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Long Term Affairs Part 39

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WhyAgainWhyHer posted 3/6/2020 07:57 AM

That's so sad. Alzheimer's is a horrible disease.

Lilac113 posted 4/9/2020 09:49 AM

I feel I am at a crossroads between staying in a bad and resentful marriage for my son or leaving and having to share custody. I am looking for perspectives from people who have gone in either direction that I am facing and what, if anything you would do differently.

My husband has been having a LTA with the same OW since September 2018. Four different times he has told me it’s over and four times now I have caught that it is not. I feel there is not longer any foundation for us to try and repair our marriage from, and furthermore, he is barely putting in any effort to do so himself. I wouldn’t still be with him if it weren’t for my son, who I did everything “right” for to give him the best life possible. Now I feel that my husband has ruined that and taken it all away. My heart is no longer in my marriage, but every time I think of separating, and participating in my sons life only 50% of the time, and not having say over what happens when he’s with his dad is killing me. In addition, if my husband and I separate, he will likely end up with the OW, who would then be step-mom to my son. It kills me. It causes me so much heart ache just thinking about it- how would I actually survive living it? I feel my heart would be more broken “losing” my son 50% of the time than it would staying in this terrible marriage.

I would love to hear from people who have been through a similar decision, what decision they made, and if they would change anything if they could go back and do it again. Is there anyone living with 50/50 custody? Lastly, is there actually any benefit of going through an at-fault divorce? From what I can tell it has no effect of custody and I make too much for spousal support, so I’m not sure what the point might be of filing that way.

gmc94 posted 4/9/2020 15:40 PM

Lilac, I'm sorry you are here, and glad you found SI.

I suspect you will find more responses if you posted in General or the Reconciliation forums.
LTA doesn't get a whole lot of traffic (and while I don't see it matters much, I think LTAs are generally considered to be 2+ years).

As to your specific concerns, I wish I had some specific experience, but I don't (my kids were adults when I discovered my WH's A). As a child of D, my experience was that it was much better after my parents D than before. The near-constant stress around the home was not healthy for anyone in our family.

ShatteredSakura posted 4/10/2020 18:08 PM

I feel like a big part of a LTA is finding out multiple times and they always going back to the same person and forcing you to just "live with it". IMO that can happen even in just a year.

I'm sorry you're here Lilac. It's tough enough to handle without kids. I thank God I never had kids with my XWW otherwise I would be in your situation. The OM would always be a part of my life.

It kills you she probably will become "step mom", but IMO it may be the lesser of two evils. Being in a relationship where you are second fiddle is hell on earth, it already has been since 2018...can you imagine more years of this? Doing nothing makes what he is doing legitimate. It will be a toll on your sanity, let alone happiness. Living under those conditions is abuse. He may just end up leaving anyways because you've become "too negative" about the situation (like mine did).

In a perfect world this should be grounds for getting full custody or something. This woman should not be allowed around your kid let alone ever become "step mom", it makes me sick to think about.

[This message edited by ShatteredSakura at 10:33 PM, April 10th (Friday)]

Tallgirl posted 5/1/2020 05:55 AM

Lilac,

Is his affair current?

My kids were adults when the A came out. So it is different for me.

Given what I have gone through and I was unhappily married for a while, I now think divorcing so the kids can have happy parents most of the time would be the right choice. I thought I hid it well, but I did not. My kids saw how poorly their dad treated me. They took this inside. I pray that they are ok.

They did not see a good example of a loving relationship. They saw anger and hurt and pain.

And now they have seen the outcome.

It is hard. Each situation is different. Anyways that is my experience.

whatisloveanyway posted 2/20/2021 09:02 AM

Wishing this thread was more active, maybe it's a good thing that there aren't that many of us still struggling? Or a bad thing that many are divorcing...

For those determined to try to R...

Wondering if anyone else has similar experiences with the struggles three years post discovery. I am having major meltdowns about twice a month over the same issues, the questions that can't be answered, and especially over my deep disappointment in my myself for not being stronger, as well as my deep sorrow that my WH is not the man I thought him to be, and that I will never be able to say that any man I have ever loved has loved me equally or faithfully in return. He was supposed to be the One. He was, until he wasn't. Faithful for 24 years, cheater for 8, and currently faithful for 3 years now.

Be Strong is my new mantra. I am choosing life, choosing to love, choosing to look for the happy moments now and moving forward and trying so hard not to look back, but the landmines are everywhere. It is not helping me to see several threads of LT Reconciliation couples falling back into infidelity. I have almost zero concern that my WH will cheat again, thanks to complete transparency and being together constantly, but almost zero assurance that he won't compartmentalize his feelings and hide them from me should we hit another rough patch.

I went through a cycle of almost therapeutic crying to purge the emotions, but lately, these breakdowns are overwhelming and I worry about my health and my sanity sometimes. The last one was a doozy and I just kept sobbing that I can't do this anymore, having the reality of my life bring me to my knees. It's getting harder, not easier to get back up. I have hit a few very dark moments recently that scared me, and wondered why now? I keep asking myself if this is the bottom when I get in these depressed cycles. I need to feel incremental improvement, and these setbacks seem insurmountable sometimes. They are mostly about me and my emotions, as my WH has become more open and supportive with time, but more confused about what to do to help me. We are both concerned about my recent uptick in hatred for the MOW who has moved away and moved on and patched her marriage, but I still want to send her hate mail and remind her of her shame. What the heck is that about? Why can't she be as irrelevant in my life as she deserves to be? Why am I giving her any of my headspace or still checking her social media? I'm pretty stuck right now and I'm the one who can't let go of the hatred, bitterness and jealousy for her trespass in my marriage. I get the transference, because I can't afford to turn those negative emotions toward my WH if I want to R, so they are focused on her.

