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Delving into the foggy WS mindset

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HeartFullOfHoles ( member #42874) posted at 3:25 AM on Saturday, January 15th, 2022

"Yes but I'd never cheat!"

How many people that cheated said that before they did?

And how many try to say they didn't actually cheat after they did?

BH - Tried to R for too long, now happily divorced
D-Day 4/28-29/2012 (both 48 at the time)
Two adult daughters

posts: 709   ·   registered: Mar. 24th, 2014
id 8709976
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Seeking2Forgive ( member #78819) posted at 6:18 AM on Saturday, January 15th, 2022

My FWW swore that she never tore me down to the AP but she was always a little too defensive about it for my comfort. After all these years I have evidence that she did just that so I'll be interested to see if she sticks to that story.

One thing that I've started suggesting for BSs is that they write a timeline of their relationship up to and through the A so that they can have a clear understanding of the circumstances of the A. This will help them stand up to any blame shifting or rewriting of history. By doing that I was finally able to shed all the blame and shame that she had heaped on me back then.

One thing that was obvious to me was that the reasons she gave for the A initially were different from the reasons she talked about later. I suspect that the reasons she talked about fresh after Dday were the ones that she was telling herself during the A. Whether those reasons changed later because of deeper reflection or just to make them seem less selfish, I can't say. Certainly she worked on it a lot. But I think lot of what she got initially in IC was validation of her feelings to make her feel less terrible.

How many As are about pursuit of happiness rather than the flight from misery? You see some WSs admit the former but it seems like most plead the latter no matter how it may have appeared.

[This message edited by Seeking2Forgive at 6:20 AM, Saturday, January 15th]

Me: 60, BS
Her: 59, FWS
Dday: 11/15/03
Married 37 yrs
Reconciled

posts: 199   ·   registered: May. 18th, 2021
id 8709984
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The1stWife ( member #58832) posted at 1:39 PM on Saturday, January 15th, 2022

My situation is a bit different in that my CH came home snd told me about his affair. So I at least heard it from him directly.

However that did not stop him from wanting a D and treating me poorly - and just about practically walking out the door.

Typical mid life crisis affair. He did the typical "I have not been happy for years" and blamed me for it. He held into hurts and slights that were 15 and 20 years old. He blamed me for his dissatisfaction with his career, his life blah blah blah.

I spent 30 years spoiling this guy and he was unhappy (cue sarcasm here).

I don’t know where he went off the rails but I know this much. He was a very good looking shy guy when I met him. Not a player. Not a jerk. But when his career took off snd woman were throwing themselves at him in his 30s he suddenly thought "hey I missed out".

And that became his pattern. Flirty. Push the envelope at times. More EAs than he will ever admit - some I witnessed and others suspected.

And he blamed me for all of it. laugh

Typical cheater mindset. It’s not their fault and the cheater "deserves to be happy". Everyone deserves to be happy but not at the expense of others.

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled.

posts: 11155   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
id 8710001
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leafields ( member #63517) posted at 1:53 PM on Saturday, January 15th, 2022

My XH has a personality disorder. He views people as objects to be used as he sees fit. Other people have no feelings or needs. He's entitled to do what he wants and doesn't care about how it affects others.

He didn't care what he was doing to his family or me. All he cared about was getting what he wanted.

Lea
Me: BW
Married 34 years, 3 DS
DDay #1: March 26, 2018, DDay #2 8/26/2019
Filed for D: 11/16/2020
D Final: 2/25/2021

posts: 778   ·   registered: Apr. 21st, 2018   ·   location: Washington State
id 8710005
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Faithfinder ( new member #79750) posted at 6:58 PM on Saturday, January 15th, 2022

I think mine started as a midlife crisis. On dday, it was I love you but I am not in love with you and haven’t been for a couple of years. WH said he tried to get it back. I told him that we never tried. WH said he had feelings for coworker OW and he wanted to see where it was going to go. Cut to 4 months later and he proposed to her and we are still married. If WH is in a fog it’s pretty thick still. They are about 23/24 years apart in age. The kids and I are not even a priority. That’s why we are moving forward with out him.

