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Mentally Stuck in DDay & in the Hurt

Pages: 1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5

Sceadugenga posted 3/17/2021 06:31 AM

I needed her when my grandma was dying and she was with another man. I have never felt so much pain in my life.

I think this may be your issue with reconciling. I don't know how a person gets past this sort of treachery.

Especially given your military background and combat experience, you may very well find that a breach of trust and loyalty cuts you even deeper than the average person. Stay strong!

MaintainThePain posted 3/17/2021 07:46 AM

First off, if you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend The Body Keeps Score by Bessel van der Kolk. He's unarguably the world's leading expert on trauma. I think you'll get a lot out of it and I think you'll begin to understand that your reaction has been NORMAL.

@ChamomileTea Thank you for your book recommendation and for the long response. I really appreciate you taking the time to explain your points

Yes and yes. It's the trauma response which keeps you feeling like it's DDay. Betrayal trauma isn't too much different than other forms of PTSD. Events seem current, and when you read that book I recommended, you'll see it's ubiquitous. Our sense of time gets messed up. It's like, if you can imagine a leaf floating gently down the stream, our leaf has been split in two, with one half floating with time and the other stuck to the bank where our trauma occurred. It makes EVERYTHING seem kind of surreal.

Everything is surreal. I am barely functioning at anything right now, just trying to do what I think is right. I'm normally pretty healthy but can barely exercise or eat right. It feels like years have passed and I have aged myself.

MaintainThePain posted 3/17/2021 07:54 AM

Fall back to your military training and experience. This is a war more than a battle and wars take time. Right now nobody can tell you how this will end, but IT WILL TAKE TIME.
If you don’t take care of yourself you wont have the stamina or ability to see this through. You know that from the military. The importance of preparing, training, pacing yourself, nutrition, sleep, active duty and rest and recreation.

@Bigger Thanks for this reminder. I am in a fog of poor exercise and poor nutrition and part of me wants to go buy alcohol but I have resisted. I have started to talk walks with my WW and I'm slowly trying to do some pullups and pushups but everything just seems pointless and tiresome. Is extreme exhaustion a normal part of this too?

I feel so mentally tired and sometimes just want to pretend none of this is happening.

MaintainThePain posted 3/17/2021 08:07 AM

@guvensiz Thank you for your reply and for saying what I feel is normal. It's very validating.

Do you know when and how it started, who the AP is, is he married or not etc?

I know when and how. It actually started in July, in my opinion, when innocent texting with a guy friend crossed into flirty. By August, he was the sympathetic ear to hearing her talk about our marriage problems. I found the entire conversations due to having our phones backup so I had to watch it gradually unfold..

The AP is not married as far as I know.

Are you sure her individual therapist suggested breaking off slowly? Who told this to you?

And how was this slow break off process? Has the affaire continued?

My WW told me this was the plan created by her therapist since the break off would be painful. I immediately said this was wrong and it angered me. It was everything I could do just to hang on at this point.

The break off process was slow and the worst part for me. I knew they were still communicating and I couldn't handle it. I ranged from mentally shutting down to leaving the house, but leaving the house led to it's own paranoia.

I continue to watch her phone, emails, texts, and any programs she installs, I know I can't do this forever

BluerThanBlue posted 3/17/2021 08:33 AM

It took her until the end of December for her to finally break it off with her AP. Their bond was so strong that she and her individual therapist decided it was best to slowly break it off.

This is complete bullshit. The reason I think this is bullshit and not just the advice of a crappy therapist is that it's such a common excuse that cheaters use to avoid cutting contact with their AP. I'm pretty sure it's on page 102 of the Cheater's Handbook.

How do I know for sure, you ask? Because my ex said pretty much the same thing.

You cannot reconcile with someone who is still lying to you. She is not remorseful if she can say crap like that to you with a straight face.

[This message edited by BluerThanBlue at 8:34 AM, March 17th (Wednesday)]

WalkingHome posted 3/17/2021 09:39 AM

You love her more than she loves you.

