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BS Questions for WS - Part 14

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BraveSirRobin posted 5/11/2021 17:59 PM

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
I think exposure should be purposeful. Do you believe that telling OW's parents will help you achieve your goal of ending the affair and getting your WH's head out of the fog? Or will they side with their daughter and think that it was tacky for you to drag them into your marital problems? It's often a mistake to think that parents will choose decency and honor over their child's happiness, especially if they like your WH.

As far as your kids are concerned, there's nothing wrong with saying that you won't participate in lying to them about why your marriage is ending. That doesn't mean that you should put them in the middle or try to make them hate their dad. An age-appropriate explanation that you both agreed not to date other people, and he broke that promise, will keep him from pretending OW had nothing to do with it. That might dissuade him, because he doesn't want to look bad in their eyes. But if he and OW are willing to brazen that out to be together, then exposure is of limited value. Anything you do to expose him at work could also be financially disadvantageous.

The best plan is to think strategically rather than act emotionally, but I understand that's a very tall order.

Merti posted 5/11/2021 18:28 PM

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?

I would like to ask a similar question to those who are available to reply. Was there a moment of realization at some point that your A was not better than your spouse and your marriage? A constant realization that you couldn’t ignore or avoid. If so, what kind of things helped you see things differently?

[This message edited by Merti at 6:30 PM, May 11th (Tuesday)]

ff4152 posted 5/12/2021 06:57 AM

Merti

There were a number of small events that made me start to question what I was doing and who I was doing it with.

My AP was in the process of divorcing her H. In one convo, she revealed that she cleaned the toilet with his toothbrush. In another, I discovered that she intentionally exposed me to something that I’m allergic to. The mask would also slip when we had arguments; she could be quite cruel and cutting with her remarks.

The final straw came during our last breakup. We hadn’t spoken for quite some time and I started reading about infidelity. Like so many others, I bought into the Hollywood image of star crossed lovers and all that associated clap trap. Long story short, I happened upon SI and started reading the JFO forum. That was the wake up call I needed. My AP and I were supposed to meet up again and I knew I had to end it. It’s been over for 4 years now and I don’t regret my decision one iota.

BraveSirRobin posted 5/12/2021 07:40 AM

As far as the "wake up call," are you asking about before or after D-Day? Is this related to a pining spouse, or one who refuses to give up the A?

Zorak posted 5/12/2021 10:40 AM

BraveSirRobin,

could be before or after D-Day. I am just interested in what prompts the change of heart.

hikingout posted 5/12/2021 13:42 PM

Zorak,

My change of heart went a little like this:

So, after the A ended, my H didn't know yet. I went to counseling immediately. I was so many mixed things at once. I thought I was in love with the AP. Hardcore. I had told myself narratives about why my marriage should end.

After some time in IC, and through a long period of misery, I realized the following things:
1. I am responsible for my own happiness, and I was doing nothing towards that. When I was unhappy, I blamed my husband and my marriage. This thinking was very wrong, because in all reality the problems were internal to me.

2. I learned I was an avoidant person who was not showing up to my life in a vulnerable or authentic way.

3. I realized that the entitlement I felt to cheat was baseless. The resentments that I had piled up were mine. They could have been resolved easily with a combonation of self awareness of what I did want and communication of needs.

Those were my big whys. Then I realized my hows. I grew up in chaos and craved it. I actually am more comfortable with chaos than calm. I have had to rework that with meditation and observing my thoughts. Analyzing my motivations. Having a gratitude practice.

What it came down to is I realized that I created this mess, that it was against my best interest to do that. What was in my better interest was to learn to appreciate my husband more deeply, and show up to our relationship and my life rather than avoid it. It's been a hard road, with much more work to do but I do kind of think that I now understand better how to be married. Instead of just showing up for a role and doing things because I was supposed to. I have instead had to get to know myself better and be okay with me.

People don't cheat because of their spouse or their marriage. They may have some true complaints, but the person they are married to shouldn't just be hearing them after having been cheated on. That's ridiculous. They usually haven't heard them because the WS didn't have the skills needed to be married.

So, after learning those things about myself I am 4 years later trying to learn and practice new skills. It's a long hard road to change because typically these patterns of self defeat are with us all our life.

Juniper70 posted 5/12/2021 16:57 PM

BraveSrRobin - I can’t figure out how to copy and paste.

I can’t answer on the OW I don’t know her parents at all other than I get the impression they are “old school” in their values” You make good points on that

So i caught them coming out of a hotel this morning (came out separate of course). WH lied, lied and lied more. Said he went there this morning just to talk - they are just friends but when I asked him why he had his overnight bag he said he took a shower there. I asked him why he couldn’t do that here and he said he’s now uncomfortable being here after moving out (he “moved” into a show trailer on another part of the ranch - it is a weekender and doesn’t have a bathroom or shower). I of course told him he’s a liar but what am I gonna do. I also told him I realize the move into the trailer was just a way to be able to come and go as he wants to - he denied and said he just “needs space”. He also figured out how to turn off the tracking on his phone so now I don’t have that anymore. I have considered asking him to both share our l locations at least for a while until we can build some trust up- see how he responds.
He continues to deny this is an affair and states he doesn’t want a divorce but that is just because he doesn’t want to split up this place.

