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Trying to be a better person

LearningVirtue posted 12/15/2019 13:52 PM

I'm going to write out our entire history which I've never done anywhere before. I've been reading for a few months and feel it's time to get some advice of my own to help me navigate.

I started dating my bh when I was 16, he was 14. I got pregnant at 17 and we had our daughter at 18. I cheated on him with his best friend who I had known prior to meeting him when our daughter was 3 months old. It was a ons and he found out via texts a week later. I was not bonding with my daughter, I was resentful that I was now a mother with no chance of a child free young adulthood and I lashed out in a terrible and childish way. I had no interest in being with this person at all.

Fast forward to my current affair 11 years later. I knew and know still that I would never have a physical affair again. I've never even considered it since it happened. In the beginning of this year I was feeling lonely. My husband is very into online gaming and I was feeling like I didnt get enough of his attention. I started looking on reddit forums for making friends. I started messaging people and having conversations. When i started doing this i had no intention of crossing any lines I just wanted some conversation. I was messaging people of both genders and the conversations were normal. I then had a man converse with me that led me to talk in a sexual manner. It was what kinds of things I was into, what actressess/actors would you sleep with type conversation. I kept this conversation going in that way because I liked the attention it was giving me. Eventually he closed his account without warning and I found someone else to talk to. I was still conversing with women at this point but noticed that if I eventually talk about sexual things I get responses quicker and more often so the next man I started talking with got those types of texts quicker. I initiated some of the conversation and he did other times.

We shared pictures and phone numbers after about a month so that we could text since it was easier than going through the app to private message. The more I found out about this man the more I had no doubt that this was nothing I wanted to be a part of in reality, I just wanted the attention online. If I had to meet him in person I never would have went. He was unattractive, unemployed, had never worked or driven a car, lived with his sister and had no goals for the future. He was the opposite of everything I love about my husband except I had an of his attention all day every day. The conversation became personal and sexual with texts and eventually led to him wanting to pretend to be my boyfriend. He knew all about my husband and our problems and told me he didnt want to ruin my marriage (umm I dont believe that now) and just wanted to pretend. I agreed and used loving terms that I use with my husband with him and told him the names my husband uses with me that I prefer. I was recreating my relationship with another man to fill a void I felt I needed to fill.

Around April of this year me and my husband had a huge fight over his online gaming. I wanted to offer him a compromise of 2 hours at a time followed by a break so that me and our daughter could spend time with him too. He wouldn't even let me explain the compromise and stonewalled me for bringing up the fact this was a real problem for me. We didnt talk for 4 days and I slept on the couch, all while texting this other man. I eventually had to go talk to my husband because he is and has never been the one to diffuse a situation and we talked and worked through this.

May 25th was dday. He found me texting the AP I love you and read through about a months worth of texts I had left on my phone (I had deleted once before this because I knew this was wrong and knew if my husband found it it was going to be bad) we had had maybe a handful of phone calls as well, those were never sexual in nature as I am much bolder behind a keyboard and refused to talk that way on the phone with him. He did ask and i did tell him i wouldn't do that. There were topless pictures sent and one audio clip of a sexual nature (idk how much detail i really need to give here) after my husband found out I told him everything, minus the audio file. I was scared of telling him about that as it was more intimate than pictures. He found the audio file about a month later while looking through my phone while I was sleeping. He told me there would be no more lies or he was gone. I had to be completely honest with him from that day forward.

I have been. I have not been back on reddit again. I have blocked the AP on my phone and deleted his information. I never even knew his last name and he never knew mine. I have read countless books on affairs, we tried marriage counseling and that was a terrible idea. I was helping him more than the therapist was by reading the books and articles and sharing information with him when he was wanting to quit trying.

Me and BS got into stoicism and have been trying to learn how to live more in this manner. We have never been religious so this was a guideline for living that we could understand the usefulness of and set up a way of living I could feel proud of. Being honest, having integrity, facing adversity with a strong will, not giving in to temptations, being in control of ones own emotions, and not letting outside factors dictate how I feel.

We are making progress. He knows everything and hasn't needed to ask anymore questions in quite some time. If he needed to I would be more than willing to share. We have talked about the why more recently and he doesnt doubt that reasoning. We have more good days than bad in a given week but when he has a bad day it's really bad.

