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Wayward Side :
Grieving the old marriage

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 FearfulAvoidance (original poster Member #61384) posted at 6:08 PM on Sunday, January 10th, 2021

How does one grieve the idea of something?

The old marriage that was destroyed by infidelity. The notion of your ideal self who never would have done the things you did. The time lost.

Grief is part of the healing process and it must happen. I know this and I want to allow myself to go through it. But I don't know how. I've not ever let myself grieve something I loved that is now gone. My inability to grieve the loss of our babies was a huge factor in my affair happening. Underneath all of this I know I am just terrified of breaking down and getting swollowed in the grief. I'm afraid I won't get back out.

So I am looking for tips from those who are in/attempting R. How did you grieve the loss of your marriage after infidelity? What actions did you take to allow yourself to process the pain of the loss? What did you do to make sure you didn't get lost and buried in the grief?

After your grief process was over (if it ever ends), how did you feel? Did it give you more strength and determination to build a new marriage? Were you able to rebuild your own sense of self as well? How long did it take to get through to the other side of your grief? Did you grieve alone or with your partner?

Basically in a nutshell - I am wanting to hear anything and everything about your experiences dealing with grief in the context of infidelity.

Me: WW, 30s, BP2
Her: BW, 30s (Aftershockgoldfish)
Committed since 2006, married in 2013

6 month OEA (sexting & phone sex)
DDay1 went underground: Nov 18, 2016
DDay2 ended A: Mar 26, 2017
Was offered R: Oct 2017
Dday3 no more lies: Sept 8, 2019

posts: 159   ·   registered: Nov. 12th, 2017
id 8623529
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Unhinged ( Member #47977) posted at 9:46 PM on Sunday, January 10th, 2021

Underneath all of this I know I am just terrified of breaking down and getting swollowed in the grief. I'm afraid I won't get back out.

Why are you afraid of not getting "back out?" What makes you think you cannot heal?

Heading towards divorce
D-Day April, 2015

"The Universe is not short on wake-up calls. We're just quick to hit the snooze button."
-Brene Brown

posts: 6361   ·   registered: May. 21st, 2015   ·   location: Colorado
id 8623555
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 FearfulAvoidance (original poster Member #61384) posted at 1:47 AM on Monday, January 11th, 2021

I am afraid I will fall into a deep depression that will be nearly impossible to come back from. My mental disorder gives me the "gift" of depression episodes that can last for months and months. With my medication I can generally stay baseline functional, and it is supposed to help the severity and duration of the episodes, but I am scared that it won't with this. I am scared that I won't be able to heal in a full and meaningful way because I will be too depressed to let the healing happen.

It is a fear that I have had since before my A when I was too afraid to let myself grieve the loss of our children when my wife miscarried. Now the amount of grief is ten fold and so complex I don't understand how to even start climbing the mountain.

I think part of this fear is the hypomania that happens after a depressive episode. I am afraid of what could happen, of what I might do. The worse the depression the higher the hypomania. Writing all of this out is making me realize that deep down I fear I will somehow repeat the damage I caused with my A. I don't think I would cheat again, but I fear that I could do something substaintially damaging to my relationship or possibly to myself. I am afraid that I haven't actually grown as much as I think I have and another depression episode like the last one would break me.

I am afraid of being broken by something that is supposed to heal me.

Which is why I am trying to gather as much information as possible to arm myself against whatever might come up.

Me: WW, 30s, BP2
Her: BW, 30s (Aftershockgoldfish)
Committed since 2006, married in 2013

6 month OEA (sexting & phone sex)
DDay1 went underground: Nov 18, 2016
DDay2 ended A: Mar 26, 2017
Was offered R: Oct 2017
Dday3 no more lies: Sept 8, 2019

posts: 159   ·   registered: Nov. 12th, 2017
id 8623575
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sisoon ( Guide #31240) posted at 5:24 PM on Monday, January 11th, 2021

I know the grief feels as if it will never end. It does.

It's hard to talk about grief, because words are about thoughts, ad grief is a feeling, a bodily sensation. The way to handle a bodily sensation is to let it come into your awareness and feel it, and feeling it lets it go.

If it weren't for your depressive episodes, my reco would be to work with a good therapist to make it safe for you to go into your grief and let it take you over during some sessions. Most people can go into and get out of grief in a session, especially is the session is set up as 1.5 or 2 sessions at a time.

With depression, I don't know. Are you in therapy? What does your therapist say?

fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.

posts: 25999   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8624614
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WarriorPrincess ( Member #51806) posted at 7:06 PM on Monday, January 11th, 2021

I have had a lot of experience dealing with grief. Not just infidelity related, but also relating to my crappy childhood, my narcicistic mother, and my fiance who passed away. I have also dealt with major depressive disorder all my life, and I know what you are talking about when you say you are afraid of getting lost in your grief and never finding your way out. In my mind, my grief and depression is a mental place called THE PIT. It looks like the Hell in What Dreams May Come.

