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BS Questions for WS's - Part 13

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JSS1227 posted 4/25/2019 12:34 PM

Hikingout, thank you for this:

“The affair was an escape. Instead of dealing with the crisis, the unhappiness...I just created an alternate reality. It was not intentional that was what was happening, I didn't realize at the time that's what I was doing. Instead, I saw myself as vibrant and fun again and I liked that girl better.

So, when I say the reasons for my affair had nothing to do with my husband, I am 100% honest. Yes, as it progressed to deal with the guilt I told myself stories about how I was entitled to have fun and that H just didn't understand me...but my reasoning had nothing to do with him or our marriage. It was about me.

If I had left the trip and put a needle in my arm and stayed high for two months instead of having an affair for those two months...it would have been destructive in a different way, right? But, it would have been easier for my husband to understand that my decision to do that was because I wanted to feel the high. That there were deficits in my character and in the way I was managing my life that led me to make bad decisions in doing drugs. The affair was the same sort of thing - an escape - and it was done with little to no consideration of my husband (which is extremely hurtful, but that's the truth).”

My WH has said pretty much these exact words to me since DDay 4 months ago...that he was having personal issues related to his childhood trauma, temporary financial difficulty, and job change, and that his A was his “escape” from that. That it had nothing to do with me, our marriage was pretty much perfect, but he created that alternate reality with MOW in which none of those problems existed, and it provided him with those hits, that high, like he was on drugs. His A was same length as yours as well. And I’ve said the same exact thing to him, that it would make more sense to me if he had gone on drugs for 2 months...what he did and what he’s saying make no sense to me, and it probably never will. If things were so great in the marriage, and that was the only part of his life he was happy with, why the destroy it? But I wanted to thank you for your response, as it is identical to his, and it shows me even though it seems far fetched and is excruciatingly painful for me, maybe that really is how he felt during that time.

BraveSirRobin posted 4/25/2019 12:35 PM

My question is this, how do you live with yourself and the pain you have inflicted on another human? What does if feel like to see the pain you inflicted? And if you stayed married, did you think you were entitled to stay married?
It feels terrible, as you might expect, especially since it's not just another human, but the love of my life. However, I'm a lot more use to him now if I don't drown in those feelings. Absolutely, my BH needs to see my remorse, hear frequent and sincere apologies, and understand the work I'm doing to be a safe partner for the future. He also needs me to be strong for him and our family, to function at work and socially, and to hold him and take care of him in his grief. If I shoot myself in the stomach over and over, I will be a lousy triage nurse. This doesn't mean I never feel self-loathing. If course I do, so badly that at times, it's made me hyperventilate and have massive stomach cramps. But those symptoms don't help either of us. I know I'll never feel the depths of his anguish, although I have felt comparable, near-suicidal grief when our sons died many years ago. My job now is to focus on his feelings, not mine.

I will add that your question sounds largely rhetorical and emerging from a deep well of rage and grief. I'm sorry that you are in such pain.

hikingout posted 4/25/2019 13:21 PM

My question is this, how do you live with yourself and the pain you have inflicted on another human? What does if feel like to see the pain you inflicted? And if you stayed married, did you think you were entitled to stay married?

Well, for a long time I was filled with shame, regret, I felt depressed. It was horrible, I felt the lowest of the low, the smallest of the small, and it was devastating.

Then I recognized that I was just delaying what really needed to happen - to make sure that I worked on my issues so that I would never do such a thing again. I worked on my marriage and consistency with my husband and provided an environment in which to heal. I live with myself because I have worked hard to redeem myself. I live with myself because I can now describe fully how it came to be and what I have done to be different moving forward.

If you really look at it, a lot of the affairs that happen are born out of lack of self-worth. So, it may not seem right to you - but regaining that self worth and having self compassion is one of the reasons my husband finds me worthwhile to be around.