I wonder if I will still be churning in this cycle at year 5 or 6, or if it just slowly and gradually gets better. I have made my decision to stay with this man because my love and loyalty run too deep to consider otherwise. Other than the lying, cheating and betrayal, he is still the perfect man for me, lol, and at this age, I have zero interest in starting over or living alone (although I know I could do that and thrive.) I am choosing love, choosing the harder path because I know in my heart it is what I want. But I also want to be at peace and content in my life and I can only maintain that feeling for a handful of days in a row before I melt down into a sobbing pile of disappointment and hurt. I know if I loved him less and myself more it would not hurt so much, but I am who I am. I have been told by several people to get over it or get gone, but I will not leave my marriage and I'm at a total loss how to get over something that noone should have to get over. It's a catch 22 situation.

I know I should be in counseling, and its on the list along with PT for chronic arthritis issues, but Covid. I wonder sometimes if my healing is siderailed by this pandemic, and endless winter weather which leaves a cloud of sadness over everything lately.

Anyway, just checking in, wondering how things are going with the rest of the LTA gang. Wondering if anyone else can relate. If nothing else it feels good to vent and admit that my recovery is slow and painful. Thanks for reading all this mess.

gmc94 posted 2/20/2021 12:16 PM

I'm in year 4 and don't really have much advice. I can say I completely relate.

As much as I'd like my WH's brokenness (we are not in R) to be THE factor here, I know what's inside of me is probably the bigger issue.

Shame and not always having my head & heart on the same page as to my own worth/value are the things that ring out for me.

FWIW, it sounds as if you've made the decision to stay in your M separate & apart from your WS' work or ability/willingness to make significant changes. Not judging that - it's a perfectly valid choice (and TBH, I think age plays a huge part on that front) - but I do think we as the BS can then turn that back onto ourselves.... IOW an inner self talk that goes something like: WS can't / won't change and I'm committed to staying M, so I just have to figure out how to let it go or how to soothe that hurt part and the void created by the WS devaluing me for a VERY long time (I'm in that spot, but w/o any commitment to stay, which is a whole other thing, but may show my own projecting in this post).

In addition, when our limbic system/lizard brain doesn't get what it needs to calm down, it will rear its ugly head in all sorts of ways - like sudden meltdowns that seem to get worse and not better.

Forgive me if I'm not remembering, but I don't recall many (any?) posts from you describing the changes your WS has made, and in my mind, I have to wonder if that is a factor in the lizard brain still doing its JOB to keep all of this at the forefront. I really recommend reading The Body Keeps the Score by Bassel Van der Kolk - it's not about infidelity, but about trauma and it helped me a LOT in recognizing & understanding how trauma of infidelity impacts us. Cheating in a Nutshell is also a good book (and much much shorter) that ties these things together, but be aware that the authors have a pretty anti-R perspective that may create more doubt in someone committed to R (there's a thread about the nutshell book in the Book Forum on SI that you may want to check out before looking at the book).

Anyhow, those are my thoughts.... not sure if it helps.
And thanks for bringing the LTA thread back to life. I know folks define LTA as 2+ years, but I really do believe there is a whole other level of trauma that occurs the longer the A(s) went on. It really wipes out a chunk of one's life that is hard (or is for me) to come to terms with.

Hugs....

ETA: not saying the WS "fixes" the pain of the BS. They can support and they can (even by lack of support) make it worse (and the making it worse seems to be a heckuva lot easier than the support/help piece). Whether we R or D or something in between, we still have to heal ourselves. However, doing that with a spouse who can't/won't fix their stuff tends to keep our lizard brains on high alert, so there is a near constant "battle" of sorts going on between the executive (I still love him, D at my age is SCARY AF, and the myriad other practical reasons to stay M) and the lizard (even though my WS is not actively cheating/in an A, all of the factors and character traits that allowed it to happen to begin with are very much present). In those situations, I think lizard brain kind of rules the roost and keeps us in emotional turmoil. It's lizard brain's JOB to protect us from harm - esp KNOWN harm- so lizard brain will instinctively work it's arse off to keep the harm in our consciousness.

[This message edited by gmc94 at 12:41 PM, February 20th, 2021 (Saturday)]

cgreene posted 2/21/2021 18:14 PM

Hi there,
I have a quick look here every now and again and saw your post - would be good to revive this thread. I don't post very often, I start to but usually get overwhelmed by all the stuff in my head and end up giving up and deleting what I've written.

I agree with gmc that there is a special kind of pain that comes with a LTA of many years. It feels like a part of your life was stolen from you and everything connected with those years is tainted. Those years were the years that my children were growing up and it is something I will never forgive, I am working towards acceptance but its bloody hard.
I'm nearly 5 years out and at 3 years out I was also having regular meltdowns. I'm sure like you so many questions, so much to time to fill in - 10 years of lies in my case.
It gets easier, the meltdowns become less frequent. WH is better at dealing with them and, thank god, there is a lot less crying.
That lizard brain that gmc talks about sneaks up on you when things are going well, again less so these days and also of course when there's a trigger.

I still ask questions even if I've asked them all before and sometimes its ok, we move on fairly quickly, sometimes it isn't and the hurt takes over and it takes longer usually with tears. Hormones don't help and tend to mean tears and shouting are more likely.

We are healing, I think but I don't know if we will survive the long haul, given what has happened I don't think I will ever be sure that I have done the right thing in staying with him. Oh for that magical crystal ball... At the moment I think I am happier with him than I would be without him and I am still taking it one step, one year at a time.
I do stuff that makes me happy (bit more difficult at the moment but hey, there are still friends to walk with and fires to sit around) and try to shut down the negative thoughts and most of the time these days it works.

People who haven't experienced what we have don't have the first idea. It is not something you get over, you learn to live with it, to accept it (slowly in my case) There is a lot to grieve and whether you stay or go this is still true.

