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My Wife Had an Intense, Highly Deceptive Affair, Part II

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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 12:27 AM on Wednesday, June 15th, 2022

So if you are unwilling or unable to detach and work on you while she works on herself, then let her go. You'll both be better off.

I suppose the distinction (for me) is that I’d be kicking her out of the house. She is not on-board with separation. I am not there yet either.

When you go to IC, maybe tell the therapist, "I feel really bad about myself" and work on that.

Agreed—that’s precisely the direction I’ll be taking my IC sessions moving forward. To be fair, I’ve only gone twice thus far and it was largely all background. I’m hoping tomorrow I can dig a bit deeper into my specific trauma.

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 806   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8740246
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redrock ( member #21538) posted at 2:06 AM on Wednesday, June 15th, 2022

I think we need to be careful about the standards we are holding the newly betrayed and wayward members to.

Dr. Has just walked through some major trauma and he’s been honest, taken feedback and made strides with grace and thoughtfulness.

Dr., You are not the first or last to overly focus on the spouse that cheated. If you can help to fix it, you have influence and can effect the outcome. That perspective can feed your need for safety. The same way a BS can take responsibility for the affair willingly because if you are responsible, you can fix it.

It is hard to separate your head and heart. Wanting words and physical acts of validation from the person who freaking tore your heart out is illogical, but there is a term made for it ...hysterical bonding. They don’t create new phrases for shit that doesn’t happen with regularity.

It is hard to pivot from your partnership of decades, to focus on personal healing. It doesn’t feel right. Especially when it’s the last thing you want. I ignored that advice for a long time, until the shortcuts I wanted so badly to work just turned out to shitty painful limbo tangents of my/our own making.

Trying to navigate everyday life, while profoundly hurting, scared, angry and frankly all over the place is hard enough. Add mind movies, exhaustive talks, and sleepless mind racing nights.... You are wrung out and overwhelmed!,,,,, Give yourself the gift of distraction daily if you can. I was a killer organizer and book tapes really helped keep my mind busy. Bloody murder mysteries!,, Give it a try.

No one gets through this experience without failing. And some of us fail more than others. It is a learning process. And it is empowering to focus on yourself. The only way out of this mess is through it and if you are willing to do the work, you are going to be fine.

I would also recommend you set a time limit on talks. Your wife, IMO, seems hyper focused on blame-shifting and every talk is twisted version of scoring and winning some sort of victim olympics.

Keep on keeping on. Aim some of your concerted effort at yourself. You deserve it.

I don't respect anyone that can't spell a word more than one way:)

posts: 3486   ·   registered: Nov. 6th, 2008   ·   location: Michigan
id 8740263
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Mene ( member #64377) posted at 2:35 AM on Wednesday, June 15th, 2022

You both need to give it a rest.

Stop talking about the affair and your relationship for a couple of weeks.

Get some normalcy in your daily lives and only use the IC and MC during those two weeks to talk about it.

You’re both emotionally worn out.

R doesn’t happen in a couple of months. It takes years and you only see progress when you’ve started sorting out your personal issues first.

[This message edited by Mene at 2:36 AM, Wednesday, June 15th]

Life wasn’t meant to be fair...

posts: 858   ·   registered: Jul. 7th, 2018   ·   location: Cyberland
id 8740266
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 12:02 PM on Wednesday, June 15th, 2022

Redrock, thank you for the kind and thoughtful post.

It is hard to pivot from your partnership of decades, to focus on personal healing. It doesn’t feel right. Especially when it’s the last thing you want. I ignored that advice for a long time, until the shortcuts I wanted so badly to work just turned out to shitty painful limbo tangents of my/our own making.

I felt that in my bones.

The other night was a wake up call. At every step of this process I thought I could take shortcuts. I have treated this as something I can solve—it was my pride; and now is my fall.

And as for some other members being a bit rude at times, that’s ok—it’s the internet. I know what I signed up for in bearing my soul on here. I look at this as an interactive journal.

**

And as a brief update on last night, I cooked for my father and his wife (a common occurrence on Tuesday’s) and my WW and I put our kids to bed together.

I watched a baseball game and she worked for a bit, went for a walk and then took a bath—only word exchange was a brief discussion on how we would deposit insurance payments for all our therapy sessions.