Whar I am hearing you say is, you are afraid your grief will be so thorny and huge and unmanagable, it will consume you and in so doing cause you to hurt those people around you. Since you already know what you are capable of doing when you are not facing your grief, you are afraid of what you might do when you are really in it.

I think that is perfectly reasonable.

I can tell you, going into the Pit always sucks. But as you are discovering, the only way out is through. You are going to have to face this, so you might as well get to it.

I think you are wise in preparing yourself for this journey. You sound like you have a very strong need for safety. You will never let yourself dig into this process if you do not feel safe.

Gathering information is the first step.

Next, I think you should have a support system in place. You definitely should have a good therapist, preferably one you can contact after hours if you need to. If you can line up some good friends or family who can talk you off any ledge you might find yourself on, that would be even better.

Can you talk to your MD and possibly set up weekly check-ins, even by phone, to make sure your meds are still working for you?

I think you should also talk to your wife and be as completely open and honest with her as you possibly can. Let her know now what your fears are. Discuss in advance the kind of things you find comforting or stabilizing.

Also, as you go on your journey, she will be on her own journey as well, and you will be walking the same path quite a bit. Even if she thought she had processed her grief about the affair and the lost babies, seeing you go through it will bring it back for her. She may be angry or hurt because it will seem like you are being self-indulgent and minimising her pain. This could get really thorny.

So you should also find out what she needs from you when things get overwhelming. Perhaps you can find ways to comfort and soothe each other that are mutually supportive.

Having to step up sometimes and help her with her pain and sorrow will be one of the best ways for you not to get stuck doen in that Pit. Ideally, you will have more empathy for her as you deal with your own grief. Sometimes, you will have to be the functioning adult, and that will force you up out of your Pit, at least for a while.

I think you and she should also have a discussion about boundaries. Like, what are the serious deal breakers, that you know will mean the end of the marriage? I think people do a lot of things because they do not have a clear idea of the consequences. If your wife said to you, "Grief or no grief, I will not tolerate XYZ behavior from you under any circumstances!" I bet it would put an end to XYZ behavior, unless you knew you were ready to end the marriage.

Do you think it would help to have, for example, monitoring software on your phone? A GPS on your car? Some other accountability actions? If you have to actually dismantle or circumvent something you know is in place to keep you honest, it might slow you down on whatever destructive path you are on, and give you enough time to correct yourself.

I think seeing an MC once a month or so could be helpful. It will give you a safe space to address the times when your grief and pain spills over onto each other.

She should have her support system, too, and it shouldn't be all the same people in your system.

What I am saying is, prepare for this journey by doing all you can in advance to make sure you, your wife, and anyone else who might be in the line of fire are as protected as they can be. Make sure you keep open communication with your wife.

I don't see any reason why this should last forever. Almost everyone gets through it eventually. It will feel better and you will be stronger on the other side.

And one more thing, let me tell you, what you are doing is incredibly brave, especially since you have been there before. My STBXWH does not have the courage to look into the Pit, and so our marriage cannot be healed. Best of luck and godspeed to you.

Some boys take a beautiful girl
And hide her away from the rest o' the world
I wanna be the one to walk in the sun
Oh girls, they wanna have fun....
(Cyndi Lauper)

posts: 922   ·   registered: Feb. 14th, 2016   ·   location: Indiana Dunes
id 8624634
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Fof9303 ( Member #70433) posted at 12:08 AM on Tuesday, January 12th, 2021

I am sorry that you are struggling so much. The pain from an affair is like no other and the recovery process is hard. Honestly I believe I only survived it because of my faith. Do you have a faith? Dig in if you do... This is what saved me truly and time passing. I read everything and anything I could on forgiveness. I pulled up sermons of encouragement. I prayed and prayed and prayed. There is beauty in the midst of loss. There is hope even in the midst of pain. Things may not be restored like they were before but He will be there and will meet you in those desperate places. Blessings to you for a happier new year and new you.

posts: 96   ·   registered: Apr. 27th, 2019
id 8624684
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 FearfulAvoidance (original poster Member #61384) posted at 5:49 AM on Thursday, January 14th, 2021

Thank you for the thoughtful responses. I appreciate the time and energy.

Sisoon, I do have a therapist. In fact I've had 8 therapists since my A ended. I've just started with a new one who I feel good about so far. But it is video and text therapy, so I do not have the option of going into an office safe space to process my grief. I get the pleasure of doing that in my bedroom over a screen while everyone is home. I don't mean to sound ungrateful, I am incredibly grateful to have access to therapy at all given the circumstances.

Warriorprincess I am glad you brought up the fact that BW will have her own grief come up when I start to really process mine. Her becoming angry that I am being self-indulgent and minimizing her pain is something that I am very afraid of. It is probaby one of the biggest hurdles I have to not just processing grief but practicing self-compassion. Every therapist says I need to forgive myself and speak to myself in a less harsh way. That I can't live under a microscope of carrying this burden forever. This is part of why I've had so many therapists... I can't get to this place of self-anything because it feels indulgent and selfish. I had enough of that during my A. Taking any time for something that is about me/for me is upsetting.

