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Wayward Side :
Lost and Confused


 MrsStrangelove (original poster new member #80364) posted at 8:34 PM on Monday, June 6th, 2022

My husband is DrStrangeLove. He has been posting on the site since March, when he discovered the affair and has recommended that it might help gain perspective and guidance. I joined the PTA in September 2021 and was part of a committee of 3 people. We planned events for the students and coming off of two years of no events due to COVID, our committee was extremely busy. During that time I developed a relationship with one of the members of the committee. What began as a harmless flirtation quickly developed into a physical affair. In December he kissed me a few times. The first time was at a PTA dinner, where his wife was in attendance. Early January we slept together for the first time. Writing these words still seems unreal and feels like a lifetime ago. To my husband it is still so new. In those moments during the affair I felt I was on a drug. High from the excitement, the secrecy, the passion. When I was pulled back to reality I noticed so many downs. I was keeping this huge secret from my family, living a double life, missing dinners to be with my AP. Conjunctionally I was drinking every night. This wasn't something was new - I had been hiding the drinking from my husband for fear of judgement, but the drinking became worse 3-4 drinks a night and mostly liquor. I would wake up, hungover and feel the exact same way I did the day before - unhappy, clouded head. My relationship with my husband became quite toxic. What might seem like small fights to some I made them a big deal - I felt hugely criticized all times and my tolerance of him became quite short. He couldn't do anything right and the things he was doing wrong or made me upset, I went straight to my mom. Telling her that my husband was incompetent - having the most cruel, humiliating conversations. My mom knew about the affair - but I didn't share all the awful details (unprotected sex, befriending the AP's wife at drinks one night, coming home late to dinner with my family because I would see him after work occasionally). I'd text my AP while I was on the couch with my husband. My AP would work late and ask if I could "sneak" out of the house. Knowing I never could, but one night I tried to sneak out and popped the screen out of my bathroom window. He told me to pop it back in and that he wasn't stopping by. He always kept me at an arms length - seeing that know that I was just sex to him. What I thought was a genuine friendship was purely sex. This was confirmed during the day of the reveal. I called him and told him my husband knew. His last words were "so you're not going to parent night next month, right?" But what did I expect. In those few days following the reveal were unreal. I couldn't stop lying. The first two stories were fabricated - more sanitized versions of the truth. My husband finally threatened divorce and that was it - I cracked. Shared every last detail - every single sex act we did, what abhorrent things I said about my husband. Those first couple of weeks were unbearable. Watching my husband in complete shock, completely devastated that his world crumbled in front of him. He found out about my drinking and the thousands of dollars of debt I was in. I'm 38 years old and in writing this I can't believe my life was in such disarray. I didn't have a marriage, I didn't create a partnership I isolated myself. I closed myself off.

My husband has been asking me for open honest transparency, no more defensiveness, no criticism while he is learning to heal. I'm mostly struggling with the defensiveness. For example, my husband reached out to my AP's wife this past Saturday to see how she was doing and how the kids were coping with the separation. In those moments I felt complete rejection and I lashed out. He hadn't been receptive to me not to my touches, not wanting to talk. He was honestly completely depressed - I know he is grieving. Grieving for someone who is still physically here.

I have felt completely attacked and defensiveness is the only thing I know how to gain control, steak ground. But my couple's therapist has mentioned I have no ground to steak. I need to re-build a marriage and stop victimizing myself and change my method of thinking. You read all of the posts on my husband's thread and so many people say I can't do it. I will not change - I'm too selfish, victimize myself too much, mind like a child. Over the weekend I watched this great youtube video "Are you on the Coaster?" Reframing the power struggle post discovery. I need to realize there is an unequal balance that goes into this. I need to prioritize my marriage before my needs. As I'm sure you're all reading that I need to work on myself a lot during IC.

I have been very lost during this process agreeing to things that I might not necessarily agree to because of the risk of losing my marriage, grasping on to any reality. The truth is I feel like a huge failure and I am very much hoping I can pick up these pieces for the sake of my marriage.

