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Newest Member: KMS60087

Just Found Out :
My world has turned upside down.

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Butforthegrace ( member #63264) posted at 3:18 PM on Saturday, January 1st, 2022

Let me simplify this.

My wife had feelings of abandonment fed by feelings like she was not shown love or attention. She mentally blocked all the times I took her out, bought her flowers or chocolates, cooked her special meals, or sat and cuddled with her on the couch to watch TV together. This is called splitting, a symptom of Borderline personality disorder where they only see the bad side of a person and cannot recognize the good side. It's either all good or all bad. This was the BPD talking which made her susceptible to infidelity. This isn't my opinion. This was pointed out by our therapists. Thus was highlighted in every text written about people who suffer from BPD. I blame her BPD for her emotions at the time of the affair.

Explaining a thing is not the same as excusing a thing. As an extreme example, over and over we learn that many of history's most infamous serial murderers suffered horrific levels of abuse as children, often including CSA. We can explain their path to becoming heinous serial murderers as adults. Yet we still feel as a society that it is just and correct to execute them for their crimes. The magnitude of the wrongful act(s) matters. This is true in recovering from infidelity as well. And my friend the magnitude of your WW's crimes here is high, even by SI standards.

"The wicked man flees when no one chases."

posts: 3808   ·   registered: Mar. 31st, 2018   ·   location: Midwest
id 8706897
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Stevesn ( member #58312) posted at 11:25 PM on Saturday, January 1st, 2022

I know you’ve been frustrated that some have cherry picked what they read and then are focusing only on the fact that they believe that BPD doesn’t excuse her behavior and therefore you should D.

I want you to know that I, as I know many here have, had read each of your posts several times, looking for an understanding of what you need right now.

Sure if it’s just venting, we are glad to let you write a series of prose expounding on your feelings and sit back and let you get it all out of your system.

But if you weren’t looking for feedback I suspect you’d journal instead of send your thoughts to a system that has hundreds of active responders who have suffered similar experiences and pain such as yours. They have also seen many a suffering soul not knowing what they are looking for but needing help in finding the path that helps them relieve their pain over time.

But you also said you want "feedback on the emotions you are feeling". You’ve said it a few times and it’s a good thing to seek. I’d love to engage in that discussion with you and I’ve seen many here help with such a give and take on that time and time again.

When You first said it I tried to go back and pull from each comment you made the essence of what you are feeling, the nature of the pain you are experiencing, and see what we can do to drill down on the root causes of where it was coming from.

As you saw, what I inferred, correctly or not, was that while even if she is doing everything she can to fix what is broken within her, and you feel it’s important that she does so, and you help her to do that, you still don’t know how to rebuild the marriage and find happiness with the emotions you are feeling about what she did.

So I tried to find what was missing. What you weren’t saying was being done. You say you are working on those emotions in IC and MC but still weren’t seeing a path back. And lacked any other feedback outside professionals about it.

So when I really thought about it, what I wrote above is what I felt was missing from what I was reading in your posts. Because as a former BS and reading hundreds of threads about BS’s who succeed and fail at rebuilding with their cheating partners, I find there are some critical aspects as to whether or not infidelity will destroy a relationship or will have a chance to recover.

With that in mind, I look at what you just wrote back to me. The list of things she is doing with respect to you and showing that this process is not all one sided and focused on her. Here are my thoughts.

These are really good things for her to be doing. They absolutely must be elements of any work that a Cheating spouse undertakes if they want a chance to save and create a new relationship with their emotionally injured partner.

And that list is an excellent start to making you feel safe that she is not cheating anymore. Unfortunately these actions will need to be lifelong endeavors if she is going to regain your trust again that she won’t betray you with another man during the decades to come. It’s part of that recipe along with learning how to handle her disease. Because when you gave her that trust unconditionally in the past, she fails time again.

Some might say that these actions you list show love in addition to making you feel safe. And perhaps they do to an extent. But to me they would better exhibit love if they were done BEFORE she chose infidelity instead of after as now they are basically seen as doing the minimum to just be allowed to stay in the relationship and try and work on it. A last resort if you will.

So yes, it’s good, even great, that she’s doing them, and if she wasn’t, we wouldn’t probably be discussing any other aspects of the relationship as you would have chosen to separate and go your separate ways.

But she is doing them. And that is good. But obviously those things aren’t enough to ease the pain you are feeling in those understandably strong and difficult emotions you are having. One answer is that it takes time, and consistent and persistent continuation of those actions she is taking. That’s how she shows she is all in and changed who she has been. How she proves she is fixing what is broken in her and dealing with the issues she has when she arises.

But from what you write I’m sensing that is not enough. We are glad to discuss with you what you are missing. Explain it to us. As I’ve said, I’m weary about talking about her BPD and what you are both doing to stay on top of it. You’ve shown you are weary of this too.

