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Wayward not bothered at all by scenes of adultery

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HowCouldSheDoIt posted 4/21/2021 17:32 PM

You’re not being “fair”, you’re excusing her failure to make anything more than a minimal effort.

It seems like her failure, but when you consider the big picture that this adultery isn't the defining event in her mind, it is really quite consistent. I don't push it because #1) you can't make someone do anything they don't want to do, and #2) I've read elsewhere not to send her stuff, that she won't read it. They're right.

I try not to hold this against her, my IC just says she's not there yet.

Westway posted 4/21/2021 17:48 PM

I fully admit that I mistreated her. Never physical but I know my behaviors were very damaging. I own all of my horrible behaviors to which I have no excuse. Nobody else can be blamed for my failures as a husband, and it is my deepest regret. I have told her this several times. I wish she would have been stronger and left me or filed for divorce.

Adults file for divorce when they are being abused. She didn't want to lose her comfortable life, so she chose to deal with her dissatisfaction with you by going outside the marriage. I would argue she's not an adult.

For an abusive husband you don't stand up to her very well. Interesting.

As for her obstinance, you need to tell her that you will decide what your terms are for reconciliation, not her, and if she cannot jump on your train then you will leave her at the station.

gmc94 posted 4/21/2021 17:56 PM

Admission: I've not read this entire thread.

Sticking point: "I'm not allowed to share my pain or my hurt, and she refuses to identify with my feelings. She calls these conversations negative" Not OK.

WH and I saw a Gottman trained MC right after dday. HUGE mistake IMO. Gottman may be the king of communication, but everything I've read, heard about, or personally experienced says they SUCK at infidelity and TRAUMA. I think Gottman MC would be awesome AFTER there's healing, AFTER the WS had come to Jesus and taken responsibility, AFTER the BS's trauma response is manageable, etc.

Because in the immediate aftermath of Dday, and in the midst of the non stop obsession, mind movies, pain, and the like, "communication" is NOT the issue - not by a longshot IMO. Addressing the trauma the the trauma response is THE elephant in the room. Not every BS' response to dday is the same.... not all BS have PTSD or PISD. But many do, and if you are experiencing those symptoms, then they CANNOT be willed away or altered by some communication style.

After some SOLID work and healing on both sides, there can be a time/place for a Gottman MC, and I can absolutely see the ways in which that could be SUPER helpful for the BS, the WS, and the M. But until that happens, I would not let those 4 effing horsemen run the show.

Just my $0.02.

[This message edited by gmc94 at 5:57 PM, April 21st, 2021 (Wednesday)]

HellFire posted 4/21/2021 18:06 PM

You say you treated her badly,in the past.

Can you be more specific?

This0is0Fine posted 4/21/2021 18:25 PM

#1) you can't make someone do anything they don't want to do, and #2) I've read elsewhere not to send her stuff, that she won't read it. They're right.

You're not wrong. You're going to have to follow this path yourself though.

Early on you'll get advice like, "you have to be willing to lose the M in order to R." You think "I wouldn't threaten divorce just to get something I wanted." And you won't and you shouldn't. However, one day you will ACTUALLY want divorce and it may or may not ACTUALLY motivate her to change. We all have our own level of tolerance and patience. I can tell you to try to reduce that as much as possible and things will simply go faster, but we just have to get there on our own time.

Sending strength.

HowCouldSheDoIt posted 4/21/2021 19:17 PM


You say you treated her badly,in the past.
Can you be more specific?

Sure.
I was often selfish with my time. I work a stressful job and the commute is almost an hour each way, and when I returned home I would often do something to unwind, at the expense of her.
I also worked a lot of Saturdays from home. Date nights were maybe once a month.
I did not know how to listen. I would interrupt her, give advice, etc. Anything other than just listen.
I didn't respect her feelings, I would often drag my feet at things she wanted to do, things she wanted around the house, stuff she wanted to buy.
I was controlling with the family money. Not that I ever said no, but I would ask a hundred questions, I would make comments about the cost of her ideas, try to talk her into other things. She often would just give up.
When it was looking like we had enough money for me to retire early, I got really stingy with money and didn't consider her dreams or anything she wanted. Every penny I could I invested and saved. I did this mostly without considering how she felt about it.
During conflict I would respond to her anger with anger, and have said hurtful things. I regret many things, but this one is special because I now see how damaging it is.
I caused her some bad emotional injuries, I had mocked and joked when she called me to deal with an issue once, and a couple years ago I ignored her concerns and we ended up with a huge, huge problem with mice.
Toward the end I was emotionally shutting down. I knew we needed help, I just figured we could get it when my busy work season was over.
We had lots of good times though, and in a couple ways from the outside it looked great: I served in worship in my church for 17 years, and volunteered in the children's program with my kids for 5 years. I never went outside the marriage for anything, never raised a hand to her. And I don't want her shamed or anyone knowing her adultery that she doesn't want to tell.
My wife made many mistakes too, but that isn't really the point. I have huge regret and shame for not leading like a husband should lead.
What happened to me was very slow. The analogy of boiling a frog, if you go slowly he won't jump out. I used to never mistreat her, but somehow over the years it just kept getting worse. You don't notice until it is really bad.

