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Friends of the past

Snowyjune posted 4/7/2021 10:09 AM

Something happened this afternoon which really upset my BH, and I would like to seek the advice from everyone here on where I have gone wrong.

Background:
Sep 2019 - now 18 months from DDay 1
Jan 2020 - AP was a colleague, and I have maintained NC for ~15 months and counting
Apr 2020 - 12 months from the last DDay (4th as I had no sense to tell the truth)
Apr 2020 - Quit my job 12 months ago.
Cut ties with all ex-colleagues, except for 2 female friends – A & B. For a year now, contact with A and B is limited to only FB and IG friendship. No chats.

Friend A: She was a close friend, who knew about my affair and condoned it. I confided in her about AP, my excuses to leave the marriage. Through our chats, I had also disrespected my BH and my marriage by talking about ease of being myself in the affair, elevating AP and highlighting mine and BH’s flaws/ faults.

After DDay 4, BH and I both agreed that we have to “right the wrong” in friend A’s eyes, and correct her views of him (BH) during my affair.
So I clarified with her that everything I had said to her were lies. I was actually wayward and made many critical errors in my life, and had grossly seen my BH in the wrong light. I was entitled, and now remorseful and regretful about my affair.

Till then, the only other time words were exchanged was when she checked in on BH’s surgery in Aug 2020 after seeing my IG post.

Friend B: She was part of the close group of friends with AP (four of us). We had all hung out together as friends, had drinks and dinner post work, and had a WhatsApp chat group between the 4 of us (which I had reluctantly agreed to leave only in Dec 2019). We spoke all together often.

I didn't outright tell her about AP like I did with friend B. I did tell her I was having issues at home, that things with BH was difficult and I wasn’t sure if it was going to work out. She was like a younger sister to me then, so she would be the most likely person to know about the affair.

Prior to leaving the firm, I had updated her that I was wrong and that I was trying to fix things at home, that I didn’t want to hurt my family anymore.
No contact since then. The only linkage was IG following.
-------------------------------------

My BH’s words on “living the lie” had echoed with me. I used IG to mostly chart my feelings of “too late”, “too much”, rather than for anyone’s benefit. But I thought that with these posts, I could also show them I was wrong, lost, in pain (for BH and myself), regretful, hateful of my actions.

I did not want to/ need to speak with them, but because I wanted to continuously “right the wrong” with those 2 friends, I had kept them as IG friends till today.

Today, friend B had liked my latest post. BH became really angry because he feels that by keeping her on as an IG friend, I was still keeping links to AP. That my above reasoning was an assumption that “righting the wrong” was more important than his feelings of my past. I was being disrespectful by staying IG friends with A and B.

I had immediately cut off those last links to friend A and B.

I had given a lot of thought to this, on what I had missed out, where I went wrong, to not make the same mistake again.

BH feels unsafe because of that linkage.
He doesn’t trust me because I had tore everything up. In my mind, I knew if there were any contact from A or B, I would have informed BH, but he cant trust me on that, because he was made to believe something else.

One of BH’s anger points stems from the fact that we were continuously living a lie - the lie of a happy family, the lie that I could do no wrong. So I tried to fix that aspect in A and B’s eyes.

What else have I missed?
What happens when while trying to fix 1 wrong, exacerbates another issue?

--------------

Edit to add more details on Friend B.

[This message edited by Snowyjune at 11:38 AM, April 7th (Wednesday)]

Papercoversrock posted 4/7/2021 13:18 PM

Have you clearly explained what you wrote in your original post to your BH? That seemed a pretty good explanation of the reason for maintaining contact (at least for some period of time originally; not necessarily maintaining ongoing contact, especially with someone who condones betrayal).

He might not remember those specific “setting the record straight” reasons for keeping contact.

He also may have assumed you would sever the communication immediately after setting the record straight because of course you would, why would anyone value those toxic friendships over their spouse’s mental health? (Wayward spouses seem to have a blind spot / ability to compartmentalize that keeps them from understanding how many things, people, etc. are and will be triggers).

Maybe work together to draft an explicit, blanket statement/apology that could be shared with anyone your BH feels you might have misrepresented him to.

AND take this opportunity to review ALL agreements, understandings, limits, etc. to make sure you are completely on the same page everywhere else in order to reduce the chances of something similar popping up.

Assuming my reactions are similar to other betrayed husbands, there is an initial, immediate, visceral reaction to any hint of more lying, disloyalty, disrespect, etc. After that passes, I can evaluate situations more logically and dispassionately.

