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I Can Relate :
Madhatters Only - Part 2

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MIgander ( member #71285) posted at 1:40 PM on Tuesday, December 21st, 2021

Pride/ego whatever you want to call it was a major factor in my defensiveness and refusal to work on myself while my BH refused to work on himself in our M.

There's a reason most faith systems warn against pride. Hell, even the Greeks warned against hubris (pride).

Anyway, I wish I had been more humble and realized that getting help was a sign of strength sooner. Instead, I got humiliated as I deserved for my hubris. Seeking help is a strength because it's realizing the reality of my situation and dealing with it effectively. The A was all fantasy and escape, and guess what results I got when reality hit me over the head with a 2x4 on Dday.

Thanks guys for bringing this up. It's good for me to keep in my head.

WW/BW Dday July 2019. BH/WH- multiple EA's. Ending current one of his own accord- recognized it as "inappropriate" and stopping. Still won't call them A's... can't have everything in life.

Nothing changes if nothing changes.

posts: 713   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
id 8705281
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MIgander ( member #71285) posted at 9:08 PM on Monday, January 10th, 2022

So, BH recently revealed to me some things that he did with a female coworker the first year after my A. It hurt to hear, I'm understanding and compassionate of it, but I'm really confused as to whether it was cheating or not. And confused about whether I can even count it as cheating, or if he should be given a pass as he was so incredibly hurt.

I'm also asking myself if I'm looking for reasons to not be in this relationship. It's been a tough... well, a tough 11 years. Since my son was born and I got PPD.

Some background: BH loves blonde headed, larger chested women. I'm brunette and smaller chested. His coworker (J), is in her early 30's, blonde and larger chested. She's also a bit of a hot mess, with shit for boundaries and does drugs on a regular basis too. BH has a thing for women who are "wild" and fun. Like my friend T who had her own affair this summer and was "interesting" to him because she liked whiskey, smoking cigars and was such a riot to be around. She "knows how to have a good time." He said this about her after he knew about her affair on her BH. He said too that he's sorry we're not talking or hanging out with them after I disagreed with her not telling her BH (she did tell him at Thanksgiving). Again, AFTER HE KNEW OF HER OWN AFFAIR.

Anyway, we were having a good day Friday- he took me out for bar burgers and vodka-tonic lunch. We had fun together and were talking on the way home. He was telling me about J and how they would go for these "boozy lunches" every Friday or more each week. He recounted how she would order a meal, stare at it and drink 3-4 vodka tonics and then go back to work. He would order food, 3-4 vodka tonics and eat his lunch, go back to work. He was laughing and telling me how, "She would ask me if we were going for boozy lunch so she could stare at her food and drink." He said nothing happened, but they were drinking together more than 1-2x a week on lunch and clearly going back to work (in office) pretty tipsy.

He went on to say that he's happy now that he can have that with me. Which was the whole purpose of the conversation? That we're getting better enough to the point where he's able to enjoy my company again like he did J's.

However, his behavior was inappropriate and confirmed for me misgivings I had about their relationship when this was going on. I can empathize with him on the mildly inappropriate behavior. He was deeply hurt, she's an attractive younger female who showed interest in him. He says nothing happened, but the lunches were a way to escape what was going on for a while. I forgive him for this. Really I do, I've been there and I know what it's like to feel shitty all the time. When someone comes along and offers you a bit of validation and escape, you're drawn to it naturally.

It's just, it's eroded my trust again. What with the EA with my friend D, the interest in my friend T, his interest in J and ANOTHER younger blonde gal (who he said he wouldn't let get anywhere NOW SHE'S ENGAGED), I'm really not feeling safe or secure.

I tell myself that this is what I reap with my own sowing. It's just, he's had these weird fascinations with other women since we started dating (L- from Boston) and even when we were newly married w/o kids (M- wife of his friend Jake). It continued on with D, J, T and now A.

I've had more than my share of inappropriate relationships. Only now that I'm owning my own shit and seeing what boundaries I was crossing, it's opening my eyes to all the ways he's crossed boundaries over the years too.

I'm growing as a person, and he's still justifying his behavior. What the hell do I do with this, and am I making a big deal out of something small. I mean, are my lenses just looking for a way out?

Was my BH really damaged before my A? Or was this all because of my A? I have to say it's from him and always been in him. He was dating his prior GF, S, when we started talking. He didn't break up with her until she decided to stay in Boston for law school and we were looking like we were going somewhere. He discussed our relationship details with L, ditched me to be with her in a bar for 2hrs and didn't answer calls or texts during that time. He had a weird fascination with M (and wanted me to try the hobbies she enjoyed because he enjoyed them too). Then my friend D, he shared his mutual interests (normal) and emotional and spiritual struggles (not normal).

