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Wayward Side :
Torn

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 BraveSirRobin (original poster guide #69242) posted at 5:51 PM on Wednesday, December 1st, 2021

As a former WW, I feel like I have a deep responsibility to new WS here. I know what it's like to be an entitled, foggy, selfish compartmentalizer. I know that my saving grace was other WS who fought through that and taught me compassionately how to pull my head out of my ass. I want to help rebuild community. I want to foster a space where waywards can admit their worst impulses and ask sincerely for help. Part of that is making room for failure, because not everyone is going to overcome toxic thought patterns and behaviors on their first go.

But there's a catch. Now that I've gotten down on the floor with my BH, and faced and absorbed the destruction that I wreaked on him, I am protective of betrayed spouses, and especially of BS members on SI. When one appears in JFO shocked and devastated by false R, it is a gut punch. I mean, I seriously and physically have to catch my breath, because it calls up memories of the work my BH did to allow himself to be vulnerable again. I feel this surge of disbelief and rage that anyone can betray such trust and grace. And as much as I have argued for sending WS here to learn from us, I think it would be very hard for me to treat that WS kindly if they showed up here. Honestly, it would be hard to be civil.

Now, if I were a triggered BS, the answer would be fairly straightforward: stay the hell away from the Wayward Forum. There's no point in putting yourself in a situation that's likely to get you banned. But remorseful WS are thin on the ground here, and as I said above, a big part of why I've stuck around is that I want to pay it forward. I know we need greeters at these particular gates of hell.

I'm curious to hear from other WS: do you struggle with an identity crisis when you read posts about recidivist waywards? Does it trigger you? It occurs to me that I might be reacting this way because I'm a madhatter, but I honestly don't think so. I'm not having visions of my BH's infidelity. I'm seeing him in my head, shaking from the pain of what I did, and feeling this compulsion to throttle anyone who could see the same thing and then have another affair. I'm practically in "burn the witch" mode, where mild hints about offering a third chance feel like a travesty.

Have you been in this boat? Any tips for how to keep paddling?

(Edited to add: this is me grappling with a reaction that I've experienced several times during my years here. It's not an invitation to discuss anyone's specific thread, which would be a guideline violation.)

[This message edited by BraveSirRobin at 6:14 PM, Wednesday, December 1st]

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

posts: 2379   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8701975
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balbichi ( new member #78736) posted at 7:34 PM on Wednesday, December 1st, 2021

I am not going to elaborate on this much.......except we need people like you and hikingout putting their valuable unibaised thought across every sections such as JFO, WS and reconciliation. I am a BS. But, I would welcome your (and hikingout's) input any given day.

posts: 12   ·   registered: May. 2nd, 2021
id 8701988
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DevastatedDee ( member #59873) posted at 9:35 PM on Wednesday, December 1st, 2021

I'm a MH too, so I've also seen the face of a person I cheated on. I get very much burn the witch feelings on those who do it multiple times. I cheated in a bad mental state on DDay itself on a serial cheater and yet it was still beyond horrible to hurt someone that way. I know what it would have taken for me to have done that again after seeing the impact of it even to someone like my XWH, and that's why I just cringe so hard at the suggestions of R in those cases. It feels like enabling someone's abuse. Handing them a needle full of hopium to shoot up and keep them in the gutter. And these don't tend to be people like my XWH this is done to. This tends to be done to a BS who's full of empathy and decency who gave them the most amazing grace and chance to prove that they weren't the enemy and there they go destroying them again. I'm not saying people can't change, but I usually stay far away from serial cheaters in this forum because I have nothing helpful to say. Someone who can see the anguish and trauma and do it again so casually has some crucial things missing in them. I'm sure someone can help them and people like you are unimaginably valuable here. But yeah, I wouldn't even know where to begin. I'd want to begin with "Is your BS safely away from you while you figure out how to human", but that's not exactly helpful in a forum like this.

