"I Didn't Mean It, It Was an Accident..." (... and then sex happened.)
I do NOT have the energy to go through the back story *again* tonight.
I am beyond frustrated.
My husband, 3 years 2.5 months post DDay2, the closest thing I've gotten to a realistic DDay so far, persists in clinging to this narrative that 'it was an accident.'
Like, "I walked into a coffee shop and ordered coffee, and WHOOPS! ALL OF THE SUDDEN ALL OF THE WAIT STAFF TOOK OFF THEIR CLOTHES AND INSTEAD OF COFFEE, I HAD SEX. BUT IT'S NOT MY FAULT BECAUSE I DIDN'T UNDERSTAND!"
WTF DIDN'T YOU UNDERSTAND, DUDE???
1. You most certainly WERE NOT in a 'coffee shop,' and that was obvious from the two day lead up to you being in that place from the get go. Your 'friends' weren't looking for a 'coffee shop.' You weren't following them around in the sketchy, dark corners of a strange city looking for 'a coffee shop.'
Coffee shops ain't that damned hard to find.
2. HELLO, THE WAIT STAFF WASN'T OFFERING YOU COFFEE.
NOT THE FIRST WAITRESS.
NOT THE SECOND WAITRESS.
OH, THE THIRD WAITRESS???
By your account, it was completely unintentional, an accident even! that you were *still there, still forking over money to continue the experience,* when she showed up. Nope nope nope, no intent at all on your part. Total accident that you were still there and that
you were still facilitating the entire situation.
3. You had *no idea whatsoever* about what would happen when you paid her.
When you kept paying her.
When you put your hands on her.
Why, no one was more surprised than you, when you got turned on and couldn't stop! Didn't want to stop! So you didn't stop! SURPRISE!!! YOU HAD NO IDEA WHATSOEVER THAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN! SEXUAL CONTACT? TURNED ON??? TOTAL SURPRISE!!!
We've *struggled* with this very pivot point, from the beginning.
My husband *insists* that it was all 'an accident.'
He simply didn't understand.
He could not by any stretch of the imagination comprehend what was happening, what was about to happened, what he was literally purchasing. HE THOUGHT IT WAS A CUP OF COFFEE. OR SOMETHING. Certainly not SEX! OH NOES!!!
My husband keeps steering around to:
"Well I didn't leave home looking for sex."
"It wasn't my idea."
"What was I supposed to do??? I was there. There was nothing else to do in that place. Was I supposed to sit there with my hands in my pockets?" (Was that somehow a physically impossible choice?)
Geezus, Man, LOOK AT ME. WITH YOUR MORTAL EYEBALLS.
I AM A FEMALE.
A REASONABLY ATTRACTIVE, HEALTHY FEMALE.
WORKING WITH ALPHA MALES (and alpha females, I've been hit on HARD by both sexes) FOR THE VAST MAJORITY OF MY LIFE.
HIGHLY CHARGED ENVIRONMENTS.
I could have 'accidentally had sex' on most days of my working life, and many, many days off as well, had I chosen to do so.
Not only could I have had 'sex,' I could have 'greased the wheels' of my daily life in the process, and I wouldn't have even had to pay for it.
In fact, I did not have to *even* 'facilitate' it, other than simply fucking showing up for work. Like you, I wasn't 'looking for it.' OK, it happened. In my lap. And that's about as far as my empathy for you goes, Dude. I showed up for a purpose completely unrelated to titillation and guess what? Titillation occurred. Got it.
I didn't facilitate nor escalate the titillation.
And you *really* expect me to *believe* that you were "surprised" when sex happened?
That you didn't anticipate it?
WHAT IN THE EVER LOVING FUCK *DID* YOU EXPECT TO HAPPEN???
Whether you walked out of our front door 'looking for it' or not becomes *completely fucking irrelevant* at the moment that it was offered, and you failed to say, "No thank you."
I know that, intimately.
How do I know that, intimately?
BECAUSE I SAID "NO THANK YOU" MORE TIMES THAN I CAN COUNT.
My husband made a decision to have an illicit sexual encounter early in our marriage.
He followed through on that decision.
He decided to, and literally tried, to do something dishonest to me and to us.
He couldn't handle the guilt in the aftermath.
So he told me *just enough* to 'confess' and 'be forgiven' and 'call it good.'
He'd never do it again. (To the best of my knowledge, he has not.)
