When things get easy again
I feel like sometimes we only post when bad stuff happens, or at a specific interval (X years since D-day) to give some high level update on healing. I wanted to do something a bit different and just describe what I've notice in my M with my fWW recently. Try to get some information out there that isn't just complaining, venting, or trying to problem solve.
After a long struggle in limbo and a difficult start to real R, things have been pretty smooth. We have discussed the A here and there, and had a very good conversation about it over drinks. About the damage it caused, the feelings, what we still feel. My wife apologized again, and thanked me for my persistence in sticking around. She thanked me for "letting her" go on a girl's trip (upcoming). I still wouldn't call it giving or not permission, but simply put I said something along the lines of, "I don't think you are going to do anything, it doesn't even give me anxiety like some other things you have done before." She said she understands I'm not concerned, but that I would right to be concerned if I was, and just thanked me again for sticking with her. She also thanks me when I tell her the truth about what I feel even when it is negative. This has been a big breakthrough compared to the defensiveness I encountered frequently after the A.
For example, she has been working long hours, it doesn't really cause me anxiety related to the A, but we have been able to discuss that without getting it entangled, which was an issue before. We would bring any little thing up and it would get connected back to the A. We can basically treat these types of discussions as something other than make or break issues. It seemed like for a long time any complaint in either direction would end up almost discussing D (very early on I had posted a question asking when minor issues could go back to being minor, and I think I'm there now).
We have also been good about going on dates. We tried a new restaurant a few weeks ago and had a lovely time, discussing future plans, vacations, and life. We went to an Oktoberfest (outdoor, proof of vaccination required) which was really nice. It rained on us and we stopped for some soup before going home. We really do enjoy each other's company. Intimacy frequency is back to normal and quality is up after a lull I had described a few months ago.
Overall, it feels a lot like the ease I felt in our M before the A. The slightly weird thing about it though, is that after all the work, and effort, and teeth pulling, and foot dragging is that the relief is almost like an eerie silence after being at a concert or something. I'm not sure how to describe it. I wouldn't call it the POLF. I'm content and comfortable. I'm getting along well with my wife, kids are doing well, and work is going well.
This lack of fatigue in real life caused me to want to try to take a break from the forums, since it was starting to be the only time I would think about infidelity. I would get angry, especially in JFO, and I didn't know if it was something I could or should keep returning to. This ultimately felt a little too much like rugsweeping the last of my feelings on the topic about it. Plus, you have all helped me so much and I want to continue to pay it forward.
So that's my little update for today. Thank you all for the help along the way. I wouldn't be where I am emotionally without you.
16 comments posted: Tuesday, September 21st, 2021
WS staying for the kids?
My fWW seems like she is in. 99% of the time things seem on the up and up, but then the doubt creeps in. Is she just trying to keep her family together?
She recently said she doesn't feel seen as a woman. She want to be more than a wife and mother. I asked her,"what do you want to be". She feels she is in my shadow and wants to be "something amazing". At the time we were kinda fighting and anything I could have said would be turned against me. I stonewalled.
I haven't figured it out. I'm a little drunk. Probably a useless post.
68 comments posted: Wednesday, July 7th, 2021
Return to Social Situations
Recently, my fWW and I were out with friends we hadn't seen for six months (which covers the period where I asked for a D, we briefly took time apart, then made a written plan for R).
The topics that came up were mostly typical and probably will continue to be typical of the post-lockdown catchup. Kids/education/podding up. Vaccination/which one/side effect. Then the big one, relationship/marital strain. We talked about folks that did D.
My fWW thought she would add, "Yeah, it (the time period) was really hard, we were at each other's throats." Ok. We are out with friends. This isn't factually "inaccurate", but I would think that this is that a door she would rather leave closed. It's not like our stresses were lockdown induced. Our friends were kind enough to not pry. If they had, I would have given them the truth.
I wonder though, if as there is a return, and people talk about these topics, if my fWW won't figure out that this is not a great sentence to add to the discussion. If a friend said, "Oh yeah! What did you fight about?" I can't help but think I would say something close to, "We had a big disagreement over how much damage my wife had done by dating another man behind my back."
I don't know if she did this to test boundaries, see what I would say (unprompted further by our friends), or genuinely thought it somehow added to the conversation.
14 comments posted: Thursday, May 20th, 2021
Found an Old Hurt (Vent)
This is basically just a run of the mill vent...
The other day, we were talking about how insightful our older son is. I tried to look up an old text thread with my friend (who was in a 3 year long LTA, but I didn't know it at the time) to get the quote which was, "Come on, how can you not get along anymore over just one lie?"
Which TBH there were many more lies than one.
I scrolled through the conversation, and at one point we were watching her kid so she could ostensibly spend more time job hunting, and I'm 99% sure she was off fucking her AP.
Basically, "Do you want to come over and hang out while the kids have a playdate." And she responded something like, "I don't have time for fun right now, I need to focus on finding a new job."
Yeah, that was a lie.
Meanwhile, fWW and I were fighting really hard, and trying not to show it in front of our kids and her kid.