DDay: 06/07/2017
MH - RA on DDay.
Divorced a serial cheater (prostitutes and lord only knows who and what else).

posts: 4783   ·   registered: Jul. 27th, 2017
id 8702013
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Wiseoldfool ( member #78413) posted at 10:01 PM on Wednesday, December 1st, 2021

Brave Sir Robin,

As a BH, I really hope you’ll keep sharing your truth. You and a couple other reformed WW were the thread that kept me hanging on while my own WW struggled to reform herself. I saw in your stories reason to believe some of what she was saying and all of what I was seeing; that which I didn’t believe was largely consistent with the struggles you and the others revealed about your own paths. Stated differently, I could compare your stories to the one I was living and see that the story I was living was not unique and that reconciliation is possible.

Please stick around and do your thing.

Every secret you keep with your affair partner sustains the affair. Every lie you tell, every misunderstanding you permit, every deflection you pose, every omission you allow sustains the affair.

posts: 156   ·   registered: Mar. 1st, 2021
id 8702019
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Sufi22 ( new member #75842) posted at 10:04 PM on Wednesday, December 1st, 2021

BSR
As a BS and mostly a lurker, I can't speak to your feelings directly but I want to say I truly appreciate and admire you, Mrs Walloped, HikingOut and the other FWWs who come here and bare their souls to help other WWs. The amount of gut wrenching honesty and bs detection on display in your posts teaches me at least to be more humble in my own judgments. I've learned more from the comments of WWs here than anyone. I wish I could get my spouse to see the importance of full honesty and disclosure but she is too deep into her own compartmentalization to reach out for help. I would send her here in a heartbeat to learn from your wisdom were she willing to risk opening herself up to exposure and as you say "pulling her head out of her ass."

D-day: Aug 3 2018
BH-60 WW-50s
M 21 years
WW had 2 year EA(maybe PA) and 1 year ongoing contact during Covid
1 DD
Trying to R

posts: 17   ·   registered: Nov. 11th, 2020
id 8702021
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Thumos ( member #69668) posted at 11:42 PM on Wednesday, December 1st, 2021

BSR as usual you hit the nail on the head and your concern for BH’s is something I’ve always picked up on — including in my own case. I want to thank you first for sticking with it and for your ongoing insights.

With respect to false R, I think you’ve hit on something that makes me "R curious" yet also quite skeptical. There are too many false R’s that pop up here — along with the well known trend of a BS showing up years later in a bit of a panic because they now regret trying R — for me to view this with anything but healthy skepticism.

I have a pretty high bar in JFO for when I will just be quiet and allow a situation I’ve commented on go without further posts. It isn’t very often that I will just hold back. Or when I will try to be as neutral as I can about the prospects for R in the vast majority of cases — although I do try.

Even absent a false R scenario, I see so many JFO cases that just involve so much casual cruelty, disregard and lack of basic human decency, it’s well nigh impossible for me to commend R with a straight face (so to speak).

It gets even worse if a BW or BH posts the usual drivel their WW’s or WH’s are trying to bombard them with in emails or texts. It is hard for me restrain myself in those cases from doing a translation/deconstruction of these sorts of communiques.

In a false R scenario, a serial cheating scenario, or no kids, I usually just default straight to D.

I haven’t been posting much lately — but again, I appreciate you sticking around.

In my own case, I can say without hesitation I wish I’d had someone around me during the first three years after DDAY telling me to stop putting up with my WW’s nonsense.

[This message edited by Thumos at 12:01 AM, Thursday, December 2nd]

"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: 50, WW: 49 Wed: Feb.'96 DDAY1: 12.20.16 DDAY2: 12.23.19

posts: 4527   ·   registered: Feb. 5th, 2019   ·   location: UNITED STATES
id 8702034
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GraceLoves ( member #78769) posted at 12:18 AM on Thursday, December 2nd, 2021

FWIW, I've never met you, but you and a few other people here who took time to share their difficult, incredibly personal thoughts and feedback have helped me, *by far* more than all the books, therapy or real life friends I have. That's astonishing really, but true. Thank you, to all WS's who are paying it forward. I quite literally consider you to be some of the most generous invidvidals I've ever come across.

