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IHatePickingName posted 12/14/2019 08:21 AM

I am terrified to write this post, but I feel like if I don't do it now, I am going to ghost this forum out of shame and never be able to use the resources I still really need. Please be gentle with me. I can't handle 2x4s. I can't look BS in the eye right now, because I feel like a self righteous poser.

Ok, let's see if I can do this.

My husband cheated or tried to cheat on me for 3 years. I found out all the sordid details in August, and have been on here since March, getting help, coping with my trauma, and working on my own issues.

Part of what I have been working on, and we have been discussing together, was the poor boundaries we had around relationships with other people. Basically, we allowed or condoned some level of EA's. We didn't realize the harm they can cause or how far they can go. We saw it as harmless flirting. We have been working on redefining our boundaries going forward.

But, while looking at my own behavior, I realized I had 2 EA's myself prior to dday2. And because we have been talking about what we allowed, I learned that I had twisted both the "rules" and my own actions in my head, to convince myself I was within the rules, when I was clearly not. I had an additional two EA's after dday, which I knew crossed lines but I didn't care because I was out in my head. It was a dealbreaker, I was divorcing him, and I was only waiting because I couldn't afford to leave yet. I recognize that is a justification as well.

My husband knew about each at the time, and condoned each. He didn't know how far the first two went at the time. He did for the second two. He still maintains he is not bothered by any of these, not upset, not traumatized. I have a hard time believing it, seeing how traumatized I am.

All of this info is to set the scene for what happened 2 nights ago. We were laying in bed, discussing the fact I am Bi. My husband said, "You were only ever with one woman right? [Name]?" I almost threw up. In that moment, I realized that my "relationship" with her was an exit affair in my first marriage. Everything came flooding back and I realized that the version of events I have believed happened for 11 years isn't true. It is all twisted to minimize, hide, or justify me doing what I now know is all the classic cheater crap I despise.

My ex and I parted amicably, he is happily remarried with two kids, and we have always kept in contact and are still friends. And I just realized how badly I used him. Again, the relationship was, at the time, known to him and I had consent. So I didn't think I was doing anything wrong. He also slept with her, I used that fact to justify stuff too.

But now I see that I lied to him about what I did, how long it happened, and the reasons why I left him. And I lied to myself and rewrote the last two years of our relationship to justify it all to myself. I did things I never would have any other time, took risks with our health I can't believe, and was generally every worst stereotype of a cheater there is. I am sick.

I always knew I was good at lying to myself, or convincing myself of things. I have done tons of therapy about this, as it relates to my anxiety and depression. But I don't know how I convinced myself so well that I didn't even know I did it. For over a decade after it ended. I hate myself.

I also realized, when I realized this, that I was capable of taking it that far. In the EA's, I never really believed I would. I justified it as a game, fantasy. But two nights ago when I was reliving the whole sickening affair in my head, I realized that I had actually tried to find ways to meet the AP's and that I was only saved from making this further horrible choice by proximity and lack of finances to travel. I had to confess that to my husband yesterday too.

He is trying to comfort me but I am destroyed. I don't believe I deserve support as a BS anymore because I am clearly horrible myself. And I am reliving my own worst moments of trauma as well, as I anticipate when he finally processes how far I sunk. He can't right now because his mom, sister, and nephew arrived yesterday for the weekend. I hate that I dumped it on him then but I flooded and couldn't keep it in.

I don't feel I deserve help now as a BS. I think I deserve the pain I got. I am keeping the stop sign so other BS can't agree with me on that point, because I can't handle it right now. I don't know if I will ever be able to post again. I am so ashamed of myself.

My husband has assured me he isn't going anywhere, and told me that we will work through this together. He said, "remember, we are letting go of the outcome, and working to be better people. Now you know where you need to do some work, so you can do it."

I am a mess again, but he made me take my medication prescribed to get me through the summer's trauma, so I am able to be calm and can hopefully get through the weekend of Christmas and my son's birthday fun. And I know what I have to do to work on myself, and will do it. I already have dug into it a lot with what I did know.

I just had to come clean here. I am sorry for lying to you by leaving this out before. I did it initially because I needed such acute help to stay alive, and only recently dug into it myself as I stabilized from the trauma. I was afraid to post it then because of the threads recently vilifying all WS. I am just so broken right now that I could't take that. But I had to now because I can't bring myself to post anything else now that I know I am a liar and a cheater and I have deceived you all in receiving your comfort and help. I am so sorry.