I was exhausted and decided to head to bed a little before 9 p.m.; she had just gotten in the bath. I told her I had decided to inform my sister and father of what was going on—she asked why.

I told her the other night was a wake up call. I didn’t want to separate, but I recognized it would be a long time before I could commit to R, so if we’re going to drag out this limbo stage, I didn’t think it was right keeping it from them as I’m so close to them; and that my sister was already very suspicious because we both looked like shit and were acting differently.

I also added that I still thought D might be a decision that came from her at anytime (I can’t read her mind, but much of her actions tell me in my gut that she may just want out of this M), so if we have to rearrange our lives suddenly, I’d want my family to know it’s coming. Interestingly, I just woke up from a dream where she asked me for a D—I think it’s something my subconscious knows to expect, but my heart and mind keeps fighting against.

And of course, one of my major limitations of moving toward a temporary separation was having to tell the rest of my family—I don’t want that to factor into my future thinking.

My wife was very upset at my decision to tell the rest of my family—she didn’t say anything, but became visibly angry and got out of the bath to go downstairs.

She came up about an hour later with me mostly asleep—I heard her crying for a bit and she held my hand as I drifted off to sleep.

[This message edited by Drstrangelove at 12:17 PM, Wednesday, June 15th]

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 806   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8740295
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HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 1:44 PM on Wednesday, June 15th, 2022

Her anger at you for telling your family is just another example that she's not remorseful, has no empathy, doesn't get it, makes herself the victim,self pity, amd lack of respect for you.

As a BS, we are allowed to tell anyone,at any time. You are allowed to seek support from those closest to you. She doesn't have to like it,but she has no right to be angry with you. None.

[This message edited by HellFire at 1:45 PM, Wednesday, June 15th]

posts: 4513   ·   registered: Jun. 20th, 2017   ·   location: The Midwest
id 8740304
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 1:52 PM on Wednesday, June 15th, 2022

Her anger at you for telling your family is just another example that she's not remorseful, has no empathy, doesn't get it, makes herself the victim,self pity, amd lack of respect for you.

As a BS, we are allowed to tell anyone,at any time. You are allowed to seek support from those closest to you. She doesn't have to like it,but she has no right to be angry with you. None.

Agreed.

On one hand, it’s clear her anger was based on her not wanting to be judged further (my sister can be judgmental; she’s also fiercely loyal and will obviously be on my side). I also suspect my WW knows what I know: the more external factors we involve, the more difficult R becomes.

On the other hand, my wife did bite her tongue. I gave her an opportunity to express her feelings in that moment and she (wisely) chose not to—she walked away. And that was precisely the right thing to do. It’s clear she isn’t remorseful and it’s clear her emotional and intellectual instincts are flawed, but if last night was an example of her being mindful and controlling her emotional response in the moment, perhaps it’s a good sign.

[This message edited by Drstrangelove at 1:57 PM, Wednesday, June 15th]

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 806   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8740305
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numb&dumb ( member #28542) posted at 2:56 PM on Wednesday, June 15th, 2022

Dr just a though. . .if your W really does want a D then offer it to her. She may or may not want that, but without you both having some space neither of you will be able to determine for yourselves what you want.

I think several things are at play here. I list these not because I want answers, but rather to give you both something to explore in IC/MC.

1. You both seem to be co-dependent. Honestly this is all too common with all Ms not just ones impacted by infidelity. My W and I were horribly co-dependent. This had to be addressed induvdually. It us not about saving a M governed by fear and manupolatuon. It is knowing you both have choices and choosing to be M'd to one another is so mucg better. If a M does not allow you to be yourself then it takes away from your life versus enhancing it.

2. What is familar is not safe or what is best for you. You both are acting desperate to hold onto the familar. It is all you know and to date it is the only path you have tried. Examine this with MC.

3. This is a marathon not a sprint. R or moving on take time. You measure this in months not days. I know everyone thinks that their unique infidelity situation won't follow a common pattern. Your Ws A is different from mine, but it contains a lot of similar elements. It is scary how often things you describe happend to me. Almost verbatim.

4. You both need space to figure out what you really want versus what your co-dependency drives you to do. You both seem desperate and afraid. This is not a very good environment to allow agency and autonomy. Again, you both need a lot of those things if you really want to heal.

