Newest Member: AcesEights

Wayward Side :
Empathy

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 BrokenHeart911 (original poster new member #37296) posted at 5:02 PM on Sunday, October 24th, 2021

I need help. I feel like a big bag of shit. I am cheater. I do keep looking at pictures and other stuff online. I have destroyed my wife and the life we had. I am just unable to show empathy for what I have done and what I keep doing that is hurting her.

Me WH 30
BW 38 (DragnHeart)
DDay October 19th 2010 PA with coworker.

posts: 24   ·   registered: Oct. 28th, 2012
id 8694875
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sisoon ( Guide #31240) posted at 5:28 PM on Sunday, October 24th, 2021

...and you beat yourself up a lot. Is that for show, or do you want to change?

If you want to change, figure out what changes you want to make. Find a good IC. Change. It's hard work, but it pays off. It opens you up to joy, and joy is immensely better than adding to your own pain every time you beat yourself up and every time you betray Dragn and yourself.

You have to do the work. No one else can do it for you. The good part is that you CAN do the work. It's a lot easier than it seems to be before you actually do the work. You really can become a man you are proud of.

fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.

posts: 26262   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8694878
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WalkinOnEggshelz ( Administrator #29447) posted at 6:17 PM on Sunday, October 24th, 2021

I’m going to be straight with you as a WS (not a moderator). You don’t feel empathy because you have not done the work. You have allowed nearly a decade to pass by, by just getting by. You will do just enough to keep Dragn in it, but not enough to be a healthy partner to her.

Your post history is a good example. You come here, say how awful you are or feel and then take off again. Why do you keep leaving?

The question is do you really want to be a safe and healthy partner? Or do you just want Dragn to stop hounding you about becoming one? Think carefully because they are very different things.

Looking at pictures has nothing to do with the actual work required to become a better person. If you really truly want that, you have to put in the time and work to get there. This isn’t something you can half ass. Otherwise you just get caught up in a conscious cycle (ie posting about being a big bag of shit a decade later).

You have all of the tools. It has been your choice not to use them. Ask yourself why that is. It might be a good place to start.

Me: WS late 40’s
Him: BH (HoldingTogether)
D Day: 7/24/2010
If you keep asking people to give you the benefit of the doubt, they will eventually start to doubt your benefit.

posts: 14481   ·   registered: Aug. 27th, 2010   ·   location: Texas
id 8694885
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 BrokenHeart911 (original poster new member #37296) posted at 8:32 PM on Sunday, October 24th, 2021

WalkinOnEggshelz
I just don't see how posting on here helps. I have read other threads on here. I have wanted to try post I just cannot open up and write out how I am feeling or what is going through my mind. I know most on here know Dragn. So you know what the whole story is.

Me WH 30
BW 38 (DragnHeart)
DDay October 19th 2010 PA with coworker.

posts: 24   ·   registered: Oct. 28th, 2012
id 8694897
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WalkinOnEggshelz ( Administrator #29447) posted at 9:56 PM on Sunday, October 24th, 2021

It’s not about the story, really. It’s about you and how you cope. It’s about how got where you are today and why. It’s about digging deep within yourself and acknowledging your flaws and learning to change them.

I can guarantee you that you will not change with internal dialogue alone. I can also guarantee you will not change by just talking to Dragn. You need accountability. You need people that can help steer you in the right direction and call you on your bull shit. You need someone that can challenge your thoughts and give you things to think about.

You can’t see how posting on here helps because you have not used it consistently as a tool. You start by discussing whatever problem is at hand and then use responses to delve deeper. When you feel defensive, that’s the moment to lean in rather than turn away. Ask yourself why…a lot.

For example, what was it that initiated this post? Keep engaging and you will benefit.

Me: WS late 40’s
Him: BH (HoldingTogether)
D Day: 7/24/2010
If you keep asking people to give you the benefit of the doubt, they will eventually start to doubt your benefit.

posts: 14481   ·   registered: Aug. 27th, 2010   ·   location: Texas
id 8694903
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BraveSirRobin ( member #69242) posted at 10:21 PM on Sunday, October 24th, 2021

What do you think will happen if you change nothing and just keep on as you have been? What is your ideal future, and how is that different from the trajectory you're on?

Please try to think hard about specifics that really apply to you rather than the obvious crowd-appeasing answers about being a better husband. If you had a magic wand and could create any kind of life for yourself -- anywhere, doing anything, with anyone -- what would that be?

