I can't really believe I am making this post.
Start off with, no, he didn't cheat again, but he has enormously betrayed me.
Most here know my story: Very problematic attempt and R with no real work being done by him. I moved a month ago and we have been separated, but since then he had been doing a lot of "the work".
So anyway, one thing that I mentioned before is that we were arguing a lot because he had promised to buy a house with me and then didn't do it. It felt to me like a lack of commitment, lack of keeping his word and generally made me feel like I couldn't trust him still. It was the prime reason I left in the end.
I basically felt like "this guy has put me through all of this, and now he can't buy the home we promised to buy together five years ago?". It is what pushed me over the edge to leaving.
So a couple of weeks ago, a week AFTER I had already left, he said to me he was thinking of buying the house. As in, him, on his own. No discussion, no partnership, no consideration of my needs or feelings. So I went completely insane with rage. I was like "so you can't buy the house together, but 30 seconds after I am gone you can suddenly buy it???". It was a huge fight, and I told him buying our dream house without me was a huge betrayal and I would never forgive him for it. He apologised and said it had been a silly idea of something he was doing "for me" in the hope I would "come home". I figured that idea was well and truly scrapped!!! He grovelingly apologised.
Anyway, I mentioned a few days ago we were talking and I was setting out some things I would need to see from him - actions to see he was doing the necessary work and that maybe we could try again. We have had some really close, intimate conversations over the week and I have also provided a lot of support for his ongoing health problems.
I was finally at a point of thinking maybe he was going to finally do it!
Maybe me leaving made him realise he was definitely going to lose me, and he would finally listen to me and give me everything I need! I even went to bed feeling a little hopeful the last couple of days! WE even discussed the future and where we might buy our house and so on.
Anyway, he confessed tonight:
He bought the house.
He bought the FU***NG house.
After that conversation where I went nuts over him even discussing it, he went to view it, he made an offer, the offer was accepted and now he has bought a FU**ING house without even discussing it with me.
After I outright told him I would consider that an unforgivable betrayal that showed he was happy to commit to buying a house, but just not together, and that it was OUR dream house and he needed to sort himself / us out first and then build on a SHARED future that we both agreed. When I said it, he listened, he apologised, he told me he loved me, and then he went and bought the FU***NG house anyway.
And worse, he lied about it all week too.
When he sent the message I was sent right back in time to when I got the text message to say he was having an A.
I almost couldn't breathe.
Lied to, duped, betrayed AGAIN.
After I had outright told him I would be devastated by this, he did it anyway. And it dawned on me how I used to do that with the AP. I would cry, beg, tell him PLEASe do NOT break NC because it will destroy me - and each time he big fat went and did it anyway.
I put it down, then, to him clearly being in the middle of a mental breakdown and probably in the fog a bit too, but now there is no excuse.
I have a spouse who genuinely just does whatever he wants and doesn't think about how I feel or what I want.
I am really just feeling like I am experiencing another DDay.
I have packed all his stuff up out of my house. I have smashed every picture of us into the garbage and I have had a garden bonfire of all our sentimental stuff and memories.
It is like DDay all over again, and after all this time of me trying so hard and all his excuses I am just broken.
59 comments posted: Monday, October 9th, 2023
Are there any movies about infidelity that are realistic?
Just the title?
There seems to be lots of movies about almost every life event that are quite realistic depictions, but all the on screen infidelity I've seen seems ridiculous.
21 comments posted: Friday, October 6th, 2023
Advice for when you're separated
Can I please get some wisdom on this one as I really don't know how to play it.
I am separated, after a failed R without WS doing "the work". Separation was my choice, WS wants to continue with the M. I moved a couple of hundred miles away (not one to do things by halves) and haven't seen him for a month. Since I left , WS is now doing some of "the work". Notable changes have occurred, which is encouraging but I am also viewing them with some scepticism that it isn't just a short term effort to get me to come home.
What I want is one of these two things:
a) To get back together and for him to do EVERYTHING we need, willingly, happily and with no more crap or excuses or being too tired or too sick and to have a partner truly committed to R and all it entails.
b) To move on without him
Anything other than those two options is no longer acceptable to me. Trying to accept less than that turned me into a sad, angry and resentful person and I refuse to be that.
It's worth noting here, that my WS is:
a) autistic, so has deficiencies in some areas of things relating to emotions or communication and he can get very overloaded and stressed by things
b) suferring from Lupus, as well as a heart condition and is in a huge flare so is often fatigued, very sick or generally not okay.
Those two factors are the reasons that I allowed a lack of "the work" to go on for so long as it's really hard to put things onto someone who is sick or struggling. However, I came to a point of realising that regardless of those things he had to do "the work" or I could not stay.
