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I Can Relate :
BS Questions for WS - Part 15

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Howcthappen ( member #80775) posted at 6:37 PM on Monday, January 16th, 2023

Is it really that you don’t think about the AP 3 years out UNTIL I bring her up?

Three years since DdayNever gonna be the sameReconcilingThe sting is still present

posts: 225   ·   registered: Aug. 30th, 2022   ·   location: DC
id 8773552
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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 3:16 AM on Tuesday, January 17th, 2023

Hi-

So 3 years out is it possible he doesn’t think about her?

Yes that is very possible. Men especially can be great compartmentalizers. Some women can do this as well but in what I have seen and read men do this better than we do.

I am almost six years out. Initially I thought about him a lot. Probably for about six months afterwards. Then it went to trying to understand why I did what I did. That was a process that went on for a year. But even during that time I would say my thoughts surrounding him were not positive ones, more analytical if anything. He kind of became a thing rather than a person. Hard to explain that.

Three years out I definitely was not thinking of him. I thought about my poor decisions. Even when I speak here of him now it’s not really about him, more about the thing I did.

I don’t have strong emotions about him, I do not consider that I was a good person at that time so I do not think that he was either. I feel like we used each other really.

So what your husband is saying could be true. Do you feel he is remorseful? I do not think you can fake remorse long term and I do not think you can be remorseful and have positive feelings about the AP. Generally, I think my AP was as messed up as I was back then and that I didn’t really know him, I only saw what I wanted to at the time.

7 years of hard work - WS and BS - Reconciled

posts: 7297   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8773595
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denwickdroylsden ( member #51744) posted at 12:13 PM on Friday, January 20th, 2023

Is it really that you don’t think about the AP 3 years out UNTIL I bring her up?

BW hasn't brought up AP in years. We've done the rug-sweep and it's just not an element in our M any more.

That said, 10 years out, I can't say I think about AP every day any more. Don't know where she is. I think I've just thought about it to exhaustion and there's not much need for it any more and not much energy for it any more. What I did, to AP and especially to W, was despicable. I'd rather not think about AP but I feel it necessary to remind myself of what I'm capable of, to stay real with myself. I can't make amends to AP any more but I can and do with my W every day.

Me: WH frequent flyerNow on straight and narrow.
Paragraphing: Try it. You'll like it.

posts: 66   ·   registered: Feb. 9th, 2016
id 8773974
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Howcthappen ( member #80775) posted at 7:45 PM on Friday, January 20th, 2023

Denwick-

How long did you think of your AP after DDay?
Did you break no contact ever?

And lastly if you care to discuss—— it feels to me like you had a desire to make amends with the AP? Is that correct? Why does she deserve it when she was also capable of such disgusting deception?

Three years since DdayNever gonna be the sameReconcilingThe sting is still present

posts: 225   ·   registered: Aug. 30th, 2022   ·   location: DC
id 8774128
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Howcthappen ( member #80775) posted at 8:14 PM on Friday, January 20th, 2023

During an argument/venting session my husband yelled-
"I pray everyday for God to take your pain away! I want that for you more than I want anything in the world."

Did you get to the point where you had this desire? When did you get there? In your opinion was it empathetic or so you could just not see the pain you caused.

Three years since DdayNever gonna be the sameReconcilingThe sting is still present

posts: 225   ·   registered: Aug. 30th, 2022   ·   location: DC
id 8774130
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achilles1101 ( member #74132) posted at 4:09 AM on Saturday, January 21st, 2023

What about women that do both? My WW seemed to compartmentalize everything but also vilified me. How does that work?

Me: BH 56
Her: WW 49 Midlyfewife
Married 20 years, two children
D DAY 1: May 2019 confronted with evidence of PA, sexting, copped to one incident and the sexting
D Day 2: April 2020, after contacting OBS, confessed to 4.5 year long PA, AP much younger

posts: 366   ·   registered: Apr. 1st, 2020   ·   location: NorCal
id 8774177
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BraveSirRobin ( member #69242) posted at 1:28 PM on Saturday, January 21st, 2023

Did you get to the point where you had this desire? When did you get there? In your opinion was it empathetic or so you could just not see the pain you caused.

For me it was both, and I imagine that's usually the case. It's hard to watch someone you love in pain, especially pain that you caused, and it's hard to rebuild yourself when someone frequently reminds you what a piece of shit you've been. I don't mean that those conversations shouldn't happen, or that you don't have a right to vent, but it's understandably hard to hear it. I think anyone would look forward to the day when that pressure lets up, even if their top priority is their spouse's healing.

WW/BW

posts: 3636   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8774194
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BraveSirRobin ( member #69242) posted at 1:41 PM on Saturday, January 21st, 2023

What about women that do both? My WW seemed to compartmentalize everything but also vilified me. How does that work?

