Newest Member: Serenity7

Reconciliation :
Could use some encouragement, I screwed up

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 HowCouldSheDoIt (original poster Member #78431) posted at 6:10 PM on Tuesday, July 13th, 2021

HCSDI, consider why so many people aren’t validating you on this being your fault. Perhaps they have a point?

Yes, and this is why I post. I appreciate getting recalibrated when I get lost.

Separately, criticizing people’s grammar when they’re trying to help you doesn’t leave a very positive impression.

I agree with your point. It was silly to do it. I felt insulted and I responded childishly.

Me: BH Early 50's
Her: WW Early 50's
D-Day Nov 2020
Married 21 years before D-Day
3 children
Working toward reconciling. The most difficult thing I've had to do in my life.

posts: 239   ·   registered: Mar. 3rd, 2021
id 8675164
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Robert22205https ( Member #65547) posted at 6:27 PM on Tuesday, July 13th, 2021

Ouch. Your wife is spreading lies by misusing a powerful term: 'spousal abuse'.

Have you asked your DD what she believes is her mother's motive for cheating?? After talking to your wife and the therapist, does your DD now believe you're abusive to her mother?

posts: 2409   ·   registered: Jul. 22nd, 2018   ·   location: DC
id 8675174
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 HowCouldSheDoIt (original poster Member #78431) posted at 6:32 PM on Tuesday, July 13th, 2021

Thumos:

Yes I have read No More Mr. Nice guy. Since the A I have some approval seeking behaviors. I know they are there. I don't have any of the mommy issues the book addresses but I do identify with some of it.

As far as exposing her to her family and mine, that's water under the bridge at this point.

Re: forgiveness, she wants to be forgiven and move on. We've had discussions about it. I've told her what I need to pursue it. Can you explain why I shouldn't talk about it?

I'll have to look more into doormat effect, a quick google search "The Doormat Effect: When unconditional forgiveness self-destroys us" and I'm quite far from forgiving her.

I don't want to mischaracterize my situation, yes I want to R, yes I thought we were headed that way. I also hear very clearly pretty much everyone's opinions that it is highly unlikely that she would pursue the M until I decide to D.

Me: BH Early 50's
Her: WW Early 50's
D-Day Nov 2020
Married 21 years before D-Day
3 children
Working toward reconciling. The most difficult thing I've had to do in my life.

posts: 239   ·   registered: Mar. 3rd, 2021
id 8675181
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humantrampoline ( Member #61458) posted at 6:35 PM on Tuesday, July 13th, 2021

I understood and appreciated the humor. We all need humor in our everyday life to cope. Perhaps it doesn't translate so well on the internet.

Your post topic says that you could use some encouragement. You will get through this. Things will improve, and you will see the beauty in life again. And hey, maybe "snip, snip, snippety snip" as Ellie would say. Or maybe not. Who knows?

I'm sorry about your mother. I know the broken hip was a serious turning point in my mother's life. And it's hard dealing with health care and siblings.

One thing to consider is that passive-aggressiveness in every day communication is counter productive. Instead of showing your vulnerability and communicating needs, passive-aggressiveness puts others on edge. It might not get you what you want with others or your wife. Just a thought.

Best wishes and encouragement. You can do this.

posts: 389   ·   registered: Nov. 17th, 2017
id 8675184
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Thumos ( Member #69668) posted at 6:41 PM on Tuesday, July 13th, 2021

As far as exposing her to her family and mine, that's water under the bridge at this point.

No it isn't. Stop being passive. Take action. Set the record straight. It doesn't matter if they listen. What matters is that you take action. Your brain will get the signal that your body took action.

It also matters that you speak the truth and "live not by lies" to use the words of Solzhenitsyn. I exposed my WW's affair immediately to my MIL and SIL. It imploded the affair fantasy.