So anyway, where we are at now is
We talk pretty much every day for a while. Sometimes that is about the A. Sometimes it is just chit chat. His Grandma died yesterday, so I will have to go back home for the funeral at least. As for anything else, he is suggesting we have a few "long weekends" together in the coming weeks.
I am sitting here feeling really discombobulated. I am not sure whether to refuse to see him or whether meeting up for a few long weekends is actually a good idea.
PROS OF MEETING UP:
1. Obviously I want to see him
2. We could talk in person, and perhaps progress with "the work"
3. We could build on some positive experiences together
CONS OF MEETING UP:
1. I don't want to fall back into any old patterns where I just give in and accept "the work" not being done. Particularly as it is very hard to insist on that when the person is physically sick.
2. The A happened when we were "long distance" so actually this entire setup is very triggering for me and I don't want it to become "the norm"
3. I feel like the entire reason R wasn't working is because he had no consequences. I am worried that (he works long hours and is sick) that he might be completely fine with an M where I live somewhere else and he sees me for long weekends! I mean, I am genuinely worried that might be great for him! Cake and eat it?!!
So basically I am stuck in my brain with what I should do
do I agree to see him but only for counselling and then drive all the way home?
do I agree to the long weekends but only if we set aside a specific time / hours for "the work"?
do I just stay far away and go to minimal contact so he misses me more?
I really don't know what to do here.
In terms of what's best for ME, definitely the time alone has helped. I am no longer caring for someone chronically ill, I can cry when I want, I can type of this forum, I can eat nothing but cereal and that's been kind of soothing. At the same time I obviously want to know if my M is over or not. I have been in limbo with it for three years and feel like I need some kind of solid plan in place. Which is either a really set, very specific plan for "the work" OR me working out life alone.
He is saying he is willing to do all "the work" but obviously I cannot believe this until I actually see it.
Can I get some wise advice here? What is terrifying me most is the idea that I will end up back in limbo but this time worse because I am also back in a long distance marriage which is my absolute NO WAY red line. Not because I feel he would cheat again, but because it feels to me too triggering.
28 comments posted: Monday, October 2nd, 2023
Questions for BSs who feel genuinely healed
I would really like to know (whether you Rd or not) what you think the process of healing was?
If you Dd, what was it that allowed you to move on from it in tact? What was it that made you feel good again? If you were in IC what was the process of that helping move you towards healing?
If you Rd, what elements do you feel were completely essential to move forward feeling good again? What were the "must haves" and what parts did you do with your WS and which on your own?
I'm just trying to get a picture of what different people's advice is for how you move from traumatised and in pain, to feeling peaceful and safe.
26 comments posted: Saturday, September 30th, 2023
Losing the idea of yourself as the prize.
I'm doing relatively okay to be honest since separating from my WS.
I just woke up today feeling heavy about something. The loss of that feeling of being "the prize".
I realised my entire life I'd felt like that, and doubly so with my WS. He used to always say he was punching above his weight.
I realise how sad it feels not to feel that way. That there was (albeit a brief) time where he wanted something else.
I wrestle a lot with how far that extended. It was an A when we were long distance. He said he only went near her because she was there and I wasn't and that he never felt any kind of romantic infatuation with her.
I try to comfort myself with those thoughts. But he also spent days and nights with her when he could gave zoomed me. He still rejected me. That's my view. He also had sex with her, many times.
Worst of all, despite being completely sure it was me he wanted after Dday, he definitely missed her after the A stopped.
He definitely felt a very close bond with her (even if it was toxic and she was nuts). He definitely grieved (but he says he wasn't grieving HER but more the time before the A when everything was OK.
I guess I just feel like I wasnt the prize, and because he never put 100% into R - I don't think I ever regained that feeling.
I just feel like my sense of who I am is a bit lost now. I still feel stuck on why he acted after the A ended like he was addicted and coming off heroin.
Yes, I've read everywhere - affairs feel like addictions, but I don't really get it. It sounds to me like they just fell in love.
So part of me wonders if he did.
I pored over every detail and spoke to AP. I've read every message. Objectively it looked like friends with benefits with her desperate for more and him saying he wasn't interested.
She even told me herself in one of her many tearful assaults that he never acted romantic towards her and wouldn't shrug away from physical affection. But I dont know if that's because he wanted to or if it was a weird version of loyal.
So that makes it hard to process. I guess I worry a lot.
Years later, no contact, and I genuinely believe he doesn't give a crap about her and he said it was simply this:
Right or wrong he'd spent all his time with her and (along with being nuts) she'd become his emotional support system, that he was alone after Dday, far away, trying to deal with terrible circumstances and he missed her being around to talk to and do things with.