Yeah, I think you can have both. Vilification is a way of justifying what you're doing, and compartmentalization is a way of pretending you aren't doing it. Combining them creates the layers of self-protection you often see in narcissism:

I didn't do it,
And if I did, it didn't really matter,
And if it did, it's your fault for driving me to it.

I was 95% compartmentalizer and maybe 5% blameshifter when it came to my A, but I was a veteran blame shifter in other areas of my life.

WW/BW

posts: 3636   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8774195
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denwickdroylsden ( member #51744) posted at 3:50 PM on Saturday, January 21st, 2023

Howcthappen - I still think of AP from time to time. Mostly with regret and disgust with myself.

A few months after DD, AP broke contact via text. I ignored her and told BW about it.

But that made me realize that the way I had ended things had been very abrupt and cruel. AP had bought into us 100% (whereas I was just a player) and she deserved (I thought at the time) a kinder ending than that. So I broke NC to apologize for my cruel conduct toward her (all via email, no personal contact). That was a huge mistake. Though my intentions were good, they were also warped. AP got her chance to vent but then it became clear she wanted to resume things, which I did not. I pulled the plug again. I then disclosed all of this to BW. She was of course not happy, and we had quite a row. But then we managed to rugsweep that like we did with everything else and are still together. I have been 100% straight ever since.

Moral of this immoral story is that once I started down the infidelity path, everything that happened was eventually hurtful and damaging to all concerned. Not just the perpetrators. The A was like a toxic cloud that poisoned everything it touched. I am well rid of it, but nothing like this is ever really over. The consequences linger forever.

Me: WH frequent flyerNow on straight and narrow.
Paragraphing: Try it. You'll like it.

posts: 66   ·   registered: Feb. 9th, 2016
id 8774206
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cedarwoods ( member #82760) posted at 4:30 PM on Saturday, January 21st, 2023

Hello
My first time posting.
Married 30 years with grown children.
WH and I are reconciling after he had a 1 year physical affair with a business colleague. It’s been six months since the affair ended. He appears to be remorseful. I can see it in his face when he apologizes. He may still miss her but I don’t believe there has been any contact.
The hurdle we keep encountering is his shame. I don’t bring up the affair often because I don’t need to know the details. I know enough. But when I do, he shuts down. He says it’s because he’s ashamed and embarrassed. He doesn’t want to talk about the past and "move on". He’s not open to therapy nor is he reading books on infidelity recovery. He seems to just want to forget it ever happened. Did any of you go through something similar as a wayward spouse? If so, how did you get over it? Is there anything I can do?

posts: 211   ·   registered: Jan. 20th, 2023   ·   location: USA
id 8774210
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sadcb ( new member #82731) posted at 1:19 AM on Monday, January 23rd, 2023

I apologize if this question has already been asked before, but I was wondering if there's actually any truth and validity to the idea of being "addicted" to the AP/affair. To me, it obviously sounds like an excuse and I have a hard time believing that there's some external factor that's making it hard/impossible for him to cut contact with the AP. After all, no one is holding a gun to his head and telling him to make these choices. He can stop at anytime if he really valued me and our marriage, but he has not tried even once to cut her off. Even when I gave him the choice between filing the rest of the divorce papers and blocking her, he still did not block her and when I asked him why he couldn't, his response was that he didn't have an answer. So does this addiction really exist, or is he just being selfish?

I only ask because I do feel guilty for being dismissive about his feelings, but he honestly hasn't shown me that he's actually remorseful since he never attempted to cut the AP off.

posts: 8   ·   registered: Jan. 15th, 2023
id 8774353
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BraveSirRobin ( member #69242) posted at 1:51 AM on Monday, January 23rd, 2023

I was wondering if there's actually any truth and validity to the idea of being "addicted" to the AP/affair.

The short answer is yes. Affairs can trigger all kinds of euphoric brain chemicals. Combine that with the psychological appeal of romantic and sexual validation, and it's quite a high. (It isn't exclusive to affairs, either. "New relationship energy," or NRE, can make people behave like idiots even when there's no infidelity involved.) I was not thinking clearly in the aftermath of D-Day because those adoration ego kibbles felt so good.

That didn't absolve me of anything, though, and it doesn't absolve your WH. Just like other addictions, there are options to help resist temptation and break free of unhealthy behavior. There's always a choice, and making a bad choice carries consequences.

If my BH was addicted to meth and not making any effort to quit, I wouldn't feel guilty about cutting him off. Even if he was trying, that wouldn't obligate me to forget the pain he inflicted on me in an addictive state. I don't think you have any reason to feel dismissive.