My life is a living hell right now. Here are my options:
1) expose and hope that helps
2) live in essentially an open marriage while he has his affair
3) have my own affair or sit here lonely
4) file for divorce and be resented as the one that broke up the ranch
5) file for divorce and walk away from 30 yrs of work and let him move her out here to enjoy the fruits of my labor

If any WS have any ideas on what I might do I would appreciate the advise. I am leaning towards exposure - it may or may not work but not sure what I have to loose at this point

BraveSirRobin posted 5/13/2021 12:43 PM

It's hard to describe what finally got through to me. I never intended to leave BH, so I ended the A on my own. I confessed, but I resisted NC with the "we can just be friends" argument, and I minimized the true extent of both the PA and EA. I was terrified to face the truth myself, let alone disclose it.

We rugswept for many years. Unknown to me, BH's inner voice periodically woke up and pushed him to recognize that my story didn't make sense. Finally, just over two years ago, he started asking much more detailed questions. I had thought the corpse of the A was long buried, and I panicked, lied, admitted, and panicked again in a continuous cycle.

At last, in desperation, I tried to swear on our dead sons' names that there wasn't anything left to tell. BH took my hands off his shoulders and stepped back from me, and I saw a combination of contempt and detachment in his eyes. I had never seen that expression directed at me before. In that moment, I realized that he was done, or very close to it, and that his love was hardening irretrievably into disgust. Once that happened, I wasn't going to get another chance. And for the first time, I thought beyond "I can fix this" and realized that I was not sparing him grief or saving the marriage. I was destroying the very qualities in him that made him so incredible: his kindness, his empathy, his willingness to try to forgive. Even if he left me on hearing the truth, I didn't have the right or even the desire to make him keep paying that price.

I didn't start seeing him differently. I saw myself and what I had become, and I acknowledged that I wasn't just covering up the past. I was committing an active and continuous crime. Once I grasped that, the walls came down, and I started the work of figuring out how I sank low enough to be capable of deliberately inflicting that damage.

NorthernMSB posted 5/17/2021 07:45 AM

I am not sure this is an important question, but as the smoke clears just over 2 years from the third DDay, it is something I think about almost daily.

Little background before the query...You might know my situation...caught husband trying to arrange a meeting (love you, need you, want you) with an ex while I was at a lacrosse tournament with my boys (husband couldn't come because he apparently was working...lie) Anyway, I picked up his blackberry instead of mine when I got home (identical much!) and there it all was. I was 1 month past my mother dying a horrific death from ling cancer and I rug swept. Caught him Christmas Eve 2018 sexting ANOTHER ex, drama, hysterical bonding, nearly killed myself for real, and then found out March 2019 that he never stopped cheating with the ex from the first Dday. Yuck.

My marriage was far from perfect. he was my cousin's best friend, I met him at 14 and fell in love, crush, whatever. We circled around each other until 1997 when we were both single at the same time. Him just out of a relationship with a two year old, and he was drinking ALOT. Me divorced from my first very nice husband (hindsight...lol). Anyway, he moved in one day after we met up again and we married 6 weeks later like flaming idiots. Mismatch from the start, me overeducated type A personality nerd, him a hockey player with anger issues and a blue collar job. We were seriously not a good match.

But...I got pregnant 6 months after we got married and there I was...So. I am a talker, I want 100 percent information, I like to hash stuff out, not overly emotional but do have a temper. Once something has been looked at from all angles, I put it away and usually am satisfied. He is NOT a talker, does not talk about ANYTHING emotional, relationship oriented, or even educate himself on pretty much anything. Vaguely racist and certainly homophobic when we married. I have rid him of the latter, although he will NOT discuss any possibility of anything beyond male/female genders. Anyway. Not a supportive guy, in anything. I have stood on my own two feet through everything knowing there was no help forthcoming, and hey, I am woman hear me roar.

So, I have read here pretty much every day since I discovered this community. I am 100 percent onboard with full transparency, NO trickle truth and NO gaslighting. I think the other spouse deserves disclosure, and I think cheating sucks.I am not of the mind that people who cheat need to bend over backwards and "pay" for it forever. If I had been the one who stepped out of my marriage, I would have certainly drawn the line eventually and called it a day if my husband never let it go. In the hey you didn't empty the dishwasher...well, you cheated so too bad...kind of way.