5. Both of you need to check your pride, ego and score keeping at the door. She had an A and that is 100% on her. The state of the marriage prior to her A is a shared problem. You both had a role in creating this environment, but her choice to have an A and bad mouth you to everyone is 100 % on her. FWIW your W does not understand and believe that yet.

6. The answer to your W deciding to have an A is you divorce her. Anything less than that is you being open to show grace. Further if you do not want a D you have work towards finding peace with your decision and realize you can't really show grace while punishing you partner. They are mutually exclusive.

It took me awhile to figure that out. Plus I look back and cringe at the pain I inflicted on my wife. She believes she deserved it. She deserved a D, nothing more. Me was trying to be the good guy while simultaneously acting like a bad guy. Actions matching words, right? Same goes for BS. Show your W by example how to be consistently authentic in words and action.

I think a lot of us responding still forget how new you are to this and you are trying what you both know. It is time to find an alternative as what you know got you both to where you are now. Both as individuals and as a couple. Seperately at first. M 2.0 building is a ways off. The crisis must be survived and you both honestly need to decide what you want. Then take steps to work towards what you want. Even if that is D. All options stay on the table.

Finally detaching from the outcome is paramount. You having a succesful R is just as likely as a succesful D. No one can predict what will happen. You would not be the first couple to realize you are different after the Dday and being authentic means that you move on from this chapter in your lives.

Last, but not least. You need patience. This is not going away any time soon. Be comfortable being uncomfortable.

Dday 8/31/11. EA/PA. Lied to for 3 years.

Bring it, life. I am ready for you.

posts: 5034   ·   registered: May. 17th, 2010
id 8740317
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OwningItNow ( member #52288) posted at 4:48 PM on Wednesday, June 15th, 2022

This! ^^^^^

Fantastic post, numb&dumb. As someone who has R'd, I agree with all of it.

me: BS/WSh: WS/BS

Reject the rejector. Do not reject yourself.

posts: 5606   ·   registered: Mar. 16th, 2016   ·   location: Midwest
id 8740328
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 5:07 PM on Wednesday, June 15th, 2022

Numb&Dumb, thank you for your post--I always pull something away from your pots that's helpful. I know you didn't ask for these to be answered, but I'll take a shot anyway as it's helpful for me to get my initial thoughts down in writing.

if your W really does want a D then offer it to her. She may or may not want that, but without you both having some space neither of you will be able to determine for yourselves what you want.

What do you mean by that? I have offered to D or S if that's the path she wants--I've told her I'll be ok and that she shouldn't choose to stay for my benefit. Her response has always been that she wants to fight for our relationship and grow old with me. Is there something further you're suggesting?

1. You both seem to be co-dependent. Honestly this is all too common with all Ms not just ones impacted by infidelity. My W and I were horribly co-dependent. This had to be addressed individually. It us not about saving a M governed by fear and manipulation. It is knowing you both have choices and choosing to be M'd to one another is so much better. If a M does not allow you to be yourself then it takes away from your life versus enhancing it.

4. You both need space to figure out what you really want versus what your co-dependency drives you to do. You both seem desperate and afraid. This is not a very good environment to allow agency and autonomy. Again, you both need a lot of those things if you really want to heal.

I suspect you're right. I can speak for myself in that I felt very comfortable in my life--I thought our M was a lifetime gig and behaved with ease in our relationship. It's hard to know how I feel presently, but I *think* I feel less co-dependent than last month; and certainly less than last year. I will certainly explore the topic more in IC.

2. What is familiar is not safe or what is best for you. You both are acting desperate to hold onto the familiar. It is all you know and to date it is the only path you have tried. Examine this with MC.

Agreed there too. I have significant concerns for my WW's mental health right now--in a very deep way. I felt safe in my old M, but I do not feel safe now--so what is familiar is certainly not safe, and in turn, what is not safe cannot be what is best for me. As other's have suggested, I think I may ask my wife to see a psychiatrist for an evaluation/assessment. My concern is that I have felt increasingly less safe as the days have passed from DDay.

3. This is a marathon not a sprint. R or moving on take time. You measure this in months not days. I know everyone thinks that their unique infidelity situation won't follow a common pattern. Your Ws A is different from mine, but it contains a lot of similar elements. It is scary how often things you describe happened to me. Almost verbatim.

