Newest Member: Imthecheater

Wayward Side :
Trying to get better and be worthy

default

 ShatteredImage (original poster new member #79477) posted at 5:44 PM on Wednesday, October 13th, 2021

It’s been about a month since D day and I followed the script that seems all too common with cheaters when discovered by my BW. I read foreverlabeled’s post "The Work" and while I can relate to a lot of it, I think some will only make sense as I go through this journey. Like so many I thought I wouldn’t get caught and when I did it’s like I woke up from a bad dream into another as I began to scramble to repair what I should have invested in from the beginning. I realized that all the supposed feelings that I had for the affair partner weren’t real, I think I was after a few simple things:
Attention
Affection
Feed my ego
Escape

Supposed feeling were easy because I was on a high and not thinking straight for a long time. I’ve never been good at getting emotions out, I feel them but they’re often stifled. Wife and I have been married for almost 16 years and this was the first time I’ve ever had an affair and as soon as it was discovered it was like I woke up and was confronted with what I knew was wrong but somehow still concealed. I am in IC and talking about the reasons why as part of an effort to understand or reassure BW that it won’t ever happen again. She’s also doing IC. I’ve signed a post-nuptial agreement, shared passwords, converted assets to joint, read books, threads and trying to do things to help become a better version of myself and also be more transparent. I’m frantic - I’m afraid of what I’ve put at jeopardy, afraid of the humiliation and shattered perspective I have of myself.

Working through these early days is hard, I see the changes in moods and we’re trying to insulate the kids (teens) from this but not always doing the best job. I am afraid of the confrontation as I tend to shutdown and we write each other letters daily, which in some ways help me be more articulate but in others has the downside of being able to analyze word choice and read into perceived subtext. It’s good though to have an outlet.

The affair was long distance and during COVID lasting about 18months, one initial interaction while on a trip and then regular chats or calls. Nothing physical again for a year. Earlier this year, BW and I got vaccinated which she believes to be only so I could see the affair partner (AP) but I suppose that’s to be expected - in reading Things that every WS needs to know by HUFI-PUFI and talking to therapist it’s common to question everything after this trauma. In fact, the vaccination wasn’t related to the affair at all. I look at what caused the crack, she reads this site and others and so might understand it is me posting but I took over a submissive role in the relationship and like one person’s username felt like I was walking on eggshells. I’ve been a people pleaser and I’ve been told that I’m a chameleon by BW. In the flurry of disagreement, I shutdown - I tend to have an excellent memory but confrontations daze me and don’t see to commit as much extra context into negative memories. All these things comes up during disagreements and I’ve never been able to deal with it.

Early on in the relationship, there was a lot of drama with my family and wife. I’ve since cut off communication - initially for months and eventually years at a time. It’s been almost a decade I think since I’ve had any real contact with my mother, seeing her only at a funeral. I questioned those early conflicts with my wife and thought surely her perception wasn’t accurate and that there weren’t these underlying ulterior motives but my mother’s and grandmother’s behavior has shown otherwise over the years. It’s hard to isolate from family, however toxic they may be, but that bad behavior always escalates during the holidays. I suspect something will come up from my grandmother soon, but as I’ve said no real contact with mom - only the you should call your mother mantra etc.

I am thankful for even the opportunity to become a better person; we’re living in the same home in separate rooms which is hard but helps with practical things. We’ve been able to be an excellent team and fake it sometimes with friends coming over, but there’s an undercurrent that can’t be held back - so those interactions are draining. I’ve told my best friend about the affair and he opened up some about his own grief for a separate issue, but it’s hard to recognize what I did and not have more complicated reasons. It’s like there was this desire to have fun and not consider the explosion that would ensue, juvenile, stupid and selfish. I think I am making some positive steps, but it’s hard and sure it will only get harder but any advice or words of wisdom would be welcome. I’m genuinely trying and think that given my words have little value trying to do actions, but I also don’t want to try to extoll like "I’m doing X Y and Z" as I’m sure that would come across as insincere.

Also I’ve spoken to the other side’s BH, which is both extremely uncomfortable and insightful. It’s strange to see how he is dealing with things, the flurry of emotions he says he goes through, and his concern over protecting his wife. I’m not going into all the extra excruciating details here that have been discussed, but just looking for guidance. Am I doing the right steps? I’m reading another book on Apologizing, read others about how to recover after an affair and out of hope maybe even have a stronger relationship. I attend IC once a week, write daily but tend to be trying to keep myself busy with chores or other activities (reading, fixing things, helping with schoolwork etc) as it’s all too overwhelming and I know it must be worse for BW.