I feel entitled to nothing. I know that he could still divorce me tomorrow if that's what he decided was best.

sickofsurviving posted 4/26/2019 12:44 PM

So help me understand. If affairs are born out of "lack of self worth", how did destroying the life of another increase it?

I also am dumbfounded by the fact that after cheating you then grow self worth. How in the world is that possible? And that is an honest question.

For example, I was a very young mother. I made so many mistakes. I can barely live with myself sometimes. My girls are amazing, but I will never forgive myself. So I just dont get having self worth after all the pain and destruction deliberately caused.

Also, do you ever think about what this did for your poor BS's self worth? Have you asked them? If their self worth is less than before your cheating, do you still feel like an increase in your self worth was worth it?

hikingout posted 4/26/2019 13:04 PM

So help me understand. If affairs are born out of "lack of self worth", how did destroying the life of another increase it?

It did not increase it. In fact, the affair was extremely detrimental to my self worth. Crawling out of doing the worst thing I have in my entire life has been very difficult. There will be consequences to that for the rest of my life.

I also am dumbfounded by the fact that after cheating you then grow self worth. How in the world is that possible? And that is an honest question.

I don't think I realized I had poor self worth. But, when I look back through my life, the things I accepted from other people, the lack of the ability to engage in conflict or to say no, the lack of being able to protect my own time and energy because I was always too busy trying to prove my worth by doing, doing, doing.

How on earth is this possible? Well, it's taken a lot of therapy to understand that it was the root of my issues, where those issues came from, and healing those things one by one. But, regaining self-worth comes from making sure every day that I am making the right decisions, that I am honoring myself and my husband. We are not meant to be condemned for the rest of our lives when we do something wrong. We are meant to grow and to do our best to rectify what we have done. I have two choices - I can rebuild myself the best that I can possible, or I can just say "well I did that, I am now worthless, and nothing I do from this day forward is going to make a difference in that". I guess I choose hope for the first one, because I don't want to live under the cloud of the second one.

For example, I was a very young mother. I made so many mistakes. I can barely live with myself sometimes. My girls are amazing, but I will never forgive myself. So I just dont get having self worth after all the pain and destruction deliberately caused.

My mom says this too. She was a very young mother too. But you know what? I don't want her to feel that way. Yes, she didn't always do the right things, but I am certain she did the best she could. The fact she can look back with regret tells me she would do better if given a do over. Those girls love you, they want you to be happy and be the best you can be for them today. I imagine it's kind of like that when you are reconciling. It boggles my mind that my husband has loved me through this. He doesn't want for me to hate myself forever. He wants me to DO BETTER. If I do better, he can have hope that we can move forward with the future we had envisioned. We are in this together. This isn't perfect and totally joyful process, and I still struggle, but we are building. Why rip it down with believing I could never be worthy of anything because I made bad decisions.

I will give you another example. We have a man who works for us. We love him like family. He is a hard worker, he's a good family man, he's trustworthy and reliable. He's happy with his life. But, just 5 years ago he was released from prison for murder. A murder he committed in his youth. I am certain he is remorseful that he took that man from his family, robbed him of his life. He has dealt with his anger issues, he's literally the most gentle person who would be difficult to piss off that you would ever meet.

We do things as humans we wish we could take back, but we can not. We have to move forward and either try to be better or not be better.

Also, do you ever think about what this did for your poor BS's self worth? Have you asked them? If their self worth is less than before your cheating, do you still feel like an increase in your self worth was worth it?

Yes. I think about it all the time. Of course. But, I didn't get a greater self worth from the affair. The lack of self worth allowed me to stoop to having an affair. By strengthening it, I avoiding behaviors that would make me feel like a lesser person. Doing the right things increases my self worth. I have done nothing in my life that has made me feel lesser of a person to the degree that my affair. Yes, I chose it, but I didn't just destroy my husband and marriage, I destroyed myself - who I believed myself to be.

