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I Can Relate :
BS Questions for WS - Part 14

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MaintainThePain ( new member #78496) posted at 2:07 PM on Monday, April 12th, 2021

Another Question for the WWs..

I appreciate anyone taking the time to answer questions I put here. I am in a confusing time in my life so any tidbits are helpful.

WWs, what, if anything, did you notice that may have empowered your BS after the A? Behaviors, actions, books, etc

What were things your BS did to find some clarity and a direction instead of riding the fence or having a foot out the door? I am still in a spot where I don't know if I can handle this A and be ok moving forward.

WWs, aside from being open and honest, putting a NC in place, and giving full access to all accounts to BS, what were some other things that really helped show the BS that you were 100% in and dedicated to their healing process, despite how hard it is?

I hope these make sense and again I appreciate any input.

BH - me 35
WW - her 39

DDay: 10/05/2020
WW finally left AP: 12/30/2020

"The world is full of Kings and Queens who blind your eyes and steal your Dreams," - Ronnie James Dio

posts: 33   ·   registered: Mar. 12th, 2021
id 8649868
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BraveSirRobin ( member #69242) posted at 6:20 PM on Monday, April 12th, 2021

Why would I want to stay with a cheater? Why not find a person who's already moral, rather than someone who's just figuring it out?

I read your profile, and I'm so sorry for everything you've been through. You have a lot to be angry about.

If you don't mind a bit of well-meant input, you might want to avoid interacting with waywards here for a while. It's natural for BS to want WS to justify ourselves, but it's really not our role on SI. On this thread, we try to explain wayward thought processes to BS who want to understand and corroborate what their own WS is saying. On the Wayward Forum, we help ourselves and each other work our way out of toxic thought patterns. For some BS, we're a useful resource, but for others, we're just a thorn in their side. They're furious at their own WS and furious with us by association. This is a good recipe for saying something that violates guidelines.

If you want to vent about waywards -- your own, the AP, or as a group -- the General forum has the loosest rules for that. If you put "vent" in your title there, WS can't even post on your thread. Guidelines also permit venting about your own spouse in Reconciliation, but not about the AP or anyone else. Posts in the Wayward Forum are carefully monitored, and it's easy for an angry BS to say something that gets them banned. The ban prevents you from posting and even from reading there while logged in. We have plenty of BS who don't care about losing those privileges, but some BS stick around for a while and start wanting to be helpful to new WS. Bans from the Wayward Forum are permanent, and these members wish they'd just avoided waywards in their early days here, so they wouldn't be tempted to make triggered posts.

I hope you find some good catharsis and connections from posting. The Betrayed Womenz thread is a close knit group that would welcome and support you. And if you disagree with me about steering clear of waywards, here we are.

[This message edited by BraveSirRobin at 7:06 PM, April 12th (Monday)]

WW/BW 51 (Me)
BH/WH 51 (TimeSpiral)

posts: 2038   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8649939
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TheLostOne2020 ( member #72463) posted at 7:37 PM on Monday, April 12th, 2021

BSR, something you wrote made me think about things - I'm curious:

Would WS stay with a partner who cheated (I'm not suggesting a mad hatter situation)? Would you feel obligated because you'd crossed the line in the past (but with a different partner)? Would your perspective make you either more or less likely to stay?

If staying is contextual (which it probably is) what reasons would you stay that you think a BS would not necessarily understand/think about?

I'm basically wondering if your position enlightens you to factors that the BS might not even realize.

D-Day 1: New Year's Day 2020
D-Day 2: Jan 21 2020
There was no D-Day 3.

6/12/2020: Moved out.

3/02/2021: Officially divorced.

I'm 42 and just starting to have the answers to the universe...

posts: 892   ·   registered: Jan. 3rd, 2020   ·   location: NoVa
id 8649969
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BraveSirRobin ( member #69242) posted at 9:46 PM on Monday, April 12th, 2021

Would WS stay with a partner who cheated (I'm not suggesting a mad hatter situation)? Would you feel obligated because you'd crossed the line in the past (but with a different partner)? Would your perspective make you either more or less likely to stay?

Interesting question. I think if I were single at this point, I'd address my past infidelity early on in any new relationship and talk about what I felt I had learned from it. I also believe that's something a partner would deserve to know about me, in case that was a deal breaker for them. That would leave me with a pool of people who might be a bit "shades of gray" on the subject of fidelity, so I would really emphasize how destructive it was to both myself and a person whom I deeply loved. If that partner went on to cheat on me, he'd be doing it in a context where I had given my all to healthy, open communication as opposed to the conflict-avoidant, manipulative behavior of my wayward past. It would be an indicator that he really didn't understand something fundamental about who I am, something I paid a very steep price to learn. No, I wouldn't feel like I owed him a second chance just because I'm a fWW. If he cheated early on, I would be out of there.

