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General :
My Situation/The Pick Me Dance

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This0is0Fine ( member #72277) posted at 9:39 PM on Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

Look, I hate to badger you with the same important questions other people badgered me with...

She needs a new job and so she is spending spare time with you on LinkedIn, GlassDoor, Indeed, etc. ? Is her "available to new opportunities" toggle set to green?

By when? What's the due date/drop dead date? Do you know who is great at procrastinating and making excuses? Basically everyone, but especially people with the capacity for cheating.

I've warned you about this before, and it might be projection and personal experience, but it took my wife 15 months from DDay to get a new job. Only 3 months after I asked for a divorce.

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

posts: 1648   ·   registered: Dec. 11th, 2019
id 8709138
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EllieKMAS ( member #68900) posted at 10:14 PM on Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

letting her know I'm going to commit to being a better husband and partner and asking her to give me a chance to show her that I'm capable of it.

Look, I am all for self-improvement. I am all for being honest about areas where you may have not been the best spouse. Of course - working on yourself and taking accountability for your own stuff is perfectly fine and what a responsible adult should do.

But you have this twisted my friend. This is the definition of the pick-me dance and the pick-me dance does. not. work. You can't 'nice' her back into your marriage, and all you will do by trying is hurt yourself and waste more of your precious time. Ask me how I know that.

Work on you, fine. But YOU do not have to prove anything to her just yet. SHE needs to prove to YOU that SHE is a worthwhile partner. Because the only thing we know with 100% certainty is that she cheated. And whatever you did/said/didn't do/didn't say before the A goes immediately on the back burner once one of the marital partners tries to solve things with someone else's genitals.

As an analogy - your pre-A marital problems were stubbed toes and splinters. The A is a severed artery. When you go to triage a patient, you handle the most egregious injury first (or the patient dies and then none of the injuries matter anyways). The artery spewing blood is way more emergent than a splinter and a stubbed toe. The pick-me dance is focusing on those 'minor' injuries. She needs to do the heavy lifting to triage the bleeding.

So what is she actually doing to show she is all in and committing to the M? What is she doing to work on her why's? Is she in IC? How is she showing you she wants to proceed?

[This message edited by EllieKMAS at 10:14 PM, Tuesday, January 11th]

"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 8709152
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Underserving ( member #72259) posted at 3:09 PM on Wednesday, January 12th, 2022

Your story reminds me a lot of mine.

I was absolutely a shitty wife. Controlling. Manipulative. Verbally/emotionally abusive. If words alone could castrate a man, let’s just say I wouldn’t have my daughters. I think for anyone who claims to have behaved the same way, it is important to own your abusive tendencies, and get to the root of why you treated someone you love so poorly. For your sake and those around you.

I agree you need to separate "marriage issues" from the affair. But just as her choice to cheat was not caused by a bad marriage, neither was your choice of behavior. Only she can own her bad decisions. Only you can own yours. I’m not going to be a betrayed spouse apologist when it comes to this shit, because I know first hand we cannot make excuses for ourselves, or downplay the damage we caused, when we have/had abusive tendencies.

Now, the chicken or the egg thing. Would your wife have cheated on you if you were a better husband? I can’t answer that. But I DO know she already had it in her, and it had nothing to do with you. My husband was already conflict avoidant. He was already a comfortable liar. He already had low self esteem with a need for external validation. His morals were already iffy. Sure, I didn’t do anybody any favors by constantly berating him, but all of that already in him is what caused him to cheat. If he were a man of integrity and strong character, he would have divorced my ass. Or at least told me he was going to if I didn’t get my shit together. Instead he chose the cowards way, where he lied, cheated, and blew up not only my world, but his own. I can’t take credit for any of that.

Now is the time to focus on yourself. Healing from the betrayal, and healing whatever brokenness you already had in you. I personally had a lot of FOO issues I needed to deal with. Most of my anger and need for control stemmed from fear of abandonment. I have forgiven my mother without even telling her. I made peace with parts of my life I never thought I would. I have learned that being "softer" doesn’t mean I’m not strong. That vulnerability takes courage. I wouldn’t say any of this to 9/10 betrayeds, by the way, but I have been where you are. IF you are being truthful and not exaggerating your mistreatment of your spouse.