I'd also recommend 'The body keeps the score' - I read it on your recommendation, gmc. I'm a bit scared to read 'infidelity in a nutshell' to be honest...


Chaos posted 2/22/2021 07:30 AM

gmc is wise and usually spot on.

Freaking lizard brain back at it again.

And add me to the club - after months of doing really really good - LTAP is back in my head and I can't vanquish her.

In moments like this - in a way I hate her now more than I did on DDay.

And yes - to those who know me - I'm at work with glittery undies on and a bold lipstick [sexy undies and make up are my favorite self care]. I will take myself to a cafe after work to sip coffee and people watch [the limited amount that there are due to restrictions in my area] and may walk around ULTA to see what they have on clearance that I don't need but makes me happy.

I want to rant so damn bad right now...

Getting more coffee and maybe some chocolate.

whatisloveanyway posted 2/22/2021 08:25 AM

gmc, cgreene and chaos, thank you so much for responding. I think the lizard brain theory is spot on. I want to respond properly, but am in the throes of moving out of our home of 25 years, which will help a little with the hard memory triggers, and today is the last hurdle of appraisal to finalize the sale.... cleaning like a mad woman...in the midst of 3 feet of snow and stupid winter weather. I'm bone tired.

I do have so much to say and no time today, but had to come say thank you for making me feel a little less crazy. Hugs to you all. I'll be back soon.

whatisloveanyway posted 2/22/2021 14:19 PM

OK, I have a while to data dump. I am also very much in my head right now and a talker so apologies for the length.

I am very analytical and a bit OCD, so I track and journal everything, and I know how often we talk and about what, how often I melt down, and I keep waiting for the interval between outbursts to grow longer, but I seem to be consistent with 2-3 a month for almost a year now. They were getting easier but something snapped after a spell of numb I mistook for healing. I think I've been feeling vulnerable and resentful that I haven't gotten the answers or conversations I need to move forward. He is frustrated with the never ending A story he would love to forget, and my recall and the "facts" I keep rubbing in his face, but for me knowledge is everything. I have to understand to move forward and I am not there yet. A little background:

Theirs was an Ashley Madison, no strings hookup. He tried for others, but none met his discretion except her, so their sex only thing became a friendship, very entangled, and they were supposed to organically end it as they both retired and moved away. She was the aggressor in the relationship, always emailing and whining why he didn't want to see her more, quite needy, but my H is a very busy man and struggled to fit her in. I am told 80% of their encounters were a pub for sports tv and beer and a parking lot BJ. But they shared many overnights, as she followed him across the country on business trips when her H was away. She cried a lot whenever they talked of ending things because she cared so deeply for him, and he considered her a friend with benefits but the words love or soul mate were never used, just BF, GF and sign offs with kisses.

This is year 3 since my initial discovery, and coming up on 3 years NC between them, but not between she and I, as I tend to poke the bear once or twice a year. I have known the truth of the length of their relationship for almost 2 years, so maybe I need to be more patient, because the second and third discoveries were so brutal. Being told the affair was long over because he fell back in love with me when the kids moved out and we began the happiest years of our lives only to discover it went on for many more years and under my crying nose during false reconciliation has left me deeply scarred. Being lied to repeatedly by MOW every time I found more scraps, and being lied to about the timeline repeatedly until I put it all together (Finally!) has also hurt me deeply. My inability to keep my guard up and let go of my blind trust hurt me a lot, and not finding this site for the first year left me open to massive manipulation so they could continue their effed up relationship.

gmc, my WH has done more work than I thought he was capable of doing, but a shameful minimum based on successful remorseful Waywards... He is not an emotional person, but on the engineering/scientist spectrum of cold logical thinkers, and not buying into any of the counselling or emotional analysis programs. He hates this forum and will not join, or seek counsel from other waywards, as he could care less what others do, only what we do. He has been bottled up tight his whole life, but I believed that he and I were the in a special inner circle of truth and loyalty and I overlooked some personality traits that he hid well. So I'm dealing with the realization of his true nature, and working to ensure that he meets my minimum requirements for a relationship. We have made a ton of progress learning how to communicate and to be honest, but if I want to talk about feelings or motivations he has nothing to contribute. He did what he did because he was frustrated, felt unappreciated and resentful over parenting crap while I was simultaneously going through early menopause in my 40's and a hysterectomy and very painful sex for almost a decade until I found the right hormone therapy.

All the things that got him into infidelity vanished or faded, but his addiction to his Ashley Madison girlfriend kept him with her through their 8 year affair, our 8 months of false R, HB and 2 months of useless MC. Another 8 months of fighting and lying and crying to get to the heart of the matter, where I remain stuck, with never an admission, always caught. That scares me to my core. What a clusterf*ck it has been.

I never got a full timeline or disclosure, because honestly he can't remember a lot of it. I'm pretty sure that's true, because he remembers very little, especially dates, and without a calendar reminder has no idea of anniversaries, childrens' birth dates or even years, when they graduated, etc. I have a visual oriented excellent memory and I remember almost everything, which is its own hell. So I think lizard brain wants all the puzzle pieces, all the strategies they used, all the places they went, etc. to feel like I have all the data, finally. He hates talking about her and hates me upset and wants me happy and will do almost anything I ask now except get therapy or read what he calls psychobabble. He is very self assured and self motivated and says he has decided to be honest and faithful and he will, end of story. He struggles to understand why that does nothing for me. He realizes he made a major tactical error lying repeatedly to me, and was trying to desperately control an out of control situation and me with lies to "spare me further hurt" which backfired. He knows he made this mess, but he's frustrated rehashing the same topics. He hates the party line that I get to ask the same questions over and over until I'm comfortable with the answers. I'm beginning to understand more of the shame spiral that happens when I bring it up, and we spent a year yelling at each other because I HAD to talk and did not have emotional control and things often spiraled badly. We have gotten along great for almost 40 years and learning to fight in your 60s is its own hell too.

