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Some advice please

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hikingout posted 4/13/2021 14:02 PM

Yes, I will add that the way I came here describing my husband wasn't accurate. I wasn't lying because I believed what I thought about him.

I would say we can all be guilty of confirmation bias, but when you add the cognitive dissonance experienced in an affair, it takes a while to peel the layers.

I think it's important what BSR said that Patty is not obligated to save the marriage just because she cheated. It's a long uphill climb to get to R. Some marriages are not meant to be saved.

I agree with Neko - if you are safe, keep focusing on why and how you were able to do this, and as you trace your history you will have a fuller view of the situation. It would not be surprising RIGHT now if his anger is very high and some of what he is saying is out of hurt. It would also not be surprising that an unhealthy person picked another unhealthy person to have a marriage with.

You can do this Patty. We can help you.

Patty21 posted 4/13/2021 14:29 PM

Wow lots of good advice. Well first off since my husband found out. I have given my phone, location I video chat before at lunch and after I leave work. I do my best to answer the phone when I can. Keep my husband updated on what's going on day to day. I mentioned the abuse because that's something that hurt me and it something that I want to heal. I know it's not a reason to cheat. I just wanted to point out that this was a problem before. I felt alone, no support, was talked down to alot, I felt more like his mom then his wife. I am really working on I'm not being hurt or upset by the things he calls me or says about me. I want to fix myself so I can be a good wife and be able to show unconditional love. I feel that I have struggled with that most of my life. I want to love myself and have respect. I have not done that in a long time and that is a problem. I do apologize for the cheating, the lies, the pain I caused the abuse I caused my husband, losing his trust, destroying my family. Just right now it doesn't mean much. Which is why I have alot of work to do and a long road ahead. I appreciate all the advice.

WarriorPrincess posted 4/13/2021 14:56 PM

I am really working on I'm not being hurt or upset by the things he calls me or says about me.

I am a BS and I do not believe her husband has a right to be verbally abusive. Maybe in the first day or two after the discovery, you might give him a pass, but ongoing name-calling and verbal abuse is uncalled for.

I believe we should be getting out of every kind of abuse, not just infidelity. If Patty21's WH wants to talk to her in a abusive way, I think Patty 21 has a right and an obligation to set a boundary. The fact that she cheated on him in no way makes it acceptable for him to verbally abuse her. Just as she had plenty of options to change her life other than cheating, he now has plenty of ways to communicate his pain other than being abusive.

Patty21, you do not have to love unconditionally. I thought I did, but the truth is, some people are better loved from afar. My snake of a STBXWH is one of them, yor BH my be one too.

Be honest with yourself and understand what verbal abuse and emotional abuse really are. That should probably be one of your first goals of therapy. Then you can know what kinds of things you should never say or do to others, and what you should never allow to have said or done to you. You will have a hell of a time trying to heal yourself in a toxic environment, no matter how hard you try.

If you do decide to let BH's angry statements pass because they are probably just the result of his pain, remember this:

What he says and thinks about you is on him. You may change yourself and give him reasons to see you differently, but whether he will acknowledge the changes is his issue, not yours.

What you do in your life is on you, and no matter what he says or thinks about you, he does not have the power to stop you from growing. changing, and living your best life. They are two separate things.

It took tremendous courage to come here and to even start trying to face your demons. I wish my STBXWH had even a fraction of that courage. I wish you the best of luck and godspeed.

HellFire posted 4/13/2021 15:34 PM

Telling her she was a bad wife, and that he doesn't believe she won't cheat again, isn't abuse.

Good spouses don't cheat. She may become a good spouse,but good spouses don't cheat.

And telling her she will cheat again, is, IMO, him expressing how he feels about whether or not she will change. Right now, 2 months out, he doesn't think she will change. That's fair. We don't know what she is doing to make him feel differently. She said she is in IC, and reading books. That she talks to him at lunch,and about her day. She prays, and says she is sorry.That's all she has mentioned. I gave several examples of things she could be doing to become a safe partner, and asked if she was doing any of them,and it was largely ignored.

