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BS Questions for WS's - Part 13

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Hurt1227 posted 1/3/2020 07:50 AM

I started reading about compartmentalization and itís starting to make sense. My h and I have had conversations where he has tried to explain that I was ďhereĒ(category) and they were ďthereĒ ( another category) and he love (d) me but didnít have any feelings for them. I keep playing this over and over in my head because of my experiences I believe that there was a connection. I just donít understand how you allow someone in your life for years, regardless of the frequency and not connect.

Also, one of them staying overnight (prior to dating me); which he says was once but I believe it was more than once. Not sure why all this matters; however these things continue to surface and cause me anguish.

I will continue trying to make sense out of all this and keep moving forward. I have never experienced anything this hard not even death of love ones. I think thatís because we know that death is coming but I never would have thought that the person that vowed to protect me would cause some much destruction.

Hurt1227 posted 1/3/2020 10:10 AM

Iím trying to understand how my h could marry me but still be with other women. We have been married over 30 years. I just found out in Sept about these affairs. Supposedly they stopped 25-27 years ago. He canít remember. He knows that there hasnít been anything since living in this home which was about 35 years ago.

We dated two years prior to getting married and lived together for one of those years. Prior to meeting me my h was seeing two women that he met in bars and paid for oral sex the same night he encountered them and it continued. He would call them and sometimes they would call him. According to my h he never kissed or had intercourse with either of them; however, he did give one oral sex twice, she spent the night once (which is the one he saw the longest time). I believe it was more times than that. After we married it was oral sex only.

Once we weíre married he broke it off with one but continued to see the other one off and on for a number of years. He canít remember how long it continued. So, he says. During a counseling session he admitted that he kept the one because she was ďbetterĒ at it!

We had a decent sex life, but it didnít include me giving oral but he would occasionally give it to me. When asked about why the oral never came up if it was something he desired his response was that he didnít think that wives were suppose to do that, but I wasnít always his wife. I wonder how soon after we got married was he with this woman. Was it the day before, after we got married, when we returned from our honeymoon., when! He says it was 6 or 7 months after. I find it strange that he canít remember other timelines but he remembers that one.

I just donít understand how someone can be cheating on their girlfriend, marry her and continue cheating.

This is eating me up. All insight is appreciated.

Nolife posted 1/5/2020 18:55 PM

I can relate 45 years married! my husbands first infidelity was sister in-law 40 year ago I caught him fondling her and he leid till October 2019. second affair 38 years ago sleep with a social friend of mine 1 time while we weíre separated and lied to my face when we got back together and keep it a secret for 38 years. he did he list his hard from guilt and neither got anything from it She asked if he wanted to stop.
At year 32 he spent the weekend with a 21 year old homeless girl but came clean because he brought something back but says he couldnít get it up. But he continued to lie about the 38 year social friend it came out from a guilty conscience may 2019.
I canít begin to tell you what he took from me. First my choices about my life for 38 years because I should have been told. Everythingís gone .. My past is destroyed from carry my children to child birth, Easter, Christmas Thanksgiving you name it itís tainted .
Pictures I feel like burning because I feel every Minute he lied he took from me and his children from not being honest. Come on how can you be with us Nd have her in the back of your mind knowing your lieing. I feel he couldnít have loved me or he would have let me have my choices not make me a Prisoner for 38 years. I feel I was less then a Women he didnít desire me or want me as a women much less his wife.
My anniversarys are gone donít exist. whatís that?
He says he was there always he just didnít want to lose me he was ashamed and full of guilt and didnít want to hurt me.
You know the affairs while we were together weíre bad but the 38 year lie when weíre got back together is the worst. its about the affair that took my life my choices my entire life that was the worst. He had the audacity when we were getting Back together to tell me I Was manipulating him. Iím 62 heís 66 how much time do I have to get over this? honey this is the worst thing you will ever deal with. Iím so sorry Nd I will pray for you because your gonna need it like the rest of us..

