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Chasing Happiness

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 Tanner (original poster Member #72235) posted at 11:01 PM on Tuesday, April 6th, 2021

The year or two leading up to my WW’s A’s we chased happiness. We needed nice trips, a new car, let’s buy a new house, furniture, etc. This was due mostly to her constant discontent, and me trying to please her. None of these things brought us happiness and eventually she turned her unhappiness on me and had multiple EA’s and a PA.

After we started R my W became very content, she seems happy with where we are for the first time in years. We aren’t chasing things anymore. We enjoy simple things and little victories.

We have couple friends that I see this pattern playing out. They are chasing great trips, new house, new cars, they look so happy on social media. Recently the W of the couple confided to my W that they might not make it. They are miserable and the marriage feels dead.

My question is did you notice this chasing happiness especially from the WS, before the A? Is it a characteristic of the beginning of the slippery slope?

Thoughts?

WS input also welcomed.

Dday Sept 7 2019 working toward R
BH 54
WW 47
M 30 years, 4 kids 2 grown, twin boys 12 yo 2 grandkids

One day you will tell your story how you overcame what you are going through now, and it will become part of someone else’s survival guide.

posts: 715   ·   registered: Dec. 5th, 2019   ·   location: Texas DFW
id 8648429
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thatbpguy ( Member #58540) posted at 11:30 PM on Tuesday, April 6th, 2021

Wow, great post.

In my case, my xww was pushing me away. Slowly nudging me away from her. I didn't get it until I got it.

That said, what you say makes perfect sense. Trying to hang on and create something by doing superficial things as people try and buy happiness. My mom died when I was 8 and dad was an alcoholic. He couldn't bring himself to stop drinking or be a father so he bought us things. It was very hollow- even for a kid. And this would be the same in a marriage. A hollow existence.

ME: BHHer: WWDDay 1, R; DDay 2, R; DDay 3, I leftDivorcedRemarried to a wonderful woman

"There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind." C.S. Lewis

As a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool repeats his folly...

posts: 4449   ·   registered: May. 2nd, 2017   ·   location: Vancouver, WA
id 8648437
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OwningItNow ( Member #52288) posted at 1:56 AM on Wednesday, April 7th, 2021

Absolutely. I actually know quite a few unhappy people still doing this.

My H's alcoholism was all about chasing happiness. Every single day. It's always just on the other side of a purchase, decision, life change, life goal. Our lives had to blow up for us to see that happiness (Contentness? Satisfaction? Peace? 'Happiness' makes it seem we are smiling and giddy all the time or are supposed to be)...that happiness is the space you live in inside your head, the way you feel about yourself and your choices. It turns out that it doesn't cost a thing.

Why did it take a family tragedy to teach us this? But we just didn't get it until we got it. That's one way that being MH helps us--we both understand what it's like to not get it until you get it. But what a shame, right? It's not like articles and experts don't try to tell you what to focus on for a satisfying life. We just couldn't hear the message. Too much sh$t in our ears back then, too messed up in our thinking.

We were chasing happiness in lots of ways, all of it a waste.

me: BS/WS
h: WS/BS

Reject the rejector.
Do not reject yourself.

posts: 5263   ·   registered: Mar. 16th, 2016   ·   location: Midwest
id 8648471
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grubs ( Member #77165) posted at 2:28 AM on Wednesday, April 7th, 2021

It makes sense. Waywards tend to be wayward trying to shovel external affirmations or kibbles into their internal hole. That's a losing battle. To get truly healed they need to fill that hole from within. That removes their need for external kibbles which dramatically lowers the risk.