D-Day 9/11/21 - 9/19/21WS(me 40sM)Status: IC, reading and forums

posts: 19   ·   registered: Oct. 13th, 2021
id 8692947
default

Felix12306 ( member #78827) posted at 10:20 PM on Wednesday, October 13th, 2021

No stop sign so I'll respond as a BS. It sounds like you are doing the right things and you understand what need to be done. Keep doing what you are doing. If you are not, ask your BS what she needs from you. But remember there are times she may not know what she needs. And ask her how she is doing and ask her if she wants to talk about anything often. Don't leave it up to her to bring it up every time. I also recommend watching some YouTube videos from affair recovery. Their website also has great resources and programs if it's something you all wish to do. There are nothing but great reviews. We are doing their EMS weekend next month and have both just recently started their individual group programs. Anyway, it's definitely worth looking into.

It's great you confided in a safe friend. Someone to help hold you accountable. Good luck with everything.

BS Together for 15 years, married for 11. Dd 1/28/21 after a 44-day affair, only last week of affair was physical but didn't find that out until 6/18/21.

posts: 140   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2021
id 8693021
default

RocketRaccoon ( member #54620) posted at 6:24 AM on Thursday, October 14th, 2021

ShatteredImage,

No stop sign so will post a comment.

Firstly, yes. You seem to be doing taking the correct steps. What you seem to be doing is developing empathy for your BS, for the destruction you had caused. This is a crucial step for recovery, and one of the most difficult ones to take, and you seem to be doing it. Well done.

Next, the contact with the other BS, whose idea was it to get you to contact him? Is there still any contact? If there is, it might be a good idea to stop, or at least back off, as it could cause more hurt than what has been caused already. You are the cause of his pain, and by having more contact, you may be hindering his healing.

Another thing to note; let go of the outcome. Your BS should be the one in control. It will be up to her on what path to take to get out of Infidelity. You will probably feel a lot of anxiety, as the unknown is always a scary place, but it has to be done.

It will take time and trust, not from her (as her trust in you has been shattered), but from you. You will have to trust your BS to make the right decision, whether that includes you or not. It will probably be an anxiety laden journey, but you will have to deal with it, as it was your actions that caused this in the first place.

In the meantime, you will still have to work at things. This is so that you can be a better person, with or without your BS.

You cannot cure stupid

posts: 903   ·   registered: Aug. 12th, 2016   ·   location: South East Asia
id 8693091
default

BraveSirRobin ( member #69242) posted at 1:05 PM on Thursday, October 14th, 2021

Hello, Shattered. Welcome to SI.

It sounds to me like you're on the right track. It's hard to give specific feedback without specific details, but research, therapy, transparency and communication are cornerstones of helping your wife heal.

There are a few things in your post that stood out to me.

Having a good memory, but shutting down when confronting negative memories. Complete honesty is a huge struggle for an avoidant personality. I was so terrified of the impact of what I had done that I didn't just lie to my BH (which alone was plenty bad enough), I also lied to myself. During the A, I refused to face my choices; after the A, I tried to forget them. I subconsciously reasoned that if I was the only one who knew the specifics, and I forgot them, then did they even exist anymore? Who could say if they ever happened at all? Once I finally stopped playing that mental game, some of the details were gone permanently. I volunteered to take a poly, try hypnosis, anything to show that I was all in, but it was torture for my BH just the same. I urge you to get the specifics out now, on paper, even if your BW isn't sure she wants to know. She never has to read it, but it will torment her later if she decides she's ready and the information is no longer there.

Your teenage kids. They probably know more than you think, and they have the potential to take what they know and extrapolate it in the wrong direction. To this day, I'm not sure what my teens think about the months surrounding D-Day. It would be a good idea for you and your BW to establish what to do if your child asks you point blank if you cheated and/or tells you they already know the answer. It's a tough line to walk between privacy, age-appropriate disclosure, and gaslighting. If you lie to them, you'll have a whole new set of problems.

I wish you strength on your journey. I know it's hard for both of you.

WW/BW 51 (Me)
BH/WH 51 (TimeSpiral)

posts: 2058   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8693103
default

 ShatteredImage (original poster new member #79477) posted at 2:00 PM on Thursday, October 14th, 2021

I truly appreciate the replies.

@Felix12306 - I had found that Affair Recovery website as well, and really liked the initial content I viewed but had only just started looking. Thank you for the tips on asking how she is doing. That's hard as I feel like I want to hide most of the time, but will try as well as revisit the website to watch more of their content.

@RocketRaccoon It was my BW's idea initially to confess and then he reached out to me on a number of occasions to ask questions. It's of course super awkward and he himself said he'd like to stop talking, doesn't really want to talk to either me or my BS, as it was just rehashing things for him and he's trying to work through his grief and anger. He encouraged us to try to do couples' counseling sooner, but my BS wants 6 months of IC first. Thank you for your perspective and questions - letting go of the outcome is terrifying, all I want to do is be worthy if that makes sense and rebuild my family.

@BraveSirRobin Avoidant personality - good description. I think I've avoided conflict a lot during the marriage and as you suggested I tried to write down a lot of the details a few weeks back and shared it with BS. That was hard and I was terrified that I could miss things and that would reopen wounds. The kids know about the affair as they were included early on before BS spoke to a friend who is a therapist. We try to exclude them now as much as possible, but sometimes the roller coaster ride overflows into everyday life as expected. Thank you for sharing your story.