To speak to your question, the most great thing about this forum is that it doesn't cast wayward as scum. Many people here are working hard on reconciliation. So the WS / BS aren't really opposite sides. We're (mostly) all here to heal. In my M, he did wrong, but he's not my opponent.

If someone like yourself were to share things that comforted my WS, I'd consider this a gift to me *also*. Most really regretful WSs need to be heard and helped too. There are so many here, and in those early days when they are lost in the selfishness and entitlement they probably most need help.

So my point is: I thank you for all you do to help BSs. I also thank you for all you do to help WSs.

BW - seperated since Nov 21
DDay 1 - Nov 20, LTA during LDR. DDay 2 - Feb 21, ONS with AP. WH will maintain we were separated
DDay 3 - June 21, discovered WH had exchanged closure emails with AP

posts: 138   ·   registered: May. 9th, 2021   ·   location: London
id 8702044
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WalkinOnEggshelz ( Administrator #29447) posted at 12:41 AM on Thursday, December 2nd, 2021

Now that I've gotten down on the floor with my BH, and faced and absorbed the destruction that I wreaked on him, I am protective of betrayed spouses, and especially of BS members on SI[

Hmmm, this makes me smile and nod to myself based on my history here. It’s too complicated to go into details but I have been somewhat accused of this by other waywards, which is only increasingly complicated as a staff member.

I will tell you that I believe there are stages as a wayward that sticks around. The first is fogginess (or whatever you want to call it). Head up the ass, denial, limited remorse, etc. The second is the true desire to want to make those changes necessary to be a safe person and going through the pain of understanding who you really are. The third is coming out the other side and having limited patience for other foggy WS because you know exactly what they are doing and you can’t kid a kidder. The last is finding that balance and learning when to cross the line and when to hold back. By this stage you are able to read other’s stories without the gut punch and see them more objectively.

As with most things the stages can be somewhat fluid and you can slip back and forth through them.

My posting style has always been to share my own experiences so that what I am saying is relatable. My advice to you is to stay true to yourself and who you are.

[This message edited by SI Staff at 12:44 AM, Thursday, December 2nd]

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: 14742   ·   registered: Aug. 27th, 2010   ·   location: Texas
id 8702049
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HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 2:36 PM on Thursday, December 2nd, 2021

Add me to your fan club. We need you here. At the same time,if it's hurting you to be here,I don't want that for you.

We have so very few truly, Truly, remorseful FWS here. You are a treasure.

posts: 3874   ·   registered: Jun. 20th, 2017   ·   location: The Midwest
id 8702101
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EllieKMAS ( member #68900) posted at 2:43 PM on Thursday, December 2nd, 2021

BSR you were the very first wayward that turned around my thinking about WS's in my early SI days. I couldn't stomach the wayward forum for a long time when I first got here - I was one of those BS's that just avoided all of it. But I had one of my posts that you commented on, I don't remember exactly what you said but I do remember it was very helpful and insightful at the time. And then I saw your tagline and realized you were a WS! I remember at the time it blew my mind that a WS could actually be helping me... but that is the influence that you and other WS's have on this forum.

Your commentary made me see WS's as actual humans and not movie villains and completely changed my perspective about the 'other side' of infidelity. It made me more aware and better at being compassionate and better at remembering that we are all here trying to heal and that all of us are flawed and imperfect humans. It also made me able to start reading here in the wayward forum more, and there's so much insight in here that has helped me so much in my journey, and I wouldn't have been able to take it on board without that first reply from you that shifted my perspective. I wouldn't have been able to get to know so many WS's that have helped me over the years without it, and my life would be sorrier for it.

Please don't ever change how you do on here - your honesty and candor and humanity shine through your posts always, and I for one appreciate that more than I can say.

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

"The love that you lost isn't worth what it cost and in time you'll be glad that it's gone." – Linkin Park

posts: 3294   ·   registered: Nov. 22nd, 2018   ·   location: CO
id 8702103
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 BraveSirRobin (original poster guide #69242) posted at 3:58 PM on Thursday, December 2nd, 2021

Aw, guys. I'm really touched by this, sincerely.