If it was a years-long relationship, it's possible that I would try to R with someone who was willing to take ownership and figure out what the fuck he was thinking. 100% NC would be non-negotiable. TT... God, that's a hard one to answer. I remember that terror of hurting my BH, of facing reality. I would understand why a WH would lie even more than I'd understand why he'd cheat. Because of that, I think I might give him more time and compassion than was really wise for my own mental health. Ultimately, though, I believe that if they didn't find the strength to be honest, I would find the strength to leave.

And yes, this is all very contextual. If I'm dating again in the future, it's because I'm widowed with grown children. I'll never be enmeshed with anyone else again like I am right now; it will be separate finances and no mutual kids. That takes out two of the biggest incentives to stick it out and rebuild after betrayal.

WW/BW 51 (Me)
BH/WH 51 (TimeSpiral)

posts: 2038   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8650022
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TheLostOne2020 ( member #72463) posted at 10:01 PM on Monday, April 12th, 2021

Thank you BraveSirRobin.

I remember that terror of hurting my BH, of facing reality. I would understand why a WH would lie even more than I'd understand why he'd cheat. Because of that, I think I might give him more time and compassion than was really wise for my own mental health. Ultimately, though, I believe that if they didn't find the strength to be honest, I would find the strength to leave.

This is what has got me curious. For me this would be an intellectual concept. I don't know what it's like to truly go through the emotional turmoil involved with this. So I'm wondering if I'm missing something. For me it's black and white. I can't truly understand (I think, anyway) what the WS goes though.

D-Day 1: New Year's Day 2020
D-Day 2: Jan 21 2020
There was no D-Day 3.

6/12/2020: Moved out.

3/02/2021: Officially divorced.

I'm 42 and just starting to have the answers to the universe...

posts: 892   ·   registered: Jan. 3rd, 2020   ·   location: NoVa
id 8650028
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Buck ( member #72012) posted at 9:30 PM on Tuesday, April 13th, 2021

BSR, your last several posts, especially those on the previous page, have been very helpful to me too. Thank you for having the guts to be so open and honest about your situation.

LostOne, I am a MH, I was a BH then I cheated with two different women a few years apart. I also didn't understand trickle truth until I was on the "other side" of it. It's pretty damn easy to bullshit yourself while making the decision to cheat with some crappy justifications that will just sound utterly ridiculous when you say them out loud later. Those justifications are done in the privacy of your own mind without anyone questioning them.

It's an entirely different situation when you have a distraught person sitting in front of you demanding answers and you have to look them in the eye, see the pain and turmoil there, knowing that what you're going to say will cause them so much more pain. It's gut wrenching panic and extremely difficult to do in the moment. A simple lie can seem like some sort of mercy, only it's the exact opposite. TT was really just me being selfish and cowardly. It's hard to face your shitty choices in the light of day.

I'm sure someone else can describe it far better than I can LostOne, but that was my experience with it.

posts: 331   ·   registered: Nov. 4th, 2019   ·   location: Texas
id 8650337
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BraveSirRobin ( member #69242) posted at 1:16 AM on Wednesday, April 14th, 2021

WWs, what, if anything, did you notice that may have empowered your BS after the A? Behaviors, actions, books, etc

I guess this might not be very helpful, but he appreciated me posting on SI. Seeing me dissecting my A over and over, and not flinching from the ugly truth or digressing from the facts, reinforced that I had finally told him everything and that this was not a temporary change. It's a bit of a double edged sword now, though, because sometimes I'm dredging up things he's ready to let rest. Occasionally I drop out of sight here for a few weeks, and that's us testing to see if our R is being negatively affected by my posts.

WWs, aside from being open and honest, putting a NC in place, and giving full access to all accounts to BS, what were some other things that really helped show the BS that you were 100% in and dedicated to their healing process, despite how hard it is?

I decided to tell my dad about the A. There was a box of affair-related memorabilia in my parents' house, in the closet of my old room. BH wanted to see it. My folks were moving closer to me and bringing carloads of stuff every month to their new house. Every time they came to visit, I asked them to find the box and bring it along, but I didn't tell them what was in it. They kept saying they would, but then they'd arrive and say they ran out of time to look for it or space to pack it. Going up to get it myself wasn't an option, because my mom had a hoarding disorder and wouldn't let me in the house.