The kids have asked not to tell some of the neighbors as it would make their friendships with the neighbor kids awkward, so with the exception of the therapist friend who is also a neighbor no one really knows. BS wants to punish and share with lots of our friend circle, I want her to have her support system, but at the same time it makes the possibility of reconciliation that much more difficult. Of course, there's a selfish element there too - I'm ashamed at what I've done, looking back it's like I turned off my moral compass and became someone else, but I don't know how I'd ever be around those people if they knew, let alone how they could treat her as the BS if she chooses to stay. It's a lot to process during the very initial stages of grief and anger and worry the holidays will only exacerbate the situation.

Thanks again for the suggestions, guidance and support. I will keep reading, learning and posting.

[This message edited by ShatteredImage at 2:02 PM, Thursday, October 14th]

D-Day 9/11/21 - 9/19/21WS(me 40sM)Status: IC, reading and forums

posts: 19   ·   registered: Oct. 13th, 2021
id 8693105
default

BraveSirRobin ( member #69242) posted at 2:26 PM on Thursday, October 14th, 2021

Truly, it's her call and hers alone about whom to tell. Anything you offer about keeping it quiet is not likely to be well received. You created the situation, and she's just trying to survive it. If the kids suffer embarrassment, it's going to be on you to remind them that it's due to your actions, not her disclosure.

I know that's not much comfort, and to some extent, I'm speaking from the cheap seats here. My BH chose not to disclose to our friends and family. I had to tell my father in order to get my hands on some affair memorabilia that was in deep storage in my parents' house, and that was pretty awful, but it's nothing like public censure.

One of the big reasons my BH didn't tell anyone is that my A was so long ago. He expected that people would regard him as weak for not getting over it instead of recognizing that he had PTSD from my betrayal and deception. Try to remember that everyone who takes it seriously and criticizes you is validating your BW. That's an important step in her healing. It's very hard to read about BS who are blamed for the affair instead of supported in their grief.

WW/BW 51 (Me)
BH/WH 51 (TimeSpiral)

posts: 2058   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8693107
default

Felix12306 ( member #78827) posted at 7:50 PM on Thursday, October 14th, 2021

I'm sure my WH could agree with you on that. It's hard for him to ask me how I am and if I wanna talk about anything. He mostly fails at it and it sucks. I understand how hard it is but also he created this mess so just like suck it up. Sorry to be blunt but it will be worth it in the end.

BS Together for 15 years, married for 11. Dd 1/28/21 after a 44-day affair, only last week of affair was physical but didn't find that out until 6/18/21.

posts: 140   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2021
id 8693179
default

RocketRaccoon ( member #54620) posted at 8:17 AM on Friday, October 15th, 2021

Don't focus on this:

letting go of the outcome is terrifying


The unknown is always terrifying.


Instead, put your focus on this:

all I want to do is be worthy if that makes sense and rebuild my family.


It makes absolute sense.

Like I mentioned in my first post, you have taken the first (and extremely difficult) step, which is to start being empathic to your BS. If you are truly remorseful, this is one of a few essential ingredients to have a chance at a successful R.

You seem to have self-awareness, and that is also a good thing. To be able to look at yourself, and analyze. However good you are at self-analysis, it would be advisable to do what your BS is asking for, to see a IC for yourself. They could bring further insights to your behaviour.

The other incredibly important ingredient to a chance at a successful R, is Trust. This is going to be even more difficult, as trust is s finicky thing. It can be the strongest thing on Earth, but once broken, it is incredibly hard to repair. For the repair, it cannot be a one-sided thing. You broke it, you are trying to fix it, but no matter how hard you try, if your BS is not willing to let it be fixed, you will never be able to get Trust back.

I would think that you already know this inside, and if you are as self-aware as I think you are (judging only from what you have posted so far), you probably know what steps you will need to take to earn a chance at R.

You might be wondering why I keep writing 'chance at R', rather than just 'R'. Well, nobody is entitled to R. What a WS needs to remember, is that all their efforts are to try and earn a chance at R.

R is also not a guarantee that it will hold, so the effort must be sustained, as R is an ongoing process. It is not a process that is based on ticking off boxes, and that is the end of it. The effort/actions must be consistent and sustained. With that, a tipping point could be reached, and then the efforts (not the awareness) can be dialed down a bit, but this can take years to get to that tipping point.

An analogy would be:
You are in a leaky boat (the M), in the middle of a lake. In the boat you have a small bucket.
You have a few choices now;
1. Just jump out and save yourself. The boat can sink for all you care.
2. Sit and stare (i.e. do nothing) and go down with the boat.
3. Use the bucket to bail the water leaking into the boat, and try and take to boat to the pier.

If you chose Option 3, you will slow down the sinking rate, which gives you a chance at reaching the pier.