However, I didn't sit down and really discuss the affair and my WW's post D-Day actions with my MIL until three years later when my MIL in a fit of exasperation told me "you have a terrible marriage." She was frustrated on my behalf and my wife's behalf because she does care about me a lot. Nevertheless she didn't know a lot of details and when I shared them with her she was shocked. She even berated her own daughter about my WW's refusal to take a polygraph. And she pressed my WW after she failed the polygraph.

Telling my MIL wasn't to "get her on my side." It was to live not by lies, and to not allow a false sanitized narrative to exist.

I haven't done everything "by the book" for getting out of infidelity. Far from it. I'm still in limbo with my WW.

But I can look in the mirror and know I have taken decisive action a lot of fronts. I feel stronger every day. I feel clearer every day.

Actions.

Very important.

[This message edited by Thumos at 12:46 PM, July 13th (Tuesday)]

"True character is revealed in the choices a human being makes under pressure. The greater the pressure, the deeper the revelation, the truer the choice to the character's essential nature."

BH (me): 50, WW: 49
Married: Feb. 1996
DDAY: Dec. 20

posts: 4218   ·   registered: Feb. 5th, 2019   ·   location: UNITED STATES
id 8675186
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Thumos ( Member #69668) posted at 6:44 PM on Tuesday, July 13th, 2021

Re: forgiveness, she wants to be forgiven and move on. We've had discussions about it. I've told her what I need to pursue it. Can you explain why I shouldn't talk about it?

Do or do not. There is no try.

Stop talking about it. You can forgive and reconcile (with a WS who actually deserves R, and your WW is far from that at this stage). You can forgive and divorce. Forgiveness is a separate thing. And it is not an epiphany but a process.

The reason I say stop talking about it is because all you seem to be doing is giving her a clinical forensic explanation of forgiveness. Why are you constantly having to explain things to her like she's a child? Is she stupid? You think she doesn't understand?

Well then she probably has a huge emotional intelligence deficit, a deeply flawed worldview and lacks empathy for you. Then she's not a good candidate for reconciliation.

Forgiveness is something you achieve for yourself. It isn't dependent on her.

The quickest way to forgiveness is under the truth and reconciliation model described by Desmond Tutu. But failing that, you'll need to find forgiveness (or an absence of resentment and bitterness) on your own.

[This message edited by Thumos at 12:48 PM, July 13th (Tuesday)]

"True character is revealed in the choices a human being makes under pressure. The greater the pressure, the deeper the revelation, the truer the choice to the character's essential nature."

BH (me): 50, WW: 49
Married: Feb. 1996
DDAY: Dec. 20

posts: 4218   ·   registered: Feb. 5th, 2019   ·   location: UNITED STATES
id 8675187
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DIFM ( Member #1703) posted at 6:59 PM on Tuesday, July 13th, 2021

You cannot forgive a thing that has not ended. There are certainly elements of her wayward mindset that have not ended. "Forgiving" an ongoing behavior is implicit approval of continuation of the behavior. What is there to forgive if the behavior is allowed to exist and continue. The cheating is only one of the sources of the betrayal and trauma, stopping the cheating does not on it's own mark and end of the trauma or a start of the forgiveness. Her reaction to your appropriate reference to her unprincipled ways was just one of the many wayward thinking ways she still embraces.

Your reaction to her reaction may be more confounding than hers.

posts: 1726   ·   registered: Jul. 14th, 2003
id 8675195
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 HowCouldSheDoIt (original poster Member #78431) posted at 7:03 PM on Tuesday, July 13th, 2021

Thumos:

What does it mean to be "In Infidelity?"

As much eye rolling as I will get for this, I do trust WW not to lie to me. I have never caught her in a lie, never found anything suspicious of her lying. I don't lie to her either. I have difficulty trusting her actions but I don't have difficulty trusting her words. Yes I could find I'm wrong but I do trust her not to lie to me.

I don't believe she is seeing that guy, or that he tries to contact her, or that she him. She says it is over and I do believe her.

However, I am uncomfortable with her around single guys, and I have a fear that she may cheat again.

So am I still "In Infidelity?"

