve originally having thought we were "the same" and had basically "equal experience" sexually. The thought that she would know exactly what we were in for during my first experience and could *compare* me to someone else, killed me, but I loved her and knew I had to get over it.
It also didn't help that in the next couple of weeks I very timidly asked her questions about her experience, and it came out that not only did he have a "very big" penis, but that she really did genuinely love him. It wasn't just a typical "god, I was so stupid" first time high school experience. It was a long-term, loving relationship. In hindsight, I'm not sure ANY story would have made me feel much better about it, but those facts were hard to swallow, knowing that was what she'd be comparing me against. I was an emotional mess, but with the help of my family's advice, I eventually pulled myself together and decided she was more than worth the silly angst I was putting myself through. I "forgave" her earlier "transgressions" with this other boy, who I had now villainized. Yes, it was that messed up in my head.
So after my few weeks of emotional thrashing and finally giving up on my perfect dream of how I'd lose my virginity, we did end up having sex. It was magical for me. I felt like a new man. Like there was "virgin me" of the past, and "post-virgin me", and I felt more confident, more like a real man. My ego had exploded. Yes, I had built it up that much in my wee 19 years of Christian anti-premarital sex angst. And, of course, there was inevitable the years of church-induced guilt that comes along with that.
This started a new emotional roller coaster in our relationship, of me wanting more and more sex and her trying to put on the brakes and approach it a bit more rationally rather than hormonally. I understood, of course, particularly since my guilt agreed with her requests, but the torrent of "more, more, more!" in my 19 year old hormonal overdrive kept me a strong nuisance, and she often gave in to keep the peace.
And then there's the level of commitment imbalance between us. For me, I understood this to be my "first real relationship" - a learning experience, which was not likely to continue on to marriage, but it might... someday... WAY into the future. For her, it was absolutely the path to marriage, and as soon as she could convince me to agree to it. This was mostly unspoken between us, but it was obvious from our behaviors and our conflicts. Sadly, this approach continued into our marriage, but that's further along. I'll get back to that.
Several big events occurred at about the 11-month mark of our relationship: she told me she had agreed to go out with her ex boyfriend - yes, *that* boyfriend - canceling a dinner date with my family. When I objected, she didn't understand. She went out with him anyway. This confused and hurt me deeply, and she never understood why, even when I tried to explain it. Then she told me she wanted me to buy her a ring for Christmas. Not a wedding ring, mind you, but she wanted that token of romantic appreciation. I bought it for her. We started arguing around this time, much of it centered around the topic of commitment. It was not fun, and felt like it could be over soon.
Then the biggest event that occurred is that we went on a foreign exchange program to London. We went with very different agendas: I went in wanting to explore a new world and experience freedom from the parental units, being with a bunch of friends there on the same program. She saw it as a romantic getaway, and reminded me at every step how I wasn't being romantic, especially if I wanted to go be with my friends instead of her. I felt trapped and did not appreciate this nagging one bit on this trip. She felt snubbed and gilted, understandably. It was a toxic environment. We broke up and got back together several times, the first time being when she handed me the ring back saying "I don't know what this means to you". It simply meant I bought you a ring she asked for! She needed it to mean something more, and it simply didn't at that stage in my life.
During this time, she started calling a male friend of hers back home, lamenting about how I was treating her. I also lamented to friends in London. We were not happy together and it was obvious things were very likely to end. She even cruelly jabbed to me that my penis was too small for her during this time... DEEP wound. In the aftermath of that, I did confide in a female friend there in London and we did kiss a couple of times very lightly and quickly stopped ourselves because we were both involved with others, feeling ashamed of what we'd done.
She absolutely flabbergasted me when we got back, the next night after getting back she slept with this guy she'd been calling, and confessed the very next day, still with the full intention of leaving me for him. When she told him she confessed, he basically started back-pedaling, and she figured out then he was only in it for the sex, so she ended it with him.
I was a complete mess, and I didn't understand why - nobody did. I had been talking so long about wanting to end things with her that I couldn't understand why this hurt me so badly and deeply. I think because it was such a big deal for me to entrust her with my virginity, it really, REALLY hurt that she just cavalierly slept with another guy so quickly after he told her all the things she wanted to hear. I thrashed and kicked and screamed (privately, to myself) for months and months. Nobody understood what I was going through, and I had no one to talk to about it. There was no survivinginfidelity site to go to 24 years ago. I also felt I probably deserved it for kissing another girl, even though she never knew about that - it did feel a bit like justice being served, albeit with a big overdose. Needless to say, we broke up after that, but not without the thrashing that goes along with post-affair hysterical bonding, etc. and trying to get as much information out of her as I could about WHY she did it, with no satisfying (is it ever?) reason given.