If you stop, the boat starts sinking again, and you will never make it to the pier.

So, you have to keep bailing, whilst juggling the rowing. It will be extremely tough, but it will depend on how much you want to keep the boat from sinking.

It may sink in the end, as the leaks are too large, or some other factors come into play, but if you do not make the effort, the sinking will be a surety.

You cannot cure stupid

posts: 903   ·   registered: Aug. 12th, 2016   ·   location: South East Asia
id 8693276
default

BraveSirRobin ( member #69242) posted at 3:05 PM on Friday, October 15th, 2021

What a WS needs to remember, is that all their efforts are to try and earn a chance at R.

I see where Rocket is going with this, but I'm going to disagree, because the work isn't entirely in service of R. Most WS want R, and a portion of them want it desperately. But even if the boat sinks, the work teaches you to swim. It helps you look at conflict and resentment in a healthy way. It shows you the difference between selfishness and self-esteem. It allows you to let go of the outcome -- to realize that if the boat sinks, both of the occupants can get to shore if the WS stops behaving like an anchor. It makes them a safer and more competent member of any future boat they occupy.

Just throwing that in there for the WS who know that the boat has already sunk.

WW/BW 51 (Me)
BH/WH 51 (TimeSpiral)

posts: 2058   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8693395
default

DaddyDom ( member #56960) posted at 4:16 PM on Friday, October 15th, 2021

ShatteredImage,

You've gotten some good advice so far. And for what it is worth, you are already showing more ownership of your choices and actions than most WS's do at this point in their journey. It is typical for WS's to blame everyone and everything but themselves for their affairs at first. You seem to be owning your choices, and if you can do that, then you already have started down the healthy path towards healing.

I'd like to add one simple thing at this point. You ARE "worthy" of love, forgiveness, companionship and joy. That worthiness is something attributed to you by you, not by your betrayed spouse or anyone else. After infidelity, many WS's tend to fall into what I'll simply refer to as "the pit of shame", where we get stuck feeling as if everything about ourselves is somehow shitty and broken and unfixable, and then we start to self-identify by those feelings. It is impossible to start feeling "worthy" when everything about yourself seems the opposite.

You mentioned some contributing factors which included attention, ego, escape and so on. Many WS's (and I am certainly one of them) find that self-love/self-worth is something that is lacking in their lives, and that we often have poor (or missing) healthy boundaries, and an inability to feel whole and loved without input and validation from others. One SI member told me that he pictures this as a "love tank", similar to a gas tank in a car. When the tank is full, everything is good. But in WS's, our love tanks tend to have a hole in them, so we need a constant supply of fresh attention, compliments, affection and more in order to keep that tank full. When those external sources of love and attention slow or stop, things get bad. Our tanks empty quickly, leaving us feeling completely empty, unloved, unwanted, unworthy and unable to function. This is often the precursor to an affair.

In order to have any hope of R in our relationships (not just marriage, but family, friends, work, community), we first have to become safer partners to be around in the first place. We can't be safe partners when we don't love ourselves, because the second our spouses can't fill our needs for whatever reason, we aren't equipped to handle it. We are still a risk, because we still can't fill our own love-tanks and that's just not okay.

What's the answer? In short, we need to learn to love ourselves, by ourselves, for ourselves. We have to develop healthy boundaries. We have to learn to fulfill our own needs so that we don't rely on others to fill them, and so that we don't crumble and break when an external supply pauses or stops. It is said that we cannot truly love another if we don't love ourselves first, and I believe that to be true.

I would suggest working with your IC, and exploring what factors in your life led you to the point where you made this decision. What was missing that you were trying to replace? How/why did lying and sneaking and betraying become justified? Most of all, you will need to come up with new coping strategies and new ways of looking at yourself.

You are not a bad person. You did a bad thing, and you need to own that, as that will never change. But it does not define you. What we do becomes who we are. Cheating was a shitty thing to do, true, and it is so very important to address that and do whatever wecan to make things right, and to make our spouses whole again as best we can. The way we do that however, is to become people we can respect at the end of the day. When you live a life where you respect and honor truth (even if that means we throw ourselves under the bus sometimes), where you live a life of integrity, purpose, decency and love... well, that becomes "who we are". And it is so much easier to love yourself when you are someone you can respect. So go do whatever you need to in order to be the person you really wanted to be in the first place.

Me: WS
BS: ISurvivedSoFar
D-Day Nov '16
Status: Reconciling
"I am floored by the amount of grace and love she has shown me in choosing to stay and fight for our marriage. I took everything from her, and yet she chose to forgive me."

posts: 1163   ·   registered: Jan. 18th, 2017   ·   location: Marblehead, MA
id 8693441
default

 ShatteredImage (original poster new member #79477) posted at 12:18 AM on Saturday, October 16th, 2021

Thanks for the updates today all. @DaddyDom I definitely feel like I seek validation and affection, which wasn't where I would have liked it to be. Of course that doesn't excuse my bad behavior, but things weren't great in my head and then when I kept the affair going - one only has so much energy, and so anything that I put in the affair wasn't available for the family which wasn't right. I tried to take a nap today because making it through the day is sometimes exhausting; I was lying down and could just feel myself shaking, aware of my pulse, wishing I'd wake up from this nightmare and be the person I was for so long with a strong moral character. She tells me that there is absolutely no hope of reconciliation, and anything is for the kids which eats away at me. The whole letting go of the result is something I keep telling myself is critical to the process, so that I can become better regardless of the outcome.

