Infidelity Intensive Weekends?
Does anyone have any experience or recommendations with any weekend intensives for infidelity? One that I was interested in is the EMS weekend, has anyone attended that?
If WW and I attend one I'll post a response letting you know what it was like.
41 comments posted: Sunday, February 6th, 2022
Update for 2022 so far
It has been a while since my last post and I don't recall where I left things but generally here is an update. Many thanks to those posting well wishes and nice things.
In summary, the update is WW is making changes (as am I) and I'm feeling more optimistic about the M.
I think where I left things here is I had started moving down the mediation route, I brought WW some notes and paperwork on next steps and started filling out custody arrangement proposals. This isn't what either of us wanted but I saw no other way forward, this limbo is killing me, and we need to either talk to discernment counseling or divorce mediation. I didn't have a firm timeline but those were our next steps and she said she would get counseling help.
All this was very slow because she was dividing her attention between her career (60%) the children (30%) and our mess (10%). In the meantime I saw another therapist for IC who was OK, got on a waiting list for an infidelity specialist, and bought myself an early Christmas present of a new electric piano to replace my Yamaha portable grand and started working through the Nutcracker Suite. That last point is more a way of coping and healing. Nothing to do with WW.
I'm not sure when it was but WW had found herself a therapist for IC, and at some point WW approached me and said this therapist is willing to work with us, so I called and talked to the therapist and went to meet her. I kind of liked her right away, she is very Christian and empathetic. My first discussion was basically me telling her there is no path forward here, that we should probably be starting with discernment counseling to figure out if this is even worth saving.
After talking about that for a bit, I talked about my side of the marriage story and I kind of cut it off a bit and said I had certainly made mistakes, and she's entitled to amends for them absolutely. However it has been a year and we haven't addressed the adultery, we don't talk, I've been avoided and stonewalled, and I need a plan. The only path I'm offered is to go into a cocoon by myself and when I emerge a butterfly the sun will be shining, no more hurt, the marriage will be fixed, and trust will be fully restored. It sounds silly but that is literally the only path forward I'm offered. So there are certainly many issues here, but unless we pretty much do a total 180 on the approach and address the adultery, the marriage will never reconcile. It was a good first meeting and she understood and empathized and I felt heard.
So fast forward maybe a couple weeks for our first marriage session. In that time WW was still attending IC and I noticed some small changes; she was making an effort to treat me nicer and would do little things like get up and greet me when I entered the room.
Our first couple's session was great. She had us basically talk to each other but most of the time was me talking about the state of the union following a framework similar to Gottman. I went first and started with this example: "It was probably 5 or 6 months after d-day, and you asked me how I was doing, and I answered 'Not good, I have been struggling a lot with jealousy and I feel very alone' and you replied 'Is there a therapist you can talk to about that?' And that one example is pretty much what this past year has been. Little to no ownership, accountability, or responsibility. I'm on my own. No compassion, no empathy, no reparative words or actions. I really want to be heard when I say that everything about this situation needs to change because there is no way the marriage will reconcile."
The general framework was I would talk then the therapist (T) would say:
T: "WW, ask if there is anything else"
WW: "Is there anything else?"
Me: "There can be but generally that's it."
T: "WW, do you have anything to say to that?"
T: "Ok, then let's move to another topic"
Neither WW nor I went back and forth too much, except for when WW said she felt hurt from past issues. I headed that whole thing off at the pass by saying "It hurts when you say that because I know how much pain it caused you. I want to take that pain away, and I take full ownership and full accountability for those days; I will address them, answer questions about them, talk about them anytime, now or 20 years from now, whether the marriage survives or not. I was wrong, full stop." I had a few goals. First was to model what I think the right thing to do is, to show the T that I accept my past behaviors in the M, and also to shut down anything that would start along blame shifting or justifying. Thankfully this T didn't even take us down that road.
But the real highlights came in when T started making comments. Regarding the adultery and it not being addressed:
T: "The length of time after adultery makes no difference, you heal when you heal. Adultery is a big deal, it is a very big deal. It doesn't sound like WW has yet taken responsibility and ownership for it."
Me: <silently shouting Hallelujia! Amen! Preach!!>
T: "There is a total loss of trust with adultery, and when there is a loss of trust, the person who broke the trust needs to be the person to take the initiative to rebuild it."