This is a weapon, being used against you.

It will continue to destroy you until you decide not to love her and to grab hold of your self respect before you start wondering what the business end of a pistol tastes like.

Grab a fistfull of pride, self respect, and courage. Use it to get away from someone who is clearly abusing you and doing so will full knowledge that it hurts you. You deserve better and you know it. Nobody will give it to you, you have to take it for yourself. If you want a free life, one in truth, one that is yours and yours alone...you have to fight for it and take charge.

This hurts until you decide to take charge and lead yourself out of it. Nobody is coming to save you...it is up to you to do it.

Bigger posted 3/17/2021 10:02 AM


I honestly don’t know where to start… There is so much to address and so much to get across.

Can we maybe start with one thing? There is an interesting thread in the Wayward forum called The Tipping Point. BE CAREFULL!!! IMHO that forum is the bravest and most delicate of our forums here on SI and each and every forum deserves the respect and the rules it goes by. In that thread there is discussion on when the issues are infidelity-related and when the issues are marriage related. ONCE AGAIN! Be careful in that forum AND DO NOT POST! I have been here on SI for ages, and still post extremely carefully in that forum due to the different factors that apply there.
In that forum some of us have made the distinction between marital issues and the issues that make the WS decide to have an affair. What most of us agree on is that there is NOTHING you did that MADE your wife have an affair.
Her DECISSION to cheat hasn’t got anything to do with you being emotionally unavailable. Had she DECIDED to file for divorce, or had she DECIDED to demand and enforce change then yes – your actions, response or inaction would explain why she carried that step further. Why she filed or moved out or separated or whatever. But NEVER to cheat.
To put it in context: Having an affair would be like responding to a Canadian army unit accidentally straying over the border into Alaska by nuking Toronto.

It’s not a blame-game. It’s more that no matter what YOU do and no matter what YOU change then if she doesn’t work on her internal demons and if you believe that YOUR actions made her cheat… well… she will cheat again. She needs to totally 100% own the decision to cheat.

Notice how I hammer on the DECISSION? This too needs to be clear. You both have to realize she had options. At some point she DECIDED to cross some line into infidelity. Decisions are fine – even wrong decisions. But it’s when we think things just happen where the problems occur. Just like she DECIDED to cheat she can DECIDE to not cheat. There might have been steps on that decision – a glance, a brushing of hands, a holding of hands, a coffee-date, a kiss… but still – a DECISSION. Once again 100% accountability!

Be very careful about what she says about her IC…
I think this is a pitfall many of us BS fall into. IC is for HER. When she comes home from a session then it’s imperative that she follows the guidance offered. I personally doubt ANY IC would suggest weaning off an affair. Having her tell you this was done according to IC recommendation makes me doubt the IC OR her truth… If this same IC has any role in your MC, her IC or your IC I would raise the subject with the IC and get the truth. Did the IC REALLY recommend a weaning off period?

Another question to ask the MC/IC: Is the infidelity your fault? If they even imply that yes – you were partially at fault, then look elsewhere… I compare this to when rape-victims are blamed for wearing short skirts or not tending to their drinks or walking through a park after dark. None might be great ideas considering what took place, but none justify or explain why they were raped.

Finally (for now): Just like she had choices and DECIDED to cheat you too have options. Your goal right now should not be to reconcile or to divorce. You can decide on that in a few weeks or even a couple of months. Even then you can change paths as you go along (although each change will inevitably delay you). What you should focus on is the DESTINATION rather than the path taken. The destination is to get out of infidelity – either eventually through reconciliation or divorce.
Don’t feel trapped – you do have options.

MaintainThePain posted 3/17/2021 10:19 AM

@bigger Thank you again for the words of wisdom. My logical brain knows this is not my fault, but I have been shouldering responsibility anyway for some reason. My WW hasn't been blaming me, I think my state of depression has me doing this.