ChamomileTea posted 4/21/2021 20:03 PM

We haven't talked about it in a while, but she used to say that the adultery is not the focus here, the marriage was ruined before the adultery. She objected to me calling it "affair recovery" because the affair is not the only issue. We both agree it isn't the only issue, but we disagree that it is the biggest issue. I would never say this now, but back then I told her that going outside the marriage is worse than anything that happens inside the marriage. No doubt comments like that still stay with her.

Adultery is the EXACT focus here until that wound is healed. And that doesn't happen on the cheater's timetable. It happens on yours. If you're typical, that's going to be two to five YEARS, so your WW needs to buckle up if she wants to stay in this thing, right?

Marriages don't cheat. People do. People who are capable of saying "yes" to that kind of betrayal and perfidy. THAT's the problem. Your last post was a laundry list of shit you did wrong, but you know what?.. I bet there's a list just like that one for her. You were both in the same marriage. You didn't cheat though and she did. There's something inside your character which prevents you from giving yourself that kind of permission, and what's probably bugging you now, is that you KNOW she doesn't have those same kind of boundaries. NO marriage problem can be solved with adultery. So, your WW didn't think to herself, "oh, my marriage is ruined anyway". Chances are, she didn't think about you or the marriage at all. More likely, she just thought about HERSELF as she got swept up in some player's game and enjoyed the ego boost. She's not being honest with you. Further, if it was a problem in the marriage, than what she's essentially saying is that you DESERVED to be treated that way. Is she willing to commit to that?.. to saying that you "deserved" to be intimately betrayed by the person you most trusted?

It's really upsetting, here at SI, when we see cheaters who continue to blame the marriage and who refuse to accept 100% accountability for the adultery, but that doesn't mean your marriage is over. What it means is that your WW is hard-headed and doesn't want to give up her own narrative. It's almost universal as BS's that we WANT our cheater to understand and to empathize with the scope of what they've put us through. But you know what?.. the majority of cheaters don't get it. If you think about it, you probably didn't really understand the pain and loss either. I know I didn't. I think this is something we can't fully wrap our minds around until it happens to us. That said, the WS does need to at least TRY and understand what they've put us through. They need to be able to verbalize what went wrong in their thinking, and they need to be able to do that without blaming anyone but themselves. No one else made that choice for them. They didn't consult "the marriage" and they didn't consult us. They just did what they wanted at the moment they wanted to. So, why?

Anyway, I think what you're looking for here is for your WW to display a better understanding of the damage she's caused, so that you'll know she won't do it again, right? There's no current need to catastrophize or throw the baby out with the bathwater, but you will need to start talking about how you feel, even if that causes conflict. Conflict isn't always bad. If it's constructive, it's a good thing. It's an opportunity for learning and growth... even if people get mad. Next time you get a trigger... TALK about it. If it peeves her, tough. Look her right in the eye and tell her that you're giving her an opportunity to make repairs and to clarify how she really feels. She'll most likely claim that you're just trying to punish her or make her feel bad, so be prepared for that. Remind her that conflict is opportunity for working things out and that your goal is an emotionally satisfying marriage for both of you, but that you're not there yet.

And change MC's. You should be TALKING to your WW, even when it's uncomfortable, and she should be listening, even when it's uncomfortable. If your MC isn't on board with that, find one who is.

This0is0Fine posted 4/21/2021 20:43 PM

You worked your ass off to provide for your family and wanted to relax after a hard day of work. You are an absolute monster. To cap it all off you didn't just absorb all her anger like an emotional shock absorber. How dare you, sir!