As for having a particular faith, Fof9303, I do not. But for the first time in my life going through this process I have finally understood why so many people do. It has been tempting. But again, the idea of being forgiven and being able to give something up to a high power leaves me feeling upset. Take away all the triggers of religion and I am still left feeling like I am underserving and am being selfish.

Will processing the grief of losing the old marriage help any of this? Will I come out the other side with compassion not just for my BW but for myself? Will I be able to forgive myself for the damage I've done? I know nobody has the answers. And I am sounding like I need to get something out of the process in order to do it. Everything is so transactional with me...

Me: WW, 30s, BP2
Her: BW, 30s (Aftershockgoldfish)
Committed since 2006, married in 2013

6 month OEA (sexting & phone sex)
DDay1 went underground: Nov 18, 2016
DDay2 ended A: Mar 26, 2017
Was offered R: Oct 2017
Dday3 no more lies: Sept 8, 2019

posts: 159   ·   registered: Nov. 12th, 2017
id 8625169
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hikingout ( Member #59504) posted at 4:41 PM on Thursday, January 14th, 2021

I definitely do not have the answers you are looking for, but I do have a few observations.

I think that there is a ball of stuff here that you are lumping together to where it seems overwhelming.

In my experience, grief is not something we can control or fully manage really. It's a non-linear process, where you can visit different stages multiple times and for varying lengths of time. Eventually, some of the bigger emotions kind of are burned off in the process.

It sounds like you have a lot of avoidant coping behaviors and perhaps you want to ensure that you don't use them while at the same time not sending yourself off on the deep end. Makes sense. At the same time I think you are overwhelmed because you want it all to be right now, and true and lasting change is very slow. It's a process that is slow and only builds momentum with consistency.

Her becoming angry that I am being self-indulgent and minimizing her pain is something that I am very afraid of

.

Tell me more about this. This sentence gave me a few questions:

1. Why do you fear that? Do you fear it because this is a blow up often? What is precipitating it if so?

2. Have you discussed this with her? I can see that sometimes it's difficult to straddle doing our own work, being there for them, and trying to reestablish a direction. But, what I found was at some point by truly working on myself it's what enabled me to be able to do all the other stuff. I know that it is all urgent, but with open communication and coming up with some strategies together that in itself can bridge some of the gap.

It is probaby one of the biggest hurdles I have to not just processing grief but practicing self-compassion.

Self Compassion. Yes, elusive little booger. I eventually came to realize the following things about this:

1. You can't force self compassion or self forgiveness. Instead focus on things that help promote it.

2. If you can get to the place where you have worked through some of the things you have carried around with you since you were young at some point you can come to a place of just realizing that when we know better we can do better. I had no knowledge of what trauma was or the ways my own trauma had shaped who I was, once I could recognize it, then I could change my self-talk around it. I eventually framed it as, okay you can't change these things but what you can change is how you are moving forward. And when we are consistent it's not just helpful to our BS, what we are doing is also building a new recent history with ourselves. You will find that once you have been consistent for a fairly significant period of time you feel better about yourself, and will be better able to manage everything around you. The better you feel about yourself, the easier it is to see you are no longer the person you were at the time of the cheating (or other actions) and you can understand all the knowledge and skills you were lacking back at that time. Boom, you can see that person with a little more compassion.

3. Which leads me to the most important part of what I practiced to get self compassion - It's very basic self care things that you practice and become cognizant of.

Love is a verb. By having consistency in what you are doing is a way to show yourself that you care about yourself. Sounds very stupid, but I started making sure I was resting enough (mentally and physically), I made sure to exercise (oh the endorphins are a bonus help), eating better. And, I learned to when I was doing self talk to ask myself "would you say this to someone you love or your best friend?" Cleaning up those things can help in ways I can't even describe to you. Most everything is rooted in habits. Work on a few at a time. I practiced just exercising for about 2 months before I moved on to something else. Too many changes at once is too overwhelming and sets you up for failure which only adds to the shame you are trying to shed.

Every therapist says I need to forgive myself and speak to myself in a less harsh way. That I can't live under a microscope of carrying this burden forever.

I do relate to your feelings around this and the self flagellation which keeps you in a circular pattern rather than one that progresses forward. Stop trying to make yourself forgive yourself. It doesn't work. Ask me how I know. LOL! Focus only on the things I told you about reaching self compassion. Forgiveness (I think, not sure if I am there yet) is in a field way past self compassion. I have felt a lot more self compassion in the last year (which was year 3), it's a lot more comfortable of a place to be. Forgiveness? I am not sure I can forgive a behavior that I now abhor, but I do have enough self awareness, understanding, and progress that the lack of forgiveness isn't hurting me or holding me back.

This is part of why I've had so many therapists... I can't get to this place of self-anything because it feels indulgent and selfish. I had enough of that during my A. Taking any time for something that is about me/for me is upsetting.

