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BS Questions for WS - Part 14

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EmbraceTheChange posted 4/20/2021 17:24 PM

A question for the WHs. ... because I don't get a satisfactory answer from my xh.

During my xh affair, he did not give a shit about me. Like literally did not. I was putting it down to stress/him wanting to do a good job since it's what he was telling me he was doing.

I had an appendectomy on Saturday night and on Monday morning he was back at work (kids were in diapers so I had to lift them up). I was getting stress migraines because I was taking too much on, he was telling me to take ibuprofens and started leaving even earlier to run with the OW. I had a massive migraine once and he told me he was writing an important document to a customer (turned out he was in a pub with OW. I don't believe it, btw. He came back at 6.30pm, nobody was fed and he kept texting the OW till 9pm). He knew my migraines were debilitating, and that day I was in bed with 3 kids, puking/entertaining the kids while waiting for him. And he took his sweet time. Another time, before his affair, one of my kid fell in the pool and nearly drowned. I asked my xh to look for alarms/safety cover so he got cheap alarms, and I insisted on getting a pool cover later. He said he never saw any pool cover while researching pool alarms and later this changed to "pool cover was too much hassle to put on". I mean how can you not take seriously a near drowning? Or my health?

So how do you blank everything like this? He says that he "was out of it", he was "obsessed" with OW. I understand liking somebody, but not seeing your own wife fall apart, not lifting a finger, but being ok with the status quo.

Did any WS do the same? Just blanked everything around? Saw your nearest be under too much stress and be ok with it?

Eta: and let's not talk after dday. I was shitting my pants that he would lose his job, he was threatening me to sell the family house to get "his" deposit back, but hey "he wasn't going to do it, he was just talking shit".

Anyway, thanks for people who reply.

cobalt99x posted 4/22/2021 11:03 AM

To reconciling WS/WP who were friends with AP before A -

How did you deal with your situation? WP and I have been friends with AP for a long time[though I was getting less and less comfortable for a while in that friendship since for many reasons I was feeling things to be unhealthy - since DDay 1 that has just gotten worse and since DDay 2 it's just...no. AP suggested a break from us while I was trying to talk about fixing things, but then things turned in a bad feeling way even when I was kind the whole time, turned colder to me and has gotten even closer to WP]. It's seriously messing with my head how much they've bonded even more since DDay 2 and them interacting is absolutely horribly triggering.

She doesn't want to give up one of her closest friends, I feel really guilty and keep trying to internally make myself okay with it but I can't seem to. it just keeps twisting my head, its not even an anxiety about things happening, it just still feels really bad for so many reasons. I'm not sure if I can heal without us having time without AP around, especially since AP was entangled in what I think was our problems leading up to this

Did you insist and find a way to stay close to AP and things work out? Or is this really a necessary pain for us to ever have any chance?

[This message edited by cobalt99x at 5:18 PM, April 22nd (Thursday)]

BraveSirRobin posted 4/22/2021 15:38 PM

It is really a necessary pain for you to have any chance. Admittedly, there is a fair amount of projection in my response to you. I refused to go NC, and it retraumatized my BH over and over every time OM and I spoke, let alone saw each other. If I had cheated again in that time frame, it might almost have been easier, because that would have been the straw that broke the camel's back. But because I stayed "just friends" with OM, my BH did exactly what you're doing and tried to be ok with it for my sake. I'm pretty much begging you not to do that. Your instincts are correct that you cannot heal while either of you remains connected with the AP. I would not pose it as a temporary condition, either. That just means she'll have one eye on the clock and blame you for not healing fast enough.

[This message edited by BraveSirRobin at 5:41 PM, April 22nd (Thursday)]

cobalt99x posted 4/22/2021 18:12 PM

Okay...thank you.

This is all really getting to me tbh. I know me and AP were having an increasing amount of issues, but I did still care about AP and want things better...at a point in the past, we used to be extremely close. All this basically trashed any remaining hope I had of salvaging things. I think part of me still even wants that back...this whole thing is really heartbreaking for me and part of me feels like I've lost everyone.

TBH, I don't know if WP understands how heartbroken I am over how things have crumbled with me and AP too. I really want her to understand that, I feels like she thinks I just have hatred left for AP but I'm experiencing a rollercoaster in my head over each of them...AP going away feels literally like survival and I feel absolutely so awful in reality when it comes to anything relating to AP, but in the back of my heart it's ripping me apart, too.

So yeah. This is all intended to be @ the last thing you said, about making it permanent - I feel really conflicted. Is it really unfair or unrealistic to everyone involved to hope things can be actually okay again? It feels like so much that I emotionally want is running against my gut in order to be able to actually heal....