But I will tell you something else - and this may be hard to understand. My cheating had nothing to do with my husband's worthiness. Yes, I realize it makes him feel like shit and was a huge hit to his self-esteem. But my cheating and behavior speaks about ME not him. He isn't responsible for it, he didn't cause it. He has done nothing but always try to do the right things in life. He does recognize that. He did not deserve my affair, and he knows he is worth more than I gave him. He's giving me a chance to do better. So, to do that, I do have to fix the root of my problems and some of that was in fact poor self worth.

[This message edited by hikingout at 1:24 PM, April 26th (Friday)]

layla1234 posted 4/26/2019 19:51 PM

Barregirl sending you a PM.

happyfromnowon posted 4/27/2019 14:45 PM

I have a question for any WWs but some background first. My husband had an almost 5 year affair, both emotional and physical with his high school “sweetheart.” Dday was last May, almost one year ago. I contacted the ow briefly after I found out and said some pretty nasty things that I felt were deserved. I also contacted her husband and we compared a lot of their stories. My husband and I chose to try to reconcile and we talk a lot about the affair and he’s been willing to answer all my questions. We are both in counseling since dday. My husband expressed fear after dday that the ow might feel anger and rejection since after he confessed to me he told her he could no longer speak to her, and that she might try to hurt us more in spite. He destroyed his prepaid phone on dday and so I was never able to read any texts. He said he never took pictures but that the ow did. He was afraid she would send them to hurt me. She never did, but after almost a year I feel a need to see them, to see their words and exchanges and the actusl photos so that I could get the mind movies out of my head. I haven’t engaged with the ow since about three weeks after dday, but I want to have my friend request the pics and texts if she still has them. I dong sang to invite her back into my life, but as a favor to my healing. As a former WW, would you do this for the wife of the man you had an affair with? What can I expect from the ow? Any answers would be helpful to me. Thank you.

Darkness Falls posted 4/27/2019 14:57 PM

As a former WW, would you do this for the wife of the man you had an affair with?

I did not have an affair with an attached man, but no I would not. If there was NC established, that would extend to all parties involved.

BraveSirRobin posted 4/27/2019 15:44 PM

If she has any sense and is trying to save her M, she will have deleted the pictures and texts herself, either in a panic or at the demand of her BH. If she kept them as secret souvenirs of the A, the last thing she'll do is admit it to you, given that she knows that you and her BH have compared notes in the past. It's hard to imagine a scenario where she still has them, her BH is fine with it, and she's willing to send them to you.

I'm so sorry. My BH is also tortured by things that OM and I shared that I can't accurately describe to him because the A was decades ago. After our recent D-Day 2 (same A, long delayed TT), I told him about a box of old letters and souvenirs that I had saved at my parents' house. I hadn't looked at it since before we got married (28 years), but its existence haunted him, knowing that it was a primary source document of what my A had meant to me. Just last weekend, I got my parents to bring the box to me, and we went through it. Fortunately, it was an accurate representation of what I had described to him, but there were still many "sharp points," as he put it. I regretted having saved it and was glad that I had destroyed my journal shortly after the A.

My OM was single, so I never had to deal with an OBS. I guess that if I did, this experience with the box would make me more sympathetic to what an OBS would be going through with outstanding pictures and texts. But depending on what they say and what she's admitted, she could be handing you a weapon in the destruction of her M, and I sincerely doubt she would ever do that. Even if she still has them, which I also doubt.

happyfromnowon posted 4/27/2019 15:54 PM

Thank you, Darkness and Brave. I suppose it is highly likely that the ow has destroyed things, and probably would not welcome any contact. As much as I hated her in the beginning, I cannot hate her anymore and maybe it’s delusional but I would like to think she has learned from this too and would have the decency now to want to help me heal if I asked for that favor. I guess I will have to let it go, but the need and temptation to ask, even if I am denied, is still there.