So maybe leave a note with this info and ask him to talk with you whenever he’s ready.

waitedwaytoolong posted 4/7/2021 14:34 PM

I don’t want to be harsh here, but I get the feeling from this post you are looking for people here to tell you what you did wasn’t wrong. I can tell you from a BH standpoint it was. You TT’d you BH for six months if the dates in the post are correct. You also kept contact with the AP for 3 after d day if that math is correct. I can tell you that he probably doesn’t trust much of what you say.

From his perspective he probably thinks you kept in contact to catch little glimpses of the AP from these other peoples posts. Or that you have been chatting with them. Because you told him you weren’t means very little. If you can lie about a big thing like maintaining contact with your AP for 3 months, what’s to stop a “little” lie like a friendly chat. These conversations once deleated are gone.

The real question is why wasn’t that door shut and locked after you quit and set the record straight. What did you have to gain by maintaining contact?

I see his point as bright as the sun in the sky. I would be very suspicious if I were him, and certainly hurt you didn’t care enough about him to close the chapter. Especially with a friend who actively encouraged the affair.

Username123 posted 4/8/2021 02:54 AM

The fact that you kept contact with a friend who condoned the affair was a disaster.

The fact that you kept contact with a friend whom you disrespected your husband to during the affair was a catastrophe.

I bet your husband assumes you kept those channels open to hear about your AP.

RocketRaccoon posted 4/8/2021 04:42 AM

SJ,

Look a it this way, you kept in touch with enablers to your A....

Whether you did it to 'right the wrongs' or whatever, you kept being 'friendly' with 2 people who helped destroy your husband and your family.

Fried A should have been jettisoned a looooong time ago, as she was your cheerleader to betray and destroy.

Friend B was probably not as ignorant as you say she is, as it would have been easy to see if two people were attracted to each other or not, especially if you interacted a lot in a group.

If you truly wanted to 'right the wrongs' it would have been a one-and-done deal, as in that you would have told them that you cheated and your BS was not the ogre you painted him to be, then cut all ties with them.

However, you still felt that you needed contact with them to validate that you are doing the right thing, by schooling them. Why do you feel the need to constantly keep updating them on morality?

ETA: Your actions still show that you are selfish.

What you are feeling is guilt, and not remorse. Whats the difference? One is narcissistic, and the other is empathic.

[This message edited by RocketRaccoon at 8:05 PM, April 8th (Thursday)]

SI Staff posted 4/8/2021 05:49 AM

PM for you RocketRaccoon

WalkingHome posted 4/8/2021 07:55 AM

We are who we run with...our friends are a reflection of us.


Married people have married friends and do married people activities. Single people have single friends and do single people things.


If you cross those, you are adding risk and potential problems. If you get advice across those lines, you are getting advice from someone on a very different journey than you.


There are people who will be friends of your marriage and those who will be enemies of your marriage. Cut away people who are not friends of the marriage.


DaddyDom posted 4/8/2021 08:20 AM

Snowyjune, here is what I'd like to suggest for you to contemplate. Most WS's suffer from a similar problem, which is that we have a distinct lack of self-worth, self-love and healthy boundaries. The things you describe here lead me to believe you are in the same boat as the rest of us.

What I mean is this. Unless there are other people in our lives to tell/make us feel special and valued, then we are unable to do that same thing for ourselves. For example, if someone we love and feel strongly about tells us that they are disappointed or mad at us for any reason, it can feel like a gut punch. That one simple statement can make us crazy and desperate, and we will do anything to restore that person's love and respect and interest.

It was once described to me like this, and I love this example. It is as if each of has a "love tank" that keeps us going, sort of like a gas tank in a car. When the tank is full, we hum along as usual. When it starts to feel empty however, we need to fill it up again, otherwise, we are "out of gas", and can't function. For people like us, that love tank has two problems.

The first problem is that there is a huge hole in our love tanks. That hole is probably there because of some sort of mistreatment or trauma in our pasts. It could be abuse or neglect? Rape or violence? It could even be a normal as bullying, or teasing, or even misunderstanding by others. The bottom line is that, for whatever reason, we began to learn to tie our own self-worth, to the opinions and actions of others, instead of intrinsically knowing and loving ourselves. Since we rely on others to feel good about ourselves, when that interest is taken away, we are left feeling empty, and since we can no longer get love and attention to make us feel better, we instead panic, and get afraid, and angry, and desperate. That hole in our love tanks empties faster than it fills up, so we need a constant flow of good vibes coming in, or we're goners. That's why most WS's, prior to getting caught, are usually people that most people find very nice! Because we put on a the mask of a great person and try to be someone that everyone else thinks is great... so that they will love us. The truth is, we can't do it for ourselves.