He will not go to IC and I will not make him because he will only be a hostile witness and deem it a waste of time and money. He is not going to open up to anyone, and I'm his only real friend beyond the MOW. He couldn't care less about her now, or even that I harass her except to ask why I can't let it go like he has. For the same reason he kept seeing her. It's a kind of addiction. He is trying in his way, and is asking me to be strong and fight for us and grow old with him in the life we had planned. He claims he always wanted this future together, never wanted to leave me, always loved me the same all the way through, and so many other confusing things. He is 100% transparent now, gave up all rights to privacy, never travels alone unless I won't go with him, and he cuddles me to death every single night and I wish this were enough. But I feel like I live in the twilight zone now.
What he will do is listen to podcasts or let me read excerpts from articles to him, but he truly thinks that the experiences of others have no bearing on us. He will also hold me until I am done crying, which is hard for him to watch. He will snap and walk away if I get too vulgar in my accusations and can't handle discussing the ugly aspects of what he has done, I assume due to his deep shame. I have had to learn to be careful with how and what I say, which is hard mid meltdown, but I am learning how to stop shutting him down.

So, my current theories on my slow healing and never ending meltdowns are:

No admission, only begrudgingly after the facts were revealed. Blows trust to pieces.

Not getting over this may be who I am. I am loyal, giving, nurturing, loving, faithful, so this is not something I'm wired to forgive, let alone forget especially because I never wanted to get married, because all men do is disappoint me and break my heart. I told him when we got engaged, one rule only - no cheating. I'd let him go, no questions asked, no fault, if he ever needed someone else. I was very clear.

The nature of the unraveling and the false R and TT did major damage, so I will need a lot more time to trust and feel safe again.

The lack of full disclosure and the holes in my timeline as well as the unknown hows and wheres leave me with an unsolved case file that I am just unable to stop looking at.

The blatant and selfish lies of the MOW infuriate me and make me feel so damn stupid. The whole thing makes me feel stupid and I'm trying to forgive myself.

I have no real assurance that her H knows the full truth and I'm struggling with reaching out, especially this late in the game. I tell myself it's another step toward closure, but we all also know its because I want to rock her life boat and her marriage in every way I can.

I have a touch of OCD and I literally think of her and imagine them together every day, every night. I fight thoughts of her away constantly. Maybe that's why I still stalk her, hoping her life sucks now too. (So far, no luck, she's pretending to be sweet doting baba to grandbabies across the country, pretending to be a loving and good wife..)

Our current winter covid pasttime of binge watching tv has triggered me to no end. There is nothing we have watched yet that doesn't have a plot line with lies, betrayal, adultery, heartache. So many shows I have had to pause and explain how it was upsetting because of how it made me think about what we have been through. I cry a lot more than the shows merit because they pick the scab of my hurt. I'm trying to push those thoughts away and hoping for the ability to just watch a show and not think about us too.

My last meltdown, I told him that I resent that his impatience with my healing and that my impatience with myself is killing me, making me feel worse about myself. I don't recognize myself and I have done things I can't even explain since this all happened. I joined all the nasty hookup sites just to look around, make connections and then shame the married men on the sites. I have hassled that MOW across state lines through the mail and online. I can't stop judging my sniveling hurt little self when I know in my heart that I have always been and should still be a kick ass strong independent woman. But still I grovel and cry, on my knees trying to be sure I am loved, he is sincere, and that all this pain is worth it. Jealous of a cheap skank he doesn't want to remember, giving her my precious headspace when she deserves none of my time. It just plain sucks, but you all know that.

So there you have the guts of the matter. Lots of guts..

As I have time, I go back and look at the comment threads from your profiles as well as my own to seek insight and tools to use to move forward. I have ordered the body keeps the score, but like others am scared to read Cheating in a Nutshell. cgreene, like you I am worried about the long haul, if I can really do this. I know this is what I want, but how long do I fight my very nature and live in the disappointment of it all?

And Chaos, I hear you on the sparkles and glitter. I have a new wardrobe and buy expensive purses and shoes now, after a lifetime of sneakers and hiking boots. I lost so much weight I match my 16 year old self and I look great for my age. I wish that were enough. I have indulged almost every whim that makes me feel better in the moment but nothing I do for myself yet has changed how I am handling what happened and what remains.

I am considering EMDR and hope to get some online therapy soon, but am not hopeful that talking to a therapist about my WH's inability to talk to me about his affair will solve a lot. I know I owe it to myself to try everything I can to help me get over the hump to the rest of what I have left. It's pretty depressing to be working this hard on my life and myself after I did so much already and was darn happy and content with where I was. Proud and smug, almost until I found myself on my knees.

Thanks for chatting, thanks for reading, thanks for the suggestions and the me too's which I know we all need sometimes. It helps so much to know I am not alone in these setbacks or this slow, glacial pace of recovery.

Take care and hoping for easy days ahead for all of us.

[This message edited by whatisloveanyway at 8:37 AM, February 23rd, 2021 (Tuesday)]

gmc94 posted 2/24/2021 15:06 PM

I'm no therapist, but that's a lot to unpack and I'm on a quick break right now.
So, here's what's ringing out to me (and for time's sake, we are talking stream of consciousness:

First, you say you are packing for a move. That alone would likely unearth a TON of memories, that keeps the lack of reality churning in your brain (or it would mine). For instance, the box of the kids' awards would, in my brain, become the box of all the YEARS of bullshit lies I lived with not knowing my reality. That alone could cause me some pretty big effing triggers (and is a big reason why, despite Covid, my house is a shambles - I cannot seem to find the bandwidth to go through my basement of memories... aka basement of lies )

He's not satisfied you/lizard brain about the story of his A. If he can't do that and you are committed to R w/o it, then you will REALLY need some help. TBH, this is a MAJOR factor for me and one of the biggies for my unwillingness to commit to R (and my WH will do IC, but doubt he's honest with his IC. He refuses to use SI or any other groups. While he is also VERY analytical and doesn't do well with feelings, I think it's FAR more likely about his own shame and ego - can't tolerate being vulnerable with anyone else).

