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8 months on, am still not over my AP....

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Comesinwaves posted 1/26/2021 09:15 AM

I am a WS. I have been in what was a pretty great marriage for 12years or so. 3 kids.

2 years ago, I drunkenly kissed a co-worker and in that moment, something happened. Life changed. I changed.

I would never, EVER, dream I would cheat on my wife. She is smart, very attractive, funny and kind. We have always had a good sex life.

But I was at a real low point and I know I was vulnerable (depressed etc) at the time this happened. But it is NO excuse. It did mean I took risks I would not usually.

We started an on/off affair for nearly 2 years. Every time we tried to end it, we seemed to only fall more in love. I know all about limerence and went to therapy and did all the reading. But all I can say is, this was the strongest I have felt for anyone. She was the same. We both felt like, this was IT. The one.

The other thing it highlighted was how little me and my wife did together. Dates, time alone, enjoying each other's company, travelling, trying new things, making friends, sharing in one another's lives. I did more with AP in a year than in 12 years with my wife. My wife's life was all consumed with the kids. I always said we needed a balance between being mum and dad and being us, partners. But she just never seemed to really be on board. I realised I had become very lonely in my own marriage. Whilst we had sex 1 to 2 times a week, it was the same thing every time. We never really experimented much. And the time we had together, well, we just watched TV every nite.

I began to realise that I wanted more from life and from a partner. I felt isolated from my friends and family who she never connected with and ultimately, I realised I was plain unhappy.

However, I equally felt immense and unbearable guilt at betraying my wife. Betraying my kids. All the lies. The late nights. The hurt I was causing. It tore me in two. I felt like 2 different people living 2 different lives and I was a total mess.

When I was with AP I felt happy and content for the first time in I don't know how many years. I hated leaving her. I started to not want to go home. But when I was at home, I felt sick to my stomach at who I had become and what I was doing to my family. As you can see, I was almost split in half.

I left home in Jan of 2020 for a few months. My wife and I were not getting on at all. We all needed space. And I wanted to see if what me and AP had was real. I needed to know what it was between us.

I left and separated from my wife. And I then fell into a deep, deep depression. I felt endless guilt. Missed my home and could not enjoy my time with AP as always thought of how hurt my kids were that I left. My daughter kept asking why I was not at home and I could see the effect it had on her at school and her own happiness. I could not bear the pain I had inflicted and in the end, I told AP we had to stop. I was in a very bad way and hated I had now hurt her also.

I spoke to my wife a few months later and we decided to reconcile

Here is the kicker. Despite all this. All the hurt and the lies and the dual life. I cannot, for the last 8 months or more, stop thinking of AP. I dream of her 5 times/week. She is the first thing I think of in the morning and last thing at nite. I miss her constantly and she is never not on my mind.

I do not want to feel like this at all. I want nothing more than to be happy at home again. But I feel lost.

When me and my wife reconciled, it was mainly on her terms (which is fair). I have tried to tell her what I want for us, for our marriage and for a while, it was pretty good. We went on some dates, did some new things in bed, had more time just us. But we are now right back to where we were. She just wants to watch TV nite after nite. We go through the motions of parenting. She never really wants to do anything much. And I am just not attracted to her like I was some years ago.

I am able to grind through it all and smile and seem happy for her and the kids. I don't want to ever hurt them again. But I think of my AP and sometimes feel I made a mistake in not going all in with her, as awful as that sounds.

So, how can I get over her? How can I stop thinking of her? How do I let go of the what ifs?

I believe she is with someone now and does not want much to do with me but there is a part of me that hopes the door may still be open.

I don't know if this is me being possessive and wanting her to still want me, which is plain unfair and cruel, on everyone or I was truly in love with this woman and made a mistake in letting her go and settling back into a life and routine that ultimately does not make me happy. It is safe. It is easier. It is less stressful. Makes more sense financially. But I feel empty inside.

MY therapist asked me if there was a pie chart, how much is just the sex with AP, how much is the freedom (travelling, dates etc), much much is it emotional and care, how much is who they are. i.e, is it them you miss or the life they represent. I think it is both. I do not want to have sex or travel or date anyone else. It is her. The way she makes me laugh. How we get on. Her interests and hobbies. Her love of life. Her spirit. That is what I miss and want. But the life I can have with her, is also incredibly liberating and attractive.

I hope someone can understand this and maybe help me move past the AP and get on with my life. I have never been like this with anyone and never found it so impossible to move on.


[This message edited by Comesinwaves at 7:00 AM, January 28th (Thursday)]

Amy44 posted 1/26/2021 09:31 AM

Does your BW know everything that has happened? It is not clear from your post that you have shared all of the experience outside of your relationship with your wife. You can't begin to reconcile until you've disclosed your "other" life.