In spite of all the bullshit, my husband and I have a better marriage now than we have ever had before. He is almost a completely different man. I’m definitely not the same woman. It is possible to overcome such a dumpster fire of a situation together, but it is really fucking hard. BOTH of you have to want it, and be willing to do the individual work required. That’s why it is best to focus on yourself and your own healing, so you can see if the healed you even wants to be with her, and vice versa.

Best of luck.

BW (32)Found out 3 years post end of AD-day 12-9-19In R

Infidelity brings out the cuss in me. I’m not as foul mouthed in real life. ;)

posts: 752   ·   registered: Dec. 9th, 2019
id 8709245
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BluerThanBlue ( member #74855) posted at 6:09 PM on Wednesday, January 12th, 2022

workingthroughit137, I think you are setting yourself up for failure in the following ways:

(1) The pick-me dance is emotionally and physically exhausting; I know this from experience. It is impossible to be the best version of yourself 24/7 under the best circumstances, let alone in the wake of infidelity. When you and your wife inevitably conflict again, you pain and anger could explode in much more destructive ways than if you had taken time to yourself to process your emotions and honestly assess your relationship. But even if you successfully bury all your negative feelings and always keep your "#1 husband" face on, those unresolved emotions can also manifest as stress-related health problems. For example, I was constantly breaking out in hives in the last few years of my marriage to my ex, during which I was the Bob Fosse of pick-me dancing. The break outs stopped after we separated.

(2) By assuming all the blame for marital problems, allowing your wife to justify your behavior for her choice to have an affair, and not giving your wife any conditions for reconciliation, your wife has no impetus to put any effort into rebuilding your marriage and address her own failings, which made cheating an acceptable choice to her. In fact, you have actually rewarded your wife for cheating by becoming a more compliant husband, at least in the short term. But in the long-term, all the issues that made your marriage a roller coaster before Dday will still be there... the only difference is that you will be more resentful of her because of her cheating and she will have learned nothing from the experience of cheating except that there are no consequences for betraying you.

(3) Hastily deciding to reconcile is like putting a downpayment on a Ferrari in the hopes that it will increase your chances of winning the lotto... you are making promises to your wife and committing to a course of action based on blind faith alone. At this moment, you don't even know why your wife hasn't left you yet. Was she too cowardly to file for divorce herself and was hoping you would do it for her? Is she hedging her bets? Have her plans to run off into the sunset with AP fallen through? Is she simply embarrassed at the idea of family and friends asking why the marriage ended? Is she afraid of becoming a single mom? Will her life style or finances take a big hit from a divorce? She might tell you she is staying because she loves you, but if you don't require her to demonstrate her commitment and emotional engagement through action, you can only rely on her word... which means nothing now that you know now she is perfectly capable of lying and hiding things from you.

The 180 does not involve withdrawing your affection and attention purely for purpose of punishing her. It's about giving yourself space to breathe, permission to fully feel and manage your emotions, and gain the clarity you will need to make rational decisions that aren't motivated purely by fear or despair. If your wife is ambivalent about the marriage, you will also be giving her the opportunity to reflect upon her feelings, actions, and desires for the future without any covert pressure from you to reconcile.

If your wife interprets the 180 (as its advised on SI) as the silent treatment or an act of cruelty, then she is oblivious to the damage her actions have caused and does not have the emotional fortitude or desire to help you heal and rebuild your marriage into a safe and healthy relationship. Lastly, if she says she wants to "date" you before making a decision, she is essentially telling you that your marriage only exists on paper and that she no longer feels any spiritual or emotional commitment to you as a husband.

BW, age 40
Divorced WH in 2015; now happily remarried to a great guy

I edit my comments a lot for spelling, grammar, typos, etc.

posts: 603   ·   registered: Jul. 13th, 2020
id 8709304
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