MrCleanSlate posted 1/6/2020 16:17 PM


About compartmentalization - I am a master at that. I explained it to my wife that my brain is like a bunch of boxes. To open a box, the presently open box needs to be closed. Everything is neatly separated. Whereas with my BW she has all her boxes spread out on the floor with all the lids tossed about and no way to stuff everything back into any of the boxes. That is how we can go and have affairs.

Now given that you are only now finding out about the affairs that happened 25-30 years ago there is a huge disconnect with where you are vs where your WH is in terms of processing. To you this is all new and raw. To you WH he dealt with those things ages ago and he can't relate to what you are now dealing with. Now, what he probably never did was try to understand his Why's. Excuses of BJ's aside they do not constitute 'Why'.

Talk to him. You need to create a line of communication. Maybe see if you can help him figure out his 'Whys'. One thing I learned in 4 years of R was that the affair was entirely on me, but the issues within our marriage needed to be attended to if we had any hope of R. We learned how to talk to each other. It took an awful lot of heart to heart talks to learn that.

I don't think I really answered your questions, but maybe it will help you open a dialogue with your WH to get to those.

Hurt1227 posted 1/7/2020 01:20 AM

MrCleanSlate, thank you for taking time to read and respond to my post. You and your wife sound a lot like me and my WS is regards of how we process things. Itís starting to make a little sense. He often says that Iím not being fair because I add elements to a situation that had nothing to do with that situation.

We are working to improve communication. He seems to be remorseful but he lacks coping skills that are needed to get us through this nightmare.

I donít know how to get the ďwhyĒ, from him. Iím not sure he fully understands the way. It thinks that it is very simple. When I probe to get more information he says that may be he wasnít ready to get married and that he just felt that a wife was not to provide that ďactĒ. He canít seem to remember when he actually cut things off, which is why the span is 25-30 years.

Iím also a little perplexed why he felt the need to pay for this service or any service. When we met he was involved with these women; however, I wasnít aware. He persuade a relationship with me. We dated and he was a complete gentleman.

Since, dday in September Iím learning more and more about him; and although he married later in life (late thirties) he has never really had a healthy relationship. He doesnít talk about much prior to meeting me. He feels that those things are outside of us. He has struggled with providing information about these women prior to meeting me, because he feels like it was before we were together. What Iím trying to get him to understand is that because he brought them into our marriage I have the right to know everything from day one even if he did not know me.

Again, that you for sharing!

SandyShores posted 1/7/2020 09:58 AM

This is my very first post, and I haven't told my story yet but it will be coming soon as I have been lurking for months. My WS has continued to stick to his assertion that he never talked about me in a negative light or make any comments to his AP such as, "I'm not happy", "we don't have sex anymore", "she's a controlling bitch", etc. Is this the exception to the rule or just another lie? I feel so much justification has to go on in ones mind in order to step across that line into infidelity that I find this so difficult to believe.

MrCleanSlate posted 1/7/2020 12:39 PM


Sorry to see that you are here, but there is much collective knowledge that can really help you though this.

All waywards lie. Whether to their AP, their spouse, or themselves.

Now, some waywards don't share anything real, or lie to keep the AP and BS in line, others are honest with the AP's. Each case is different.

Common thread is the wayward lies to the AP that the BS is a horror, does not love them, dead bedroom, you name. I did all the above and I wasn't even in the affair for the sex (although in time I started to enjoy the sex because that was my AP's tool to keep me enthralled) that was just the cost of the ego kibbles I was after, and then later to keep the AP in check. Point is I didn't care about my AP. It was all about ME. That is the one common thread with all waywards - we make it about ourselves, we are being selfish.

If you go over to the GENERAL Forum you will find a thread title "Lies Cheaters Tell Their Affair Partner" (close ot the bottom of the page). You might find that an interesting read.

[This message edited by MrCleanSlate at 12:42 PM, January 7th (Tuesday)]

SandyShores posted 1/7/2020 13:25 PM


Thank you for the answer, and directing me to the thread on "Lies Cheaters Tell Their Affair Partners". WS admits to telling her she was beautiful, hot, and sexy, and goodness those were most certainly lies WS also didn't get into the affair for the sex but the ego kibbles as well. They told each other exactly what they each needed to hear to offset their f**kedupness.