Then after my A, he had drinking lunches with J, regularly chatted (topically) with A. He only seemed sad when she got engaged. Said it was because he was thinking of us. But then, when asked if anything ever happened with her, said nothing did and that "it certainly wouldn't now that she's engaged." Then my friend T- saying he missed hanging out with her after he knew what she did to her BH because she was "fun."

It's a pattern that he justifies. Only now he uses my A as a reason for the boozy lunches with J and says he's not going to sleep with A, especially now she's engaged. How about you wouldn't ever sleep with A because SHE'S NOT YOUR WIFE. How about you divorce me and then go sleep with her?

[This message edited by MIgander at 9:10 PM, Monday, January 10th]

WW/BW Dday July 2019. BH/WH- multiple EA's. Ending current one of his own accord- recognized it as "inappropriate" and stopping. Still won't call them A's... can't have everything in life.

Nothing changes if nothing changes.

posts: 713   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
id 8708910
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Amilliondreams ( member #69387) posted at 10:10 PM on Wednesday, January 12th, 2022

MI- oh my. Frankly I'm not the one who should give advice. ( I'm in a weird moment right now which I'll post separately about) but I can tell you my reaction was to cringe a bit. I like he can tell you he's attracted to people, I feel like that's just an honest inevitability.and I like he says nothing has happened. But he is putting himself in too many situations with too many women where eventually sonething will/could happen. Id ask him how he felt in those moments. Did you want something to happen? Did you feel excited or powerful at all in those moments? I'd prefer he not be so comfortable alone with other women. I dont think that's an unreasonable ask either. No one on one lunches. Sorry too bad. Eat alone. If you're going to eat at a bar, the bartender will talk to you. And I know you're prickling from his 'nothings going to happen NOW'. What the hell is that? I'd ask him to thoroughly explain that now. Maybe revisit deal-breakers. I know what you mean by asking if you're looking for an out. Many days I feel the same, but I know in my core I'm staying better or worse. (The worse is what concerns me as I'm more the one displaying a wayward mindset right now and I don't like it, but im not sure I want to stop that line of thinking either.)
Best of luck

posts: 223   ·   registered: Jan. 9th, 2019
id 8709381
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BraveSirRobin ( Guide #69242) posted at 1:11 AM on Thursday, January 13th, 2022

MIgander, he's a Chinese military parade full of red flags. Resentment leading to entitlement is a common wayward path, and he was deeply entitled even before you cheated. Now he's talking time apart, boozy lunches, open marriage... He's not exactly being subtle about what he thinks he deserves.

Based on the things you post, he may have already given himself permission to cheat if he gets a suitable opportunity. What will you do if you find out he has? Is it different from what you're doing now?

WW/BW

posts: 2736   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8709420
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MIgander ( member #71285) posted at 4:13 PM on Thursday, January 13th, 2022

AMD:

But he is putting himself in too many situations with too many women where eventually something will/could happen.

Thanks for pointing this out. I didn't really see it that before- that HE could control what HE was thinking/pursuing in terms of female relationships. That is definitely a better lens for me to process the continual request for better boundaries with other women. I usually focus on how his relationships with other women make me feel and get lost in the anger and jealousy. I guess I didn't bother to dig and understand his actions as betrayal. After all, my boundaries were so loose, I didn't even know they should be there for ME let alone for HIM. I think I will ask him about it in the future: "Could you please set better boundaries with other women, I feel betrayed by the level of intimacy you are comfortable giving them."

MIgander, he's a Chinese military parade full of red flags

laugh Thanks, I needed that.

These "friendships" he's had, it's something that has bothered me for a LONG time, but couldn't articulate or feel like I deserved to enforce. I didn't enforce it for me, why should he? I think we both had shit for boundaries, like attracting like there. I think I instinctively knew what was going on in his head because I was doing it myself barf

Based on the things you post, he may have already given himself permission to cheat if he gets a suitable opportunity. What will you do if you find out he has? Is it different from what you're doing now?

I know now that I would D him. And I do agree- there's a slight chance that he would cheat with a PA (I include sexting as a PA as well). It's more likely he will get himself involved in an EA like he did with my friend. He still pines after her and respects her. I understand why- she is a very good person and was completely OBLIVIOUS to what she was encouraging. Or at least, she said so, and I'm willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. But then she said to me the last time we addressed it, "I mean, how could it have been so bad? Everyone I've talked to laughs about how big a deal you were making it." So yeah, so much for her being a GREAT person. Pretty bitchy and DARVO there with the justification, minimization and triangulation. Reflecting on that more- they really were a good fit emotionally, participating in their entitlement over material goods, judgementalism, negativity, triangulation, minimizations and justifications. BUT she's "SOOOOOO spiritual" according to BH. Ick.

