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Wayward Side :
Struggling with what "The Work" and "Owning It" in a practical sense.

Topic is Sleeping.
question

 CheatingIdiot1955 (original poster new member #82770) posted at 10:34 PM on Wednesday, June 28th, 2023

My D-Day (the day my shitty actions were discovered) was in February 2021. I am still trying to learn how the best ways to help my BW.

First off, I am trying to understand "the Work". There was a reply to lonelypilgrim by bulcy on February 28th of this year (2023) The comment was "There is an interesting thread on General that is discussing "the work" and how it is very much individual to the couple involved."

As a WS that wants to R, I am very interested in finding the post about "The Work" I have even sent messages to admins about how to search, but alas, there is no search engine, due to privacy concerns.

Number two, how do I "Own" my bad behaviors? What does it mean to own it? Okay, I have admitted to my BS that I have been involved in heinous affairs, lying, and deceptions, now what is owning it. I can clearly tell that this has caused extreme trauma, and I feel horrible for the pain I have caused. However, what does owning my terrible behaviors mean from a practical standpoint? What do I do now that I realize that the things I did were reprehensible? I simply do not understand what Owning it means and need to know on both counts, so I can help my always faithful BS.

Thank you in advance for any assistance or insights you can give me.

Me: WH She: BS Married 44 years D-day 2/26/21

posts: 4   ·   registered: Jan. 23rd, 2023   ·   location: Portland, Oregon
id 8797293
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Bulcy ( member #74034) posted at 10:52 PM on Wednesday, June 28th, 2023

I’ll take a look when I’m on my PC to see if I can find the thread.

I’m working on "owning it" and for me it has taken many stages to get where I am. I still have work to do too. I’ll respond later (probably tomorrow morning as it’s 11 pm here) with more thoughts and hopefully a link to the thread

WH (50's)

Multiple sexual, emotional and online affairs. Financial infidelity and emotional abuse. Physical abuse and intimidation.

D-days 2003, 2017, multiple d-days and TT through 2018 to 2023. 28 years of destructive and health damaging choice

posts: 356   ·   registered: Mar. 12th, 2020   ·   location: UK
id 8797297
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Bulcy ( member #74034) posted at 11:23 PM on Wednesday, June 28th, 2023

https://www.survivinginfidelity.com/topics/660395/what-would-doing-the-work-even-look-like/

This is it….posting stopped around the time I called it interesting.

WH (50's)

Multiple sexual, emotional and online affairs. Financial infidelity and emotional abuse. Physical abuse and intimidation.

D-days 2003, 2017, multiple d-days and TT through 2018 to 2023. 28 years of destructive and health damaging choice

posts: 356   ·   registered: Mar. 12th, 2020   ·   location: UK
id 8797301
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BraveSirRobin ( member #69242) posted at 2:15 AM on Thursday, June 29th, 2023

As for what "owning it" means:

https://www.survivinginfidelity.com/topics/615240/admitting-it-vs-getting-it-vs-owning-it-vs-living-it/

WW/BW

posts: 3595   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8797318
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DaddyDom ( member #56960) posted at 4:21 PM on Thursday, June 29th, 2023

https://www.survivinginfidelity.com/topics/642916/the-things-i-had-to-accept/

I posted this a while back, but it may contain some helpful POV

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: 1420   ·   registered: Jan. 18th, 2017
id 8797395
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Bor9455 ( member #72628) posted at 7:13 PM on Thursday, June 29th, 2023

Number two, how do I "Own" my bad behaviors? What does it mean to own it? Okay, I have admitted to my BS that I have been involved in heinous affairs, lying, and deceptions, now what is owning it. I can clearly tell that this has caused extreme trauma, and I feel horrible for the pain I have caused. However, what does owning my terrible behaviors mean from a practical standpoint? What do I do now that I realize that the things I did were reprehensible? I simply do not understand what Owning it means and need to know on both counts, so I can help my always faithful BS.

What have you done to work on yourself to make sure that you are a safe partner for your wife? What actions have you taken to show her that you can be trusted and you are a partner who will not do this to her again? Words mean nothing, you can swear up and down to whatever deity you pray to that you aren't going to ever cheat again, but those words mean nothing, because if they did, need I remind you that on your wedding day you took a similar vow to being faithful and you wouldn't be here on an infidelity forum if you had kept that promise. Please understand that I'm not attempting to be cruel, but it is important that you do a lot of introspection to understand what inside of you made your commitment to fidelity a conditional one.