Today is one of those days. I sent him some information about realistic expectations for relationships because he has a hard time expressing how he is feeling and what he needs from me and expects me to mind read. I am more than willing to give him what he needs at any given time but I cant do so if I dont know what it is. It needed to be addressed because he put on silk boxers the night before after we had come home late from a concert(it was midnight by now) and I had told him they looked comfy. He was upset that I didnt tell him he looked sexy. We had mentioned fooling around before the show and he asked "I thought we were gonna fool around tonight" and I was tired and told him so. He made a comment that I dont recall and I told him he was being rude and we went to bed not talking. The next morning we discussed it and he doesnt like that I assume hes after sex but he had mentioned fooling around so I dont feel I was assuming..maybe I'm wrong. We both apologized for how we acted that night.I had a christmas party last to attend with all our friends (children included) and he had to work. He was distant while texting and when I got home and tried to cuddle with him he pulled away. I tried again thinking he was sleeping and did it out of instinct..nope he pulled away again. This morning he said he is tired of always feeling like he has to bend over further for us (in regards to having healthy expectations in relationships) and he didnt sign up for this, was tired of struggling for normalcy and that he felt he would never be happy again. I'm used to these bad days not and have been giving him space, apologizing, sending reassuring words and letting him know I am here for him if he needs anything.

I dont know what I wanted to come from this but if anyone has advice I will read it willingly. Thank you for taking the time to read this

Psalm51 posted 12/15/2019 14:13 PM

I'm new here too and my situation is different but also the same.

One thing I am constantly trying to keep in my mind is the betrayal is on me alone. As for you, remember- this is ALL on you. Doesnt matter if you were lonely. Doesnt matter if your relationship was rocky. Doesnt even matter if your BS was the worst partner alive and breathing. YOU chose the betrayal. YOU chose to hide it. The only reason your BS knows you had an affair is because he found out. Would you have told him if he didnt?

Hes hurt. He wants you to desire him...even when he may find you undesirable. I mean, what is desirable about us cheaters really?? I'm not the betrayed spouse in my relationship...I also had an affair...and it is fresh..but from what I have read on here and have been told from my own BS, this stuff is a mind blowing punch to the gut, ego, heart and IMO soul to the one betrayed. We cant sugar coat what we have done. It's pure evil that we have done this thing. No one to blame and no situation to make excuse for our behaviour. Your post is filled with excuses for what you did and a constant need for attention. (I can relate)..but at the end of the day, that's so friggin SELFISH. Selfish of you..selfish of me. Just SELFISH.

We all have why's. Those are deep and I have not figured out mine. But why's are NEVER excuses. Never EVER!!

I'm glad for you he seems to want to work this out. That's good...but I think when you said 'we have talked about the whys' just be sure they are not excuses for your behavior. They arent.

[This message edited by Psalm51 at 2:18 PM, December 15th (Sunday)]

LearningVirtue posted 12/15/2019 14:20 PM

I absolutely agree. I know that what I did was selfish. I know that absolutely everything going on now is completely my fault. I am not doubting that at all. I want nothing more than to become a better person, to be a better wife, and to make this difficult time for him better in any way I can. I know that all of those excuses are just that, excuses. There is no justification for what I did and I own that.

Psalm51 posted 12/15/2019 14:51 PM

Im right there with you in the storm. Yet, I know my BS storm is so much worse than mine even though he is not transparent as I am with his emotions. Different type of storm...his is undeserved, mine is.

EvolvingSoul posted 12/18/2019 20:16 PM

Hi there LearningVirtue,

Welcome to SI.

It seems like it might be kind of early for you to be trying to address pre-affair issues in the marriage. Your BS probably is still struggling with the betrayal and you have not really gotten down to understanding why you cheated. Until you identify the thinking that green-lighted your choice to cheat, and then have taken steps to change those thought processes, he is not going to feel safe.

Your post talked a lot about his gaming and I agree that is a reason to feel abandoned and that is certainly a crummy feeling. It is not uncommon for people to respond to a crummy feeling by looking for something to distract themselves from it or numb it with a behavior that is self-destructive. In short, feeling abandoned explains feeling tempted to cheat. There is a difference, though, between the reasons you felt tempted and the thinking that let you engage with that temptation and follow through with destructive behavior.