I think other people have other stuff that just sits on them, but for me it was losing the feeling that I was the prize for him.
43 comments posted: Saturday, September 30th, 2023
What does being a madhatter feel like?
I am separated from WS and currently feeling that will be permanent, but it's been three YEARS of what I call "false R" because although all contact with AP ceased two years ago I feel we never really began "the work".
I have been faithful.
I was faithful when we were long distance and he was having an A unbeknownst to me.
I was faithful for 8 months while he broke NC with the AP several times.
I have been faithful the entire time.
Now we are separated, I feel pretty sure it's permanent - but not 100% sure. We still love each other and he's pretty insistent he's going to use me "being gone" as the impetus to face the hard work he's been avoided. So I can't really say "never" but I do know that right now he doesn't "get it" at all and I am tired of hanging around to wait for him to.
We are not married, we are not even together, but I feel sure if I had a relationship with another man he would certainly perceive this as cheating if we were to ever reconcile. I think regardless of what I think is "official", he would perceive it this way and it would cause him enormous pain.
I found myself on Tinder and matched with many people locally who look like the kind of people I would date. Part of that is just basically being lonely, and part of it is that I feel a lot of A pain that was never resolved and I would like to feel better.
I am just scared to move ahead.
If we did get back together, if he does do "the work", then does that make me a madhatter? If it does, how does it feel? Does it damage things even worse? Or might it be actually good for him to get even a taste of what I experienced? I just don't want to make life any more painful and confusing than it already is, but at the same time I think it would be good for me for ME.
43 comments posted: Tuesday, September 26th, 2023
Relationship needs: not everyone needs fidelity
I found earlier today a piece of paper where for fun, my ex WS years ago had written out our top 10 relationship needs. His were:
Honest communication (lol)
Playfulness and fun
As I read that it struck me that in terms of needs, that might be someone who'd be unfaithful in a long distsmce situation. Autonomy? Sex? Appreciation?
Shared responsibility for life
Adventure and spontaneity
Playfulness and fun
Security and commitment
We had some crossover, but it reads like mine were definitely more about commitment and devotion to each other, whereas his aren't.
It also makes me sad to read how nuch infidelity would have hurt me, considering what my most important needs were - such as fidelity, commitment and security.
I was pondering over whether a factor in being capable of cheating is fidelity just not being that important to you.
34 comments posted: Tuesday, September 26th, 2023
Surviving an affair: is this book for real???
Oh my goodness, I am reading this book and it says if your spouse is continuing contact with the AP during R to send them this letter...
My Dearest __________, I apologize to you for my part in creating an environment that helped make your affair possible. I foolishly pursued my goals without understanding my responsibility tomeet your most important emotional needs. I was not there for you when you needed me the most and we are now both suffering for my mistake. [Add your willingness to address other complaints that the unfaithful spouse may have communicated prior to the affair.] I am willing to avoid the mistakes I’ve made in the past and create a new life for both of us that will meet your needs. But I cannot do that until you end your relationship once and for all. Living with you under these conditions has been the most painful experience of my life, and I can no longer endure it. Until your affair ends, and you are willing to follow a plan of reconciliation with me, I will avoid seeing you or talking to you. Our friends, ___________, have agreed to help make arrangements for you to see our children on a schedule that is mutually convenient. They will provide transportation. If you want to communicate about the children or any other matter, it will have to be through them. I ask you to respect my decision to separate from you this way. You must know about the suffering I have endured because of your relationship, and I simply cannot be with you any longer knowing that you are together. I still love you but I cannot see you under these conditions. As soon as you are willing to permanently end your relationship, follow precautions to avoid absolutely any contact with the other person, and join me in a plan to restore our relationship, I will be willing to discuss our future together with you. I hope that we will be able to rebuild our marriage some day. I want us to be able to meet each other’s emotional needs and to avoid doing anything to hurt each other. We can build a new lifestyle together in which everything we do makes us both happy. Then there will never again be a reason for us to be separated. I want to be your best friend, someone who is always there for you when you need me. And I want you as my best friend. I cared for you when we married and I continue to care for you right up to this day. But I cannot be with you or help you as long as you are in this relationship. With all my love, (signed)
It says to also send a note to the AP saying:
I love __________ with all my heart and am willing to do whatever it takes to make (him/her) happy. I will wait for that chance.
I am actually nauseated!!!
14 comments posted: Saturday, September 23rd, 2023
Seperating but struggling
I made the decision to split from my WS because the R just wasn't going well.
He was really loving and so on, but he wasn't putting the work in, and I'd let it go on a long time and just felt like I wasn't healing.