Why did I let her be my friend?? Too much internalization of her "suggestions" and "being helpful." Sigh. And my own jealousy of her connection to my BH- keep your friends close, enemies closer? But I digress...

We had a discussion about divorce an annulment the other night when he was drunk. Drinking is like a truth serum for him. I ask him about deeper things, push down my anxiety and or alarm at what he says (to the best of my ability) and just try to listen. Not always perfect about that. If I even so much as act hurt or critical of what he's saying (even when sober), he clams up. He's much more uninhibited when drunk, so it's like a free pass for me to dig into his inner world.

That's a topic for another thread. There's a lot of things I'm unpacking lately. It looks like my progress plateau over the past few months is over grin

WW/BW Dday July 2019. BH/WH- multiple EA's. Ending current one of his own accord- recognized it as "inappropriate" and stopping. Still won't call them A's... can't have everything in life.

Nothing changes if nothing changes.

posts: 713   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
id 8709526
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MIgander ( member #71285) posted at 6:28 PM on Thursday, January 13th, 2022

Ok, so looking more at the divorce/annulment discussion, it's not really appropriate for another thread. Posting in WS on my current active thread is threadjacking myself as I'm working more on perceptions there and how they're starting to change.

So, the divorce/annulment conversation...

BH comes home drunk from going out with buddies (Dad's club at school- they take care of business and then destroy their livers, hah). He started talking about discussing with a priest we know about looking into whether we have grounds for annulment. Just a note: alcohol is truth serum for my BH. He opens WAYYY up when he's drunk and tired.

Also, before I go into this: annulment isn't "Catholic divorce," it's the Church determining whether or not a sacramental marriage actually took place. Usually they look into a person's capacity for consent. If a person is in a state of untreated mental illness, serial cheater before/after marriage, longtime abuser, lied on the marriage record, the marriage really couldn't have taken place. The "incompetent" party truly didn't either understand (serial cheater) or wasn't actually capable (mental illness, abuse) of consenting to a Catholic marriage. Kind of like the underage girl/ creepy older guy thing- even if the underage girl wanted the sex, she was WAY TOO YOUNG (thus incompetent) to consent to it.

So yeah, he's wondering since I have clinical depression (not in an active state during our engagement/wedding- not until the birth of my son), that I was incompetent to consent to a Catholic marriage.

In short, since I have so many mental health issues, he's unsure that we really are married in the Church.

It's a valid question, it hurts me that he's been asking it. I understand where he's coming from- if I wasn't able to consent to a Catholic marriage, then this whole thing didn't "really" happen and he could be free to remarry me in the Church or move on.

That's just what he proposed though- talking to the priest and finding out if there's grounds for an annulment. We wouldn't be given the annulment right away- there's a lengthy period of investigation- but the idea is he would then move forward in pursuit of it. Then he wants to LEGALLY DIVORCE but still live together in the house. That way, "it's a clean break" and we can "see whether we'd marry each other again." He said the spiritual aspect of the marriage was more important to him than the legal aspect and that he doesn't see the point being legally married if there's a good chance we aren't spiritually.

Basically, he thinks that if we go through the legal divorce after investigating an annulment, we could come back together on solid ground and not have any nagging questions about the validity of our marriage. He wants to know whether, given the chance, we would choose to marry each other again.

He asked me what I thought. I told him I was ok talking to the priest, because I would like to know too. As for getting a legal divorce while doing it, I am against it. I'm willing to live as brother and sister in IHS while we figure out the sacramentality of our marriage, but a legal divorce would be too much stress for me, the kids and the family. I wouldn't have any energy for evaluating the sacramentality of our marriage in that circumstance, let alone discern whether I want to REMARRY him.

I told him that if he divorced me legally, I was leaving and not coming back. That is my boundary. He tried to talk me into it for a while, but I held firm on it. Really, how can you unselfishly love another person if you're willing to rip out their heart only to try and reel them back. Seems a bit excessive to me. duh

I know that I subconsciously had my A on my husband as a way to hurt him as deeply as he hurt me with his vasectomy (I didn't want it, he coerced it with abusive withholding practices). However, I don't think this is that kind of subconscious unaware thing. ESPECIALLY since I wrote D papers and was going to serve unless he got into IC and stayed there. He knows how it feels to be on the end of a divorce.

Anyway, he was drunk during the conversation and likely not as "aware" or able to consider my feelings before our discussion.
So, I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt on his deeper motives with the whole legal divorce thing. During our MC session, he walked it back saying that he truly only wanted a fresh start to evaluate whether we would choose each other again given the chance.