Me: BH Early 50's
Her: WW Early 50's
D-Day Nov 2020
Married 21 years before D-Day
3 children
Working toward reconciling. The most difficult thing I've had to do in my life.

posts: 239   ·   registered: Mar. 3rd, 2021
id 8675198
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Sanibelredfish ( Member #56748) posted at 7:05 PM on Tuesday, July 13th, 2021

HCSDI, I get it. This shit isn’t easy. Hang in there, keep posting, and keep an open mind.

You deserve better than you’ve received from your wife.

posts: 748   ·   registered: Jan. 8th, 2017   ·   location: Midwest
id 8675199
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Thumos ( Member #69668) posted at 7:25 PM on Tuesday, July 13th, 2021

What does it mean to be "In Infidelity?"

It means wayward thinking patterns and behavior continues after D-DAY. The affair does not have to continue for you to still be "in" infidelity - at least insofar as my way of looking at it goes.

So yes, you're still in it.

I'm assuming you want out of it. So take action to get out of it.

"True character is revealed in the choices a human being makes under pressure. The greater the pressure, the deeper the revelation, the truer the choice to the character's essential nature."

BH (me): 50, WW: 49
Married: Feb. 1996
DDAY: Dec. 20

posts: 4218   ·   registered: Feb. 5th, 2019   ·   location: UNITED STATES
id 8675205
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 HowCouldSheDoIt (original poster Member #78431) posted at 7:54 PM on Tuesday, July 13th, 2021

Thumos

One of the first pieces of advice for a newly betrayed spouse is to EXPOSE to your WW's family to stop her from spreading a BS narrative.

Not arguing here, rather just discussing the point that I have received advice from others (and professional sources books and websites) that disagrees with this advice. The contrasting advice is that the decision to tell needs to be considered, and that telling too many people is a disadvantage.

Now this is different than outing a WS to their chump BS. I think the BS needs to know, and I can think of no exception.

But the advice to tell everyone about the adultery in the marriage is not universally held.

Me: BH Early 50's
Her: WW Early 50's
D-Day Nov 2020
Married 21 years before D-Day
3 children
Working toward reconciling. The most difficult thing I've had to do in my life.

posts: 239   ·   registered: Mar. 3rd, 2021
id 8675220
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Thumos ( Member #69668) posted at 7:59 PM on Tuesday, July 13th, 2021

But the advice to tell everyone about the adultery in the marriage is not universally held.

Well you're here on SI. A lot of things recommended on SI aren't "universally held."

For example, you'll see lots of happy clappy advice elsewhere about going to MC after infidelity.

How did that work out for you?

Aside from that, I don't think I recommended you expose the affair to "everyone." I have withheld disclosure of the affair from my own family, for example. They don't even know.

You've passively allowed your WW to control the narrative. How is that working out for you?

A timeline and poly are not "universally held" notions everywhere. But they are all but "universally held" on SI. Why? Because they work.

Most of what is consensus advice on SI works. I can't think of many examples where it doesn't work for giving a BS clarity, for throwing everything into sharp relief, and for moving toward actions that bring resolution.

[This message edited by Thumos at 4:27 PM, July 13th (Tuesday)]

"True character is revealed in the choices a human being makes under pressure. The greater the pressure, the deeper the revelation, the truer the choice to the character's essential nature."

BH (me): 50, WW: 49
Married: Feb. 1996
DDAY: Dec. 20

posts: 4218   ·   registered: Feb. 5th, 2019   ·   location: UNITED STATES
id 8675223
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Oldwounds ( Member #54486) posted at 8:03 PM on Tuesday, July 13th, 2021

But the advice to tell everyone about the adultery in the marriage is not universally held,

True. Our MC, who was also a betrayed spouse (and did not R himself) explained to us that repairing a relationship is tough enough with TWO people involved, much less a bunch of other people.

This is why SI helped me so much, because of the anonymity, the advice was strictly experienced based and not always on one side or the other.