Sorry to go off, but I'm sort of a mess over this still, DDay 2 was only 3 weeks ago and things have been a mess between me and WP and really want as much guidance as I can get

BraveSirRobin posted 4/22/2021 21:53 PM

All I can tell you is that it would have been utterly impossible for us. My BH had PTSD, nightmares, mind movies, and suicidal thoughts. The months of hypervigilance and gaslighting rewired his brain. It's been 30 years and he hasn't ever really gotten over it. Like you, he felt a great deal of misplaced shame for what we now know were valid and authentic needs.

I love him and have built a fulfilling life with him, but if either of us could go back in time, we would tell him that if I refused NC, he needed to walk away.

Poppy704 posted 4/23/2021 08:32 AM

HatsandBats:

What do waywards think of the commonly written idea that the person who has the affair rewrites the history of the marriage using cognitive dissonance?
My WH has left and says he was unhappy & living a lie for years. Most of the time I have accepted his narrative but occasionally I think how could that be true? I was there too. How could I not have known? I can accept that the eighteen months or so before were hard as we were dealing with learning that our son had additional needs. But before that, when I think of those times, it doesn’t seem likely. But he puts in a few grains of truth that make me believe him.

I believe that many Wayward Spouses were actually unhappy and that always jumping to the rewriting history line does a disservice to both WS and BS.

WS says he/she unhappy for years and BS says that can’t be true I would know. The BS didn’t know because the WS lacked the tools to effectively communicate their emotions and make positive changes in their life and relationship. It is the responsibility of the spouse that feels disconnected to speak up. By applying “rewriting history” to this situation, we don’t give the BS or WS tools they need to move forward, whether in R or as individuals post divorce.

Look at it this way: If I’m at my job and something about my workplace or coworkers or boss or my actual job duties is making me unhappy, I need to speak up in order for it to get better. I have to be proactive and do something to better myself and my situation. The solution is not to set the building on fire while screaming that I quit. But it also doesn’t help anyone to tell me that I was actually incredibly happy at my job.

MyAndI posted 4/23/2021 08:46 AM

cobalt99x,

I've learned the hard way that you can't turn back the clock to a time when everyone was friends. The AP needs to be gone from your life if you want to R.

If the WS truly wants to R she/he will cut off all contact with the AP and even friends in common who supported the A by looking the other way.

I think the question is does your WS still trying to maintain some connection? You have to get to the bottom of it and remember her actions speak louder than words. If your WS loves you all contact with the AP and other people who are not a friend of your marriage. Something else is going on here.

[This message edited by MyAndI at 8:47 AM, April 23rd (Friday)]

MrsWalloped posted 4/23/2021 09:24 AM

Hi HatsandBats.

What do waywards think of the commonly written idea that the person who has the affair rewrites the history of the marriage using cognitive dissonance?

I think it happens a lot and it's really in 2 stages. The first part is one of the factors in having the affair to begin with. In relationships, and even more so in long term relationships, people tend to take a large part of what they love and appreciate of their SO for granted. The 80%. Instead, without putting work and effort into the relationship one can focus on the 20% that either they don't like or that bothers them. But by ignoring the 80% and focusing solely on the 20%, the 20% gets much more brain space and attention and feels like it's 80%. Anything of the good gets thrown out or dismissed while the 20%, even if it's tiny things, get magnified into big issues.

The second stage is during the A. That's where rationalizations, rewriting history and cognitive dissonance comes into play helping the WS justify the A. They're not bad, they're justified.

DaddyDom posted 4/23/2021 09:40 AM

@EmbraceTheChange, can you please clarify your question a bit? I'm not sure exactly what the question is?

Generally speaking, most WS's are honestly incapable of caring about anyone other than themselves. I don't mean that as an insult, rather, as a fact. In the same way a blind person can't see, a cheater is so very wrapped up in themselves and their own needs during the affair that they simply cannot "see" others or care about them in any way. Or in other words, you cannot love, respect and care for others when you don't even have the capability to do so for yourself.

There are endless stories here about WS's going off with their AP's while their spouses were at home with the kids, or sick in the hospital, or pregnant, or caring for others, and so on. Unfortunately, in the WS mindset, these things are just seen as opportunities in which the BS is tied up with other stuff and so the WS can go be with their AP.

If you are getting the feeling that your WS either "hated you" or "didn't care about you at all" during the A, then I think that's a very safe assumption.