Butforthegrace posted 4/22/2021 09:30 AM

Dude, seriously, the more I read your posts, the clearer it becomes that you really don't like her as as a person. And she probably doesn't like you. I think you should move on.

Westway posted 4/22/2021 09:39 AM

Dude, seriously, the more I read your posts, the clearer it becomes that you really don't like her as as a person. And she probably doesn't like you. I think you should move on.

This.

You have control issues and you sound like a bit of a jerk when you have a mind to be one. That doesn't make you an abuser per se, just someone who is hard to live with. And she is a run-of-the-mill cheater who doesn't have the courage to end a marriage she is not happy in.

Tear off the bandaid for both your sakes.

[This message edited by Westway at 9:40 AM, April 22nd (Thursday)]

Thumos posted 4/22/2021 10:00 AM

Your last post was a litany of pretty common problems in marriages. Certainly nothing insurmountable. Nothing abusive. She is using the logical fallacy of false equivalency. Don't fall for it.

Adultery is abuse.

hikingout posted 4/22/2021 10:21 AM

I think it's important to know that we WS use a lot of justifications to get past our cognitive dissonance. If you are being honest with your list this is not abuse. It sounds like a regular marriage in which either there was not enough feedback from her to know these things were effecting her happiness, or at worst you didn't take them seriously and try to work on them. That's not abuse.

I was a case in which I didn't speak up, I just accumulated resentments and was in denial about that. Learning all the ways I was wrong and taking accountability was a painful but necessary process.

If she was someone who speaks up, then she didn't go the full distance to hold her boundaries on what she would accept or not accept.

If you were verbally or emotionally abusive, then own it, and work through that through therapy. Be better moving forward no matter how this lands. And even if it was it is not a rebuttal for cheating, there are always other choices available. But, if this is the true list of what is being dubbed abuse, then it's just not valid.

When we cheat, we will make very feeble justifications with no further introspection of it. Cheating itself is abuse. Blaming the cheating on the BS is also abuse. Cheating is a decision that the WS made that was in the best interest for no one, deflecting from that is almost always the first response after dday.

sisoon posted 4/22/2021 11:13 AM

One apt analogy is a cancer patient going to the ER having been stabbed with a knife. The cancer is the bigger problem. The knife wound - the A - is urgent, and the cancer can't be addressed if the patient dies from the wound..

There are good MCs out there ... check out CaptainRoger's thread on his sessions in the R forum.

Having said that, your M didn't fail; your W did. MC generally treats the M, but since the M didn't fail, any effect of MC treatment is indirect at best. Another reason for not using MC immediately is that many pre-A problems disappear in the process of R, and they all can disappear in the process of D. Working on pre-A problems in the M is often wasted energy.

Your W says she doesn't know why she cheated. IC for her, with a goal of changing from cheating to good partner, is what she needs, I think. IC with that goal was certainly one of my requirements for R.

What do you want? You are working towards R, but what conditions are acceptable to you? Will your W satisfy your conditions?

Again, you need to define your requirements. If you don't, you're too likely to have recovery drag on and on - and end badly.

It all starts with identifying what you want, even if it seems unattainable.

EllieKMAS posted 4/22/2021 11:50 AM

I was often selfish with my time. I work a stressful job and the commute is almost an hour each way, and when I returned home I would often do something to unwind, at the expense of her.
Sooooo..... you were a completely normal working adult?
I also worked a lot of Saturdays from home. Date nights were maybe once a month.
Being a type-A worker doesn't make you abusive. Did she ever plan date nights? Or clearly communicate dissatisfaction with your working habits?
I did not know how to listen. I would interrupt her, give advice, etc. Anything other than just listen.
Listening is important for sure, but news flash - a lot of people struggle with it.
I didn't respect her feelings, I would often drag my feet at things she wanted to do, things she wanted around the house, stuff she wanted to buy.
I was controlling with the family money. Not that I ever said no, but I would ask a hundred questions, I would make comments about the cost of her ideas, try to talk her into other things. She often would just give up.
Was she working as well or were you the sole earner? Not saying it's good to be controlling about the money, but looking to my own situation, I was the sole breadwinner and also the only responsible adult, so it did fall on me to try to manage spending.
When it was looking like we had enough money for me to retire early, I got really stingy with money and didn't consider her dreams or anything she wanted. Every penny I could I invested and saved. I did this mostly without considering how she felt about it.
Again... were her 'dreams' in line with reality? My xwh would often talk about lavish vacations and things he wanted to do (with me footing the bill). it fell on me to be the 'bad guy' because the 'dreams' he had were just not financially feasible for us. And when you are in the home stretch saving for retirement, a responsible adult should be 'stingy' about their money.
During conflict I would respond to her anger with anger, and have said hurtful things. I regret many things, but this one is special because I now see how damaging it is.
Again, not good. But guess what - everyone has said hurtful things. Everyone has had times where their anger has gotten the best of them. That's part of being human.
I caused her some bad emotional injuries, I had mocked and joked when she called me to deal with an issue once, and a couple years ago I ignored her concerns and we ended up with a huge, huge problem with mice.
So you had one time where shit went sideways... and? Again - that is a normal part of being in a relationship.
Toward the end I was emotionally shutting down. I knew we needed help, I just figured we could get it when my busy work season was over.
I did this too, the shutting down thing. In my case, it just hit a point of overwhelm that I wasn't able to cope with. It happens even in 'normal' healthy relationships.
We had lots of good times though, and in a couple ways from the outside it looked great: I served in worship in my church for 17 years, and volunteered in the children's program with my kids for 5 years. I never went outside the marriage for anything, never raised a hand to her. And I don't want her shamed or anyone knowing her adultery that she doesn't want to tell.
Even marriages with infidelity typically aren't all bad. But any good times right now are completely subsumed in dealing with her cheating.