After three fails, I offered to tell my dad what the box was and why I needed it. BH said I didn't have to, because he knew I was the apple of my dad's eye. I looked at BH, trying to be patient for my sake, and drove over and told my dad everything.

Dad brought the box on the next trip. A mouse had peed and crapped all over it, which pleased BH immensely.

[This message edited by BraveSirRobin at 7:21 PM, April 13th (Tuesday)]

WW/BW 51 (Me)
BH/WH 51 (TimeSpiral)

posts: 2038   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8650414
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MaintainThePain ( new member #78496) posted at 1:37 PM on Wednesday, April 14th, 2021

BSR, thank you again for another honest reply. I was beginning to worry there wouldn't be input.

That seems really significant to me that you were honest with your dad. Something like that would have meant a lot to me.

My WW had some issues getting rid of some jewelry her AP sent her and that was going to be a deal breaker for me. She finally got her head on straight and threw it away. I felt very pleased seeing that jewelry in the trash so I think I know how your BH probably felt seeing the mouse justice inacted.

Everyday is a struggle and I'm just trying to find ways to lessen this or make it more bearable at the moment. Since there was not a lot of replies here, I have been going back through and trying to find nuggets of good information. Anyway, thanks again for replying.

BH - me 35
WW - her 39

DDay: 10/05/2020
WW finally left AP: 12/30/2020

"The world is full of Kings and Queens who blind your eyes and steal your Dreams," - Ronnie James Dio

posts: 33   ·   registered: Mar. 12th, 2021
id 8650497
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BraveSirRobin ( member #69242) posted at 1:37 PM on Wednesday, April 14th, 2021

What were things your BS did to find some clarity and a direction instead of riding the fence or having a foot out the door? I am still in a spot where I don't know if I can handle this A and be ok moving forward.

He journaled a lot. It served a few purposes for him.

First, his thought processes were unmanageable. He could only go to a fairly shallow depth without cycling back around. When he wrote, structure emerged. He could see insights and develop them rather than starting from scratch every time.

Second, it helped him focus for specific purpose. He started the journal in preparation for therapy, so he wrote down all kinds of things that only seemed tangentially relevant. Once they were on paper, he could see how things connected that he wouldn't have recognized otherwise.

Third, it was a record of everything I said in real time, so he could analyze it for progress and inconsistencies. Seeing that my story didn't change helped him feel safer with me.

Apart from journaling, he also relied heavily on the gym. He has a temper that's slow to heat and hard to cool, and he knew he was capable of saying things that would deeply damage both me and our potential for R. Controlling that temper was partly for my sake, but also for his own, because he couldn't afford to get mired in guilt. So although he's not typically the workout type, he was in there every day for months after the A, running off his rage. That helped him function better, and it also kept the journal from getting sidetracked with vents. Not that there's anything wrong with venting, but he found the journal more useful and manageable if he stuck to analysis.

Fair warning: it reached 800,000 words before he decided that he'd gotten everything he could out of it and needed to put it down.

WW/BW 51 (Me)
BH/WH 51 (TimeSpiral)

posts: 2038   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8650498
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MaintainThePain ( new member #78496) posted at 2:20 PM on Wednesday, April 14th, 2021

BSR, thank you again.

I have recently started to do this as well. I have too much happening in my head and you are right, the structure of writing it all down seems to help so much.

Third, it was a record of everything I said in real time, so he could analyze it for progress and inconsistencies. Seeing that my story didn't change helped him feel safer with me.

I am overanalyzing everything and constantly searching for clues or inconsistencies, it's happening automatically. I am in an unfortunate position where I stumbled upon loads and loads of texts, online messages, pictures, emails, and call logs. I sorted through it all and made my own timeline. I can recall exact messages, photos, dates, and times and it really messed me up.

I've been trying to use the gym as well, but I'm really inconsistent right now. Some days I get so down I talk myself out of working out.

That is a good idea to look at it as a means to burn off rage, I know I am at a point where I am saying hurtful things to my WW because I am angry and I know this doesn't help anything. Maybe this will help motivate me more.

BH - me 35
WW - her 39

DDay: 10/05/2020
WW finally left AP: 12/30/2020

"The world is full of Kings and Queens who blind your eyes and steal your Dreams," - Ronnie James Dio

posts: 33   ·   registered: Mar. 12th, 2021
id 8650508
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This0is0Fine ( member #72277) posted at 9:09 PM on Wednesday, April 14th, 2021

That is a good idea to look at it as a means to burn off rage, I know I am at a point where I am saying hurtful things to my WW because I am angry and I know this doesn't help anything.

I'm not here to endorse saying hurtful things for no reason, but I am here to endorse appropriately expressing you deservedly negative feelings to the person that hurt you and caused them.