I left about a month ago. He thought I'd be coming back so I need to break the news that I'm not.
Can I ask how the people here split finally with their WS if the WS did not want to D? How did they take it and how did things work out?
I feel worried about him and that's making it harder.
I read a few threads here. Most recently the one on "how do you know you don't love them anymore" or similar.
I really don't feel that.
I still really love him.
He still really loves me too.
We just can't make R work. I realise that and accept it, but it'll be hard for him to see.
Has anyone ever D under those circumstances? It feels very difficult.
We are married, but not legally so as we had a beach wedding and never made it official so aside from organising moving some stuff out (which I don't need to do in person)
I just feel like it's going to be hard and sad
4 comments posted: Saturday, September 23rd, 2023
Did anyone have a lot of false R than finally changed when you left?
I feel like R didn't work for me and exWS because I was the only person doing anything to repair what he broke. I eventually stopped trying and eventually left around a month ago.
There's an amazing post on the wayward forum by DaddyDom. He sounds so much like by exWS, but he's a version who did the work.
He basically thought "old us" still existed and if he just waited enough time and endured enough tears and anger that he would get it back.
He didn't "get it". He didn't "own it". He just kept saying he loved me and thought it was enough.
I'm not saying there wasn't heaps of positive changes because there was, but ultimately he hadn't got to 101 of accountability.
I properly left, and this time meant it. I didn't run if he cried or begged or got sick. I didn't send him links to websites or ask him to start therapy. I was sad, but also just done.
He had used the time to finally slow down. He finally wrote the timeline and at least started a road to actual accountability (although tinged with self pity).
He's spent his nights and weekends reading it over, and he says imagining he was me and finally realising how bad it was for me. The fist seeds of authentic empathy and sitting with the pain rather than avoiding.
He's addressed some of the things I'd asked for, and more and it feels like he's actually taking time to feel what he needs to feel and think about what he needs to think about.
I dont know what to think.
I'm scared to invest in any hope of healing as it feels like such a mess.
Advice would be appreciated.
Right now, we speak, but I've told him that for me things feel over. I dont really feel able to believe that he might really do the work.
47 comments posted: Wednesday, September 20th, 2023
The OP and finding your peace with ways they harmed you
I am going through my mental closure loop, and there's a lot of trauma surrounding the OP that I need to put to bed.
I have read a lot of stories here and elsewhere and it seems like most of the time the OP is upset the affair is over, but they generally just go away when told to.
The OP didn't know me, didn't owe me anything, but they still attacked me and I still have huge trauma surrounding that.
I can see that my WS allowed that to happen and is ultimately to blame, but the truth is that the OP, directly, person to person both really harmed me and really frightened me.
I sat with this for a while and listed the stuff she did to me, directly and it was kind of shocking. All listed out, I mean, I genuinely couldn't picture being capable of doing those things to someone.
What was obvious is that she didn't feel any guilt or remorse about having sex (and being the pursuer) of someone who wasn't available. And fine, I think that's poor character but I get that lots of people do it. It wasn't done TO me, and ultimately it was my WS harming me.
But beyond that, there was an ongoing, sustained attack on me that had lasting consequences for my health, wealth and wellbeing. That was her choice. I was an innocent stranger to her, and she made the decision to do that.
Mmmm. No. I don't think it was crimes of passion or heat of the moment. It was premeditated and went on for a year. I think that honestly to this person I was not a human. Her objective was to have my spouse. When he did not agree to that, her objective was to destroy me as a way to exact revenge.
There isn't any cruel thing she didn't say or do. It was designed snd executed to cause maximum damage on me and she enjoyed doing it. She even messaged him after one particularly bad attack on me to smugly gloat.
I understand there's bad people in the world. I also understand my WS brought this OP into my world.
I just think there's a part of me that also has trauma from the OP.
I had to leave social media. I stopped sharing family photos. My bowels drop when my phone buzzes. I don't trust unknown numbers.
I feel like the trauma of her is also something I need to be released from.
Did anyone else have just a vengeful and relentless OP who attacked them personally?
26 comments posted: Monday, September 18th, 2023
The last contact with OP and why the format matters
The books and advice says that the last contact with the OP should be something you write or say together, along the lines of "I love my BS and we are working on the marriage. I don't want to have any further contact with you. Please respect my wishes".
I didn't get this.
Well, I did, bit then communication went underground and things were said which betrayed me again.
The last contact between them was more on the lines of "you're a wonderful person and I will really miss you".
Of course WS is mortified now by that, but for me this was such a significant betrayal...that the last contact they ever had was a fond farewell and another betrayal.
Can I ask how your last contact was handled?
How important was this to you?