MrCleanSlate posted 1/7/2020 16:21 PM


I'm 4 years out from D-Day. I've had time to get into my whys and be able to talk about it so frankly. A lot more guilt and shame today than 4 years ago I can tell you that.

A lot of waywards tend to minimize on the details. I did. Thankfully I told my BW all the particulars from the get go. The details and understanding the whys of everything took a lot longer.

You'll do well to post in Just Found Out or General. You'll get a lot of good advice.

[This message edited by MrCleanSlate at 4:23 PM, January 7th (Tuesday)]

BraveSirRobin posted 1/7/2020 20:11 PM

Is this the exception to the rule or just another lie? I feel so much justification has to go on in ones mind in order to step across that line into infidelity that I find this so difficult to believe.
I never disparaged my BH (who at the time was my BF). I made it clear to OM that I loved BH and had no intention of leaving him. The A was supposed to be something "extra," not a replacement or punishment for something BH was doing wrong.

I was a compartmentalizer, which meant that I put BH in one box and OM in another and told myself I could love both. Other WS are what Shirley Glass ("Not Just Friends") calls "monogamous infidels." They can only be romantically attached to one person at a time, so they vilify the spouse in order to detach.

SandyShores posted 1/8/2020 10:28 AM


Thank you for the reply and reminding me to go back and re-read the Shirley Glass book. I read it early on, and need to go back now that I have settled some. WS has talked about being a compartmentalizer, and I really struggle with this concept even though I know it exists and is real.

Infidelity is a symptom of a bigger problem we face, and that is his inability to experience vulnerability due to shame. The lies, FOO, the walls, the compartmentalizing, are just the beginning of the whys behind the whys.

I had googled compartmentalizing on SI, and found some archived threads that helped. Also, Brene' Brown has already helped so much. Self-hate is very real and that I am seeing that as a common thread.

hikingout posted 1/8/2020 12:32 PM

I didn't disparage my H either. So it's possible. The AP in my situation claimed dead bedroom, but happy marriage. Actually said some nice things about his wife, but we talked about our spouses very little.

NotTheSideChick posted 1/9/2020 09:18 AM

How does a WS move through the grief process? What does that look like for you?

I understand the obvious process for a BS, but many WS here talk about grief and I don't understand what that looks like from that perspective.

5 stages of grief are:
1. Denial
2. Anger
3. Bargaining
4. Depression
5. Acceptance

[This message edited by NotTheSideChick at 10:20 AM, January 9th (Thursday)]

BraveSirRobin posted 1/9/2020 23:54 PM

I apologize that this request for clarification may be triggering, but are you asking about a WS grieving the damage to the marriage, or the loss of the AP?

NotTheSideChick posted 1/10/2020 13:20 PM

I guess both? That's my overall question. Are you grieving the loss of the affair/AP? The damage you did to your marriage? If it's both, what does that look like?

For a BS-the stages are obvious to me, but maybe that's just because I've gone through it. Just trying to understand:)

Westway posted 1/10/2020 15:06 PM

I was wondering if there were any divorced WSs amongst you. If you are divorced, did any of you disparage or talk down about your xBS around the kids, friends or family. I'm divorcing my WW and that's what I fear most.

Pippin posted 1/10/2020 17:34 PM

Westway, I am a WW who is not divorced. I have an answer from a different experience.

My BH's mother is a serial cheater. She rewrote history and responsibility in a way that damaged him for decades.

When BH was in upper elementary school, he was having a tough time. Not academically, but he was acting up. This was because his father had been kicked out of the house, the AP had moved in and married his mother, there was an OC, and my BH was expected to act like this was all fine. He couldn't act out at home, so he acted out at school.

His mother decided that the story was that BH was a bully. That he needed to be taught a lesson in humility. So she got the school to skip him straight to junior high school as a kind of punishment for his behavior (it also gratified her ego because it showed how smart he was).

So he was a year younger than everyone, short, pre-pubescent, and really really smart. Teacher's pet. He went home crying every day. She told him it was good for him and to toughen up.

That's how the story went in the family until last year. Periodically she would bring it up as - "aren't I such a good mother, coming up with creative ways to address my children's problems?"