That has been my recent epiphany. I may agree or disagree with various posters here on the details, but looking at the big picture, the collective wisdom of this board has been spot on. It's hard to see that in the day-to-day and I need to be more open to the "less familiar" options in front of me and strap in for a longer ride.

There's also an anger in that realization to though--there's a lot going on in my life: principally, I'm up for a big promotion at work, so through that lens, this couldn't have happened at a worse time. I need to figure out how to let that anger for her subside so I can get some focus back--thus far I'm failing at it (as you can tell by me posting in this thread at noon on a Wednesday...).

5. Both of you need to check your pride, ego and score keeping at the door. She had an A and that is 100% on her. The state of the marriage prior to her A is a shared problem. You both had a role in creating this environment, but her choice to have an A and bad mouth you to everyone is 100 % on her. FWIW your W does not understand and believe that yet.

She will verbally take full blame and then in the next breath express a thought that makes it clear she has no understanding of the lie she just told. It's very frustrating to try to deconstruct her longtime issues; many of which she places on me. Even our marriage, which requires blame from both of us, has nothing to do with her unhappiness, her affair, the drinking, the spending--any of it. It's all entirely unrelated to our relationship and she has not begun to grasp that.

For me, as I noted above, I think my pride has been my downfall these last three months. I'm usually smart enough to solve whatever problem I may be facing. My pride led me to do that here with spectacularly poor results.

6. The answer to your W deciding to have an A is you divorce her. Anything less than that is you being open to show grace. Further if you do not want a D you have work towards finding peace with your decision and realize you can't really show grace while punishing you partner. They are mutually exclusive.

It took me awhile to figure that out. Plus I look back and cringe at the pain I inflicted on my wife. She believes she deserved it. She deserved a D, nothing more. Me was trying to be the good guy while simultaneously acting like a bad guy. Actions matching words, right? Same goes for BS. Show your W by example how to be consistently authentic in words and action.

I know many posters will disagree, but I don't feel that I've been punishing my wife at all (not even a little, honestly). I've been firm in our talks, but stayed calm, never sinking to insults. I've gone to dinners and on vacations with her, never being punitive or cold instead. I still make her dinner every night and have maintained any physical and emotional intimacy she has wanted. I've led this entire process with my heart and my head.

Now, I don't know that I can forgive her, so if this drags on, my grace may wane. But I'll tackle that as it comes. My priority now is working on healing myself in IC and monitoring her mental health to make sure me and the children are in a safe environment.

I think a lot of us responding still forget how new you are to this and you are trying what you both know. It is time to find an alternative as what you know got you both to where you are now. Both as individuals and as a couple. Separately at first. M 2.0 building is a ways off. The crisis must be survived and you both honestly need to decide what you want. Then take steps to work towards what you want. Even if that is D. All options stay on the table.

Finally detaching from the outcome is paramount. You having a successful R is just as likely as a successful D. No one can predict what will happen. You would not be the first couple to realize you are different after the Dday and being authentic means that you move on from this chapter in your lives.

Last, but not least. You need patience. This is not going away any time soon. Be comfortable being uncomfortable.

Sage advice. Thank you.

[This message edited by Drstrangelove at 5:08 PM, Wednesday, June 15th]

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 806   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8740335
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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 6:15 PM on Wednesday, June 15th, 2022

I don’t think her being upset about you telling people is anything but normal personally. It’s very hard to have something so personal shared when you haven’t yet got a handle on it yourself. Plus it’s more people to judge you and that brings up the pressure. That being said I think you do need to tell them because you are going to need support. That’s has to be the priority over her comfort at this point.

I agree she hasn’t reached remorse but I don’t think she is intentionally avoiding it. Rather I think the emotions she is having is so big that she has to let that reckoning settle a bit before there is enough space for more.

I think this is a positive thing, here is why: a few people including numb&dimb as most recent have pointed out the ww has to experience their rock bottom. I 150 percent agree. We don’t change for other people, we change for ourselves and for a ws we change for ourselves because we know we can’t go on in this way.

That personal reckoning does not happen to all ws. It is happening to your wife. And while I never lose track of who the real victim is in this situation, I think this reckoning will be a good thing for both of you in time.

My people pleasing runs very deep. I never want to disappoint anyone. It was not going back to this place of hell and that made me start practicing using my voice, having self awareness - like my life depended on it because it did.

