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My Wife Had an Intense, Highly Deceptive Affair, Part II

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HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 9:22 PM on Friday, June 3rd, 2022

She's not capable of coming clean and being honest with her family right now.

Not being capable, and not wanting to,are two different things.


I agree you shouldn't force her. But her refusal to do this is very telling. And it should show you just how invested in her recovery she really is.

posts: 4386   ·   registered: Jun. 20th, 2017   ·   location: The Midwest
id 8738547
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 9:27 PM on Friday, June 3rd, 2022

Continuous lying is an abusive control tactic. It's not just a way to avoid conflict; it's a way to maintain power over the intimate partner and control the situation. It's a way to remain independent and "free" rather than submitting to partnership. True partnership requires honesty and transparency and a willingness to negotiate in good faith; when a person is consistently dishonest, hides even inconsequential information, and acts independently, then they are not in true partnership.

I recommend you check out Dr. Omar Minwalla's work on "Integrity Abuse Disorder" and cheating. I don't think all of his work applies to your wife, but the integrity abuse disorder stuff absolutely does. You're being continuously abused by your wife's lies. It's not as innocent as it seems; she's not just doing it to not have conflict, she's doing it to get her way and maintain power and control. It's habitual for her because it WORKS, and she's been doing it her entire life in order to control people around her. She lied about you and your marriage in order to control her mom's and sister's reactions to her cheating, so she could have the validation she wanted. She has lied to you throughout your relationship. She probably lies at work, too.

My STBXWH has the same issue with continuous lying, refusal to be transparent, "forgetting" important information, and acting with complete independence. It has affected our sexual relationship (because he's a cheater), our financial situation, and every aspect of our life together. I am not sure he can change his habitual lying. It's the reason I'm divorcing him. I just can't stand to live anymore with someone who won't bring their whole self to the relationship, and who insists on maintaining their own power in this way. He does it both to avoid conflict AND to get his own way, without me knowing it. It's secret, covert abuse and it's a truly horrific way to treat a partner.

You're spot on and the CT just hit on this in our afternoon session. She pointed out that the lying is not just her fear of conflict, it's her desire to control outcomes. The CT gave the example of if I required full transparency of everything of hers (phone, finances, etc.)--if my wife decided she was uncomfortable doing that, she wouldn't tell me that. She'd be afraid that telling me that might mean I'd divorce her and she doesn't want me to leave, so she'll pretend to happily go along with it while building resentment for me doing that. The CT pointed out the obvious that we can't have a successful marriage if my wife is lying to me all the time.

And she does that with everything. To her, truth is a loss of control because she doesn't feel like she is in a partnership. And some of that blame certainly belongs on me--I need to be far more considerate of her sensitivity levels so she can be comfortable being open with me. I feel like I've been so much better about that in recent years, but she built up her walls from 10+ years ago when I was admittedly less evolved (quicker to anger and yelling).

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 607   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8738550
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 9:52 PM on Friday, June 3rd, 2022

Wrong behavior is corrected (fixed) first, when we become aware of it (She's identified the issue and seems to know it's wrong) and secondly, we make a CHOICE to change it - regardless of the personal cost. Thirdly, we determine, no, we commit ourselves, to confessing our wrong behavior immediately when we become aware that we did it. Eventually, we become aware the moment BEFORE we act. Even then, sometimes we will still choose to act wrongly. This is where the commitment to confessing our wrong actions is pivotal. Because it is extremely uncomfortable to confess to the person you wronged. That becomes the motivation for changed behavoir.

When I was a young man I noticed that I would unconsciously cuss and swear like a sailor, except when near my mom. I reasoned that if I can turn it off near my mom, I could turn it off period (I admit I have backslidden some tongue ). So I began this process with my speech, stopping a conversation and admitting to the person I was conversing with, that what I just said was wrong and evidence of not only my inability to communicate effectively, but also my desire to look important in other people's eyes and that I was sorry and will strive to do better. When I absolutely committed myself to this process I only had to bear that humiliation a couple of times before I caught myself before I failed. It was the confession of my motivation that was most embarrassing.

When you have to return and confess to stealing from your employer, it becomes a strong motivation to never do it again. Ask me how I know. When you have to confess to your spouse that you minimized or omitted information from them because you are intimidated by them and do not have the confidence to stand up to them and argue for your position because you are afraid of them, it becomes the motivation to change. Ask me how I know. If I am committed to confessing it anyway, it becomes much less embarrassing to just do the right thing.