I had that mindset. I thought if I wasn't sad or hand wringing it would make me a monster. That my BS would never be able to accept my remorse or sorrow.

No, this is the opposite of what is needed. What your BS needs is someone who is strong enough to lean on. This makes you dependable. If you can love and respect yourself, you will do a better job at loving and respecting them. In so many ways, the hand wringing and holding on to the shame is actually the selfish thing to do. It continues to make the relationship and recovery about you and how you are feeling. It makes your BS feel like they have to be careful as to not rattle you too much in your fragile state. But, it causes them to carry more of their own burden. At some point, I feel like most often it eventually causes the relationship to be permanently severed because they finally accept they can't rely on you.

Do the work. This is not selfish. Every single thing flows from your relationship with yourself.

As for having a particular faith, Fof9303, I do not. But for the first time in my life going through this process I have finally understood why so many people do. It has been tempting. But again, the idea of being forgiven and being able to give something up to a high power leaves me feeling upset.

I focus on spirituality. What I mean by that is some of the foundations of religions are the same and I think it's because there are some universal truths there. Two of the things that help me are prayer and surrender. While I don't want to break guidelines or say anything controversial - think of prayer as stating intentions, reflecting on what you want and saying it out loud or on paper. AND the bigger part of this is thanking God, the universe who whoever for what you have. Gratitude practices is something I would look a lot at. I start every single day with thinking about 2-3 things I am thankful for. I allow myself to connect with my gratitude which promotes joy. It also makes me notice those things more as I move through my day.

Meditation is also helpful in that way. My therapist called it thinning the veil between the heart and soul. Observing thoughts without judgment or putting labels of good or bad on them. Eckhardt Tolle has a great book called "The Power of Now" and this was a pivotal piece for me to read and practice. It took me 6 months to read all of it, not because it's long but because it's very dense and takes a lot of practice.

Surrendering is important because understanding we are really only in control of ourselves, not outcomes, or not other people and how they choose to react to us. This is a difficult practice but letting go of over thinking is a crucial element to healing. And, honey, I am as big of an overthinker as you are, if not worse.

Take away all the triggers of religion and I am still left feeling like I am underserving and am being selfish.

Feelings of underserving come from feelings of shame. This is another thing I think religion does a good job of in most have some principle that you were made with inherent worth. You are no less or more deserving of happiness than anyone else in this world. There is not something inherently bad about you that is unchangeable. Right now there is a post in WS called "Great Read", this talks about fixed mentality which is where you are. I also recommend looking at the book "Rising strong" by Brene Brown because she talks about how we carry this shame around and it hinders our vulnerability. We try and hide it by telling ourselves we have to earn things by hustling, and often trying to be perfect.

My perfectionism is the #1 thing that held me back for so long. It was my coping mechanism so that others wouldn't know who I really was. Because I felt that person wasn't good enough. Well, you know what? She is good enough. And so are you! By showing up and showing ourselves it is a practice of vulnerability, and to rebuilt trust and connection with our BS this is something we need to be way better at. I keep hearing "I am afraid to fail" in what you have written here. And that keeps you from getting to the good stuff that is on the other side of that fear.

Will processing the grief of losing the old marriage help any of this?

I am not sure. I do feel as a WS I grieved some of the consequences of my actions because it did change our marriage. But, as a BS the grief is different and stronger, because you are in a place where you don't even know what's real. As the WS, we know what's real. As a BS, there is a feeling of losing trust in ourselves and our instincts. The grief to me stems from that because it means the marriage that you thought you had all those years wasn't the way you saw it. Your spouse isn't who you thought. I feel like you will naturally grieve the losses you experience. But, that's not the thing to focus on.

Which brings me to the thing to focus on. Right now you are still so caught up in your feelings (as I explained earlier in this post) that you can't get to the remorse of what you did to her. You think you can, but you are taking up a lot of your emotional space with how you are feeling. That's natural, it doesn't make you a worse person or an unworthy person to R with. But, as your wife is grieving the loss of your marriage, you can't take her in fully because you fear what it means for you.

THIS IS WHY it's so important and brave to do the work and focus on that work, and why it's not selfish but necessary. The way you have framed this has blocked you from moving forward. You don't mean for it to be an excuse but it is serving as one.

And I am sounding like I need to get something out of the process in order to do it. Everything is so transactional with me...

Again, I think your framing here is off.

What if you framed it more as everyone needs motivation, and what is the healthiest way to frame your motivation? The way I frame it is this - I am stuck with myself. Forever. The longest relationship I will ever have is with myself. The better my relationship is with myself the better my relationships with others can be. The better I am the better I am for others, the better results I will have in what I am trying to set my mind on to accomplish.

Everyone is transactional to a certain degree because we all have needs and desires. Sure, we can give without expecting things in return, and we should be generous in our relationships. But that fountain flows from how generous we are with ourselves.