So let’s assume she is going to do all the right work with her therapist and you on this. She’s going to take helpful Rx’s that keep her harmful thoughts in check.

What then? What then do you need.

I know what I would need and I will tell you. But please, chime in and discuss it with us.

I would need four things. And everyone is different so please don’t jump down my throat if I get one or all of them wrong. Im just trying to help here.

First, I would need proof that she hasn’t given her heart away to one of these other men. I wrote about it above and you didn’t acknowledge it. But she absolutely stated she loved the coworker and wanted to leave you for him. And the reason she didn’t wasn’t the love she had for you, it was fear of losing her kids.

Do you know that’s she still not pining away for him after all these years? Is he "the one that got away". She also she didn’t stop her cheating because of her feeling of love for you. As I said above it was because of the heartbreak of losing someone time and time again.

Where in the work she has done do you hear her say that she no longer loves that man. I know it’s been years but such love has been known to last decades.

You said you crave hurting him and the other APs. Does she say she’s more than willling assist with that? Even if you never would go thru with something like that, it would be good to hear that she’d support you. Was he married at the time? If so, is he still? I’m just saying…

Or is she still protecting him and his place in her heart. If so, I couldn’t stay. You may be able to. I couldn’t. I am better off without a partner that pines away for a lost love than with one who sees me as plan B. Which is it here? That’s what she’d have to prove to me.

The second aspect to me would be Desire and risk. She lived a life of both for a long long time. This wasn’t a single one night stand. This was a sustained campaign of infidelity.

Now you don’t have to restate the reasons here. I told you last post. I believe you. You don’t have to convince me.

But no matter what the reason she did it. It leaves a hole in your soul. She put out. Quite succinctly she gave away some of the best parts of being in love. She gave away affection that you expected. And she did it in exciting and risky ways. These men benefitted from her behavior. You absolutely did not.

If you are feeling pain over her infidelity this is a major part of it. You can deny and deflect it all you want. But if you’re human, it’s painful.

She had sex in back of cars in parking lots. Had hookups with a young soccer coach and then gave knowing looks to him while you and she watched your child play for him. Pretended she was arm candy for your best friend. And years later participated in a lurid threesome with him after she knew how painful it was for you to endure the first time.

You know all this. You’ll say "you’re just piling on". But I say it to convince you that these are some of the things that are causing those awful emotions you are suffering from.

And I’m still convinced that hole in your heart won’t begin to close, if that’s what you truly wants, until you actually feel your wife on your side of things in this battle. Not until she stands by your side and says, I’m in pain over this too.

And I know some here disagree, and that is their prerogative, but I think she has to show you that she will go to greater lengths to be with you than she did with her APs. Not by performing the same acts with you, as that would be triggering. But if she truly wants to be with you, and we’ll discuss that more in a minute, than she will not just do the things you listed in your post above. No. She will do all that and more.

It’s not the only thing necessary in a rebuilding plan. It’s not even the most important one. But to me, it is AN IMPORTANT ONE. I would need it. You said she withheld affection from you for years. I would need expressions of intimacy beyond normal husband wife love making. I would need creative expressions of excitement. She got that. Her APs definitely got that. You absolutely did not.

And without it, I don’t believe I could exist in the relationship. I’d need more than that, for sure. But to me it would be a key component to her showing me that I am the one, thru all her searching and test driving, that she truly desires. If she cannot, then I’d wish her well in her recovery from BPD and let her know I support her in it, but not as her husband.

Which thirdly again brings me back to love. Above, I asked if she still lives the coworker AP. And honestly, I still believe she does. But separate from that, if she can convince you otherwise and that she now despises him and what he helped her do to you, my question would be if I were in your shoes, does she love you. Are you the true love of her life? How can she prove it.

My friend, when you listed the items she now does, the word love was no where to be found there. Has she said it? Has she shown it? How? Do you feel it? Do you believe it?

When I said the focus in the marriage needed to turn to you, this is what I meant. As I said above, the actions you listed are good and important. But if she cannot honestly say she loves you, what difference does it make? Maybe you could stay if she doesn’t. But I could not. I could maybe be her friend. Again sure help her with her BPD, but no longer give your heart to someone that doesn’t give it in return.

You’ve suffered for a long time. You have been lied to all along. You deserve a loving partner. I’d need her to in a sustained way prove that she actually feels that love. She said it about the AP, when has she last said it about you and you were convinced?

And while being "in love" can change over the length of any relationship, I’d need her to convince me that she is in love with me and only me and no one else.

Which brings me to the fourth and last item of importance to me. Empathy. I alluded to it above. I would need her to feel the pain she caused me as much as I feel it. This is a hard one. I know, no one can feel what you are feeling. But I would need to know that she feels awful about her infidelity not because of what it said about her, and not because what she lost and not because of how people perceived her, but above all, how it impacted me.