[This message edited by MrsStrangelove at 5:02 PM, Saturday, June 11th]

Me: WW, 38
Him: BS, 38
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (EA and PA)
DDay: 3/22
Status: Attempting R

posts: 3   ·   registered: Jun. 6th, 2022   ·   location: United States
id 8738916

forgettableDad ( member #72192) posted at 8:52 PM on Monday, June 6th, 2022

You read all of the posts on my husband's thread and so many people say I can't do it. I will not change - I'm too selfish, victimize myself too much, mind like a child.

While the SI community can be very helpful (with the right dose of reality), in the end we're all just a bunch of anonymous voices on the internet. It's up to you in the real world to decide whether you can change or not.

The truth is I feel like a huge failure and I am very much hoping I can pick up these pieces for the sake of my marriage.

You should pick up the pieces for your sake. You'll need to work through therapy to let go of the marriage you had - doesn't mean to give up on your husband and family, but it means to separate between internal change and external motivations.

He found out about my drinking and the thousands of dollars of debt I was in. I'm 38 years old and in writing this I can't believe my life was in such disarray. I didn't have a marriage, I didn't create a partnership I isolated myself. I closed myself off.

I.. I was in the same boat (so to speak). Ended in heaps of debt, nearly ruined my life and family. The only way to climb out from that hole is slowly, honestly and with a plan. Sit down and face your bank account, make a budget. Stick to it; find a good therapist, throw yourself into the work to dig up. It's hard going. It's going to take time (years most likely, took 3 years for me to get out of debt). Try to find a way to make a healthy space, both you and your partner will need that to heal.

Good luck, hard road; but worth it (whether your relationship works out or not).

posts: 301   ·   registered: Dec. 1st, 2019
id 8738923

Jorge ( member #61424) posted at 10:18 PM on Monday, June 6th, 2022

You've taken a few courageous steps and are to be commended. Posting here is another big step. While you have a ways to go, do not fail to give yourself credit for the enormous advances you've made thus far. They're building blocks you can benefit from if you allow yourself to see yourself as a committed rebuilder of yourself and marriage.

Ninety-five percent of this process is believing you can and will. Any doubt will reduce your chances of reconciling to a small fraction. I challenge you to challenge yourself into becoming something you may not believe you were capable of yesterday, last week, last month or 6 months ago.

I think your success also hinges on two things. The speed of which you can be remorseful (doesn't start until you can focus more on him and less on your own shame and despair) and how your husband can accept the fact/reality that if your AP was sincere with you and left his wife, you would be with him today. It will be very hard or next to impossible for him to think any differently, so in moving forward he will have to accept this and manage it well enough to recommit to you and the marriage.

You two have a chance still and I hope it will work out. I think whether it works out or not is more in your hands than it is in his. He's demonstrated significant patience, understanding and hope with you. I recognize his relentlessness to reconcile can be overbearing and overwhelming, but it's the cost of reconciling. If you can absorb this cost and prioritize his recovery in a remorseful way, June of 2023 can be a month you return to this site posting under the "positive reconciliation stories" post. Wouldn't that be great? It's still possible.

posts: 718   ·   registered: Nov. 14th, 2017   ·   location: Pennsylvania
id 8738939

DaddyDom ( member #56960) posted at 10:55 PM on Monday, June 6th, 2022


I haven't read any of your husband's posts, just FYI. This is good since it allows me to read this with no bias or expectations.

First off, welcome to SI. My wife suggested that I come here too. That was 6 years ago. We're both still here and still working through things together. I mention that only because I think it speaks to the support you can find here. Everyone here, every single one of us, has walked in your shoes, struggled with the same pain, and have the same regrets. You are not alone here, and the people you meet, are safe, and trying to help. (Fair warning though, sometimes tough love, or what we call "2x4's" is something we need to expect. Don't see it as an attack. See it as another point of view that should at least be considered).

The first year after D-day is tough, very tough. The BS is typically on an emotional roller coaster, and literally experiences PTSD-like symptoms, like mind-movies and outbursts. I know you want to help your BS through this and we'll do all we can to help, but just be aware that your biggest concern right now is you and your own emotional health. It's really important to figure out why this happened. And you are doing great so far, looking at what your needs were, such as wanting the attention, the excitement, etc. Now, you'll need to dig deeper. Why did you need that attention? Why were you willing to destroy your own integrity and dignity for this? Why were you willing to destroy your husband, perhaps your family? And why do you feel so defensive?