BluesPower posted 12/14/2019 09:09 AM

Look, some of what you realized is important.

Realizing what we as people have done to others in important. Hopefully, it helps us be better people.

And, yes, what you describe with your first husband is exactly all the cheater stuff that you hate, that is what it is.

However, it was in your first marriage, so I think you are over reacting just a little.

I get how you feel. I have misused women in my past and when I realized what I had done, I felt horrible, still do in some ways.

But I won't do those things again.

So to your current situation, first things first.

The boundaries and flirting and all of that. Either you and H want to swing, which is your choice, or you don't.

So all the "Flirting", EA's and everything else either stop or it need to be formalized.

You are both skirting around things that done improperly can ruin a marriage...

IHatePickingName posted 12/14/2019 09:53 AM

Thank you. We have already decided it all has to stop and are working on defining new boundaries and i had already identified trigger situations i need to avoid. I met all APs in online video games, where i used flirting to get them to do things for me in game. I also have really well established methods of checking my thoughts against reality. I worked a lot on it in therapy after the first two APs. It wasnt directed to them, but i can apply it to my interactions with others, now that i know i need to. And, since i am bi, it will apply to relationships with both men and women.

I dont really know what good boundaries look like. We have to work on that. For now, i feel i am basically cutting off all contact and self isolating a bit until i know what is ok for me.

Idk. I was raised that you marry one person (of the opposite sex) for life and only ever have sex with them. I grew up with a lot of shame around sex. When i left my religious background, i explored the topic to try to find my way outside their strict rules. But i didnt have the skills or experience to do it well so i fucked up. I wanted to be more liberal than i was raised. i needed to be to accept i wasnt straight. But i tried too hard and pushed my own boundaries in an effort to be able to accept myself that i ended up without any boundaries at all. I will be fixing this.

I know i have lots more to work on too, on many other areas. I will do all the work.

Pippin posted 12/14/2019 10:23 AM

IHatePickingName, the mad hatter people will be able to help you understand that needing to get better as a WS does not negate your feelings as a BS.

I know you feel panic but try to believe this is a hopeful step, because without shining a light on your feelings and actions you canít change them.

But you may also be miscalibrated in understanding whatís going on. You might give the facts to your husband or IC or very trusted friend, tell them your feelings or desires that went along with the facts, and get them to help you start to see the truth. Truth and honesty are not the same, right? My husband and I discussed an interaction I had with a man a while ago (it was in front of my husband). I *honestly* did not have any inappropriate or untoward feelings. The *truth* was that the man interpreted my interaction in a way I didnít understand (and tried to take it to a next step a couple of months later by sending a private email suggesting coffee). Do you see the difference? I didnít understand the truth even though I was honest and I needed help understanding the truth I feel like your honesty and intentions are important but you are also miscalibrated and need help figuring out what is going on with yourself.

Sorry if that doesnít make much sense. I donít have much time and wanted to try to find something helpful for the moment. Try to settle yourself, tell yourself you are not doing anything hurtful right now, you and your husband are on the same team, you have time to figure it out and you want to do better. Thatís all you really need. Youíre ok for now.

hikingout posted 12/14/2019 10:35 AM

Just breathe. Nothing ever gets fixed without acknowledging them.

I Would also consider myself bi, at least to a certain extent. I have always known that about myself, and I feel like unless you can explore it you can really never rest about it. What we try and sequester sometimes makes it all we can think about. I sowed those oats young, and in many ways while I discovered some of the sexual attraction was truly there, it allowed me to see if there was a spectrum I am on the straighter end of it.

I donít know it sounds a little like the two of you played with fire in your first marriage. For most of us opening up our marriage sexually means that you are losing control of not being able to guarantee feelings wonít develop. This is why most people do not do it. I think itís more important that you recgnoze the ways it changed your motivations and the fact you are more prone to deception and self deception. Dig around in that - because recognizing why you have that tendency can help you recognize when you are doing it. It will also lend itself to self compassion because healthy people have self love.