Be very careful about what she says about her IC…
I think this is a pitfall many of us BS fall into. IC is for HER. When she comes home from a session then it’s imperative that she follows the guidance offered. I personally doubt ANY IC would suggest weaning off an affair. Having her tell you this was done according to IC recommendation makes me doubt the IC OR her truth… If this same IC has any role in your MC, her IC or your IC I would raise the subject with the IC and get the truth. Did the IC REALLY recommend a weaning off period?

I have expressed my displeasure with her IC many times. Our MC is a different therapist and my IC is different and through the VA. My IC is working on EMDR with me to help me cope with this trauma.

Finally (for now): Just like she had choices and DECIDED to cheat you too have options. Your goal right now should not be to reconcile or to divorce. You can decide on that in a few weeks or even a couple of months. Even then you can change paths as you go along (although each change will inevitably delay you). What you should focus on is the DESTINATION rather than the path taken. The destination is to get out of infidelity – either eventually through reconciliation or divorce.
Don’t feel trapped – you do have options.

I appreciate this very much. I am so paranoid by making wrong decisions and putting unneeded pressure on myself. I need to breathe and allow myself to feel everything and process everything. It's really helpful to hear this from other people in the same or similar situations. I will focus on my EMDR work and try to get out of the DDay feeling for now and try to not focus on all the other thousand things floating in my head. Maybe this will help me not feel so crazy all the time.

DoinBettr posted 3/17/2021 13:47 PM

My WW hasn't been blaming me, I think my state of depression has me doing this.

I think your WW is blaming you. You stated that she said she doesn't want to be in limbo. That is her blaming you/ putting the responsibility for whether you reconcile or not, on you.
She also has had 1 foot out the door of your marriage this whole time. You have begged her not to leave while grieving your grandmother without her support. Did she ever beg you to stay?
If she hasn't, what kind of begging for a chance or all in support has she shown?
It sounds like everything has been reconciling on her terms. Have you discussed that in MC?
It sounds like your MC hasn't put her on her back foot yet where she tries to prep for where you will end up. That is where I got pissed off with my MC because they won't help you shake a WS into getting their head out of their ass. My wife thought she deserved the affair, like yours does, because she saw it as "improving" our marriage at first.
I think this is how a lot of wives see it at first. If she wants you 100% into reconciliation she needs to be 110% should be your statement.
FYI - I think the AP showed his true colors somehow or your WW got spooked by another woman moving in on you once she was gone. Cheaters think they deserve it all because they are the prize. Your WW thinks she is the prize currently.

ChamomileTea posted 3/17/2021 15:17 PM

Is extreme exhaustion a normal part of this too?

Yes. It sounds like you've sunk down into a chemical depression, so I hope you're getting screening/treatment for that. Imagine the amygdala of your brain instructing the release of things like adrenaline and cortisol into your body over and over again, many times each day as you experience triggers and anxiety. Bear in mind that the amygdala can't tell the difference between clear/present danger and an emotional reaction. It still sets you up to fight or flee in a physiological sense. Over time, this imbalance causes other imbalances in neurotransmitters, hormones, and adrenals. Next thing you know, it's not just the exhaustion of an adrenaline/cortisol burst you need to recover from. Everything is out of whack. Your IC at the VA can make referrals if you're not already being treated for depression. And if you are, talk to your prescriber about your current symptoms. You might need a change in meds.

It's good that you're staying away from alcohol. Many people don't realize it, but any relief you might have of your anxiety by imbibing is cancelled out the next day. It's almost like an anxiety hangover. The anxiety is so much worse the next day than it was before.

Bigger is right about the exercise. You just have to MAKE yourself do it. It will help with the depression and it's also going to help you to get better sleep. Often, people see improvements in self-esteem as well.

