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Madhatters Only Thread

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tired girl posted 9/8/2014 12:35 PM


That can be a common problem with madhatters. Are either of you in counseling or marriage counseling?

rachelc posted 9/8/2014 12:45 PM


What do you think about what he is saying to you?

just saw this...
Agree with him on the suffering.
I think he is saying to me that even though he takes responsibility for his actions, he wouldn't have done it had I not done it so why should he suffer for something he wouldn't have done had my actions not precipitated it.
Also, that he's certainly not gonna throw all his eggs in the marriage basket anymore. His job is meaningful to him and he wants more of that in his life.

oh, I really didn't answer the question. I think then that I'm not the most important thing in his life. Same as before all the A's. And I need to decide if I can live with this.

[This message edited by rachelc at 12:47 PM, September 8th (Monday)]

thisheremama posted 9/8/2014 13:17 PM

tired girl,

Thanks so much. Glad to see it's common with madhatters. Well, not glad, but you know what I mean.

We did two rounds of MC. One after DDay. And one after TT. I did IC for a while after the second round. He was supposed to do IC too but refused. We haven't done anything for at least 3 years.

Any time we discuss anything relating to his behaviors, he downplays it, or denies it (even when I have strong proof), rug-sweeps, or goes straight for name calling.

The latest confrontation ended with him telling me that I'm bad person, he doesn't trust me, and that his self-esteem is low from my A (which started 6 years ago/ended 5+ years ago) and he says my A is why he does the things he does now.

My guilt and sadness over what I did (which I take full responsibility for) makes me just keep my mouth shut most of the time. I do feel like what I did was worse. I hate myself for it.

We have a baby now. Things seemed to be going so well. I want to raise her in a healthy marriage. I worry that my actions 6 years ago are going to F up my child's life because, while my H and I are best friends and get along great in so many ways, there's still so much fucked up and this pain that's never going to go away (on both sides), and he's going to keep doing anything he wants because I know he's not going to stop. And I don't feel like I can demand it, since I had the A. (Even though, even before marriage, there was basically madhatter behavior.)

He won't go back to MC. I already asked. I'm just so sad and mad at myself. I don't know how to legitimize (or is there a better word?) the pain I'm feeling about what he's done in the relationship since what I've done is "worse." Or how to even discuss it without him bringing up my shit, bad mouthing me.

Appreciate any thoughts SO much.

tired girl posted 9/8/2014 13:28 PM


yes, that there's been enough suffering and he shouldn't have to suffer anymore when he hasn't been the sole instigator, I think was his words.

To me this reads that he wants to get on with life and doesn't want to deal with A stuff anymore. Does it sound that way to you possibly?


It sounds like you need to get back into counseling for yourself so that you can understand that having boundaries for yourself is a good and healthy thing. It is necessary. You don't have those and this is why this is continuing to happen in your M. Will you come out of this with your M intact, maybe not. But you can be healthier and happier in the end no matter what if you get yourself healthy. That is what is important and what will help you and your child in the end. What he does is ultimately up to him. Maybe he will follow your lead if he wants to save the M. Maybe not. Only time will tell. But you have to start with you. Big hugs, the beginning is always the hardest.

rachelc posted 9/8/2014 13:41 PM

TG - probably that too...

thisheremama posted 9/8/2014 15:35 PM

Thanks TG,

I think you're right. II've said before on another forum that I think he denies most of it or rug-sweeps because he likes having the moral authority over me. I am still devastated at how much I hurt him. I really need to go back to IC. I want to be a strong example for my daughter. Right now, I'm more insecure, ashamed, weak and filled with anxiety than maybe ever. God, I want a do over on it ALL. Thanks again.

Glassgirl13 posted 9/12/2014 10:31 AM

I've posted bits of my story elsewhere but wanted to jump in here because it's one of the places I guess I actually fit.

I had an affair about 11-12 years ago. My husband never knew until I confessed to him about 9 years ago. He refused to go to counseling or really talk about it with me. He asked me maybe three questions and was done. I saw a counselor a few times but financially couldn't continue and felt kind of selfish for wanting to work on me when he didn't even want to invest in our marriage. Stupid, I know.

Fast forward about five years and he's acting distant and maybe depressed. I catch him sneaking a phone call and it's to his best friend. He tells me his miserable and wants to leave. He leaves that night, then goes out of town to a conference and while there texts with me some and basically says he'll keep trying but not with so many words, I don't think, more with the song, Close by Pete Yorn. We still never talk about it, or finances or anything of importance and I've long since learned I won't get anywhere even if I try asking.