Being nice confused my wife into thinking I wasn't hurt that bad. Perhaps I should have been meaner. IDK. Maybe I just didn't have it in me.

I guess, I'm just saying, don't beat yourself up about this, and maybe it has been useful.

Love is not a measure of capacity for pain you are willing to endure for your partner.

posts: 1343   ·   registered: Dec. 11th, 2019
id 8650678
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Juniper70 ( new member #78662) posted at 2:56 PM on Sunday, April 18th, 2021

My husband of 25 years is having an affair. I know more than he thinks I do(I am able to track his phone). Divorce is not an option for us (explained more in my profile - we own a ranch we want to pass on to our kids). So my option is to “wait out the affair”. It has been going on now for about 7 months. I have no proof if it is physical yet or not - but it’s hard to believe it’s not.

I have several questions to WS spouses on how to handle this. Is this an exit affair or mid-life crisis and as the BS how should I handle this from my side.

We have troubles in our marriage- too much working to pay for this place leading to a huge lack of connection. I was exhausted and resentful for lack of help and he became resentful over lack of intimacy. We hadn’t had sex for almost two years prior to some hysterical bonding after my discovery of him talking to this women every day plus some relationship talks. My husband feels the marriage is over - however I have seen his attitude towards me and the marriage get worse over the last several months timing right when I first discovered something going on - so I don’t know how much is of that is true and how much is the affair talking.

From what I read with Exit Affairs the WS wants the affair to be discovered. My WH is keeping his a secret and when I have mentioned things he lied and says they are “just friends”. A conversation I overheard with him and the AP indicates they plan to just keep the affair going in secrecy.

Do I have a chance here of waiting this out and saving my marriage? How should I be acting towards my WH during this time? Is it dangerous to wait this out or should I expose it and risk driving him further away and out of the marriage? Should i be doing the 180 or trying to maintain a connection? I have been working on myself which he has recognized but sees it has manipulative and a “little too late”.

If he wants out why not just admit it to me an let everyone know about his new “soul mate” (he called her that in a text I saw)?

Sorry about so many questions

posts: 16   ·   registered: Apr. 17th, 2021
id 8651720
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BraveSirRobin ( member #69242) posted at 4:13 PM on Sunday, April 18th, 2021

My guess is that he and AP have agreed to lay low until your son is out of high school, at which point he'll leave you and they'll "start" dating soon afterwards. It's by no means guaranteed that waiting this out will result in the affair ending and you keeping the ranch as a couple.

Of course, as The1stWife will tell you, talk is cheap and consequences are expensive. If you confront him now, he'll be exposed to his kids as a cheater. He'll have to share custody and give up the ranch or find a way to buy out your share. The whole family will hate his "soulmate," which will make her defensive. They aren't as deeply enmeshed now as they will be if this goes on for years. However, if you give her enough time, she may well persuade him that you and the ranch are permanent chains around his neck and that he "deserves to be happy" immediately.

There's a popular saying here that "you have to be willing to lose the marriage in order to save it." If you blow it all up, he may leave. If so, that was probably inevitable, and you've saved yourself years of misery. Conversely, let's say you wait and watch. Your best case scenario is that OW gets impatient, he drags his feet, they start fighting, and they eventually break up. That doesn't automatically spell renewed happiness for you. He'll be resentful and bitter and may just move on to a new AP. He won't magically realize that he's a broken, avoidant cheater who needs to work on himself and recommit to your marriage.

It's up to you if the ranch is important enough to tolerate a marriage of convenience and cross your fingers that he won't bolt. However, be careful of the sunk costs fallacy. If the stress of working on and paying for the ranch has eaten your life and your dream has turned into a nightmare, it's ok to sell it and take your life back. Don't underestimate how much the watching and waiting will cost you emotionally. You didn't sign up to share your husband and be his Plan B.

WW/BW 51 (Me)
BH/WH 51 (TimeSpiral)

posts: 2038   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8651725
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Juniper70 ( new member #78662) posted at 6:12 PM on Sunday, April 18th, 2021

Thank you B, everything you said has been rambling in my mind. The emotional toll so far has been brutal. I am on antidepressants- never have had to be on any kind of medication before.

