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Madhatters Only Thread

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tired girl posted 7/11/2014 09:40 AM

It sounds like you are starting to make some real progress as to what your thought processes were prior to what you did. Do you think that fidelity was something that you valued prior to what you did?

[This message edited by tired girl at 9:40 AM, July 11th (Friday)]

WaywardInHayward posted 7/14/2014 00:43 AM

Do you think that fidelity was something that you valued prior to what you did?

No, it had lost its value LONG before I cheated. I remember when finding out about my father's infidelity (20 years ago), I said to myself "Oh good! Now *he'll* never be able to judge ME if/when I cheat!" and it was almost like a permission slip: "It's okay - everything works out in the end, even if you cheat. A very positive life change awaits you afterward."

Yup. That's the message I got (or at least manufactured) from that experience.

Even though their marriage dissolved, my parents relationship improved afterward, at least from what I could see. So it was like "wow, no biggie!"

I was an adult at the time and had been through a couple of gut-wrenching breakups, so it fit right into how I was thinking at the time: very cynical about relationships.

Digging through this stuff is finally getting me to some truth laid bare.

[This message edited by WaywardInHayward at 12:46 AM, July 14th (Monday)]

badchoice posted 7/14/2014 10:18 AM

OK- I am starting to deal with my MH status. I have owned my wayward-ness, but I don't think I have dealt with my BS status.

W and I are separated, so it's not like I can work on this with her. I don't think I can ask her to listen to me as I process these feelings - and I believe that closure is a myth anyway.

Have any of you worked through this without your Spouse? I assume most of you here are in R, I could be wrong.

How did you separate your hurt from your guilt and shame?

tired girl posted 7/14/2014 13:26 PM


I had a feeling that this was what was going on with you given your childhood. So given that this was how you had viewed fidelity, why do you feel that her cheating on you hurt so much?


You are correct that most of us here are in R, but I don't think that it matters that much when trying to deal with the fact that we have to deal with both ourselves and with betrayal. I have found it easiest to keep then separate. If I am feeling with feelings of what HL did, then I keep it to that. I don't bring in my wayward side to try to let my feelings of shame then cover that up. I feel all my feelings and deal with them accordingly. I hope that helps.

BrokenButTrying posted 7/14/2014 16:28 PM

Hi BC, good to see you here processing this.

I'm not in R... at least, I don't think so anyway. Your guess is as good as mine!
Anyway, I am processing my husband's infidelities alone.

Keeping it separate is hard. I find mindfulness helps, so I can identify exactly what I'm feeling (shame, guilt, pain, betrayal etc) and deal with one emotion at a time.

It's crazy making, they don't call it the rabbit hole for nothing! Post here as much as you need.

WaywardInHayward posted 7/14/2014 18:44 PM

So given that this was how you had viewed fidelity, why do you feel that her cheating on you hurt so much?

She cheated before I found out about my father's infidelity... before I had decided infidelity was okay... in fact *her* infidelity was part of why I decided it wasn't such a bad thing - so that it wouldn't hurt ME as much.

Here's the thing... I was also unfaithful to her during that relationship. I kissed another girl several times, knowing it was wrong and eventually stopped because I knew it was wrong. So even then my "infidelity is wrong" barometer wasn't necessarily strong.

So, in a way, I also felt like I deserved her infidelity.

Another piece that totally didn't make sense to me at the time, was that I was over our relationship. Part of me really *wanted* it to end. So this actually made that piece of it (ending it) easy.

But there I was, processing her infidelity and it ate me up like nothing I'd ever felt in my life. It was horrible, even though I kept telling myself "why??? I wanted this relationship to end!"

So many conflicting feelings. It was a truly nightmarish time for me, and I had nothing like SI to guide me through it. I was alone and in hindsight I can see how I processed it in a very negative way.

I decided love was a sham. Infidelity was okay, as was revenge. Not good, especially when we got back together 10 years later. She had no idea how broken I was, and I played it off like I was perfectly healed and above it all - above her - and I wielded that like a sword in our marriage. I used it very selfishly, and when things wouldn't go my way, I started stacking up her "offenses" in a long list to create a justification for all my selfishness.

So that's the emotional crap I'm wading through right now. I'm glad I'm able to share it here, too and get feedback/wisdom from others who have waded through these festering waters before.

[This message edited by WaywardInHayward at 8:14 PM, July 14th (Monday)]

tired girl posted 7/15/2014 10:18 AM

Sometimes even when we want something to end because we know the relationship is not good for us, when rejection happens or betrayal it keeps us locked up in needing that person or that person's approval. That could be what happened with you.

I think it is good that you are looking at the fact that you have not held fidelity high on your list as something to value, and therefore would not treat as something that should be respected. This would certainly come out in your attitude and I am sure this is what your W is seeing and having a problem with. This should be explored by you and determined if you can live in a monogamous relationship. Some people are not happy living their lives that way as it is not high on their value or morals list. No problem with that other than if it is high on their partners, well you see where I am going.