One key lesson that you will learn here is that each spouse must heal in their own ways, and in their own time. We can't help them heal any more than we could help a broken bone heal faster, but what we can do is not make things worse in the meantime. The other thing we can do is fix ourselves. Everyone (WS's) tends to come in the door asking, "How can I save my marriage?" Which is a good question. To be honest, sometimes, infidelity is just a deal-breaker. I'd say that is usually the case. So be aware of that. But, if you are to have a chance, then what would help? Well, first off, give your spouse a reason to rethink being with you. How are you different today than you were on D-day? How are you safer to be around? If you still get defensive, that must feel to him as if you are still not ready to own your actions and choices. He needs to see that you love yourself more. He needs to see that you are willing to put in the hard work, and it is a lot of hard work, to show him you're worth the risk to stay with. That you will do anything to change, and anything to help him that you can.

Please keep coming back. Browse "The Healing Library" at the top of this page for some great resources. Make sure to look at the other forums, and see what other BS's and WS's are talking about. Keep going to IC. And keep working on those "why's".

Me: WS
BS: ISurvivedSoFar
D-Day Nov '16
Status: Reconciling
"I am floored by the amount of grace and love she has shown me in choosing to stay and fight for our marriage. I took everything from her, and yet she chose to forgive me."

posts: 1299   ·   registered: Jan. 18th, 2017
id 8738944

BraveSirRobin ( Guide #69242) posted at 11:32 PM on Monday, June 6th, 2022

I have been very lost during this process agreeing to things that I might not necessarily agree to because of the risk of losing my marriage, grasping on to any reality.

This reactivity is normal. Affairs start in lies, and the very first lies are the ones we tell ourselves. After the A, we realize how we twisted reality, but it's not as simple as "everything I thought was true was wrong, and therefore the opposite of what I thought must be right." Cheating is never justified, but unhappiness may be. If we just nod and try to force that opposing narrative down --instead of taking a deep breath and figuring out if and how we can embrace it authentically -- then something inside us rebels and fires the gunpowder of our built up resentments. Rage feels so much more familiar and powerful than fear. Suddenly, we're back believing all the lies we told ourselves, and then our BS tells us they're done and want to D, and then that safe, empowering rage dissolves into terror and the willingness to do anything to fix it. Rinse and repeat until one party gives up.

I'm glad you opted for a stop sign, because I have a feeling that your story will take a lot of unpacking, and you're best off in the hands of people who have lived the wayward mindset. That doesn't mean we're going to coddle or enable you. All of us had to face what we did and atone for it, and most of us are still a work in progress. The stop sign won't keep you safe from criticism. But you will know that those words come from fellow travelers on the same road, and we're all here to give each other an arm to lean on.


posts: 2834   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8738949

Bor9455 ( member #72628) posted at 12:14 AM on Tuesday, June 7th, 2022

Welcome to SI, a place neither BS/WS ever want to join. When we take our vows of marriage, I do not believe any of us ever think we will be in a place like this, whether we are the BS or the WS.

Have you taken a look at the Healing Library and looked into some of the resources here that can help you on your new journey. If you haven't already, look into getting "How to Help Your Spouse Heal from Your Affair: A Compact Manual for the Unfaithful" by Linda MacDonald. It is a short read, but a good place to start for someone in your shoes and there are some parts of the book that can help you to understand more deeply what has been done to your husband and your marriage.

Myself - BH & WH - 35 years (05/24/1985)Her - BW & WW - 34 years (05/25/1986)<P>D-Day for WW's EA - October 2017D-Day no it turned PA - February 01, 2020

posts: 237   ·   registered: Jan. 21st, 2020   ·   location: Miami
id 8738963

 MrsStrangelove (original poster new member #80364) posted at 4:58 PM on Saturday, June 11th, 2022