As far as telling or not... I get it both ways. But if it is detrimental to YOU to keep that secret, just know that you are under no obligation to do so. She cheated. And part of the natural fallout and consequence of HER choice to cheat on her husband is that people may find that out and have feelings about it. That ain't on you.

Honestly, to me she sounds like she will be perfectly happy to rugsweep so she can keep on looking like a good wife. That might work for a while, but that is just not a viable long-term solution. Eventually, YOUR feelings will need to be addressed. And speaking from my own experience, it's not a fun time remaining with a completely remorseless cheater.

src9043 posted 4/22/2021 12:52 PM

After reading your description of how the two of you related to one another, I suspect that her ONS was done, in part, to hurt you. Her immediate confession screams out to me that she wanted to wound you in a way that she could get back at you for all her perceived complaints. Not to say that was her prime motivation for her ONS, but I think it was a strong component in her decision to screw around. Too many choices were made by her which, if made differently, could have derailed the entire episode. She went to the bar with the intent of getting laid. If it was simply lust and a stupid mistake, she would have carried the sordid episode to her grave. She did just the opposite. She practically ran home to tell you what she did. My god, she even told you she enjoyed the interlude. If there ever was a time for a little white lie, it was at that moment. Whatever happens from this point forward, you get to eat this shit sandwich she served up to you on a platter for the rest of your marriage. Her defiance lends credence to my opinion.

BTW, in all cases regarding infidelity, I recommend that the WS be forced to submit to a polygraph as a condition of R. This may not be her first rodeo.

[This message edited by src9043 at 1:29 PM, April 22nd (Thursday)]

Unsure2019 posted 4/22/2021 13:46 PM

This ^^^^^

I was just going to post exactly what src9043 just posted. The ONS may not have started out as a conscience decision, but your WW certainly knew where each and every choice was going to lead to. I too believe her decision to “confess” when she got home was not because she felt guilty. Rather, it was a quick and easy way to hurt you deeply and give you some payback for all the damage she perceives you’ve done to the M.

You’re WW has shown little regret, let alone remorse. The few consequences you’ve imposed – like telling her couldn’t wear certain jewelry to bed – are an easy price that she has been more than willing to pay in exchange for being able to finally hurt you.

In an odd way, this may have been an attempt to get you into MC. I don’t see much hope for R with her current mind set. I would insist she get IC and start to own her choices and actions. If not, I would move straight to D. Right now, you have nothing to work with.

Thumos posted 4/22/2021 14:01 PM

Even marriages with infidelity typically aren't all bad.

I would argue that, in fact, most marriages where infidelity occurs are "good" by most definitions. Even an adultery apologist like Esther Perel cops to this.

Obviously, once the infidelity happens, those marriages are automatically now pretty crappy marriages and will likely be so for a good long while even in the best R scenarios.

Yet it's becoming increasingly evident, as crowd sourced websites like SI continue to gather information, that the therapeutic community has for far too long been far too credulous about fabulist stories waywards like to tell about their marriages.