The EAs were about distraction- finding better ways to feel happy without escaping are important. Not relying on your relationship as a sole source of happiness is very important. People like us take the lazy way in getting out good feelings from outside sources. If you learn to light yourself up you wonít be as desperate for validation from others. Look for your whys and patterns surrounding that. Find the character flaws that you have that lends itself to that. I think if you work on those things and seeing how holding our integrity is a powerful part of self love can help you develop true boundaries. In the meantime make some rules to abide by until you can feel those boundaries by being healthier.

IHatePickingName posted 12/14/2019 10:43 AM

Thank you pippin. I think your distinction is an important one. Even now, i dont know what the truth is about a lot of it, because the typical pattern was i was interested in friendship, they pushed for more. I mostly shut it down, but sometimes did so ineffectively or had my words interpreted as playing hard to get or flat out ignored. Right now, i feel like i am swinging hard into taking ownership for everything, because i feel so guilty, but i think the truth is somewhere in the middle. I am just afraid to go there because it feels like minimizations and justification. I remember asking and even begging two of them not to take it sexual because i didnt want it. But i was a SAHM who didnt have any friends irl amd my gaming friends were the only adults i ever talked to outside my mom and husband. It doesnt excuse what i did eventually allow, but a lot of it was stuff i let happen after saying repeatedly i didnt want to go there. I ended both of the two early ones within days of it going sexual because i really didnt want it. But i did it.

IHatePickingName posted 12/14/2019 11:14 AM

That was exactly what happened, hiking out. I was heading into a marriage knowing i hadnt ever explored that side of my sexuality and it was eating me up. We talked a lot and agreed to let me explore in a limited context. But i broke rules and lied and let myself be drawn further in than i was supposed to.

The end result is that i learned i am sexually far more attracted to women but romantically almost exclusively attracted to men, so i have only really dated men. But i still fantasize only about generic women unless it is specifically about my husband (or an AP 🙈). I was thinking about this twp nights ago because i wonder if this is a boundary issue i should address. It was what sparked the talk and this realization.

I love your comments about how it chanded my motivations and ability to lie to myself and others. I will definitely dig into this. I think there is a lot there to work on. One thought that was plaguing me was how i got from where i was before that first one to here. I cant believe the changes i was willing to make and i cant yet understand how i got there when i really thought i had been careful to discuss it all in advance and have rules i really believed i followed. I think you are right that it changed me. This gives me a place to start working. Thank you.

The EA's were largely an escape from isolation as a SAHM in a new town where i knew no one. Lots of other reasons, of course. But this was the basic starting point. I realized that after them, and how trapped i felt. I spent a year in therapy then dealing with the causes of that and the poor strategies i used to cope. I am much healthier than i was then, and have made many real life changes to become healthier. We moved to a bigger city, i went back to school and then to work. I have friends and coworkers i can talk to, so i dont have the same crippling isolation. And i have done a ton of work on both my own distorted thinking and also assertiveness training to help me to stand up for my own needs and to say no effectively.

Moving away from my family also created distance i needed to limit the destructive influence of my narcissistic mother who was a major source of my negative self talk. I severely limit contact now and that helps me a lot.

I really appreciate the support and lack of condemnation. Thank you all.

[This message edited by IHatePickingName at 11:15 AM, December 14th (Saturday)]

leavingorbit posted 12/14/2019 16:28 PM

Hi, IHPN, and welcome. Iím a serial cheater in recovery. My husband and I are madhatters. Iím sorry youíre here. Thatís not to shame you. I mean it as an acknowledgement of the pain you may be feeling. Anyone whoís an addict or turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms is in pain, in my opinion. Anyone whoís experiencing the trauma of betrayal is in pain, in my opinion. Double pain for you, as BS/WS. Iím so sorry.

I think posting over on Wayward has been a great step for you. Iím wondering what kind of input youíre looking for, if any? Healing as WS, or healing as a MH? I am happy to offer my experience and perspective as a WW if that may help you. I can offer whatís been helpful to myself and my husband as madhatters, as well.

Being a madhatter is tough to sort through. Itís easy to get sidetracked. I have found the most success from focusing on healing as a WS: for me, brooding in a BS mindset personally sets me back and engages a lot of victim thinking. Itís what adds complexity to the MH equation, IMO. I spent plenty of time pointing fingers at my husband and sorting through the trauma of discovery, which I still struggle with a lot of guilt about. That trauma and the associated feelings are valid. You are a BS. Youíre not responsible for your husbandís coping mechanisms. Youíre also a WS. Your husband isnít responsible for your coping mechanisms. Those are good, positive things. You are both individual, wonderful people - you exist! You are unique! You can learn and grow.