I am so sorry I have practically written a book here, but it's a long process and the only thing you have to do is stop trying to control everything at once, it's overwhelming you and rendering you unable to get past even some of the earliest steps. Shame and no self worth are the root of this, so focus on those things first. And as I said, the first step is getting consistent and serious about your self care and practicing better self talk.

Take care, and keep posting. Some of this self work stuff might get more responses over in the WS section. I would recommend putting up a post there as you dig into your work.

[This message edited by hikingout at 10:47 AM, January 14th (Thursday)]

WW/BW BH/WH
Turnthepage
My Affair DDAY 9/1/2017- 2 month EA/PA
His Affair DDAY 10/10/2020 - 18 month A - EA?/PA

posts: 5914   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8625236
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The1stWife ( Member #58832) posted at 11:16 AM on Friday, January 15th, 2021

Fear is a powerful motivator. It forces us to do things (or not do things) to avoid so much in life.

You could face things and work through them and come out happier and better and relieved it’s “over” so to speak.

Not to be preachy but I survived my H’s affair and his desire to D. It hurts to know I was so easily disposable to him at that time. But he’s changed. He’s no longer that cheating jerk. He recognizes past mistakes in our marriage and things are better in some respects.

I think you need to trust you are on the right path. And be confident that the outcome will be better in the long run for both you and your marriage.

You are brave for wanting to do this.

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled.

posts: 10519   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
id 8625436
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 FearfulAvoidance (original poster Member #61384) posted at 6:17 PM on Sunday, January 17th, 2021

Her becoming angry that I am being self-indulgent and minimizing her pain is something that I am very afraid of

.

Tell me more about this. This sentence gave me a few questions:

1. Why do you fear that? Do you fear it because this is a blow up often? What is precipitating it if so?

I fear this because I have spent a lot of time with her psychoanalyizing myself over the past 14 years. About my childhood, my shame, why I had my A. We spend so much time talking about my mental health...

To put it bluntly, I think she is sick of hearing about me. She wants to hear me be in her shoes and being empathetic. She wants to SEE action in giving her something to fall in love with since I've killed the marriage she thought she had, and have shown her that I never really was who she thought I was for pretty much our entire relationship.

2. Have you discussed this with her? I can see that sometimes it's difficult to straddle doing our own work, being there for them, and trying to reestablish a direction. But, what I found was at some point by truly working on myself it's what enabled me to be able to do all the other stuff. I know that it is all urgent, but with open communication and coming up with some strategies together that in itself can bridge some of the gap.

This is where I get stuck. She knows I need to do this self work with compassion and grieving the marriage. She knows it has to happen and encourages it. But I feel like I don't have the time or emotional space to tackle my own work and still be in a mental space to show up during our twice weekly scheduled affair talks. These are the talks where she needs to see me have empathy for very specific things. I spend most of my spare brain time trying to think and work on things I can bring up to empathize and witness her about twice a week. If I am not doing this, I feel selfish. And if I spend our talk nights talking about my own process, I am told I am selfish.

This notion of me not having enough time though is also an excuse I've been using for almost 4 years. I'm realizing now though that it isn't about time, it is about emotional space.

What your BS needs is someone who is strong enough to lean on. This makes you dependable. If you can love and respect yourself, you will do a better job at loving and respecting them. In so many ways, the hand wringing and holding on to the shame is actually the selfish thing to do. It continues to make the relationship and recovery about you and how you are feeling. It makes your BS feel like they have to be careful as to not rattle you too much in your fragile state. But, it causes them to carry more of their own burden.

This. Exactly this. I am coming to realize this more every day. I get hurt everytime BW calls me fragile and talks about eggshells, but I am the one doing the hurt. I've spent the past year specifically being able to see this reality and make an attempt to carry more of the load. My goal has been to make sure she is not alone in any of her pain. I've not done a very great job at that though. I still allow my pain to be bigger.

At some point, I feel like most often it eventually causes the relationship to be permanently severed because they finally accept they can't rely on you.

BW not being able to rely on me and leaving is my biggest nightmare, and it is the one that is most likely to come true. Consistency is not easy for me. I have learned to be consistent in some aspects (practical house stuff, work, taking a walk), but my emotional consistency is lacking horribly. Bipolar is not too helpful in that regard. Again, the meds DO help as I am SO much less extreme than I used to be. But they don't stop me from having emotional outbursts on either end of the spectrum. Crying because I am moved beyond words for the love I feel for my wife one day, and then crying and yelling because I don't feel good enough and can't do anything right for her a few days later does not give her any amount of confidence in me.

I think there is a part of me that hopes that by doing this grief work and practicing self-compassion it will make my disorder go away, and I can acttually BE the person I know is underneath it. But I know that isn't true. Which maybe is another reason why I am afraid to dive in. What if nothing changes? What if all of this is surrounded by "fear of failure" just like hikingout said? What kind of person does that make me if I am putting more weight and emotional energy towards being afraid of failing instead of putting that energy towards actually DOING something helpful?