A few years ago he started watching some kids. The boy was a friend of my son's and their divorced mother worked in a daycare so during the summer when my WH was off work he would watch them, sometimes at our house, sometimes at theirs because they have a big pool, so they didn't have to go to the day care all summer. It wasn't long before the other workers were spreading rumors that they were having an affair. He was furious and went to the owner and told him to tell his workers to stop the slander. About a year after that he actually did start pursuing a relationship with her. There were times I felt funny about it because her kids were rarely at our house anymore, he never talked to her on the phone in front of me (and I didn't realize how much he was on the phone with her) but he had no problems talking in front of me with another woman who we swap childcare with or having her daughter at our house. There were other things, but I always told myself he knew how bad it was, he'd never do that, I didn't have the right to ask what was going on or ask for what I needed, like him actually spending some time with me or holding my hand or whatever. When I did ask him to watch a movie with me it was like pulling teeth and when he finally agreed he stayed far away from me and fell asleep almost immediately. That hurt enough for me to know better than to ask again.

So, I got a phone call one morning from a guy telling me our spouses had been sexting. I confronted my husband that night and he told me that he wanted a divorce, he was miserable, he couldn't stand to be around me, and he left. He'd already basically been out of the house for two months before dog sitting (and apparently he actually was). We hardly talked or saw each other all weekend. The other woman's husband asked me to look at his phone records to see how often they'd actually talked on the phone because he couldn't see his wife's history and in doing so I realized he made about 10xs the number of phone calls to the kids' mom as he did to me. And there were other numbers that he was calling frequently and spending long periods of time on the phone talking. So four days after DDay1 I called him as he was leaving the OW's house from watching her kids after school and told him to take our kids to a friend's house and come home to talk. He did and this time he told me about the 2 year affair he'd had with her, and that there'd been another person as well during that time. He repeated that he wanted a divorce, didn't love me, was miserable, that he had tried to get over my affair but couldn't. I begged him to at least try for the sake of our kids. He finally left, went and talked to a friend who had a similar history who told him to get on his knees and pray and go see a counselor. So he came back and told me he would say it was over yet, called the other woman to tell her I knew and it was over (even though he'd been telling her the whole time he was leaving me) and he moved out for good.

We've been living apart for five months now. We didn't make a formal NC agreement, his actions of calling her on his own and then blocking her on his phone were reassuring to me. We were both in such shock it took about a month for us to each get started in IC. A week after DDay I saw that he'd called her and asked why. He said he'd really hurt her but implied that was it. I noticed some longer phone calls to a certain number and looked it up. I knew it was probably nothing but confronted him anyways and he explained the situation in a way that was very believable and said there was no one else. So I continued to trust him. Then in July my son said something about playing a video game with his friend and I asked when that was. He said the time they came over to fireworks and I thought I was going to throw up. So then I confronted WH about and he said he had contacted her and seen her twice, once with the kids and once without but nothing happened. Later in MC, which we did just so that I could ask questions about the affairs, he said that she saw him for what he is, a liar. And that she'd told him she didn't want to wait anymore for someone who was just lying to her (or something to that effect). I can only imagine that she'd given him some sort of ultimatum about leaving me and starting back up with her because otherwise why would she see him twice? He said he'd contacted her because he was lonely. I'm sure he missed her and what they had, fantasy as it was.

We agreed to a controlled separation arrangement, or rather the counselor asked questions, I answered, he agreed with whatever I said. We'll revisit the relationship again around the six month mark. But last Friday was my son's 8th birthday and we had a party here. Afterwards I had to leave and do some work so he was here with the boys before taking them to his place (which doesn't have internet access). He then left his computer at our house Wednesday to let something download so I took the opportunity to look at his search history. I know he does most of on his phone, like he texts quite a bit, and none of that I have access to unless I were to ask and I never have because I don't know where we actually stand and when he's asked by the counselor he says he doesn't see a future for us. In his history I found that he'd looked up divorce without a lawyer in our state. Apparently after the party as he was sitting on the couch looking at his laptop, hopefully not while I was standing there talking with him :(

I feel like my world is dropping out again. I realize it could just be a momentary thing, but I honestly don't know. He says that his desire for intimacy with me (not sex, still had that but it definitely became sex, like we were fuck buddies, looking back on it now) died when I told him about my affair.

I don't know if he can come back from that. He's in a deep depression and has been for years, even feeling suicidal at times, but is such an expert in compartmentalizing that it only rarely slipped out and was noticeable by the people who know him better (although I'm not sure anyone really KNOWS him). Between the affair fog, the depression fog, and the years of bitterness towards me I don't know if there's hope.