Comesinwaves posted 1/26/2021 09:36 AM

No, she does not. But it is kind of an open secret. As in, she pretty much knows I had an affair, not extent though. She also was WS - but not to this degree

MrsWalloped posted 1/26/2021 09:37 AM

You can't begin to reconcile until you've disclosed your "other" life.

I had the same question. Did you tell your wife that you cheated on her for 2 years? If not, you haven't reconciled at all.

MrsWalloped posted 1/26/2021 09:38 AM

No, she does not. But it is kind of an open secret. As in, she pretty much knows I had an affair, not extent though. She also was WS - but not to this degree

How does she know? What does she think happened? She didn't ask any questions about it?

Comesinwaves posted 1/26/2021 09:38 AM

I understand that. But I see no value in hurting her further or going deeper on why I left. It will only cause pain.

Her view is people just do cheat, but does not have to end a relationship. In a 40yr+ marriage, be odd if not attracted to anyone else - is her view.

Comesinwaves posted 1/26/2021 09:40 AM

How do I reply directly to messages below?

She thinks I left as was unhappy. She said she knows I have things have not disclosed and does not want to know. She wants to start a new marriage.

I am just not in same place as her

TheLostOne2020 posted 1/26/2021 10:02 AM

No stop sign.

Comesinwaves

I understand that. But I see no value in hurting her further or going deeper on why I left. It will only cause pain.

The reality is that you are concerned about protecting yourself, not her. You do not value her or her autonomy. She's just 'useful' to you. You can dress it up anyway you like, try to be noble, but the reality is that you do not value her enough to give her the truth and let her decide what she wants from you. As it is this entire thread is about you and how you're longing and unhappy. It doesn't seem to occur to you how she must feel to have a checked out husband who isn't concerned about her.

Her view is people just do cheat, but does not have to end a relationship. In a 40yr+ marriage, be odd if not attracted to anyone else - is her view.

Some people who care more about themselves than their partners cheat, but this isn't the case for everyone. Being attracted to someone else is not equivalent to cheating. Not remotely.


How do I reply directly to messages below?
She thinks I left as was unhappy. She said she knows I have things have not disclosed and does not want to know. She wants to start a new marriage.

I am just not in same place as her

Maybe it's for the best that you two divorce and she can find someone who values her and is concerned about her?

hikingout posted 1/26/2021 10:09 AM

It takes some time to recover from an affair. What you are describing is not an uncommon psychological response to someone who has been in an affair. The unwanted feelings, the involuntary thoughts, etc. All normal.

But, you have to get underneath this story you are telling yourself. Emotions are created by our thoughts. Neither are reliable things to count on.

I am going to share what I learned, and I suffered the same sort of afflictions. In no real order:

1. There is a lot written by Dr. Frank Pittman about Romantic Infidelity. When you read what he writes, you can figure out pretty quickly that what you are dealing with is more of an addicition, and the fact that the response is so common in an affair it does help let go of the idea that this person was special at all.

2. Think about what is real in what you really know. Affairs are based in fantasy, and we often project things onto the other person that we want to be there.

3. Unhappiness in a marriage is typically traced back by unhappiness in ourselves. Boredom with ourselves. My therapist kept encouraging me to learn to "light myself up". Meaning connecting with myself and my passions. I had no idea where to start. That took a a long time to find but happiness and being interesting isn't something we get from other people, it's something that we can only give ourselves.

4. Reconnecting with our spouse takes a lot of intention and effort. We have brainwashed ourselves. Cognitive dissonance causes us to minimize them, dehumanize them, over inflate their bad points, all to make ourselves feel better about what we are doing. We do the opposite with the AP. I would suggest creating a gratitude practice in which you spend time each day reflecting about 2-3 things that you are grateful for. I know that sounds silly, but if you are consistent science has shown that after just 21 days of this your brain started to rewire.

5. Make yourself change the channel in your head. You are still addicted to your AP because you haven't learned to go NC really. I am going to guess you are still looking at her social media or something that keeps some sort of connection alive there? Even without that, you are mentally still using the affair to get hits of dopamine in your brain. If you were a drug addict, you would still crave the drug even if it was bad for you. The more you ruminate, you still have the fumes to get high from it.

6. Replace your sources of dopamine/other feel good hormones in your brain. This for me was making sure I had sunlight, I was taking vitamins (certain deficits like Vitamin D can lead to depression), exercise is a great way to feel better. For me, running became one of my passions and the longer I did it the better I felt. The more dopamine I had. The more energy I had to give to my life and my marriage. These sound stupid but they also serve another purpose, which I will describe next.