Most WS's, when asked about this later on, after D-Day, will try to deny and minimize their actions and feelings. This is a mix of CYA and shame most often. To them, admitting to themselves the depths of depravity they allowed themselves to sink to is simply too much to handle. For most WS's, the reason (the REAL reason) they had an affair to begin with is because they have so little integrity, self-love/self-respect and confidence in themselves, that they simply can't exist without someone else to tell them how great they are. In other words, they can't love themselves, they don't know how to, so they require external validation. When things in the marriage aren't perfect or get stressful, and they stop being told how wonderful they are... they feel empty. They only hear negative things from other people, and can't love themselves, so instead, they look for someone else to make them feel special. It isn't love, it never is, and can't be, because it is based on need. But there you go.

It sounds to me as if your WS isn't able to admit that, to either you, or themselves, is that the case?

I have seen many BS's suggest that you protect yourself by "doing a 180" and distancing yourself from the WS emotionally. THis is what my wife did, and she needed to, because even though the affair itself was over, I was still causing her pain by being unable to accept and account for my actions.

Your husband hurt you. Even if someone had put a gun to his head and forced him to cheat, it still would have hurt you, and he needs to understand that. Moreover, he needs to understand that a gun wasn't put to his head, and that he CHOSE to cheat, to lie, to gaslight, to betray... and he might not like how that looks on him, but it is what he did, and the sooner he can accept that, and own it, the better it will be for everybody involved.

Most WS's seem to think they are protecting their spouses from further harm by minimizing their deeds. "Gosh, she doesn't need to know I hated her during that period, that will only hurt her more!". But that's not how it works, and honestly, it is just CYA and selfishness on the WS's part. The BS already knows it was awful. You already know he didn't care. What would HELP would be to hear him say, "You're right. I didn't think about you or what you needed. I only thought about myself and what I could get away with, and I was okay with you paying the price for that because it got me what I needed". Because at least that's the truth, and it is ownership and acknowledgement of what took place. Moving past that point is another story, but that's the first step that has to happen.

My advice? The WS needs to understand that admitting he was an awful person during the affair in no way means he is awful under all circumstances and for all time. He has to get out of the shame spiral. He was awful during the affair. He can choose to NOT be awful now, and that's where most WS's fall down. For the same reasons they had the affair (can't love themselves) they can't admit and own their guilt afterward, because they can't recover from that. Once the WS can own their deeds and not rely on others, they can move forward. But that takes a lot of time, willingness and hard work.

Darkness Falls posted 4/23/2021 13:05 PM

What do waywards think of the commonly written idea that the person who has the affair rewrites the history of the marriage using cognitive dissonance?

In my case, my BH was the one who rewrote the pre-A marriage after D-day. So, I think sometimes it happens (from the WS) but sometimes it doesn’t.

DaddyDom posted 4/25/2021 12:24 PM


What do waywards think of the commonly written idea that the person who has the affair rewrites the history of the marriage using cognitive dissonance?

I've been on SI for about 5 years and have been involved in conversations with other many WS's. My experience so far is that this is common occurrence to be sure, however many WS's reported being happy with their marriages at the time of the affair as well.

What I would suggest is more accurate is to simply say that WS's rewrite whatever they need to in order to obtain the outcome(s) they require. We rewrite ourselves, our histories, relationships... Whatever it takes to get the desired goal.

We see ourselves in being whoever we need to be in order to avoid hating ourselves or losing whatever brings value to our lives. We see ourselves as loyal, loving, authentic, empathetic... all the things we are not. In order not to shatter our egos, we simply rewrite who we think we are.

All of this is an act of desperation however. WS's have no self-respect, integrity, empathy or healthy boundaries. If we did, we wouldn't have had an affair in the first place, not even because of the damage to our spouses, although that would certainly be a big part of it. But because if we had those things, we would never disrespect ourselves to that degree.

Anyway, to answer your question, yes, it is common, but not certain.

Have you ever seen the Pixar movie called "Inside Out"? It's a good movie, and while it is for kids, I recommend it. It is about a child who experiences depression and loss, and what goes on in her head as the depression sinks in. One thing they portray well in the movie is how her memories start to change. When she was not depressed, she could remember ice skating with her parents and how happy she was. Even when she fell on the ice, her parents picked her up, kissed her, and off she went, happy. After depression however, the memories of that day changed, and all she could remember is falling and being hurt, but none of the happy memories of that day. The day hadn't changed, her impressions of that day did.

It is the same for both BS and WS after infidelity. We look back and question everything. At some point, if the WS is to heal (and if R is to even be considered or possible) the WS needs to reconcile those things which were "rewritten" and see them in the real light that they happened in.