For example, and while I'm by no means the authority on this, but it is a common theme with waywards, conflict avoidance is a really big one for a lot of waywards. There is no doubt that over the course of any relationship that your partner/spouse can do things that you disagree with or things that may even hurt you. In a healthy, functioning relationship, those grievances should be discussed in as close to real time as possible. I think all of us would say that we don't want to hurt our spouse, because that is supposed to be the person we cherish the most in this world and so if they told us that our actions were hurting them, we would inclined to listen to them. However, for conflict avoidant types, for a myriad of reasons, they tend to avoid even bringing these little issues up and instead they often build of up resentments which can grow and morph over time. It often starts out as a small grievance, like, after you had just loaded up the dishwasher and cleaned up the kitchen, your wife comes in and makes herself a snack and she leaves a small mess. If you don't say something to her, that grievance you have with her can begin to form a resentment. Pretty soon, you can begin to justify to yourself that you deserve to cheat on her because she doesn't pay attention to your needs or respect/appreciate the things you do around the house. My example may be a bit strained, but I think you get the point that your cheating on her had nothing to do with her, it had everything to do with you.

Your wife could've been the biggest deadbeat and not lifting a finger around the house or she could've been super wife where you never saw a single spec of dust, a single item out of place, your clothes washed and put away in precisely the right place and cooking you a slew of your favorite meals each night...but neither of those two extremes deserve to be cheated on and neither did they have anything to do with cheating. I would agree that marriage to the first wife sounds a bit strained or awful, which would be grounds for a discussion with her or worse, grounds for a divorce, but there is nothing your wife did or didn't do that you can pin your cheating on.

I'm not familiar with your story and you sharing it may help you get more constructive answers, but in general, affairs are the waywards attempt to escape something in their day-to-day that they are unhappy about and the affair partner is just a mirror, reflecting back to them exactly what they want to hear. I will take myself as an example, in my adult life, I've seen a variance in my weight of over 100 lbs, with the lightest I've been in the high 180s and highest right at the 300 mark. Obviously, I'm not an idiot, when I look in the mirror at the higher end of my weight range, I know that I'm not an Adonis that attracts all the ladies, but I would be lying if having a pretty woman remark on my appearance wasn't a moment where you say yourself "I've still got it". Things like that can be the little ego kibbles that start people down affairs and I think a lot of that comes back to self-love. Whether I'm 200 or 300 lbs, I've now learned to accept and love myself for who I am and love my body for what it is and not what I wish it to be and to stop being so damn insecure about what others see when they look at me. It isn't easy to do these things, but a lot of the work that has to be done post affair is self-introspection and understanding yourself better so you really understand the true root cause of why you cheated. Once you understand what about your personality made you susceptible to cheating, then you can begin to change behaviors, put new boundaries in place and work with your spouse to develop trust. I just gave an example today in another thread of how now post affair that if I get a message from a woman that isn't a contact I know, that I will walk my phone over to my wife and I will leave the message(s) as unread until I see her next so that we deal with it together. This is partially because my EA AP went to a lot of lengths just to try and break NC by creating fake Facebook profiles, changing her number, etc. etc. I'm a few years now of NC and I am going to keep it that way and I suspect that a few years out we are in the clear, but I am committed to NC and I am also committed to showing my wife any strange message like this for the remainder of our marriage and/or as long as she needs.

Myself - BH & WH - Born 1985 Her - BW & WW - Born 1986

D-Day for WW's EA - October 2017D-Day no it turned PA - February 01, 2020

posts: 643   ·   registered: Jan. 21st, 2020   ·   location: Miami
id 8797435
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Bulcy ( member #74034) posted at 9:29 PM on Thursday, June 29th, 2023

One thing that has taken me ages to get my head around is the difference between admitting it and owning it. I thought by admitting my infidelity was enough (There is a huge back story to admitting it, both to myself and BS but that's a other story). Owning it is different. Owning it prompts change, it should lead to more open and honest communication with BS. This is what I'm trying to work on now. Truly owning my choices

WH (50's)

Multiple sexual, emotional and online affairs. Financial infidelity and emotional abuse. Physical abuse and intimidation.

D-days 2003, 2017, multiple d-days and TT through 2018 to 2023. 28 years of destructive and health damaging choice

posts: 356   ·   registered: Mar. 12th, 2020   ·   location: UK
id 8797459
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numb&dumb ( member #28542) posted at 4:46 PM on Friday, July 7th, 2023

There are no shortcuts here. I say that because new WS always like to think that if I do x,y and z then it means I can go back to the way things were.

Brother, nothing is ever going to be the same as it was before. Heck, the ground you are standing on has moved since I began typing this post.