It's not that I'm planning on leaving or that it hurts too much to be here. It's more that I want to do the best job I can, and that means balancing personal emotions against a logical understanding of what new WS need. There are many (sadly, very many) voices here that speak wisdom from personal experience as a BS. WS need that guidance too.

Don't get me wrong, the fan love is mutual. There are BSes who blow my mind with their ability to be compassionate and helpful on this forum. I took a three month posting hiatus last summer, but I still read here occasionally. Y'all stepped into the breach and supplemented the wayward viewpoints with excellent advice. I'm always awed by those posts.

But sometimes, there's no substitute for a mentor who has lived in the fucked up brain of a WS and has the whole toolkit, complete with maps and secret decoder ring. And that's why I came here to ask fellow waywards how they do it when they're triggered by WS at their most waywardly. Not how as in "What do you say to new WS," or "Can R realistically be justified here," but how internally. How do you overcome frustration and anger to meet newbies where they need to be met, because that's the job, and someone's gotta do it.

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

posts: 2379   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8702116
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Bulcy ( member #74034) posted at 4:19 PM on Thursday, December 2nd, 2021

BSR,

Please stick around. I'm one of the WS who still has so much work to do to "get it". It is the likes of you who keep me reading the forum, especially when I'm in a shame spiral. You and a few others show me that it is me who needs to do the work and wallowing in self pity does not help. You give me and BS hope that R can be achieved.

Thanks you for your honest approach to us WSs we need the honest 2x4s you guys give us. You're right...You can spot our bullshit a mile off.

You're input is appreciated and I'm sorry that dealing with the likes of me gives you pain. Know that, I for one, read everything you post.

WH (40's) Me. Emotional affair (2017), Physical affair (2003) and online affairs, Two physical affairs (2000). D-Day's 2003, August '17, multiple discoveries through 2018,19 and 20, and Jan 21

posts: 116   ·   registered: Mar. 12th, 2020   ·   location: UK
id 8702118
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 BraveSirRobin (original poster guide #69242) posted at 5:12 PM on Thursday, December 2nd, 2021

Bulcy, your posts don't give me pain. I was practically applauding your recent comment on ShatteredImage's thread.

It's good to see someone making progress, even (maybe especially?) when there's so much darkness behind you. I'm glad to do anything I can to help you justify the grace you've been gifted by your BW.

[This message edited by BraveSirRobin at 5:25 PM, Thursday, December 2nd]

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

posts: 2379   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8702140
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Chaos ( member #61031) posted at 5:19 PM on Thursday, December 2nd, 2021

BSR - I'm a BS - one with multiple DDays w/same LTAP and has been through False R.

You have given me clarity when I had none before. You have responded to my questions gently yet thoroughly. You have broken down the incomprehensible. I read from the Wayward forum to understand. And I have learned so much. I have gained great insight. Knowledge [no matter how painful] is power.

And I can't tell you how much I appreciate it.

Your explanations and responses have gotten me through some dark days.

BS-me/WH-4.5yrLTA Married 2+ decades - Children (1 still at home)
Multiple DDays w/same AP until I told OBS in 2018
Cease & Desist sent spring 2021
"Hello–My name is Chaos–You f***ed my husband-Prepare to Die!"

posts: 3365   ·   registered: Oct. 13th, 2017   ·   location: East coast
id 8702141
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ff4152 ( member #55404) posted at 7:27 PM on Thursday, December 2nd, 2021

I must admit, I have a hard time dealing with WS who've had 1 affair, let alone multiple. I too, deeply empathize with a BS who comes here with their world blown apart. Its only natural to get angry at WS and many of them deserve what's coming to them. I must admit that I'm often of the mindset that a BS should kick the WS to the curb and never look back. But that's not always realistic and perhaps not what a BS truly wants.