15yrsinthemaking posted 4/26/2021 23:44 PM

@Cobalt


Did you insist and find a way to stay close to AP and things work out? Or is this really a necessary pain for us to ever have any chance?

I had an PA in the beginning of my relationship. To complete cut all ties with AP I also gave up a friendship with a female friend who developed a friendship with my former AP.

Once the line has been crossed there really is no going back to that friendship.

LostInHisFog posted 4/27/2021 08:38 AM

Waywards. Specifically those who gaslighted.

I understand there are different reasons but I guess, us not knowing each other, I'm after some honest responses here.

During the A:-

Was there a thrill gaslighting your BS?
(that you were in fact cheating on them but them not being 100%, allowing you to shape their minds and make them feel crazy, was a fun thing etc)

Honestly, did you joke with your AP about gaslighting? (joke about you being so clever you convinced your BS nothing is going on etc)

Where you aware you were gaslighting? or at the time did you think it was just lying?

After the A, when the fog lifted:-

What did you do to help your BS know they're not crazy?

Do you see gaslighting as a form of mental abuse?

hikingout posted 4/27/2021 15:49 PM

Okay - honestly I did not gaslight. My affair was pretty buried as a long distance thing that noone else really knew about.

But, I can tell you that I think there are two levels of people who gaslight.

Having an affair is a day by day thing, there is often no plan. (I don't know you or your story) You don't want to get caught, so I can imagine if there was anything on my husbands radar I probably would have tried to assure him. That is mostly a product of not wanting to have to make a decision about the state of things or face anything that takes away the high of the affair. While I do think it's abusive behavior now, back then I think I would have more been concerned with covering my tracks and probably would have told myself a story of "not wanting to hurt him" because most people are bad at looking at how they are the villian of their own story.

Then I think there are masterful abusers who very intentionally manipulate situations. I am not saying the first type isn't a manipulation. I fully understand it is. But, I mean they have a plan of control, they have likely been a gaslighting abusive person the entire time you knew them, rather than displaying new behaviors that are directly tied to the affair.

It's hard to tell the difference sometimes after trust is shattered. And maybe it makes little difference in the result. I tend to think the second type of person I described may have more going on - a personality disorder or some mental illness.

I don't think either person is innocent, but I do not think the first person is as consumed with controlling you, they are more consumed with covering up their affair. The second type it's their common mode of operation and a source of pleasure.

I generally feel that I would have been in camp A had I needed to. It would have been because in my sick mind I needed the other situation too and I wasn't ready to give it up and no I wouldn't have gotten any pleasure from that aspect.

15yrsinthemaking posted 4/27/2021 16:40 PM

@Lostinhisfog

I didn't know the term gaslighting until the past few months or so.

My relationship is struggling because of my lies. And I choose to lied to keep my shitty choices to myself.

My AP and I spoke about my BH once that I can remember. My AP took place during the first 6 months of my relationship with BH. I didn't let either guys know of each other. My "relationship" ...sex only with AP started before I even met my BH. I didn't end it with AP even though I told BH it was over and he didn't know the extent of my affair or lies until last week.

I do see my behavior as abuse because I was not allowing my BH to make choices based on truth. At the time no... I didn't connect the dots.

Juniper70 posted 5/10/2021 16:45 PM

I hired a PI and they witnessed my WH and his AP kissing and hugging in a parking lot after they had lunch together. They were not able to get pictures because they opened the passenger door and the angle for the one with the camera was wrong. But there were three on the team and they are putting together a formal report. They did get some pictures and video of them walking in and having lunch.

My question is whether or not I should confront my WH with this report? As WS do you think your BS hiring a PI and having you followed would have/does make reconciliation more difficult?

BraveSirRobin posted 5/10/2021 21:48 PM

It's hard to say. Based on your past posts, your WH does not want reconciliation, but the report could at least throw a wrench in his plans. If, for example, he was planning to claim they started dating after you separated, he'll know he can't get away with that anymore. If you send the report to OBS, that might be a cold bucket of reality that wakes AP up to what she has to lose. Affairs are fantasy, and the report will force both of them to face reality. They may argue about their best course of action. They may fear what their children will think. Will that split them up and improve your chances of reconciliation? There's no way to know, but it has a better chance than trying to nice him out of the affair.

If I were you, I would make your accusations without admitting the source. If you give him the report, he knows exactly how much you know, and you lose your chance at getting more details. Don't produce it unless he persistently stonewalls you.

Zorak posted 5/11/2021 09:10 AM

Hi,

I'd like to hear more about when the WS "wakes up" to what he or she has actually been doing. I understand this is a gradual process, so maybe you had a few different moments of insight. Can you tell me:

What event(s) "woke you up"?