That it actually emotionally and pains her to know that it was her actions that injured you so. And because of that, she not only will do the things above. But she will seek you out to talk about aspects of what she did and apologize specifically for them and predict when they might trigger you and proactively take steps to get on top of them.

It’s absolutely Not enough to ask "are you ok" 3 times a day. Thats fine to do, but without saying something like "hey I brought us coffee, let’s sit down and talk about what I did to you when I cheated with the soccer coach. I was a piece of shit and so was he. And that time I stood next to him after I blew him in his office before the game and let you cheer for him and his team, that was disgusting and I can’t out of my head. I’m so sorry. Please let me know how it made you feel. I’m here for you through it as long as you’ll let me" you really have no feeling of support from her on this without her initiating these kind of conversations.

It’s not just reacting when she sees you low or when you ask to discuss something. It’s taking your side throughout it because there is no other side. There is no justification.

I got so angry when she disagreed with you about your ex friends motivation for the threesome. She absolutely wrong if she thinks it was for anyone but him. He got to watch two chicks have sex, and then they absolutely both turned their attention to him, as he planned. She was completely used for his pleasure. Does she know how devastating that is for a husband to know?

And the fact that she disagreed showed how much wayward thinking she still has. If she still disagrees I’m not sure she’s cut out to be empathetic. I think she couldn’t bear the thought of what it really meant. And I’d honestly would question myself if I were you if I could stay with such a person, no matter how well she learns to handle her BPD.

And those are the four things. I would love to hear which of these are or are not the emotions you are struggling with. Maybe you found something in what I wrote that clicked with what you are feeling. Maybe it sparked another thought. If so I’d love to discuss. So would others here. Tell us what you think.

Or Maybe none of it matched. If that is the case tell us. But describe the emotions you are feeling.

I know your WW reads here. Perhaps these comments can spark discussion between you. I hope it helps you as well.

I want to help like everyone here does. But help us understand what you need. I’m glad to be of assistance but if I’m not helping let me know and I’ll move on and spend my time elsewhere. It does take time to put these thoughts together and I don’t want to take time away from other endeavors if it hasn’t been helpful to you to have me here.

I wish you well.

[This message edited by Stevesn at 4:08 PM, Sunday, January 2nd]

fBBF. Just before proposing, broke it off after her 2nd confirmed PA in 2 yrs. 9 mo later I met the wonderful woman I have spent the next 30 years with.

posts: 3265   ·   registered: Apr. 17th, 2017
id 8706955
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Sharkman ( member #56818) posted at 4:38 AM on Sunday, January 2nd, 2022

Read through all the threads here. People are very consistent and literally thousands have been helped by the folks here for no other reason to help others.

Picking out the needles to avoid the forest is a manipulation technique. You could be manipulating yourself or you could be manipulated. Things like asking questions about details doesn’t disqualify the advice that you’ve received, it’s folks giving you all of their brain power, time and well-meaning energy to try to help you.

posts: 1748   ·   registered: Jan. 11th, 2017
id 8706981
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HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 1:27 AM on Monday, January 3rd, 2022

So your MC thinks she has BPD. And she actually diagnosed her.

Is that how it's done? A few sessions with any licensed therapist,and something as huge as BPD can be diagnosed?

This was the BPD talking

Then I guess most cheaters have BPD. Because what you've described..a spouse vilifying their spouse,and only seeing the negatives,instead of reality, is an extremely common trait most cheaters share.

I'm glad she is seeking her own IC. It will be interesting to see if a personal therapist will,after several sessions, also diagnose her with BPD.

[This message edited by HellFire at 1:31 AM, Monday, January 3rd]

posts: 3874   ·   registered: Jun. 20th, 2017   ·   location: The Midwest
id 8707069
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 Betrayedmale (original poster new member #79696) posted at 11:04 AM on Monday, January 3rd, 2022

Is that how it's done? A few sessions with any licensed therapist,and something as huge as BPD can be diagnosed?

What were you expecting, a biopsy, a Rorschach test, a multiple choice exam? BPD does not have any lab tests that tell you if you have it. You have to be interviewed by licensed therapist who has to go over lifetime symptoms, family history, medical history, etc. Then they have to see if you have 5 of the 9 markers of BPD from the DSM. She was diagnosed by three different therapists, having 9 of of 9 markers each time.

Then I guess most cheaters have BPD. Because what you've described..a spouse vilifying their spouse,and only seeing the negatives,instead of reality, is an extremely common trait most cheaters share.

There is a difference between choosing to ignore the good things in your marriage and your brain telling you those good things don't exist. There is a difference between cheating because you get lonely, horny or unhappy and because your brain is telling you constantly that you're being abandoned. A difference between cheating looking for happiness and cheating out of fear.

BPD makes people live in fear by believing their worst reality exists even when it doesn't. That's not what most cheaters go through.