My father is one that monogamy was never high on his list, and he pretty much lived that way until he was much older and then finally settled down in a monogamous marriage. I never witnessed him being faithful until then. Even now, he has difficulty not flirting with everything when he is not with her. It is who he is.

Only you can decided who you are really underneath everything. It will be a journey that you take. It is one that we all take on this road.

BrokenButTrying posted 7/17/2014 05:29 AM

Warning: vent.

We've had a pretty good few weeks. Lots of healthy discussions, working together to tackle issues, feeling really connected.

Then came an accusation from a family member that he had cheated on me a few years ago by kissing a guy.
I don't think the accusation is true but I had a niggling thought in the back of my mind so I asked him outright. His reaction to me asking left me speechless.

I do believe he is telling the truth, I don't think he kissed this other guy. But the way he handled the whole situation was really awful. He wouldn't discuss it calmly, he was just defensive and sarcastic.

Then he triggered about my A and said he couldn't talk to me anymore, so discussion about anything else was stopped.

He came round last night, he had calmed down but was obviously still feeling bad/triggering about my A.
We had quite a good talk about things, sorted some stuff out.

He made some comments about his views on needing support to overcome depression, he thinks it's a sign of weakness. These comments, added together with his past behaviour WRT my depression years ago and his more recent opinions on his brother's depression and suicide attempts made me think that he might be of the opinion that needing support is weak because he thinks people will get fed up and lose patience with the person suffering from depression.

I asked him if this was the case and offered reassurance that I wasn't going to lose patience. He just blew up. Accused me of making it all about me (because I mentioned my depression) shouting and swearing at me, really vile stuff.
I lost my temper. I'm so ashamed of myself, I called him a prick. He left the house shouting and swearing at me.

We are supposed to be going to visit family this weekend (he's going to see his mum and I'm taking the kids to see my family) as he was getting in the car he said I could go fuck myself this weekend, he would just see me on Monday. Meaning he would make the two hour trip alone, leaving me and the children in the house with no car and unable to see our family.

I didn't respond, I just let him leave. I called him later to say I would need the car to go to the supermarket and he 'granted me permission' to use the car today. I apologised for name calling, told him I had crossed the line and behaved in an unacceptable way. He said he would talk to me when he had calmed down.

I'm just so sick of this. I was upset on Tuesday night, it wasn't nice having to ask him if the accusation was true. It's not my fault there is doubt. His reaction was horrible and then he triggered so discussion was impossible.

I feel very selfish for being annoyed about that but if I'm honest, I am. I was upset and triggering, he reacted defensively and then made it all about him and his feelings so I wasn't allowed to talk to him anymore.

Not allowing me to use the car is his way of punishing me, he did it after his Dday and admitted he was doing it as a punishment. It hasn't been an issue for several months now and if I'm perfectly honest it doesn't make a huge amount of difference to me. But now I have to tell the kids they can't see their Nanna and their Aunt and the rest of their family, who they haven't seen in over a month and Daddy won't see them this weekend either.
He's punishing the kids too. That's not fair.
Plus there's the safety issue of being in a remote location for a whole weekend with no public transport and two kids.

Edited for spelling

[This message edited by BrokenButTrying at 5:33 AM, July 17th (Thursday)]

tired girl posted 7/17/2014 09:05 AM


I am sorry that that happened. It can be really hard when emotions are running high like that to keep things separated.

I know that you are having a hard time right now with the idea that this may have happened and his defensive posture is not helping to ease your mind at all. Have you guys tried to set any kind of ground rules on only discussing one affair at a time? I think that it can really help, it did with HL and I. If we were discussing or one of us was triggering over one affair, the other was not allowed to be brought up as a defense. It helped us a lot to stay present with the other partner's pain.

I hope that he will come to his sense's before the weekend and you guys can have a good weekend. Hugs.

BrokenButTrying posted 7/17/2014 09:50 AM

Yeah we agreed that a few weeks ago and things have been going really well since.

This is the first time in a long time that he's figuratively shouted over my feelings with his own.

We have been texting on and off today, just about the kids, shopping and a few other things. He did apologise for being 'irratible and in a bad mood'. He has an impacted wisdom tooth and an infection in the gum surrounding it, he's out on manoeuvres at work in the sweltering heat and he's not in a good place emotionally.

I can sympathise with that, he's not having an easy few days. But that doesn't mean my feelings about this accusation and the way he handled it are irrelevant.

Tomorrow I am going to suggest a barbecue dinner for the kids and then once they've gone to bed we can talk about each of our feelings in turn.

tired girl posted 7/17/2014 11:21 AM

Being in pain can definitely lower a persons ability to handle emotions. I have learned to not discuss things if I am in pain, hungry, or tired. It helps a lot. I hope that things go better this next time for the two of you.

BrokenButTrying posted 7/18/2014 06:32 AM

He's still furious that I asked because he thinks it means that I am questioning his sexuality.

