OK, I have a while to data dump. I am also very much in my head right now and a talker so apologies for the length.
I am very analytical and a bit OCD, so I track and journal everything, and I know how often we talk and about what, how often I melt down, and I keep waiting for the interval between outbursts to grow longer, but I seem to be consistent with 2-3 a month for almost a year now. They were getting easier but something snapped after a spell of numb I mistook for healing. I think I've been feeling vulnerable and resentful that I haven't gotten the answers or conversations I need to move forward. He is frustrated with the never ending A story he would love to forget, and my recall and the "facts" I keep rubbing in his face, but for me knowledge is everything. I have to understand to move forward and I am not there yet. A little background:
Theirs was an Ashley Madison, no strings hookup. He tried for others, but none met his discretion except her, so their sex only thing became a friendship, very entangled, and they were supposed to organically end it as they both retired and moved away. She was the aggressor in the relationship, always emailing and whining why he didn't want to see her more, quite needy, but my H is a very busy man and struggled to fit her in. I am told 80% of their encounters were a pub for sports tv and beer and a parking lot BJ. But they shared many overnights, as she followed him across the country on business trips when her H was away. She cried a lot whenever they talked of ending things because she cared so deeply for him, and he considered her a friend with benefits but the words love or soul mate were never used, just BF, GF and sign offs with kisses.
This is year 3 since my initial discovery, and coming up on 3 years NC between them, but not between she and I, as I tend to poke the bear once or twice a year. I have known the truth of the length of their relationship for almost 2 years, so maybe I need to be more patient, because the second and third discoveries were so brutal. Being told the affair was long over because he fell back in love with me when the kids moved out and we began the happiest years of our lives only to discover it went on for many more years and under my crying nose during false reconciliation has left me deeply scarred. Being lied to repeatedly by MOW every time I found more scraps, and being lied to about the timeline repeatedly until I put it all together (Finally!) has also hurt me deeply. My inability to keep my guard up and let go of my blind trust hurt me a lot, and not finding this site for the first year left me open to massive manipulation so they could continue their effed up relationship.
gmc, my WH has done more work than I thought he was capable of doing, but a shameful minimum based on successful remorseful Waywards... He is not an emotional person, but on the engineering/scientist spectrum of cold logical thinkers, and not buying into any of the counselling or emotional analysis programs. He hates this forum and will not join, or seek counsel from other waywards, as he could care less what others do, only what we do. He has been bottled up tight his whole life, but I believed that he and I were the in a special inner circle of truth and loyalty and I overlooked some personality traits that he hid well. So I'm dealing with the realization of his true nature, and working to ensure that he meets my minimum requirements for a relationship. We have made a ton of progress learning how to communicate and to be honest, but if I want to talk about feelings or motivations he has nothing to contribute. He did what he did because he was frustrated, felt unappreciated and resentful over parenting crap while I was simultaneously going through early menopause in my 40's and a hysterectomy and very painful sex for almost a decade until I found the right hormone therapy.
All the things that got him into infidelity vanished or faded, but his addiction to his Ashley Madison girlfriend kept him with her through their 8 year affair, our 8 months of false R, HB and 2 months of useless MC. Another 8 months of fighting and lying and crying to get to the heart of the matter, where I remain stuck, with never an admission, always caught. That scares me to my core. What a clusterf*ck it has been.
I never got a full timeline or disclosure, because honestly he can't remember a lot of it. I'm pretty sure that's true, because he remembers very little, especially dates, and without a calendar reminder has no idea of anniversaries, childrens' birth dates or even years, when they graduated, etc. I have a visual oriented excellent memory and I remember almost everything, which is its own hell. So I think lizard brain wants all the puzzle pieces, all the strategies they used, all the places they went, etc. to feel like I have all the data, finally. He hates talking about her and hates me upset and wants me happy and will do almost anything I ask now except get therapy or read what he calls psychobabble. He is very self assured and self motivated and says he has decided to be honest and faithful and he will, end of story. He struggles to understand why that does nothing for me. He realizes he made a major tactical error lying repeatedly to me, and was trying to desperately control an out of control situation and me with lies to "spare me further hurt" which backfired. He knows he made this mess, but he's frustrated rehashing the same topics. He hates the party line that I get to ask the same questions over and over until I'm comfortable with the answers. I'm beginning to understand more of the shame spiral that happens when I bring it up, and we spent a year yelling at each other because I HAD to talk and did not have emotional control and things often spiraled badly. We have gotten along great for almost 40 years and learning to fight in your 60s is its own hell too.