I'd like to thank everyone for the kind words of wisdom. I wanted to share an update. Over the last few days we went on a family vacation. Yes, I'm sure you're all thinking - why are they going on a family vacation 11 weeks post reveal?! We went to the same location we went only 1 week prior to the physical affair starting. This ultimately ended in a trigger for my husband. To me, I felt so incredibly lucky to be part of this experience. The last time we were there I remember feeling so distant, so incredibly stressed and sad. Negativity consumed me. This time I wanted to be present, enjoy every minute and be grateful that I was there as a family of 4. Day 3 I was lying in bed and tears starting streaming down my face completely devastated for ruining my husband and family. All I kept repeating in my head was "why did I ruin a perfectly good person?" My husband put on a brave face this entire vacation. I know that his patience was running thin and he hasn't been sleeping well. Looking into his eyes I could just see the complete hurt and it crushes my heart every day knowing that I caused that pain. My actions have caused him this pain that he is suffering. Unfortunately I cannot turn back time. What I can do is be here and present every day. What I can do is rebuild the walls in our marriage.

I am reading Not "Just Friends" and I have found the book extremely relatable. In the two days following the reveal I wasn't completely honest with my story. It wasn't until day 3 when divorce was threatened that I was able to disclose EVERY detail. During the affair I was able to compartmentalize my affair from my husband and family. I 'thought' I was playing the role of a "good" wife/mother - but looking back I was miserable, picked fights, often had a short temper and saw my negativity spiraling each day. Those days of interrogation felt like torture, but over time - I realized those are the details that he needs to heal. He wasn't asking anything to be hurtful - he wanted to know for his own healing.

My journey is to understand why I chose distance, why I focused on negativity and why I felt cheating was even an option. My actions have forever changed our lives.

Me: WW, 38
Him: BS, 38
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (EA and PA)
DDay: 3/22
Status: Attempting R

posts: 3   ·   registered: Jun. 6th, 2022   ·   location: United States
id 8739742

BraveSirRobin ( Guide #69242) posted at 3:30 AM on Sunday, June 12th, 2022

All I kept repeating in my head was "why did I ruin a perfectly good person?"

And what did your head respond?

Don't get me wrong: it's good for your BS to see that you regret your choices and are starting to clearly see the impact on your marriage and family. You might need a period of just absorbing that ugly reality. The next step, however, is digging deeper to find the answers to that question.

With so many people already invested in your husband's story, you will feel an overwhelming urge to say what you know the membership wants you to say. If you talk about your own fears, resentments, and struggles, you may meet with censure -- whereas "I'm a worthless piece of shit who should and does hate herself" will always find receptive readers. But if you give in to the temptation to be performative in exchange for approval, you're not going to make any progress towards authenticity. That's what a successful R requires.

I'm not saying your feelings aren't genuine. I'm saying that they are just the beginning of the journey.


posts: 2834   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8739811

sundance ( member #72129) posted at 3:40 PM on Sunday, June 12th, 2022

mrsstrangelove: I have been very lost during this process agreeing to things that I might not necessarily agree to because of the risk of losing my marriage, grasping on to any reality. The truth is I feel like a huge failure and I am very much hoping I can pick up these pieces for the sake of my marriage.

Well, the good news about being a huge failure (and failing) is in understanding/knowing that each new days brings a new opportunity to get things right.

Part of getting things right means that you learn how to communicate your true and honest thoughts (with yourself, your H, in all aspects of life). I highly recommend that you discuss openly with your MC those things that you feel you are "agreeing to that you might not necessarily agree to because of the risk of losing my marriage."

While your version of reality-- and who you are-- and what you did-- may change and evolve as you go through this healing process, remember to honor your voice and stay true to who you believe yourself to be.

Feeling lost and confused is understandable; however, being the wayward spouse does not require you to embrace untruths about yourself or your situation. The goal to recovery (both personal and marital), imho, is to find peace and understanding through honest, humble reflection.

Rooting for you, your marriage, and your family. In kindness, Sunny

Rusty: You scared?Linus: You suicidal?Rusty: Only in the morning.

posts: 142   ·   registered: Nov. 21st, 2019
id 8739850

 MrsStrangelove (original poster new member #80364) posted at 2:58 PM on Monday, June 13th, 2022

"And what did your head respond?"