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id 8648477
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still-living ( Member #30434) posted at 3:00 AM on Wednesday, April 7th, 2021

Yep. My wife was a black hole. She consumed everything and everything was never enough. It creeped back over 10 years but she is not nearly as bad as pre-affair. The black hole attitude is something I can’t help but notice now, as well as any obsessiveness in physical appearance, anger, and self esteem issues. Also, lying, even white lies to avoid confrontation is heading down the wrong path.

posts: 1813   ·   registered: Dec. 17th, 2010
id 8648481
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skeetermooch ( Member #72169) posted at 3:48 AM on Wednesday, April 7th, 2021

Oh yes - food, clothes, travel, vehicle - all of it. When we courted and married we both wanted to retire early and move somewhere simple, rural and uncrowded to live close to nature, doing our creative work part time. Very quickly he became materialistic, gluttonous - gained 40lbs overnight - obsessed with stuff and assets. He then expressed contempt for our retirement plan. He wanted lots of money and everything that came with it.

I guess he was on a high when our love was newer and when that high wore off, he needed something else to fill the hole.

Me: BS 50sDDay 1 - 7/2019Separated - 11/2019False Reconciliation - Spring 2020DDay 2 - 8/23/2020DIVORCED - January 2021

posts: 1165   ·   registered: Nov. 28th, 2019
id 8648495
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JanaGreen ( Member #29341) posted at 5:07 AM on Wednesday, April 7th, 2021

My ex is constantly like this. He moves every 1-2 years, he's talking about what he wants in his next house before his boxes are unpacked, he constantly needs to go on trips or he feels deprived, a new career every few years. He literally has been like 5 different people since I met him. He's NEVER content. Always restless. Miserable existence IMO.

posts: 9411   ·   registered: Aug. 17th, 2010   ·   location: Southeast US
id 8648502
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Chicklette ( Member #70303) posted at 7:12 AM on Wednesday, April 7th, 2021

In the year leading up to his A my WH went on a diet and lost weight, then did a charity hike up Kilimanjaro. Not as much searching for happiness as some of your WSs but when I was reading up on everything post DDay I read a psychologist who said that when men lose weight and go climb mountains they’re ripe for affairs. I told FWH, “you’re not only a cheat, you’re a f***ing cliché!”

Obviously WSs are searching for something that is missing in them, and an A is often a next step. But like a lot of you, my FWH is more content now than I’ve ever known him. I guess he got it out of his system, but I think he scared himself with what he’d done and the pain he caused me. It made him look inside himself more than he’s ever done before, and he wants me and our marriage.

Me: BS 59 at DDay
WH: 61 at DDay
Married: 27 years at DDay
Dday: 22 March 2019
In R since 11 April 2019
I love him and have forgiven him. He’s very contrite.

posts: 129   ·   registered: Apr. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Essex UK
id 8648513
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Karmafan ( Member #53810) posted at 11:09 AM on Wednesday, April 7th, 2021

I read a psychologist who said that when men lose weight and go climb mountains they’re ripe for affairs.

I second that. My XWH, who had gained considerable weight throughout our marriage, became a health freak overnight. We were doing well financially and were happy, or so I thought. When he achieved his ideal weight, and was ready to hunt, he started drinking heavily to suppress his conscience. He spent all his free time gaming and drinking, and was making debts left, right and center. He also lost all interest in me and the kids and was moody all the time. The A was only the logical consequence of this ugly transformation.

But going back to the point being made, it’s funny how it takes trauma and infidelity to show us that happiness, or being content at least, has nothing to do with having material things. I guess that’s why a lot of us do so well after D. Because we have been stripped bare, and are able to appreciate the simple things. Peace and quiet stop being boring and become comforting. We grow up so much as people that it sometimes makes me feel like it was worth all the pain.

Me 47
XWH Irrelevant
D-day 23 Feb 16
3 amazing, resilient kids

You are not a drop in the Ocean, you are the entire Ocean in a drop

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id 8648526
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J707 ( Member #63778) posted at 12:29 PM on Wednesday, April 7th, 2021

More, more, more, MORE! That was my exww, still is. She wanted it all. She would be envious of our friends or family flying to Hawaii or Mexico. "Why can't we do that?" Well, if you stop spending all of our money on crap maybe we can.