Processing my affair in counseling has led him to process his mother's behavior and actions. And last year, when she tried to make a comment relating BH's experience to our own son's experience, BH shut it down and told her what he thought of her version of the story. (Gently, because he is gentle. But clearly, because he is clear). She hasn't brought it up again since.

I hope that if your wife rewrites history or tells them lies, you won't wonder if it's OK to contradict her. My husband's father wouldn't say a word against her and so her story was what stood. What would have been helpful to my husband would have been for someone to stand up and clearly state REALITY. If anyone had said "this boy is going through trauma. The worst thing we can do would be to traumatize him more by skipping a grade" it would have been helpful. If anyone had stated clearly what his mother was doing, instead of everyone accepting the story she wanted them to accept, it would have saved him a lot of anguish.

I guess my answer is - make sure that whatever your wife says, your girls have someone helping them see reality, and truth. Clearly, without emotion, without prejudice. Just the truth. I hope they listen.

BraveSirRobin posted 1/10/2020 20:37 PM

1. Denial

I spent more time in this space than all the others put together. Denial is the default state of a WS -- denial to the spouse about what you're doing, denial to the AP about why you're doing it, denial to yourself about both. Denial of the AP's flaws, because their admiration is worthless if you acknowledge that it's fake or being given by someone who is as desperate for attention as you are. Denial that there will be consequences for your actions, because admitting that will mean you have to stop yourself. Denial that infidelity makes you a sleazy, untrustworthy person. And when you're caught (or even if you regain enough sense to confess), denial that your story is very typical, and you are a garden variety cheater whose A was not a special exception to the rules.

2. Anger

I spent less time in this phase than most, and a lot of that is down to my BH. He showed an astonishing amount of self-restraint, so I rarely flashed back at him. When I did express anger, it was fear masquerading as hostility. It was almost always because he said something about my behavior that hit close to home (because it was absolutely true), and that put my sheltering layer of denial at risk.

3. Bargaining

I knew BH would be upset, but I had no idea that he was going to be destroyed. I didn't mean to break OM's heart, and yet, perversely, I didn't want to give up the ego kibble of his ongoing pining. And I missed OM in my life; we had been friends first, and inseparable for a few months. Now that interaction was drastically curtailed. I thought I could fix it for everyone by being BH's girlfriend (we weren't married at the time) and OM's platonic friend. I refused to see that even though I had ended the PA, just staying in contact was an ongoing EA that tortured BH and kept OM from accepting reality. I kept negotiating with both parties and prolonged and escalated the agony immeasurably for everyone.

4. Depression

It finally started to sink in that this was not a temporary situation. I didn't have SI to give me the 2-5 year timeline, but months passed, and everyone was still miserable. Nobody was happy with me; everyone wanted something I "couldn't" give. I wallowed, feeling like my love was toxic, because clearly it destroyed everyone it touched. I was filled with shame at having hurt both men and self-pity at having been thrust by fate into a situation where my emotions got away from me. Note that I had made it all the way to stage 4 and still hadn't started the work.

5. Acceptance

I know that some BS think that "finding the whys" is just an excuse for foisting responsibility off onto something or someone else, but the whys are about breaking down the wall of denial. A WS gets through this stage by shoving aside their surface excuses (my BS neglected me, my AP swept me off my feet, I never got to put myself first) and hammering at the glass until it splinters. Inside that wreckage, you face yourself. It's not a pretty picture. I had to admit that this shit show was entirely of my own making, and that whatever circumstances might have set off the chain of events, none of it would have been possible without me making active, deliberate bad choices at every turn in the road. I had to accept that OM was gone from my life forever, and that this was a good thing, not only for my BH, but also for me -- and, quite frankly, for him. I faced that I was essentially having an affair with myself, and that OM and I didn't know each other remotely well enough for the kind of bond that I pretended we had. I looked at him objectively and saw the lies, gaslighting, cowardice and innumerable other poor qualities that recast the A as two rotten peas in a pod helping each other destroy whatever we had of integrity. And I finally allowed myself to truly empathize, to feel the full weight of the pain I had inflicted on my BH.