Not to mention, she works with the OM. So her husband has to deal with knowing she spends the entire day in the other man's vicinity. He has no idea if they are still talking. So of course he is having a hard time.

She didn't say he was calling her a dirty whore. She said he called her a bad wife,and that she would cheat again. That's not not same as name calling.

[This message edited by HellFire at 3:36 PM, April 13th (Tuesday)]

Patty21 posted 4/13/2021 20:29 PM

So I am working on not getting upset or defensive on when my husband calls me a hoe, how I murdered my family, how bad of a wife and mother I was.it really puts into perspective on what I did and how I impacted my family with my choice. it's a hard pill to swallow and see yourself as this person. it's not easy and at times it's what I struggle to get through this. I did this horrible act and now I need to fix myself or I will continue to make bad choices. I realized that I don't love or respect myself. So I'm not sure how others can do that. When I do apologize I say exactly why I am sorry and for the things I did. The pain I have caused, how I was selfish and had no respect for my family. Even though I felt abuse from my husband. I want to try and get through this with my husband. There was a time when things were this bad. It's when we moved and got married my husband expected too much from me and I didn't get too much help. I felt like I was never good enough to keep my husband happy. Through this process I have seen more compassion and see the love my husband has for me. It makes me realize. Even though I did communicate I needed to try harder and in a different way. I know I have alot of work to do and it really helps seeking advice from others. I know that it doesn't guarantee my marriage will be saved but knowing that I will have a better self love will help in the long run. I have been in the same pattern in my life and I need to learn how to respect myself.

Patty21 posted 4/13/2021 20:34 PM

Also I'm not sure what it means to be a safe partner? Also I did get tested for STDs, I let my husband see everything on my phone, I ahve location, I keep him updated on who I work with and what's going on at work. I am in the process of getting a new job. It's hard to leave because I got promoted and I am just gaining experience so that I can leave my job and find a new one. Is okay that my husband has told our 10 year old son. It bothered me a little and I wasn't sure if I was wrong to be upset about that. I feel as though since my husband is mad with me. He wants my son to be upset with me too.

Patty21 posted 4/13/2021 20:41 PM

I do try to answer his questions but a times I am told I should have thought before I cheated. Or who cares if he was nice or this person treated me. At times idk what to say or how to answer it. I let my husband push me away, hurt me with his words or not caring about my feelings. At times I did lie about smoking or having drinks. So that caused problems but later I found out my husband had lied about things. So it really bothered me that he couldn't see we both made bad choices. Whenever I did make a change my husband would say mean things about me in front of our son. He couldn't see that I made a change. He would talk about what I did in the past.

HellFire posted 4/13/2021 20:42 PM

Calling you a ho isn't ok. Telling you you were bad wife and mother, is fair game. Key word being WERE. It doesn't mean that's who you are now.

There are many FWS here, who have put in the work, and are some of the most respected members here. There's no reason you can't become one of them.

Telling the kids can be ok. We encourage age appropriate honesty. For many reasons. The biggest being, kids aren't stupid. They usually already know something is going on. And kids tend to make things about them. By telling, that causes the child to understand the tension in the house isn't their fault.

LifeDestroyer posted 4/13/2021 21:32 PM

Hi Patty, welcome to SI. You will read a lot of useful information and advice on here. Really try to take it in and not get defensive over it. LOTS of us have been guilty of that ✋.

You will read a lot that "you a WS can't heal your BS, only your BS can heal himself." It's really hard to accept that. You want nothing more than to make your husband feel better any way you can. You want nothing more than to take all of his pain away for him, but you can't. He will need to heal himself in time. However, there are things that you can absolutely do to help his healing process.