The only “proof” I have is the phone log records from when they were talking every day. I discovered some texts but was so distraught I didn’t make copies. I have been tracking his phone and printing out maps but I am afraid if I use that he will be even more angry I was doing that So it’s really his word against mine- he will just maintain they are just friends - although I think most reasonable people will realized just friends don’t call each other every day for three months 🤷‍♀️

I did decide I wasn’t going to do anything until my kids school year was over. my daughters in college and my son in high school and I’m afraid exposing anything now I will just cause them problems finishing up their school year

At that time I am thinking about giving him an ultimatum either we work on our marriage and he quits being an ass towards me or he tells the kids about our separation possible divorce and maybe even the affair or I will?

posts: 16   ·   registered: Apr. 17th, 2021
id 8651740
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BraveSirRobin ( member #69242) posted at 1:01 PM on Monday, April 19th, 2021

You don't really need to prove it to anyone but yourself. If they go public in the future, it will be harder to sell the narrative that you were imagining it. Not impossible, unfortunately; people will accept some incredible shit to avoid an uncomfortable conflict. And I imagine this is extra difficult because with the work/family life you describe, you probably haven't had the time to build yourself a support network of friends who have your back. But still, the only thing that really matters is that you know you're not crazy. Men don't behave the way you're describing with "just a friend "

WW/BW 51 (Me)
BH/WH 51 (TimeSpiral)

posts: 2038   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8651854
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Juniper70 ( new member #78662) posted at 3:47 PM on Monday, April 19th, 2021

20- thanks for your responses they are vey helpful. My mind is so scattered right now. Without divorce as an option my only “leverage” is his reputation in a small community and with his kids. I feel I need more concrete proof for that. If that makes sense. I really don’t want to have to sell this place until my son decides what he wants to do and my WH knows that. With increased land values buying me out is not an option and that still puts the burden on my son eventually. What a mess.

For WS - in what ways did your BS act that pushed you more towards the AP and in what ways pulled you back towards your BS?

posts: 16   ·   registered: Apr. 17th, 2021
id 8651885
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BraveSirRobin ( member #69242) posted at 8:57 PM on Monday, April 19th, 2021

For WS - in what ways did your BS act that pushed you more towards the AP and in what ways pulled you back towards your BS?

There is an understandable logical fallacy in this question, which is that there's anything you can do to pull the WS back in. You can't. That's why we call such efforts the "pick-me dance." Pick-me doesn't work because the WS already assumes they are entitled to your best effort. You're Plan B in their mind, the default option. You need to switch your mindset from desperate seller to discerning buyer. When you nod coolly, thank them for their time, and get up to walk out the door, that's when they put their best offer on the table. If you get to the door and they don't say anything, then you know you already have seen the most they're willing to give. And you can't be bluffing, because if you turn around and come meekly back to the desk, then they hold all the power in the negotiation, and they know it.

As far as pushing away, reconciliation is not for the faint of heart. It takes hard work, painful conversations, self-analysis, and a long, slow rebuilding of trust. If that scares the WS off, and they agree to come back only on condition that you make it easy for them, that's not reconciliation. It's rugsweeping. Rugsweeping very rarely works because the fundamental flaws that caused the cheating have not been addressed. It's like seeing water damage on the ceiling and slapping on a coat of stain blocking paint. The leak and the mildew are still in there. They'll be back, possibly when the plaster cracks and the ceiling falls in.

Holding the WS's feet to the fire forces them to see reality, but more importantly, it forces you to face reality. It shows you what you really have to work with. Your former best friend is now your adversary, not a prize to be won. If they balk at doing the work, your goal is to be able to walk out that door knowing that what you left behind wasn't worth the price tag.

WW/BW 51 (Me)
BH/WH 51 (TimeSpiral)

posts: 2038   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8651990
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Juniper70 ( new member #78662) posted at 3:33 PM on Tuesday, April 20th, 2021

Thank you. I think I need to take the next 6 weeks until school is over and come to terms that my M is most likely over. I firmly believe my WH will blame me for the affair due to the lack of intimacy the last few years and since in his mind our M is over he is not doing anything wrong. The secrecy is for his image and not wanting the kids to know.

I am calling an attorney today and start trying to figure out options- maybe we can put this ranch in a trust for the kids

I am moving from grief and hopium to anger that he is the one walking away from our marriage but I most likely will be the one who will have to leave. Plus the damage to our kids and the view they will now have of marriage. It’s heart breaking

posts: 16   ·   registered: Apr. 17th, 2021
id 8652206
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BraveSirRobin ( member #69242) posted at 10:32 PM on Tuesday, April 20th, 2021

I'm so sorry, Juniper.

WW/BW 51 (Me)
BH/WH 51 (TimeSpiral)

posts: 2038   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8652399
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HatsandBats ( member #75938) posted at 10:54 PM on Tuesday, April 20th, 2021

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.

posts: 97   ·   registered: Nov. 30th, 2020
id 8652412
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