What is marriage?
I feel lost in this question of what is a marriage. On the one hand, it is a relationship that is supposed to bring about a net positive in a person’s life. Love, sex, friendship, these are elements that should characterize this relationship. And if the relationship doesn’t have these key elements, there are lots of fish in the sea, right?
But then marriage is also an institution. I come at this from a religious background and that carries a lot of weight for me, but I perceive that almost everyone would agree that marriage carries a weight beyond a relationship at the second date stage. We plan our futures together. We have children. We are legally entitled to each other’s money.
So what is this thing we call marriage? Is it an unnecessary label to a love relationship? Is it a stabilizing foundation for when love wavers? Is it a chain that makes people comfortable staying in their flaws because they have the security of vows? What is it when it’s been broken and violated?
I’m struggling with this right now. I’m struggling with how much I get to demand and when. I’d love to hear your thoughts, SI.
390 comments posted: Friday, March 8th, 2024
Why did no one help us?
It’s been clear that my wife is avoidant for a long time, though I didn’t know the word for it. She shut down in arguments. She stonewalled like crazy, I felt the resentments buried in there. She refused to communicate, and it drove me crazy. I’ve been saying to myself and to her and to others close to me that "not communicating is NOT a communication style". I talked to friends close to both of us. I reached out to her father multiple times (he had promised to be there for us if we struggled in our relationship). We’ve done rounds of MC over the years.
And I’m not trying to say I’m perfect and didn’t have things to work on, but reading SI and Gottman and understanding the profile of a cheater, I was sitting on a time bomb the whole time, I was crying out for help, and no body heard and no body came. It feels disheartening when I think about it that way, like there is this epidemic out there that humanity is blind to until the full carnage is made plain. Anyone else had this experience?
22 comments posted: Tuesday, February 27th, 2024
Which is worse?
I don’t like double threading, but this question hit me this morning in my ruminations and wanted to hear your thoughts. I’ll keep my personal stuff in the other thread and make this a "nice philosophical" thread.
We say that usually the affair is a mirage, and when you compare the pain of betrayal to the chasing after the mist that our partner betrayed us for, it seems so absurd. So it got me thinking, which is worse? Is it worse to be betrayed by a trusted confidant for a fantasy, or would it be worse if they betrayed you for the sake of their own real enrichment? Like a business partner lying and taking joint money or intellectual property and leaving you in their dust as they go live a life of luxury?
Obviously both suck. What do you think is worse? And let’s not just say the fantasy one just because it’s SI.
9 comments posted: Friday, January 26th, 2024
I’ve just had two really big moments with my wife in the last 24 hours and I wanted to share them here. First, MC session yesterday, my wife talked about her guardedness and lack of trust for me was largely rooted in her lack of valuing herself. That she needed to learn to trust herself to advocate for herself and keep herself safe before she could truly trust anyone else. That felt enormous to me, that it spoke to a feeling I’ve had that nothing I ever did was good enough to build lasting trust with her.
Even more significant though was just this morning she told me that she had had a memory triggered of the A when we drove past a park a couple days ago. She had been wrestling with how to disclose it, and she even lied in MC as I asked if there was any more info to disclose. But this morning she quickly corrected the record and told me about this meeting. As much as it was not fun to hear about new info, this just proved to me that she will in fact be honest with me as these memories come up. She was terrified, she thought I might end it over this. She told me anyway. It felt highly trust building, it feels like an enormous landmark to me in the R journey. Just wanted to share, feeling really encouraged this morning.
70 comments posted: Thursday, December 7th, 2023
Disgusting affair anthems
I found out today a song that my wife shared with OM during the affair, and it’s kicking my ass today. Seniorita, by Shawn Mendes. And his match to the sleaze of it was Follow Me by Uncle Kracker. Both just revolting, it’s like they were proud and celebrating their debauchery.
I think I’m in a curious and pain shopping mood. Anyone care to share songs from their partner’s affair that drove the knife in deeper?
163 comments posted: Saturday, December 2nd, 2023
Prayers for the brokenhearted
I know holidays like this can be triggers for some, or grief soaked days that remind us of what could have been. I’m praying that God will comfort the broken and hurting among us, that we’d have a day of peace and respite.
10 comments posted: Thursday, November 23rd, 2023
How to make amends?
What has it looked like for a former wayward to make meaningful amends for their infidelity? Is it just becoming a safe partner? Cause that doesn’t really seem to have a "compensating" kind of element to it, it’s just doing what they should have done anyway. Does amends even apply in R from infidelity?
21 comments posted: Friday, October 20th, 2023
The Turing Test
This is intended to be a continuity to the conversation about how real an affair relationship is. But I think it warrants its own thread, so I’m breaking it off.