WW/BW 50s (Me)
BH/WH 50s (TimeSpiral)

posts: 2136   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8694907
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 BrokenHeart911 (original poster new member #37296) posted at 10:40 PM on Sunday, October 24th, 2021

WalkinOnEggshelz
My wife I need to find out why I keep looking around when I have everything right infront of me. There is nothing I can get out there that I cannot get from my wife. I just can't absorb that information into my thick skull. It's like I have been looking at other woman so long that I cannot stop.


BraveSirRobin

I know what will happen if I do not changes. I will finally loose what little I do have with my wife.

A magic wand would be awesome a life for me is a life on hobby farm with my family again somthing I do have now. Again just can't sink that into my brain

Me WH 30
BW 38 (DragnHeart)
DDay October 19th 2010 PA with coworker.

posts: 24   ·   registered: Oct. 28th, 2012
id 8694908
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WalkinOnEggshelz ( Administrator #29447) posted at 1:55 PM on Monday, October 25th, 2021

What exactly do you mean by you "keep looking around?" Are you actively looking for affair partners? Are you fantasizing about other women? Are you staring at women?

What exactly is the behavior?

Me: WS late 40’s
Him: BH (HoldingTogether)
D Day: 7/24/2010
If you keep asking people to give you the benefit of the doubt, they will eventually start to doubt your benefit.

posts: 14481   ·   registered: Aug. 27th, 2010   ·   location: Texas
id 8694958
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DaddyDom ( member #56960) posted at 4:11 PM on Monday, October 25th, 2021

It's like I have been looking at other women so long that I cannot stop.

Let me ask you a serious question. Do you actually want to stop?

There is no right or wrong answer to that, and no judgment on the answer. You need to figure out who you are, and who you want to be. There are many people in this world who have a difficult time with commitment, and there is nothing wrong with that. The thing is, if commitment isn't your thing, then it's really, really unfair to both your spouse/partner and to yourself as well, to try and live in a monogamous relationship. Your partner deserves to know if this is something you can't do. If a committed relationship is never going to come to fruition, then allow your partner the dignity and respect of knowing that, and allowing them to make their own decisions and choices. To be honest, if commitment is not "who you are" then it is unfair to you as well. You may never be happy in a monogamous relationship if that's not who you are at heart, and it is silly to try and force yourself to live a life that you aren't really happy living.

If however, you really do want to stop being a cheater, really do love your wife, really desire a committed relationship above all else... well, you are going to have to roll your sleeves up and dig deep into who you really are and what motivates you. My advice is to start with IC. And be direct with them. I suggest something like this, "I might be a sex addict. I recently had an affair, and find it almost impossible to empathize with her or to own my choices. I feel like I'm stuck in shame and it overwhelms me." That simple. If you are already seeing an IC, then maybe you need to reevaluate how much effort you are putting in, or maybe finding a therapist that you see more progress with.

One last thing. Make sure you want to do this. I mean, really really sure. Because it's a shit ton of work, and no one else can drive the bus to recovery but you. You have to get up every morning and think to yourself, "I'm tired of living my life feeling this way, and being this way, and I'm going to do whatever it takes to be someone I can respect, or die trying." Doing that takes a lot of commitment, and well... commitment isn't a WS's forte, now is it? So being committed to change is really the first big hurdle for most people. Again, if you aren't that's okay, but then stop trying to make it happen for the wrong reasons.

Right now, you seem to be stringing your spouse along by not really doing the work but also not ending it. If so, then it is hurting her, and hurting you, and probably even the people around you. You seem to be only "one foot in the door" in your responses. To be honest, it feels to me as if "you" aren't there. You seem to be trying as hard as you can to say the right thing, or do the right thing, or do anything that gets you out of this mess and give you some hope of not feeling like shit anymore. And I'm sorry, I am, but it does not work that way. You cannot just "want" to change, you have to do the work. You cannot stop feeling like a cheater while you still think like one. You cannot hope that tomorrow will be better, you have to make it better.

It is not about what you say or do, it is about who you are. Since you have not yet really changed who you are, then that is why "saying and doing"... is not working like you'd hope it would. I do have something encouraging to share however. The work, while it's a lot to go through... it will be so, so damn rewarding in the end. IF you do it. You can't make what you did go away, and you can't erase the pain of the memories, but you can learn to see them not as WHO you are but simply as part of your story. And that chapter is over now. You get full control of writing the next chapter and you can be anyone you want to be. You can choose to be honest to a fault, dependable, caring, assertive, dignified, loving, protective... and all you have to do is to choose to be that person. It really can be that simple. But first, you have to do the work, to clear out the trauma, the fear, the insecurities and any other blocks that could get in your way. And with every block removed, you can breathe more. You can feel more. You can feel the shame lift and the determination return. Don't be scared. Just do it. Not for her. For you. Fix yourself, and you might be amazed at how much the world changes around you. You have to give your wife a REASON to stay, and HOPE that change is not only possible, but that it is a "do or die" topic for you. You can gain your self-respect back, but not by living under a rock of shame.