22 comments posted: Monday, September 18th, 2023
Can anyone help me understand why this particular behavior from my exWS is the one that makes me angriest?
I am separated from exWS for around a month, and currently don't have intentions of going back. So this post is for me, my healing and peace of mind. I am at a stage now where that's all I want now, as I have let go of any expectation he has what it takes to fix what he broke. I am processing everything right now, which for me involves understanding why I feel like I do, and being able to acknowledge it, give myself the empathy and validation I feel I have been denied, and then pack it away.
I moved a couple of hundred miles from WS, and I got my dream house. I have financial troubles now, as coping on my own is hard and was completely unexpected in this juncture in life - but also because my affair trauma meant I lost my job a couple of years ago and couldn't work for a while as I wasn't well enough. It turned my life upside down, but I feel a growing sense of acceptance and hope for healing.
I have been through three years of false R.
The first year of that was repeated DDays and lots of breaking NC with the AP. That all stopped eventually but three years on, I think only 50% of the "this is what I need from you for reconciliation" list was ever done. No tangible work has been done really of any kind by WS.
Yes, he would sit for hours, even weeks listening to me cry and apologising. There was lots of guilt and "I love yous", but no accountability, no real "whys", no counselling, not even really thinking about it so he could offer empathy. He just avoided.
I don't think my WS is a bad person. I believe he loves me. I think he was just not capable of R, so I feel very sad about where we ended up. It's hurt us both, and I don't want to be angry or resentful towards someone I love so much. Whatever he has done, he will always be someone I deeply love and I am genuinely just sorry his decisions led him where we got to.
I am not an angry person.
Despite the affair, my anger did not actually even appear until about 4 months in when he kept breaking NC and not doing the work. Patience and kindness turned into boiled up anger and rage and exploded. Since then, I have been a pretty great spouse I think.
I think I spent my time reading on SI, reading books, watching videos. Trying to do "the work" alone and trying and failing to engage him in it. I think I gave love, kindness and patience and I think - sadly - I put him first.
I kept saying to myself "maybe next week once he has finished this project, it will be the right time", but the right time never came. So there has always been a lot of anger beneath the surface and there have been some explosions of it. 99% of the time I was kind and nice and 1% of the time I would just explode.
No way to live, huh?
The salve of course, to that anger would have been for him to have called a counsellor, done the work, written a timeline for me, apologised in a meaningful way and properly engaged me. During and after every explosion, I told him exactly that. I literally said "if you want to help me and us, do THIS".
He ignored me. Instead he says it made him scared to talk to me. So he didn't and we didn't talk about it at all anymore. I continued to be angry and sad, he blamed me. He didn't outright blame me, but if we had an argument, he would immediately go to "but you hurt me too!!!" and start telling me I wasn't meeting his needs.
So many times he told me that he loved me, but that HE needed calm and stability, and if I could provide it to him - with no fights, then and only then could he feel safe with me and not blamed or criticised or like I was going to shout or get upset that he would have been able to "do the work".
Now, I was offering counselling, so if he felt we didn't have a "safe space" for difficult conversation, that was an option for him. But also I feel gaslit by this, because I know that I am not an angry person and the anger was created by him not doing the work. So what was going on here was both gaslighting and victim / perpetrator reversal.
But in the broader picture - I have absolutely no idea how he felt entitled to or believed on any level, that I could or needed to provide my unfaithful spouse who wasn't engaging with R in any way, with "peace and stability". But the level of entitlement he felt and feels for this is staggering. Almost every request or conversation about meeting my needs would always end up with him saying "but you need to meet mine too and I have told you a hundred times that I need peace and stability! I need it! Meeeeeee".
And that would be it. That would always be what completely snapped me, and this calm, patient, positive, gentle person would turn into a monster. The rage I would feel would sometimes make my chest hurt. I never hit him, but I wanted to! I have never ever ever felt rage through any of this like I did when he would try and turn this around and say I wasn't meeting his needs, needs for HIM to feel calm and stable, when he was not only the one who ripped those things away - but he was also the one who acted as a barrier to the most basic steps to achieve them.
Can anyone empathise with that or explain to me this, more than the lies or deception or betrayal made me so angry? Why was that? Everything else I could seemingly deal with calmly, but not that. And when he said that it changed how I felt about him.
I think because I would look at him and see the same selfish ass who felt entitled to an affair in the first place. The same clueless man child that wasn't able to accept consequences for his choices - even if those consequences had basically destroyed my wellbeing and well - my life if I am honest.
So that was why I left.
As I said, I left a while ago, and has been trying to get me to go back. This week he probably realised I wasn't coming back and he finally invested in some of the R work I needed three years ago. I finally got a timeline, and for him to actually look at it and imagine how I felt and talk to me about it and offer empathy and remorse that sounded like real remorse instead of self flagellation. He was finally digging into his "Whys" and having the tough conversations with himself.