IHatePickingName posted 12/14/2019 16:35 PM

I posted because i didnt feel right asking for help anymore as a BS. it felt like a lie, even though im still not ok there at all. I posted to apologize. Not to get help.

I wrote this in a PM a while ago:

I cant ask for help anymore. I am triggered at levels i havent been for months but i dont deserve help. And there isnt help for me. BS will hate me like they hate all WS. And my pain is as a BS, so WS cant relate. I screwed myself out of anywhere to turn. I am alone and i deserve to be alone. I deserve the pain. I deserve to be destroyed and broken and in pain. How dare i be hurt over the same kinds of actions i did, even if differently? I outed myself so i could apologize for deceiving people for not sharing the full story. I did it because the support i got literally kept me alive. But i ak on my own now. i need to find a way to live without anyone helping me.

Zugzwang posted 12/14/2019 19:04 PM

You always have a right asking for help because you are a human being entitled to be happy in a healthy way..BS or WS.

All I really got from your post is that you really need to dig deep into yourself and figure out why you need other people to make you happy and to validate you. The flirting the fear of how strangers see you

Please be gentle with me. I can't handle 2x4s. I can't look BS in the eye right now, because I feel like a self righteous poser.
Why is that all such a big deal for you to the point that you can't be happy and feel good about yourself? You are feeling shame. So, stop being someone to be ashamed of. Start making healthier choices. Start loving yourself. Start being enough for yourself. Fill the void in a better way. Stop flirting.

IHatePickingName posted 12/14/2019 19:38 PM

I know it reads as seeking external validation. That is usually not me. Its actually a trigger of old anxiety shame spirals where i am worthless and deserve to die. I am trying to cut it off with external reality checks on thoughts i recognize are catastrophic because i struggle to do that internally after a certain point on the path.

That, combined with a really overpowered flight response where i just wanted to delete the forum and never come back. I am fighting to post at all and not ghost everything. For that reason, i didnt want anything harsh because then i would flee.

I wasnt mentally stable before dday. I almost killed myself after. It has only been a few months of me being functionally ok. Now i am back to not ok again and i am scared of going back to that place inside myself. So sorry it seems like i need external validation. I dont. Normally. I might need a lifeline now but this freaked out person isnt me most days.

I need to stop posting. I wish i could take this thread back.

thatwilldo posted 12/15/2019 10:56 AM


You said:

I just had to come clean here. I am sorry for lying to you by leaving this out before. I did it initially because I needed such acute help to stay alive, and only recently dug into it myself as I stabilized from the trauma. I was afraid to post it then because of the threads recently vilifying all WS. I am just so broken right now that I could't take that. But I had to now because I can't bring myself to post anything else now that I know I am a liar and a cheater and I have deceived you all in receiving your comfort and help. I am so sorry.

Please go easy on yourself. It takes a long time to get to the bottom of our actions and our defective thinking. That's the process that you're undertaking right now. Good for you that you're willing to do that.

Zugzwang posted 12/15/2019 11:48 AM

You are misunderstanding my post. I don't mean you are seeking external validation with the post. You seek external validation in general with your behavior and coping skills for what ails you. You say it isn't you, yet are you really being honest with yourself? You had affairs. You need to flirt to feel good. Why do you need to flirt?

IHatePickingName posted 12/15/2019 12:24 PM

I didnt speak clearly. I apologize. I am trying but i was also posting mid hysterical crying so it wasnt by most organized message. Yes this was a major issue for me, one i addressed in therapy in 2017. I dont believe it is a current issue of mine, outside of when it resurfaces as a maladaptive response to trauma.

I made major changes after the two EAs in 2017. I did therapy, i addressed my issues, i tackled mental health including going back on antidepressants (i had been off while pregnant and breastfeeding), i made a plan to reenter the workforce to deal with my social isolation, and we planned and succeeded in moving to a city that better met our needs. I also addressed my issues with confrontation in therapy and took assertiveness training courses, because a lot of my previous interactions and relationships had been coercive in nature (not excusing affairs, i mean with FOO, coercive sex in my first marriage, etc). I established and maintain better boundaries now with family members who treat me poorly. Etc.