There is an old expression... "Shit or get off the pot". Which simply means, "Do something or don't, but if you're gonna do it, then do it, and if not, then stop being in the way of others who are trying to get their own shit done".

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: 1176   ·   registered: Jan. 18th, 2017   ·   location: Marblehead, MA
id 8694978
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sisoon ( Guide #31240) posted at 8:01 PM on Monday, October 25th, 2021

I don't go looking for pics of women, I but I sure notice them IRL, and I enjoy noticing them. My W knows I see other women with my eyes, but she also knows I won't touch anyone but her. Note also, that my W looks younger than her 76 years, but 'younger' is still old; nevertheless, I still really like how she looks.

You don't really need to understand why you are less than the best partner. If you want to be a good husband and father, you need to change from cheater to good partner.

You say posting on SI doesn't help. WOEz points out that you have flirted with SI numerous times but then backed off. That says to me part of you believes SI can help.

In any case, if posting on SI won't help, what help do you need? My bet is that you have a good answer to that question, but you don't like it.

It's

like

you cannot stop betraying Dragn. That may or may not be true. The fact is, you can stop, if you're willing to do the work.

Here's the thing: it seems like the work is overwhelming. Even so, you can do the necessary work. After you've done the work, you'll wonder why you ever thought it was scary.

And the payoff is pretty special. You'll probably be happy, once you free yourself of thepain you've caused yourself. You'll be much more effective at getting what you want. You'll probably be a better H, father, human being. And you'll probably have glorious sex with Dragn.

You know you have a problem. Something tells you the problem is solvable - that's correct. You don't quite accept that you can solve the problem; you can - you may need help (it's almost definite that you need help), but you really can develop the strengths and resources you need to solve the problem. Yeah, it's hard work to change, but's it's even harder to stay where you are. Find a good IC. Go for the brass ring. You really can reach it, if you do the necessary work.

fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.

posts: 26262   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8695008
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 BrokenHeart911 (original poster new member #37296) posted at 12:33 AM on Tuesday, October 26th, 2021

Why is it so hard. I have made up my mind this somthing. I want to be with my wife. She says I need to talk and communicate to her. I always think to myself what am I suppose to say to that.

[This message edited by BrokenHeart911 at 12:34 AM, Tuesday, October 26th]

Me WH 30
BW 38 (DragnHeart)
DDay October 19th 2010 PA with coworker.

posts: 24   ·   registered: Oct. 28th, 2012
id 8695057
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EvolvingSoul ( member #29972) posted at 1:45 AM on Tuesday, October 26th, 2021

Hi BrokenHeart911,

You keep hoping things will just work themselves out with time, but after this long I think you know that's not going to fly. Keep using the same thinking, keep making the same choices, you keep getting the same results. It seems like you are at the "I want to want to change" part of the process and stalled. That's different than "I want to change" or "I am working on change" or "I have changed".

It's normal to sometimes feel a spark of attraction for certain people we encounter. That spark isn't the issue. It's when we latch onto it, feed it, fan the spark, and keep it going that it becomes a problem. When we start to seek out those sparks (which I assume is what you mean by looking at pics online) and especially if you are hiding it from your BS, that is pretty much the same kind of thinking that made all the cheating possible. What you seem to be doing now is white-knuckling and that is what you have been doing for a long time. You have stopped some (but not all) of the behaviors but haven't gotten down to identifying and changing the thought processes that enabled them.

You have received so much good advice here. Dig down, BrokenHeart911. When you say

I have wanted to try post I just cannot open up and write out how I am feeling or what is going through my mind. I know most on here know Dragn. So you know what the whole story is.

a more accurate statement might be "It makes me really, really uncomfortable to even think about opening up and writing out how I am feeling or what is going through my mind". Here's a question, not rhetorical, I'm wondering if you can answer it here. What is the worst thing that could happen if you were to open up and write about how you feel here?

Proceed with conviction and valor.

Me: WS (60)Him: Shards (55)
D-day: June 6, 2010
Last voluntary AP contact: June 23, 2010
NC Letter sent: 3/9/11

We’re going to make it.

posts: 2532   ·   registered: Oct. 29th, 2010   ·   location: The far shore.
id 8695058
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WalkinOnEggshelz ( Administrator #29447) posted at 11:45 PM on Wednesday, October 27th, 2021

Why is it so hard.