With more hardnosed specialists in the therapeutic community like betrayal trauma specialists starting to hold sway, the old narratives about a bad marriage inviting infidelity are beginning to crumble. And as women reach parity with men in terms of female infidelity, this is becoming even more obvious.

Another salutary and parallel trend in the therapeutic community has been a growing recognition that adultery is a very toxic form of abuse, should be handled through that lens, and that the PISD suffered by betrayed spouses is real, profound and lasting.

Yes, it's certainly true that some marriages were quite tenuous before infidelity. But I think our modal intuition was already telling us that it is probably far more common that a wayward spouse simply was a broken individual who made shitty choices.

[This message edited by Thumos at 2:02 PM, April 22nd (Thursday)]

HowCouldSheDoIt posted 4/22/2021 14:02 PM

You have control issues and you sound like a bit of a jerk when you have a mind to be one.

Yes, that is true. Getting better every day though.
She is using the logical fallacy of false equivalency.

She might be in her mind, but since she doesn't really talk about it, you wouldn't know.
If you are being honest with your list this is not abuse.

My therapist never said I was "an abuser." My understanding is that everyone has abusive episodes, you have to consider the patterns. I wouldn't refer to myself as an abuser, but I will accept the name.

Something you might find interesting... the bar for abuse by women is much, much higher than it is for men. Literally the same behaviors in a woman are not considered abuse because they don't carry the potential physical threat. Men generally aren't frightened by women and so the abuse threshold is quite high.

Was she working as well or were you the sole earner?

She gave up her career for the kids. I've been the sole earner for the past 20 years. Although fairly compatible money-wise, I'm much more of a saver and investor.
Again... were her 'dreams' in line with reality?

Somewhat, but generally she is comfortable with a much higher debt-to-income ratio than I am. However, among my regrets is not understanding that she wanted to talk and dream together. Those were opportunities that I missed.
I suspect that her ONS was done, in part, to hurt you.

I have thought that too. She denies it but it hard to ignore the possibility. It is a horrible hurt.

EllieKMAS posted 4/22/2021 14:19 PM

She gave up her career for the kids. I've been the sole earner for the past 20 years. Although fairly compatible money-wise, I'm much more of a saver and investor.
I am in no way saying that being a stay at home parent isn't a valid choice. I don't have kids, so take what I say with a grain of salt, but just mho that if you have a situation where you have a sole earner, then the person earning the money should have more of a say about how that money is spent. Like I said - I was in this situation with my xwh as well. I was the breadwinner, and after dday, I got similar song and dance about how I "didn't support his dreams" and that we "didn't do fun things" because of our financial situation. But ultimately, I care more about paying the mortgage and the bills than I do about going on a dream vacation or investing in risky business ventures. Also, a lot of the "big dreams" he had only came out AFTER he cheated on me, soooooo.... too bad so sad dude. Once cheating happens, everything else, any other complaints about the BS from the WS, any marriage 'issues' take a back seat to the cheating. HCSDI, I wasn't perfect either because no one is. I made mistakes and said hurtful things and did all the normal human things too. But my xwh, like your ww, had choices to do any number of things other than stray outside the marriage - communication, therapy, divorce... all viable options to handle relationship issues. Instead he chose, as did your ww, to inflict the maximum amount of pain to me, that perfect or not, I didn't deserve. And neither did you.

Somewhat, but generally she is comfortable with a much higher debt-to-income ratio than I am. However, among my regrets is not understanding that she wanted to talk and dream together. Those were opportunities that I missed.
Hey, I am definitely biased for the BS. But IMHO, if she wasn't earning then her opinion of spending habits just carries less weight than yours. Also - maybe you 'missed' opportunities maybe you didn't, but that is not any excuse for what she did.

Please just be careful - I did the same thing you are right now. For me, I wanted to understand what he did and find a way to 'fix' it so badly that I fell into a lot of the quicksand early on about taking accountability for 'my part'. Yes, I had a part in the M, yes I have accountability for mistakes I made, but nothing I did or didn't do justified his decision to cheat. It took me time to really separate those two in my head.

HowCouldSheDoIt posted 4/22/2021 14:24 PM

She practically ran home to tell you what she did. My god, she even told you she enjoyed the interlude. If there ever was a time for a little white lie, it was at that moment.

Yes, she told me after a few days and although she wasn't gushing with apologies, she didn't seem proud of herself either. And she didn't volunteer that she enjoyed the sex, rather she admitted it when I asked. As for a little white lie, this is a complicated feeling. As painful as it is, I would much rather know than not know.

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