I really think the priority needs to shift here from working on the marriage to getting you back on your feet. I'm not saying that you should throw in the towel, I'm just saying that getting you healthy needs to come first. Toward that end, maybe talk to your doctors and tweak meds or whatever needs to be done, and concentrate on self-care, meaning proper nutrition, hydration, exercise, and continued avoidance of alcohol. You're doing EMDR and that's good, but it's also draining because it's an immersive therapy. So, special care to make sure that you're having a period of rest, relaxation, and positivity after each session. If you're not already journaling, consider giving it a try. Basically, you just pour all the poison, uncensored, onto the page. Follow each entry with some optimistic positives. It can be anything which makes you feel happy: birdsong, the smell of fresh coffee or newly mowed grass, an affirmation that caught your eye. Anything, so long as it's uplifting. You're training your brain to SEARCH for optimism.

You've got TIME to work out all the other stuff, and I'm not suggesting that you stop, only that you prioritize strengthening yourself. If you've got an "Inner Critic" yammering in your ear, try challenging his aspersions. That's basic CBT, right? Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Our Inner Critic is all about making us feel bad, and he tell lies to get it done. Challenge those lies with the TRUTH. Follow up with supporting facts. ie. Your inner critic says that you are at fault for your WW's adultery. Don't just take that lying down. You know that you don't have control over other people's choices. You know that you have no say over whether they honor their stated values or commitments. You know that there are ALWAYS other options. She could have talked with you honestly about the outside attraction. She could have insisted on counseling. She could have packed a bag and left. But she didn't. She chose to cheat, to deny you of agency on a decision which affected YOUR life. That's on her.

Every time you catch your Inner Critic wailing in your ear about one of your alleged failings, challenge it with the TRUTH. It's so important when you're caught in a depression to lift yourself up, because if you allow that unhappy voice in your ear to keep you down, you'll be extending the length and depth of depression. The body and the mind are connected. You'll see that clearly in van der Kolk's book. So, just like the military advice Bigger gave you, double-down by posting sentries and keeping your Inner Critic at bay. He's not there to help you. He's there to make you wallow and give up. He is the sickness. He is the depression. Fight him with FACTS.

I know it doesn't feel like it today, but you're going to be okay. You're surrounded by people who have come through this, and you will too. Believe it and it will be true.

MaintainThePain posted 3/17/2021 19:00 PM

@ChamomileTea I want to thank you again. Your post about unmet needs and everything has had me thinking a lot about a lot. I have reread it many times.

Would you mind going into a bit more detail about the flawed teachings of unmet needs or is that explained more in the books you recommended?

I appreciate you and everyone here so far giving me good advice. It feels nice to feel validated and not crazy.

ChamomileTea posted 3/18/2021 00:14 AM

I wish I had books and articles for you, but if you type, "the fallacy of unmet needs" into your browser, you'll find one editorial and a bunch of stuff regarding geriatric issues. If you add the words, "in marriage", you'll find that one editorial again and a bunch of links which support that skeezy bit of pop-psy. As I told you earlier, it's still a popular model, still taught at universities, and still published by many "experts". At this point, I'm wondering if I should write my own book, because I KNOW it's bullshit. I know it because I've lived it, and because I've spent 17 years studying infidelity.

Like I said earlier, it sounds good on paper. It seems to make so much sense. People get unhappy with whatever they're missing at home and they seek to replace it out in the world. But that doesn't account for the thousands of otherwise GOOD marriages where there weren't problems and no one could say their needs went "unmet". It doesn't account for the escalation of risky behavior as the cheater becomes accustomed to the biochemical cocktail of adrenaline, dopamine, oxytocin, etc. It can't explain why some people cheat but others don't. But worst of all, it excuses the behavior as if there could be ANY valid reason to abuse and traumatize one's partner.

Ten years before my WH's Craigslist binge, it all seemed to make sense to me. He told me he didn't feel appreciated and that he felt disconnected. He told me he felt like he was "just a paycheck on legs" and that we weren't having enough sex and that it wasn't as passionate as he wanted. He said he didn't feel like anyone was listening to him, etc. So, I dutifully translated all that into "unmet needs". It seemed reasonable. Who else was he supposed to go to for those things, right? His only available outlet for sex, connection, appreciation, companionship, etc. was supposed to be me. Never mind that back in those days, he came in from work most days not wanting to talk to anyone and instead taking a nap, that he didn't participate in any kind of family or school activities with the kids, let alone any kind of date night. I went everywhere alone or with the kids and it wasn't because he wasn't welcome, it was because he couldn't be bothered. And as far as sex was concerned, we were having regular sex but back in those days, he had really bad PE, and as far as I knew, never even talked to his doctor about it.