The authenticity needs to come from the people who are presumably trying to build or rebuild something, or R is impossible. That said, I’m not sure either you or your wife are being honest enough with each other yet to be able to make a run at recovery.

I’m in a marriage now where I get to express EXACTLY what’s in my brain, and it’s entirely different than the transactional relationship our marriage used to be, where we traded more resentments than anything else.

Not pretending to be okay is a glorious feeling I hadn’t had before.

I hope you get there, but it does start with both people feeling comfortable enough to say uncomfortable things.

Married 34+ years, together 40+ years
Two awesome adult sons.
Dday 6/16 4-year LTA Survived
Restoration takes time.
"Circumstances don't make the man, they only reveal him to himself." ― Epictetus

posts: 4175   ·   registered: Aug. 4th, 2016   ·   location: PNW. The adventure continues.
id 8675226
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This0is0Fine ( Member #72277) posted at 8:09 PM on Tuesday, July 13th, 2021

Now this is different than outing a WS to their chump BS. I think the BS needs to know, and I can think of no exception.

But the advice to tell everyone about the adultery in the marriage is not universally held.

What is almost universally held is that you shouldn't accept rugsweeping (your wife wants to forget and move on), minimize (seems to not actually be a problem), or blame shifting (I don't know if she is contributing, but you CLEARLY blame yourself).

So you are 1/3 on that front.

I actually agree that you don't have to expose to all friends and family. That you should do it where it gets you support, and that if you can't cut that person out of your life, you should be careful about doing it. The impact may not be helpful.

Overall, I feel like you are getting beaten down every day. We want to help hold you up.

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

posts: 1329   ·   registered: Dec. 11th, 2019
id 8675230
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 HowCouldSheDoIt (original poster Member #78431) posted at 8:46 PM on Tuesday, July 13th, 2021

Robert:

I don't know if WW is telling her family I'm an abusive monster. I can hear her saying something like "he was emotionally abusive, and I had an affair" and not talking much about it.

I never thought about it. I may ask at some point how much and what she has told people. Generally when people talk it doesn't bother me and didn't think she would go around slandering me, but then again I didn't think she would have sex either.

As far as DD goes, I haven't talked with her in probably a couple months about it. I appreciate you considering her, I may talk to her about it.

Me: BH Early 50's
Her: WW Early 50's
D-Day Nov 2020
Married 21 years before D-Day
3 children
Working toward reconciling. The most difficult thing I've had to do in my life.

posts: 239   ·   registered: Mar. 3rd, 2021
id 8675248
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Thumos ( Member #69668) posted at 8:54 PM on Tuesday, July 13th, 2021

“May ask at some point”? What are you waiting for?

Gently, do you see how passive this is?

If she told her family you were “abusive” and so she tripped and fell on a man’s junk, I don't know how you can live with such a duplicitous manipulator.

Adultery is abuse.

She's the abuser.

[This message edited by Thumos at 2:55 PM, July 13th (Tuesday)]

"True character is revealed in the choices a human being makes under pressure. The greater the pressure, the deeper the revelation, the truer the choice to the character's essential nature."

BH (me): 50, WW: 49
Married: Feb. 1996
DDAY: Dec. 20

posts: 4218   ·   registered: Feb. 5th, 2019   ·   location: UNITED STATES
id 8675252
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EllieKMAS ( Member #68900) posted at 9:21 PM on Tuesday, July 13th, 2021

Re: forgiveness, she wants to be forgiven and move on.

Well people in hell want ice water too. Point being - YOU get to determine your timeline for forgiveness. She doesn't.

As much eye rolling as I will get for this, I do trust WW not to lie to me. I have never caught her in a lie, never found anything suspicious of her lying. I don't lie to her either. I have difficulty trusting her actions but I don't have difficulty trusting her words. Yes I could find I'm wrong but I do trust her not to lie to me.

I don't believe she is seeing that guy, or that he tries to contact her, or that she him. She says it is over and I do believe her.

