How did you continue to lie over the years?
How did you justify it In your mind.
How did you feel about the lieing over years.
How did you do it...
These are all the pivotal questions in my work as a reforming WW. The A was 30 years ago, but the lies didn't end until about this time last year.
There are so many emotions and mind tricks that go into lying to a spouse for that length of time. First and foremost, I had to subconsciously develop the ability to lie to myself. It's not like I got up every morning and thought, "Another day, another 24 hours of lying to BH." I sold myself on the idea that he knew the "important" things, and the rest was just painful detail that served no purpose to disclose. What is "important," of course, is defined by the WS and their needs/goals, not what the BS has every right to expect. Obviously, on some level, I knew damn well that everything was important; that's why I was hiding it. But (and this is the part that makes any normal person's head spin), I refused to face that importance, even within my own mind.
In my personal case, I told my BH (BF at the time) that I had slept with OM and performed/received oral sex. I did not tell him about how often that sexual contact had happened, and I made it sound like I got pressured/carried away instead of telling him about the planned and fully consensual night we spent together. I also admitted that we had exchanged ILYs, but I made it sound like I only responded from a sense of obligation. My rationalization was very reductive: PIV and ILY were the worst things I could have done, and I admitted that I did them, right out the gate. This is atypical of most TT, where the WS works up to admitting to the most damning acts. By focusing on the things I had admitted, I gave myself permission to omit the "lesser" acts. Somewhere inside, I knew how dishonest and unfair that was, but my ruthlessly self-interested side shut that voice right down.
...and what made you come clean?
The growing realization that rugsweeping wasn't going to cut it anymore. My BH didn't keep hammering questions at me for all those years. At first, he believed me. Why would I admit to sex and expressions of love, and then lie about other things? But over time, his own subconscious got louder and louder. He knows me, and he knew that my story didn't add up. My protestations that the sex was practically accidental didn't line up with my sense of emotional attachment and responsibility to OM after D-Day. I made it clear that I wasn't forced, but also said I was angry that OM had pushed for more than I meant to give. This was true of our last encounter, but not the first, and I presented the last as the only one. BH kept coming back around to the specifics of consent until I said that it wasn't rape, but part of me felt violated as if it was. After that, BH steered clear of asking additional questions because he felt he was intruding on a traumatic experience. I thought I was finally admitting a truth that BH wanted to hear, because he was very clear that he hated OM and wanted to blame him for everything. I hadn't wanted to process my anger at OM, because the while point of the A for me was that I was powerful and in charge. I resented BH for making me face that I wasn't as "in charge" as I thought, but I was relieved when it looked like the admission satisfied him and would allow us to rugsweep.
This dishonesty on my part had the effect of silencing BH in ways that I did not understand until recently. It was a huge gap in our understanding of each other, and entirely my fault. If I had been honest, he could not have come away thinking that my consent over the course of the A was less than wholehearted and enthusiastic. It was only in that final encounter that I was angry at being manipulated and pressured.
What was your expectations of your betrayed spouses reactions.
I thought he'd be angry, first and foremost. He was the one who suggested we be open to seeing other people, so I was fully under the impression that I was more invested in him than he was in me. I thought he'd be pissed off that I violated boundaries, and hurt, and that he might well dump me on the spot. I was not prepared for him to be utterly destroyed. I immediately started minimizing to walk back the consequences.
Did you think of what it would do to the bs.
Did you think of the consequences of your actions.
Not while it was happening, no. That was Future Girl's problem, and Present Girl didn't want to admit what I was doing, or I would have had to stop.
How did you continue to act normal and love your bs and continue to have children, love your kids go on as if everything’s perfectly fine and nothing ever happened.
By pretending that it didn't happen, or more accurately, that it happened in some parallel universe that was just for me. I acted like OM was an ex-boyfriend who preceded my relationship with BH, instead of my partner in betrayal. I also used my BH's own As as justification for sidestepping responsibility. He had lied to me, and was refusing to be accountable for what he did because what I did was so much worse. I used that as license to refuse to admit just how much worse it was, far worse than BH knew. I resented his retroactive free pass and wrote myself one of my own. I'm not sure exactly how aware I was that I was doing it, but it is crystal clear in retrospect.