Then, and unfortunately only then, was when I finally started properly grieving my relationship. That's how I let go of the outcome and was able to truly put his healing first.

[This message edited by BraveSirRobin at 8:39 PM, January 10th (Friday)]

thewalruswaspaul posted 1/13/2020 10:36 AM

I have a question about "accidental" trickle truth, anyone can answer but I would really like to get some answers from WS who have experienced something similar.

My WS trickle truthed me for about a month and a half - first it was just taking screenshots of other women on Instagram. Then it was downloading Tinder every few months to get an ego boost (he confessed on his own). Then I found out he'd been on Tinder more days than not for the past three years, and that most of his screenshots came from other women's Tinder profiles and "real girl/amateur" porn subreddits. And then I found out about him inviting another woman to visit him when he was on an assignment in Europe (she didn't go, the conversation fizzled before any planning could happen). And then I found out it was an ongoing EA for a year.

Every time I confronted him, he admitted everything. But when I asked him why he made me discover it myself even after I BEGGED him to just tell me everything, he says he legitimately didn't remember doing it. That he really thought in his heart of hearts that he only used Tinder occasionally. He says he had completely forgotten about his ongoing conversations with another woman. That he had no idea his porn collection had gotten so out of control.

Eventually we had to go through all of his emails, every single one of his message chains with any woman in his life, all of his social media, his credit card statements, restore backups from old devices, just to make sure that I knew everything since he seemed incapable of remembering enough of it. He says he deeply wishes he could have told me the truth immediately.

To any WS: does any of this hold water? He's given me access to all of his devices and accounts, he screenshotted all of his conversations with the other woman so I have them on record. He's being transparent now, but I am REALLY struggling to understand how he could have just blocked all of this from his memory. Can the compartmentalization and repression really be that strong?

[This message edited by thewalruswaspaul at 11:58 AM, January 13th (Monday)]

BraveSirRobin posted 1/13/2020 11:49 AM

I am among the WS who really have forgotten things that I would not have believed possible to forget, but even I can't imagine having no memory of a year long EA, and certainly not one that was so recent.

That being said, there's different levels of "forgetting" in the wayward brain. There's true memory loss -- zero there, no matter how hard you try to find it. This is the amnesia that even a polygraph won't expose. But for me at least, there was another level, where I knew something was there and I just really stubbornly refused to look at it.

Ordinarily (and ironically), I was able to ignore these memories as "irrelevant details." BH already knew I cheated; this was just extra stuff that would unnecessarily hurt him. But when I started gathering up the courage to disclose a new fact (in response to the question "Is that really everything?"), my subconscious kicked into a state of total panic. I visualized my brain as a frantic teenage girl, tearing around a dystopian military facility, freaking out at the flashing red lights and alarms, slamming doors shut and locking them. These were things I thought I'd never tell, that could signal the death of my relationship if I told them. It was like I was trying to protect myself from myself: if I was crazy enough to admit these things, then a higher authority needed to step in and keep me from that suicidally dumb impulse. And the only way to do that was to try to block the memory itself.

I went through several rounds of this. Each time, "that's it, that's everything" meant "that's everything I can ever imagine bringing myself to tell you, and frankly, I never thought I'd get this far." There was a false catharsis at each disclosure -- whew, I was honest about that, and the world didn't implode. But that did nothing to make me feel like it wouldn't implode next time, and even less to force me to the final realization that even if the world was going to implode, I owed him the truth anyway.

I will add that it sounds like you have yet to get any TT that wasn't forced by physical proof, which makes me suspect that your WH is a garden variety liar. What excuse can he offer other than "I forgot"? In contrast, the phenomenon I'm describing was entirely guilt driven. None of the disclosures I made as part of D-Day 2 had any evidence attached to them; I could have taken them to my grave as I had always planned. Except that my BH trusted his gut and kept pushing, and I had SI to tell me that it was time to stop running and be the wife he needed me to be.

I recommend you demand a detailed timeline followed by a polygraph, with the question of whether there is anything that he deliberately omitted from that timeline. That will separate true memory loss from wayward brain shenanigans.

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