And that's the second problem. We can't fill our own love tanks. And since we can't, we end up feeling as if we have no other choice than to get others to do it for us. Since love and attention are like air to us - we NEED them to survive since we can't generate our own - we then rely on others to fill us up.

So friends A and B... are love tank fillers. Your spouse is upset with you and isn't giving you the attention, love, praise and admiration they once did, and you are aware that it isn't going to come back soon, if ever. So what to do? You can't love yourself, so... wait! Friends A and B love you. That's "love fuel". But that fuel supply is a little weak, and you don't want to cut it off completely because it is all you have. So you worry... about "what are they going to think about you" and "how will they react to you"? Think about that, and put it into context with the love tank. Can you see that you are actually worried more about how your friends see you than your husband does? Because he might walk out the door tomorrow and then what? Where will you be if that happens? Who will love you? Who will be there for you? Who will make you feel good about yourself? Not him. So your head tells you to do your best to remain in good graces with those friends, because you are going to need them.

So what to do? Well, the answer is a simple one, but much harder to do than to say. You need to learn to love yourself. You have to learn to be your own support system, your own reason to be a good person, to fill your own love tank. Until then, and this is important, until then... you remain a dangerous person for others to love. Because you are unstable when it comes to love. Because you can't love anyone else truly, because you don't understand self-love to begin with. Loving ourselves enables us to define how we love others as well. Love is not transactional. Broken people like us, give love in order to get love. And if we don't get love, we don't want to give love. But love is not built that way. Love is something we give others because it is who we are at our core. It is a reflection of ourselves, not of them. When you look at your spouse, and see yourself reflected in their eyes and hearts, that reflection is tainted by their fear, their anger, their pain, their disappointment... and if we see ourselves in their reflection, then we see ourselves as all of those things. Unlovable. Unworthy. Bad. Less than. But when we see ourselves through our own lenses, then we see our "real" selves. And while, right now for sure, we may not like what we see, the good news is, we can decide, every day, every minute of every day... who we are. We can be good people, or bad. We can act with decency and respect, or we can hurt and betray. We can be strong or weak. We decide. And when we decide who we are, then no one else's opinion matters. And that... is where healing and growth begin.

If you aren't already, I suggest finding a good IC, and start to explore some of this with them. See what things in your life lead to why you feel like you do these days. Find self-love and self-respect and healthy boundaries. Find authenticity and vulnerability. Find love for yourself within yourself. And stop worrying about what A and B think of you. They don't matter. Even your spouse doesn't matter when it comes to this point. Because until you love yourself you can't love others. So go learn to love yourself. And then see what happens.

fooled13years posted 4/8/2021 08:47 AM


Prior to leaving the firm, I had updated her that I was wrong and that I was trying to fix things at home, that I didn’t want to hurt my family anymore
I know your BH said the wrong had to be righted but by this time I assume she had already developed a judgment about him.

I would assume it is much like an attorney who says something and then what is said is ordered stricken from the records. The problem is the jury members cannot unhear what was said and may have formed an opinion or judgment on what was said but then recanted.

No contact since then. The only linkage was IG following
Sorry to say but just because she may not have responded to your IG posts there was most certainly contact.

This is like you writing her a letter, making contact even if she would not respond to the letter.

This goes for both friends A and B.

He doesn’t trust me because I had tore everything up
In my mind, I knew if there were any contact from A or B, I would have informed BH
but he cant trust me on that, because he was made to believe something else
I am going to ask you the question that he might be thinking himself; "Why should I trust you? You cheated, lied, disrespected me, promised no contact but continually lied about that by keeping in touch with friends A and B through IG. So why would I trust you?"

I believe this is equal to you calling and leaving multiple voice mails for your AP telling them how wrong you were, how you are feeling, how your marriage is going and everything else about your life.

What happens when while trying to fix 1 wrong, exacerbates another issue?
This can't come as a surprise to you as I am sure there are so many consequences to your A that you could never have thought about.

You were doing what you thought was right but that was all about YOU.

Seek your BH's guidance in all things R related. If he will not provide any input, consider what you are thinking about doing from his side and if there is any doubt then don't do it.

Things will get easier as you continue to grow.