BraveSirRobin posted 4/27/2019 16:41 PM

I understand. The need for closure comes in many forms, and almost all of them are unattainable. Honestly, that's one big reason I come in this forum to answer questions. Most BSs are looking to understand their WSs claims and behavior, but some need to get into the head of the AP. Occasionally, what they really need is to blast an AP and hold them accountable in a way that they can't with the actual AP in their own situation. As long as it doesn't get out of hand, I understand that. It's basically impossible for my own BH to take out his anger and pain on my OM. It's been 30 years, and OM would probably feel a mix of surprise and pity if he knew how large he looms in our M right now. Breaking NC would do nothing good for the situation. So if I can help other BS process their feelings about the AP, that's something I'm glad to be able to do.

happyfromnowon posted 4/27/2019 16:55 PM

I don’t want to blast the AP. I feel compassion for her situation now too. If she truly loved, or thought she loved, my husband then she must have been suffering a lot too on dday. I’m relieved that she and her husband are still together because it helps to know that she’s probably not still pining for mine. I’m in an odd place where I’m starting to question how my husband could dump her so easily and quickly after five years. Evidence of their affair might not matter, but I want to know why she believed he would leave me, and the only way to know the truth of that is probably not from my husband. He says he never truly loved her, but he thought he did. He says he feared she would tell me and hurt me and our kids. But he had to be convincing for her to pin her hopes on a future with him and that drives me crazy.

FloridaMan posted 4/27/2019 22:45 PM

Wayward wives,

I have been close to my wife's family for more than 20 years since I was a teenager. She had an extensive sexual affair with her AP. After Dday she told most of the details of her affair including the sexual details to her sister. I felt deeply betrayed my wife's decision to confess everything to her sister. She said she did it because she needed someone to talk to and to process everything that happened. I am devastated by my wife's actions. Her confessions to her sister destroyed my relationship with her sister who I have known since high school. It also destroyed my relationship with my brother in law.

Did you divulge all the details of your affair including the sexual details to a friend or family member ? Was it necessary? Am I overreacting?

Barregirl posted 4/28/2019 00:35 AM

Hi FloridaMan. I did tell my sister about the A following dday. My sister is a BS, so I wanted some advice from her and we are extremely close. I disclosed to my BH that I was talking to my sister and he didn't have an issue with it and remains close to her and her husband to this day. I didn't disclose sexual details to my sister and, honestly, my BH doesn't want them either. But I never did anything with AP that I don't do with BH, and my sex life with BH includes a far greater menu than the AP and I had. As far as overreacting, you are entitled to feel however you feel. Talking to my sister gave me a safe space to process my emotions and she dispensed great advice to me. She also gave me some books to read that gave me a BS's viewpoint and one ended up leading me here, so I will always be glad that I had her to talk to. If your sister-in-law is able to give your WW advice that helps your WW navigate getting out of infidelity, would you still feel devastated by her knowing? If so, again, those are your feelings, but it's something to think about.

FloridaMan posted 4/28/2019 02:44 AM

Barregirl, My sister-in-law was appalled that my wife cheated on me. She asked my wife how it happened. My wife explained to her that she always wanted to have sex with another man since she never had the opportunity for adventure before we were married as virgins and the opportunity presented itself. My wife explained to her sister that she sex was exciting which pulled her deeper into the affair and kept her coming back for months. My wife also confessed to her sister that she had BDSM sex with her AP.

Now my siter-in-law knows that my wife always wanted to have sex with another man to experience adventure, that she experienced exciting sex that kept her coming back for months and that she had BDSM sex with her AP. I experienced these confessions as another intent betrayal. I don't think my wife had any right to tell these secrets to her sister without my consent which I would not have given.

Barregirl, how long was your affair ?

Barregirl posted 4/28/2019 05:36 AM

FloridaMan, my A was a purely PA lasting about 10 weeks. I saw the AP a total of 5 times with physical contact happening the last 3 times. Like I said, you are certainly entitled to view your WW's telling her sister as a betrayal. I was simply offering a differing perspective as to what can occur when a WS speaks to a sibling. In my own personal situation it was a good thing to have my sister as a resource.