My head responded with the fact that I'm selfish. I felt I couldn't talk to my husband because I thought I would have been me with resistance, but the fact is, I didn't even give him a chance to know what I was doing until it was too late. My selfishness, impulsivity, and need for validation caused a horrible chain of events. My husband is not sleeping, I am walking on egg shells because I fear that I am going to have a "wrong thought." Two days ago we got into a lengthy discussion about how he felt rejected because I didn't want to have sex. Our sex life in our marriage was primarily my fault. I wasn't "in the mood" often and would make things negative and it worsened over time. Post affair I feel our sex life has been good - sometimes twice a day. But at times I feel like it isn't good enough. As my husband has mentioned, I eagerly had sex with my AP - I was his "sex toy" and requested things that I didn't request during our marriage. Post affair I think our sex life has been healthy and frequent but he wants it more "virtually always." Even last night we had a great conversation about it, we had sex last night and went to bed. Then this morning I went to get the kids ready for school and he came down andwas told me that it would have been nice if we fooled around this morning. I understand his need to not go back to a sexless marriage. I understand I made him feel rejected for years. The comment this morning made me feel like I'm not giving enough. Have other WS had the same struggles?

Me: WW, 38
Him: BS, 38
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (EA and PA)
DDay: 3/22
Status: Attempting R

posts: 3   ·   registered: Jun. 6th, 2022   ·   location: United States
id 8739951

MIgander ( member #71285) posted at 3:43 PM on Monday, June 13th, 2022

Yup, early on it was hysterical bonding mode, for sure. Then periods of "I'm too gross to offer my body to you" followed by, "WW, you disgust me" and finally, after about the 2.5yr mark, me opening up and exploring what I like instead of frantically trying to please him.

Funny, there's a saying that the biggest sexual organ is the brain. Also another saying that "foreplay takes all day." Basically meaning, if your head and heart aren't in the right spot, you're going to over think, over analyze, be anxious, self conscious and basically NOT THERE in the moment.

If you read, "Man's search for meaning" by Frankel, there's an interesting section in the back about a "frigid" female patient (old school term for women who don't enjoy sex). He worked with her to overcome her self consciousness and anxiety so she could be fully present and in the moment during sex with her husband. Funnily enough, her problems with "frigidity" eventually were overcome by her work resolving her own internal anxieties and insecurities. This kind of work has helped me too.

Sex isn't perfect still. There's a lot of days where I have trouble being present and in the moment. There's also more days where I can be. Before the A, I would use sex as a way to get the tenderness and affection I craved from H. I would also use it as a means to ensure he didn't leave me. Sex wasn't about sex and enjoyment then. It was a survival technique. As long as we weren't doing anything painful or degrading to me, I would just mechanically do it.

You're still in early days. See the hysterical bonding for what it is and offer it as he needs it. Again, don't let yourself be put in painful positions or degrading situations with it.

Don't tolerate degrading talk either. Once that starts, in bed or out of it, it is reinforced and harder to eradicate and heal from later on if it's allowed. You may feel you deserve it, but really, HE doesn't deserve to be allowed to speak to you like that- it damages HIM more and degrades HIM. If you remind him of it when he's doing it, "I have to take a break from this discussion, I am overwhelmed by this language. It cannot continue- I cannot bear to see you behave in a way that is hurting yourself further. We can come back to this topic when I have calmed down, in X minutes."

Good luck. The first year is a wild ride and the hardest. Keep it up with the IC and self care. And remember, if you need to take a time out or set any boundaries, I statements and NOT you statements.

WW/BW Dday July 2019. BH/WH- multiple EA's. Back at it again- bantering w the younger woman. Lied about blocking phone calls and deleted texts. Carried on with her.

Nothing changes if nothing changes.

posts: 773   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
id 8739958

hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 5:57 PM on Monday, June 13th, 2022

Hi, Fellow WS here.

This stuff is so hard to navigate, especially when emotions run high. There is nothing that you have said that hasn't been said or felt by most WS who have found themselves here so believe us when we say we understand where you are.

As BSR said, these are early days. I see you are reading "Not just friends", I hope you will consider following up with "How to help your spouse heal". I am going to give you an outline of a plan as a life preserver, but you will falter and struggle for some time to come. Try and come back to a plan like this, even if it's not my exact one.