I've started exploring this need for validation in IC and will be starting to read the book The Five Love Languages in a hope to understand BW's needs as well as my own, to understand where I've let her down. As I suspect is common, this has shaken the very foundation of the marriage and brought back to the surface a lot of old hurt. I try to think through all these scenarios and place myself in her shoes, we had a lot of issues with my family over the years and I wasn't as quick to address them. I think I allowed her to run the show because she felt more strongly about things, we took on our roles that didn't necessarily align along traditional gender roles, but I was always secure with who I was but definitely held onto resentment when she challenged it or used it to ridicule.

I challenge myself daily to think through why I want to recover the marriage - is it because of familiarity, fear of change, finances, children, love, partnership, shame or some other reason? I ponder which are true and which am I trying to delude myself about - I suppose that's normal but when everything is shaken, it's hard to know one's mind at times.

[This message edited by ShatteredImage at 12:19 AM, Saturday, October 16th]

D-Day 9/11/21 - 9/19/21WS(me 40sM)Status: IC, reading and forums

posts: 19   ·   registered: Oct. 13th, 2021
id 8693536
default

gmc94 ( member #62810) posted at 3:14 AM on Saturday, October 16th, 2021

BW here. I don't have an issue with 5 love languages... just not so sure it's the best use of your energy.

Have you read How to Help Your Spouse Heal from Your Affair by Linda MacDonald? That's the place I would start. I'm told it's available free online in PDF format (I bought it in an electronic version so I could take notes - it's kind of interesting to look back at those notes today). It's also short and straightforward.

If you feel 5LL is still what you want, IMHO the place to start with it is the quiz to determine what your LL is. Ideally, that would happen with both you and your BS. Unless your BS is taking the quiz, my gut says you'll be guessing/projecting what you think her LL is... and not sure how much that's helpful at THIS juncture.

In addition, I think SOME (not all and not necessarily you) WS get caught up in excuses that don't really drill into their whys (not the surface ones, but the DEEP ones). And books like 5LL can feed into that dynamic E.G., Oh! I had an A (and sacrificed my morals to do so) because my LL is X and all my BS gave me was Y.... That is not a "why" for choosing to have an A. It may be a "why" the WS had certain feelings (about themself, their M, their BS, etc), but their LL (or not receiving love via their particular LL) is NOT the "why" a WS choose to cope with those feelings by having an A. Hope that makes sense.

Not saying reading it is a waste - it's not. Just saying that particular book may not be much of a bullseye at this point.

Godspeed.

[This message edited by gmc94 at 3:16 AM, Saturday, October 16th]

M >25yrs/grown kids
DD1 1994 ONS prostitute
DD2 2018 exGF1 10+yrEA & 10yrPA... + exGF2 EA forever & "made out" 2017
9/18 WH hung himself- died but revived

It's rude to say "I love you" with a mouthful of lies

posts: 3437   ·   registered: Feb. 22nd, 2018
id 8693559
default

 ShatteredImage (original poster new member #79477) posted at 6:51 PM on Saturday, October 16th, 2021

Thank @gmc94, I've downloaded it and am about halfway through.

D-Day 9/11/21 - 9/19/21WS(me 40sM)Status: IC, reading and forums

posts: 19   ·   registered: Oct. 13th, 2021
id 8693627
default

gmc94 ( member #62810) posted at 8:19 PM on Saturday, October 16th, 2021

Shattered - I hope you find it helpful.

For me, as a BW to a WH not worthy of R, my advice would be to follow those HTHYSPFYA guidelines (aka the "successful rebuilders" list) in both broad and specific ways. IIRC, MacDonald says if she could sum it all up in ONE word, it would be humility (and that is not to be confused with humiliation/humiliated or the dreaded shame, as DaddyDom and others discuss).

If I also recall, the first two points in the book are to disclose the A (#1) and to be truthful and answer all questions (#2) - so even if the dday comes about due to something other than the WS coming clean, the best the WS can do is to become 100% truthful. Not "just" about the A(s) (tho that is also IMO huge), but in all things (and esp with themself).

Not all will agree, but I believe a written, detailed, timeline (including the gory sex and feelings and all the other hurtful stuff) is helpful for BOTH the WS and BS. So, even if a BS isn't interested, doing that timeline can help the WS really see and OWN the actions, feelings, behaviors. IOW, I think it's a way for the WS to truly see the ways in which their actions (that reflect the person they are today) are inconsistent with their self image and the person they WANT to be (and managed to rationalize they are/were).