Married 24 years.Me: BS (43)She: WS (42)Four Daughters (6)DDay: Sept. 7, 2021 (WS Confessed)Still together and processing.

Mental illness is not an excuse, but it cannot be discounted either. Those demons suck.

posts: 19   ·   registered: Dec. 21st, 2021   ·   location: Florida
id 8707107
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grubs ( member #77165) posted at 4:01 PM on Monday, January 3rd, 2022

There's a signature line here about not setting yourself on fire to keep someone warm. Yes BPD can explain the behavior. That doesn't fix it and truthfully it may not be able to be fixed. She did this. BPD is part of who she is. She needs to own it and take steps to fix that. If she can't fix her brokenness staying in a relationship with her will destroy you. You have kids. Your kids deserve at least one healthy parent.

posts: 886   ·   registered: Jan. 21st, 2021
id 8707137
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guvensiz ( member #75858) posted at 6:47 PM on Monday, January 3rd, 2022

Although I have been following this thread since the beginning, I specifically avoided commenting, because I didn't want to argue against the cheater for something she did involuntarily.
Normally, I would suggest you to divorce.
Again, as far as I understood from what was written in this thread, it was not up to your WW to feel that way, but it was in her hands whether to cheat or not, and her choice was to cheat.
Here we always say that even if the excuses for infidelity are true, it is not a justification, or rather, nothing is a valid reason to cheat. Even though BS is indeed a terrible spouse, it's not a valid reason for cheating.
So how is your situation different from this?
Your WW's feelings about your marriage weren't true, but she still had a valid reason to excuse her. So was there any reason to justify cheating? Even your WW, in her own deleted post, said that there wasn't, and she also spoke harshly about herself.
There is a lot of focus on BPD, but isn't that the point of discussion?

What exactly are you trying to fix now? To make sure your WW doesn't feel the same way due to BPD so she doesn't cheat again, or to make sure she doesn't cheat again even if she feels the same way?

posts: 620   ·   registered: Nov. 14th, 2020
id 8707157
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Trdd ( member #65989) posted at 12:39 AM on Tuesday, January 4th, 2022

Perhaps there is no context that excuses infidelity, however, I think context is meaningful when it comes to choosing D or offering R. Context can be very helpful to understand what frame of mind the WW was in and it may make a BS more open to the idea of offering to try R when combined with seeing remorse and positive behavior from the wayward.

In my situation, context helped me forgive more quickly. It was combined with an immediate confession which helped as well. Some people might not have felt the same way as I did but for me the two made a big difference. However, I was not betrayed anywhere near as deeply as this situation even though there was also a "friend" involved that I jettisoned rapidly from my life.

posts: 441   ·   registered: Aug. 27th, 2018   ·   location: US
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pureheartkit ( member #62345) posted at 3:11 AM on Tuesday, January 4th, 2022

It's a long hard road ahead. Make sure you plan some things to make life meaningful for yourself. Whatever you decide, go forward with your eyes open. Talk with others who have a bipolar spouse. It can exhaust you after years. Your patience and kindness is admirable. May you find healing and wisdom friend. This is more difficult than the usual situation. I'm happy you are getting professional guidance. It's easy to feel alone. If you choose this difficult path, know exactly why you are choosing it.

Thank you everyone for your wisdom and healing.

posts: 2275   ·   registered: Jan. 19th, 2018
id 8707273
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 Betrayedmale (original poster new member #79696) posted at 5:06 AM on Tuesday, January 4th, 2022

Steven,

Thanks for the post. Let me respond to a few points you brought up.

You say you are working on those emotions in IC and MC but still weren’t seeing a path back. And lacked any other feedback outside professionals about it.

You're accurate here. There is a lack of connection with the therapists insomuch as the emotional aspects of what happened. To them, we're just another client they analyze using the knowledge, education and experience they have in their field. They have the technical side down on why our brains do what they do. It's helpful and the tools work.

But I'm not getting the emotional feedback from it. We're still strangers to them.
Talking to family and friends who know us both could be more beneficial, but it could be just as detrimental. It could split people into sides, feelings of embarrassment and shame, people treating us differently, etc. So she suggested I go to a forum where people don't know us, but they know how we felt. And that was when I saw that most of the material on betrayed spouses was aimed towards betrayed wives, and there was little support material specifically on betrayed men with partners with diagnosed personality disorders. I once read "Survivors of infidelity are all weathering the same storm at sea, we are all just in different types of boats." I'm just trying to find someone with a similar boat.

First, I would need proof that she hasn’t given her heart away to one of these other men. I wrote about it above and you didn’t acknowledge it. But she absolutely stated she loved the coworker and wanted to leave you for him. And the reason she didn’t wasn’t the love she had for you, it was fear of losing her kids.