To me, his inability to own his basic, fundamental decision to do something overtly cheating and dishonest is much, much more disturbing than what he actually did, which, I will agree with his premise on this, was largely inconsequential.
My/our situation is the literal definition of,
"It's the dishonesty, not the sex."
The inability to own that decision feels all kinds of unsafe to me.
Because, until he owns the decision itself, we cannot even begin to address the impetus, the fundamental 'whys.'
It wasn't because she was more attractive than me- according to my husband- we've beaten that one to death. Don't know if I believe that. Don't know that I care. There are billions of women who are more attractive than me. I have better ways to spend my time, attention and energy.
It wasn't because he wasn't getting sex at home- that's for damned sure.
It wasn't because I wasn't up for something 'new' or 'different,' also for damned sure.
I could go on in this 'disproving' vein for pages and for years. Futile.
Then there's his, "I thought that this was just something guys do."
Guys do LOTS of things.
Is cheating one of them?
Does that make it OK?
The whole, 'It was an accident!' thing is, and has been, ON MY LAST FUCKING NERVE.
Anyone with a glancing familiarity with risk management, accident investigation, actuarial tables and sentinel events knows that even 'accidents' are not 'accidents.'
Every 'accident' in the history of 'accidents' is the culmination of a series of choices and decisions.
Until we get to that place where my husband accepts and admits that HE MADE A DECISION, A CONSCIOUS CHOICE TO CHEAT,
We cannot *even* begin to parse out 'why,'
Even if it was an isolated, 'in the moment' why and nothing more, and nothing less.
Why did it feel OK enough in that moment?
Why (on earth?) was *that moment* worth the balance of your *entire fucking life*?
And if we cannot parse out the whys of the moment in which your entire fucking marriage, your entire fucking family, your entire fucking life, hung in the balance of a single, stupid fucking decision to 'go for it,'
Then all the rest of our infrastructure?
It feels like a house of cards. =(
If I wake up one day next week,
and I find myself in a situation where I cannot pay the mortgage,
and my bank account is overdrawn,
and I'm over the limit on my credit card and behind on the payment,
and I decide that the solution to my problem, or, not to even name it as a 'problem,' but the only thing to do in this situation, is to rob a bank-
I will not rob the bank simply because the bank exists.
Nor simply because the bank is there.
Looking like a big fucking delicious target of opportunity.
The bank didn't cause my issues.
The bank didn't cause my dilemma.
The bank didn't force my choices nor my decisions upon me.
The bank's existence didn't cause my temptation.
My own choices did.
If I run a red light tomorrow and in the process, kill a family of five,
you can rest assured that "It was an accident!"
will not satisfy a court of law,
nor my insurance company,
nor their insurance company,
nor their family and friends,
There's going to be *an exhaustive review* of every, any and all contributing factors to this 'accident.'
Just look at any given NTSB investigation of an airplane crash.
Does "It was an accident!" ever suffice?
Is infidelity in a marriage, in a committed relationship, anything less than a plane crash???
I have the distinct impression that "I didn't mean to!" and "It was an accident!" is a form of stonewalling on the part of the cheater, a means of protecting an especially vulnerable, sensitive area, and likely something that is causing shame, and/or something the cheater does not understand, and perhaps is something that may cause him/her fear.
It is a wholly unsatisfying explanation, and one that causes more doubt and uncertainty than it resolves.
14 comments posted: Saturday, September 25th, 2021
It's a Mixed Bag, and You're Not Crazy
[This message edited by SI Staff at 9:01 AM, July 16th (Friday)]
0 comment posted: Friday, July 16th, 2021
It's a Mixed Bag, and You're Not Crazy
[This message edited by marriageredux959 at 10:46 AM, July 16th (Friday)]
0 comment posted: Friday, July 16th, 2021
Set Back, Stupid Set Back
Things were going well. I felt like I'd turned a corner. The past was becoming, the past.
And then, over the holiday, we had a conversation.
My husband, of his own volition, told me that he doesn't believe that what he did was 'cheating' as he defines cheating.
It wasn't an affair.
It wasn't even a one night stand in his eyes.
It wasn't really 'sex' because it didn't involve intercourse.
It was "wrong," but it wasn't cheating.
He then went on to elaborate that, if boiled down to a 'yes or no' question, he'd be forced to admit that yes, it was cheating, but to paraphrase him, it really doesn't count as 'cheating' because it wasn't premeditated cheating and cheating wasn't his intent.