We did end up getting married 10 years later, with several "interludes" in between where we'd get together for fun no-strings-attached sex over those 10 years. The reason we got married at that 10th year was that she got pregnant, and we decided to do the right thing by the child and provide her with a family. We also did re-discover a love for each other that had never really died even after all that.
In an earnest attempt to resolve my feelings about her cheating, I told her I wanted to talk about everything in our past relationship and that I wanted to do it with a therapist before we get married. I confessed the kiss with another girl (which I had done years before as well, but she had forgotten) and that was it - no remorse when her cheating came up. She did not want to talk about it at all. That ended therapy pretty quickly, but not my intention of marrying the woman carrying my child, who I indeed still loved.
Over the first few years of our marriage I gently brought it up a couple more times saying "I'd really love to be able to talk to you about my feelings over your affair sometime" and was met with "I don't want to talk about that" each time, along with "you were a horrible boyfriend in London". So I gave up, realizing she was never going to want to actually *deal* with what she'd done to me, and that forcing the issue would simply push her to say things under duress. I was on my own again... and it simply festered and built. Every time I thought of the affair it hurt.
Fast forward to the 6th year of our marriage and I discovered what the cuckold world was all about, and it really resonated with me. I can turn my painful memories over her affair into pleasurable ones? Sign me up! I dove in, learning all I could about that world, and found out that many in that world come from past unresolved affairs in their lives. It's a pretty common entry point into cuckoldry. I brought it up with her a few times, letting her know I had these very strange desires, but once again, she wasn't interested in talking about such things - she was okay with me exploring it, but it wasn't something she was willing to entertain or discuss at length. I understood and was on my own again with my festering feelings, but felt much better about them since they were now feelings of immense, but very guilty pleasure that I had to hide from everyone.
We also started having arguments again, very similar to our first relationship, only a lot more intense. The worst was about my mother. She hated her. I loved my mother and felt trapped between two women I loved. My mother was dying of breast cancer at the time, so I obviously felt I needed to be there for her, while at the same time my wife was jealous and bitter about my interactions with her. My old habit of lying to keep the peace went into full force. This did not create a happy or healthy marital environment. When my mother finally passed (March 2013) it flipped a switch in me. I was so angry at my wife for being such an incredible bitch to my mother, and she was angry at me for not being supportive of *her* feelings about my mother, it started a downward spiral for me.
I had now decided I was okay with possibly finding someone else and being open to an affair with them. It was only a matter of time. I had also decided to keep this secret since I did not want to blow up our family life and create huge distress for our daughter. Yes, very wayward thinking. So the affair happened. I picked a despicable woman because I knew I didn't want to fall in love or have any strings, and this woman turned out to be not only despicable but a psychopath. She started threatening all kinds of retaliation and exposure - even played the wayward "I'm pregnant" card, which I believed because I wasn't aware there was a playbook - and I knew at that point I needed to confess before my wife found out any other way.
I fully expected her to pack up and leave since she had said she would do that if I ever cheated. She did not, and we started the process of healing / reconciliation, with the help of this site. When I once again tried bringing in *her* cheating into the mix, she denied that this was a madhatter situation because we weren't married at the time and that it was so long ago. Because she was in so much pain, I agreed to that stipulation, however, it never felt right to me that I had to do all the wayward work that she never had. In fact, she has always been a very UN-remorseful wayward, saying things like "well, you were a lousy boyfriend in London", like that's her justification for fucking someone else.
But the wounding was still there in me and because it had never been dealt with, came back with a vengeance into our reconciliation for this affair.
So that's where we are, and as has been stated many times for madhatters, it is a very difficult and unique journey. She still doesn't want to admit that we are madhatters - she wants to be the betrayed and still have me solely in the role of wayward. But the wounding is fresh again with all that has happened in the aftermath.
So I'm hear to ask your help, other madhatters/waywards. Any advice you can provide is very appreciated. I accept all 2-by-4 and kindly advice. I've been lurking here a while and know how the game works. I'm just lost now as to how to help her through this, and how to ask for what I need as well.
Thanks for reading this epic post!
[This message edited by WaywardInHayward at 2:19 PM, July 7th (Monday)]