Is this gaslighting?
Little things keep coming to up that don't make sense. Here's the latest:
I am 9 months out from DDay. I spent the first 7 months trying to make sense of it all, hoping to reconcile. Two months ago I learned, though he'd been denying it for months, that WH had used our family cabin as his love nest. This was just another trickle truth, but it crushed me. Something just snapped and I changed my direction from reconciling to planning an exit strategy. So, I've got one foot out the door but hope is tenacious, and I'm not ready to leave. And then this happens....
We were coming home from a social event last night in WH's two-seater sports car with the dark tinted windows. (So cliché ) It is my habit to regularly toss my phone and neutral colored, high-end, lip stick in the passenger door cubby. This cubby is a space of maybe 27 square inches. As I was getting my things out I also find a blueberry lip balm in my cubby. What?! I do not use this type of lip product, ever. NOT MINE, no question. His response is that it's been there for nine months and I just didn't notice it, or maybe it's mine. Don't make a big deal out of this, because he has given up his decades-long shenanigans and is doing all he can to make this work. I can blame him for many things, but not this.
Today I begin to wonder, did I just fail to notice a two inch cylinder rolling around for nine months in a tiny space each of the many times I grabbed my things? Could it have been mine all along? Am I overreacting?
Is this gaslighting?
17 comments posted: Wednesday, October 5th, 2022
To Opt In or To Opt Out
Instead of wondering whether to choose to opt out of a broken marriage (i.e., divorce), what if we had to choose to opt in to that same broken marriage after Dday? What if Dday not only wiped out our emotional connection, but also wiped out the legal and social connection? What if we found ourselves magically single, transported to the extended-stay-hotel, (with the kids, if applicable), with half our worldly goods, with half the money in our bank and savings, but no place to live and no spouse?
In effect, this is the same question we all struggle with, but from a different angle. It changes how I see things.
How about you:
- If a BS, would you go to the trouble to remarry the WS, knowing what you know now?
- And vice versa, if a WS, would you re-up with the spouse you felt you had to betray?
16 comments posted: Friday, August 5th, 2022
I find it chillingly cold if he can simply say "thanks and goodbye" to her and that it…..Seeing people as disposable is not a sign of a mentally healthy person.
This! The above was said by Bigger in response to EmptyGlass’s JFO post. This is exactly how I feel about my WH, a man who has been having one or two year-affairs with different women for over decade, having met them on EHarmony or such. These women were single and looking for a real relationship. They, too, were duped. They gave up a couple precious years hoping to foster a real relationship. How can anyone be so callous and selfish? If true, I have only compassion for these women.
Also, if true, how can I remain with some so callous, cold, and calculating? He gave them a fake name, said he was single, yada yada. But how could they have believed all this malarky? Wouldn’t they have checked him out, wanted to meet his friends and family, know where he worked, see his LinkedIn account? Yet, to me, he seems so genuine in his desire to stay married. He’s done with affairs, committed, blah, blah. He’s caring and concerned, he reading the books, he’s so sorry. While in his presence, I can’t really feel my own disbelief. But within an hour of being apart my head is swirling with the conflicting messages. There is a big disconnect here and I can’t put my finger on it.
It’s been six months since Dday. I am only becoming more confused, at his behavior, as well at my own. Why can’t I see his true being? Why would I stay with someone I know to be so cunning and manipulative? Why do I believe there is a good chance at reconciliation when I now know him for what he is? Why don’t I feel he is being cunning and manipulative towards me? It’s like looking at the old lady/young lady picture. Each version is true and compelling, shutting out the other, but at a second glance, the other version appears, just as true and real.
7 comments posted: Sunday, July 31st, 2022
Any Serial Survivors Out There?
WH and I are attempting recovery but I have my doubts. I read so many stories here on SI and wonder if there are any survivors of repetitive, serial infidelity lasting many years? Is it ever possible for a marriage to truly recover or heal from this type of betrayal? I would like to know how others have dealt with this.
26 comments posted: Thursday, June 16th, 2022
I have a post nup!(?)
I guess I should celebrate having signed and notarized our post nup. Even that took some time. It’s nothing fancy, not punitive, just a document stating we split everything and WH will pay me a lump sum as "alimony in solido" in case of divorce. Now we can work on staying together because we want to reconcile. It gives us both the security of knowing what will happen should we divorce, and it gives me a tangible sign of his willingness to reconcile. And maybe it gives him the tangible sign that I’m walking away without looking back if there is ever a repeat of Dday. I asked for it and got it done.
We did this a couple of weeks ago but I feel more like crying than celebrating.
Thanks for listening.
4 comments posted: Wednesday, May 25th, 2022
The Continuing Education of WH: March Madness Lesson
My WH has been in mourning since Kentucky went out the first round. He is expressing true empathy and genuine concern for others whose teams have fallen by the wayside. He laments Arkansas's loss to Duke, which in a friendly manner, he has never forgiven after Duke stole the championship from KY in 1992. He revels in reliving that pain. He has hope, but harbors doubts, about Kentucky ability to change in the future.