However, I am uncomfortable with her around single guys, and I have a fear that she may cheat again.

If she doesn't get serious toot-fuckin-sweet about addressing what made her cheat in the first place then there is an extremely high likelihood she will do so again. And brother, she hasn't even BEGUN to dig in to her stuff yet.

YOU will not feel 'comfortable' until her words and her actions match up, which they are not doing. And the hard truth is that you can't do anything about that part of it, she has to. Thus far she hasn't.

I get wanting to forgive and wanting R and all that, I really do. But your ww is still in me-me-me mode, still blaming you for her actions, still displaying some seriously screwy wayward behaviors, and that is just not good R material to work with.

You have refused to stand up for yourself and you have given her WAY too soft of a landing place. I did that too so I really understand. For me, it was because I was afraid - afraid that if I said a 'wrong' thing it would make him leave. But the truth of it was - he was already gone. The guy I married, the person I knew... he was GONE on dday1. Me refusing to put my foot down allowed him way too much leeway to continue behaving and thinking like a cheater. My situation didn't improve UNTIL I finally stood up for myself and told him flat out that his behavior was unacceptable and that I would no longer tolerate it. Yes, we divorced - not because of anything I did, but because he didn't want to do the work necessary to fix his shit.

Was divorce what I wanted? No.

Was it what I needed? HELL YES it was.

Because my xwh was just like your ww. He expected me to bend to fit what HE wanted. He expected me to 'forgive and move on'. He expected me to see to all his needs and wants, while putting my own to the side. And I can tell you - that was not in any way something I was gonna do with someone who was not willing to do any self-reflection or show me any empathy.

"No, it's you mothafucka, here's a list of reasons why." – Iliza Schlesinger

"Being weird is just a side effect of being awesome."– Unknown

posts: 3140   ·   registered: Nov. 22nd, 2018   ·   location: CO
id 8675261
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 HowCouldSheDoIt (original poster Member #78431) posted at 9:46 PM on Tuesday, July 13th, 2021

Ellie:

Ellie what was it like for you? When you finally told him to wanted to D, did he "wake up" and change? Did you guys try for R after that? Did you move to D, separate, and that was it?

What happened?

Me: BH Early 50's
Her: WW Early 50's
D-Day Nov 2020
Married 21 years before D-Day
3 children
Working toward reconciling. The most difficult thing I've had to do in my life.

posts: 239   ·   registered: Mar. 3rd, 2021
id 8675273
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M1965 ( Member #57009) posted at 10:08 PM on Tuesday, July 13th, 2021

HCSDI,

From my distance, it looks like your wife has decided to live independent of your influence or input, and just do whatever she likes. And I think her decision to cheat while on vacation, and then come home and tell you what she did was her declaration of emotional independence.

Ever since that time, she has done the bare minimum for you. She has blamed you for her actions, and refused to take any real ownership of what she did. Beyond a very few statements about you being her world (not borne out by her actions), her attitude seems to be that she is going to do whatever she likes, and you can either go along with it and get an occasional pat on the head for being good, but if you question anything, you get treated coldly and with complete indifference for your feelings, and she does what she wants anyway.

This is a prime example of her framing you as irrelevant to her plans:

To make amends for how I handled things, I have changed my position and she's been doing some spending.

But resolving this is marriage related, and I don't feel ready to address it on any deeper level. And it is a moot point anyway, because she is going back to work to earn a salary herself, and what she said is very sweet, that she doesn't feel right asking me to work for 10 more years so she can buy a new SUV and a boat and jetskis and whatever else.

I personally find it interesting that she has firm plans for where that money is going to go.

I wasn't consulted or asked my opinion.

It seems to me she's doing exactly what I was doing that hurt her so badly. Granted this is early and she's just talking right now, but still... interesting. That is a topic for another discussion way down the line after we are firmly in R.