That isn't easy, usually bc of the deep shame that comes with our poor choices - esp those that hurt others, and esp those that hurt those we love. As the BS, I can see all sorts of actions I've taken in my life that are not in harmony with the person I believe(d) myself to be. It's hard AF, and all too easy to get caught up in shame and feeling like a POS (or the "im a bad person" vs "I did some terrible things" dynamic). Yet, IMHO, learning to move through that shame (not avoiding it, but recognizing it, understanding it, and moving THROUGH), and really see ourselves (esp from the perspective of those we've harmed), can be the catalyst to having my actions of today reflect my morals/values of today. As hard as it is to deal with shame and to own/face our wrongdoing, it's liberating AF to be able to see it, own it, and make better choices, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day. I'd say it's part of the self love dynamic of which DD speaks quite well.

M >25yrs/grown kids
DD1 1994 ONS prostitute
DD2 2018 exGF1 10+yrEA & 10yrPA... + exGF2 EA forever & "made out" 2017
9/18 WH hung himself- died but revived

It's rude to say "I love you" with a mouthful of lies

posts: 3437   ·   registered: Feb. 22nd, 2018
id 8693643
default

BreakingBad ( member #75779) posted at 1:26 AM on Sunday, October 17th, 2021

You are doing some good early work in owning it.

My 2 cents is:
1) Dig deeper into your "why." From what I've read from you, the need for validation and attention is likely based in avoidance.
[Side note: avoidant tendencies, yes. Avoidant personality disorder? That requires a diagnosis.]

It's easier to avoid difficult life issues by distracting yourself with something that, instead, is exciting and ego boosting and makes your brain push out those feel-good chemicals. Avoidance is rooted in self centeredness--the need to protect yourself...even at the expense of those you say/believe you love. And you neatly avoided thinking too hard about each betraying decision you made or about the pain and destruction it would cause if you got caught.

Here is the good news: if you do the hard work on yourself to reform your avoidant habits and learn to deal with difficultly head on, you will set yourself free. You will expend a great deal less psychological energy in your need to self protect. This is great for you and your overall happiness, regardless of the outcome of your betrayal on your marriage.

2) Don't let her out work you and don't expect her to lead you in how to help her heal. You found time, energy, and strategies to carry on a long-term betrayal. Dig in and put in even MORE time, energy, and strategies to repair yourself and show you are trustworthy.

She is desperate. DESPERATE. to get her feet under her again and wrap her head around all this--so she will likely work very hard to do this. It will be hard for someone who avoids negativity to keep pace with the work she is doing and will do. But you must.

Me=BW
WH had online affairs
Married 30 yrs now
2 kids, both in HS
Dday#1=2/7/20
Dday#2=2/12/20
Dday#3=2/17/20
Dday#4=11/25/20...1st A with cOW was actually 2 1/2 years
BW & WH in IC & MC. Working toward R, but day by day

posts: 65   ·   registered: Oct. 31st, 2020
id 8693664
default

 ShatteredImage (original poster new member #79477) posted at 3:31 PM on Sunday, October 17th, 2021

Finished How to Help Your Spouse Heal from Your Affair and about a quarter through Atomic Habits, which is a good read as well.

@BreakingBad "Digging deeper into the why" is something she asks for as well...I am not sure there are deep reasons, but working to understand more. I asked by therapist about it and aside from the need for attention, validation and ego - he feels there was underlying resentment that I hadn't gotten out.

I had let the resentment remain bottled up while I don't know if that's entirely true - I tend to move on after issues like with my family, a bad interaction at work etc although there are times/events like the holidays when those things bubble up; I thought I had put the negative comments or interactions from my spouse out of my head, but I suppose that isn't the case and each success negative comment or criticism just exacerbated and reignited previous emotions. I don't think that is good approach for the why though - it places blame on BS when the A was my doing; I almost feel that will be relevant if we make it to couples counseling, but I certainly felt less connected. She had tried to be more connected with walks or discussions at cafes, but I ignored it - probably because I was spending too much energy on the A. We weren't physical for what felt like a long time, perhaps 2-3 times in the year and I strongly desired that affection, where she wanted more emotional investment. It almost became a trigger too, whenever she'd mention that she'd like to be intimate while on a date or walk later on something would inevitably change and she'd change her mind, so I withdrew further.

Going back to holding onto resentment, she tends to have a very strong mindset of this is wrong and X person should pay - in personal and business relationships. I tried to provide emotional support by listening and refraining from offering suggestions on how to correct or fix. Admittedly though, I've tried over the years to say accept what you can't control and for those things that you can affect make a decision whether or not to, as the investment to change perspectives in business can often leave collateral damage that must be managed. These sessions would typically be about an hour each time, and frequency varied from many times a week to perhaps once or twice a month.