Off the back off that we were able to have a conversation yesterday by phone that was so cathartic for me. Three years late, yes, but I got at least one of the conversations I needed. No self defensiveness. No blame shifting. No minimising. No rug sweeping. I was seen and heard and listened to and got answers which (had I had three years ago) would have saved me so much pain and confusion.
I sent him a nice message that evening thanking him for that.
Then woke up this morning to messages from him which said
"these conversations are only really possible when I don't feel frightened and feel like you are listening. So often I have felt dismissed, criticised and blamed. When what I actually needed - in order to give you the answers you need - is for you to listen and to accept and to maybe understand :(But you said I didn't deserve any of that and that only your thoughts feelings and needs mattered".
Then tried to kind of blame me for a "meltdown" I had had about two years ago when OW had showed up in town.
I instantly felt rage. Because honestly, everything in that message is a lie. Pretty much nothing but his thoughts, feelings and needs have ever mattered (which is the whole problem and why I feel so angry to begin with) and he's implying that I need to behave myself and meet his needs in order to somehow deserve the work of R.
Then I guess he is blaming me for having a meltdown / trigger over OW being in town, when he's a person who took a YEAR to stop breaking NC.
I just sat there and felt disgust, rage, almost hate for him.
And I love this person, and I want to leave peacefully with love. So I'd really like to know and discuss why that particular behavior above all others turned out to be the dealbreaker for me? Why has it caused me so much rage?
I had to take the day off work today because it made me so angry my pulse was off the scale and my chest hurt :(
16 comments posted: Saturday, September 16th, 2023
I read a lot here. Sometimes I don't type much, but I read a lot.
I was sitting here reading for a couple of hours, and was left thinking "wow".
I'm blown away really by the people who went through this and took the time to write these amazing, healing posts. I'm blown away by how true the things people say here turned out to be once I had hindsight.
There's so many BSs who have the most amazing courage and strength. There's so little anger and self pity, and so much generosity and hope.
I am also really touched, actually almost tearful, reading the contributions from the WSs. Especially ones who take the time to give BSs what they can't get from their own spouses.
I'm touched, honestly, by the courage some of you have had to GET IT, OWN IT and then pay forward to generosity you were once given.
It's s very touching site to be honest. Such a painful, hellish subject but then the human beings here impress me.
19 comments posted: Friday, September 15th, 2023
I might over the next few weeks as I work my way through the past have a few questions and hearing people really helps things make sense for me.
Today I'm reading about "entitlement".
I realise ny exWB had this generally as part of his makeup. It's a concept that's caused me a lot of heartache because I don't understand it.
For me, my happiness or comfort could not come at someone else's expense. That would be impossible, because the empathy I'd feel for their suffering would mean I didn't enjoy whatever it was that I was doing.
I realise me exWB felt entitled through our relationship to make choices which were good for him but bad for me / us. This was a notable pattern.
He not only felt entitled to be selfish, but he felt entitled also for me to not get angry when he did that.
He felt entitled actually for me to love him wholeheartedly while he put himself first. At times, even putting me in actual peril.
That was difficult to see because he doted on me and was great at gestures and often very generous towards me. But there are several occasions of big "life decisions" where he didn't factor me in at all.
He wasn't narcissistic. He didn't have a big ego. He didn't think he was special. But there was obviously this sense of entitlement to do what he wanted and if it harmed me could I please stop ruining our happy life by being angry.
I remember during an ongoing relationship problem that he was doing something that was obviously wrong. Obviously harming me directly. He reacted to being told that with frustration that I would not just put up with it with a smile.
I've been reading about this entitlement and see it was present, so I imagine this factored into why he had the affair too.
He was able to not only lie to both me and AP to get his needs and wishes met, he was able to ignore any guilt he felt and feel actually happy when he was doing it.
I am not sure I have a question here. But I think maybe understanding this character flaw: this sense of entitlement is part of what makes waywards able to work through recovery.
If anything my question is how a person can feel happy or fulfilled by things if they are harming other people so much?
11 comments posted: Thursday, August 24th, 2023
To what extent am I responsible for false R?
Here is my question du jour. It's not meant in a "I am to blame" way, but in a way where I suppose I take back control of where I ended up rather than feeling like a passive passenger.
I have spent a long time reading. My exWB did basically everything wrong in R, but then so did I.