You started with being completely transparent with your life, that's a step. You need to continue to go to therapy, IC, even though he is not physically involved with it, I think him knowing that you aren't giving up on bettering yourself will help him. Be there for him. When he wants to talk, you listen and talk. When he wants to be left alone, needs some space, you give it to him. I know that every fiber in your body will want you to push your way in because you will be afraid that time without you will only show him that he is better off, but you NEED to give it to him if that's what he wants. You can give him the space while still proving to him that you want to be with him. When those moments occur, and they will, you can ask him if he is ok with a daily check-in of some sort (quick text or a quick chat). If he says yes, do NOT miss those moments. Any missed moment can cause him to feel as though you are giving up. While you're in an IC session, really dive into how to be vulnerable and authentic about your feelings. That's something that us WS pretty much all have trouble with. He will want to see your vulnerable side. He will want you to be authentic with him in the words you say and what you feel.

On to the abuse that you keep bringing up. Not to sound rude, and I apologize if I come off as that, but why do you keep bringing it up? It almost seems as though you want us to see that you are trying buuuuuuuuuuut we should know that it's hard because your betrayed husband has said some hurtful things and may not have always helped out around the house. There absolutely can be more to your story, but from those words you have shared, it seems more like he is a man who has just has his heart ripped out, shredded into a million pieces while watching his whole world blow up in slow motion. He is going to say hurtful words. He is going to say things that will make it feel as though he is stabbing you with a searing hot dagger. But none of that is anything compared to what he is feeling every single minute of every single day since finding out that you made the choice to have an affair. I would not go along with him saying anything hateful in front of your child. That is definitely a boundary that needs to be set, but you should be prepared to hear some hurtful things. Like others have said though, that man is in the most immense pain right now because of what you did. Maybe one day he will regret the things he chooses to say, but that's on him if that day comes. Right now, you can listen and apologize for being the reason that he even feels the need to say such things.

I hope you stick around. Stick through the 2x4s, really really hard opinions to hear. Try not to get defensive. Start taking notes of those words that really hit home for you so you can read them again. Find some people on here that you can pm. There are lots of great ones to choose from.

Patty21 posted 4/13/2021 22:25 PM

I wrote about the abuse because someone asked me why do I want to stay in that kind of relationship. So I wanted to put even though this happened I still want my marriage to work. I need to worry about myself and let my husband heal like people have told me. I am working on not being upset. I do give my husband his space. I do try to answer his questions but for now he is still angry with me. I know I don't have any idea of the pain he is going through at the moment. I know I have broken his heart and I need to let him heal when he is ready. I do try to do things to help him out or ask how he is doing.

Patty21 posted 4/13/2021 22:30 PM

Can someone please explain to me what a safe partner means? Also that means alot to hear . Even though I have done this bad choice. I still have the Chance to become better and that's not who I am right now. When I tell my husband that he tells me that I am trying to forget what I did. I tell him no. I let him know that yes I did cheat but that doesn't mean that I am a cheater forever. I have made the choice to stop and recognize what I did. Even though I do work with this person I do not speak to them or anything. I keep work with work and worry about family.i really do stick to the rules he has made me agreed to. I want to earn my husband's trust one day and I want to show him I am worth giving a chance one day.

HellFire posted 4/13/2021 22:39 PM

Even though I do work with this person I do not speak to them or anything

Your husband will never heal,as long as you get up every day, and go spend all day where the OM is. He has zero reason to believe you aren't still carrying on the affair while at work. You must find a new job. Yes, I'm sure that sucks. Finding a new job was a very predictable, and preventable consequence. You can not work with OM, and expect your husband to be ok with it.

Does the other man's wife know?

[This message edited by HellFire at 10:41 PM, April 13th (Tuesday)]

nekonamida posted 4/13/2021 22:50 PM

Can someone please explain to me what a safe partner means?

Waywards will be along soon enough to give you a more detailed answer but for now...