Reflecting on myself, I like to think that I accept what I can change and is under my control, but beyond that I don't feel that strong desire to course correct others. I figure if they want to change something then they will, which is the reason for no contact with my family. On the final conflict preceding being cut off, my mother as much said that she just said issued a fake apology to be able to see the grandchildren. While it hurts not to have any contact with my mother (I didn't/don't know father who was an alcoholic which led to a strong desire to be present in my kids life), I have accepted that she won't change for me or my family - if she ever wants to truly change it has to be for herself and then reconciliation would be a difficult path, much like my own now.

I honestly don't know if I've come up with one deeper reason as I've written this or if this is just something on the surface. Tomorrow I have IC again, for now I'll read and reflect more.

One final note - I did provide a timeline, which was hard to write and I asked her prior to sharing if it would cause more harm. Ironically, I couldn't really maintain an erection while with the affair partner except on the initial interaction. My therapist says this is a good thing, but I don't know why I didn't end things because I clearly had guilt - I tried to suppress the guilt and attribute it to being dehydrated etc but knew it was due to the extreme guilt lurking under the surface. I think BW thinks this is made up, but even the AP shared with her husband and he asked me about it and why I didn't stop.

[This message edited by ShatteredImage at 3:36 PM, Sunday, October 17th]

D-Day 9/11/21 - 9/19/21WS(me 40sM)Status: IC, reading and forums

posts: 19   ·   registered: Oct. 13th, 2021
id 8693696
default

gmc94 ( member #62810) posted at 5:56 PM on Sunday, October 17th, 2021

Shattered - I hope this doesn't come off as a 2x4, it's not meant that way and I hope you can "hear" this is a gentle tone ....

From my perspective as a BW, the stuff about connection (or lack thereof in your M), resentment, etc. is still not quite hitting it. Those are feelings. We all have 'em. The list of how I CHOOSE to respond to feelings is ENTIRELY my choice. I can resent my husband all day, every day. That's just me drinking poison and expecting him to die. I can deal with that, let it go, leave, attempt to get him into MC, etc. Or I can have an A, and rationalize the F out of that decision based on my feelings (like resentment or whatever).

To me, the issue is why you chose to have an A - as opposed to the LONG list of other options - as the means to cope with those feelings. We say it all the time on SI: both BS and WS were in the SAME marriage, but only the WS chose to cheat. IOW, it's not a problem with the M... it's a problem with your coping and decision to throw your integrity (along with your M, your BS, your kids, etc) into the trash to engage in the A and it's corresponding ego kibble, sex, control, etc.

Many BS believe that the reason the WS had the A is pretty simple: Because they WANTED to. And why wouldn't they? Sex and attention feel good. Give us those hormones. So why is it that some folks are OK with that choice, and others would never even dream of it or others yet say they wouldn't dream of it, but when the opportunity presents, go for it? There are a ton of BS on SI (myself included) who had more than plenty opportunities to have an A, but didn't, only to later learn their WS did.

And that guilt of which you speak? My WH lied to me for DECADES. He had at least one PA that was 10yrs (and maybe more) long (I don't know the full picture of all his infidelity - a pretty big part of him not being worthy of R). To me, hearing about his guilt is just shame and bullshit excuses to make HIMSELF feel better (the "I screwed up, but at least I felt GUILTY" rings pretty hollow to a BS, and - as a BS - I gotta wonder if that's also just more ways for a WS to avoid the deeper feelings / reality, which is pretty damn effing dark).

M >25yrs/grown kids
DD1 1994 ONS prostitute
DD2 2018 exGF1 10+yrEA & 10yrPA... + exGF2 EA forever & "made out" 2017
9/18 WH hung himself- died but revived

It's rude to say "I love you" with a mouthful of lies

posts: 3437   ·   registered: Feb. 22nd, 2018
id 8693710
default

DaddyDom ( member #56960) posted at 10:09 PM on Sunday, October 17th, 2021

ShatteredImage, I'm going to bump two of my old posts for you, one is about the process of discovering our true "why's", and the other is simply a breakdown of the typical WS progression called "Admitting it vs Getting it..". They might help you to come up a better understanding of where you are, and help you generate some ideas of where to start looking next for answers.

FWIW, your last response spoke volumes to me. On one hand, you mention the word "resentment" a lot, and how you feel that unprocessed resentment in the marriage was part of why you ended up going down the path you did. However, you also went into detail about your family. Your mother with the fake apologies, your absentee, alcoholic father... the two people that every child in this world depends on the most in order to love them, protect them, guide them... were instead selfish pricks. Your Dad cared more about where his next drink was coming from than he did about you at all. And Mom sounds like she doesn't really understand what love is, or how you treat people you love. She probably cannot love herself, and so her attempts to be a parent come out sounding fake, because they are.