So we keep talking about whether the feelings and the relationship in an A can even be compared in the same universe as a real, genuine, out in the open love relationship. I like to take things to their logical extremes and see what happens. Let’s imagine that the AP doesn’t actually exist. Tanner talks about one of his wife’s AP’s was a catfish made up Internet personality. If it hasn’t happened yet, the day will almost certainly come when a JFO thread is going to be "my husband ran off with a chat bot" or something like that, I mean people in Japan are marrying anime characters, the world is so weird. So imagine that you find out your spouse is having a hot and heavy online affair, and the other side just so happens to be ChatGPT trained on OnlyFans. But your partner doesn’t know that. This is where the title comes in. The Turing test refers to a test for how to tell if artificial intelligence is actually sentient, that a human should interact with it and be unable to tell that it is a machine. So if my spouse falls in love with a computer thinking it’s a person, I say the betrayal is just as real. The feelings are there. The pictures have been exchanged. The plane ticket for half way around the world is in hand. What’s the difference? So it seems to me then that the AP is not special, but the feelings in the WS are real and they matter immensely.
This one should be interesting.
256 comments posted: Sunday, October 15th, 2023
Poll Thread: Attachment Styles
What is your and your partner’s attachment style?
Me - BH - leans anxious, especially after the A
Her - WW - at least avoidant, I’d guess fearful avoidant.
I’d guess this has been done before, but I’m curious so please humor me.
8 comments posted: Monday, September 25th, 2023
So insanely complicated
Hey SI. So a lot has happened in the last couple months. I’m not going to go fully into it all in this intro, but I’ll say that I was really wrapping my head and heart around D during the separation, and in the last two weeks a surprise coming together has happened. It hasn’t been flawless, but my wife has seemed to turn a corner in the remorse area and has acknowledged her lack of honesty and committed to radical truth telling, even if she worries that it will jeopardize the relationship. So in SI speak, she has let go of the outcome. So I’ve been dipping my toe back in the R pool. She knows she owes me a full written timeline, I’ve stated with poly, and she needs to explain what happened with my DD. So there’s that.
But wait, there’s more.
I mentioned before that I had had a health scare during the A, and it just so happened to line up with an encounter where she sought him out, drove down to him, to have sex and try to rekindle a dying flame. Well, that health scare is back and it just feels like a crazy gut punch. I don’t know if I want her to help me thru this or if the diagnosis itself is a trigger and I just need to run away from all of this. I can’t tell what I want. But the instability of the marriage is keenly felt, that part about sickness and health would have been nice to have.
I’m not sure I have a question at the moment. I’m just kind of reeling and I miss you guys.
281 comments posted: Tuesday, August 22nd, 2023
Caught her in a lie, might be done
I just caught my wife in a major lie of omission about the affair. I had wanted to talk to my daughter for a while about whether POSOM had ever been inappropriate toward her during the hobby times. She utterly shocked me in telling me that the bastard had been privately texting her last summer!!! Like, WHAT???? She was 16, had just gotten a phone, hadn’t been around POSOM for more than a year, and yet somehow that fucker was texting my daughter. Her boyfriend apparently saw some of it over her shoulder and thought it was creepy enough to suggest she should cut it off. And my daughter told me that shortly after D-day that my wife took her phone, blocked POSOM’s number and deleted the thread.
I confronted my wife directly. She admitted to lying and hiding this, but that is too late. She is saying that she didn’t know the texting was happening in real time, but how would my daughter would end up in contact with him? And how can I believe her anymore? She said she was afraid I would be mad and was afraid of what I would do. Well, she’s going to find out now.
I told her we are separating. She’s in the walk in closet a few feet from me packing. I don’t know if she is going to go to the room downstairs or if she’s leaving the house. I don’t care.
389 comments posted: Saturday, July 1st, 2023
Sappy Thank You
I had written this out a while ago, before the itshay hit the proverbial anfay a few weeks ago. I had it in mind as something to mark my transition into the "Atune" phase in my journey, but that didn’t quite work out as planned. I’d still like to post it and I don’t see a better time than now. So, here goes, a thank you and acknowledge of members who have impacted my infidelity journey.
This0Is0Fine: you were the first poster that really captured my attention. You told me about issues being "integrity adjacent". You shared my love for risk and stats and complexity. You helped me crystallize my chaotic thoughts multiple times. I am forever in your debt.
Hellfire: I remember getting clubbed by you with amazingly precise 2x4 shots. You wisely convinced me to lay down my sword and not involve POSOM’s children even when they are of age. You were right, you talked a man in pain out of a great foolishness. Thank you. And if you aren’t careful, the kindness you have shown is going to tarnish your hardass image, so be careful about that.
EllieKMAS: you relentlessly brought me back to earth as my mind went wild. I am grateful for the patience with my thrashings.
Emergent08: you first told me that I was a newbie and didn’t really know what I was talking about, and you were right, and you’ve been kind and wise ever since. Thank you so damn much.
ChamomileTea: all I can say is I’m glad I don’t know as much about infidelity and trauma as you do, but I’m really really glad you are around and helping poor fools like me.
StraightUp: I’ve really enjoyed the intellectual yet intensely human engagement in this emotional shit show.
WiseOldFool: you reminded me about schadenfreude and it was wonderful. You helped me define what I want.
OldWounds - you have steeled my patience in hard times and given wise counsel to hot blood. I deeply appreciate you.