There's so much more but that's probably already too much for this thread.

Has anyone else had a similar experience with a better outcome?

burntashes posted 9/14/2014 04:09 AM


Sorry to hear you are in such a painful situation. I can relate somewhat. After I confessed my A to my husband, he had multiple hook ups with other women while still living with me and fluctuating back and forth for 2 years. The third year no more hook ups, but the verbal and physical abuse continued, to the point that I moved out with our DD. He became suicidal and I talked to him on the phone all night. He asked me to move back but with no promise that we can rebuild our relationship. The whole time I was plagued by guilt for how much I've hurt him and feeling I deserved whatever he needed to dish out. Now at 4 years out he's completely detached and said we are not married, that he would have left if it wasn't for DD, but we should live together to give DD a complete home, but he doesn't feel and will never want to feel romantic love with me again.

I regret moving back in with him. We coordinate and get along fine, but whenever I think about the fact that there's no marriage in this, that he feels stuck being here and clearly does not care to be with me for me, it takes me down a deep pit of depression in a heartbeat. There's no affection and last time we had sex after months of none destroyed my progress of detaching after he told me he will never have a real relationship with me. I've tried and tried but just can't find peace in living in this arrangement for the rest of my life. I find myself wishing to be divorced, to have my own place without his presence so I can start moving on with my life. For some reason I find it hard to tell him how strongly I feel this way, although I have told him before that I don't want to live in a loveless marriage.

In your situation you have found out repeatedly that he lied and continued contact with OW. Add to that his telling MC that he can't get over your A after 9 years. That must hurt. Have you asked him whether he wants to be married to you or divorce? A very honest conversation is needed at this point. For the M to continue, he would need to want to be with you for you on some level, and if he doesn't, can you see yourself living the rest of your life with his attitude of caring about not hurting the OW more than how much you are hurt? I've been told on SI that even though you cheated first, doesn't mean you don't get to have boundaries or ask for commitment front your husband. I hope things get better for you.

Glassgirl13 posted 9/14/2014 09:37 AM

burntashes, thanks for your reply. I honestly don't know how you do it. It's hard enough not living with him but interacting regularly and knowing that he feels so disconnected. He sometimes acts just as friendly and playful as he ever did, waving to me when we happen to pass while driving, calling to tell me something that happened to him. But it seems like maybe there's less and less of that. I don't know. I really think in your situation though I'd need to move on. He's made his decision, you need to make yours. A loveless marriage teaches your daughter nothing good about what a relationship should be. And you and your husband are stuck, so to speak. I would think it would make dealing with your own issues and moving on almost impossible.

You're right, we need to have a talk. I've been holding out until date we set out in our controlled separation agreement to discuss the status of the relationship. I don't know if he is also or he's just feeling so depressed and just trying to survive that he's not pursuing anything overtly. But I can't live like this for the next several weeks waiting. I tried to talk to him about some texting we'd done the evening after I asked more questions about his affair. I ended up trying to explain some of why I thought I'd had my affair (not about him). Really bad idea to try to do that via text. I think he misunderstood a lot of what I was saying and I realized he's, not surprisingly because he didn't want any details, made a lot of false assumptions about my affair that are worse than need to be. I felt panicky until I was able to talk to him about it, a week and a half later (my life/work has been crazy and I barely was keeping my head above water). I had just found the divorce stuff on his computer and I was falling apart. I tried to talk to him at a really bad time, when the kids kept coming around. It didn't go well. But he also didn't know what I was talking about and didn't remember the messaging. He was clearly upset in the texts, how could he just forget about them? He seemed genuinely confused. We'd also discussed that we need to tell our kids what's going on. They keep asking when he'll be done living at the other house and my older son mentioned that with me living here and him living there it's kind of like how divorced families do it

Anyway, I rather angrily left it with him to let me know when he was ready to talk. That hasn't happened yet. I may not be able to wait much longer though because if I do, I'll get to that point where I feel like I'm exploding with anxiety and fear and I won't be able to control my emotions well enough to actually talk.