It just sort of, happened.
Strangely, I understand big chunks of that, to a point.
I understand that a one off isn't the same as a full blown affair that involves repeated dishonesty over time. And I would have felt differently about it, I would feel differently about it, if the act included intercourse or penetration.
But now it's like we are parsing out 'a little bit pregnant.'
I've explained, once again, for the one millionth time, that the betrayal happened the moment he decided, he chose, he gave himself permission, to do something physical and sexual with another woman, precisely because I'd never find out. He could get away with it. He wouldn't tell and I'd never know.
He has reluctantly admitted that's exactly what happened.
He couldn't handle the guilt afterwards.
He didn't tell me on his own when he got home.
I knew something had happened the moment he walked in the door. For the first time in our relationship, he couldn't look me in the eyes. I remember it distinctly. He kept talking to a spot in the distance, somewhere behind me, over my left shoulder.
He 'told me,' gave me a minimized, sanitized version on his third day home, after I'd asked him several times what had happened, because it was obvious that something had happened. He 'confessed' with a narrative that made the whole encounter sound much more random and brief and unintended on his part than it actually was.
Truth came out many years later, 2.5 years ago.
So now, 2.5 years after DDay2, I'm hearing, "But it wasn't really 'cheating.'"
I also tried to explain, for the one millionth time, that insult on top of injury, the very fact that he was on that trip in the first place, with money earmarked for another purpose, against my clearly stated objections, and in direct opposition to what we were supposed to be doing with that money, that was an unfair exercise in entitlement and privilege. And I extended goodwill in the face of that, trying to be 'a good wife.' He was going on that trip, ultimately I could not stop him, I might as well be a good sport about it and not crap the bed, right?
Meanwhile, I'm at home with two sick babies, of which he was full well aware, because we discussed it at least a couple of times on the phone before this incident occurred. "No, Honey, you don't need to cut your trip short and come home. I'm fine, we're fine."
It sounds incredibly petty, even to me, even now, but my entire brain is screaming, "And that's the thanks I got?"
He attributes the whole incident to "immaturity."
I get that, but that explanation feels like he's somehow trivializing the moment he decided to do something behind my back.
To me, insisting on taking that trip at that time under those conditions was in fact immature and selfish. I agree with that, and for many reasons, I can forgive that and move on.
Consciously choosing to do something physical and sexual with another woman behind my back because it was offered and I'd never find out rises to a whole different level of problem. That's not a maturity issue. That's an integrity issue. That's a character issue. That's a commitment issue. That's a faithfulness issue. It's not called 'infidelity' for nothing.
My gut feeling right now is that he doesn't want to call it "cheating" because he doesn't want to think of himself as a cheater.
I don't believe that he's trying to 'make wriggle room' for a repeat of the actual incident. He says that he felt incredibly guilty afterwards and I believe that. His guilt was palpable when he arrived home. He says that it never happened again and I believe that. He says it will never happen again and I believe that too.
I believe I am seeing, he is feeling, real remorse.
Isn't this the best outcome any of us can hope for, after the infidelity line has been crossed?
Still. Hearing him say that he still struggles with admitting that what he did was cheating is a real set back for me. I'm back to fucked up about it.
He's parsing out if his level of physical involvement with the woman rises to the definition of 'cheating.' I'm over here *still* arguing that it was 'cheating' the moment he decided to do something he would hide from me.
Is it stealing when one embezzles a million dollars, but not so much if one lifts a $5 bill out of a coworker's coat pocket without her knowledge and permission? Doesn't count because it was only $5? Not stealing because it was in her coat pocket, not in her purse? Not in her bank account? Should she trust you now, because you feel terribly guilty about it?
Again, I don't think my husband is trying to create wriggle room to cheat again.
I think he's having a hella time accepting that he did it in the first place.
I actually have some empathy for that, a lot of empathy, in fact. "Out, damned spot!"
My husband actually said, in a subsequent conversation yesterday, that he doesn't want to go stand with the cheaters. That's not who he is.
But I'm also on the receiving end of this mind fuck, and that's affecting me too.
Like the fictional coworker in the fictional example above, how do you forgive someone when they won't fully own the transgression? When the perpetrator describes what he did as "borrowing a fiver" out of your coat pocket, "by accident." "Didn't mean for that to happen." "Didn't leave home that morning planning to steal five dollars."