I know I'd be pretty damn resentful of and angry at my parents if they treated me like that (spoiler alert, my story is very similar, which is why I can relate). Plus, the real crime here, the one that's probably biting you in the butt now, is simply the fact that you were never taught was real love was. You weren't taught to love yourself. And your parents never modeled healthy relationship skills, healthy boundaries, and didn't teach you how to deal with conflict in a productive way. These aren't excuses for what you did, but they are contributing factors to why you think and feel and act the way you do today. But seeing them, accepting them, and acknowledging them without judgment, is the first step towards healing.

The next step is the harder one. You have to fill those holes. You have to develop healthy boundaries. You have to learn what self-love is and how you practice it. These are skills that many people begin to develop at a young age, but people who live their entire lives in trauma are at a disadvantage. You can't love yourself with all that anger and resentment bottled up inside. And how are you supposed to be a loving, supportive spouse and parent when you were taught from birth that spouses and parents either "bail" on you, or care more about themselves than in what you need?

In my own personal healing journey, I found that I really stopped maturing, emotionally speaking, in my teens. And so, in many ways, with my parents out of the picture, all that resentment and defensiveness that I used to feel towards them, now needed a new focus. You might think that taking the parents out of the picture would remove all that resentment too, but it doesn't work that sometimes. Sometimes, we just redirect that anger and pain towards whoever in our life now fills the role of "parent". In my case, that was my wife. And so I felt towards her, the same way I felt towards my parents, even though my wife never treated me like they did. It was all on my end. I just had to work through a lot of old, painful shit in order to realize that. And did mountains of damage to my spouse and family before I came to that epiphany.

Look at the words you wrote in your first post... Attention. Affection. Ego. Escape. All things your parents did not give you. These are things you say are missing in your marriage now. Why is that? What part do you think you play in why those feelings exist towards your spouse?

One last thing I'll share. How we grow up, even when we are neglected, abused, mistreated... becomes our definition of "normal". And normal is usually the space we are most comfortable in. That is why many of us subconsciously seek our conflict in our lives when none exists... because even though it sucks, it is also comforting, because it is your "normal" and where you know how to feel and how to operate. In order to escape that, we have to redefine what normal is. The good news is, you get to choose what normal is to you, because you will be creating it. The bad news is, this takes a lot of work. Pull up a chair, get stiff drink, and dig in. tongue

Me: WS
BS: ISurvivedSoFar
D-Day Nov '16
Status: Reconciling
"I am floored by the amount of grace and love she has shown me in choosing to stay and fight for our marriage. I took everything from her, and yet she chose to forgive me."

posts: 1163   ·   registered: Jan. 18th, 2017   ·   location: Marblehead, MA
id 8693743
default

DaddyDom ( member #56960) posted at 10:12 PM on Sunday, October 17th, 2021

My old posts are "sleeping" so I couldn't bump them for you. Here are the links, hopefully this is okay with the mods.

https://www.survivinginfidelity.com/topics/617173/the-process-of-discovering-our-true-whys/
https://www.survivinginfidelity.com/topics/615240/admitting-it-vs--getting-it-vs--owning-it-vs--living-it/

Me: WS
BS: ISurvivedSoFar
D-Day Nov '16
Status: Reconciling
"I am floored by the amount of grace and love she has shown me in choosing to stay and fight for our marriage. I took everything from her, and yet she chose to forgive me."

posts: 1163   ·   registered: Jan. 18th, 2017   ·   location: Marblehead, MA
id 8693744
default

 ShatteredImage (original poster new member #79477) posted at 4:05 AM on Monday, October 18th, 2021

Thanks for the links DaddyDom - will read them.


gmc94 - trying to analyze and reflect on this paragraph:

Many BS believe that the reason the WS had the A is pretty simple: Because they WANTED to. And why wouldn't they? Sex and attention feel good. Give us those hormones. So why is it that some folks are OK with that choice, and others would never even dream of it or others yet say they wouldn't dream of it, but when the opportunity presents, go for it? There are a ton of BS on SI (myself included) who had more than plenty opportunities to have an A, but didn't, only to later learn their WS did.

as well as the subsequent paragraph - don't know what the deeper feelings are, at least not yet.

In other news:

Had a big blow up tonight - my iOS battery showed Recently Deleted Apps as using a lot of time. Eventually figured out that if apps were uninstalled for the iOS update or you delete an app and reinstall they don't always show up or link to prior usage. Long way of saying it was a rough afternoon and evening, accusations fo being in contact with the other person, she called the other person's spouse and he confirmed there was no contact but dredged up a lot. It takes energy to work through this and feeling drained now.

D-Day 9/11/21 - 9/19/21WS(me 40sM)Status: IC, reading and forums

posts: 19   ·   registered: Oct. 13th, 2021
id 8693776
Cookies on SurvivingInfidelity.com®

SurvivingInfidelity.com® uses cookies to enhance your visit to our website. This is a requirement for participants to login, post and use other features. Visitors may opt out, but the website will be less functional for you.

v.1.000.20211022 2002-2021 SurvivingInfidelity.com® All Rights Reserved. • Privacy Policy