I was never supposed to find out. He told me that. Now that plan B me is not an option, plan C OW has to be. He needs to make it work with her now and boy is he really trying- broke and all. Unfortunately, I think my WH will be one of the ones who never come out of the fog. He is truly broken and I know that D is inevitable.

Thanks for starting this post Oldme.

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 8710049
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Faithfinder ( new member #79750) posted at 7:15 PM on Saturday, January 15th, 2022

I think mine started as a midlife crisis. On dday, it was I love you but I am not in love with you and haven’t been for a couple of years. WH said he tried to get it back. I told him that we never tried. WH said he had feelings for coworker OW and he wanted to see where it was going to go. Cut to 4 months later and he proposed to her and we are still married. If WH is in a fog it’s pretty thick still. They are about 23/24 years apart in age. The kids and I are not even a priority. That’s why we are moving forward with out him.

I was never supposed to find out. He told me that. Now that plan B me is not an option, plan C OW has to be. He needs to make it work with her now and boy is he really trying- broke and all. Unfortunately, I think my WH will be one of the ones who never come out of the fog. He is truly broken and I know that D is inevitable.

Thanks for starting this post Oldme.

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 8710051
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BoundaryBuilder ( member #78439) posted at 10:17 PM on Saturday, January 15th, 2022

Hello Oldme:

Glad to hear NC is rock solid. You're doing great! Keep it up! Yes, holidays can suck. With each month that passes it will get easier and easier. I promise.

I'd like to play along and answer your original question by delving into my situation. Thanks for your patience - this will be a long post. I'm still trying to figure out "why" to my satisfaction - none of H's explanations worked for me. 'Cuz I'm not wired that way. A truthful person operates with a lopsided view of the world. I'm honest, therefore I give folks the benefit of the doubt until proved otherwise. Infidelity shook my world view. I no longer trust openly. Trust but verify is what works for me now. Which is a more realistic approach to handling the world.

I agree that for a standard EA/PA the AP enters the picture first, and then the devalue kicks in to justify the affair in the WS mind. Compartmentalization helps the WS keep the pieces in play. My H seriously thought he'd never get caught. That he could keep his family in one box and the betrayal in another box and it was okay because by golly, he deserved it. "There must be happiness somewhere!" "I've worked hard for years for you and D, now I'm going to do something for me" blah, blah, blah.

The sex wasn't the worst of it for me. AP was never a threat to me or our marriage.

It was the brutal devalue phase, and yes, the post D-day lying that cemented my diagnosed PTSD. And brought our decades long marriage to the brink. The hardest thing about how things went down is this - my husband never voluntarily shared ANY of the details or told me the truth about ANYTHING until I peeled back each lie, layer by layer. The betrayal was bad enough; the repeated lying made it even worse. Until the lightbulb went on over his head and he realized lies of omission are still lies so FINALLY came forward on his own with what I now understand was his version of a "timeline."

That late winter/spring before the EA went physical he stopped talking to me unless I confronted him. He’d shrug off my hand when I touched him. He was busy devaluing me, looking for excuses to cheat on me. He was also busy devaluing our Daughter, our town, and our home. He spent HOURS sitting on the couch surfing through online realty listings. Chumpy me thought he was looking for a second vacation or retirement home for us! In his mind he had one foot out the door. Ready to discard us. Not to be with AP, but to be fancy free. One last hurrah before old age. And, he did a great job fabricating all kinds of justifications to rationalize his behavior by pushing my buttons to get me angry, to get me to withdraw from him. D and I were tiptoeing around him, giving him space to get through whatever was obviously bugging him. Which further isolated us from each other. He was busy judging me with his finger on the scale; provoking me and rejecting me at the same time. He was behaving like a huge jerk! Which of course got a reaction from me, and not always "is everything okay?" Sometimes I’d call him out on his shoddy treatment of me. Which served his goal to devalue me "see what a b**** she is, she doesn’t care about me, blah blah blah" – manufacturing justification to escalate the EA to a PA. Which they did. Eventually. After he spent those months placing the blame for his unhappiness squarely on my shoulders. Her tenacious kibble dispensing/texting and astute tactic of offering no strings sex in her no reservations (no $$) required bed finally did the trick.