Me: <again, I'm silently shouting Yes! Yes!>
That first session felt really, really good. To me it was wonderful validation and joy. I'm pretty sure it is the first time that WW had ever heard anything like that before.
During the next session the T pleased me again when I talked about the pattern of me bringing up something difficult or painful and just getting ignored / stonewalled. The T said "It's a horrible feeling and a terrible situation, if you tell me something that hurts you, it's like I'm just kicking you when you're down." I couldn't help but pile on a bit "That's exactly what it feels like! Like getting kicked when I'm down!" I'm pretty sure I couldn't hide my smile and sense of huge relief on being heard, empathized with, and validated like that. WW sat silent, again I'm confident this was the first time WW had heard anything like this.
So I do like this T, and she's been very good, gentle, and very fair. I have since seen her individually a few times and started EMDR with her. Turns out she is a trauma specialist and has a very good understanding of the dynamics after affairs.
So the past few weeks haven't been perfect but WW has been making much more of an effort, we've been talking more, and although we don't talk about her IC sessions I can tell they're helping. WW has also taken to reading an infidelity book I had suggested, she takes it with her on the road and I have noticed the bookmark advancing. We're still not in a perfect place, I still feel like a 3rd priority and recognize we have a way to go.
So that's my update so far, it has been positive and I don't know how WW did it but she found a therapist that I like and who I think will lead us to a better place. Still not out of the woods yet but feeling a little more optimistic that things are on the mend.
23 comments posted: Saturday, January 15th, 2022
Could use some encouragement, I screwed up
Long story short, WW has been coming around and overall am feeling good about R. This is coming after 9 months of difficulty, and since ultimately I wanted R it has been encouraging.
Last night I screwed up. We were watching a TV show where the guy cheated on his wife with his lover. WW asked me "You doing OK?" and I said "Yeah, but these scenes stir up a lot of bad feelings, I mean the guy on TV is not principled, and your OM wasn't principled I mean he knew you were married and still pursued you, and the difficulty thinking of you as unprincipled to go for it."
As soon as I said it she scooted away from me and sat straight up. I regretted it immediately "I'm sorry, I don't know why I said it, I got carried away, I don't mean to say you are unprincipled in general, I didn't mean it, I hope you can forgive me" and she talked a little how it hurts her feelings, and she's insulted (Usually she doesn't talk or say anything). I told her again I was sorry. It was bedtime so we dropped it.
Now this morning and just now, she's not exactly back to her old self, but she's withdrawn and closed-off. This morning's and this afternoon's kiss was tight-lipped.
Just a bit ago she asked how I was doing:
Me: "I'm angry with myself with my comment last night. I didn't mean to sound criticizing and I appreciate how you've been making an effort, I acknowledge how you've been working and I'm upset with myself because I don't want us to lose the momentum, I don't want you giving up."
WW: "Thank you" <then silence>
WW: "Ok, well I need to go run my errands, be back in a bit"
She's not as cold as she used to be, but she's clearly pissed off and her WW ways are coming out again. So I'm really angry at myself because now things have set back and I don't want to "chase her" but I grow so tired of this dance and I thought we were moving past it.
416 comments posted: Saturday, July 10th, 2021
Long story short:
DD says she's moving out of state in a few weeks. She announced it suddenly, and WW and I have what I imagine are the same emotions any parent has when children leave home.
In the meantime I've just given up, figured the M is done, and just stay in limbo waiting to see if anything pushes it to R or D. I really did not care one way or the other.
The other day I walk by WW who is alone, going through stuff for DD to pack. I notice her teary eyes and ask "Are you OK?" She says "no" and then releases with a gush of tears and jagging cries. She hugs me, tells me how she screwed up this family, bawling. In all my years I have never seen WW this way.
I'm very moved and said something probably not helpful but I was feeling empowered "You've been a good mom and wife for many years. I'm disappointed you're not willing to resolve the A, but I'm very happy with how you always have been with the kids." That comment started a discussion that has been very different up till now. She told me she wants to resolve the A and reconcile. I told her "I do too but I don't want to have another discussion where we talk about what I need, you say 'OK' and then nothing happens" and she replied "I know. I want to talk."
We haven't had any huge discussions yet but I did lay out a few expectations about us learning how to resolve conflict, and reminded her again how hurt I was that she has energy and time for everything else, but not for two hours to read "How to help your spouse heal." She said she wants to read it now. This morning she reminded me again, "Where is that book?" So I gave it to her this morning.