Which part? Not looking at other women? Fixing yourself? Or communicating with your wife?

It’s a different answer to each one but honestly only you know the answer to that. If you are having a hard time figuring it out, keep asking why.

For instance, "why is is so hard communicating with my wife?" 1. Opening up to her makes me feel vulnerable and I don’t like that. Why? 2. Men are supposed to be strong. I don’t like feeling weak. Why? 3. It was how I was raised. Then you could start asking yourself how to open up to her. If face to face is too hard, write it out. Pick specific topics to discuss, etc.

We are not zombies. Our heads are often caught up in thought. What are those thoughts regarding your affairs? Start with a simple thought and expand on it.

Me: WS late 40’s
Him: BH (HoldingTogether)
D Day: 7/24/2010
If you keep asking people to give you the benefit of the doubt, they will eventually start to doubt your benefit.

posts: 14481   ·   registered: Aug. 27th, 2010   ·   location: Texas
id 8695335
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 BrokenHeart911 (original poster new member #37296) posted at 12:21 AM on Thursday, October 28th, 2021

EvolvingSoul

Posting here makes feel uncomfortable. I know everyone on here knows dragn and I feel like this site is for her. I feel like I don't belong here.

WalkinOnEggshelz

I was raised to hide emotions and be strong from a very early age. I am not blaming my parents for anything but that is how men are raised in my family. No sympathy and no tears. Walk it off I was told.
So the thought of sharing feelings is hard very hard. I do try with dragn it is just hard.

Me WH 30
BW 38 (DragnHeart)
DDay October 19th 2010 PA with coworker.

posts: 24   ·   registered: Oct. 28th, 2012
id 8695343
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icangetpastthis ( new member #74602) posted at 1:21 PM on Thursday, October 28th, 2021

You say that you love your wife and that you only want her. Then look at her. When you catch yourself looking elsewhere - redirect yourself to cease that and look instead at your wife. Remove all the photos and videos of other women from your phone/possession and replace them with photos of your wife. And, look at her. Notice her. Notice what she wears, her hair, her eyes, her body. Her face. When you talk to her, look at her face. If you see something about her that you like, tell her. And don't ever stop. Simple, be there - with her, even when she isn't there.

M = 43 yrs
DDay = March 2020
Me/BS = 62
WH = 64
Working on reconciliation, one day at a time.

posts: 17   ·   registered: Jun. 16th, 2020
id 8695387
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foreverlabeled ( member #52070) posted at 2:46 PM on Thursday, October 28th, 2021

Posting here makes feel uncomfortable. I know everyone on here knows dragn and I feel like this site is for her. I feel like I don't belong here.

I can understand why you would feel that way. She has a lot of friends here who support her, who knows her struggles, and her continued struggles with you. It would be intimidating for anyone. But I think you would be surprised to know that it doesn't make for a situation where your support is any less valid or that we are for her against you. I'll admit that in some ways I (and probably others) do have a preconceived opinion of you, and worse, not a very good one, but! we do tend to like to see our members bs/ws alike to get out of infidelity. It could be Dragn or any other member, doesn't matter who it is. And because she is an active member and we see her perpetual turmoil of infidelity and your lack of regard to be a safe partner for the better part of a decade, perhaps we feel like we already know you, and perhaps even more proof that you actually do belong here, you need help getting out of infidelity. That is of course if you want help.

I was raised to hide emotions and be strong from a very early age. I am not blaming my parents for anything but that is how men are raised in my family. No sympathy and no tears. Walk it off I was told.
So the thought of sharing feelings is hard very hard. I do try with dragn it is just hard.

I'll be honest, while I understand FOO plays a huge part in cycles we repeat for years, like WOEZ said you have tools, you have knowledge, and you have the understanding that something needs to change. Yet, you've done absolutely nothing to fix it, and so that is a complete cop-out.

I know all to well how uncomfortable this shit is, but to stop when it gets hard is just another excuse.

What is the worst thing that could happen if you open up to your bs?

Here's the thing though, I feel like we are getting ahead of ourselves. I feel like there are certain steps one needs to take. The first step? Stop cheating. This might come off as harsh but I assure you I believe in personal liberties, that includes sexual liberties, if a person wants to follow Instagram models, or practice casual sex, or view porn, or or or... I'm all for that. BUT huge BUT if you are going to participate in a relationship that person ought to know. AND if you choose those things against the agreement you made then maybe you should consider and evaluate if you are monogamous material. And its ok if you're not, you just need to be honest about it and stop hurting your wife and divorce her.