In short it means putting your BH's healing first. That means giving him the full truth and nothing but the truth. If there are things that you have avoided telling him or held back, now is the time to come clean. That means answering all of the questions truthfully and to the best of your ability. That means listening to his pain without being defensive. That means finding a new job to go full NC (no contact) with OM. That means understanding that he will have triggers for a long time and doing your best to act in ways that make him feel safe and supported for as long as it takes. The average time for a BS to heal from infidelity is 2-5 years to be prepared for this to last a REALLY long time. Some people still have triggers even 10+ years out despite being mostly healed and having R'd. Being safe also means working with an IC and figuring out how and why you cheated. "Because I didn't like how he was treating me," is not a safe answer because if you didn't like it, you had options other than cheating. Talking it out, going to MC, even separation or divorce are preferable choices over cheating.

You can't fast track this and I can tell that you want to. I can tell that you're desperate for this answer so that you can just BE safe and then this ends. Most WS are right after DDay. Unfortunately it doesn't work that way. Going from cheater to safe takes YEARS for you too and it probably won't even really kick off until you're in a new job and away from the OM. It definitely won't for your BH. So for now, keep reading. Find the IC. Think about your whys. Focus on yourself.

gmc94 posted 4/14/2021 00:38 AM

Can someone please explain to me what a safe partner means?
This can be tricky when you are only 2 months out, but I'll give it a try

Off the top of my head, the safety issue is about TRAUMA. Learning your spouse has had an A is a TRAUMATIC experience. And it's traumatic on many levels. I did not think it was humanly possible to experience such pain without dying. I am a highly educated, well respected professional. Reading is an essential part of my job, and I've been an avid reader for pleasure as well - for my entire life. Yet, I'm in year 4 and still have tremendous difficulty reading on paper (I can do audiobooks). I was suicidal for nearly 2 years after dday. I had NEVER self harmed and could never understand the fixation with "cutting", yet w/in months of dday I put lit cigarettes out on my body, because the pain of that was a RELIEF from the emotional pain of my WH's infidelity (something that still shocks me to this day). There was a point about 3 months in where my abdomen and thighs were covered with burns. I wouldn't be surprised if there was not a single day for the first YEAR that I did not cry - there is no question I cried more in the 1st 6 months after dday than I had during the 50+ years since I'd learned to walk & talk. I'm someone who just doesn't cry and I would spend HOURS - literally - bawling like a toddler, snot and saliva everywhere... sometimes until the sun came up.

So- that's a snippet of what the pain of trauma can be. But that's not the end of it. When we experience a traumatic event, our "lizard brain" (the amygdala, the nervous system, etc) goes on high effing alert. Neuroscientists say that trauma can actually change our DNA. It changes our wiring. This is primal/biological. Think to the caveman days - we see tiger and then tiger kills our buddy, and we learn: stay the F away from those things. Keep your distance. They are not safe. And then that memory is stored (just like when we are toddlers and put our hands on the hot stove - it burns us and we don't do that anymore). With most traumatic experiences, we are able to remove ourselves from the source of the trauma while we heal, and then gradually -or maybe not at all - find ways to return to that source (eg we get bit by a dog, it can take awhile - and sometimes never - before we can feel "safe" around ANY dog again). But with infidelity, we are living with the source of the trauma. Which is confusing AF, because we also LOVE the source of the trauma.

All of that is still just the tip of the iceberg.

Meanwhile, the WS is mired in shame. And unless/until that can be managed, it's a position of selfishness- the EXACT same thing that goes into choosing an A. So, another layer of confusion bc a BS may want to know their WS is ashamed, want to know the WS understands how effed up their choices were. Yet, shame is a form of pure self absorption - it's all "about" the person experiencing it. It's not supportive of the BS or the BS' pain and trauma response (which is, to a degree, where the yelling, etc comes from - it's a response to trauma), and I think a BS instinctively knows this. so - we both want the WS to feel the shame and we don't want the WS to be self absorbed - creates a nice tidy conundrum there. AND, the BS may also have their own shame - ashamed they were so stupid to not see the A, ashamed they don't want to immediately D, ashamed they were somehow inadequate as a lover, a partner, a friend, etc or their WS wouldn't have cheated (and for those who experience this part, it's a form of control in that we tell ourselves if we were x or y or z it would not have happened so if we change then we can again be safe, when the reality is that A's really have NOTHING to do with the BS and everything to do with the WS). Now we have a BS with a well sized serving of shame ON TOP OF the trauma.