Oppenheimer was haunted by the choices he made. We all do things that align with our morals in the moment(s) only to be traumatized by the consequences of those choices. Regrets? Oh, I've got more than I care to remember.

When I found out my wife cheated on me it took a LONG time for my anger to dissipate.

(Pausing for effect) grin

Time is a four letter word around these parts. It takes time to create the space your wife needs to see things as I do.

Consistency is not an adverb it is a life choice! Be a man of your word. Do what you say and say what you do.

We are all fucked up in one way or another. Find an IC post haste! If you are in Mc stop lighting Benjamins on fire. This is not an, "us," kind of situation right now. It is most definitely a, "you," situation right now.

Look, my wife cheated on me and nothing except my grace allows my M to continue. Sure, she (or I) is free to leave at any time. We have kids, memories, finances and decades of intimate memories together.

Does that mean we are required to stay together? Not at all.

Life is about choices and consequences. All choices have consequences. Not all of those consequences are bad BTW. Some outcomes change over time.

I can see my wife in a different way today. We aren't married today because we have to run out the 18 year clock. We are married by choice. We forgive each other because I got's to tell ya those fucking resentments weigh a person down. They drain energy that could be used to enjoy life.

I don't plan on living forever and I expect to squeeze every bit of life from those grapes still on the vine.

I believe in second chances because I might need one someday. I gave my wife one. Once I spent some time working through that anger in therapy. Look, I am not a touchy feely type of guy, but man . . . this therapy thing . . .works.

Therapy takes time.

Sorry, vets, that fucking word again!

So you are at the half time of your life. You make better choices. You see the consequences BEFORE they happen. It takes a fuckton of energy, but you become the man you were born to be and the one your wife deserves.

Do that.

[This message edited by numb&dumb at 4:48 PM, Friday, July 7th]

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

Bring it, life. I am ready for you.

posts: 5115   ·   registered: May. 17th, 2010
id 8798591
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emergent8 ( Guide #58189) posted at 5:51 PM on Friday, July 7th, 2023

Hi CI,

Glad you're still around and reading and looking to do better for yourself, your spouse, and your marriage.

The previous posters have shared some excellent resources and ideas with you. I encourage you to read and re-read the posts they have linked. Daddydom also made a really good post about owning vs. admitting just a few days ago on Bulcy's thread called Resentment. Its also worth a read.

From the perspective of a BS who has reconciled, I felt like my WS husband started to "own it" when he could talk about his A openly, freely and without defensiveness or minimization. When he began to see my triggers and frustrations with him as a signal that he had more work to do rather than a sign I was merely holding onto hurt. When he began to delve into his WHYS and the parts of himself that made it permissible for him to cheat and to justify lying to me. He started to be able to identify how those parts of himself resulted in maladaptive coping skills that negatively impacted other parts of his life (and our marriage) beyond just the A, and he worked towards addressing ALL of those areas so he would be a better person and a safer partner.

Of course, talking about all of this in the abstract is one thing and applying it is quite another. I wonder if you might find more helpful advice if you posted about the specific issues you are currently facing as you and your wife try to R.

Best of luck and happy reading.

Me: BS. Him: WS. Together 16 years.
D-Day: Feb 2017 (8 m PA with married COW).
6+ years (and two kids) into R. Happy.

posts: 1889   ·   registered: Apr. 7th, 2017
id 8798605
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EllieKMAS ( member #68900) posted at 7:13 PM on Friday, July 7th, 2023

Scenario 1: So let's say you and your spouse are in a heated argument and you say something that really pisses her off and she hauls off and slaps you in the face. When you tell her that hurts, she says "Sorry. But you really pissed me off."

Scenario 2: Let's say you and your spouse are in a really heated argument and you say something that really pisses her off and she hauls off and slaps you in the face. When you tell her that hurts, she says "I'm so sorry. You didn't deserve that." And then a few days later she comes to you and says "I wanted to apologize again for slapping you. I don't know what got into me and you didn't deserve that treatment from me. I have found an anger management program and am starting those classes later this week."

Scenario number one is admitting it. She acknowledges that she slapped you. Does that help you? Does that make you feel respected and seen?

Scenario number two is owning it. She acknowledges that she slapped you, she acknowledges that you did not deserve it, and she has taken steps to rectify the situation and do better in the future (this also shows that she knows this is a HER problem and not a you one). Does that help you and make you feel respected?