It's hard to prove, though, isn't it? She says she no longer has feelings for him. They haven't spoke since 2014 and since I was unaware of him, there was no reason to stop talking to him. She also says that she felt she was in love with him, but thinks it was more about the fairy tail of being with someone who gave her the attention she thought she wasnt getting from me. Ironically, he ended up marrying a woman with the same first name and physical characteristics as my wife a few years later.

I have a different theory, one she disagrees with. I think she had a thing for him because he shared many characteristics of my best friend. They were both tall (6'4), both wanted to be cops, same hair style, similar taste in music, similar taste in cars, similar style of clothing, similar behaviors (country boy/redneck), etc. They even look similar. And for me, that's a problem. The best friend was in our lives for over 20 years. The only lie on d-day was when she said there was nothing else, but confessed to the threesome the next day. The most emotional reactions were regarding him. She says it's because she ruined my relationship with my best, closest friend. If he was truly my best friend, he wouldn't have called her and invited her to be in a threesome. No, she was upset because she had feelings for him, which she denied until she found a journal entry she wrote in 2003 saying she did. When she read it, all these emotions ran through her and she felt like shit and apologized. Her feelings towards him were strong, I think love, she says just as a close friend. He moved over 1k miles away a few years ago, but since d-day, he has been removed and blocked on all social media accounts and phones. She told him not to contact her again and I also had a few words with him about it. But this is the one that hurts the most and I have the biggest issues with.

And I know some here disagree, and that is their prerogative, but I think she has to show you that she will go to greater lengths to be with you than she did with her APs. Not by performing the same acts with you, as that would be triggering. But if she truly wants to be with you, and we’ll discuss that more in a minute, than she will not just do the things you listed in your post above. No. She will do all that and more.

It’s not the only thing necessary in a rebuilding plan. It’s not even the most important one. But to me, it is AN IMPORTANT ONE. I would need it. You said she withheld affection from you for years. I would need expressions of intimacy beyond normal husband wife love making. I would need creative expressions of excitement. She got that. Her APs definitely got that. You absolutely did not.

Since d-day we've talked constantly. One of the reasons it was surprising was my wife's lack of interest in sex throughout our marriage. But she was not interested in sex with them either. It was something she felt was expected as apart of the attention they gave her. It was transactional in nature. When she started talking to me after d-day, she finally disclose the details of her sexual assault when she was a child. I knew it happened, she told me before, but never the details and I never pushed to know. But it wasn't a one time thing, it lasted 2 years to someone who wasn't even a teenager. And I find out that some of the intimate acts I enjoy were forced upon her, and that's why she wouldn't do them for her APs either. But the sexual abuse also stopped her from seeing sex as an act of love.

Since d-day and her disclosure of her history, she has been working hard to overcome those past traumas. We've been intimate more often. We've had to find ways around triggering her past traumas. She has also admitted that she's forced herself to do things lately as a means to punish herself, which I had to tell her not to do because the negativity creates resentment and that intimacy should not be used as punishment. But the frequency of intimacy has been wonderful lately and the only issue I'm having is she still doesn't initiate a much as I'd like. I feel like she has to relearn that sex and intimacy are intertwined. This is something she has to work on.

My friend, when you listed the items she now does, the word love was no where to be found there. Has she said it? Has she shown it? How? Do you feel it? Do you believe it?

She says it non-stop. She's waken me up to say it. But herein lies another problem with BPD: being clingy. The opposite to the all bad side of splitting is the all good side. I want to believe what she is saying is how she feels, but there is a part that wonders if that's the needy side of her BPD talking. Is she saying it because she truly means it, is she overcompensating because her BPD is telling her I might leave, or is she feeling guilty and remorseful to the point where she feels she can never say it enough. I don't know. This is one of the reasons why her BPD treatment is a primary concern for me. I don't want to R with her "crazy". I want to R with her. If I don't know if I'm dealing with her or her BPD, it makes healing almost impossible. That's why I'm doing it backwards, focusing on her mental health first. I need to know what I'm fighting for, and I don't know if she's not better. I need to know what I'm angry with. I need to understand how we got to this point. None of that can happen until we get her straight first. That's why therapy had been so important, it removes the haze and gives me a better understanding of why it wasn't my fault and that I couldn't have done anything about it. People don't get that I can't heal me until she gets helped first because that's the only way I get answers.

Which brings me to the fourth and last item of importance to me. Empathy. I alluded to it above. I would need her to feel the pain she caused me as much as I feel it. This is a hard one. I know, no one can feel what you are feeling. But I would need to know that she feels awful about her infidelity not because of what it said about her, and not because what she lost and not because of how people perceived her, but above all, how it impacted me.