So- what does that mean to the WS? What does "safe" mean? I think it can mean different things to different BS. Personally, it starts with honesty, transparency, checking in, the things you describe (cellphone passwords, calling at lunch, etc). It also includes the WS having NO CONTACT with the AP (and you are working on that, but it's not a done deal). Frankly, those are the easy things. Then there is getting to the root of the WS' whys and hows - why and how did this become an acceptable course, and then changing it. That can take years.

Another example oft seen (including on SI) is the addiction/alcoholic analogy, in that one can be what is called a "dry drunk" - someone who is not drinking, but the same unhealthy coping skills/mechanisms are present. Someone who has not dug into their self examination (or the steps, for the 12-step folks) as to what triggers them, the underlying feelings, etc. Someone that still lies - and an alcoholic's lies (same as with a WS) begin with themselves (IOW, the alcoholic lies to themself LONG before they are lying to the rest of the world). It seems to me a LOT of WS think they are 'safe' bc they have ended their As. But in reality, ending the A is the EASY part. They are still not safe for their current or any future partner unless/until they figure out why they chose to cheat and HOW they became comfortable lying and living a secret sexual life and then CHANGING those behaviors.

And I've still not even mentioned empathy for the BS. Which for most WS is not present - IOW, if a WS was an empathetic person, it's hard to see how they would choose to cheat to begin with, bc they would see/know the damage to the other person. Brene Brown has a pretty quick you tube video on empathy (and she's the queen of shame research, so I think any WS or BS can get a ton of mileage by reading her books. Personally, I found an audio called the power of vulnerability on hooply via my local library that's about 6-8 hours comprised of a series of lectures - it's beyond what you'll find on YouTube and I highly recommend it). But finding the way to empathy - to be able to get on the ground with the person hurting without thinking of ourselves - is crucial to healing, and I don't see how it would be possible to R w/o it. My journey as a BS has prompted me to face some of my own really shitty behaviors -primarily WRT my kids - and honing the skills of empathy has been such an invaluable gift - to me and to them.

There is a podcast that is REALLY good at explaining the trauma, the need to establish trust, empathy, etc., called Helping Couples Heal. I highly recommend it for WS and BS alike. The hosts (and I think all of their guests) operate from the relational betrayal trauma model, that focuses (at first) on what the trauma is and how both the WS and BS can learn to manage the trauma response, to validate the pain, and to begin working on reestablishing trust. The most recent episode (from early March of this year) is an interview with Stan Tatkin and I think it synthesizes a lot of the concepts (IOW, it may be a good place to start, and if any of it resonates, then go back through the other episodes to see what may be of interest).

There is a book called 'cheating in a nutshell' that talks at length about the trauma of being a BS. I am VERY reluctant to even mention it, as I view the book as quite anti-R... or maybe the better way to say it is that the authors view R as requiring the BS to somehow stifle our lizard brain/natural wiring whose JOB is to protect us from harm (which as I've said, is kind of impossible when you are LIVING with the source of harm). So, I'm mentioning it because only you can know if you are at an emotional place that can handle reading a book with a lot of solid information about the trauma, but ALSO a lot of perspectives that may thwart a WS' (or a BS for that matter) hope for R (and I do not want to discount the need for hope, esp so early in your journey). While I am not in R, I disagree with the authors' negativity about R and absolutely DO believe that R is possible. So - it's up to you. The Body Keeps the Score by Bassel Van der Kolk is kind of the bible of trauma (not infidelity), but is another resource that may be helpful if you can view it through the lens of infidelity. That book was VERY helpful for me as a BS, but it is very long and very very very detailed, while the Nutshell is a more easily digestible synthesis that is specific to infidelity trauma.