- He never did the work
- He broke NC probably 10 times
- He slept with the AP again during R because we had a fight
- He took a YEAR after DDay to block the AP and have completely no contact
- He broke every promise
- He blames me for not getting over it
- He said the books and the forums were BS and he wasn't doing it
He did everything wrong - but I stayed through all that. I didn't just stay. If I am honest with myself, yes, I definitely gave him hell and cried and screamed and shouted. But:
- I never left for more than a week
- I continued to have sex with him
- I continued to buy him gifts and look after him and be kind and loving
- I let him rug sweep
- I stayed committed and faithful
- I tolerated the broken promises
- I even comforted him when he was pining for the AP
I was not in ANY way assertive. I didn't stand up for myself. I had absolutely no boundaries. I almost let my life resolve around him and the A. I was all mouth and didn't actually act, ever.
Now is the only time in three years I said NO.
People will say you have no self-esteem and so on. I honestly don't think that's true. I had very high self-esteem. I liked myself. I was successful. Great friends. Great life and I was really proud of who I was and felt very deserving of good things.
So I am asking myself why I did these things.
Partly shock - I believe I was so completely traumatised and had so many mixed messages and so much trauma day after day with the next revelation that I think I was mentally paralysed.
Partly denial - it was impossible for me to believe he didn't love me and wasn't a person of good character. This belief was so ingrained in me that I struggled to accept reality.
Partly fear - I think I was worried if I ended it and disappeared that he would end up with AP. For some reason this felt like her "winning", when I felt she had already taken everything from me.
Partly bargaining - I did not want to accept this was my "story". I wanted to overcome it, so I didn't live my whole life being the poor cow this happened to.
Partly cognitive dissonance - I think I separated him in my mind into monster vs angel and struggled (still do) to align the two. After all this time I still DO NOT BELIEVE he did all the things he did.
Has anyone else really let themselves down? I have read so many posts where people are saying they set their boundaries and stuck to them and I feel a deep sense of betrayal of my values and my core that I did not.
Will the fact I finally left and finally held my boundaries restore something in me?
13 comments posted: Thursday, August 24th, 2023
A question about false reconciliation
I believe, in hindsight, that the false reconciliation I have been in has been worse for me psychologically than if he'd just left me after the A.
The first year after D day were horrific. Then after that it stopped being horrific and just moved to rug sweeping.
I saw on a thread here someone said "What he put me through during the six months after his affair was far more cruel and abusive than the affair itself. How somebody can see another human being in agony and then continue to treat them so horribly is a mystery I will never solve"
For me this is most definitely true.
Did anyone else go through similar to that in the aftermath?
In my case he wasn't outright saying or doing this - if he had been I would have left.
He was crying and saying he loved me - but his actions were continued lying and betrayal and refusal of even step 1 of reconciliation and I feel ongoing trauma from that.
Has anyone else experienced it, and how did you heal yourself or come to a place of understanding?
17 comments posted: Tuesday, August 22nd, 2023
Feeling pretty desperate tonight
I have been lurking here for years - got some amazing insight - and felt pretty desperate tonight so signed up feeling like I just need some kind of support.
I really hope some people can help me, because I feel like I have no understanding from anybody around me and I feel tortured inside by all this.
I had been with my partner for about 2 years when he had an affair during a long distance relationship. I found out from the AP. DDay was September 2020. I thought back then that phone call was the worst moment of my life but I really had no idea what was coming.
I was absolutely devastated. I ended it immediately and remember feeling so bad I really didn't know what to do with myself. I think in hindsight there was a lot of bargaining and denial going on because I really didn't want to accept what was happening and it didn't seem at all real.
His reaction was to end the affair immediately (quite brutally) and try and win me back. Letters, calls, texts, gifts, tears with him begging for another chance.
Months later, I took his phone and read their messages from the time, and he was messaging the AP to say he couldn't live without me and loved me and not her etc. and he was sorry for hurting her but it was all a big mistake and he needed to do everything possible to have a hope of getting me back.
Like I said, we had only been in a relationship for two years and it was long distance for some of that. No kids. No shared life really. It would have been very easy to walk away if he wanted to, so I had no reason not to believe he was being honest.
The first few months of reconciliation
His attitude was that he had done the most stupid thing he would regret forever and he'd happily and willingly do everything to repair things. He did everything suggested on this website in spades.
I was really reluctant to even try and reconcile, infidelity for me had always been a complete dealbreaker, but I read things on this site that made me see with a willing partner you can make it through. He promised absolutely everything to me - including everything recommended on this site, which we read together, but that lasted a few months only.
Months 3 to 6
This part was my idea of living hell, and the things that happened have genuinely traumatised me. We were still long distance initially, and he started missing the AP. Then he started talking to her a little at work. And of course, I got very, very, very, very angry. And the pleasant reconciliation turned to a lot of raging arguments.