But something tells me that you'd rather get fat eating your cake. And I think you know that you can, so you do. You have no reason to change. Its really that simple. In my mind its one of the few reasons I can think of as to why you have no empathy for your actions. Other than being a psychopath which I don't think you are. So it leaves me with that. You obviously don't care to change. You don't see anything wrong with what you do. I'd hate to know how many ddays you've given her. How many times in the last decade you've betrayed her that she is none the wiser to.

WOEZ is right you cannot change with internal dialogue alone, but I don't think you even have that. You seek instant gratification and fuck all. Your internal dialogue is working against you. I imagine you tell yourself there is nothing wrong with looking at pictures or seeking out casual sex, you probably tell yourself you don't intend to take it further and fail to realize you already have.

Opening up to Dragn is in my mind the least of your worries when you can't even stop cheating on her. Ya know? So I think this conversation needs to start here. I think you need to ask yourself some questions like do you even want to stop, how can you actively place some safe guards to help you along the way, do you need professional help, if so how will you be proactive about it. And if your wife is so gracious that she wants to help you, I'm not sure you can say anything at this point that would surprise her or hurt her more. In fact I think it might even be a relief and a validation to hear from you what she's already suspected and felt the last 10 years. It might be the easiest conversion you have.

33 divorced Madhatter
Time is no ones friend, nor their enemy. It moves forward at its own fixed pace, careless of our wants to speed it or slow it.

posts: 2535   ·   registered: Mar. 1st, 2016   ·   location: southeast
id 8695393
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HardKnocks ( member #70957) posted at 4:10 PM on Thursday, October 28th, 2021

Are you in IC?

BW 30-year marriage.
DDay2 2/20 5 month EA/PA
Recovering

posts: 333   ·   registered: Jul. 7th, 2019
id 8695405
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 BrokenHeart911 (original poster new member #37296) posted at 12:52 AM on Friday, October 29th, 2021

icangetpastthis
I really do like that Idea I wil make sure that is done..

BraveSirRobin
I know if I don't change this will be it. I will loose her.

I want to do this I am not in IC. Doctors of any kinda send me into a panic attack mode.i think I may have to look into it I know dragn may not believe me but I have told her about the things I have done I do not have anymore skeletons hiding in the closet.
I believe Facebook and access to the internet is the worst thing.

I dont feel different my feelings have not changed since the day I ment dragn I really do love her..i does it make me any less of a man to tell her I kinda feel bored I kinda feel like life is flying by and it is the same thing day after day.

I dont know.i just don't understand I just wanna hug dragn and hold her and tell her I am sorry I really am. I want to show her I am serious do you guys think IC would be beneficial to my situation?

Me WH 30
BW 38 (DragnHeart)
DDay October 19th 2010 PA with coworker.

posts: 24   ·   registered: Oct. 28th, 2012
id 8695519
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RealityBlows ( member #41108) posted at 6:44 AM on Friday, October 29th, 2021

Empathy...

Just imagine her, your wife, your betrothed, your soul mate, the only person in this world you can depend on, trust, the bedrock in your life, the Mother of your children...

opening herself up to another man, deeply kissing him, giving him everything-that was exclusively yours, sharing bodily fluids, doing things that she never did with you, saying things that she never said to you.

and then afterwards, the cuddling, the pillow talk. Talking shit about you. Comparing you-with him. Sharing your personal secrets.

Then the next day, she's thinking about him-not you. Wishing she was with him-not you. Devoting all her mental space to him-not you.

Then when you two make love, she's pretending you are him. And during sex, some of him is invasively mixing with some of you. Your sharing bodily fluids with some random dirtbag.

Just try and immagine that. If you truly love her, the thought of that should sting a little and open up your immagination to what her needs might be.

posts: 730   ·   registered: Oct. 25th, 2013
id 8695537
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marriageredux959 ( member #69375) posted at 7:16 AM on Friday, October 29th, 2021

I say this with love and empathy and sympathy and respect and, most importantly, hope:

Boo, you are the infidelity/wayward equivalent of a 'dry drunk.'

You are white knuckling your way through your marriage, and, I strongly suspect, through life.

You need IC to figure out what is driving you, what is making you tick, what is missing in your own self,

...before you drive your wife, another human being who is deserving of peace, validation, and respect, and who is not responsible for your issues, bat shit fucking crazy.

I was once a June bride.
I am now a June phoenix.
The phoenix is more powerful.
The Bride is Dead.
Long Live The Phoenix.

posts: 497   ·   registered: Jan. 9th, 2019
id 8695538
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