I told him that if he divorced me legally with the intention to remarry me that I would not choose him again. That by divorcing me with those intentions he would show me he was capable of being intentionally cruel- capable of intentionally harming me and our children for his own selfish ends.

I then reiterated that I would be open to IHS while we figured the annulment out.

MC then ran with that and said we needed to shift our focus toward renewing our vows, not divorcing/annulments. He agreed and we ended the session on a more positive note.

Only now I'm wondering- which words do I trust? The MC redirect (he seemed relieved to be given the renewal option), or the drunk veritaserum ones?

MANIPULATION! mad

WW/BW Dday July 2019. BH/WH- multiple EA's. Ending current one of his own accord- recognized it as "inappropriate" and stopping. Still won't call them A's... can't have everything in life.

Nothing changes if nothing changes.

posts: 713   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
id 8709577
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BraveSirRobin ( Guide #69242) posted at 8:26 PM on Thursday, January 13th, 2022

I'll start by fully acknowledging that I only know the pieces of this story that you have chosen to share, and further that they're filtered through your lens. I'm also filing away questions to ask you when they're appropriate to the topic (what's this about you having the same shit boundaries that he did? What's with the ongoing speeding tickets when you know the financial and legal consequences -- not to mention the danger of consistently driving fast enough to get caught over and over?). At some point, we should have a lengthy talk about impulse control, but I'm putting a pin in that.

What I'm hearing is a man who wants out of his marriage, albeit with an option to renew down the line. He wants to fuck busty blonde party girls without consequence. I remain half convinced that he's already got his partner in crime lined up. But in any case, he's wealthy (through his trust), he's had a vasectomy, and he feels justified by your affair. He's ready to take all that out on a joyride. This isn't a spiritual crisis, it's a midlife crisis.

It sounds like he keeps coming at the idea from every angle and being talked out of it by you and your MC. At a certain point, I'm not sure that's fair to him, tbh. I mean, I don't admire his motivations, but therapy is useless if you aren't allowed to express your fundamental goals. His "in vino veritas" revelation is the same one that he's given before: he wants a way to be single again, but no one wants to hear it.

I would be very cautious about agreeing that you weren't mentally competent to marry, especially if your depression is ongoing. You do not want that twisted by a lawyer's hands into a question of your present competence. Nor should you sign any financial documents without legal representation for yourself, regardless of whether they're associated with a potential divorce.

WW/BW

posts: 2736   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8709609
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MIgander ( member #71285) posted at 12:34 AM on Friday, January 14th, 2022

Hi BSR,

I hear you on the impulse control. I have ADHD which was diagnosed when I was 6, but not treated. I found out from mom after I got re-diagnosed as an adult. My rediagnoses didnt come until after my affair during my mental breakdown. I am being treated for it now. The traffic tickets and fender benders intensified during the fallout from my A and subsequent stress. Fenderbenders happened when I would have blood sugar drops during a dosage adjustment. Fun.

Anyway, my meds have been dialed in for just over a year now. My driving record has been clear for over the past year (ADHD is controlled and impulsivity has decreased). This is why I am so frustrated by my ticket right by my house. The cop likes to sit there and I was too busy ditzing along like usual on the same empty road I drive 6x a day. So, yeah, totally my fault. More inattention than impulse control now. 35ish in a 25. Grrr. Anyway, this was quick to address. I will get to the other stuff later.

WW/BW Dday July 2019. BH/WH- multiple EA's. Ending current one of his own accord- recognized it as "inappropriate" and stopping. Still won't call them A's... can't have everything in life.

Nothing changes if nothing changes.

posts: 713   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
id 8709680
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MIgander ( member #71285) posted at 4:02 PM on Tuesday, January 18th, 2022

So, it's later now :).

It sounds like he keeps coming at the idea from every angle and being talked out of it by you and your MC. At a certain point, I'm not sure that's fair to him, tbh. I mean, I don't admire his motivations, but therapy is useless if you aren't allowed to express your fundamental goals. His "in vino veritas" revelation is the same one that he's given before: he wants a way to be single again, but no one wants to hear it.

THIS is what has my head on a swivel. I think he's coming to terms with what he really wants to have out of this marriage and whether he's fully in it. There a lot of back and forth with words on it, then some actions lining up, then his words not.

WW/BW Dday July 2019. BH/WH- multiple EA's. Ending current one of his own accord- recognized it as "inappropriate" and stopping. Still won't call them A's... can't have everything in life.

Nothing changes if nothing changes.

posts: 713   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
id 8710467
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