How do you trust again? How do you NOT feel even further betrayed and disrespected when you realize that you're being fed a euphemism? How do you feel safe? Is his self esteem more important than my feelings of psychological and emotional safety?
This may be too Esther Perel-y but is there any merit to coming at this from the opposite perspective?
Is *this* what forgiveness is about?
Can he fully own what he did in that moment, if the cost of doing so isn't too high?
I have this sense that this is why he is arguing the degree of transgression: he *knows* what he did in the moment he decided to step over that line, and then when he lied by omission. He *knows* that he intended to deceive me. *He knows.*
He's trying to walk it back, even a little bit, by arguing that what he did when once over that line, 'wasn't so bad.'
All of you understand what it feels like on the receiving end of this mind fuck. "I only murdered the vow a little bit!"
Idiot, it's the fact that you stuck a knife in its back in the first place. Never mind that you were "immature" and 'it was just a little knife.'
But again, is this where *my* forgiveness makes us both safe enough to fully heal? And again, I feel as certain as humanly possible that it never happened again and will never happen again.
Is there any merit to, "I don't want to go stand with the cheaters!" if, indeed, he is not a cheater anymore?
Do we get to a healthier place, ultimately, if I *don't* hold his feet to the fire?
How do *I* get myself to that place, knowing that I feel confident that this didn't and won't happen again...
...but also feeling somewhat vaguely ripped off that he is still struggling with 'trickle truthing' *himself*?
[This message edited by marriageredux959 at 11:40 PM, November 28th (Saturday)]
19 comments posted: Saturday, November 28th, 2020
Help With a Specific Trigger
Hi, Folks, I need your help.
Things here are going pretty well. We are about 27 months post DDay. Somewhere around 25 months I finally felt the anger lose its grip on me. It began to dissipate and it is almost completely gone. I don't think it will ever go away completely; I will probably always harbor some degree of anger about elements of the betrayal, but at least I'm no longer stuck on the rage channel.
There are times when I feel sadness and loss instead of anger, but there are times when I feel joy and hope as well as love.
Going through this unfortunate shit storm had the silver lining of forcing many issues in our marriage into the open, and I'm no longer tolerating the status quo just to keep the peace. Fuck the peace, right? As a result I feel more equal in this marriage and more enfranchished in my own life than I ever have before.
It's also been a surprise silver lining for Husband: he's been forced to address a lot of less than healthy coping mechanisms and mindsets, and all sorts of boundary issues that overwhelmingly spawned from the FOO. He never liked these dynamics either but until now he felt powerless to do anything about it.
My newfound conviction to and insistence on boundaries, both mine and ours, and my insistence on respect for me and for the marriage, and me *finally* standing up to his FOO with a very strong "NO" was like dropping an awareness and reality bomb directly on Husband's head.
Unrelated to the infidelity issue, mostly by happenstance I believe, his FOO showed their asses in a truly spectacular fashion right in the middle of our shit storm. It was a series of actions, choices and dishonesties that was abjectly selfish and breathtakingly disrespectful to me and to Husband and to us as a married couple. And through it all, while they were deceiving us, they thoroughly and completely expected our loyalty and submission.
All of the sudden I realized that for years, we've been dealing with, trying to manage, two narcissists who were married to each other and who were selfishly lording over the rest of the family. It really is All About Them. And equally all of the sudden, so many influences on us and on our own marriage became clear, and so many of Husband's adopted attitudes and coping mechanisms also became clear to both of us.
Husband falling ass backwards into a random, selfish act of infidelity that was so cavalier and so casually disrespectful to me, to himself, to our marriage, and only realizing *exactly* what he'd done, and the magnitude of it in the aftermath, now doesn't seem so impossible or implausible to either of us.
For two years of unpacking that long ago incident, both of us were flummoxed at the 'why,' beyond the obvious, that he was aroused. Well, of course he was aroused, but stepping over that line was a big damned deal. How was it so easy at the moment, and so horrifying mere moments later, in the aftermath?
It's so clear now. Cavalier selfishness, casual disrespect and boundary issues are rife in narcissistic families, as is rug sweeping and overt dishonesties. Husband himself had been on the receiving end of cavalier selfishness, casual disrespect, casual dishonesties and boundary incursions for decades by that point, and furthermore, had been thoroughly indoctrinated that this was 'normal.'