So, if he won't do a detailed timeline and you are OK with that, great. However, he can still take a polygraph to confirm the years of the A, and to confirm it was the only A. IMHO, that's the kind of thing that can help the old lizard brain. I've done EMDR and I'm not so sure it would help - but that could be a "me" thing and we are all different.

You also hinted at some of your own shame for "not being stronger". This seems really common, and I'm not immune. And the thing is, while you believe you are happier with him than without, it really doesn't sound like he's stepped up in the ways YOU need him to. Sure, he's not going to become a "touchy feely" person. But the steadfast refusal to do IC is easily interpreted as "I don't matter" or "I don't matter enough for him to do something uncomfortable".

He is frustrated with the never ending A story he would love to forget,
I'd bet it's a story YOU would "love to forget" as well. So what is HE doing to help you here?

WH has done more work than I thought he was capable of doing, but a shameful minimum based on successful remorseful Waywards
I'd bet that this has something to do with the lack of peace you feel / shame at staying or not being stronger. You KNOW he's not stepped up to the standards you want. And you know you don't want to leave. Again, I don't think this is something EMDR can help, but I'm no therapist.

There's a book an SIer mentioned awhile back that sounded familiar, so I checked my mile-high stack of infidelity books and sure enough, I had it (and even had tabs on some sections). I'd bought it in year 1 or 2, obviously read some, and then put it away (and today I can see why). It's called Living & Loving After Betrayal, by Stosny. My criticism is that it (at least so far, I'm still not done with it) it basically ignores the trauma of being a BS. So a lot of it sounds to me like "just do x and it will all be better" when the reality is that "just" doing a fuckton of stuff after dday (even in year 4) ain't always that easy.

HOWEVER, I do believe that his "do x" suggestions are valid and helpful. He starts with the concept of forming a "healing identity" that focuses on finding meaning and value in your life. This book is NOT (or not so far) about the WS or any of that. It's aimed at trying to shift our mindset to being more productive, regardless of our cheating spouse's bullshit (or good) actions. He talks about anger being an analgesic for pain, and that really resonated for me. And he talks about pain being part of the limbic system that can be switched from angst to MOTIVATION to change. And that also REALLY resonated with me.

I did find the audiobook on hoopla for free via my library (I still have a TON of problems reading on paper), so if you avail yourself of your library, I'd bet you can get it that way as well.

Anyhow, so much for my stream of consciousness.... back to the salt mines that pay the bills :)

[This message edited by gmc94 at 3:06 PM, February 24th, 2021 (Wednesday)]

Marlita posted 2/24/2021 20:14 PM

Whatisloveanyway,
Wow! This is SO resonating! I feel like you are validating me, with a sense of making me face things that I don’t want to.
I have a long history of similar bs!
From just reading your last post, I feel like you’re making excuses for him, for HIS indiscretions, which HE chose, and which HE chose to hide!
I hate this for you!
I’ve learned that as a result of being so loyal, to those who have proven so, by me, that I’m not a good forgiver to those who have crossed me. (Self reflection)
Those who have gone over the line for me previously, I have crossed out of my life.
But the betrayal that my husband has infected our marriage with, is the ultimate challenge!
This year...6/24/21, will be 4 years!
I feel your pain, struggles, questions, revenge & empathy!
I feel like we’re connected on some level!
Sending hugs & prayers your way!
❤️

whatisloveanyway posted 2/25/2021 09:03 AM

gmc, thank you so much for the time to read all that and to offer such a thoughtful response. I don't know if you know how much the kindness means right now, or how hard it makes me cry to receive so much from those i haven't met while getting so little from the one who hurt me the most.

I'm in a pile today. I tried to talk to him Saturday about your lizard brain response. He was not in the mood, so i waited until last night. I talked about the battle between the head and the heart, the things that make me feel unsafe and my worries about not so much another skank lurking in my life, but the secret places inside him that let him lie and manipulate me. He was quiet and then asked if i was going to run the dishwasher. That's' pretty much how it goes, with the occasional I don't know what you want me to say. I didn't cry or yell, but flatly said you just won't have a conversation with me, or help me heal. He said his standard party line, this is who I am, we are very different people, your brain works differently than mine. I already told you that you could trust me and that I'm done with all that. I told him that may be true but it is not enough for me right now. I am not done with it, this is rippling through every facet of my life. Every deflection, pivot, topic change, minimization or generalization is another papercut to my heart, another red flag to the lizard brain. I tried to explain if he would just open up and talk without the pushback, I might start to heal. I know he is the reason i am stuck, i know he is being selfish and he is not happy to be told that. It's not that I need information at this point, I need the open honest connection without all his crap getting in the way. He feels he is trying and I just can't see it. No, I can't see it, feel it or touch it.

Anyway, thank you for the time and for reaching out, and for the insight an suggestions. I found a video online with Dr. Stosny and between the tears I am seeing how everything that is playing out is textbook. I will share it with him and see if he will watch it, and if so, will he get anything from it besides defensive discomfort.