1. IC will be needed, I have seen bits and pieces of your husband's thread. I really think in many ways Marriage counseling this early out might not be as productive as individual IC for you, and possibly for your husband to help him with his coping.

2. Find your whys. I am going to give a lot of food for thought here, but know I am not asking you to answer these questions for the forum. This is for you to journal, talk, work through. If you wish to share to get feedback, great, but I am not expecting answers right now. This is a long process that takes some centering. It's early so it's hard right now not to feel like everything is on fire and this causes such big fears that it can eclipse the sound mind needed to really do great introspection on yourself. Still, if you focus on it enough the answers will slowly come. Some things to know about whys:

Whys are internal to you, they are not about your relationship, they are not an excuse, they are things that are conditions within you that made you turn to cheating, allowed you to continue the cheating. You may find it easier think in broader terms, why was I so unhappy? Did I understand and/or communicate my needs throughout my marriage? Did I do it in a constructive way in which I could be heard? Whatever goes on your why list become insight on what you need to work on to change in order to become a safe partner in the future, and also to become a happier, healthier, adult. I am not saying it's about the marriage, but the reason I gave the examples I did is often we conducted our marriage/life in ways that did not support our own happiness. Our happiness was our responsibility and we kept handing it over to others to give us those feelings. I personally realized that I actually blamed my husband over the years and had some pretty big unconscious resentments towards him. But I was resenting him for things that were my responsibility. Accountability starts with understanding what our actions are and have been and how they contribute to the result.

3. The dynamic for the next short while may be one both of you find hard to heal in. Emotions are high, and you are triggering each other like crazy. For most WS, cheating and being caught is probably the biggest validation of our secret beliefs that we are really a shitty person. Know that at this stage shame is a double edged sword - The BS almost needs to see it, but for both of you it's a useless thing that just sucks the energy out of everything. Shame is something that has been with you far before you had this affair and got caught, now it's a steady snowball running down a hill gaining speed and significance.

Sure, we need to feel shitty and shame sometimes to precipitate a change, but it's not going to help you with your change. A book that helped me see that my shame kept me from being vulnerable and authentic in my marriage is called "Rising Strong" by Brene Brown. Try to get that title in soon as well. It's relateable, and will help you frame this shame and guilt in a different way that you can actually use it better.

4. Make sure to tell the truth, the whole truth, always. You are on a ticking time bomb to start building enough trust that he can even consider Reconciliation. Any slippage of that will backfire terribly. It's amazing what us WS will hold back because we think it's the straw that broke the camel's back. It can't get worse for your husband, with the only exception that he finds himself betrayed again even in the most minor ways.

5. Self care is important here. It seems very contradictory when you are feeling like you are the most selfish person on earth. However, usually selfishness comes from feelings of "lack". People who are overly selfish, or overly selfless are both trying to accomplish the same thing - finding a way to fill a void they do not understand why they have. You have to put the oxygen mask on first before you can help anyone else. Set aside a little time each day for things like:

-a few minutes for gratitude. I actually made myself write down 3-5 things each day of things I was thankful for each day. Then, review and really reflect on the joy those small things bring. This sounds idiotic given how on fire your life is, but this will start to ground you, and eventually help you re-wire your brain. The less "lack" we feel, the more abundant we become. The more abundant we are internally, the more we have to give others. It's essentially a great way to begin balancing your selfishness.

- Exercise, Sunlight, hydration - You are used to getting your dopamine from the affair. You need to deal with the chemical aspects of your moods as much as possible. Certain foods are great for building seratonin. Setting small goals and crushing them. You need to focus on how you can work on your own happiness. This is the same principle as already stated - you create more abundance that gives you energy for everyone else -it's your oxygen mask.

6. Become more aware of your self-talk, thoughts, etc. Meditation and other mindfulness exercises can help you with this. But *THIS* is one of the most powerful sources of your recovery. When I started I noticed how much I catastrophize, my self defeating internal dialogue was always with me and ready to berate, punish, or enable me towards things that were not helping me. Our thoughts are our most powerful tool or downfall because everything comes from them - they guide what we say to other people, our behaviors, everything. This can be assisted with some of the other activities already mentioned. Journaling is helpful, asking your IC for guidance on this work is also very helpful because they can start working with where those came from. Lots of it was learned in childhood because that's where we adopt most of our coping mechanisms. You will need to know what all those are and where they come from in order to start changing those patterns.