7. Improve your relationship with yourself. Your self worth and self respect is low. I mentioned this relates to also exercising and taking care of yourself. One of the things about love is that it's an action. And, to show ourselves that we love and respect ourselves we must take care of ourselves, so self care is extremely important. Read about improving self worth, self love. Talk to your therapist, see if you can find sources of shame that you can work through with them.

8. The fact that you are still gravitating to these thoughts to get high is also creating more shame, and less self worth. It takes effort to change the channel. I would take an honest stock of the AP. The reality of it is the type of person that you want to spend your life with isn't the same type of person who will have an affair with you. It took me a long time to realize the AP didn't care about me or what was best for me. If he did, he would have not gone down this path with me. He was only concerned with what he wanted and what he was getting out of things.

9. I would also reflect on the reality of what love really is. Love is commitment, actions, sacrifice, compromise. The things that creates the butterflies is not what they do for you, it's actually the effort you put into them.

10. Mindfulness/Meditation were extremely helpful to me. Joy is created when we are truly in the moment. When you are always pre-ooccupied by your AP, you are actually robbing yourself of true joy. You are manufacturing false joy because all you are doing is feeding an addiction. I eventually was treated for OCD tendencies. There are some studies that show OCD and limerance are closely linked.

11. Consider whether or not you need medical assistance. Sometimes if depression or low grade depression is a problem, you may need medication to get through the barrier of this.

You may also want to ask the mods to put up a stop sign because your post is going to be very triggery for the BS's on this site. You might be in a better position to stay and learn if you limit your responses to only come from other WS.

I will just say this is not going to go away on it's own. You really have to want it to go away and put a lot of effort into that. I learned there was a lot of love and connection that can happen with my husband on the other side of this delusional world I was keeping myself in. A lot of people experience the same thing you have, and later realize how wrong they were about all of it. There is hope, and I say this because I know the torture that you are under in this situation. What you don't know is you are creating and perpetuating this yourself. Take control, it will still take some time after that. And if there is even any indirect contact stop that immediately.

hikingout posted 1/26/2021 10:14 AM

Oh and if you are not in therapy, get in there right away. It can make a huge difference. It will seem weird that they want to talk about your childhood and everything else, but they are trying to establish some idea where some of your behaviors and thought patterns originate so they can help you debunk what you are carrying around. I don't think I could have recovered on my own.

Comesinwaves posted 1/26/2021 10:15 AM

What is no stop sign? Guessing yr a BS?

V sorry you went through that if so. I think you need to re-read my post though. I don't get why it is always glossed over, when you (the WS) have tried hard to talk to yr partner and tell them yr lonely and what you feel is missing. But it falls on deaf ears again and again. You do EVERYTHING in the world for yr family but constantly feel ignored, unappreciated and unheard. You also missed the part where I said my wife also cheated (before I did anything I should add)

There are 2 people in a marriage. I want to make it work, I do, but I don't know how when she continues to ignore what I am trying to communicate to her and when I am still in love with someone else.

I want to fix my marriage and my heart and be happy again. Am not some cardboard cut out bad guy here.

Chaos posted 1/26/2021 10:18 AM

BS here - This is what I'm reading from your story:
"blah blah blah - responsibility is not fun and exciting - blah blah blah"

Do you still work with your AP? - if so, you are technically still in contact and thus the A [to some extent] is still ongoing. You must be NC - 100% NC. Otherwise - you are still active in the A - even if it is "lusting form afar"

I'm sorry - this reads straight from the Cheaters Handbook about someone who wants his double life because it fun and exciting yet wants the security of his wife/family at home. I read excuse after excuse after excuse. Much like a teenager or toddler whining "but what about meeeeeeee? what about what IIIIIIIIII want?" Sprinkled with "if only my wife was more fun and exciting and spontaneous - in other words not a responsible adult/wife/mum".

IMHO - confess to all of it. Don't blame your wife in any way/shape/form. Check your excuses at the door. Go NC with your AP [the clock doesn't start until you do] - if that means get a new job so be it. Get yourself back in IC and be honest with yourself and counselor or you are wasting time/effort/money. And honestly - pull your head out of your backside - man up. If you aren't willing to be the husband/father you need to be - then be honest and leave [be honest about why too]. And let your wife find someone who will treasure her.

I'm sorry Comesinwaves - marriage and children are hard work. They aren't always fun. They are seldom exciting. They can be exhausting. They are for grownups.

hikingout posted 1/26/2021 10:19 AM

Comesinwaves - I have bumped a couple of posts to the top of the thread that might be helpful for you to review. They are called Reframing Validation and a topic on withdrawal.