I do see how difficult it is to have any empathy for WS. Heck, in my 5 years here, with the exception of one WS, I can say that I owe much of my growth to the BS who've reached out to me. I've always felt extremely humbled by the kindness they've afforded me. While obviously not their WS, I still belonged to the same shitty club. It would have been easy for them to just walk on by, but they didn't.

But from a WS perspective, it's a tricky situation from an advisory standpoint. If they come here with their heads full of fog, you want to shake them, slap them upside the head and try to talk some sense into them. While I agree that we must be "forceful" in our approach, I think how its delivered is the key to the success or failure of the advice. I liken it to dealing with a child; they're more likely to listen if you speak to them in reasonable and measured tones "Hollering" at them typically only causes them to shut down. Now I'm certainly not suggesting coddling them, but trying to remember that we were once the same way can help.

Me -FWS

posts: 1896   ·   registered: Sep. 30th, 2016
id 8702169
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TheEnd ( member #72213) posted at 8:15 PM on Thursday, December 2nd, 2021

I echo everyone's sentiments about BSR and waywards in general. Without WSs, this forum might become an echo chamber and from there, a potential cesspool of pain and bitterness without much for healing and growth. Yeah, that's how important I think WSs are to this forum.

BSR I can understand your personal reaction to false recoverers or serial cheaters, for sure. Of course, you don't have to assist anyone you don't feel worthy of your time.

But one could also argue that those folks need you most and in turn those BSs need you most. You and other waywards are likely to smell their bullshit a mile away. And who better than you could put the pain and destruction of false recovery into grim focus for the serial cheater? I mean, every BS on the board could line up with nail embedded 2x4s and deliver a blow but a wayward can too easily dismiss that as "bitter" spouses or simply, hurt people who don't make sense. You and other waywards cannot be dismissed that way. You in fact, may be their last chance to wake up because I don't know where else in the world they are going to find other waywards with free advice on a moderated board focused on healing.

Perhaps most importantly: their BS may be watching. They will see the how other waywards see it and be able to compare that to their wayward. Odds are, you will be opening their eyes.

posts: 81   ·   registered: Dec. 3rd, 2019
id 8702180
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oldmewasmurdered ( member #79473) posted at 12:15 AM on Friday, December 3rd, 2021

Hi BSR.

I'm a fairly new BS here (2 months from D-Day, still in JFO) so you don't know me. I can't help with your problem but just want to say thank you though. You, hikingout, MrsWallopped, etc explaining WS mindset has been helpful for me as a BS (and be hella hella triggered at times hah). As my ex-WF can't give me any closure I find what you guys do very helpful in learning why WS do the things they do. So just wanna say thanks for doing what you do. grin

posts: 75   ·   registered: Oct. 12th, 2021   ·   location: Canada
id 8702213
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Fletcher ( new member #72759) posted at 12:56 AM on Friday, December 3rd, 2021

"Perhaps most importantly: their BS may be watching. They will see the how other waywards see it and be able to compare that to their wayward. Odds are, you will be opening their eyes"

bs here and i read all the forums including the ww forum. i sometimes question whether it’s healthy to relive some of this, but if i understand your last paragraph correctly it is spot on for me. i want to see how others are handling their situation. allows me to compare how i’m handling things and compare how my ws is handling things.

posts: 27   ·   registered: Feb. 7th, 2020
id 8702224
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HardKnocks ( member #70957) posted at 2:38 PM on Friday, December 3rd, 2021

We always say, "Take what you need, and leave the rest."

We can also say, "Give what you can, and leave the rest."

Win/win!

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

posts: 359   ·   registered: Jul. 7th, 2019
id 8702325
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survrus ( member #67698) posted at 1:54 AM on Sunday, December 5th, 2021

BSR,

You wrote, I am protective of betrayed spouses, and especially of BS members on SI.

Curiously my WW is protective of WWs and says stuff like maybe her husband didn't love her or spend enough time with her.

posts: 1086   ·   registered: Nov. 1st, 2018   ·   location: USA
id 8702668
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