...Maybe this should be moved to the Wayward side afterall... it is turning into a Fearfulavoidance Show. I'm trying to just let that happen instead of feel guilty and selfish... How does that happen? Do I just scream into the SI ether for a MOD TO HELP ME move this post to Wayward?

Me: WW, 30s, BP2
Her: BW, 30s (Aftershockgoldfish)
Committed since 2006, married in 2013

6 month OEA (sexting & phone sex)
DDay1 went underground: Nov 18, 2016
DDay2 ended A: Mar 26, 2017
Was offered R: Oct 2017
Dday3 no more lies: Sept 8, 2019

posts: 159   ·   registered: Nov. 12th, 2017
id 8625923
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 FearfulAvoidance (original poster Member #61384) posted at 6:31 PM on Sunday, January 17th, 2021

I think you need to trust you are on the right path. And be confident that the outcome will be better in the long run for both you and your marriage.

Thank you for this reminder, the1stwife. Sometimes I get so turned around I don't trust anything about what path I am on.

You are brave for wanting to do this.

I appreciate this as well.

But what would have been brave is having done this nearly 4 years ago when my A finally ended. Or better yet, 4 and half years ago when BW found out about my A in the first place.

Bravery would have been not going underground and continuing my A. It would have been facing what I had done, and WHY I did it right then and there upon first Dday.

Bravery would have been not holding on to specific A details and a hidden porn habit for over 2 years after Dday2. There never should have been a Dday3. I knew better, but I was too much of a coward.

I appreciate the notions of bravery sprinkled through these posts, but I cannot accept them. I have been the biggest coward, I cannnot even put it into words. It is my cowardice that has done more damage to my relationship than anything else. I don't think I will ever be able to look at myself as brave regardless of what I might accomplish. "Not a coward" is the best I can hope for.

Me: WW, 30s, BP2
Her: BW, 30s (Aftershockgoldfish)
Committed since 2006, married in 2013

6 month OEA (sexting & phone sex)
DDay1 went underground: Nov 18, 2016
DDay2 ended A: Mar 26, 2017
Was offered R: Oct 2017
Dday3 no more lies: Sept 8, 2019

posts: 159   ·   registered: Nov. 12th, 2017
id 8625927
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sisoon ( Guide #31240) posted at 7:04 PM on Sunday, January 17th, 2021

Do I just scream into the SI ether for a MOD TO HELP ME move this post to Wayward?

No.

I suggest checking into the guidelines for guidance on how to get help from the mods.

I'd tell you myself, but your thread has developed what seems to me to be a sense of your being helpless, and I don't want to feed that.

If you want help, ask for it directly - and before asking for help I think it would be best for you to search your resources, because you might find a solution there.

I apologize if I have misread you, but you're being unclear and passive. Do you want this thread moved, or don't you? If you do, read the guidelines for the right answer.

[This message edited by sisoon at 1:05 PM, January 17th (Sunday)]

fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.

posts: 25999   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8625934
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 FearfulAvoidance (original poster Member #61384) posted at 8:20 PM on Sunday, January 17th, 2021

Sisoon you are a straight shooter. Thanks for being blunt.

Yes, based on how this thread has evolved I want it moved to Wayward. I don't feel it is appropriate to keep it here when it has turned into being about me more and my self work than reconciliation.

And, as per your suggestion, I will make that happen on my own.

ETA: Can you show me where the tone of helplessness is coming in? I've reread my posts with that lens and can't see what you are seeing. I don't see a lot of things until they are pointed out... I very much want to come from a place of moving forward and getting un-stuck. Not stay in a place of feeling like a helpless victim to my circumstances. I have spent enough time doing that here over the years.

[This message edited by FearfulAvoidance at 3:11 PM, January 17th (Sunday)]

Me: WW, 30s, BP2
Her: BW, 30s (Aftershockgoldfish)
Committed since 2006, married in 2013

6 month OEA (sexting & phone sex)
DDay1 went underground: Nov 18, 2016
DDay2 ended A: Mar 26, 2017
Was offered R: Oct 2017
Dday3 no more lies: Sept 8, 2019

posts: 159   ·   registered: Nov. 12th, 2017
id 8625947
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sisoon ( Guide #31240) posted at 6:11 PM on Monday, January 18th, 2021

...Maybe this should be moved to the Wayward side afterall... it is turning into a Fearfulavoidance Show. I'm trying to just let that happen instead of feel guilty and selfish... How does that happen? Do I just scream into the SI ether for a MOD TO HELP ME move this post to Wayward?

If you read that literally, what does it say? It says 'maybe'.

It doesn't ask for help directly.

It says you're lost.

The thread invites people to make suggestions.

All of that smacks of helplessness to me - but that's just my term.

I hope that helps.

*****

My post was meant more as feedback than as criticism. Note that I directed you to the info you need - if I hadn't, I'd know I was triggered.

But feedback or criticism, your best approach is to consider the comment and see if you can make use of it.

No matter what, if you're going to change, at some point you'll figure out where you are and where you want to be and how to get from the first place to the other.