One of the first things I told her after d-day was a part of me wanted her to hurt as bad as me. I wanted her to feel as bad as I do. I think she does. When she describes how I hurt to our therapist, she starts to cry. When she talks about holding me when I'm having nightmares, she says it hurts knowing she caused all this pain. She cries herself to sleep sometimes after I've had bad days. The fact she is willing to endure any punishment I give her and has offered to do all of the things I said I wanted out of anger, shows she cares more about my pain than hers.

I got so angry when she disagreed with you about your ex friends motivation for the threesome. She absolutely wrong if she thinks it was for anyone but him. He got to watch two chicks have sex, and then they absolutely both turned their attention to him, as he planned. She was completely used for his pleasure. Does she know how devastating that is for a husband to know?

Thanks for the validation of my feelings on this one, it was an area of contention. Not sure if she disagrees because she is in denial of the truth or is still defending him. It's something she has to figure out and tell me.

And those are the four things. I would love to hear which of these are or are not the emotions you are struggling with. Maybe you found something in what I wrote that clicked with what you are feeling. Maybe it sparked another thought. If so I’d love to discuss. So would others here. Tell us what you think.

Those are a pretty solid four.

Here is where I am at:

1. I want to be angry with her cheating, but there is a legitimate reason for her to have had those irrational emotions she was feeling. My feelings of her betrayal are just as legitimate. How do I be angry without feeling like shit for being angry at someone who was emotionally unstable? How do you separate the act of cheating from the mental health issue that made her susceptible to cheat?

2. How do you deal with the emotions of knowing her affair partners get out of this without consequences? We're going to be dealing with this emotional roller coaster for a long time; the intrusive thoughts, the grief, the loss. But they continue on like nothing happened. I'm going to have a sleepless night, they'll be out like a light. It's not right.

3. How do you deal with the emasculation of the affair, and the the second emasculation of knowing you have the power to hurt the APs but decide not to?

4. How do you not let it consume you? Everyday, I see reminders. Songs, movies, Facebook memories, sometimes bringing them up in conversation without knowing what's going on, etc.

5. How do you deal with the frustration of not knowing what you're feeling or needing?

6. Who should you tell, who can you tell? How do you not ruin relationships by telling them something so devastating? How can anyone see past this when you confide to them?

There are a range of emotions I have, I'm assuming similar to those without BPD spouses. I know I have unique challenges to address, but how about the normal ones?

Married 24 years.Me: BS (43)She: WS (42)Four Daughters (6)DDay: Sept. 7, 2021 (WS Confessed)Still together and processing.

Mental illness is not an excuse, but it cannot be discounted either. Those demons suck.

posts: 19   ·   registered: Dec. 21st, 2021   ·   location: Florida
id 8707282
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 5:02 PM on Tuesday, January 4th, 2022

1. ...How do I be angry without feeling like shit for being angry at someone who was emotionally unstable? ....

My reco is to use the human ability to keep 2 contradictory thoughts in your head simultaneously. smile Seriously, both things are true - you're angry, and she might not have been able to stop herself. Ask your IC for help feeling the anger. It's just a feeling. You express it for you, not against your W.

2. How do you deal with the emotions of knowing her affair partners get out of this without consequences?

You don't actually know what the consequences are for them. At bottom, they had sex with a woman who gave them nothing of value. Maybe they learned from that, maybe not. In any case, you don't know, and you have no control here, other than to choose between trying to exact revenge or not. I think you're right in deciding not to try to exact revenge.

3. How do you deal with the emasculation of the affair, and the the second emasculation of knowing you have the power to hurt the APs but decide not to?

You remind yourself that your parts are still there, and they still work. Your W didn't cheat because of some failure in you; she cheated because she failed herself. IMO, we all take in some messaging that all the problems in the world are due to one's own weaknesses. The emasculation message IMO comes from that crap. But it's a message you send to yourself. You've been generating the message; you can stop it.

4. How do you not let it consume you? Everyday, I see reminders. Songs, movies, Facebook memories, sometimes bringing them up in conversation without knowing what's going on, etc.

My approach and my reco is to let this happen. Talk about the triggers with your W, if you want to.

IMO, triggers are pain coming to the surface to be let go. If you let yourself feel the trigger, you will let that pain go, and it will be gone forever. The trouble is that so much pain comes with being betrayed that it takes a long time to realize that you're processing pain out of your body.

Remember: you're processing the pain of being betrayed, and you're also processing empathic/sympathetic pain for your W. That's a lot of work.

5. How do you deal with the frustration of not knowing what you're feeling or needing?

Mya approach and reco is to stop and to ask yourself what you're feeling/you want. Keep your answers simple: mad, sad, scared, ashamed for feelings.

For wants, maybe take the self-test on your 5 love languages. That is likely to tell you a lot about what you want. Physical touch is my top one, so I usually wanted some touch. Acts of service are my W's top desire, so she wants me to do something for her when she's sick, for example.

6. Who should you tell, who can you tell? How do you not ruin relationships by telling them something so devastating? How can anyone see past this when you confide to them?