DoinBettr posted 4/8/2021 10:04 AM

SJ - I also want to put out there that Friend B who is in the same friend circle as AP probably scares your BH.
WS are like drug addicts. They crave and need the AP and the BS doesn't understand that addiction. It also means you are a drug addict for life. You don't get to dabble the old relationships thinking you have the power to know when to stop. You have shown you don't handle boundaries well.
You should for sure remove friend B.
Your BH probably will go down a little rabbit hole trying to figure out if you somehow are in contact with AP again through something she said. Your BH is for sure mad at himself and you that he feels this paranoia again. It makes him question if he is truly healing.

This might be something most WS don't get, and I should start a new thread, but BS hate being told we need to heal, when we know we will never be the same. We feel we might be what is broken or was broken, filling us with self doubt. The WS makes tons of progress from being a crappy spouse to being aware of their behaviors and communicating, but us BS, we improve the marriage less. Maybe we communicate more, but we don't have this big obvious issue to fix. It is subtle and moves.

I think you are making improvements. Yes, your husband is mad. He has the right to be mad. Don't take that away or it is you manipulating how he is allowed to feel about your affair. Instead, accept his feelings, hold him, and talk about how you weren't trying to start the affair again, or hurt him. You accidently re-opened his wounds that were healing. This isn't the last time that will happen. Just thank him for not leaving you, which was totally understandable if he did, and that you will do what you can to make him feel comfortable.
Also, mention that you aren't starting up conversations with the AP and show your BH the messages. This is to reduce his suspicions. He will still be suspicious. You just are trying to show you are complying as best you can.

gmc94 posted 4/8/2021 10:09 AM

SJ - have you read "not just friends"? I'm pretty sure that book talks quite a bit about "friends of the M" and the need to cut ties with such friends.

To me, the bottom line is that these two "friends" were not friends of the M. Your BH's perception as to why contact continued with these "friends" (ie in order to keep a connection to AP) isn't necessarily the issue (& FWIW, IMHO having folks who where not "friends of the M" be "friends" on SM, irrespective of the amount of interaction on SM, is still "contact" with them - that may feel just like "contact" with the AP, bc it's triggering identical feelings - whatever the particular feelings may be).

It's his perception, and one I can certainly understand. There are myriad ways a BS could view continued contact with folks who condoned the A or were not "friends of the M" and none - or all - could be accurate (or true). To me, the bottom line is that he is triggered. Whether the basis for the trigger in his mind is "true" or not to you seem more like a side issue (just like a war vet who is triggered by loud booming noises... whether it's because there is gunfire in the neighborhood or a kid setting off fireworks is secondary to the reality of the triggered feelings).

I think the issue is why, after "setting the record straight", these friends were not excised from your life. Seems to me that DaddyDom has some good points on this front.

For instance, you say that you "reluctantly" agreed to leave the WhatsApp group about 2 years after dday. You can't change that timing, but you can work to understand how damaging that can be to a BS - the ways in which it resets some clocks, so to speak. IOW, to view this thru an empathetic lens is not to view it as "well, I did what you wanted - problem solved, item is checked off the list", etc. Seeing via empathy is to see it from the BS perspective (even if you - objectively or not - believe it is an inaccurate perspective) which may be more along the lines of "WS did it, but didn't want to and did it on their timeframe in their way with a 'you're not the boss of me' attitude and my feelings - as a BS - are no more important to my WS today any more than they were during WS' A", etc. (that negative self talk of a BS can go on a LONG time). I'm not "in R", but I think the goal is to find ways to communicate those diverse feelings with each other and figure out how to move forward with better understanding.

To me, the same logic applies WRT the continued contact with these friends, and then excising them only after BH became angry, You say that "in my mind"... you figured you'd tell BH if there was interaction with these friends. The thing is, just by having them as SM followers, you are interacting (at least in his mind).

ETA: as a BS, it is absolutely HUMILIATING to think that an AP would have any insight into our lives, or our WS. And I do mean ANY insight. So, by allowing these folks to follow your SM, you have NO IDEA if they are reporting anything - or everything - you post to your AP. It's just a more technologically advanced form of the old "telephone" game. I'm not in R, but if my WH were friends - in any form (ie SM or otherwise) with anyone who knew or interacted with any of his APs, I would be DEEP in the rabbit hole, as it can feel like another "window" (to use Glass' terms) between the BS, the WS, or the M and the AP.

[This message edited by gmc94 at 10:14 AM, April 8th, 2021 (Thursday)]

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