I do not think you are evil for wanting to hyperbond with your wife, nor do I agree that’s what you are staying around for. I think you had it in your mind that is what would fix it for you. Misguided, yes, and I have told you the ways I believe that it is. But you are receptive to why that really isn’t going to work. I suspect you may have even gotten some validation about these notions in this site. Like your wife and her wine you are searching for something, anything to get through the day.

It gets some of us ladies riled up because there is no way any self respecting woman would agree to this on these terms. And this flies in the face of your wife trying to recover from people pleasing.

And about the wine. Sure there could be alcoholism. I don’t know. It maybe just a vice she is pointing at like you are the sex. It might not be that deep. It needs evaluation but I hate for us all to jump to conclusions.

At the same time,please relay to your wife that alcohol is a depressant. She really needs to refer to my post to her and realize the more healthy choices she can make right now with her self care and improving her brain chemistry is the truer path for getting through this. I drank quite a bit while having my affair and immediately afterwards. I know about your wife’s coping mechanisms because I know about mine. She needs to focus on getting things that help her "put on the oxygen mask" so she can help you and the situation. I took up running for example. It has both the chemicals from the exercise but also the ones from setting and meeting goals. She may not like running, that is just an example.

I can almost guarantee she doesn’t want a divorce- at least not right now She doesn’t know what she wants or what would make things better. When I was further into my work, I realized my trying to escape my husband was only because I didn’t know how to escape myself. A divorce could be in your future, sure and I think both of you need to get prepared for that. But- what she really wants is a divorce from herself. She doesn’t know how she got so unhappy so quickly, it’s easy to look at you because I am sure she did focus on what you were doing that made her unhappy. Reality is we create our own happiness by figuring out what it is we want and learning to communicate it.

She still may be in her escapism but I don’t think it’s you she wants to escape. It’s just easier for her to look at you than herself. This reckoning I am speaking of made me see the only way I could change things is to focus on myself. The affair wasn’t on my husband, it was on me. If I had chosen to divorce him it would have only been because I didn’t gain my own accountability that I am responsible for my own emotions, how I allow others to treat me, and to build the kinds of relationships I want. If you looked at any of my relationships they were all of poor quality. The common denominator is me.

She also probably was not miserable all those years. I was happy for most of mine. Your wife and I- We were people pleasers since we were both young. That is our comfort zone. And for the most part it feels good to be such a giving and laid-back person. I still enjoy giving, I just have more conciousness around it.

The tweak here is so much more simple than I was making it - don’t give until you have nothing left. Don’t lose track of yourself in any situation, and be so easy to give away the things you want. Instead focus on creating win-win situations with your spouse.

Win-win might look like this: I will go for my bubble bath early so I can relax enough to feel sexy and be mentally present for some nice sex later. How about you put the kids to bed tonight?" I am pretty sure you will say hell yes, and she will get some time to herself to relax. Silly example maybe but a people pleaser will do it all and the thing that will suffer at the end of the night is sex due to purely being exhausted of focusing on everyone else’s needs that day but our own.

But I didn’t people please and feel badly about it all the time, it more that it was an accumulating issue. I would get a lot of validation from it until it was taken for granted. Then it made me feel like I had to do more to get that recognition that I was equating to be love. Eventually it lost its luster because I reached a breaking point. If I knew it maybe I would have communicated it, but I do think I tried to in some level. I just sucked at how to go about it.

These things you are talking about are not insurmountable. The most insurmountable is really just both of you healing this damage in yourselves, your relationship from the affair. That’s the hardest part. Her brokenness is fixable if she wants it to be, it’s just developing new skill sets. Sure, there also might be some trauma in her past she needs to look at healing to change the patterns. The longest thing will be to heal from the affair for both of you if she is diligent about the other things. I don’t see a lot of resistance from her on being diligent over those things but we have a very limited view here.

[This message edited by hikingout at 6:41 PM, Wednesday, June 15th]

5 years of hard work
Reconciled
WS & BS

posts: 6154   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8740354
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 6:27 PM on Wednesday, June 15th, 2022

HikingOut, would you consider taking on the role as our new MC? lol.

Every time I read one of your posts I'm blown away how spot on your are while also framing things in a way that gives me more clarity. Please keep posting--and offering my wife support if she decides to keep posting. You have an exceptional gift for this and I feel like I owe you money.

You have her pegged exactly, as far as I can tell.