Comesinwaves posted 1/26/2021 10:22 AM

Hey Mods - can you put a stop sign?

Comesinwaves posted 1/26/2021 10:23 AM

Thank you Hiking - very helpful. How do I reply to the messages people are sending below?

And how do I get the stop sign??

Thanks!

hikingout posted 1/26/2021 10:28 AM

I will see if I can alert the mods.

And, there isn't a hierarchy kind of thread posting here. It's easier to copy what they said that you want to to respond to. Then, highlight it all and click "quote". It will put it in a box like you see on Mrs. Wallops post and you can write what you want to below that.

Darkness Falls posted 1/26/2021 10:29 AM

marriage and children are hard work. They aren't always fun. They are seldom exciting. They can be exhausting. They are for grownups.

They are definitely hard work—when you have a partner, who wants to be married; who thinks marriage is just as important as parenthood, who feels it is important to maintain a relationship with your spouse. In that case, I can imagine it would be worthwhile work.

But when one spouse chooses unilaterally to be more married to the children than ever was to you, it is at that point beyond hard work—it is treading water, and waiting to fulfill your obligation to those children so you can maybe, hopefully, find someone who actually wants to be with YOU.

Comesinwaves, will your wife go to marriage counseling? That might be a good neutral place to lay all the cards on the table, both regarding your affair and the state of your marriage.

nekonamida posted 1/26/2021 10:32 AM

I want to fix my marriage and my heart and be happy again. Am not some cardboard cut out bad guy here.

Ok, but why in the world would you want to do that when this is also true:

V sorry you went through that if so. I think you need to re-read my post though. I don't get why it is always glossed over, when you (the WS) have tried hard to talk to yr partner and tell them yr lonely and what you feel is missing. But it falls on deaf ears again and again. You do EVERYTHING in the world for yr family but constantly feel ignored, unappreciated and unheard. You also missed the part where I said my wife also cheated (before I did anything I should add)

Something is not adding up. Either you're making a poor choice for yourself by trying to force a marriage to continue that should not OR you're exaggerating how bad it is and leaving out how good it is. So which is it?

Not every marriage can and should R after infidelity. It makes complete sense to me that your MHW would not pry about your A after having her own but that doesn't mean it's healthy or right. For situations like yours, all of the crap needs to be brought out and examined which means you have to tell her the full truth about the A and how you feel today. She had to tell you the full truth about her A. Then both of you should work on yourselves individually and with a MC to see if a healthy marriage possible and if staying married is even what both of you want. It doesn't sound to me like you want to be married to your wife. It sounds to me like you just don't feel like going through D and figuring out how to coparent so you believe you can simply choose to be happy at home despite home being a very unhappy and unhealthy place.

If you and your MHW can't or won't do the above, separation and divorce are good options.

hikingout posted 1/26/2021 10:41 AM

I want to add to this that you didn't have an affair because of your wife or your marriage. It seems that way, sure.

It's important to evaluate your real whys and hows. The whys are the motivation and the hows are how you were able to get comfortable enough to do it. They are all internal to you, so any blame you place elsewhere is not a valid how or why.

These are extremely important because these things become what it is you work on.

Here is how I kind of broke it down for myself.

Why did I have a an affair? Because I wanted to. That is ALWAYS the most rudimentary answer, but it is the first thing to acknowledge. It was a selfish decision.

I was able to make such a selfish decision because I felt entitled to do so. Figure out why you felt entitled. Your wifes affair might be a story. For me, I realized that I told myself I deserved it because I had sacrificed so much that it was time for me to think about me. It's bullshit, but understanding and acknowledging whatever you told yourself to get to the entitled point is super important.

As I explored it further I realized I was carrying resentments towards my husband. But, resentments belong to the person carrying them. How do they get there? They get there because we are not effectively communicating our needs. We are not setting boundaries. And, we are often not keeping our own expectations in check. Disappointments are based on expectations that don't come to fruition.

I realized a lot of my resentments were created by unrealistic expectations, uncommunicated expectations, and it exacerbated my poor self worth. I would tell myself if I was ____ He would do those things. Or if I inspired those feelings in him he would do those things without being asked. You need to figure out your own things, I am just giving you examples of how I started pulling at the strings and becoming self aware. We create our own reality in our head, and I think 100 percent of the time that our perceptions and reality are two different things.

I would definitely think about your accountability and responsibility instead of assigning it all to your wife. That is a barrier in your connection.

[This message edited by hikingout at 10:50 AM, January 26th (Tuesday)]

hikingout posted 1/26/2021 10:42 AM

I am bumping another post called "discovering my true whys" to give you another example of how someone else approached figuring out theirs.

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