Newest Member: CrazyLikeAFox

OneInTheSame

(I edit to correct typos) I am the BS in a lesbian marriage. My WW's ex-girlfriend was the AP. D-day of the 6 mo A was 10/04/15 We are doing okay, but by now I wanted it to be better

Update: Finally, after 7+ years my wife is seeking help

Many of the old-timers here know my story. My wife engaged in a secret affair with her ex-girlfriend in 2015 (d-day 10/04/15). She immediately ended it, cutting contacts with her ex. We struggled with therapy for a couple years, but she never made any significant progress. There were years of TT and it took here over 3-4 years to stop being defensive or dismissive. We have been doing much better the last couple years.

Sometime in the last 12-18 months a series of events and some random contacts helped her become aware that her anger and poor handling of the aftermath, which have caused me major stress and health issues, could possibly have stemmed from military service related sexual trauma. (My wife was sexually assaulted three times during her service in the Army.) She has met with a counselor and has been given a PTSD diagnosis. She will be seeking treatment (talk therapy) and filing a claim for MST benefits, as her experiences caused the development of unhealthy patterns of conflict resolution, that caused problems in many areas of her life and that in part led her to engage in her "escape" affair. It is possible we may also receive some couples therapy as well, which I know I will need by how I am physically reacting to each of her new discoveries and the issues she is dealing with.

I think at this time I am feeling the loss of time "wasted" by her refusal to address her issues earlier. It has greatly contributed to my mental and physical health declines. I now find I need to learn how to handle my anger about being a victim of her cruel and unempathetic reactions to my pain after d-day. And Omg — I tear up and tense up when I hear her apologize and acknowledge her part in this this. Where was THAT when I needed it?

Just thought I’d post an update.

7 comments posted: Wednesday, June 21st, 2023

Wife finally doing what she needed to do 8 years ago

We are in "affair season" right now: the affair was just getting up to speed this time of year, 8 years ago. My wife dragged her feet on IC until about a year had passed and she learned she was eligible for free counseling through the VA. She probably didn’t go for more that 6-8 visits or so, saying her counselor seemed to be more focused on another issue.

She should have continued back then, for many reasons, but to help me was an important one. But my wife was cowardly and selfishly did all she could to protect herself from having to face her betrayal of me, or digging around in her past to see if there were old wounds that were preventing it.

Now she had learned that she can file a claim for sexual trauma that occurred during her nearly four years in the military back in the 80’s. She very well may qualify for benefits due to her experiences. But she must be evaluated, diagnosed with PTSD, and treat with a psychologist. And I am all for this — fully supportive.

But I am struggling with this as well. I am suffering some pretty awful permanent physical and emotional damage from her years of foot dragging, TT, defensiveness, and some uncharacteristic cruelty that is likely a result of her past trauma. Normally I would say I’ll benefit too if she qualifies for disability, but the timeline for the whole process is not giving me much hope. I’ve suffered some irreversible damage to my nervous system that I get to deal with, while she works to off-load her issues. And no amount of money will undo or fix what stress has done to my health. Just facing this is triggering me, because it still feels like this will be all about her … and it’s too late for me. It’s a crap way to feel, but to be honest, I’ve had to accept so much just to survive. She is my caregiver. I’m hoping at least she might learn how to deal with me as my health continues to decline. I’m feeling pretty much like "leftovers" and a burden … instead of the person she’d do absolutely anything to protect and keep safe, as she stated
in her marriage vows 9 years ago.

I’m overwhelmed. Exhausted. In constant physical discomfort and pain. Battle-scarred. Disappointed. Sad.

6 comments posted: Monday, May 22nd, 2023

Unintentional triggers

I do tend to overthink things. My mind has always dragged me through endless comparisons, contexts, critiques, analysis, and ruminations trying to find meanings of things. I’ve been okay with that, even finding it served to richen my appreciation and understanding of the world.

But now I need to learn how to disassociate things that trigger me — things that have nothing to do with the affair my wife had that disrupted my life. I’m specifically referring to things I encounter while enjoying film or literature.

For example, this week my wife and I finally watched "Hamilton." Amazingly wonderful production, which we enjoyed thoroughly. But there it was — the affair that pulled back the hammer — and the terrible loss to the Hamiltons that came from it as collateral damage. And I lost it. Not while watching, but afterward I mentioned to my wife that it would have been nice to have had a trigger warning …

I shared this in another group, and a good 1/4 to 1/3 of those responding said that it ruined the musical for them, they now despised A. Hamilton, and a couple even said it made them fans of A. Burr. The trigger hurt me, personally, because it reminded me of how my wife betrayed me. And although I had been unaware Hamilton was the first of our founding fathers to suffer a public sex scandal, I didn’t find myself hating the man. I did find myself wanting to know how his widow went on to spend the rest of her life protecting her wayward husband’s legacy. And I know I will watch it again. It is genius theater!

But I have encountered plot arcs in other works that have carried triggers. Anything from the use of the word "awkward" to describe reunion sex after two people have been apart for a length of time (my wife repeatedly described the sex as "awkward" with her ex-girlfriend after over 16 years apart) — to "why HER?" when a betrayed discovers the affair partner is the ONE PERSON above all others that you are most hurt by when you learn your spouse turned to them for their affair.

Early in this difficult process of recovering from infidelity my wife would imply we should just AVOID triggers, often promising "I’ll never say that again" or something similar. But you can’t avoid some triggers. Trigger words. Situations that your brain pieces together into triggers. Scenarios in books and movies that feel almost like plagarization of your spouses affair, or their excuse making for the affair, or their trickle truthing …

The clever author or playwright wishes to make his creation relevant and personal to the audience via story elements that echo real life challenges. I doubt that they are intent on causing an emotional trigger or PTSD reaction by one of their more sensitive readers or viewers, for that could prove detrimental to the enjoyment of their art. So it appears that I alone am ultimately responsible for how I respond to an unintentional trigger of that sort.

So, how do I get to the point where I can see the humor in an awkward sex scene (that obviously does not involve my WS and her OW)? Or enjoy the storyline with a "why did it have to be her?" in it, without turning it into feeling like my own biography?

Can we ever again see the affairs, the secrecy and lies, the betrayal of vows, the gifts, the hurt and pain and loss of others, real or fictional, and NOT attach it to the story of our own betrayal and infidelity story?

Just a simple question —
that blew up in my ridiculously over-active brain, interrupting my planned evening of reading a few more chapters of a piece of fiction I’m rather enjoying before going to bed.

2 comments posted: Tuesday, June 7th, 2022

Triggering seven years out

First let me say we are doing so much better. My wife has made progress and we are healing.

But the scars — good grief! We are into affair season once again, and I am triggering by the most innocent events! A sweet love song in a favorite television series … a memory … even the weather!

I am just wondering how common triggering is so many years out. I have to say I think one big factor that contributes to it is to have a WS who takes more than 2-3 years to begin to "get it" and show some real remorse. We have watched several television series together in which the unfaithful partner picks up the heavy burden and tackles the "work" much more willingly and enthusiastically — and that usually sends me back into a deep sadness that mine did not. Are there some hurts that just won’t heal?

12 comments posted: Saturday, May 21st, 2022

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