I just want to be worth a conversation or the work. I told him I understand his personality type makes this harder, but he is so smart, he should want to figure out how to help me. He keeps saying I don't know what you want, I don't know what to do. Really? I have asked for so many things, I have said I need you to.... so many times. I have given him books, articles, videos, chat threads, emails and nothing gains attention or traction. I am ashamed to admit i burned How to Help your Spouse Heal... he read a few pages and said he didn't need to be told he was an asshole and refused to read it. I wrote him a letter and gave back the wedding rings and our vows, and he wouldn't read it for 9 months and when he did he never told me until i brought it up as something he would not do for me. Why, finally, read it and say nothing? Nothing, but to say you are wrong, i did read it and it was sad. That was it. When I asked why read it at all, he said he wanted to resize the rings and surprise me, but i ruined it. He never did anything to recommit, i have drug him along through all that, and of course it hurts. He remembers nothing, says nothing, or he says enough or no, he says that's not who I am. This morning I told him he has to dig deeper and try harder or I will continue to grow my resentment and my hurt to the point I may need a lover just to be able to stay with him, or I will have to leave him to save myself. He has to give and not just take, I'm done losing. He may not be able to show me the value he places on our relationship, but I know my worth. He has to ask himself why so much of his effort has been put into defensiveness, stonewalling or passive aggressive childish proclamations (you use everything i tell you against me so i am not talking to you about it anymore) instead of the hard work of helping to fix what he broke. I am changing in circles all around him trying to find a solution and he is a stick in the mud, unyielding. I get that he is an absolute shit candidate for R, but I have not found a way to move on without him. He told me to stop trying to change to just be me.....just being me got me here, not changing is a death sentence for me because i am unable to keep living carrying the burden by myself.

I have noticed over the years that when things get really messy, he pushes them away. His affair began during a period of extreme financial distress due to his bad investment decisions, (which I fought hard against and lost, and boy did we ever lose...) but he did the ostrich thing and I ended up getting involved to try and mitigate, find options, anything, because problem solving is what i do, and he fought me and resented it, but we finally came through it. I see the same thing here, this is icky, no clear solution, so head in sand. Stupid, stupid.

I get that I chose to love a very difficult and complicated man. I always accepted that he would never be a romantic flowers kind of guy, but I overlooked all of that for what I believed to be a solid honest man, and I got my ass handed to me. Cue shame cycle.

Off I go to read and listen and think and try to focus on me, which is so hard after decades of me meaning us, I honestly don't know who i am without him. He saved me long, long ago, and now he has destroyed me. I have to figure out how that fits into a future with him.

I also have to figure out what to do with all the crap we accumulated over the decades. Moving is hell, memory landmines are everywhere. I did get through the basement memory bins from the kids and it was so hard to see so many milestones and know the shadow she cast on those times in our lives. I have read so many great threads on here though, that affirm that those years are only tainted because of him, that i lived the most authentic and giving life I had to offer. I gave my family my all. I can be proud of that through my sorrow. I look forward to leaving the traumatic memories of the fights and the panic attacks this house holds and stepping finally into the next phase and see where those roads take me, or who else i become. I told him last night when I look down the road of our future together, I see more tears, more pain, and the scariest possibility, feeling dead inside. I would prefer the tears to the black hole of not feeling anymore. He said nothing and fell asleep.

Marlita, thank you for the hugs and commiseration. I think I don't want to make excuses for him, but to understand him. I keep trying to filter my needs through his capabilities, but he is not working in ways I can see or feel and I have asked him to try harder. I want to be worth the effort. Time will tell.

Your betrayal is so awful because it spans your entire marriage. It's unnerving to believe we know someone so well and discover we know so little. I keep asking why he felt the need to drag me along through the mud of his bad choices. He never wanted to leave me, loves me, he always wanted a future with me, etc... Selfish at the core. me, me, me. I told him I thought among other things that we were each other's best friends and he said we always have been and always will. I said no, friends don't lie, and he said yes friends don't lie but it happens from time to time. I couldn't even answer. Time to time? Sounds like once or twice. Forget the lie of deception from 2010 to 2018, and just the lies I proved that he made to my face would fill pages. I have written them all down, every one. I too struggle with forgiving those who violate my trust. I tried to explain to him that my entire life, when someone let me down, I shut them out, or just left. He is the first person to abuse me in this way that i have chosen to stay for. I just may not be cut out for it.

So what is love worth? Staying with the pain? Fighting for what i need to get better? He keeps showing me what his love is worth and I think I am worth a better deal. I guess the good news is I at least know that I am worth more and I'm not afraid to ask...

In 2010, when I suspected he was looking to cheat, and he denied it, I was going through such a shit storm with my mom and siblings in the wake of Dad's death. Such dysfunction and so horrible, and i was raising two kids with social anxiety and spectrum quirks that were breaking my heart as well, and I was struggling with menopause and chronic arthritis problems and possible financial ruin. I was feeling so low and I was trying to focus on the good, the love, the gratitude. I wrote in my journal that I was not my brother, my sister or my mother's keeper, that I could not change or help them, I could only love them and offer support. I wrote that I will be present for my kids and my husband, even if it means being a doormat. Doing is loving too, loving is showing up.

I know now that as I wrote those words to remind myself to be present and loving that he was already balls deep into a needy greedy woman for months. Well, Doormat no more. I wish 2010 me had vowed to make others try harder too, not just create a manifesto of I have to suffer and try harder for the greater good. I never did a what about me detour, and I wonder why it is so hard for me to put myself first above others. Middle kid crap maybe? Or just my nature to give and to nurture. Well, I need the nurturing now.

Good luck with all the crazy that comes with the territory. Not a lot of long haulers like us seem to end up content or even happy. I know that due to the length of the affair, the false R, the inability to confess unless confronted, his personality and mine, we are looking at very slim odds of happily ever after now. I try not to feel robbed and I try to hold out hope for the best. Until then, I will take my happy moments where i find them.