My guess is that you're figuring out how to do that, and I wish you the best. With a little luck and a lot of work, you'll get to where you want to be.

fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.

posts: 25999   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8626142
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SI Staff ( Moderator #10) posted at 11:37 PM on Tuesday, January 19th, 2021

   Moving to Wayward Side

posts: 10000   ·   registered: May. 30th, 2002
id 8626562
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 FearfulAvoidance (original poster Member #61384) posted at 5:25 AM on Wednesday, January 20th, 2021

Thank you for pointing that out, sisoon. It is quite obvious to me now! You are right, I did sound helpless and passive. I've always had trouble making commitments in how I communicate. Always giving myself an out of every promise I make. BW doesn't accept that from me anymore. After breaking the biggest commitment I ever made she doesn't settle for anything less than full commitment to whatever it is I am communicating about. It doesn't matter how small. I commit fully or not at all.

What is sad is that I didn't do that on my own. And I won't really know if I do that now because that's the kind of person I want to be, or if I'm doing it because I "have to".

No matter what, if you're going to change, at some point you'll figure out where you are and where you want to be and how to get from the first place to the other

You break this down so simply. Four years later and I am still trying to figure out where I am. Who I want to be is much more clear now than it was for awhile. And honestly I understand for the most part how to get there. But I don't have the first step.

I don't know where I am in the sense of recovery and reconciliation. I have always thought I was so much further ahead than I actually was. So now when I think I'm getting somewhere I doubt myself. I look to BW for validation to let me know if I'm on the right track or not. Totally not her job. I don't trust any therapist to know and I don't trust myself to present myself accurately on here.

Getting over caring so much about other people's perceptions of me is one of the hardest things I've ever attempted to do.

Perhaps that plays into the grief fear. Grieving the old marriage means I have to actually look at it. Which means looking at myself. I think my own perception of myself is the most important one of all, and my god is it no where close to where I spent my whole life thinking it was.

My old marriage is dead. The old me who I thought was good and integrity filled is dead. The the light in the eyes of the woman I fell in love with and married is dead. I killed them all. And now the only way through any of this is to grieve the losses, pay the consequences, and rebuild everything into something that is worth staying for.

Me: WW, 30s, BP2
Her: BW, 30s (Aftershockgoldfish)
Committed since 2006, married in 2013

6 month OEA (sexting & phone sex)
DDay1 went underground: Nov 18, 2016
DDay2 ended A: Mar 26, 2017
Was offered R: Oct 2017
Dday3 no more lies: Sept 8, 2019

posts: 159   ·   registered: Nov. 12th, 2017
id 8626656
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fooled13years ( Member #49028) posted at 3:19 PM on Wednesday, January 20th, 2021

My old marriage is dead. The old me who I thought was good and integrity filled is dead. The the light in the eyes of the woman I fell in love with and married is dead. I killed them all

Agreed. Your actions did all of these things but take heart as your life is not over.

And now the only way through any of this is to grieve the losses, pay the consequences

There is no doubt that these are the consequences of your actions and are very uncomfortable.

and rebuild everything

Is your BW on board with trying to rebuild. If not, understand that there is only so much you can do on your own.

into something that is worth staying for

Something worth you stay for or your BW?

What does this look like to you?

I removed myself from infidelity and am happy again.

posts: 1042   ·   registered: Aug. 18th, 2015
id 8626702
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hikingout ( Member #59504) posted at 3:22 PM on Wednesday, January 20th, 2021

This is where I get stuck. She knows I need to do this self work with compassion and grieving the marriage.

I think it's more not knowing where to start with it. We can't wave a magic wand and say "I am now full of self compassion", "I am now going to grieve perfectly".

That is what I was really trying to get across in my last message.

First, I don't know of WS really grieve the old marriage. I wouldn't really know how to tell you to do that. This is BS grief more because they are the ones who didn't know what was going on, the ones who now know they didn't know us the way they thought. They can't trust themselves or their own judgement.

I am not saying we do not have pain over the state of our relationship. But, to me what you are trying to do is lean into your own accountability. Accept that you did cause the old marriage to die, but that you know better and can do better moving forward.

To me, these two things you are listing are peaks in the mountain we climb. But, to climb that mountain to get to that spot you have to do the basics. The preparation, the work. And that means you take it day by day.

We can not change the past. We can only change who we are going to be from this day forward. So, each day you need to set some intentions. To grow stronger we have to be stronger. So, here were a few things that were in every day of my recovery, and they are still a big part of my work because self compassion, self worth, self respect, these things are all fluid. We don't just get there and stay there.

1. First thing in the morning before my feet hit the ground I do my gratitude practice for about 10 minutes. I write 2 to 3 things down in a journal that I am thankful for and just reflect on them. Feel them. This sets the tone for the day. Studies show when you do this for 21 days in a row you start to rewire your brain. And, that's why this is hard, that's what you are aiming to do - rewire.