He gradually switched from being really enthusiastic and positive about "doing the work of healing from his affair" to avoiding it, making excuses and eventually almost sneering at it like it was a waste of time and why couldn't I just forgive him. He seemed to be unable to handle any criticism from me, and was incredibly self defensive. He started drinking extremely heavily to a point I was really freaked out by it.
Always after me criticising him or telling him I was done, he would seek out the AP for comfort and that escalated and escalated until he slept with her again when he was drunk and upset. His physical and mental health really unravelled over that time and so did mine. Actually I think I was in actual medical shock. I remember having to take sick leave for about six months, and I lost my house in the end from that. I was really not okay.
Obviously, I told him to go to hell, but he would consistently message me saying he loved me and he was so sorry. Which I didn't understand at all -because if you love somebody how or why would you do that to them?
Months 6 to 18
He left his job and moved to where I was to "win me back" and I was in a really bad state mentally at the time. I don't think my brain could really understand what was even happening.. I still look back and can't really understand. We started seeing one another again, on the heartfelt promise that we'd really get into "the work", but it never happened. There was always some excuse.
Then he got very sick. He was diagnosed with lupus, and he was in and out of hospital with serious health issues constantly and that suddenly took hold of everything. Over time he became more or less disabled and can't handle stress of any kind or he flares right up and the flares can be so bad that I slowly became frightened to even bring it up.
He didn't do any of the "work", but we had lots of conversations over that time, with me trying to understand everything he'd done and why. He just said it was always me he loved and wanted and he has no idea why he did what he did, he said at the time it felt like an addiction of some kind and he seems disgusted by it and confused.
I can't understand that at all. If it was so great he felt "addicted", then why he didn't want to just stay with her? That made me feel really depressed. Like I was lacking something, and that feeling never left me. I just feel like a completely worthless person, and I stopped wanting sex and taking care of myself because of the idea that at one point he ever felt like an addiction to another person.
I was in a lot of pain and felt like he never did what he needed to do to repair anything. I got sadder and sadder and angrier and angrier and started to act out. We had some blazing fights, after which his lupus would get worse and worse. Then he blamed me for being so sad and angry - saying we'd never have a happy life if I couldn't just move on. He was saying I was ruining our relationship :( Which I think is a bit abusive.
Which made me even angrier.
Then his health got so bad I pretty much just gave up thinking about me or my needs to get over his affair.
the last year
In the every day he was kind, loving, attentive, generous and met all my every day needs. He was consistently devoted and reliable. He was great. But he wanted to sweep the whole episode under the carpet like it never happened. He definitely didn't want to do therapy - for us or himself. He just wanted to pretend it never happened and move forward and any attempt for me to raise that would result in "why can't you get over it already?" or "you're always attacking me".
Then he'd apologise and say I had every right to be angry and he knew he hadn't done what he was meant to do, but it's too hard and he's sick. He'd tell me I deserved better and he loved me. He just wasn't strong enough he said.
I eventually gave up trying to get what I needed and stopped talking and just drifted away. I got very, very depressed. To the point of not leaving the couch for six months and losing my job. He complained I didn't want to spend time with him anymore, that I didn't want to have sex, that I didn't speak to him and he said he was lonely.
It's true: I didn't. It's not him. The thought of me disgusts me. I don't feel I can make him happy or excited like she did. I don't feel like anything at all. I can't talk to him because I can't say what I am thinking or feeling. I am lonely. I feel alone in this.
I left last week.
He's cried and pleased and begged me to come back. But I just don't feel I can continue like this. Nothing ever got fixed and all he does is ask me "what do you want me to do???" and I no longer know how to answer.
Do I still love him? Yes. I wish I didn't though. I wish I hated him because I am so angry and resentful and I am in so much pain and he caused it and then didn't help resolve it.
I am confused and lost.
I am completely frozen in pain.
I have lost who I was completely. I was beautiful and fun and athletic and successful and now I am just sad, I am so sad inside and I don't want to fight for myself anymore. I just want to hole up and disappear.
He keeps asking me what he can do and saying he can't cope with life without me, but honestly not ONE single time in all this time do I feel like he ever empathised with me. It was always about him being defensive. Or in self pity. He just can't see me.
I feel like things are hopeless, I mean, I know it is so bad. But how do I move forward anyway? I am not expecting fireworks - but I want to know how I can exist without being in constant pain. I would give almost anything for him to sit in front of me and say "I have been to therapy and this is why I did this and this is what I learned and this is why I will never do that again and this is how much you are worth"
Just him making that effort would have restored some of the worth and dignity he took from me.
I feel like I will never get that.
Can anyone talk to me?
18 comments posted: Monday, August 21st, 2023