So, to me the most important task for our reconciliation was for my H to recognize that it wasn't me, it was HIM. All that BS he fabricated in his mind about how awful I was so he was JUSTIFIED to betray had to be walked back and acknowledged as false. Was our marriage perfect before D-day? No, it wasn’t. We were profoundly disconnected for a couple of years before his affair. Our disconnection wasn’t all his fault. The poor state of our marriage was 50% on me, 50% on him. I owned my 50% during reconciliation. But I never gave up on our marriage, I was invested in making things work. Which involved making my needs very small, and stuffing down conflict to keep the peace. I was unhappy during that time as well, yet I didn’t have an affair. He had to own that 100%.

He didn't love me during the devalue phase. Or immediately post D-day. He did value me as his friend and partner, but he didn't care about me, he was number one. Nor did he care about AP. Because it was his time to really live. According to him. My main concern (besides whether or not I could ever trust him again) was that devalue phase - can it ever be undone in the WS mind? It took a few months of introspection, turmoil and affair bubble bursting for him to start unraveling the lies about our marriage he fabricated to relieve his guilt. Or in SI lingo "come out of the fog." I especially enjoyed ripping off the rose colored glasses he wore to purposefully obscure the true nature of AP. laugh He gets it now. I really believe this. But it's different now. My trust but verify approach to life includes him. Which saddens me (sometimes), but is a more realistic foundation for R. And yes, marriage in general.

[This message edited by BoundaryBuilder at 10:41 PM, Saturday, January 15th]

Married 31 years w/one adult daughter
ME:BW 63
HIM:WH 65
13 month texting EA with high school X who fished him on Facebook 43 years later
PA=15 days spread over final 3 months
DDay=April 21, 2018
Reconciled

posts: 67   ·   registered: Mar. 4th, 2021
id 8710074
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RealityBlows ( member #41108) posted at 10:45 PM on Saturday, January 15th, 2022

Romanticizing toxic or bad behavior is So engrained in our culture. Bonnie and Clyde, Robin Hood, Flash Mob Robb Raids, Mullen novels, Hybristophilia, the sexy troubled bad boy, Gangsta Culture, Ride Or Die, Severus Snape, Twighlight-(vampires: monsters or just complex and misunderstood?), any Jack Nicholson character, Reality TV, Mayhem of Allstate Insurance, Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy, Mad Men, Wolf of Wallstreet, selfishness, substance abuse and, of course, infidelity are now en vogue, like really cool.

Cheaters can easily find a warm blanket of enabling peers and ideology to snuggle up with. It's almost cool to cheat now. Makes you interesting. Everyone wants to hear about your affair, not your boring Mr and Mrs Cleaver life.

How many BSs out there caught themselves envying their WS, for a split second, before realizing how totally fucked up that is?

There's an array of evolutionary tracts affairs can go down. But a great many of them are born from selfishness and instant cheap gratification.

[This message edited by RealityBlows at 10:49 PM, Saturday, January 15th]

posts: 776   ·   registered: Oct. 25th, 2013
id 8710077
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 oldmewasmurdered (original poster member #79473) posted at 10:53 PM on Saturday, January 15th, 2022

@BoundaryBuilder

Thank you for your story. Sorry to hear the turmoil you've been through. While reading your story one thing came up to me repeatedly, and I guess this question also applies to any BS who chose R: Why did you stay?

Because my story ended here. I know every BS in R has their own reason. I'm just trying to take a peek through the window into your worlds.

I guess this is something I also did not have the time to process due to me needing to decide R or D very quickly. Why stay if they don't love you, are showing clear abusive behaviors, and may never change? If it's to give them a chance to change then how long would you wager your life to be in limbo hell before cutting bait?