I'm going to finish my Dr. Stosny video and get busy and dance while i work and laugh through my frustrated tears.

Hugs to you all.


[This message edited by whatisloveanyway at 9:10 AM, February 25th, 2021 (Thursday)]

whatisloveanyway posted 2/25/2021 11:33 AM

I have to add something that is making me stress. The last meltdown, week and a half ago, I probably said half the same things I said last night to him, and he said I don't know how to help you and I don't know what to do. Do you want me to leave?

My heart skipped a beat! Twisted chivalry, kindness, mercy killing, giving up? What does that mean? No. No. I want you to stay and fight hard for me. I don't ever want you to leave unless I ask you to leave. We ended up laughing about that, but I think maybe he is in a fragile state now too, as I know I am mentally exhausting him. I always think of him as strong, but he's not built for being a disappointment to anyone.

Anyway, his defeated exasperation is another facet to my current state.

I have a lot to unpack from the living and loving after betrayal video. It's hard to reboot the thoughts toward something meaningful. I'm trying.

Throwaway999 posted 2/25/2021 12:15 PM

Whatisloveanyway - I am glad to see this thread is active again now...I have been posting in betrayed women but I fall into this spot also. I apologize that I have not read all of your past posts but just the more recent ones here. It made me feel that our husbands are/were very similar. I faced many conversations that went exactly like yours. My WH said the exact same things to me.

Briefly, he started in 2010 texting a woman...I called him out on it as an emotional affair and we rug swept it for the most part. It turned into a LTA and PA in later years...it lasted for years. He also had a LTA with his exwife during the same years and his cheating behavior continued on until he got cancer. I found out a few months before he passed...but at that point I only discovered the first LTA. So much more since he passed.

I got “what do you want from me”. I got “you twist my words”. I dragged him to IC and MC. I forced him to read books and sent him videos. He told me that he hated them. He did the wedding rings stunt...he re-did them...too late for that. I got tickle truth, defensiveness and regret. His apologies were two words...I’m sorry.

What I did t get was all the remorse. I didn’t get what I needed. You read about some (few) WS that fight for their betrayed persons...he didn’t want to fight for me. He didn’t have it in him. At the end he told me he never planned to leave, he loved me etc but none of his actions matched his words.

I just wanted you to know...I hear you and understand. It’s disappointment to the extreme when they don’t live or even try to live up to our emotional expectations. 25 years together...it’s just sad.

Stay strong...and if you want to communicate further, I can pm you. I am a good listener. Stay strong and fight for yourself. Put yourself first now...be user I don’t think you have been first for a long time.

whatisloveanyway posted 2/25/2021 16:21 PM

TA999, I have followed your story and it is one of the cruelest and you are among the strongest and most resilient people on this forum. Thank you for the kind words. I understand much of what your slow revelations must have felt like, but the added burden of his illness and death is beyond anything I have been through or can imagine. It is good to see you still here getting and giving support.

Yes, pm me any time too, for venting or commiserating. I have to admit I feel so much better after the first 2 webinars by Dr. Stosny, that I found looking up his book recommended by gmc. There is so much insight into my whys and my WH's whys. Better still, I think I can work some of his suggestions into my thinking and try to resteer my emotional titanic. Wish the webinars were in the healing library for everyone.

So much advice is common sense or intuitive, but has to be heard over and over for me to change my ingrained thought patterns. I think I have to get all my stuff out before I can begin to think about moving forward.

We both have too many unanswered questions and too many years of our lives that had a secret sideline that nobody told us about. It is truly horrifying, even worse with no confession and an intent to take it to his grave. It's very sad to love someone well and have it not returned in kind and to feel taken advantage of. I dream of being worth more, I regret that I'll never feel cherished or special in my marriage. But today I learned that's his problem, and I can't keep letting his mistakes define me. I will define me the way I am and resist what this tries to turn me into. One day at a time, I guess.

I wish you peace and healing and kindness from everyone for you moving forward. Take care.

gmc94 posted 2/26/2021 10:17 AM

WhatIsLove -
All I can say is NO WONDER you are struggling. From what you write, what I see is a WS who is very short on remorse and any meaningful willingness to change.

he read a few pages [of How To Help Your Spouse Heal] and said he didn't need to be told he was an asshole and refused to read it.
This is probably the most glaring example.

IOW, It's not "just" that he won't go to IC or MC
It's not "just" that he can't/won't give you a timeline
It's not "just" a whole list of stuff.

Sure looks like your WH is NOT - by any stretch of the imagination - "all in". And I get it - neither is mine, IMHO. I guess the difference is that my WH is going thru the motions, but his actions have proven that he's not really digging in. I can hypothesize from now until doomsday about why they can't "get it" or change, but that's focusing on THEM and not on US.

They will behave in very loving manners that can make us feel all kinds of important, but I really really really do believe that the body DOES keep the score, even when our head/heart avoids it like the plague. That limbic system KNOWS that the lovebombs are not what we really NEED. I always like the analogy of healthy vs not healthy eating....lovebombing is like eating Chinese take out: may feel good in the moment, but your body KNOWS it's still not gotten what it NEEDS to survive, and we end up hungry again in an hour.

Sounds like you are kicking yourself for not being "stronger", which I interpret to mean not strong enough to get the respect you - and EVERYONE - deserve.

I also suspect your day-to-day is similar to mine.... perfectly fine. So long as I don't bring up his As or allow my trauma to manifest in a way that he can't run away from, it's fine. But as the pressure cooker of trauma builds, and eventually must let out some steam in a way that he can't avoid, it's right back to all the devaluation, lack of respect, and the core issue: he's a liar and a cheater and broken in some SERIOUS ways that are abusive to ME and my well being.