I'm not, the gender of the person he is accused of kissing is irrelevant to me. All I know is he has bad boundaries.

I just keep saying that I will not apologise for asking whether the accusation is true or not, because it isn't my fault I am in the position of having doubt.

He keeps shouting 'you think I'm fucking gay!!'

I really don't know how to respond.

BrokenButTrying posted 7/18/2014 06:45 AM

Also, what's going on at the moment is the dynamic that existed before my A.

If I was upset or wanted to discuss something, he would get angry, shout and storm out and then refuse to discuss it. After a few days he would calm down and the issue would be resolved and 'over' according to him.

I'm starting to realise he just doesn't give a shit about how I feel. It's all about him, isn't it?

tired girl posted 7/18/2014 14:26 PM

For someone that is conflict avoidant and acts very P/A this is the only way they know how to shut someone else down when they want to avoid what is being discussed. Maybe doing the 180 right now would be helpful for you until he is willing to discuss this in a calm manner with you.

BrokenButTrying posted 7/18/2014 14:30 PM

Yeah I think you're right. Thanks TG, you give such great advice

Just to check... is P/A passive aggressive? Might have to have a read of the ICR thread if so.

tired girl posted 7/18/2014 18:09 PM

Yes, it is passive aggressive

BrokenButTrying posted 7/18/2014 18:17 PM

I've just spent about an hour reading about passive aggressiveness and conflict avoidance. Pretty much sums him up. Then I realised it doesn't even matter, I can't do anything about it.

What I'm interested in is how I ended up married to him. What was it about me that caused me to be attracted to and enter into a relationship with him.

LosferWords posted 7/19/2014 00:19 AM

Hi BBT - for what it is worth, I consider myself a recovering passive aggressive person. But you should know that, right?

And when I say, "But you should know that, right?", it is in jest, but also kind of punctuate what a passive aggressive person does. They/we expect you to read their minds and emotions. There were so many years where I expected my wife to know how I was feeling because of the mood I was in. How fair is that?

In my experience as a recovering passive aggressive person is to make some rules about talking about things. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.

Another tactic of a passive aggressive person is you ask them how they are doing, and they say "Fine.... *sigh*". Yet another thing I have been guilty of in the past.

Probably the best way to deal with that is to take their words into account above all else. They say they are doing fine, then they are doing fine. Ignore the *sigh*. Ignore the drama, the slammed doors, the storming off. You can't be a mind reader.

In my personal opinion, healthy, straightforward communication is key to overcoming this. A passive aggressive person has feelings and thoughts, too, but there is a layer of bullshit around those feelings and thoughts. True communication is key above all else.

I feel like I bared a little bit of some uncomfortable parts of my soul there in this response, but it is all good. Whew.

What I'm interested in is how I ended up married to him. What was it about me that caused me to be attracted to and enter into a relationship with him.

I'm sure there are some things... what were they?

BrokenButTrying posted 7/19/2014 03:07 AM

You can't be a mind reader.

Haha! I think I say this to him at least once a week!

Thank you for your reply Losfer, I really appreciate your honesty.

I'm sure there are some things... what were they?

I think on some level I fear rejection so intimacy is a scary concept. Marrying a PA conflict avoider means that true intimacy is almost impossible.

I am/was Co-D and that has something to do with it too I guess. We have a always had a pursuer/distancer relationship dynamic with me doing the chasing.

My issues etc are divided between FOO and an abusive relationship I was in during my teenage years. That relationship is where my Co-D started.

I haven't done enough work on this to know for sure, these are just my initial thoughts.

MrBBT and I have very similar issues; low self esteem, no self worth, fear of abandonment and rejection, dependency etc. We just have opposite coping mechanisms. He builds walls to protect himself and keeps everyone at a distance. I need(ed) other people to boost me up and make me feel better.

I used to be like that. Walls all around myself, I had very strong boundaries when it came to members of the opposite sex. Then I met my ex and slowly he eroded everything. That relationship changed me completely.

[This message edited by BrokenButTrying at 7:27 AM, July 19th (Saturday)]

justme1264 posted 7/23/2014 19:26 PM

I have a question. I think I already know the answer. But, I just want clarification:

Is a madhatter someone who has sex with another person while they are still married, regardless if their spouse had forced a separation, and wanted a divorce? For example, my wife demands I leave the house and separate, declares the marriage is over, I move out. Months later nothing changes. Papers are being filed. I sleep with another woman knowing full well the marriage is in divorce (but not divorced yet).

This happened to me but BEFORE I knew about the fact she had an affair while we were together and during the separation.

Maybe someone here can help me clear up my confusion. I don't believe I am a madhatter. I didn't have an affair because she clearly ended our marriage after our MC, and I had moved out that evening. I was lonely, and it had been over 3 months after I moved out, and no progress towards reconciliation was being made. In fact, papers were already being filed. I don't see myself as having an affair but am I justifying?

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