WW/BW

posts: 3636   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8774356
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Howcthappen ( member #80775) posted at 3:16 AM on Monday, January 23rd, 2023

This question is hard——

If you hadn’t handed over all passwords and if you didn’t know your BS was watching would you have been able to keep NC? Even now if it eased up would you be tempted?

Sometimes I feel that my husband would still have continued if I wasn’t watching constantly.

Three years since DdayNever gonna be the sameReconcilingThe sting is still present

posts: 225   ·   registered: Aug. 30th, 2022   ·   location: DC
id 8774367
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BraveSirRobin ( member #69242) posted at 4:49 AM on Monday, January 23rd, 2023

If you hadn’t handed over all passwords and if you didn’t know your BS was watching would you have been able to keep NC? Even now if it eased up would you be tempted?


AFAIK, my BH is no longer tracking me. I would never break NC. Both of us have put far too much into R for me to burn it all down out of sheer idiocy.

He wouldn't know, but I would, and I would have to tell him. I can't think of a better deterrent than that.

WW/BW

posts: 3636   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8774374
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Stillconfused2022 ( member #82457) posted at 9:00 PM on Wednesday, January 25th, 2023

I am wondering how WS feel about the information that the BS chooses not to know. I have consciously steered away from hearing the details of the kissing/feeling up/whatever else. When I have gone there at all my husband has inadvertently told me things that are now significant barriers to us staying together. Or at least they seem like barriers, because when I think of those things I think that we will definitely need to divorce someday. Why not now? I’m not sure. I guess I am hoping that although they seem like dealbreakers maybe with time I will feel differently. I became aware of the EA seven years ago but only found out it was a PA six months ago when he spontaneously decided to reveal everything. An example of one of the dealbreaker pieces of information was the fact that when they went on a hike after kissing on the top of the mountain he stood behind her with his arms around her and looked out at the view. This sounds very romantic to me and I guess I have a big problem with that. The physical stuff doesn’t bother me much. These were three separate 20 minute hikes so they could be at a place where they could make out without prying eyes. I feel like I should be pressing him more for details of whatever feelings he had, which he has denied categorically. He said he wanted to have sex with her and kept trying though she would let him past second base. I dont get this because I would have definitely had sex in this situation. Anyway, there were no texts and minimal time alone because he was her boss but they worked in a busy medical practice with many doctors and staff all around all day. She started kissing him when they could sneak behind closed doors. He said they never discussed any future over the three months but I don’t know if I should believe him. I want to know more about the FEELINGS, but then again maybe I shouldn’t know. How is this different from the rule that you shouldn’t know sex details because you will get mind movies. I get mind movies about feelings. So should I press for more or let sleeping dogs lie?

posts: 393   ·   registered: Nov. 27th, 2022   ·   location: Northeast
id 8774694
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ff4152 ( member #55404) posted at 2:13 AM on Thursday, January 26th, 2023

Hi Stillconfused

What is your gut telling you about the sincerity of your wh remorse? Do you feel he is still hiding things?

What is your gut telling you about R vs D? are you leaning towards R right now? Do you think it’s in the cards or are you secretly past the point of no return?

From what you’ve described (and maybe I’m wrong) but it sounds like your wh kept the PA portion of his affair from you for almost 7 years?

If you are considering R, I would suggest you really sit down and weigh the pros/cons for and against knowing. IMO, PA vs EA has a different impact depending on who the BS is. Some are more hurt by a PA while others find an EA more destructive. If you absolutely need to know every piece of information, you’re certainly within your right to know. For some, the unknown would drive them crazy.

But if you decide that you don’t want to know any more, that’s fine too. You can never un-hear something so I would suggest mulling over the choice for a bit longer.

Me -FWS

posts: 2103   ·   registered: Sep. 30th, 2016
id 8774746
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Stillconfused2022 ( member #82457) posted at 4:58 PM on Thursday, January 26th, 2023

ff4152,
My gut tells me he is sincerely remorseful. I believe he has revealed the facts. I am amazed he stuck through 7 years of questioning and I’m dumbfounded as to why he suddenly revealed the PA during a talk this past summer. He said he basically thought I knew (because his lies were unrealistic). I did not know but that was some intense denial on my part.

What I think he is hiding is how he FELT. Maybe not love but what about something close? He says it was all a bunch of attention seeking bs, but I want to know how he felt about her AT THE TIME. He was married to a doctor but only had eyes for his secretary, but of course none of that mattered-what a fool I was. He must have loved something about her? He liked that she was « easy to impress ». She was older than me and about equal looks level, although apparently she had a nice ass. She had no interest in any of the stuff we loved: books, Art, politics, theater, whatever. She was big on football which he has never taken any interest in. She kept telling him what a good doctor he was barf

For the WSs what feelings do you have toward your AP in a mostly attention seeking situation? Love? Fondness? Deep care?