But I took all that data, translated it into "unmet needs" and upped my wife game. Feel free to read "did the pick-me polka". For a couple of years, he responded to that really well. But what most of these experts don't tell us is that a near miss like that, where you get really close to divorce and then decide to stay together, can cause a new infatuation with lots of hysterical bonding. Just like any infatuation though, the shelf life is about two years. Still, things were cooking along okay. I kept my changes even while he was reverting back to his old ways, going online behind my back to look at porn, flirting with women at work, and searching for potential affair partners. Things I found out later when I busted him with his Craiglist partners.

Turns out, "unmet needs" were never the problem. He was bored... and entitled. He was literally looking for reasons to have a grievance at that point. His temper had become short, and by then it seemed like he did nothing but bitch and complain and irritate our teen-aged kids. Frankly, there's only so much of that a person can take before they withdraw. At that point, I was spending very little time with him and what time I spent seemed like it was always about putting out fires. There was still sex and still catering to his "needs" in terms of cooking and washing up, but I couldn't stand toe to toe with the negativity anymore... and that was all he needed to build his resentments up to the point of acting on them. One could say that his "needs" for attention and flattery were going "unmet" at that point, right? But he had made it an impossibility by then. So, what that told me is that even if he had "needs", he either didn't want me filling them or I couldn't fill them. Which brings us to neuroscience.

I have actually watched an incident of my WH interacting on a porn site with other women. I wanted to know what all the fuss was about. His whole body was tense like there was electricity running through it, hands just a bit shaky, pupils dilated. It's the effects of dopamine and adrenaline on the body and not too different from the way cocaine works. There's nothing in the substance itself which causes the high. It's how it binds the dopamine transporters so the body is infused with collected amounts of dopamine. This kind of risky, illicit behavior works the same way. The bored cheater finds excitement and the reward center of the brain is pleasured by it. In time, it takes more risk to get the same effect, so maybe he starts talking on the phone, and then makes plans to meet up. There's an escalation. In affairs, add in the cuddle hormones, oxytocin and vasopressin, which encourage pair bonding and increased attachment. So, what does that have to do with "unmet needs"?... nothing. Which means that "unmet needs" can't explain it.

Now, there are some people, and my WH is certainly one of them, who have an unhealthy "need" for external validation. But here's the bad news on that. After so many years together, familiarity breeds contempt. Validation from a spouse doesn't get the job done, because this unhealthy need is more like the risky behavior we talked about above in that it demands the biochemical payoff. Flattery from the old familiar spouse is nice and all, but it doesn't rev up the dopamine the way it does if it comes from a stranger, particularly from a stranger who might be a potential sex partner. You see how that works? There are some needs, unhealthy needs, that we can't oblige no matter how much we might want to.

When it comes to "unmet needs", the goal-posts are always moving... and some are impossible for a mere spouse to meet. And the more you think about that the less sense it makes as an explanation for adultery. Like my WH, I only had one place to go for sex, opposite-sex companionship, intimate connection, etc. That's marriage, right? Being those things for your partner. But he wasn't providing those things for me, not really. Sex was about ten minutes in duration and he was too bitchy and uninterested to be a companion or confidante. So, not only are the goal posts moving, sometimes your WS is blocking them like he's a goalie for the Boston Bruins. But I didn't cheat... and he did.