I was on the receiving end of this type of revelation, and I just listened and validated the friend. I felt awkward, but the desire to support the friend was virtually automatic. IOW, you might be pleasantly surprised.

You've got to decide who to tell and take the risk. Maybe it will work out, maybe not. In the end, you've got yourself. If a friend doesn't give you what you want, you'll be OK ... but if a friend doesn't give you what you want, asking for it may help.

[This message edited by SI Staff at 5:04 PM, Tuesday, January 4th]

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: 26513   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8707357
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Stevesn ( member #58312) posted at 3:50 PM on Monday, January 10th, 2022

Sorry I’ve been out of pocket for a bit and it takes a while to go through all these points and respond.

Thanks for your detailed response. I was hoping my last post would encourage you to do so. I think many of us here want to help but it’s been unclear to me at least what you were really looking for.

We get so many poor BS’s arriving here in shock as to what they have discovered and their natural reflex is to want to try and fix their cheating spouses and the destruction that infidelity has caused their relationship that they don’t realize that they can’t do it themselves. They can’t be the one to lead that charge. It takes a WS that truly wants to change, fix themselves and lead the rebuilding effort. A BS will never in my opinion be satisfied with a "new" marriage that they had to put in all the effort to rebuild.

With all the discussion of BPD, which you now have explained eloquently why it’s is so important, it appeared as excusing the behavior by your wife and made it seem like it was you that was doing all the work here, not her. And as I mentioned before, that all the focus was on her and none on you.

Thank you for responding to the 4 important things I’d need from a WS if I were the BS. I feel much better knowing you have been both doing work in these areas. I hope your wife read them as well and realized that if she truly wants a life with you, she will include them whatever she does to help you heal.

As I will respond to in your questions, while I and others here understand that you and she know that her disorder contributed to the cause of her infidelity, that does not lessen one bit the impact it had on you. The trauma her actions caused is real. Real PTSD can occur. And your body, heart and mind know it no matter what justifications you "tell" them.

You cannot shortcut your healing. And if your WW is truly ALL IN with you, then she will recognize this and make sure you are getting what you need too, in each of those categories, in order to help with your healing as you are with hers.

My fear was she couldn’t or wouldn’t focus on you. That she was only focused on herself. In a narcissistic way. And that you were to damaged to demand otherwise.

But you have explained yourself well and I feel much that your approach to rebuilding is more balanced. That is good. But it’s something you should both discuss often, as the trauma she delivered on you during her affairs and then years of lies and trickle truth will hit you in different ways the coming months and years that you will not have expected.

Triggers will leave you curled up on the floor in emotional agony. And if you let your own healing go, only focusing on hers, you’ll never achieve the reconciliation you seek.

As for the questions you asked. Thank you for them. It helps me understand better what is concerning you and what you need help with. I hope others will chime in as well.

So here are my thoughts:

1. I want to be angry with her cheating, but there is a legitimate reason for her to have had those irrational emotions she was feeling. My feelings of her betrayal are just as legitimate. How do I be angry without feeling like shit for being angry at someone who was emotionally unstable? How do you separate the act of cheating from the mental health issue that made her susceptible to cheat?

Personally I don’t see these as mutually exclusive. It’s ok to be angry with her even if you know she has emotional challenges that contributed to your pain.

In fact I’m going to take this a step further. I want your wife to share in her anger about herself WITH you. She’s a grown woman, yes with challenges she must work on, but nonetheless she needs to realize that her actions and choices hurt a person she loves or at least claims to now love. That SHOULD make her angry. It should make her angry that the things that damaged her caused her to damage you.

She should also be angry, not just at herself, but FOR herself. Whatever she figures out in IC that caused her to cheat and have BPD to begin with, stole from her the chance to have a truly meaningful relationship really with anyone, including you. This is her life, and it’s damaged for lack of a better word.

She should be angry about that and so should you. We can discuss forgiveness later. But as far as anger goes, I think it’s ok to still be angry. It’s healthy for a while. She fucked up. Multiple times. In a very hurtful way. That’s something to be very mad at. You’re a complex person who can have multiple emotions at the same time. Letting anger be one of those right now, even if not the only one, is ok. Don’t fight it.

2. How do you deal with the emotions of knowing her affair partners get out of this without consequences? We're going to be dealing with this emotional roller coaster for a long time; the intrusive thoughts, the grief, the loss. But they continue on like nothing happened. I'm going to have a sleepless night, they'll be out like a light. It's not right.

This is really hard. I sympathize. No one likes to be wronged. It’s an awful feeling. And I also want you to know, I’m someone who is all for revenge if it is possible in a legal way and can be done without "losing yourself " and what you stand for.

But just know, usually the effect from any action you take won’t be as fulfilling as you expect. It never seems to live up to what you expect it will be. That said, it still may be worth it if there is something valuable that you can come up with.