BluerThanBlue - You are sassy and strong and wise. You’ve challenged me and supported me and I’m better off for that.
Wontbefooledagain - Indeed I believe you won’t. Thank you for watching my 6 and persistently bringing up a valid perspective that wasn’t what I wanted to hear often times.
FindingAWayHome - somehow within the first few words of your posts, my blood pressure drops a few points and I feel put at ease. You are kind and considerate and I love hearing from you.
RealityBlows - tons of parallels in our stories, and you have a sharp mind with a poetic heart. I listen carefully when you choose to weigh in.
There are so many others that have also touched me deeply and I hope no one takes offense at not being personally named, there are too many to say. But I’ve truly appreciated you all and the support you’ve given in this journey.
4 comments posted: Friday, June 16th, 2023
Reflection (honestly a distraction)
I’m super sad, and I’m taking Sisoon’s advice to let it go where it will while keeping myself safe. My mind likes to think abstractly, so I’m letting it. This thought came to mind and I hope it might help the community and those who come after me.
The advice to BS’s who deeply want to R to be willing to lose the marriage in order to save it is both true and completely counterproductive. Let a very recent hopium addict explain. If you tell someone who really really wants something that they can do something to get what they want, that is pretty much by definition a huge hit on the hopium pipe. Now fill in these paradoxical words, gotta be willing to give it up in order to get it back, and it doesn’t matter. All they hear is "I can get it back", which of course negates the way to actually get it back. There is no short cut around the well worn paths in our brains. For something this immensely huge, our lives, our love, we each need fully experiential learning. I’m not saying don’t give the advice, I’m sure there are faster learners than me, but for God’s sake please be patient as people walk thru this.
35 comments posted: Monday, May 22nd, 2023
There’s a bomb in my living room
So one particular issue has risen up to the surface, the matter of the multitude of intimate images that she gave POSOM during all their sexting sessions. The bastard almost certainly still has them. We have four kids, three of them boys in middle school or high school. If those images became public, the damage to my sons would be immense. They would be on their peers phones for the rest of their childhood, someone would find them. I honestly imagine the only thing we could do is a Witness Protection act, move far away and change our last name.
I’ve considered having her go to a lawyer and having a Cease and Desist sent to the fucker. We talked about it in MC yesterday. First I had to paint the picture to her of how serious this is. And once it sank in to her and realized I was dead serious about this, she started considering what POSOM might do in response. Apparently she picked a real fucking winner, because I could see the fear in her eyes as she says he could get violent and is a big gun guy.
So to summarize, my wife created a bomb with sending sexual images, set that bomb in my living room (or more like our sons’ bedroom) and she permenantly gave the detonator to POSOM. And he’s a fucking unhinged asshole.
So now what do I do? Nothing has happened in the last 10 months, maybe nothing will. I have a google monitor on her name set up, so I’d know if anything got posted that was tagged to her. Doing nothing seems dangerous to me, and provoking the asshole might make him do it out of spite or retaliate in other ways. But I’d take almost any other retaliation than have that happen to my kids.
Anyone have a similar experience? Any advice?
83 comments posted: Sunday, May 21st, 2023
How long have I been married?
Question to those who have reconciled or at least tried: how did you treat the affair with respect to how long you regard yourself as married? Did the counter go back to zero for you? Did you just keep going from your original wedding day? Or did you say that the time from when the affair began, like when when sexual boundaries were crossed, to when you somehow recommitted didn’t count?
I’m approaching 18 years since we exchanged vows. But my mind might be more comfortable thinking my marriage lasted 14 years. I know there is no right or wrong answer to this. I’m just curious how you all have thought about it.
378 comments posted: Saturday, May 6th, 2023
To BS’s who have reconciled:
On a scale of 1-10, how tough were you with your WS?
Also, on a scale of 1-10, how happy are you in your R?
27 comments posted: Thursday, April 13th, 2023
Another one bites the dust
Hey all, new guy here. My wife dropped the bomb on me last night, told me that she’d had sex with a friend of hers a year ago. She says it was a one time event, but I’m wrecked. We’ve been married for 17 years, and we’ve had struggles, but it always seemed like they were the type of thing that we could work thru. Infidelity has always been close to an immediate deal breaker in my mind, relating to my father being a cheater and generally just the value I place on marriage. I’ve always wanted marriage to be a very close and intimate relationship and cheating would be (and now is) the ultimate betrayal of that. So I guess now I find myself in a situation testing "ideals" that I never thought I would have to. I don’t know what to do. I’ve read this forum for a while. I found it based off some retroactive jealousy concerns, but strangely enough the timing lines up closely to when she slept with him. Maybe I intuited something was off.
What do people do practically? It seems like in the short term I have no real choice but to share a roof with her. I could bum a bed off friends and family for a while, but that would get old pretty quick, it seems.
Like I said, I’ve read a decent number of stories here. I’m dreading being one, but I do admire this community. Glad its here, sad to be here.
229 comments posted: Friday, July 22nd, 2022