And since you've already read how to help your spouse heal, you could also substitute their "successful rebuilders' language with 'safe' and IMHO be on a pretty good path to what 'safe' looks like.

Sorry if I've written a tome that doesn't help -

Godspeed.

[This message edited by gmc94 at 12:46 AM, April 14th, 2021 (Wednesday)]

BraveSirRobin posted 4/14/2021 06:25 AM

That was amazing, gmc. I don't know when I've seen a single post that neatly summarized so many challenging aspects of the BS/WS dynamic after D-Day.

I generally endorse new arrivals using the stop sign to prevent aggressive posts from betrayed spouses, but then we miss out on gems like this. Experienced, compassionate BS insights are extremely valuable here.

Bulcy posted 4/14/2021 06:46 AM

Thanks gmc great post

Patty21 posted 4/14/2021 12:23 PM

Thank you for clearing that up for me on a safe partner. I did come clean and open with my husband. At the moment my words mean nothing. I feel that my marriage is over. My choice showed my husband that he wasn't enough for me. He tells me it will never be the same or have any trust in me or anyone else. Each day my husband is getting worse and we are growing apart. I have used the advice I have gotten but to my husband it's too late. I think it's time I just worry about myself and healing. I told my husband I will be there in any way he needs me but he said it's too late. I do feel terrible on this choice I made. I ruined my marriage and my husband's heart/soul. It's not a good feeling. I do hope that my husband will one day be able to heal whether it's with me, or by himself. I really do appreciate the advice. It has helped alot but I have created too much damaged and I get the feeling it's not enough to let wounds heal.

HellFire posted 4/14/2021 13:24 PM

Seriously? You say you want reconciliation, but 2 months out,and you're giving up??

The first year is horrible for the BS. He feels like he can't trust you. He feels it won't be enough. He feels he can't get through this. These are not just words designed to hurt you. He really feels this. Its gut wrenching.

This is where you step up. As you've been told, honest,consistent, and remorseful actions, over time, is the way to get all of you through this.

It takes YEARS to heal. No, he's not going to trust you for a long time. And, even then, complete trust is very rarely restored.

You seem to be upset that he doesn't trust you already. You are trying to rush his healing. And going to work every day,with OM, is doing more damage every day.

Not everyone is reconciliation material. It's ok if you don't have it in you. But be honest and tell him.

It sounds like you've decided you are done trying,and if he decides to suck it up, then he the two of you can move forward. If you want a divorce, that's the right attitude. If you want reconciliation, then FIGHT FOR HIM.

Patty21 posted 4/14/2021 13:35 PM

I am not giving up this is what my husband tells me. I am giving him his space but he has already looked into divorce. I am doing my best to listen and let him know what I did was wrong and I am sorry for shattering his heart and soul. I have told him I will stand by his side by whatever choice he decides. It's not in my hands to say what will happen. That decision is for my husband to decide. I don't tell my husband in any way that he has to do anything or move on. I just tell him I will be here for him In any way he needs me to help him heal. It just sounds like he is giving up because I made him feel like he isn't enough. I do tell him that I am ready to try and fight for him. That I was wrong to have ever given up on him, lied to him and make him feel that he was loved or enough. I am going to keep fighting until he does leave me.

Patty21 posted 4/14/2021 14:01 PM

Also I am just preparing myself if things don't work out with my husband. Also it has been 6 months and I am not giving up. I refused to give up because I want to prove to myself and my husband that I want to make a change. I really want to love myself and have respect. I haven't had that in a long time and it has caused lots of problems for me in my life. I just fear each day I am losing my husband. Maybe that is normal with how he feels. I'm sorry if I come off as giving up. Those are not my intentions I am here to get help. I would like for one day to be able to have a better relationship with my husband and maybe look forward to a future together. I want to know in my heart that I did all I could. Its up to my husband to see those improvements and see that I am remorseful for my actions. I know it takes time just at times I feel that he might leave me. So I am just preparing for the worst. Thank you for everyone's advice and it feels good to have people to talk to.

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