I ask this because the 1 month I was in limbo was excruciating, and I wasn't even living with my xWF then, who became my primary trigger. I find it hard to imagine living with the trigger of your pain, be abused daily, still having self respect to know I can D at any time but choose to continue this torture with the uncertainty of R as my only reward. Calling off a wedding right before while in PTSD and shock was a very difficult thing to do required lots of strength, but this seems much more difficult and requires way more. Thank you for any answers.

I do see a lot of parallel between your WH's behavior and my xWF's though. So I guess on some level there is a script to follow.

[This message edited by oldmewasmurdered at 10:58 PM, Saturday, January 15th]

posts: 75   ·   registered: Oct. 12th, 2021   ·   location: Canada
id 8710080
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 oldmewasmurdered (original poster member #79473) posted at 11:04 PM on Saturday, January 15th, 2022

Reading others' stories is scary in its own sense. How can we defend against this slide? Because it seemed it didn't matter if the marriage was good or bad, if the M old or new, whether or not you as BS truly loved your WS at the time. The slide towards foggy WS-dom just... happens. Sometimes the sliding WS drop hints, sometimes they're really good at hiding it and you as BS gets caught off guard. So is M just a spin of the roulette and you have to pray you don't land on red? That's super bleak and scary as a relatively new BS.

posts: 75   ·   registered: Oct. 12th, 2021   ·   location: Canada
id 8710082
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BreakingBad ( member #75779) posted at 1:17 AM on Sunday, January 16th, 2022

My own wonderings including thinking about the idea of love. Several posters have taken on whether or not you can love 2 romantic partners at once. I think you can. Our love is potentially ever-expanding to include as much as we want to include. We all (hopefully) love many people--but we love them each in a different way--children, sibs, parents, friends, etc. In fact, we love multiple people who seem to fulfill the "same" role differently. I love, love, love my 2 kids. The same amount? Yes. The exact same way? No. They're different people and I have a slightly different relationship with each of them.

So is it possible for a WS to truly be in love with a committed partner and an OP? Yes.
Is the okay to betray the committed, monogamous relationship? Hell, no!
Is it a loving way to treat the committed, monogamous partner? Hell, no it's abusive! We feel the impact of that.

The difference is feelings of love versus actions of love.
Where is the gap that makes the dissonance between the two work in the WS's mind? Cue lack of empathy, selfishness, compartmentalizing, avoiding.

I worry that wayward partners don't really understand love from a selfless, sacrificing point of view--at least not when it comes to their particular brand of brokenness (their personal "why") that they hoped the affair would fix inside of themselves. In those situations, their needs trump ours.


In my own fWH's case, he didn't really love himself. Wasn't raised that way (FOO issues). So he was WAY more into self-protection than selflessness.

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

posts: 108   ·   registered: Oct. 31st, 2020
id 8710105
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Faithfinder ( new member #79750) posted at 3:43 PM on Sunday, January 16th, 2022

Breakbad- mine was grew up never loving himself. WH has a very low self esteem. I know his mother loved him but she was never really vocal about it. She was not a bad mom but was tough. His dad worked nights when he grew up and never really spent time with him and his siblings since he worked slept during the day. My WH has always been somewhat selfish. He always wanted what he wanted because his mother never gave in to him as a kid and told him, he could have whatever he wanted when he was married.

He was a great husband and father for many years. Even though he was selfish, he did put me and the kids first. When I found out he cheated, I said to him he was being selfish and he was like "there it is, finally I am doing something for myself". Which was not true, he still did so many things he wanted.

Mine has PTSD among other issues. I truly believe he is going through a midlife crisis. However, that does not give him any right to treat his family the way he does. Do I think he loves his AP? I don’t know. I do think he thinks she can fix him. I have told him many time, happiness comes within not through someone else.