I do think my generally shitty marriage opened the door to cheating for my admiration hungry husband, he does like to be the most important person in the room. I 100 percent admit I did not play a smidge of attention to him for long periods of time just trying to make it through 19-20 hour days working etc. I think he could have made another choice but probably can see why he cheated. However, the way he has reacted to being caught is the truly damaging part of this story. Awful doesn't cover it.

So, as waywards (I hate that term) did you change intrinsically who you are...beyond the "wayward" thinking? Yes, obviously work needs to be done with respect to the why's etc but the person you were before at your foundation is pretty set isn't it? My husband did not do what I needed to heal from this but the way he reacted was 100 percent in line with WHO HE IS. It caused no end of frustration and pain for me in the aftermath as I battered fruitlessly against the personality I KNEW he had. He is never going to be that guy who is sensitive or asks me what is wrong or remembers a single important date, or even our address and phone numbers. He has never read a book outside of school and uses CNN, Facebook, and his buddies of over 50 years to get his facts. He is insensitive, a male chauvinist, politically incorrect 57 year old white dude with NO terrible events in his life (parents both alive, no health issues, nothing). The WORST kind of guy to cheat and then need to be aware of either the damage or what to do to fix it. I guess my question is just to quench my own curiosity after reading the expectations many BSs have here...Did any of you change your actual personality after the fact? I don't think it is possible or fair to ask someone to do that, so I wonder how far you all went...

ff4152 posted 5/17/2021 11:30 AM

NorternMSB

The simple truth is this, generally speaking everyone has the capacity to change. The problem is many don’t have the will to do so. Meaningful change takes a lot of hard work and self introspection. It’s much easier to do nothing and continue the status quo.

Smoking is a prime example. The majority of smokers want to quit, talk about quitting, know the dangers of not quitting, but never do. Why? Because it’s hard. You have to break a habit. You have to stop doing something that’s comfortable to you.

I smoked for a very long time. I have an underlying medical condition that is exacerbated by smoking. I smoked for over 20 years at over a pack a day. I coughed all the time. My cars and clothes smelled like shit. Yet I kept going. Then a close friend died. Not from smoking but because they didn’t take care of themselves. That was my wake up call. I stopped cold turkey and never looked back.

As far as my A and behavior afterwards, I knew I had to change my situation. I ended the A and have spent the last 4+ years working on myself. I have changed as a person, husband and father.

IMO the same principle applies to your situation. Your husband can change but he clearly doesn’t have the will or desire to do so. At some level, he’s done some sort of risk reward analysis and feels that there’s nothing wrong with him. Based on what you’ve described, you deserve better than what you’re getting.

BraveSirRobin posted 5/18/2021 00:14 AM

No, I don't think I underwent a personality change. I'm a better version of myself, but I'm still me.

hikingout posted 5/18/2021 13:48 PM

So, as waywards (I hate that term) did you change intrinsically who you are...beyond the "wayward" thinking? Yes, obviously work needs to be done with respect to the why's etc but the person you were before at your foundation is pretty set isn't it?

I am in BSR's camp. No, my personality didn't change, but I am a better version of myself.

My process was pretty straightforward. I learned here I cheated because of what was internal to me. I did not want to be that person, it created the most amount of pain that I had ever experienced at that point in my life.

Change is something that is selfish. It starts always by as Brene Brown says - being sick of your own Bullshit.

So, what I did was I reflected on why I was so unhappy that I was hurting everyone around me. What I learned was pretty simple, I was always too busy worrying about what everyone else wanted and needed. I did not practice self love, so there was a gaping void I was looking to other people to fill.

So, I became mindful over my whys and what I learned and kept that awareness. For a while, I literally analyzed every thing I was doing to find motivations behind it. It wasn't for the faint of heart, especially when you cling to the idea that you are a good person. I now look at it is there are good and bad things that reside in me. Looking at the bad was really freaking hard. I felt so depleted as I became honest with myself.

Today, the major changes are I have learned to say no, I have learned that I am loveable for me and not for things I do for others or because I let others always have their way. I learned that I have to protect what's important to me at all costs. And, now that I do that, there is a lot of stuff I can let go of - being controlling of others mostly.

But, I am still me. I still struggle with some of these things I mentioned. I am just aware of my victories and fails on those things much more. I think about what I could do next time when I fail. I think of how I could apply the wins to other situations. I am braver. But, I am still not a morning person, I still get hangry, I can be short sometimes when I need time to myself, and sometimes I have to back up when I want to control something or someone else.

I am happier and enjoy time on my own and being good to myself. It takes a lot of responsibility off the shoulders of those around me.

LostInHisFog posted 5/19/2021 03:45 AM

@hikingout
@15yrsinthemaking
@DaddyDom

Forgive me for taking this long to thank you. I'm not ready to post my whole story on SI yet but this is the thing that can still make me run to the bathroom to vomit, a decade latter. So after I posted my questions I avoided looking until now (need to be in the right frame of mind and all that.)