If he can't ever love me again then this needs to end. But I don't know how long we both need to wait for enough fog to clear so that he can really know for sure. I suspect though that because the hurt and dislike of being with me are part of what pushed him to his affairs, he's much less likely to come out of his fog with a sudden revelation that he wants to be with me the rest of his life. I can't help but be angry with him for his total unwillingness to deal with it and trying to just will it away. The fucked up thing (well one of many) is that we both have counseling degrees, he's a school counselor but still. FOO shit has such a powerful hold sometimes. I'm realizing anytime I tried to get close or move into areas that made him uncomfortable he shut me down completely. He wanted intimacy, as evidenced by all his hours of friendly chatting, sexting (shared some personal FOO stuff with her I know, not sure about the others), and the affairs he was looking for intimacy but he doesn't really know how to do it and never even gave me a chance. So yeah, I had an affair, but I'm pissed that I spent 17 years with a man who wouldn't let me in. And when it was really shitty after my confession and we had two small kids, my health was shot (a long, slow road to get functioning again), I was miserable, too. But I finally realized that love isn't just something you feel, it's a choice you make every day so I chose to love him even when I didn't feel it and over time the feelings came back, too. But by then he was so distant from me he wouldn't kiss me, hold my hand, sit with me and watch a show. He would still have sex with me (but not really kiss me and I thought it was just because I must have bad breath from my sickness, nope, it was him). He's really sad that he didn't deal with his shit years ago, too, but I'm not sure that realizing he should have now is going to change how he ends up feeling. And I'm pretty sure he's not making the same choice I made to love despite the feelings.

This just sucks. If it's going to be over I just want it over but at the same time I want to know that I did everything I could to give it one last shot.

rachelc posted 9/29/2014 13:42 PM

let's talk resentment: you know, I have no idea how or if my husband is healing. That is his thing.

However, I can say for a fact that he didn't heal after my affair or between his own affairs or they wouldn't have happened. So, I would like to not have resentment about his lack of healing and work on himself during that time.

I always say to myself, if I am trying to heal and become a better person, or at least attempting to do it and not hurting him, why didn't he?

This is more I have to accept. That he just didn't do it.

PrtyInPink posted 9/29/2014 14:08 PM

My BH didn't heal from my EA. He was basically a different person for 2 years. I just recently found out about his revenge affair that happened at the tail end of his 2 years craziness, and it continued as an EA for another 3 years. He claims he kept her around "just in case". I think he was afraid I'd have another A and he'd have someone as backup in case he needed to be "even" with me again. He hasn't healed and I don't think he ever will. Honestly thinking D is in our future.

tired girl posted 9/30/2014 18:08 PM

At the beginning of your post you say that it is his thing but by the end of your post you are pointing your finger at him and asking why you have to accept it if he doesn't.

At some point youhave to look inward and quit looking at him all the time for what you should do or shouldn't do. What he does doesn't determine yourhealing.

rachelc posted 10/1/2014 08:19 AM

TG - I'm referring to the no healing he did after mine and between his. Not now. I resent that he didn't do this. It was his thing. He didn't do it. Already in the past. i have to make peace with that and I am having resentment that he didn't do it.

Glassgirl13 posted 10/11/2014 15:08 PM

I need madhatters' perspective on this. The quick back story. I had an affair about 11-12 years ago. I confessed it to my husband about 2 years later, after we had a child. He asked about three questions, who it was, did we have sex, not sure what else, and that was it. I asked if he would get counseling with me or by himself, he said no. It really never came up, except for a few occasions where he said something to the effect that he would have left me if we didn't have a child together. Fast forward about four years ago I caught him talking on the phone to a friend (guy friend) and he confessed he was miserable and wanted to leave, he was depressed and didn't care if he saw anyone again except for the kids. He went away to a conference for a few days and during that time kind of came around. As in he told me to look up this song, Close by Pete Yorn, and seemed better. We might have talked indirectly a bit. This was the best I could do. I learned a long time ago that if he didn't want to go "there," wherever that was, marriage, finances, anything, he wasn't going regardless of what I said or did. So I'd ask, get turned down, walk away and not push.

Then I find out he's sexting with someone, which leads to the discovery of a two year affair with someone I should have seen was going on, and a confession from him about another brief affair during that time, too (my only consolation is that he not only cheated on me but on his "second chance," too). There were also other betrayals, emotional, and more recently he lied about something because it was shameful to him. But the lie hurt worse than any of the other things I've uncovered so far and much worse than the actual thing he was hiding.

Since I found out he's answered my questions so that I can move forward but has not offered information and has said in various ways that he doesn't see a future with me, he cares about me but doesn't love me, or when he flipped out the other night, couldn't wait to be done with me.