If what you did was so terribly wrong that you have to make amends for it by not saying anything negative about her cheating and letting her spend money however she likes, how is it right when she does it right back to you? How much apologizing are you going to do? You didn't cheat, and if you hadn't stopped her blowing money frivolously in the past you might be in a different position now as you approach retirement.

Essentially, your wife is acting like a loose cannon, doing whatever she wants, whether it is sex with other men, spending money, suggesting moving, and taking a job that gives her plenty of latitude to have whatever 'adventures' she wants to when she is away from home.

A healthy relationship is not one where one person indulges themselves with no regard about the impact of their actions, but it seems like your wife has adopted a 'treat him mean, keep him keen' approach, and it seems to be working out really well for her.

She has planned the next several years of her life, and it seems like you are free to go along as a passive passenger, but God forbid you take issue with anything she does, or you want any consideration from her, because you will be put in your place and shown that she is now 100% all about her.

That is a topic for another discussion way down the line after we are firmly in R.

Way down the line? If you are not ready to challenge any of her actions now, why will you be any more ready to do that a year from now, or five years from now? By that time she will have enforced her selfish dynamic for so long that it will have become the new norm for your relationship with her. And that will not be reconciliation; it will be subservience.

That is not a criticism of you; I am simply adding yet another very loud alarm bell to the chorus of them going off in this thread, because although our words may at times sound harsh, they are a reflection of how concerned we all are about the road you have started to head down.

posts: 1177   ·   registered: Jan. 21st, 2017   ·   location: South East of England
id 8675281
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EllieKMAS ( Member #68900) posted at 10:27 PM on Tuesday, July 13th, 2021

Ellie what was it like for you? When you finally told him to wanted to D, did he "wake up" and change? Did you guys try for R after that? Did you move to D, separate, and that was it?

What happened?

My situation was so similar to yours hcsdi - I think that's why I keep virtually shaking you LOL

We tried for R for 9 months. Welllll. I thought we were in R. But we weren't. He never really dug in to figure out his shit, and I accepted the teeeeeniest little crumbs of effort from him and tried to con myself into believing it was enough. But deep down I knew it wasn't.

My switch flipped when I saw the pick-me bullshit I had been doing for exactly what it was and realized that all of it came down to my fear of making a change. I finally decided that I needed to have a 30 day separation because I was just spinning like a turd in a toilet and I was sick of it. I had a very frank conversation with him the day after our last MC appt (which was a baaaaaad mistake - our MC was like yours and was trying to tell me to find my responsibility for not making the marriage a 'happy' place) and flat out told him that his behavior was not acceptable and that I was not going to be green-lighting his ideas about an open marriage. The next morning he came down the stairs and laid on the living room floor bawling about how sorry he was that he'd hurt me, how stupid he had been, how he would do anything to make it right, blahblahblah bullshit. That's my experience of words and actions not matching - his WORDS said the right stuff, but he took no action whatsoever to back them up. Talk is cheeeeeap.

The day we separated I found out that he had invited his ap to have a sleepover at my house a few months prior when I was out of town. How did I find that out you ask? My doctor told me it had been physical. When I called him out on that over the phone and asked for a whiskey tango foxtrot, he started screaming obscenities at me and hung up. Then he texted "let's just get the divorce over with then". Yep - 9 years together ended with a text message.

Less than 24 hours after that, all his shit was packed up in the garage and the locks were changed.

I agonized over making the decision for months (which I think you are too), but once the path was laid I wasted no time in getting it done.

Hindsight being what it is, and thanks to the IC and healing I have done, I can tell you that my marriage was over on dday1. I knew it then, but it took me a while to accept it. And what helped me to accept it was to get really honest with myself about what I was willing to tolerate or not. And for me? I was not about to take responsibility for his decisions. I was not willing to stay seated at the table when respect wasn't on the menu any more.

"No, it's you mothafucka, here's a list of reasons why." – Iliza Schlesinger

"Being weird is just a side effect of being awesome."– Unknown

posts: 3140   ·   registered: Nov. 22nd, 2018   ·   location: CO
id 8675286
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