After our separation/Dday, it was game on for her. I wasn't there to hold her back so holy shit did she rack up some debt. $15,000 loan for a cruise with AP, sure why not. Hey kids you wanna go to Disneyland, slide that card! Multiple Amazon deliveries every day, sure. I forget now but she racked up somewhere around 30-40K in credit cards, then stopped paying them. I kindly give any creditors here information, ain't my deal.

Maybe if I buys this, I'll be happy. Maybe if I go here, I'll be happy. Oh Disneyland, the happiest place of earth, I'll be happy! HOW COME I'M NOT HAPPY YET! The sad reality for my exww is, she'll never be happy or content. You would never know that on the outside. She hides it well. On the inside, just a bottomless pit of unhappiness and woe is me. Fluff me up world, I need attention and happiness, now!

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HouseOfPlane ( Member #45739) posted at 1:07 PM on Wednesday, April 7th, 2021

they look so happy on social media

Yeah, there’s posting pictures, and then there’s building a narrative. I always wonder what’s going on with people building the happy narrative on social media. Who are they telling it to?

DDay 1986: R'd, it was hard, hard work.

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”
― Mary Oliver

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id 8648541
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ladyphoenix ( Member #72766) posted at 1:12 PM on Wednesday, April 7th, 2021

It appears to have been a characteristic for my FWH.

He has never been content with what he has. Always searching for newer, faster, better. I looked in the mirror around the time he was starting to make a connection with the AP and thought, “when am I not going to be enough? When will he trade my 46 year old self in for newer, faster, better?” Little did I know.. 31yo, no babies, HH and a tight ass. He didn’t affair down. Except in character. I am by far a better human because I would not do this to another person. He always said to me: “you make me a better person”. During the A he would post on fb “do what you want, fuck what other people think”... I didn’t know that I was “other people”

Since DDay he is completely changed. Not searching for anything. His best friend bought a new snowmobile this winter, my H has no desire to replace what he has. He is content with his life in a brand new way and searching for happiness within himself. It’s a little unsettling actually. Good overall, but I worry that it’s temporary. How do I know? Just time I guess.

Patience and grace. My new mantra.

M 23 years, together 29. DD1 Feb 2019, DD2(TT) June 2019, DD3 (TT) July 2019, (TT) March 2020, (TT) Sept 2020We have 3 children: 22,18, 13 and a grandson April 2019. We work daily on R and building a stronger relationship.

posts: 93   ·   registered: Feb. 8th, 2020   ·   location: Canada
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tushnurse ( Member #21101) posted at 2:26 PM on Wednesday, April 7th, 2021

Tanner - My H was definitely unhappy and was often looking into hobbies, and things to find that happiness, we ended up with a car that was too expensive, and at times he was spending money on himself.

I can say that since R we have transitioned away from that, he was a collector of things and stuff, he chose hobbies that required lots of stuff, and so forth. But now that we R'd, and we find happiness from within, that has stopped. Our trips are definitely meaningful, and focused around having fun and doing things we like.

We also are downsizing, and getting rid of things. We struggled for a long time financially, so I think getting things was him rewarding himself. For going to work everyday, paying bills, and adulting.

These days though we focus on what we love to do, and take time ensure that we do the things we love together.

Me: FBS
Him: FWS
Kids: 21 &23
Married for 28 years now, was 16 at the time.
D-Day Sept 26 2008
R'd in about 2 years. Old Vet now.

posts: 18926   ·   registered: Oct. 1st, 2008   ·   location: St. Louis
id 8648560
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Justsomeguy ( Member #65583) posted at 2:36 PM on Wednesday, April 7th, 2021

My STBXWW has always been a discontented person, looking for the next thing that will bring her happiness. It's actually a family trait that you can see generationally. The family jokes about it and even has a name for it. Her father was the same way, always discontent and blaming others for his troubles. He was also a serial cheater.