Husband casually deciding that what I didn't know wouldn't hurt me, no harm no foul, in the heat of the moment when he wanted to do something overtly selfish because of his hard dick, then becoming horrified at himself in the immediate aftermath, makes so much more sense to both of us now, seeing it in light of indoctrination by the FOO.
I am beginning to wonder if hitting my hard boundary is the first time Husband's FOO has encountered a hard "NO" they couldn't ignore, manipulate, or spin.
No one was more stunned than Husband's FOO when I outed their deception outright in no uncertain terms then closed my door in their faces.
Husband has been working hard with this new information, reading everything he can find on narcissistic parents and families. A rather large light bulb clicked on for both of us. He's really working hard at unraveling decades of damage and unhealthy coping mechanisms in himself and between us.
I've made it clear that I'm done with his FOO. Husband accepts this, understands it and is supportive of my decision.
I've also made it clear to Husband and his FOO that whatever relationship Husband has with his FOO is up to him. I do not want to be responsible for alienating Husband from his family. Husband and I agree that it's very unlikely that his elderly parents or even his adult siblings will change at this mature state in life. I'm not in the business of punishing people, etc.
Husband has chosen to remain civil but distant. I'm fine with it. These revelations have had a profound impact on Husband, much more impact than any demand I might make for my own benefit. There's no demand that I could make of Husband regarding his FOO that could be more draconian or have any greater affect than what Husband's own dawning awareness has rendered. All of the reading he's doing and has done reinforces his awareness.
Anyway, so we've made huge strides here in terms of understanding the issues that were in play in that incident, and at large in our marriage. Huge progress. I can say that we are firmly in recovery now.
Ergo I am *stunned* to have recently developed a trigger, a very specific trigger. ???
Without getting into too much detail here...
Husband has a specific way if touching me intimately that he particularly enjoys. It is a particular turn on for him. It turns me on too, because it punches my own buttons, but in large part because I know it turns him on. I enjoy being the focus of that lust, the object of desire.
Recently, out of the blue, it hit me square upside the head that my Husband touched her in the exact same way, for the exact same reason. Furthermore, he prolonged it, he stayed engaged with it for "a while," because he was enjoying it so much.
Well of course he did. It *is* a turn on for him. He *does* enjoy it. And I do know it happened with her, because in the process of being completely honest with me (finally) about what happened, Husband pretty much described that aspect of it.
Now every time he puts his hands on me in that specific way, BAM! TRIGGER! Followed by Instant Mind Movie. And I'd not had issues with mind movies for months! Had them something awful at first but they had largely dissipated as well.
Here's an interesting aspect: there's something imminently more triggery about it if it's casual, say playing around in the kitchen while making dinner, than if we are actually 'in bed.' Something about that casual way of handling me, which honestly I typically love, both with him and even before him with other boyfriends, is uber triggering when he indulges in this particular type of physical contact. My mind does this stupid weird magician's trick on me where I disappear, and she is standing in my place.
I'm not stupid or naive. I full well realize that this particular turn on is part of this man's sexual imprinting. Per above, of course it turns him on. He does it with me. He did it with her. He's done it with every girlfriend he ever had. I try to take away its power by reminding myself that it's not just me vs. her, this is just part of sexual contact and I shouldn't be so freaking focused on it.
But then I remember that this was something that particularly turned him on about her.
And then I tell myself that I'm sure, in fact I know, that it's turned him on with other girls/women before me. I know because we've discussed it.
I've wondered if simply telling him that I'm having this particular trigger would rob it of its power. But I'm afraid that calling it out/calling attention to it would then make it a trigger for him and throw an unhelpful obstacle in our sex life.
We are just now getting into a healthy, robust sex life devoid of hysterical bonding and oscillating emotions and I am loathe to disrupt it.
So weird. I actually enjoy being touched in that particular way, and that particular touch has only recently morphed into a specific trigger.
Maybe it's a weird but normal glitch in healing, like a scab pulling or stitches itching? Maybe I'm just now feeling safe enough or stable enough to have stupid, superficial triggers? It's so frustrating because we've made so much progress, and now this.
On one hand I want to bring it out in the daylight to dissipate it. That often works for me.
On the other hand I feel like putting voice to it will make her 'real' and 'present ' and put her square in between us, and quite possibly create a trigger for Husband too.
I guess I hope this particular glitch just goes away with time.???
Anybody have any ideas?
Thanks again to everyone for reading through my epistles.
8 comments posted: Tuesday, September 29th, 2020