I did not seek out any similar relationships or flirt at all until after dday2 when i learned he hadnt ever stopped and i told him we were done. I did revert then, i admit it. I did it consciously because everything internal shattered and i was fighting both trauma and mental health.

I have a lifetime of depression and anxiety, and just prior to dday2, i stopped being able to take my antidepressant of two years, due to worsening side effects. i dont have a doctor at present and couldnt get an appointment with someone willing to prescribe something new before july. (Canada - its hard to get a doctor, and we had moved in September).

I was passively suicidal from march to september, with three separate crisis moments where i came very close to doing it. I had a plan, had a means, and had a location picked and time to do it planned. I did seek external validation from others from march to june. If felt like i was falling into a dark pit and i grasped any rope i could find. It was the wrong one. I agree. I didnt have a ton of other options at the time, but i own it was wrong. I wont do it again. I hope i am never faced with that situation again, but even if i am, i wont pick that choice. But i also cant help being grateful it kept me alive either, long enough to find better support. I guess i will have to work on that. Its probably still wayward thinking somehow and i am sure you will point it out. But there it is.

Once i was past the acute trauma, i mostly stopped seeking external validation again. I am confident in who i am as a person, and i like myself and am proud of all i have done to get where i am.

I asked for compassion here because my oldest anxiety/depression maladaptive thought pattern is one of extreme self depreciation, where i believe i am sinful and beyond redemption, hated by god and everyone, and deserving of death. I was trying to limit triggers of it, because i could see myself heading there in my head.

I know it is hard to recognize the rational part of me when i am stuck in the panic spiral. It is hard for me too. And i am not saying i dont need work. I have a lot still to do.

Zugzwang posted 12/15/2019 13:01 PM

where i believe i am sinful and beyond redemption, hated by god and everyone, and deserving of death

This is where I lose you because I am not Christian. Though educated in religious values. One of my favorite books being A History of God. The 4,000-year quest of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. As just a human you are never beyond redemption. You just have to choose to keep moving forward and change. With your Christian view, you are deserving of redemption. You just have to ask for forgiveness and have it in your heart followed up with repenting. Meaning change as well. Though if you have such

I am confident in who i am as a person, and i like myself and am proud of all i have done to get where i am.
I really don't get where the self deprecation comes in. The two just don't seem to go hand in hand. The past tendency to seek outside sources of validation/or outside soothing and the self deprecation with that statement just seem to contradict what you claim. I just still wonder if you are being honest with yourself about your self love, confidence, and respect. I am not saying this to put you in a panic or to put you down. I just see you spiraling and still having issues...and not really getting to the root of it all. Much of your behavior just screams otherwise and contradicts (to me at least) otherwise.

What are you here for then?

[This message edited by Zugzwang at 1:04 PM, December 15th (Sunday)]

IHatePickingName posted 12/15/2019 13:07 PM

This is where I lose you because I am not Christian

🤣 Neither am i. I am an atheist now. Like i said, this was an old one. The god part doesnt happen now.

The incongruency is between my self image on an ongoing basis and the lies my mental illness tells me about myself. A lot of my therapy has involved recognizing the lies and replacing them with truth. I still struggle to do it in real time in crisis, which i was in yesterday. I recognize it as a lie now, even when i am writing or saying it. But it still helps to have a reality check from an external source. External validation as you call it.

IHatePickingName posted 12/15/2019 13:22 PM

I came to SI for help surviving my husband's infidelity. I posted this because i wanted to be honest with people who have helped me. You are absolutely correct that i still spiral and have issues. I am well aware of how very not ok i am right now.

I dont mean this as an insult at all, but i am really ok with your doubt of me. I completely understand why you would feel that way, and i wont deny there is a degree of truth in it. Time will tell how much.

In the meantime, and i hope you can understand this, i will continue my work on my own, with my husband, and with the wonderful support and advice i have received from many on this site. Thank you for your contributions to my post.

Zugzwang posted 12/16/2019 05:58 AM

Well, you obviously are on the right track. You came clean to total strangers. You are becoming more authentic. Just remember our weakest character flaw becomes our worse if it impacts others in a hurtful way. It is great to become better and focus on all are positive character traits. To that person we hurt, those things may not matter in the face of the pain we create. That is why owning it and moving forward is so important. Just do you best to not rugsweep the ugly truths. They only stay ugly if you do. They get cleaned if you don't.

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