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 806   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8740356
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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 6:36 PM on Wednesday, June 15th, 2022

That’s funny!

I stayed on this site for years. I have popped in recently and have seen this and it has had me in a bit more. I personally get a lot out of it myself because it gives me clarity and helps me be kinder to myself. I also enjoy giving back because this site gave me my life back. It’s not for everyone, and not the only way to heal but it did help me.

5 years of hard work
Reconciled
WS & BS

posts: 6154   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8740361
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HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 6:57 PM on Wednesday, June 15th, 2022

Doc, I've been thinking about your situation.

You have sexual requirements of your wife if she wants you to consider reconciliation. I don't think there's anything wrong with that, as I've said previously.

Here's the problem. You want her to want to do those things. Whole heartedly. Enthusiastically.

Yet,she has been very vocal about feeling forced to do these things. That doing these things makes her feel like a whore.

Therefore, she is not enthusiastic about it. Period. Point blank.

No amount of talking will change that.

None.

Not your sadness. Not the threat of divorce. Not talking to her IC, or MC. This is something she can't talk herself into. Nothing will make her want to have sex with you, in the way you want. Lustfully.

Do you really want her to do what you want,if she is only doing them because she feels she has to?

I believe you don't.

So..now what? She is not capable of fulfilling that requirement.

[This message edited by HellFire at 6:59 PM, Wednesday, June 15th]

posts: 4513   ·   registered: Jun. 20th, 2017   ·   location: The Midwest
id 8740364
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OwningItNow ( member #52288) posted at 7:03 PM on Wednesday, June 15th, 2022

I agree, Hikingout! Fantastic insights that ring true to my people pleasing ear, as well. Thanks for the great post!

Learning to say No, to draw a boundary, to shut the guilt up, to stop the comparisons, to take care of yourself when necessary and ignore the rest--well, it's tough and time consuming. The change does not occur overnight.

I will add that people pleasers (as just one type of cheater) do cheat due to "over giving to others" because it leads to that sense of "Nobody even appreciates my efforts. I'm going to do something selfish for ME for once," even though this thinking is toxic and solves nothing. (Only the ability to STOP overgiving solves the actual problem.) But also, many BS are overgiver types, people pleasers who marry very selfish or narcissistic types who take, demand, take advantage, ignore, feel sorry and pout their way to justifying an A! Overgiving is always toxic, whether you are a WS or BS. It leads to you feeling depleted, depressed, underappreciated, and unloved. Again, the fix is always to STOP giving to others the time and energy needed for yourself! Saying No and drawing boundaries with people, boundaries that do not allow you to feel guilty or feel like "a bad person," help you preserve your mental health. Which keeps you out of bad relationship dynamics in affairs, marriages, friendships, or family.

People pleasing as a path to getting love and appreciation is ineffective and often times toxic.

me: BS/WSh: WS/BS

Reject the rejector. Do not reject yourself.

posts: 5606   ·   registered: Mar. 16th, 2016   ·   location: Midwest
id 8740366
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OwningItNow ( member #52288) posted at 7:04 PM on Wednesday, June 15th, 2022

She is not capable of fulfilling that requirement.

At the moment.

Is she allowed time to work on herself? Geeze.

me: BS/WSh: WS/BS

Reject the rejector. Do not reject yourself.

posts: 5606   ·   registered: Mar. 16th, 2016   ·   location: Midwest
id 8740367
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 7:19 PM on Wednesday, June 15th, 2022

Doc, I've been thinking about your situation.

You have sexual requirements of your wife if she wants you to consider reconciliation. I don't think there's anything wrong with that, as I've said previously.

Here's the problem. You want her to want to do those things. Whole heartedly. Enthusiastically.

Yet,she has been very vocal about feeling forced to do these things. That doing these things makes her feel like a whore.

The therefore, she is not enthusiastic about it. Period. Point blank.

No amount of talking will change that.

None.

Not your sadness. Not the threat of divorce. Nothing will make her want to have sex with you, in the way you want. Lustfully.

Do you really want her to do what you want,if she is only doing them because she feels she has to?

I believe you don't.

So..now what?

I arrived at the same conclusion yesterday after our last sexual situation and some of HikingOut's posts, in which she suggested modifying the requirement to "more sex" (than pre-DDay) instead of sex all the time.