Darkness Falls posted 4/28/2019 08:35 AM

I told my parents I’d had an affair. My mom told my brother. I have never told, and would never tell, any family member any sort of detail about my sex life with any partner I’ve ever had, under any circumstances.

BraveSirRobin posted 4/28/2019 09:40 AM

Can I ask why this destroyed your relationship with your SIL and BIL? Do you feel that it changes how they see you? Because truly, I think it would only change how they see her. Nothing you did or didn't do caused your WW to cheat. Your SIL seems to understand that and put the blame where it lies. She talked with your WW to try and understand what the hell she was thinking and set that thinking straight. She couldn't do that, in an A that was purely about sex, unless she knew about the sex.

I never discussed sexual details with a friend, though in my case, those details were pretty basic. I did talk about the EA, because that was what had me confused and appalled at myself. My friend was absolutely an advocate for my BH, and she talked to me in a kind but blunt way that helped shake me out of my compartmentalization and understand what i had done and what I needed to do. It was a good thing for my M.

I'm not trying to invalidate your feelings. I totally respect that you would have kept this private. My own BH has been adamant about not telling anyone in his family or "his side" of our friend circle. He's ok with me telling a few close friends of my own, though he wants to know who I bring into the loop. I also get that it's complicated because you're personally close to his sister. If I unilaterally decided to tell my BH's own sister, to whom we are both very close, that would have been a big problem. I don't think he'd feel like I destroyed that relationship forever, though.

I find this a really intriguing question, because in a way, it asks "Who owns the disclosure rights to an A?" If you had cheated on her, and then you demanded that she not tell her sister because it would destroy your relationship with SIL and BIL, I'd tell you you were nuts. I also struggle a bit with the fact that this is her sister, someone whose bond with her predates even your own. Had she asked your permission to talk to her about the A, I would have advocated for you to give it. But I agree that as the BS, it should have been your decision to make.

FloridaMan posted 4/28/2019 10:39 AM

BraveSirRobin,You asked why my wife's disclosure of the sexual details of her A to her SIL destroyed my relationship with your SIL and BIL. The answer is they now know she had BDSM sex with another man and they know the sexual details of her affair including the sex acts she performed with him. They also know she initially wanted to only have sex with him once to have the experience of a second man for the first time in her life but it was so exciting that she ended up having sex with him for months. It is extremely humiliating to me that my wife found sex with another man so exciting that she ended up having sex with him for months.

My wife told me she needed to tell her SIL these facts because I told my wife I could never stay married to a woman who had BDSM sex with another man while I was married to her. Therefore my wife had to process her situation by talking it out with her sister.

My wife also had sex with me on many of the same days after she had sex with her AP. My wife told my SIL this and she probably told her husband. This is also incredibly humiliating.

The humiliation of my SIL and BIL knowing the details of my wife's affair have changed my relationship with both of them. I do not want to spend any time with them now that they know she had sex with another man on the same days as she had sex with me and that sex included BDSM acts.

BraveSirRobin posted 4/28/2019 18:54 PM

I'm so sorry to hear that, FloridaMan. I hope that in time, you'll see how your wife's brokenness is no reflection on you. I understand from many BHs posting here that the humiliation of a wife going outside the marriage for sex is deep and profound. I can only tell you that my decision to sleep with OM had nothing to do with my BH's skills in bed or a lack of satisfaction with his technique, which has always been stellar. If there had been anything I wanted that he didn't provide, it would have been on me to talk to him about it, not on him to magically read my mind.

Your WW was curious about something you literally could not give her, that no man can give any woman. The otherness itself was the attraction. If she wanted sex with a woman, you couldn't have provided that, either. Then she discovered she enjoyed something that wasn't ever on your radar. Why would it be? How could you possibly have known? None of this is your fault or your deficiency in any way. I think your SIL knows that. I hope you'll grow to believe it, too.

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