I am not sure if R will ever happen for us. Right now, it’s not even a blip on the radar. He is engaged to the OW, our separation just happened and he has lied and betrayed me in ways I never thought I could imagine. For me if my WH would need to figure himself out first before I could consider anything. But OW is still in the picture, so that may not happen for a long time. In the meantime I am going through my own journey and getting to find me without him. As much as I would love to R, it may not happen. But I do hope that if it doesn’t that we can still be wonderful co-parents together and maybe even friends. No one knows what the future holds.
We all must take it day by day and focus on us. I need to learn that my WH and is young enough to be his daughter OW can’t live rent free in my head any longer. While some us BS’s have similar but different stories, we are all different and our WS’s are different people. How we all choose to move forward is up to us. I always worry people will judge me if I ever have the chance to R with him one day. But that is my decision and no one but me and my WH have lived in our marriage. No one else has experienced our love, ups and downs and our marital triumphs. Did we have a perfect marriage? No but who does? Did we over come many things? Yes! And not everything we experienced was relationship related. We had hard times and some of those made our marriage stronger. If we never R, then all then I will have is 21 years of memories - good and bad and 3 beautiful children that he gave me. I will know I tried to stand for our marriage but sometimes things don’t work out the way you hope.

All I know is I continue to love myself more and more everyday. I hope all of you BS’s do the same! We are all worth it! To the ones who have R’d with their WS’s, I think that is amazing. To the BS’s that haven’t or it did not work out, then know there is something bigger and better waiting for you. ❤️❤️

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 8710155
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 5:27 PM on Sunday, January 16th, 2022

I think you're trying to generalize with very little data, and that's a trap we are all well-advised to stay out of.

What I think I've seen from a big chunk of WSes is the low self-esteem that Faithfinder reports. They think external validation will solve the problem, but it won't. I don't know how big a chunk that is, but I think it could be argued that lack of internal validation is behind the vast majority of As among people older than, say, 27. I think that's what I see, but I know I could be missing other characteristics.

Also, devaluing me was not part of my W's A. She was told she had evolved enough to love multiple people simultaneously - a mini-Stranger in a Strange Land, if you will. She 'loved' both me and ow. (Yeah, right.... laugh ) Also, W thought she was stronger/better than ow, and being a KISA fed her self-esteem.

I don't believe that a person can love 2 people romantically/sexually. We are of an age to have seriously discussed open M. It was one of the new models for M that were on offer when we were young. Our conclusion was that we could not be in multiple relationships without showing preferences and without one getting jealous. We rejected open M in the late '60s, which is one of the reasons why I discounted the possibility of my W conducting an A.

(To those who are happily non-monogamous, I assume you and yours have kept jealousy away. Neither my W nor I could do that.)

I certainly understand being attracted to multiple people simultaneously. But love requires finding out who the other person is and showing oneself to the person one loves. Lust at first sight makes perfect sense to me, but love has to grow, and love has to commit. Growing love takes time, and if one loves one person, learning to love another takes time away from the 1st, time that one has committed to that person as part of the love commitment.

I think you're right to focus on the WS's responsibility. Just be open to the proposition that there may be multiple motivations.

Also, the WS's motivations are irrelevant. It's OK for the BS to leave. The thing is: a BS can D or R or wait out of strength, and a BS can D or R or wait out of weakness. It's much better, IMO, for the BS to act from strength. IMO, it's usually best for the BS to wait until they develop the strength they need than to act precipitously - this is a decision that will affect decades of one's life, and I think it's better to make a good decision than a quick one.

JMO.

JMO ...

[This message edited by SI Staff at 5:29 PM, Sunday, January 16th]

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 8710169
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 oldmewasmurdered (original poster member #79473) posted at 7:46 PM on Monday, January 17th, 2022

Found this recent post on Reddit that goes into pretty good detailed explanation on the slide into EA mindset. Thought I'd just share.

/r/relationship_advice/comments/s5f0ot/comment/hsy9z0u/

Edit: if I can't post links then mods feel free to delete my comment.

[This message edited by oldmewasmurdered at 7:47 PM, Monday, January 17th]

posts: 75   ·   registered: Oct. 12th, 2021   ·   location: Canada
id 8710359
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