Perhaps more than that though, I reached a new level of alarm for my wife's mental health--and from that, I realized focusing on sex right now is patently absurd. In my mind, those were the requirements I had for me to feel R was feasible, but right now--and I don't say this lightly--I'm a bit terrified of the path I may be on. R seems very far away.

What if my wife has real psychological disorders? What if she needs medication? What if she takes medication and it drastically changes her personality? What if she refuses to address her (potential) mental issues and I spin in circles for an undetermined amount of time before inevitably arriving at D?

A blowjob is often lovely, but I suspect it won't lighten any of those problems.

I also am having trouble figuring out how my WW is interpreting sex. As far as I can tell, based on her mood, her reaction to sex is drastically different. So do I trust my interpretation of her mood and progress with sex if I feel it's safe? Or do I do as you suggest and just go cold turkey on sex?

On one hand, when sex is good, it is great bonding right now. It seems beneficial for both of us. But when it's bad, it's destructive. I think right now, I need to be more cautious and lean on the conservative side. It's not like I haven't gone without sex before. :P

I also need to be mindful in changing my life though. Sex is important to me and I'll need to find a healthy outlet for that in the near future.

As I've discussed before, the combination of porn, my kink, and my wife's affair are a very strange brew in my head. Ideally that would be something I could work through with a loving sexual partner, but I don't have that option right now--so I've got to manage it on my own and in IC.

[This message edited by Drstrangelove at 7:23 PM, Wednesday, June 15th]

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 806   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8740370
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 7:42 PM on Wednesday, June 15th, 2022

I agree, Hikingout! Fantastic insights that ring true to my people pleasing ear, as well. Thanks for the great post!

Learning to say No, to draw a boundary, to shut the guilt up, to stop the comparisons, to take care of yourself when necessary and ignore the rest--well, it's tough and time consuming. The change does not occur overnight.

I will add that people pleasers (as just one type of cheater) do cheat due to "over giving to others" because it leads to that sense of "Nobody even appreciates my efforts. I'm going to do something selfish for ME for once," even though this thinking is toxic and solves nothing. (Only the ability to STOP overgiving solves the actual problem.) But also, many BS are overgiver types, people pleasers who marry very selfish or narcissistic types who take, demand, take advantage, ignore, feel sorry and pout their way to justifying an A! Overgiving is always toxic, whether you are a WS or BS. It leads to you feeling depleted, depressed, underappreciated, and unloved. Again, the fix is always to STOP giving to others the time and energy needed for yourself! Saying No and drawing boundaries with people, boundaries that do not allow you to feel guilty or feel like "a bad person," help you preserve your mental health. Which keeps you out of bad relationship dynamics in affairs, marriages, friendships, or family.

People pleasing as a path to getting love and appreciation is ineffective and often times toxic.

I don't know if she lands in either of those categories perfectly--I think she has always thought of herself a people pleaser and I've often seen her more as a narcissist-type.

I'll give a top-of-mind example:

She wants our kids to be in a lot of activities. I always felt it was too much (at times, three activities each every weekend, plus various practices mid-week)--I suggested them having some more downtime would be beneficial. She would not budge in her position, and as a result, most of the burden landed on her to shuttle the kids around (I'd normally handle the ones that overlapped).

I saw it as her wanting to be seen as a great mom to others--she wanted to show everyone else that she's the best mom and her kids are involved non-stop. To her, she was doing a purely good thing and burning herself out taking on all the work (as she'd tell her mom in texts blaming me for not helping more).

Now, I *think* I'm right on this one as I saw that behavior in her in every area of her life--she wanted to dress sexy at the PTA events to be the hottest mom there (as she told her mother in texts as well); she spent all that money buying cloths to do so, etc. She wanted to be the best at work, always framing to me why everyone else is an idiot/poor worker and she was always mistreated, etc.

However, I also see the people-pleaser perspective as well. She definitely has some of those tendencies and I know for sure that's how she sees herself.

**

She is not capable of fulfilling that requirement.

At the moment.

Is she allowed time to work on herself? Geeze.

Objectively, we should each be able to heal on our own and then after we're able to do that, come together and build a relationship. I get it.

However, sex is a significant point of contention for me. I do not want a relationship with my WW if it means our old sex life. If our old sex life is my future, I would *literally* stop writing this and go file for D immediately. So while I want her to heal, I also don't want to dump additional time into a doomed relationship (if that's what this is).