I try not to remind my WH constantly of the damage he has left in his wake, but I was unable to pass up the chance to compare and contrast these sportive emotions against the my real life trauma endured since D-Day. In my effort to be transparent and open, I explained I want him to really feel my pain, just like he had for disappointed fans. I needed him to know how hard it is to forgive somedays, to overcome my damaged pride, as he has been unwilling to do toward Duke. And the hardest, to have him to understand how frightening it is to stay and risk hoping against failure, trusting against betrayal, when your team, (i.e., my husband), has proved to be so unworthy. In summary, that these grueling emotions he willing assumes for a basket ball rivalry are the very ones he dumped upon my heart when he committed real-life infidelity. I call a foul.
Nothing like a little sports analogy - I think a light came on.
3 comments posted: Sunday, March 27th, 2022
Therapy - What to Expect?
I have had little experience prior to D-Day with therapy. Several years ago I attended Al Anon and found it to be truly worthwhile, helping people to care for their own well being, in spite of others. They should teach that stuff in high school! When our 27 year old son died I sought counseling through Hospice but I was a such a mess. After three sessions my counselor suggested I come back when I could stop crying. It’s been almost eight years and I’m tearing up as I type so I’m still not ready. One just learns to live with pain and knows it becomes woven into the fabric of our lives, a very part of our being. Now, the fresh new pain of learning of my husband’s years of infidelity is being woven into the fabric. I’m more than willing to get help. Anything to mitigate this awful, ever-present pain.
Every book, podcast, etc., says a good therapist can help one "do the work", "help to find the right direction", "process our emotions". I don’t even understand what this means. I’ve tried multiple sessions with two different IC and a private session with the MC and feel only that I am not "coachable". They ask a few questions, I answer, they ask and how do feel I about that? I answer as honestly as I can. After all, I am not even clear about how I feel, and that’s why I am seeking help. My head is swirling. I don’t see the value, understand the process. How do I help them to help me? What am I not getting? Any thoughts?
11 comments posted: Saturday, March 19th, 2022
Therapy - What to Expect?
Duplicate - Sorry!
0 comment posted: Friday, March 18th, 2022
The Path to Old Age
It's been 2 months since D-Day, plus the extra time where I knew but refused to believe it. Lately I’m feeling strong and capable of getting though this hell and coming out fiercely determined to live a better life on the other side. I have money, I have a job, I have choices, and I have a plan - sort of.
Turns out my strong, determined, loyal, meticulous type-A husband of 36 years has been soliciting sex on dating sites, and having side affairs for 18 years. Why didn’t I see it? He’s the type: power hungry, a bit controlling, always needing the reflecting admiration of others. But, yet, I thought he's a good man, a man of integrity, he’d never betray his vows. How could I be this ridiculously foolish, blind woman? "It’s just sex," he says. But, "You weren’t that interested, you weren’t there for me when…, you were always busy with… , I made a mistake." I cringe at his pathetic response. I know he’s reaching, covering up that fragile ego, hiding his lack of what should be extreme shame and remorse. He says he’s sorry but his depth of feeling is not profound. I don’t expect him to feel the true contrition or remorse I would feel had I done the same. He has the emotional range of a teaspoon. Nobody who feels emotion keenly would do what he has done. He says he wants our marriage to last. He never wanted to leave me. He says he won’t ever stray again, all of that is over. I think perhaps this statement is possible. He is very determined type. He’s old! Maybe he speaks the truth and will change his ways. The psych PhD pundits on the internet say otherwise. They all seem to hint that there is no changing a serial cheater. That’s a thing - serial infidelity. Pathologies run deep and habits have solidified. Reform is questionable. And yet, I hope. He's been my life's partner for almost 40 years.
So here I find myself in a new dilemma which, I thought, only happens to others less fortunate - Should I stay or should I go? I am living the lyrics of a cheesy 80’s punk band! I must approach this logically. My swirling mind is of no help. Reconciliation must be the default, plan, right? One can’t go down the D path and recover easily. WS says he does not want to lose me. (or just half the assets???) We must try. Can I forgive? Yes, surprisingly. I acknowledge that I have put up road blocks to intimacy and connections in the past, and more importantly, have failed to educate my own husband about what I need for intimacy and connection.
Well, if sex with an old woman is what he wants, I got this. It feels good to be in his arms again. I can watch a football game, eat some junky meals, go to awards banquets, read his attaboy emails, watch a Tommy Lee Jones movie, etc. But where's the flip side? The re-education of WS is not proving easy. Shortly into the agreed upon R attempt I am back to defending my need to work, taking walks and weekend hikes alone, reading recovery books alone, learning about infidelity, alone. The week-long display of affection, gentle touching, etc., has quickly disappeared outside of a hopeful sexual encounter. Do I keep asking?
Old habits and patterns are entrenched on both sides. I wonder if the upcoming MC can really help. He made the appointment, he points out. But, is this really where I want to be? Do I have the stamina and fortitude to make this work and heal at the same time? He undermined my life's work, trampled my memories and crushed my heart, and now we just go on? I have a limited number of years on this planet left to me. Do I want to spend them with someone so calculating and callous? How do I suffer though this without even another soul knowing my pain other than the beloved perpetrator, (and now you, gentle reader)? Do I spend years keeping our secrets and hiding the pain? This is so very hard. Before D-Day I had accepted the distance between us. But D-Day has opened up the whole new possibility of being alone, but not being lonely. I could have peace. I could go. I got that, too.
21 comments posted: Monday, February 28th, 2022