So, why is that? It's not like I never had motive, means, or opportunity through the years. But I don't look at other men as romantic/sexual possibilities. I remember working a waitress job part-time in the evenings when my kids were really small, and another waitress coming up to me gushing about how there was this super good-looking guy at one of my tables. So, I took his food out to him and sure enough, he was a true hunk, like Hollywood, male model gorgeous. And I hadn't even noticed before it was pointed out to me. THAT's how married I am. But one doesn't even have to be blinded by their own wedding ring to have tall boundaries. There are lots of people who do look and who appreciate the aesthetics of beauty, but never act on it. And it's easy to see what we have in common.. we VALUE our word and our beliefs. We believe that once the vow of fidelity is given, it MUST be upheld. There's no wiggle room on that. The boundaries fall into place, surrounding the core value/belief, and our actions reflect it. If we look, we look with our eyes, not with our hands and certainly never with our genitals.

What's left then is that there are some people, a lot of people even, who's word is NOT their bond. Cheating is NOT against their character because their core belief in fidelity has an out clause. It's got a "but...". Their adherence to fidelity is conditional. Mine isn't. The "unmet needs" folks would have us believe that anyone can cheat, that we're all capable of throwing our values away and diving off the high board right into the adultery pool, that all it takes is the right sort of provocation. But that doesn't explain how MY needs have gone unmet or why I don't go around assessing the possibility of romantic/sexual attraction in my daily life. And I'm NOT an aberration. You're surrounded in this forum by "never woulds" who likely number in the thousands. The difference is character, and I define that by how we relate to and uphold our core values and beliefs. Do our stated values match our deeds? In cheaters, they don't. The cheater vows fidelity, but has sexual congress with an interloper. They promise honesty, but then lie right to our faces about where they were or who they were with. I'm not capable of that. And I'm not the only one.

The more you wrestle with the "unmet needs" methodology, the more you find lacking. The entire premise suggests that we should be able to control our spouse, that we can provide all his/her needs, real or imagined, and guarantee that we won't become a victim. But it's just not true. We can't see into other people's heads and know their true thoughts. We can't be new again, providing the biochemical cocktail of risk and/or infatuation. We're not a smorgasbord of pussy or a dick buffet.

Human beings aren't born in pairs, and I'm not talking about twins who are two complete people. None of us are born as one half of a whole is a better way to put it. We don't need another person to complete us. That's Jerry Maguire, not real life. Healthy adults see to their own needs. If we're married and we have one-stop shopping for things like sex, companionship, emotional connection, we identify the problem and we negotiate solutions. If it can't be repaired, we end that relationship with dignity. It's when our needs are unhealthy that we get into trouble. An unhealthy need for external validation or an unhealthy need for sexual conquest aren't things we can supply to a partner, even if we're willing to do so. It take a new swizzle-stick to stir up that particular biochemical cocktail, right? This kind of unhealthy "need" typically needs treatment to resolve, or at least a mega-dose of introspection, self-honesty, and perseverance.

Cheaters are Narcissus at the pool. It's not really the AP which is so enticing. It's the way the AP reflects their desires back to them like a mirror. The cheater sees what he WANTS to see. My WH didn't see a dumpy housewife cheating on her own husband or himself as a balding, middle-aged cliche. His flattery was reflected back to him and it filled the void, his "need" for external validation and admiration. The more he poured out, the more he got in return. I'm sure it seemed to him that it would go on like that forever, but it's temporary just like any other infatuation period. Real life asserts itself, the fantasy is broken. The cheater struggles against it because those biochemical cocktails kept them high. But in the end, that doesn't last either. Eventually, a cheating pair who decides to be together would have to navigate real life, and only a very rare few can manage it.

I'm not saying that people can't change and learn how to overcome "unhealthy needs" or learn to really honor their core values. It's completely possible. But the cheater has to really want it though, more than anything, and they can't do that when they're busy blaming their marriage or their spouse for their choices. It takes a lot of really humbling introspection to correct something like that. Most people will need guidance through therapy, although some can manage it on their own. And I do think that it's a fairly rare thing if I'm honest. People don't like to think of themselves as having poor character. It's so much easier to think that they're good people who just made bad choices. That's not much impetus to strip down your character and take an unguarded look at what's inside though, is it?