So I'm feeling different about everything, and I'm seeing a side to her I have never seen before. Seeing her in tears feeling bad about things felt very validating. I'm pretty sure that DD moving away because of the drama probably pushed things over the edge for her. Maybe it got her to think that she might be alone. Maybe the weight of the whole family put things into perspective for her. But in the small discussions we've had she's behaved like I would have expected her to, with a non-defensive and apologetic demeanor. So about 9 months later, I'm thinking she's now ready to pursue R.
So I'm feeling optimistic about things. This feels like a real R desire and so I'm going to pursue it. I wanted to share that update with the group, this has been a very supportive experience.
32 comments posted: Wednesday, June 30th, 2021
I could use a hand refining these requirements for R
I have a wife who is about to leave for 6 weeks in August. Post D-Day has just been one big floundering as she makes very little effort to rebuild the M. We have had several mini-discussions but I have never sat down with her and laid things out like what I would like to do, give it one last shot before she leaves for 6 weeks (which I feel will kill whatever is left.)
The situation is WW is ignorant about post-adultery care. She won't know what I mean by Reconcile.
For anyone who has done it this way with their WS, ie sit down formally with a list of requirements, I could use a hand and suggestions. I have a rough outline / list below. I'm not sure how much detail it needs.
After the adultery, we have three choices
(2) Stay Married – Don’t address anything, old issues will fester as we try to just move on.
(3) Reconcile – The adultery is addressed and forgiven. We agree to move on from the past hurts. New beginnings
First, I thank you deeply for avoiding triggers and putting away reminders. I'm also grateful as I feel you moving emotionally closer to me.
Option (2) Stay Married – I will not do this. I’m OK with being in limbo for a while, like we have been (ie I know you said your heart isn't ready). But ultimately I can’t do this option. This is killing me, it literally is.
I want to Reconcile. To Reconcile I need the following from you.
--Commit to the process. My fear is you will make assumptions about what I want and what I need. That you will reject something without asking what I mean, without talking about it.
--Make amends for the adultery. Currently I feel abandoned in this way. Meet me in an informed place, no defensiveness, meet my needs for sharing, support me in my grief.
--Work with me to learn how to conflict such that it brings us closer
--Commit to finding more common interests
--Commit to working on some interpersonal issues we’ve had for many years (harshness of words, not sharing)
--Tell me what you need to move forward to a newer, better place.
13 comments posted: Monday, June 21st, 2021
Wife has moved to D!
My story isn't very complicated and some here know it, my WW wasn't really doing much work to help R and so I've been basically battling her to up her game and meet me at the table.
Yesterday I basically told her that if she's not in, and isn't gonna be in, then let's just rip off the band-aid, I'll understand, and I'll be fine. I don't want her to be unhappy.
So today she basically tells me she's done. Wants to move toward D. In house seperation until she can move out next month.
I'm shocked, not terribly surprised as I was thinking it was inevitable (I mean it takes two to make it work!). But I have to process how I feel about it. There's a lot coming at me here.
I really feel like I did all I could. The only thing I couldn't do was rugsweep. It was probably inevitable.
Thank you all for being here. I don't talk much about this to my circle of friends because I feel like a beta male. But I'll get over that now as I start putting something else together.
I'm a bit shocked for now, things will have to sink in here for a bit...
24 comments posted: Sunday, May 23rd, 2021
Wayward not bothered at all by scenes of adultery
I'm a betrayed, wife had a sexual fling while on vacation about six months ago. Glossing over a lot of details, she confessed and we've been trying to reconcile.
A few days ago we were watching a show when a one night stand / hookup scene came on. I got triggered and very uncomfortable. I didn't fast forward as it was over quickly, but she could tell I didn't like it and she asked "does that scene bother you?" and I said yes, then I asked her "Did it bother you at all?" and she (almost defiantly) answered "No."
So I'm kind of hurt by that, it feels like she obviously doesn't have a deep regret. I would have expected her to have some difficulty with those scenes, at least watching them in front of me.
So I don't know, I guess I'm looking to see if something like that is an indicator of future trouble. I will say that she never was a good listener nor had a good ability to express empathy, so maybe I'm just sensitive to that?
155 comments posted: Tuesday, April 20th, 2021