After Dday#2, I blew up my STBXWW'S world and told her family. Her mother was devastated and wanted me to rugsweep at first as it brought up her own unresolved history with her dead husband. Eventually, she opened up a bit, but only just, and to me about something my STBXWW said. She told my MIL, well, like father like daughter I guess...

They talk about the void cheaters are trying to fill. They have a part missing and intuitively feel its absence, but without the intrinsic ability to fix it in a healthy way. So they self medicate with new and shiny things. The AP is just a new and shiny thing. As long as the A is hidden, a d therefore forbidden, they can artificially prolong the new and shiny feelings associated with it. Once it is exposed or the go and live with the AP, it quickly dulls and the banality of daily life begins. That's why so few relationships built on infidelity last.

A healthy, well developed person will recognize that limmerance is simply an initial stage in a relationship, not the goal. It is a stepping stone towards a deeper, more resonant love, the kind that survives, grey hair, wrinkles,disease, and tragedy. Cheaters just don't get this. It's like a different language to them. Some might be able to change, it as a fundamental building block of their characters, set in childhood, I don't believe they can. They might modify the expression of these traits, but like eye colour, they are a part of them.

Me:53STBXWW:51DD#1: false confession of EA Dec. 2016. False R for a year.DD#2: confessed to year long PA Dec. 2 2017 (was about to be outed)Called it off.Denied having an affair in court papers.

posts: 1110   ·   registered: Jul. 25th, 2018   ·   location: Canada
id 8648561
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TwoDozen ( Member #74796) posted at 2:45 PM on Wednesday, April 7th, 2021

Wow this is on point

In the 6 month pre A we had 4 holidays, a new bathroom, a new kitchen and a new car.

None of these things filled the void in WGF and she had her “fling” in September of that year.

I didn’t know she was unhappy, but I guess we were chasing happiness without even knowing it.

We are going to loose all of those things now when we both downsize to less than desirable neighbourhoods in smaller less comfortable abodes that we can each afford.

All this for 2 drunken nights in hotels with someone who was chasing some MILF action and another notch on his bedpost.

I also observed the happiness WGF showed in our year of R. Regardless of why she was unhappy pre A she seemed to be much happier post A with less than she did have. Sadly that came to an end when I decided she wasn’t doing enough to make me happy.

TD

Play stupid games ; Win stupid prizes

posts: 363   ·   registered: Jul. 6th, 2020
id 8648564
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HalfTime2017 ( Member #64366) posted at 10:36 PM on Wednesday, April 7th, 2021

This all makes sense b/c Wayward spouses are lacking typically. I think in all cases they lack Character, first of all, but in addition to character, they are often lacking in other areas of their life.

The unfortunate thing about their lacking is, they don't really know or understand this from an emotional or psychological level. Many aren't even aware of this, which is what causes them to be on the search.

My WW just about 6 months prior to me finding out about her affair, asked me to have another baby. Thank HEAVENS I didn't go for it. B/C she may not have cheated right after the baby was born, but she probably would have some time later, and I'd be saddled with more years of alimony, CS and wasted more years of my life. She, my WW, was lost. She didn't know her whys' but she knew something was up, and she wasn't happy. So she was searching, and it was a baby that she thought could maybe make things better. Keep in mind, at the time that I caught her cheating, she bought a new car just 9 months earlier, I had a new car that was a bit over a year old, both of which were top of the line vehicles. We paid over asking for hers b/c it was a unique and sought after version.

We also had a brand new bathroom, new kitchen, new living area and furniture to go with it. I didn't have an issue with any of these things, as, I needed a new vehicle and we were doing extremely well financially. But the difference was, I was happy and content. I had no idea that she was not.She was reading books about happiness, tried new hobbies, trying to get me to try new hobbies.

She told me a bunch of horseshit afterwards about losing herself, and basically rewrote our history, but I was happy throughout. I was content. I grew up poor, so it didn't take much for me to be happy and content.