How are you coming on that work? Are you in individual counseling?

Something that helped me early on was getting educated about the true nature of infidelity and how it impacts the people involved. If you haven't already, I hope you will read:

1) The book Not Just Friends by Shirley Glass. It's a good general education on infidelity, how it happens and how to affair proof yourself going forward.

2) The book Now to Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair by Linda MacDonald. Don't skip this one. It's short, can be read in an afternoon. It lays out which behaviors on your part are likely to help reconciliation, and which are likely to hurt it.

3) The post entitled Things Every WS should know by HUFI-PUFI on this board. I bumped it up to the top pretty recently so it should be easy to find.

My affair started as an online "fake boyfriend" relationship with someone who I never thought I would meet IRL. Then he moved to my area and I did meet with him and our affair became physical in spite of all of my declarations that it never would. Although your life is upheaval right now, you are fortunate that your BS busted you when he did. He possibly saved you from going even farther down the path of self-destruction than you did. That said, don't believe that because your affair was not physical that it was not devastating to your BS. Letting AP use all the pet names for you that your BS does (did?) is probably brutal for him.

The timeline for healing from infidelity is pretty long. Think years, not months. The conventional wisdom around here is 2-5 years, in our case it took longer, more like 5-7. It is only in the last couple of years that it feels as if BS and I are fully reconciled.

As much as you can, when your BS expresses his hurt be it via sadness or anger, try to keep your defenses low and your curiosity high. Realize that he does not want to feel this way. He is not always going to be rational. Very likely he is just keeping it together even when he seems like he's "okay". Give him the space to express his feelings without trying to talk him out of them. It takes a monumental amount of patience and perseverance to support your BS while he processes your betrayal and learns to navigate the landscape of his new reality. That is the heavy lifting the WS can and must do if the BS is to heal while remaining in the relationship.

I hope you stick around. Read, post when you have questions or just need support. I know how hard it is to deal with the emotional storms that come in these early days. You can do this. Many of us have forged our way along the path ahead of you and we're here to help.

Proceed with conviction and valor. Welcome to the path from a fellow EvolvingSoul.

Zugzwang posted 12/19/2019 10:43 AM

If I had to meet him in person I never would have went. He was unattractive, unemployed, had never worked or driven a car, lived with his sister and had no goals for the future. He was the opposite of everything I love about my husband except I had an of his attention all day every day.

I don't know if it is because I am far out from Dday or have changed. These types of comments have been bothering me lately. Stop and think. Does it matter that the AP was not good enough to leave for or better than your husband? I am not sure if I can voice what I am trying to get at here. The focus just seems to be that he wasn't good enough to leave your husband for. Not just you, I have just seen it often enough lately and it has been sticking out like a sore thumb. I know I did it at first too. The AP couldn't hold a candle to my wife stuff. It really just shows a side of how entitled and selfish we become. What does it matter if they did or not. It shows that we grade our spouses and APs for what they give us. The comments show we see them as objects. Not that our BS are human beings that deserve so much more from us.

I would focus how you see your husband for his worth and what he can do for you. Focus on that object love and getting validation from it.

This was all about what you guys are willing to do feed each other. What about feeding yourself in a healthy way so you can be partners and not need each other to validate you and make you feel worthy?

[This message edited by Zugzwang at 10:45 AM, December 19th (Thursday)]

2timesunfaithful posted 12/24/2019 16:38 PM

Trying to be abetter person is a noble goal, but the long-term goal should be to remain a better person. Your phrase

I was resentful that I was now a mother with no chance of a child free young adulthood
meant you did not really understand the consequences of your actions at 17

My affair was much the same way, I didn't care... at the time. I care deeply, after D-Day and 5 years later.

For your story, fast forward 11 years and you had an emotional affair. You are working hard to fix this, and in time, if you remain vigilant things will get better.

There will be no next time, or will there be? The mark of success is to keep this thought going next year and the year after. The other WS's on this forum probably do not want to see you come back 10 years later and say I did it again. Food for thought and support as well.

That is up to you to remember, so good luck and Happy Holidays.

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