So do you have ideas? I think you alluded to having some actions you can take but didn’t detail what that would be. I’d love to discuss. Or brainstorm.

3. How do you deal with the emasculation of the affair, and the the second emasculation of knowing you have the power to hurt the APs but decide not to?

This goes with #2 above. Honestly I think the emasculation comes more from your WW than the AP. When it comes to the raw physical actions they your wife chose to partake in, the APs were just warm bodies to rub up against. But what is emasculating to me was that she had in her mind that she preferred their bodies over yours.

This is why I’ve talked so much about focusing on you and ensuring that you both don’t let that go in deference to her work on herself.

She needs to work to make you feel like you are the one person in her whole life that she desires. We know she can make others feel like that, now it’s time for her to make you feel that way 10x she ever did that for anyone else.

This is what I was alluding to in my Desire and Risk section of my previous post.

Tricky I know while she balances it with her disorder. But that doesn’t make it less important for you. So I recommend detailed discussions about what that means for each of you. What types of expressions can she deliver on to make you feel like those others had nothing on you.

4. How do you not let it consume you? Everyday, I see reminders. Songs, movies, Facebook memories, sometimes bringing them up in conversation without knowing what's going on, etc.

Triggers will happen. The important thing would be to discuss with your wife how to handle them. You shouldn’t have to deal with them alone. If she’s truly ALL IN she should WANT to be there for you when they occur if she’s really interested in being your partner.

Talk about how you communicate about them. Having a plan for them will build this into your relationship DNA. It should eventually become second nature. And over time that will lessen the impact of such moments.

5. How do you deal with the frustration of not knowing what you're feeling or needing?

This is something best worked out w your IC. They probably have the best tools for identifying what emotion you are feeling each moment.

Perhaps writing it out in a journal would be helpful. That way you can share it with your wife. She can even make responses in the journal and turn it into a written document of your needs and emotions.

She should probably do the same and give you similar access. It can help for going back weeks and months and realizing what has improved and what has stayed the same.

6. Who should you tell, who can you tell? How do you not ruin relationships by telling them something so devastating? How can anyone see past this when you confide to them?

I would really think about identifying one friend or family member you can trust to support you and not abuse the information. If you can find that person that can be your confidant, they could be valuable to turn to.

You might want to approach them together to show them that your wife is actually ALL IN with helping you heal and they can see that you are working this as a team and ask her questions as well.

Hope you can identify such a person. Discuss it with your wife.

Listen let me tell you what I would do if I were a WS who was desperate to rebuild. I would, with my spouses permission, go to every family member and close friend and admit what I did. Details not necessary or to the extent my BS felt comfortable.

My goal would be to apologize for my actions, acknowledge The destruction I caused and ask for their support for my spouse and what they want and need. If that is to work on rebuilding I would ask for them to support us with that. If it’s ending the relationship I would ask for support in that.

I would also want them to know what i was doing and planning to do to fix myself and become someone worthy of all their trust again.

I know how terribly difficult this would be to do for both the WS and BS. But life is messy. And honesty is priority when it comes to life after infidelity. The truth is supremely important in all relationships from now on.

You two should continue to discuss the possibility for expanding who knows, even if just slightly. Telling people you are hurt should bring out their compassion, especially if presented in the right way. Think how you would react if you knew your friends were going through such a thing and were truly making a real effort to recover and you saw a cheater who really was devastated herself as to realizing what she had done and who she had hurt.

Ok I’ve written a lot. I hope some of it at least helps. Let me know what you think and continue the discussion.

Have a good week.

[This message edited by Stevesn at 3:51 PM, Monday, January 10th]

fBBF. Just before proposing, broke it off after her 2nd confirmed PA in 2 yrs. 9 mo later I met the wonderful woman I have spent the next 30 years with.

posts: 3265   ·   registered: Apr. 17th, 2017
id 8708850
question

Faithfinder ( new member #79750) posted at 3:29 AM on Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

I am so sorry your going through this. You will need to decide for yourself what you are willing to put up with. Will she do this again. As other suggested, please read the healing library. I am new too this, as DDay for me was only 4 month ago. R is probably unlikely for me since my WH is engaged to his AP - who’s is 24 year younger than him. This happened before I even served him the papers. And my gut tells me AP may be pregnant. Not sure how to come back from that. However, I am working on myself to get stronger. My kids need me and I want to make them proud.. You should do the same. I hope you figure this all out. It will take time but you find your way.

Thinking of you and praying for your journey. Stay on this forum because it helps especially if you don’t have anyone to vent to or connecting with people who understand your pain.

Hugs

Me: BW- 45Him: WH - 50AP-26, coworkerDday 10/3/2021Married 17 years, together 21 years
3 kids
Finally served separation papers 1/22

posts: 28   ·   registered: Jan. 6th, 2022
id 8708991
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