So.... now what? (which I suppose is your OP here). I'm glad Stosny's videos are helpful and I really do recommend the Living & Loving After Betrayal book, mostly bc its focus is on YOU and working to create the life YOU want to live. IME, as I shifted the focus from all the crap my WH did and still does (or doesn't), to ME, I found strength. The idea of D is scary AF, but becomes more and more apparent as I regain my footing from the devastation wrought by his As and a lifetime of lies and covert disrespect.

When I think about being D as I approach 60 its horrifying and terrifying. Will I ever have sex again? Will anyone ever love me again? Will my life REALLY be better?

The thing is, I simply do not know the answers to any of those questions. I don't have a crystal ball about the future. But I do have a better grip on the present and what that means for me and both my mental and physical health. IMO, living with a regretful, but unremorseful, cheater WILL take a toll on both fronts. It takes a ton of energy to do the mental gymnastics required to stay with someone so willing to hurt us and so UNwilling to provide support.

So, while my day-to-day is "fine", I can use that to my advantage. Use it to get stronger. I hope you can too.

Godspeed....

whatisloveanyway posted 2/26/2021 11:28 AM

gmc, thank you for the encouragement to focus on me and live my best life, with or without him. I think he knows the disconnect between what's in my head and acting normal is too much for me to overcome. I told him acting as if this didn't happen is a twilight zone for me. It has to be acknowledged, and he has to find a way to make me feel safe, which requires dealing with his shit.

I am ordering the book because I want to know more and the webinars only include a couple of the exercises, and they are pretty useful. He is committed to watching or listening to them with me while we drive for 10 hours towing a trailer. I always want to talk on these trips and I never end up feeling better and he's asked that I stop stressing him in dangerous road and traffic conditions and he's right about the safety first part, not the never talking part. WE will see what he is able to glean from learning how to be more human.

If I can find back door or side entrances into the discussion, like a podcast or a show plot, once in a while he will give me a few sentences that offer some insight, or comfort. As to comfort, he is beyond confused why the love bombing doesn't work. It's a feeling and not a value like commited honesty or selflessness, isnt it? Maybe that's the disconnect my brain is seeing, affection he sees as action, but its an easy one and fun for him, in place of the real commitment and hard work I need to see which is very not fun for him.

I have tried to take the approach that I'll use him for the things I need, and get what he can't give elsewhere, but I don't want elsewhere. He has ruined me for other men with his high IQ, work ethic and sense of humor. We love to do almost all the same things, camp, kayak, hike, explore, and he indulges my every interest with patience. I can say confidently that no man can match him except for the emotional IQ he lacks, his morality gap and his ability to express emotion. Twice in a lifetime he has cried, once for a movie and once for me, when I asked him why he would want to stay in a relationship filled with years of lies and deceit. I try to see what he is doing to help me heal, besides "loving me", and he said I don't see the work he is putting in or how hard he's trying, and I don't, but we need to focus resources where i need them, not where i can't see or feel it.
Whew. Yup it is hard WORK. I know I have a lot more hard work to do.

My I wish I was stronger is more about how much I hate crying over him, being sad and pitiful and depressed. Weak. I told him a while back before the flat plains that I had cried all the tears he was worth or deserved and more. I was done crying. I hate weakness. I can live alone in the wilderness if I want, do almost anything a man can do, except not cry and beg after heartbreak, apparently. I want to negotiate our R like he does business every day and I want to win, like he usually does. I want to feel strong and capable and resilient, not spent and old and resigned. I have thought I had reached a place of acceptance or at least de tente so i could enjoy my life as casual, not committed partners, but I guess you can't pretend it's a new relationship. I did try that, actually, and told him so, that it eased my mind to pretend he was a new boyfriend with no baggage.

I do demand so much more of him and I am standing my ground better than I ever have, so if I step back and cut myself some slack, I'm strong for even being here and I'm getting stronger and advocating for my needs more than ever in our relationship, and calling out selfishness or stonewalling when I feel it. Anyway. So much work to do, in my head and my house. Thanks for the outlet to vent. This rapid sale and closing is an extra stressor added to the stupid mix.

I'm sorry your R did not work. It seems a high probability outcome around here. I'm glad you are in such a strong place to start what comes next. Don't worry about being out there in your 60's - thanks to infidelity I have several single friends living their best lives, once the dust settled, and it took a year or two, but they found their stride and none regret the divorce, except maybe the smaller money pile... and most have found sex and even love again. You will too. You seem on a course to manifest your own destiny.

gmc94 posted 2/26/2021 17:27 PM

I love analogies... so for an engineer type?

lovebombing is like putting a coat of paint on a rotten board.... it may look ok on the outside, but it will just continue to rot underneath. It's only by DIGGING IN and fixing the structural issues that the paint will look - and feel - solid.

And lord knows cheaters all have some pretty significant structural issues.

Also, as to R in my own M? I never committed to it. I needed to see progress/change in him... I needed to see him do some HEAVY fucking lifting on both the infidelity and suicide fronts before I was willing to commit to trying to R, and - obviously - that hasn't happened. As much as I'd like to believe he has some level of desire, I can't say I believe he has devoted anything even remotely close to the effort I've had to put into myself - just to maintain even the smallest semblance of being a functioning human being.

Like most WS, seriously digging into himself and trying to make positive and healthy change is clearly not a PRIORITY for him. And I suppose given that I've kept his secrets (including the suicide attempt) and haven't left, a part of me wonders why would it be a priority? He doesn't have mind movies. He can compartmentalize like a champion. He doesn't allow himself to feel much of anything not comfortable. I don't believe he even thinks about it unless I bring something up. So why not put "do a timeline, take a polygraph, figure out my values and the man I want to be" at the bottom of the old "to do" list?

I have a sneaking suspicion it will shoot right to the top if I file for D... but despite a super high level of intelligence and education, he cannot seem to understand that will be too late.


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