I triggered one of his big fears the other night and he unloaded on me with cursing and name calling like he's never done before. He apologized the next day via text for being so out of control, said I didn't deserve that kind of disrespect and sorry for the pain he's causing and has a lot of anger mostly at himself, that he's having a hard time controlling. Later we talked on the phone about telling the kids finally and filing for divorce. He came over shortly after that and hugged me, apologized again, said I don't deserve to be in limbo and should move on and be with someone I'm not always having to wonder about, among other things. He offered to bring me food. Then the next night he had to come drop something off and the boys started jumping on him and I was trying not to cry (I'd also had only a few hours of sleep over the past two days because of my job) and he noticed and reached over and rubbed my foot. Then he called the next day just to say hi, called again around dinner time and said he'd grilled food and made a plate for me if I wanted it. It's confusing to me and I told him that yesterday (via text of course). I said that if he's doing it because he feels sorry for me (I have had more trauma thanks to his betrayals in the past 10 days over this affair and possibly in life than at any other point and I'm feeling extremely anxious, tired, barely functional at times) then to stop it. It makes me wonder if he's feeling differently towards me, and if he's not, which is what I suspect, then it's just making it harder for me. He said he's conflicted, he's sorry, he cares about me on many levels.

I said I'm okay with conflicted and if there's a part of him that cares for me I'll take that. Just not the pity party that makes him feel better while he plans his exit strategy. He said it wasn't pity. I'm the person that helps him feel human and a little grounded. Maybe because I'm the only person in his life who really knows him and what's going on.

This feels so complicated because he has all the crap from my affair he never dealt with and still doesn't want to know about. He usually says he doesn't care about what happened because he doesn't care about me anymore or who I'm with, etc. Part of me wonders if it's less painful for him to not care than to deal with it, being the master avoider that he is. Of course I can't change that for him if he doesn't want to change it for himself.

But I guess I'm wondering if it's any different because of our madhatter status. I may be asking you all to read his mind I guess I would just appreciate hearing how it was/is for others in this situation, how the past hurts affected the current one.

Cherry Tomato posted 11/4/2014 14:35 PM

For BH's who became WH's, what were your reasons for choosing your OP? Was it then someone that you had feelings for or just a trist? And if you ended it & attempted R with your W, how did it or is it going? Do you feel like your W is responsible for your A? Did deal with your issues surrounding your A & how it affected you both? If so, how did you cope with that?

These may sound like redundant questions or ones I should already know the answer to, but I am looking for a fresh male perspective. I am 5 1/2 years into R & my H is really struggling again, which is making me question everything all over again too.

Cherry Tomato posted 11/6/2014 14:06 PM

e is saying to me that even though he takes responsibility for his actions, he wouldn't have done it had I not done it so why should he suffer for something he wouldn't have done had my actions not precipitated it.
Also, that he's certainly not gonna throw all his eggs in the marriage basket anymore.

Rachelc, precisely where I am with my H.

Let's talk resentment: you know, I have no idea how or if my husband is healing. That is his thing.
However, I can say for a fact that he didn't heal after my affair or between his own affairs or they wouldn't have happened. So, I would like to not have resentment about his lack of healing and work on himself during that time.

I always say to myself, if I am trying to heal and become a better person, or at least attempting to do it and not hurting him, why didn't he?

This is more I have to accept. That he just didn't do it.

This is also true, except I know he has done zero to heal himself. That is not on him, it's on me. Well, we all know how this will work out for him. It's taken me so very long to come to grips with this reality & know I must accept that he may never change.

[This message edited by Cherry Tomato at 2:06 PM, November 6th (Thursday)]

tired girl posted 11/6/2014 14:11 PM

Welcome cherry tomato,

Why do you say that him not healing himself is on you?

Cherry Tomato posted 11/6/2014 20:03 PM

Tired girl, I'm not saying that...my husband says it. Which is precisely why he isn't healing at all.

tired girl posted 11/7/2014 09:49 AM

Ahhhh, ok. So he has done nothing to heal or fix himself for what he did? Are you willing to stay in a M like that?

Cherry Tomato posted 11/7/2014 10:04 AM

Ahhhh, ok. So he has done nothing to heal or fix himself for what he did? Are you willing to stay in a M like that?

tired girl, I debate this every hour of every day it seems. I love him, but honestly I don't know if this M is still healthy for me. I have a daughter who would be crushed if we separated (again) & as with most people, it would be a huge financial struggle.

If he gets help & works on his issues, I would more than willing to stay & help anyway I can. The thing is, he needs to muscle up & help me too. He give me zero emotional support & I need it. I stuff everything so far down inside that I feel sometimes I will explode. I have deep-seated issues from childhood that can't be ignored & if I don't feel safe with him, I tend to revert back to the controlling, untrusting self I was before. I don't want to be that woman anymore...she lived in a very dark place.

I need to get back in IC. I know this. Money has been tight & I exhausted my "freebies" while back.

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