2. I made exercise a priority 5 days a week. It can be a simple 10 minute walk outside but it will give you a boost in seratonin and time for reflection. Moreso, that commitment to it will give you a feeling of accomplishment. Feelings of accomplishment enhance self worth.

3. Every day I do something for my husband. It isn't a grand gesture, just what would make his day easier? I do this after my gratitude journal. To give an example, today I am running an errand he would normally run. I feel this increases my consistency/reliability and brings more investment to the relationship.

4. Being mindful. What is my self talk saying today? Am I showing up in this moment? If I am doing a task I give it my all to completion. We only feel joy when we are in the moment. Combined with a gratitude practice, we start to work on taking notice of what we appreciate (because it starts getting harder to think of things in the morning). When we are thinking like this, we tend to show our appreciation to others around us. We tend to feel the joy more deeply over small things because we wired them up in our gratitude practice.

5. Don't worry about being perfect. If you miss something on a day don't beat yourself up. Do not make this about beating yourself up about something else. Just keep encouraging yourself. Talk to yourself like you would if you were helping one of your kids or your friend or your wife.

6. Make time to rest. If we continue to bury ourselves in these tasks and the busy we will never have time or energy to reflect.

But I feel like I don't have the time or emotional space to tackle my own work and still be in a mental space to show up during our twice weekly scheduled affair talks. These are the talks where she needs to see me have empathy for very specific things. I spend most of my spare brain time trying to think and work on things I can bring up to empathize and witness her about twice a week. If I am not doing this, I feel selfish.

How long are these scheduled talks? Would it help instead of fretting about them, premeditating them, to show up to them fresh? Just ready to listen and take her in?

The tricky thing about this is you really lack self love and compassion. You are full of shame. When you sit down with her, shame clouds the whole thing. It's hard for you to face yourself. You are full of fear, and feelings of inadequacy. I don't know if you have the resources or not but perhaps IC could help you with some better tools here.

And if I spend our talk nights talking about my own process, I am told I am selfish.

Okay, what if there was a conversation that was reserved for that? I think sometimes it's helpful to have some share back on your work. It kind of sounds a little like you have been frozen and haven't progressed. Could it be more that she is not happy to hear the same things but see nothing growing around it?

This notion of me not having enough time though is also an excuse I've been using for almost 4 years. I'm realizing now though that it isn't about time, it is about emotional space.

Time and space are hard things to get for ourselves depending on our situation. But, to be sure we prioritize what is most important to us. I would tell you to look at your days, what are you prioritizing, does it match your goals and desires?

I think that because you have not delved into the actual mountain climbing work, you keep looking at the peak things you need to get to but have no idea how to get to them. Some of this is not about emotional space or time. It's about prioritizing and having an actual plan. You can't wish to feel better about yourself, you really have to dig in and do the work that will support that emotional well being. For me, as you can see, it was about having some guidelines about each day. It was about making time in the morning to start off with some reflection and planning. I also think that we have to gravitate towards things that light us up. The more light/passion we can bring to our life the less we are reliant on someone else bringing it for us.

Another analogy I will give you. I like to run. Before my affair, you might have only found me running if someone was after me. I thought, I wish I could run. There was this feeling of needing to burn the energy off of me, but no real physical stamina to actually make it work. I worked a plan on that. I did anything I could do to support the goal of being able to run a mile, then two, then three, etc. If I just sat and said "I wish" but then prioritized everything else, it wouldn't happen. It would have been easy to say "I don't have time" or "I don't have energy" because I have a pretty freaking big life that requires a lot of time and energy.

And, as a side note, some of these things - running, or a hobby, or anything that we enjoy, this is part of self actualization. This is not selfish, this is how we light ourselves up. If we are "lit up" and learn how to increase and sustain joy we are self-reliant. If we are self reliant we are not a burden, we have graduated to having enough good to bring more to the table. I think you will see that this change will change the interactions you are having with your wife.

What kind of person does that make me if I am putting more weight and emotional energy towards being afraid of failing instead of putting that energy towards actually DOING something helpful?

It makes you pretty normal actually. We all get in our own way. Some just more than others. You are full of shame, you don't feel you deserve the results. You need to change the momentum. Devise a plan. More action, less thinking.

WW/BW BH/WH
Turnthepage
My Affair DDAY 9/1/2017- 2 month EA/PA
His Affair DDAY 10/10/2020 - 18 month A - EA?/PA

posts: 5914   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8626703
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sisoon ( Guide #31240) posted at 11:36 PM on Wednesday, January 20th, 2021

Reread what you've posted, FA. You say a lot about where you are. Just note every sentence in which you criticize yourself or say something about what you want. You can put this together.

I suggest picking out a few characteristics you aspire to. Start. If you fail, pick yourself up and restart. You can do this.

A suggestion - if you do something that your W calls 'selfish', ask her what she would like right then - that is, ask right then about what she wants right then.

Another - ask for what you want. Ask straight, as in, 'Will you ____?' Your W can agree to do it or not.

You can do this, FA.

fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.

posts: 25999   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8626831
Topic is Sleeping.
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