Anyway, I've written another tome. Sorry. Just trust yourself. Question everything. Take things out past their logical conclusion and into the ridiculous. When you do that with the unmet needs fallacy, you see pretty quickly that it's bullshit. My WH has a "need" for me to prepare his food. But where does that stop? Should I chew it for him like a naked Ferengi female? And if I don't, wouldn that mean that he can get food from another woman who IS willing to chew his food like a naked Fernegi? Does that include sex though? What he's missing is food, right? lovingly prepared and presented just the way he wants it. So... how did his pants come off? You see what I mean. Test to the extremes of your imagination. Some things will make sense to you, others won't. Trust yourself.

leafields posted 3/18/2021 00:25 AM

CT, that is the most real thing I've read. Absolute gold.

ChamomileTea posted 3/18/2021 00:46 AM

Thanks, Lea. I was worried it was too long.

Cooley2here posted 3/18/2021 00:50 AM

I want to focus on the “dead bedroom”. I don’t buy her bullshit. It is so easy to reach across the bed. Were you reading body language that said “hands off”? (There was an issue in our marriage which made me not feel any love for my H at all but we continued to have sex. I knew enough that it helps bond a couple and I knew enough to wait for the love to return. It did.) If both of you wanted sex then why didn’t you have sex? That’s why I think she is playing you. Maybe not deliberately but she knows you are in real emotional pain and thats cruel.

Read Anna Fels article in the NYT about betrayals. It is Great Betrayals.

Thank you for your service and the sacrifice you made. Keep using EMDR for all of it.

Cooley2here posted 3/18/2021 01:03 AM

I wonder if your needs are so strong because you belong to the most powerful alliance there is. Your “Band Of Brothers”. The intense friendships you form in combat have no equal in your daily life. Your intense feelings have no outlet. You can’t articulate them to your wife so you shut down. She must be dense if she doesn’t recognize that. There is too much publicity about what happens in war for anyone to be that obtuse.

I think you need to deal with the fact that she doesn’t know what she wants so she has you hanging on by your fingernails. Her new romance has short circuited her rational thinking. You need to protect yourself. Consider her a virus.

MaintainThePain posted 3/18/2021 08:19 AM

CT thank you again for all your information. We are in the unmet needs dance currently. I am worried that I can be emotionally open enough for my WW. I'm a pretty stoic person by nature and my time in combat has enforced the strong silent type. I have my ways of showing love but it's different from what she needs and I'm trying to learn to adapt. We were recommended the "5 Love Languages" book like you mentioned and we are both reading that.

My WW says she doesn't blame the unmet needs, she said she made a poor choice and at the time she used her unmet needs as validation for her choice.

I'm going to be rereading and thinking everything over. Mentally, I am a disaster right now. It takes everything I have to get through work at a functional level. My virtues and boundaries are tall and strong like you said, I even have a virtues magnet on my fridge "The Warriors 9 Noble Virtues" that my WW gave me ages ago. This is why the struggle is so hard for me and the pieces don't fit. I was in the same unmet needs category as my WW and I never even put myself in a precarious position.

Thanks again for all your information and feedback. I am just navigating this entire mess and trying to find myself.

@Cooley2here thanks for your input and your appreciation. I will check out that article. Bonds formed in combat are intense and last forever. I do really miss that sometimes. I felt safe with my brothers and sisters when I was active duty. I put more value on friendships than some. When things were depressing and poor at home, I made more efforts to be with friends, always inviting my WW. She didn't want to participate because she felt I wasn't focusing on us or the marriage and putting more emphasis on things outside of us like friends and activities, which I was. It was all I could do to fight off depression. I didn't know how to tell my WW how depressed I was with the state of our marriage.

If there's one thing the DDay has taught me, it's to speak my mind at every moment. No more emotionally checking out because I'm upset. Trauma is such a beast.