I couldn't care less about intimate details, for me the re-shaping of my reality through manipulation and lies is what damaged me the most and it's where the bulk of my questions well from. It's so hard to articulate but I do feel= crazy now because from being gaslighted I no longer believe in anything, question everything, even my own eye-sight, anyway something I'm working on in IC. Thank you for answering.

"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."

@DaddyDom - thank you for sharing this part. This would offer so much closure and peace. I can only hope, if I consider R, that I get this too.

(sorry for typos, I'm literally fast typing so I don't dwell on the topic, just wanted to say ty)

Juniper70 posted 5/22/2021 16:17 PM

I am on other forums that talk a lot about limerence when in an affair. Basically your mind is on a dopamine high. The affair is like a drug. But they also say that doesn’t last forever and dopamine levels subside and the affair becomes less exciting and eventually that is why a lot of affairs end. Not so much because the limerence faded but the WS starts coming out of the affair fog and starts seeing things more clearly. Science states limerence usually lasts between 3-36 months before fading but can last up to 4 years

Is this how WS felt during your affairs? Did it fade over time and do you think affairs end because limerence ends?

BraveSirRobin posted 5/23/2021 08:10 AM

Is this how WS felt during your affairs? Did it fade over time and do you think affairs end because limerence ends?
I think it's one of the reasons. There are some As where the partners would never have been interested in each other if they were single and healthy, and there are others where they would have been attracted to and dated each other if neither of them were attached. That doesn't mean that things would have worked out between them in the long run. Limerence rises and fades in real relationships, too.

In my case, I would have pursued OM if we were single. I'm not sure the reverse is true. He was attachment avoidant, and one of the main attractions I had for him was that I was in a serious relationship with someone else and wasn't looking for a commitment. Ironically, he caught a more serious case of limerence than I did. I became his be-all, end-all, while simultaneously, I was seeing more and more red flags that he wasn't the person I imagined. I was still limerent, but the fog was starting to fade. Had we been in a legitimate relationship, it would have ended in an inevitable, drawn out shitshow.

It's hard to predict what will happen when affairs end abruptly due to outside factors, most often getting caught. If limerence is at its height when that happens, it's hard for the WS & AP to let go. If it was already fading for one of the partners, it's easier for that partner to make the break. But again, that's true of legit breakups, too. Sometimes one partner is still deeply attached when the other realizes it's time to bail.

Brew3x posted 5/26/2021 09:07 AM

Is the WS aware of the damage they caused to the BS and the M. Sometimes when I bring up the A she seems surprised that’s what’s bothering me and it feels like we’re starting back at the beginning .
The other day when I got home from work she said to me “you seem grouchy” but I wonder if she connects it to the A or me just coming home from work in a bad mood. I have been known to be grouchy.

BraveSirRobin posted 5/27/2021 14:53 PM

Is the WS aware of the damage they caused to the BS and the M. Sometimes when I bring up the A she seems surprised that’s what’s bothering me and it feels like we’re starting back at the beginning .
It's always the first thing I think of when he seems depressed. When he's irritated, it's not my first go-to because we're in a house full of teenagers who are struggling with remote learning. But I would never be surprised if he said that was why.

As it happens, just last week, he hugged me and said, "You know, you don't have to worry all the time. It's not always about the A. Sometimes, I just have my own shit to work through."

1girlsmom posted 6/2/2021 19:41 PM

I have something I hope someone can help me with. My WH has a tendency to ignore when he knows I'm upset & going down the rabbit hole.
We are 3 yrs & 2 months out from the first d day, 2 yrs out from 2nd where he confessed multiple As, one was long term.
An example is, when something happens, I get very depressed, feel disrespected all over again & go to my room for days & he's ok with that.
He will text me questions like nothing is wrong.

I think that is avoidance but I cant see in his head.
When we do talk/fight about it he says hes not going to keep rehashing it all & is going to start doing what he wants to do.

1girlsmom posted 6/3/2021 13:33 PM

Sorry, I misspoke, his third affair was 3 yrs hot & heavy followed by 2 years of sporadic meet ups for sex & his 4th A lasted 1.5-2 yrs, he's never disclosed for certain.

ff4152 posted 6/5/2021 08:16 AM

1girlsmom

I don’t know if it’s avoidance as much as it is selfishness. IMO his responses seem more aligned with “You need to just STFU” and get over it. I cannot fathom how any spouse would be ok with the other spiraling and staying in their room for days on end.

Personally I think you need to accept that this is probably the best version of your H. If your dday was 2 months ago, perhaps his behavior would be more expected. But 2 years out says to me he lacks the empathy and emotional maturity to be a supportive and safe partner.

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