All along, I thought there was something I did at this specific time to set my fWW off. Now I'm realizing she probably knew we were watching our friend's kid while said friend was off having sexcapades. Meanwhile, my wife's A had reached a painful death (of sorts since she was still pushing back on stuff too). So she was probably sitting there comparing. Wondering why her life sucked and her friend got to keep on fucking AP. Thus getting her pissed at me for ending her fun.
Now this was all over a year ago. And it would be asinine to think a WS wouldn't lie to anybody and everybody they knew. Somehow, figuring this out now hurts.
Realizing everything is tangled up in lies all around me, and not what I realized is annoying.
I know this measures like a 3 out of 10 on the actually hurts scale. It's not a soul crushing revelation. Just one more thing that was related to my fWW knowing about a friend's A that I didn't realize was leading to problems for me.
10 comments posted: Monday, May 10th, 2021
Here's one out there for those of you further into R than me. Right now I am happy, and I am married. I wouldn't say I'm "happily married".
I bring this up because we were out with some old friends that don't know my wife had an EA and that we almost got D. They said, "We don't know anyone else that met at a bar and stayed happily married like you guys".
I didn't say anything at all at the time. I doubt my face even betrayed me. At the time I was happy, drinking beer, eating pizza, enjoying company of my family and friends. But I did have a tinge of a thought, "Am I 'happily' married?"
I am safe. I am content. I love my fWW. I am happy. But "happily married". I just don't know. My marriage used to be one that I would hold up to others with pride an say, "Do it like me". Now? Hard to say that, yeah?
This is something I want but don't need. Being happy and contentedly married is enough. But I do wonder, does anyone get back to a place where they are well and truly open with the entirety of their M, A included, and say, "I am happy with how my marriage has gone"? Is that just off the table? It's ok if it is.
Just some thoughts.
20 comments posted: Tuesday, April 13th, 2021
I made this as a reply to another thread in Reconciliation originally but have been inspired by Absolon's thread to make another here in general. Basically asking about waywards making excuses or describing the motivation for the affair. What the BS needs from this question is not a bunch of crap about failings in the relationship, drunkeness, or level of temptation. It's about "why" they were capable of engaging in deceit and betrayal.
When someone engages in infidelity (and I'm being broad intentionally to include ONS), there are a myriad of things that go into the decision.
We can easily think of these various factors that come together like a fire. Fuel, oxygen, heat, and a spark. The analogous components are opportunity, attraction, stress, and deceit.
Opportunity is like fuel because you need it for the fire. You need to continue to find opportunity to keep the affair alive. In doing so, you often steal fuel from your own spouse. We can easily choose not to add opportunities to cheat in our lives.
Attraction is like oxygen, because it's everywhere! We are all attracted to other people. The higher the attraction, the more likely it is to be acted on. Much like higher oxygen environments can set fire to all sorts of fuels that don't burn in low oxygen environments.
Stress is like heat. It is often outside our control. One thing or another makes it easier for the affair to start. You are unhappy, someone close to you died, etc. What's more, stress can often lead to more stress. You might seal yourself off from talking about these things, or addressing them. If you don't let off the heat, the environment becomes ripe for fire. More heat, easier to have a fire.
Deceit is the spark. The initial spark is usually quite small. But becomes the roaring flame later. The first lie could be to yourself, "I can control myself given this opportunity, attraction, and stress." You might even think this is true. Which makes it maybe not a lie. That's fine because the other first lie for those that go in with the intent of infidelity is this, "If no one finds out, no one gets hurt". This lie gets told at some point as you begin to act on your attraction. Impairment often contributes to this first lie.
When you are first discovering and ending the affair, all paths are fair game. Remove the chances for opportunity by being near your spouse and available. Relive some stress through HB. Smother attraction through NC. Poor water on the spark through exposure. That's just step one though. Because the problem is we don't want another fire to happen.
When trying to understand the "why" of the betrayal, the only thing that matters is the deceit. Pure and simple. It's the thing that has to change inside the WS for the BS to be safe again. The BS has to know, the WS won't let off a spark no matter how much heat, fuel, and oxygen are in the picture.
So any answer about "why" that includes the underlying elements of how stressed the wayard was, how attracted they were to the AP, and why they had the opportunity don't answer the fundamental question the betrayed spouse needs to know about the A.
I'm not saying those things don't matter at all. Of course they do. But those are factors that are shared. You should both try not to stress each other out. You should find opportunities to enjoy your company together. You should try to enrich your marriage. Both of you.
Of course we should have empathy for those that are deeply stressed, found themselves attracted to someone else, and were in a situation where maybe their BS wasn't there for them. But we do not have to have any empathy for their decision to engage in deceit. Without it, even all those bad things can't add up to an affair.
Every bit of wayward bullshit is a matter of ignoring and minimizing the spark. Pretending like it doesn't exist. Acting like every part of the fire is equally to blame once it's started.
63 comments posted: Wednesday, March 31st, 2021
My wife just really isn't interested in working hard on our M.
I've decided on divorce and an trying to minimize the impact on the kids (5 and 8) and get an amicable and hopefully favorable agreement out of my WW. Do any of you have strategies or suggestions to achieve these goals?
Is there a good way to prevent the divorce becoming contested?
Does it make sense to try to send the kids to Grandma's house or something for a week and get things figured out and settled that way?
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70 comments posted: Wednesday, July 1st, 2020