And I understand there's no way to know if it's doomed yet. If I want a future with my WW, I need to accept that I'll need to be patient and that comes with the risk of more wasted time. I'm hopeful my wife is able to collect herself and work on my requirements while she works on her healing before too long--I'm looking for proof of life.

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 806   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8740372
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farsidejunky ( member #49392) posted at 8:36 PM on Wednesday, June 15th, 2022

I am not normally a defender of waywards. In fact, I have said a few times in this thread that I do not think your wife will necessarily ever be a safe partner. With that said...

Hellfire: "Her anger at you for telling your family is just another example that she's not remorseful, has no empathy, doesn't get it, makes herself the victim,self pity, amd lack of respect for you."

This quite possibly may be correct on all levels. Conversely, it may only be correct on the surface, Dr. S.

Let me explain:

When my current wife and I went through our process of reforming our relationship after years of dysfunction, I was the one leaning forward on self improvement, teaching/enforcing boundaries, reading and participating on relationship forums (what initially brought me here and another site), and reigning in unhealthy behaviors, to include excess impulse spending, among other things. It required that I do what I had been afraid to do in the past: tell my wife "no".

No, I'm not okay with you adopting another animal. No, I'm not okay with you spending $200 on something frivolous when you owe $3K on a credit card with only minimum payments. No, I'm not okay with pretending our relationship is alright to our family simply because you want to maintain your image. You get the point.

Her initial response to ANYTHING that I said "no" to was to lose her shit. Like, ugly-style lose her shit. And then, 24 hours later, after digesting what I said and why, she came back to the proverbial table ready to contribute again. In other words, her initial emotional reaction was her ego resisting what she knew to be right, but she came around to my side a short time later in nearly every instance.

I see this same behavior pattern in your wife. Her initial reaction is to tell you to go kick rocks while she paints herself as the victim. Then, after she has some time to really process the information, as well as to work herself off of the proverbial emotional ledge, she comes back around.

Recognize this behavior pattern for what it is: a win...each and every time. You don't have to like her initial reaction. Lord knows, it took me almost 18 months of relationship chaos (and some very sharp forum posters) to really recognize and understand the pattern. But ultimately, she is coming around to your want.

When that happens, you are going to have to set aside your sensitive self and quietly celebrate it for what it is: a small step towards her meeting your wants/needs for reconciliation.

“Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.”

-Maya Angelou

posts: 615   ·   registered: Aug. 30th, 2015   ·   location: Tennessee
id 8740380
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HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 8:43 PM on Wednesday, June 15th, 2022

Is she allowed time to work on herself? Geeze.

Thats up to him. Which is why I asked him

So..now what

Not every BS is required to wait for their WS to stop hurting them while they figure their shit out.

posts: 4513   ·   registered: Jun. 20th, 2017   ·   location: The Midwest
id 8740381
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numb&dumb ( member #28542) posted at 9:11 PM on Wednesday, June 15th, 2022

What do you mean by that? I have offered to D or S if that's the path she wants--I've told her I'll be ok and that she shouldn't choose to stay for my benefit. Her response has always been that she wants to fight for our relationship and grow old with me. Is there something further you're suggesting?

The point I was trying (badly) to make was that there are likely lots of reasons your W doesn't want a D. Fear, familarity, she thinks it erases her mistake. She likes her lifestyle and wants to see her kids today. Plus a few more I can't think of right now. She can't agree to a D because that would make her the bad guy. In that D story the only role she can play is not one she likes to play. Heck, I am not even sure she knows what love means to her.

Authenticity, right? How often has she said one thing, but her actions point to the opposite ?

So why are you are so sure she is telling you the truth now? Think about it.

If I had to guess. . .you want to believe. Nothing wrong with that BTW.

However if she is still lying about minor things why would she not lie about bigger things too. You said it yourself she doesn't even know why she lies.

The scariest lies are ones she has told herself. She has to dig through those and see them as they really are versus what she told herself to feel better about making choices she knew was wrong.

[This message edited by numb&dumb at 9:17 PM, Wednesday, June 15th]

Dday 8/31/11. EA/PA. Lied to for 3 years.

Bring it, life. I am ready for you.

posts: 5034   ·   registered: May. 17th, 2010
id 8740385
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