Does everyone compare AP to spouse? (he swears he didn’t)

Do you have a feeling of love toward your AP? Or do you just see them as someone you are using for physical gratification and ego kibbles and just enjoy that experience (and not think about what feelings you have for them?)

Did you feel you had to hide whatever feelings you had for AP? (It seems an easy lie to make as no one can prove you a liar, unless the AP decides to reveal conversations)

posts: 393   ·   registered: Nov. 27th, 2022   ·   location: Northeast
id 8774785
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ff4152 ( member #55404) posted at 5:13 PM on Thursday, January 26th, 2023

Stillconfused

When I was deep into my A, I thought the sun rose and set on my AP. All the garbage you read here about thinking the AP is your soulmate is true. Now I’m not saying that’s true for every WS but it’s a fair bet that many felt that way.

Upon reflection, I think those feelings were a means to an end. Part of me knew that what I had wasn’t real. I knew that I was seeing my AP through rose colored glasses. But it didn’t stop me because I was getting what I wanted. An A is really like a drug addiction and I had to keep going back for more.

What I know now is those feelings weren’t real. It’s like a house built on sand; a relationship needs a strong foundation to thrive. An A isn’t that. I feel no sense of loss for my AP. I’m disgusted by what I did and know I can never remove the "cheater" label. While it doesn’t define who I am now, I’ll never get rid of that stain.

I would suggest giving yourself more time to ponder whether this is something you really want to know. If my experience is in any way similar to your wh, his "feelings" at that time were simply smoke in a high breeze if that makes any sense.

Me -FWS

posts: 2103   ·   registered: Sep. 30th, 2016
id 8774788
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sadcb ( new member #82731) posted at 8:54 PM on Saturday, January 28th, 2023

For the WSes who chose their APs and left their BSes - how long did it take you to wake up from the fog and did you reach out to your BSes after?

posts: 8   ·   registered: Jan. 15th, 2023
id 8775178
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BraveSirRobin ( member #69242) posted at 6:50 AM on Sunday, January 29th, 2023

For the WSs what feelings do you have toward your AP in a mostly attention seeking situation? Love? Fondness? Deep care?


I started off with a crush on the OM. If I hadn't already been attached, he was someone I would have wanted to date. I think he had the upper hand at the beginning of the A because he was notoriously commitment avoidant and used to being pursued. However, I sold my Cool Girl persona to him for long enough that serious infatuation kicked in on his side. After a few months, he was almost obsessed with me. Then I felt guilty, because I had no intention of leaving my BH to be with him. Mixed up in the guilt was gratitude towards him for seeing me as perfect (I had serious self-esteem issues and soaked validation up like a sponge) and a lot of hormones and dopamine. It felt like love, even though I didn't know him nearly well enough to love him, any more than he knew the real me. I was starting to see a frustrating and even disturbing side to him a few months in, but I resolutely tried to ignore because it didn't fit the fantasy.

Does everyone compare AP to spouse? (he swears he didn’t)


I didn't -- except to make the wince-inducing comment that they would have liked each other if they met in different circumstances. (Unfortunately, I'm not alone in that; I've seen similar statements more than once in the "Stupid Things Waywards Say" threads.) But mostly, I compartmentalized. If I didn't think about both of them at the same time, it was easier to preserve the cognitive dissonance that these were unrelated areas of my life.

Do you have a feeling of love toward your AP? Or do you just see them as someone you are using for physical gratification and ego kibbles and just enjoy that experience (and not think about what feelings you have for them?)

Yes, I really believed I loved him. Of course, love has many nuanced definitions. I don't think you can treat someone you love the way I treated my BH, and yet I certainly would have said I loved him, too. I'll also point out that there are plenty of WS who really are just using the AP and don't feel the slightest compunction about throwing them under the bus on D-Day. There's no universal truth about how WS view the AP.

Did you feel you had to hide whatever feelings you had for AP? (It seems an easy lie to make as no one can prove you a liar, unless the AP decides to reveal conversations).

I'm a little unusual in that I volunteered the worst aspects of the A (sex, "I love you") right up front. I did that because I thought I was going to get dumped over the sex, so I might as well come clean about the words. When I realized my BH was far more devastated than angry (at least at first), I scrambled to minimize and qualify my feelings for the OM. It wasn't until years later that I confessed the true scope of the EA/PA. I did some mental gymnastics in the interim to make a lot of things "unhappen" in my mind. It went beyond just "He'll never know because he won't hear it from OM." I twisted things all the way to "If I can forget it, and it's been long enough that OM might have forgotten too, does the event even exist as reality anymore?" I was quite the philosopher when it gave me cover to live with myself.

WW/BW

posts: 3636   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8775218
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