Did you have other realizations about non-affair parts of your life (relationships with colleagues, friends, other aspects of your marital relationship)?

How did waking up change the way you see your BS?

Juniper70 posted 5/11/2021 09:26 AM

BraveSirRobin - the OW is not married she is divorced I guess you could call it. from what I can tell she never married her two kids father but I know they are no longer together. My husband does know her parents in fact that’s how he met her.

I am sure this has been addressed but i can’t find a search option. Regarding exposure - I know some experts recommend nuclear exposure but I am hesitant. I was going to confront him and tell him if he chooses her I will be telling our kids and family first. I could call OW parents and tell them but that might also wreck any reconciliation

What is the thought process for most WS here? Is it enough to just expose to family or should I expose to friends and her family as well? And do I do it immediately or give him time to “choose” her or our marriage?

I would like to keep this between us if he wants to try and work on the marriage but maybe that is not enough to snap him out of it.

DaddyDom posted 5/11/2021 09:40 AM

@LostInHisFog,

Was there a thrill gaslighting your BS?
100% the exact opposite. Gaslighting was me at my most desperate. It was terrifying. There was nothing fun or exciting about trying to cover up my affair. I lived in constant fear and anxiety of getting caught, and every time I had to lie or gaslight, it felt like my heart was going to explode from beating so fast due to panic and anxiety. The gaslighting however was mostly for ME, not for my wife. I needed to convince MYSELF that the lies I told myself were true, that the things I was doing were justified and even necessary, and more than anything, I needed to cover my own ass and keep the status quo humming along. In other words, I believed my own bullshit, 100%. I know this might be hard to understand or relate to sometimes, but there is a strong cognitive dissonance that comes with an affair. When I told my wife that my AP was "just a friend", even though I of course knew differently, my brain made the changes that allowed me to believe my lie in that moment. I wasn't "pretending to be pissed off about my affair", I was actually pissed off, and in that moment, believed that my wife was harassing me about nothing, even though I also knew an affair was occurring. I was cheating and I was not. I don't know how to explain that any better, but both things were true in my brain at the same time. Admitting to myself that I was lying to my wife, would have meant admitting to myself that I am/was a bad person, and THAT was what I was really running from the entire time anyway. Admitting and accepting that I was a bad person was something I literally could not emotionally handle. So my brain "saved me" by re-writing the truth in real-time as it happened. My brain made my wife "the bad guy" so that I could continue to be the good guy.

Honestly, did you joke with your AP about gaslighting?
Never. Again, this was not a fun game, this was living a double life of lies, sneaking, hiding and deception. During my affair, I viewed my wife as no longer loving me, at all. It crushed me, it angered me, and I didn't know how to handle the pain of all that. Nothing about this was fun. We did talk about my wife, but really only in relation to myself (because let's face it, an affair is all about the WS anyway). For example, I might have complained to the AP that wife didn't call me that day, or that I was unhappy with the way she spoke to me, etc. There was never, ever, anything along the lines of, "Hah hah, she's stupid, she fell for that line I handed her". More often it was, "OMG, that was close, we were almost busted".

Where you aware you were gaslighting? or at the time did you think it was just lying?
I was aware that I was not telling the whole truth, but I didn't always see it as gaslighting either (at the time). It was a constant challenge of trying to hide in plain sight. Often, I would lie in the moment in order to cover up or contain whatever I needed to in order to hide and preserve the A and my own best interests. So for example, if my wife called me and asked if the AP was there with me, I would lie and be aware I was lying. However, if my wife asked if the AP was a friend or something more, and I got defensive and screamed "she's just a friend", that's the kind of example where reality and fiction merged in my brain. It was both true and false at the same time. However I emotionally NEEDED it to be true, so it became true.

After the A, when the fog lifted:-

What did you do to help your BS know they're not crazy?
First I had to figure out that I WAS crazy. Then we could go back and examine the times where I lied or gaslighted and see what was really going on in my heart and head. As much as that sounds like it is about me, and it is, I think that's what helped my BS a great deal. When the WS can finally be honest with themselves as well as their spouse, then you can go back and get the "truth" of each moment (or overall). Being able to say to my wife, "I lied to you about (whatever topic) in the moment because I was trying to cover my own ass and..." can go a long way towards helping a BS put the pieces back together again in a way that they understand, and then they can see it was their WS that was broken and crazy, not them.

Do you see gaslighting as a form of mental abuse?
Abso-fucking-lutely. Of course it is. Any time you purposely take away someone else's agency, their choice, their dignity, it is abuse.

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