Admittedly this is kind of an extreme scenario, but I can tell you as a former BW my WS admitting he cheated really didn't do much for me because that admission was not followed up by any action whatsoever; he was just saying the first 'sorry'. What would have helped me is him apologizing, then figuring out what steps he could take to be a safer partner in the future and doing them on his own without expecting me to make appointments or send links or whatever. You are taking a good first step posting here.

So how can YOU own it?

Just a few thoughts/suggestions from a BW.

Do:
Therapy. Then some therapy. Then some more therapy. Find a therapist that can help you to unpack why you made the choice to cheat instead of a healthier one.

Be unfailingly honest. I can imagine this one is really hard in the earlier days when you're trying to break old patterns, but you MUST be honest. With your BW, with your therapist, and most of all with YOURSELF. Even if the question is hard, even if the answer is one that may lead to a bad outcome for you (especially so in that case IMHO), even if anything, NO. MORE. LYING.

Be transparent. How would you feel about your wife going through your phone/computer/texts/sm messages right at this minute? If the answer is anything other than "absolutely fine" then you still have some work to do here. Also, once you get honesty and transparency in line... it's just such a better way to be authentic and in your space - when you don't have to put mental effort into hiding things life is so much simpler and more peaceful (that's my 0.02 anyways).

Be accountable for your actions and thoughts. It's really easy when apologizing o add a but. I'm sorry.... but I was mad. I'm sorry.... but I felt like you didn't love me. I'm sorry.... but you hurt me too. Accountability means removing the but. I'm sorry that my actions hurt you so much. I'm sorry that I didn't make a different choice. I'm sorry that I damaged your ability to trust me.

Collect knowledge like pokemons. Knowledge is power. You're posting here which is a good way to get that. But also, read everything you can get your hands on about infidelity and how it affects the betrayed. Read every book/article/podcast/etc suggested to you here by other waywards. The more you KNOW, hopefully the better you will begin to reach UNDERSTANDING - both of what your wife is going through and also how you made the choice to do this.

Talk talk talk. Don't wait for your wife to bring up the A. It really would have helped me for my xwh to ask me questions about how I was feeling/doing, to volunteer time and effort to openly discuss it, and by so doing, showing me that I could freely discuss my infidelity-related thoughts and feelings and struggles with him.

Do not:
Fall into a shame spiral. Yes, cheating is shameful and feeling that and processing it is vital to your healing and growing. But feel it, let it pass through, and then move forward. You are greater than the sum of the worst thing you've done and you deserve to live an emotionally healthy existence.

Get defensive or shut down. I imagine this one is very difficult but you cannot get defensive when/if your BW talks about the A. Defensiveness shuts down your ability to truly empathize with and hear her, and if you want R you need to be able to do both of those things. Also do not ever, ever, EVER ask her when she will get over it. There is no short cut to "getting over it" for a BS.

Omit truth to 'protect' your spouse. Even if you know that sharing a truth will hurt them, you have to say it. I can tell you from my experience that what ultimately killed my marriage wasn't the A, it was all the lies and half-truths after it. I knew my xwh well and could totally tell he was lying right to my face - and on top of the disrespect of the A to begin with, the lying was like salt and lime juice and acetone in that wound. I can say for me that I would much rather him have just told me the truth, even though that truth was hurtful, than to lie to me more in a misguided attempt at protection.

Make promises you can't keep. My xwh was all about the "I promise" after dday. I think he thought he really meant them, but he didn't have the fortitude to see anything through. The best you can do is promise to try and do the work and put in the effort to show that you're keeping it.

Take on others feelings. This one is tricky, but IMHO part of the really hard work for a WS (and a BS too) is learning how to set and hold healthy boundaries. Yes, your actions caused your wife immense hurt - YOU take accountability for YOUR actions. You can apologize to her that they caused her hurt. But ultimately SHE has to own HER feelings and figure out her new reality - you can help with that process for her by being transparent and honest, by allowing her freedom to discuss her feelings with you etc, but you can't do that work for her. You'll read it a lot on here about how each partner heals themselves and then they both heal the M.

Give up. Yes marriages can and do survive infidelity, but the ones that do have WS's who are willing to climb any mountain, dig into any hole, and shine a bright light on all of their stuff. It is not for the faint-hearted. It's okay to have doubts and fears, but have them while still doing the tough stuff anyways. Your willingness to face down your fear and shame and do the work will speak volumes to your wife, believe me.

"No, it's you mothafucka, here's a list of reasons why." – Iliza Schlesinger

"The love that you lost isn't worth what it cost and in time you'll be glad that it's gone." – Linkin Park

posts: 3901   ·   registered: Nov. 22nd, 2018   ·   location: Louisiana
id 8798614
Topic is Sleeping.
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