Sceadugenga posted 3/18/2021 08:47 AM


If it were possible here, I would've upvoted your text for the Deep Space Nine reference :-)

ChamomileTea posted 3/18/2021 15:06 PM

We are in the unmet needs dance currently. I am worried that I can be emotionally open enough for my WW. I'm a pretty stoic person by nature and my time in combat has enforced the strong silent type. I have my ways of showing love but it's different from what she needs and I'm trying to learn to adapt. We were recommended the "5 Love Languages" book like you mentioned and we are both reading that.

Ugh. That's a real kick in the gut. I think, if at all possible, you should replace your MC. I remember seventeen years ago, our therapist handed us that book. I was so impressed. It made so much sense to me at the time. I even remember handing it off to a friend of mine whose husband had recently cheated on her {insert Captain Picard facepalm here}. I was thinking, "Of course he didn't feel loved and admired. I wasn't speaking his language. He couldn't feel it, poor man." It just sounds so reasonable, right? But hindsight is 20/20, and the FACTS are that my WH understands English and I'd been telling him "I love you" every day for twenty years. I cooked meals based on what he liked, bought him special treats, catered to his preferences, and even gave him sex when I wasn't particularly in the mood for it. And because he was a PE guy, I always made sure not to criticize or pressure since I didn't want to worsen his performance issues. There's NO WAY he didn't know I loved him. No way.

The Five Love Languages is, IMHO, the worst piece of trash pop-psy to come down the pike in decades. The hook, of course, is determining which personality profile fits, but really, they ALL fit. Who doesn't like sex and touching when it's good? Who doesn't like to hear how great they are, or have someone else do the weed-wacking? Who doesn't like to get a thoughtful gift or have a loved one make time with them?

It would be really nice if it were true. If I could have stopped my WH from cheating by making sure the toilet bowls were spotless. But he didn't cheat because of me. He cheated because he WANTED to. He'd been married since he was 20 and he wanted to remember what sex was like with someone else. He wanted the thrill of the chase and the butterflies of new infatuation. He wanted to feel young and free of responsibility. And none of that was about me and none of it could be provided by me.

The Five Love Languages might be good for reminding married couples to think about each other's preferences and to be kind... but that's the limit of it. You're better off with John Gottman's The Seven Principles of Making Marriage Work, or better yet, Making Love Last: How to Build Trust and Avoid Betrayal. Gottman takes a scientific approach. He brings couples to his "Love Lab", wires them up, and tests his theories. There's no hook to it, but he knows what works and what doesn't.

In terms of your stoicism, that has nothing whatsoever to do with why your WW cheated. It's good for your marriage to work on that and to make sure that there's emotional intimacy between you. Choose Gottman for that though, not Chapman. It makes the relationship much more satisfying, right? Just remember that she had her own reasons for what she did and those reasons had nothing to do with YOU. There were myriad other actions she could have taken to solve the problem, right up to and including leaving the marriage. Healthy adults don't solve their problems with other people's genitals. They don't throw away their core values when confronted with difficulty. And that's all this was... a difficulty, not an insurmountable "unmet need".

We've all got quirks and eccentricities. I actually love my WH more for his. I could always see why he developed this craving for attention as a middle child who got lost in the crowd. His hypochondria was a result of being raised by medical professionals who didn't see him unless he was sick. I found these things to be endearing and they allowed co-dependent me to fill in his gaps. The point is that your WW knows you. She married you and accepted you. And now, all of the sudden, you're not enough? No. Not buying it. And I'm really glad to hear that she's NOT claiming "unmet needs". Listen to that. No part of her decision to cheat was your fault. Be gentle with yourself. If you've got room for improvement in terms of emotional intimacy and connection, that's fine. Work on it. But do it without beating yourself up.

So, what is it that you feel like is keeping you stuck in the pain? Bear in mind that it's NORMAL at this point. Healing is a two to five year process, but what's bugging you the most at this juncture?

brinbk posted 3/18/2021 15:57 PM

"Healthy adults don't solve their problems with other people's genitals."

ChamomileTea, your last post was great, but this line in particular has me in stitches!

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