Her on the other hand, she grew up with more. Her mom would blow all sorts of money on her and her brother, but she was BPD, and that was her way of buying their love. I guess in the end, my WW had holes she needed to fill. Unfortunately for her, the AP in her case, although they're still together is not her answer to happiness. He is a serial cheater, and no doubt, he will be cheating on her, just like he did the 7 times prior.

Her family is a mess, and I'm glad to be away from it. I hope that I'm able to get my kids to be happy, and to learn to be content. We have things so good, its crazy. The worst thing that happened to me was the Affair, but now that we're Divorced, I'm back to my happy place. For my exes sake and for that of my kids, I'm hoping that she does find her happiness at some point. Its definitely within, and she also needs to build up her self esteem. Which by the way, the affair didn't helped out at all. If anything, that has to be crushing to someones self esteem after they get caught and the whole community now knows you're a cheater.

[This message edited by HalfTime2017 at 4:42 PM, April 7th (Wednesday)]

posts: 1142   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2018   ·   location: Cali
id 8648719
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This0is0Fine ( Member #72277) posted at 11:10 PM on Wednesday, April 7th, 2021

Bought a new car just at the start of the EA. Don't know if they are at all related...

We had 165k miles on the previous car.

Love is not a measure of capacity for pain you are willing to endure for your partner.

posts: 1326   ·   registered: Dec. 11th, 2019
id 8648725
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Naturelover ( Member #50419) posted at 12:39 AM on Thursday, April 8th, 2021

I noticed this with my ex-husband. It’s exhausting because people like this always move the goal post. Once I had one need met, he would say I wasn’t meeting this other need. I think most people with this type of condition have an underlying depression and they are always looking for things to pull them out of it. They are unhappy...and the things they chase only provide temporary relief and then they are on to the next thing or next person. It’s very infantile.

BW (me) 43

The LORD will fight for you, you need only
be still~ Exodus 14:14

Some people will only cherish something when it's no longer theirs~ me


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id 8648742
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 Tanner (original poster Member #72235) posted at 4:48 PM on Friday, April 9th, 2021

Thanks everyone very good stuff.

I think it boils down to seeking external gratification is destructive. The recovering alcoholic, drug addict, hoarder, WS never found the happiness they sought. It took recovery to discover happiness is from within.

IC has helped my W discover this, her A’s make her sick to think about. But, knowing what she is capable of there will always be a percentage of doubt. She told me once “I will never cheat on you again”. I told her never say that to me. I would rather you promise to always protect our M and your faithfulness.

An alcoholic doesn’t just not drink again, they have to protect their sobriety, stay away from the slippery slope. It starts way back before a drink is in your hand or the WS is exchanging phone numbers.

Dday Sept 7 2019 working toward R
BH 54
WW 47
M 30 years, 4 kids 2 grown, twin boys 12 yo 2 grandkids

One day you will tell your story how you overcame what you are going through now, and it will become part of someone else’s survival guide.

posts: 715   ·   registered: Dec. 5th, 2019   ·   location: Texas DFW
id 8649281
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Shockt ( Member #74399) posted at 5:14 PM on Friday, April 9th, 2021

My WH has a long history of depression, though you probably wouldn't think so when you met him in any social situation. He never "chased" happiness really, but just pretty often ruminated about not having it. Which is worse? Who's to say. But I think it's pretty true that his infidelity after 20 years of marriage at age 73 or so (2 years!!! of cybersexting online and sending money!) was another effort to fill the hole in his psyche in a lazy way. After I uncovered his acting out, we separated for 6 months. He was remorseful from the the get go and we are now working on R. What he said, and continues to say, is that during separation he felt hit by a 2 x 4 - realizing what he HAS and stood to lose. duh. So.... we'll see. Theoretically I've always believed that someone who isn't happy with him/herself can't really find happiness with another person.

posts: 70   ·   registered: May. 6th, 2020
id 8649289
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