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Starting New After 9 Years

Andrewb1992 posted 9/1/2020 21:31 PM

First post, Ive been reading the forum for a couple months and thank everyone for your contributions! Its been immensely helpful for me. This is long, my apologies, but I want to share my story in detail. It's therapeutic for me and it's also validating for me when I read someone with a similar story, so maybe I can provide some help at the same time.

Im about 5 months out from d day, 4 months out from ex leaving for her AP. We had been together since we were 19, and it pretty much all crumbled from my view in about 5 long, emotionally exhaustive weeks. I thought we had a great relationship. We traveled extensively, had a really comfortable live, had a great time together and were pretty inseparable for most of that time...

My ex had some mental health issues she struggled with as a teen and I knew about going in. Eating disorder, some substance abuse, horrible self esteem, no self confidence. She had pretty bad anxiety all throughout the relationship. She was a little emotionally unpredictable, but played the sweet, innocent, scared of the world girl so well. I doted on her, she knew how much I loved her... I thought it was reciprocated.

We were progressing through life. We were making offers on houses at d day. She wanted to get married within a couple years, so I was going to propose this year. We often talked about the future. I never really had any doubt it was her and I forever, I knew about her issues but just thought I could love her enough that none of them would matter, that she loved me like I loved her and it'd always be her and I no matter what.. I guess deep down I was always scared this was who she was because of her character traits, but had no clue what that meant or how bad itd get.

She was acting weird in Mar, red flags piling up that I could no longer ignore. Went through her phone and found her casually texting some guy shed just met like she was single. Nothing explicit, but he was clearly trying to have sex with her. He invited her over one night. Her response said nothing about her boyfriend of 9 years with who she was buying a house with, but instead haha maybe this weekend. Well, the day id found the texts shed seen him the night before. Again, nothing explicit but put two and two together....

I confronted her and got trickle truthed / a fake R. She completely denied anything was wrong with the above but confessed to cheating 4 years ago. Begged me to stay, but it got bad quick. My needs for her to tell me the truth and acknowledge the above texts were met with gaslighting, blameshifting, lying, insane mental gymnastics and manipulation.

The light switch flipped pretty quickly and shed turned into a diff person. She was disappearing, getting angry at me, acting like Id done something wrong for not trusting her. She got pretty nasty. I couldnt comprehend what had overtaken her. She refused to communicate, was incapable of any conversation without shutting down, gaslighting, stonewalling, crying, getting angry and withdrawing. She began what I can best interpret as trying to get me to break up with her.

I did the pick me. I handled it wrong. I enabled her, as I thought she was having some sort of breakdown and I needed to be there for her... She left for the above guy, lying all the way out the door, refusing any accountability or closure. She actually ended our relationship citing Im not in a place to be in a relationship as the main reason, with "I'm not sure if I'm in love with you" thrown in for good measure.

Pics on SM confirming relationship with above guy 8 days later. She would argue with me about any logistics related to unraveling our almost decade together, our accumulated assets, dispute her financial obligations and played a professional victim very well. The person I spent almost a decade with was gone and replaced with someone who was cold, completely uncaring / lacking any accountability, little to no closure other than blaming me for "not validating her" and seemingly trying to erase me from her life without a trace. It honestly seemed like shed lost touch with reality.

It took me to a pretty dark place. The combo of finding out shed cheated and lied for at least 4 years, lied in the aftermath, began treating me like she hated me and left for someone else was pretty rough. I was more depressed than Id ever been. Blaming myself, missing her, etc.. Idk how I made it through the first couple months. I started IC, it hasnt honestly been that much more helpful than just having someone to talk to and validate my feelings. Therapist did tell me my ex had a lot of traits that sounded like BPD, and the shoe does appear to fit so that was validating.

Ex began being a little more cordial about 2 months out in logistical communications. Instead of cussing me out about her remaining obligations, she began half apologizing. The apologies were very self focused though, about how sad she feels for what she did etc. i was wondering is she snapping out of this... I was still doing like a quarter pick me dance until it hit me one day: this girl cheated on me, likely far more than she confessed, spent at least the next 4 years acting like it was all good, finally got caught, had some sort of psychotic breakdown in which she failed to take any accountability, continued lying to me and communicating with the guy I caught her texting, began sabotaging a 9 year relationship for someone shed met the week prior and then left for him, lying all the way out the door acting like Id done something wrong and she was a victim. I realized I was insane for desiring anything with her ever again, I realized how weak I was with how I handled it, and I realized she was never who I thought she was. I blocked her and have been NC for almost 50 days now.

Im doing okay. Im not good by any means. Im not as depressed as I was, not as hopeless, no longer in denial / bargaining but I have a hard time feeling much optimism. I do finally accept what she did is not my fault. She showed me who she is. It still hits me sometimes, like a ton of bricks, that actually happened. I do sometimes find myself thinking of a happy memory. I just remind myself of who she is... Im young, 27, and have a lot of life ahead of me. Its just sometimes hard still comprehending that, after spending my entire adult life thinking it was her and I, that future Ive long envisioned is completely altered. Its now uncertain. I do sometimes grieve what could have been, but I no longer think shes capable of providing that or someone I should desire that with. I almost grieve her today like someone whose died, if that makes sense.