He will not go to IC and I will not make him because he will only be a hostile witness and deem it a waste of time and money. He is not going to open up to anyone, and I'm his only real friend beyond the MOW. He couldn't care less about her now, or even that I harass her except to ask why I can't let it go like he has. For the same reason he kept seeing her. It's a kind of addiction. He is trying in his way, and is asking me to be strong and fight for us and grow old with him in the life we had planned. He claims he always wanted this future together, never wanted to leave me, always loved me the same all the way through, and so many other confusing things. He is 100% transparent now, gave up all rights to privacy, never travels alone unless I won't go with him, and he cuddles me to death every single night and I wish this were enough. But I feel like I live in the twilight zone now.
What he will do is listen to podcasts or let me read excerpts from articles to him, but he truly thinks that the experiences of others have no bearing on us. He will also hold me until I am done crying, which is hard for him to watch. He will snap and walk away if I get too vulgar in my accusations and can't handle discussing the ugly aspects of what he has done, I assume due to his deep shame. I have had to learn to be careful with how and what I say, which is hard mid meltdown, but I am learning how to stop shutting him down.
So, my current theories on my slow healing and never ending meltdowns are:
No admission, only begrudgingly after the facts were revealed. Blows trust to pieces.
Not getting over this may be who I am. I am loyal, giving, nurturing, loving, faithful, so this is not something I'm wired to forgive, let alone forget especially because I never wanted to get married, because all men do is disappoint me and break my heart. I told him when we got engaged, one rule only - no cheating. I'd let him go, no questions asked, no fault, if he ever needed someone else. I was very clear.
The nature of the unraveling and the false R and TT did major damage, so I will need a lot more time to trust and feel safe again.
The lack of full disclosure and the holes in my timeline as well as the unknown hows and wheres leave me with an unsolved case file that I am just unable to stop looking at.
The blatant and selfish lies of the MOW infuriate me and make me feel so damn stupid. The whole thing makes me feel stupid and I'm trying to forgive myself.
I have no real assurance that her H knows the full truth and I'm struggling with reaching out, especially this late in the game. I tell myself it's another step toward closure, but we all also know its because I want to rock her life boat and her marriage in every way I can.
I have a touch of OCD and I literally think of her and imagine them together every day, every night. I fight thoughts of her away constantly. Maybe that's why I still stalk her, hoping her life sucks now too. (So far, no luck, she's pretending to be sweet doting baba to grandbabies across the country, pretending to be a loving and good wife..)
Our current winter covid pasttime of binge watching tv has triggered me to no end. There is nothing we have watched yet that doesn't have a plot line with lies, betrayal, adultery, heartache. So many shows I have had to pause and explain how it was upsetting because of how it made me think about what we have been through. I cry a lot more than the shows merit because they pick the scab of my hurt. I'm trying to push those thoughts away and hoping for the ability to just watch a show and not think about us too.
My last meltdown, I told him that I resent that his impatience with my healing and that my impatience with myself is killing me, making me feel worse about myself. I don't recognize myself and I have done things I can't even explain since this all happened. I joined all the nasty hookup sites just to look around, make connections and then shame the married men on the sites. I have hassled that MOW across state lines through the mail and online. I can't stop judging my sniveling hurt little self when I know in my heart that I have always been and should still be a kick ass strong independent woman. But still I grovel and cry, on my knees trying to be sure I am loved, he is sincere, and that all this pain is worth it. Jealous of a cheap skank he doesn't want to remember, giving her my precious headspace when she deserves none of my time. It just plain sucks, but you all know that.
So there you have the guts of the matter. Lots of guts..
As I have time, I go back and look at the comment threads from your profiles as well as my own to seek insight and tools to use to move forward. I have ordered the body keeps the score, but like others am scared to read Cheating in a Nutshell. cgreene, like you I am worried about the long haul, if I can really do this. I know this is what I want, but how long do I fight my very nature and live in the disappointment of it all?
And Chaos, I hear you on the sparkles and glitter. I have a new wardrobe and buy expensive purses and shoes now, after a lifetime of sneakers and hiking boots. I lost so much weight I match my 16 year old self and I look great for my age. I wish that were enough. I have indulged almost every whim that makes me feel better in the moment but nothing I do for myself yet has changed how I am handling what happened and what remains.
I am considering EMDR and hope to get some online therapy soon, but am not hopeful that talking to a therapist about my WH's inability to talk to me about his affair will solve a lot. I know I owe it to myself to try everything I can to help me get over the hump to the rest of what I have left. It's pretty depressing to be working this hard on my life and myself after I did so much already and was darn happy and content with where I was. Proud and smug, almost until I found myself on my knees.
Thanks for chatting, thanks for reading, thanks for the suggestions and the me too's which I know we all need sometimes. It helps so much to know I am not alone in these setbacks or this slow, glacial pace of recovery.
Take care and hoping for easy days ahead for all of us.
[This message edited by whatisloveanyway at 8:37 AM, February 23rd, 2021 (Tuesday)]