A couple last thoughts about working on your relationship and helping your husband. Generally, WS at first feel mostly guilt and shame. Those are about OUR Feelings. This is why guilt and shame being held tightly will actually be detrimental at some point moving forward. You won't be able to help it for a while. But, become very curious about your husband - his thoughts, his emotions, what this has done to him. The more you can sit and listen and ask questions, the more empathy and remorse you will be able to build. Remorse IS useful. Unlike Guilt and Shame, they are about identifying with how we made someone else feel. I think in the beginning both parties are so fragile that it's very difficult for us to sit with some of that. Our shame totally gets in the way. A lot of your defensiveness is coming from that place.

One thing that helps a lot, but it's early for both of you and not everyone can adopt this out of the gate. Let go of the outcome. What does that mean? It means, the outcome both of you need the most is your own personal healing. That sounds backwards, but if you do not work on you, you are not going to be able to save the relationship. If the focus is all on saving the relationship, then you are going to continue to agree to things you don't want to and undoing those things after the fact is going to be hard. The biggest problem with trying to control the outcome is that it leads directly to manipulation. I don't even mean that in a sinister way, it's a pitfall most of us experience as we try and convince our spouse to give us a second chance. We often feel like we'd trade anything for that, but that's the type of thinking we are trying to move away from. I recommended to your husband, and I will do it for you here - think out a divorce. Not to get one, but to take the fear out of it. Fear is not your friend. You need to get to a place (as does he) that you know you will be okay no matter what. It's only from this place can we rationally, methodically, and authentically work on the things that truly need worked on. I suspect if you manage to follow this (it's super hard, I was probably somewhere in year two when I finally was able to embrace this) that your relationship actually has the best chance. I am sure it sounds counterintuitive to you at this moment, but I wrote it for you to mull over and revisit, it will eventually sink in.

Lastly - know there are many people who have been in your shoes. We can offer compassion, but no sympathy. You are aware these are actions you have brought on yourself so I expect you understand this statement. When we give you hard things to think about it's because it's what is best for you. I would keep posting for now, but know that sometimes both people being on this site has backfired for some couples in the past. Mostly because it's very difficult for some folks here to not feel triggered by your husbands story or things you may say as a new wayward and I have seen it get toxic. It doesn't always but if either of you suspect that it happening, consider the fact this a website with all gradients of levels of healing. It's natural for people to project their situation sometimes if what is being said is triggering to them. That's why we say take what you need and leave the rest. If at some point you post without a stop sign, do not feel like you have to answer those types of posts. Your shame will be triggered and it will not be productive towards your end goals.

It will get better, it takes time and patience. I wish you both well.

[This message edited by hikingout at 6:06 PM, Monday, June 13th]

5 years of hard work

posts: 6113   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8739980

sundance ( member #72129) posted at 9:50 PM on Monday, June 13th, 2022

MrsSL said: he came down and told me that it would have been nice if we fooled around this morning. I understand his need to not go back to a sexless marriage. I understand I made him feel rejected for years. The comment this morning made me feel like I'm not giving enough. Have other WS had the same struggles?

yes, I do think it's common for the BS to fixate on/desire the thing that is most important to them, and that they feel their WS "gave away" to the AP.

i do recommend that you continue to meet his need for sex-- and yes, imho, it does sound like you are attempting to meet this need.

that being said, i think it's perfectly fine to set "soft" boundaries in regards to the timing of the sex-- ie: first thing in the morning when the kids need attention may not be the best option. remember to offer alternate choices if/when you feel the need to say no. ex: let me grab cereal for the kids, and i'll be up in a sec to meet you in the shower ... or whatever you think will work best for both of your busy schedules.

edited for clarity

[This message edited by sundance at 4:19 PM, Tuesday, June 14th]

Rusty: You scared?Linus: You suicidal?Rusty: Only in the morning.

posts: 142   ·   registered: Nov. 21st, 2019
id 8740025
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