I still am mentally consumed by it. Its on my mind, in some variation, 24/7. Luckily Im self employed or I probably would have been fired by now. Ive started working out a little, Im spending time with family but am having a hard time focusing on work, getting into a new routine, etc. I think about what happened, grieving who I thought she was, the sheer cruelty with which she treated me or something related 24/7. It is getting better though in the sense of the acceptance that Im grieving something that doesnt exist. That is easier than the bargaining phase, the self blame etc.

All I can do is move forward. She is gone and she ruined what could have been. So, what was helpful for you once entering the NC / acceptance phase in really pushing forward to indifference? What was helpful for you in rebuilding your self esteem, your self confidence? What was helpful for you in getting rid of the obsessive thoughts and just kind of rebuilding a new life? Im not ready to date at all, but I am not feeling too confident in that department. I have no clue how to date as an adult, I'd been with her since I was a kid. I'm in no rush, but it's a different world today! I did sleep with an old friend a couple x and Im just not ready for anything at all right now. I feel like I'm starting over again, with my future entirely unknown when I'd previously spent my entire adult life thinking that she was my foundation.

traicionada posted 9/1/2020 22:05 PM

So, what was helpful for you once entering the NC / acceptance phase in really pushing forward to indifference?
Therapy. I needed a safe place to dissect the relationship Would you consider IC?
What was helpful for you in rebuilding your self esteem, your self confidence?
Running, miles and miles of running Feelings are not my forte so running was something that helped me feel in control.
What was helpful for you in getting rid of the obsessive thoughts and just kind of rebuilding a new life?
Cognitive Restructuring helped me shift into a more empathetic and compassionate style of thinking towards myself

newlife03 posted 9/2/2020 11:06 AM

I think what helped me was keeping BUSY! Of course I had 3 kids to raise, so I was very busy with them. Coming here saved me because having those who understood what I was going through got me through it.

Allow yourself to grieve the loss of your relationship. The only way to get to the other side of it is to go through it and feel the pain. It does suck but it will be better in time. I definitely wouldn't seek out a new relationship until you no longer have feelings for her. Not anger, but indifference. When you can wish her well and not care about any aspect of her life is when you can begin to care for someone else. At least that's how it was for me.

I jumped into a "relationship" less than a year after the D, and I settled for a clown who just wanted to be FWB but nothing more. I allowed myself to fall for someone who clearly had no intentions of being with me because I was so desperate to have someone in my life. Only when I stepped away from any thought of being with anyone did someone wonderful come into my life.

Take your time before "dating as an adult." I was in the same boat having been with xWH since I was 17, and then at 37 I had to figure it out all over again. But with time and self care I managed to do it! I dabbled with a few dating sites after the clown scene was over, met a few people. Learned to like me. It took time but was worth finding myself before allowing myself to get involved with anyone.

DevastatedDee posted 9/2/2020 11:46 AM

For me, it was finding a thing that I was passionate about to give me purpose unrelated to the demise of my marriage. First one was easy. I'd bought a new house. So I set about decorating and painting and landscaping like a mad woman. That was incredibly therapeutic. The next thing was getting involved in dog rescue. I volunteered and wound up working part-time at a shelter. Working two jobs used to sound like hell, but it isn't when one of the jobs is like therapy. Is there anything you can pinpoint right now that you're passionate about or always wanted to get more into?

It will get so much easier as time goes by. You're still in the new stages of all this. I haven't gotten back into dating yet. I took the past 2 years to focus on starting my new life and pursuing what makes me happy. That's too selfish of an endeavor for me to involve a partner in.
It's all about being my own best friend for now. You don't have to take 2 years, but take a good amount of time to make it all about you.

Westway posted 9/2/2020 13:15 PM

Andrewb1992 reach back in your mind and remember those things you used to do before you got married that brought you joy. You used to have hobbies and pastimes you enjoyed. How many of them did you give up when you got married and started focusing on your WW?

Do those activities still appeal to you? If so, consider getting back into them again. As for myself, I work out in some fashion every day, I box, and lately I have been taking one-on-one Brazilian jujitsu lessons, because I have always been interested in MMA.

For a male, exercise and eating right is huge. You cannot feel your best or produce the amount of testosterone your body needs if you are not lifting weights and exercising at least three days a week. So to me, exercise is almost mandatory for successful healing from adultery.

Other than that, do what you can to keep your mind as active and busy on things other than your divorce.

Hawke posted 9/4/2020 16:51 PM

I was a basket case for quite a while. I had trouble concentrating, making decisions and remembering things. I had to go on leave from work because I simply could not do my job, which requires all of the above.

Some things that helped:

1. Going on anti-depressants for about a year for what my doctor described as "situational depression".

2. Trauma-focused therapy, specifically EMDR, helped with the visceral feelings and obsessive thoughts.

3. Joining a separation and divorce meetup group to meet others who were going through, or had gone through, similar situations.

4. Journaling - this is my go-to self-help method. Putting things on paper helps me release them from my mind and also see patterns I didn't realize were there.

It DOES get better. You are in the worst of it right now (or maybe the worst was a couple of months ago, but it's still pretty awful right now). It gets so much better.

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