This is why I think she can make real progress working on even the smallest of these incidents. All the best to you.

Thank you for the post. I think you're spot on.

At the MC session, I gave the example of how my wife should have handled me briefly being on my phone during dinner the other night. First, she should have thought about it: she's upset, feels devalued and feels like other people are more important to her than me--why does she feel that way? Should she be upset? Is she being unfair or is it rightful to be upset by it? If she determines it's rightful, she should raise it with me afterward: "I just want you to know that when you used your phone tonight at dinner, it upset me." I then can react--do I think it's reasonable for her to be upset or unreasonable? And then I can decide how to respond--in this case I'd have said she was spot on and I'd fix it.

Instead she picked a fight about how me using my phone in that moment reminded her of me using my phone in a similar moment six years ago and all of that contributed to her feeling isolated in the marriage and isolation is a primary reason for having the affair. Her approach was wrong on every level--she was blame-shifting, off-loading her responsibility for the affair and dragging up something from six years earlier that I had no recollection of at the time--all while sitting a block from the spot she'd meet AP to blow him.

And then hours later, after recognizing what she did was wrong and apologizing, she still twisted the knife another time by bringing up the phone issue again.

Obviously my suggested approach is preferable and hers is terrible--the MC agreed, but told me that my wife is not capable of that suggested approach right now and it will take her years to get there most likely. Ok, so what does she do now to prevent us from spiraling to a divorce? I can accept that she's going to mess up (and so will I), but I need her to recognize that once she's messed up, she needs to be hyper aware of her words and actions. It's inexcusable for her to try to win that last point at that moment in time like she tried. And I feel like that's not asking too much. It's just basic mindfulness and self-awareness as she builds towards improving the larger issues.

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 607   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8738552
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 9:54 PM on Friday, June 3rd, 2022

Not being capable, and not wanting to,are two different things.

I agree you shouldn't force her. But her refusal to do this is very telling. And it should show you just how invested in her recovery she really is.

We agree. In fact, while writing my last post, my wife came in to check on me and with this topic top of mind, I brought it up again, suggesting she be more transparent with the awful things she did during the affair to both her mom and sister. She understood why it would mean a lot to me and agreed to do it.

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 607   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8738553
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Mene ( member #64377) posted at 10:25 PM on Friday, June 3rd, 2022

The lying will kill your marriage.

Everyone lies. But to do this habitually and especially to your spouse can only be disastrous for that relationship. It’s good to see you’ve identified this from her relationship with her dad. Hence why I asked you earlier in the week, what was her relationship like with her father?

Your wife needs validation from young men is a massive RED FLAG. If she needs others to continue to validate her then she will never be happy and always be tempted to cheat. Because she will give away sex to gain that validation she craves.

I will underline again - and this is something you may want to consider in a safe environment of MC - is to ask your wife if there have been other affairs. If she seeks validation from men all the time, this most probably wasn’t her first affair - EA or PA.

Life wasn’t meant to be fair...

posts: 854   ·   registered: Jul. 7th, 2018   ·   location: Cyberland
id 8738558
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TheWorldYouWant ( member #78447) posted at 10:49 PM on Friday, June 3rd, 2022

And she does that with everything. To her, truth is a loss of control because she doesn't feel like she is in a partnership. And some of that blame certainly belongs on me--I need to be far more considerate of her sensitivity levels so she can be comfortable being open with me. I feel like I've been so much better about that in recent years, but she built up her walls from 10+ years ago when I was admittedly less evolved (quicker to anger and yelling).

In my own experience, it absolutely has not mattered one bit how open to communication or sensitive I've been, or forgiving of past lies, or anything. Nothing I have ever done has changed my WH's continuous lying. That's because his lying is NOT ABOUT ME, just like your wife's lying is NOT ABOUT YOU. (Except insofar as it is about controlling you.) You can and should change your communication style as needed so that you know you've done your best as a partner, but you can't fix this problem. Only your wife can fix this problem. You can't convince, cajole, or coddle her enough to convince her to stop lying; she has to come to a determination inside herself that she doesn't want to be a liar anymore and then change her behavior based on that desire.

As an example...my husband wanted to date other women when we had an "open relationship" (after he cheated on me the first time). I said "OK, but please just keep me informed." Well, he kept me informed for a while, and then stopped letting me know that he was communicating with other women and going out on dates. I found out and I was mad. WHY would he cover up and lie when I had been as open as possible to the communication? I was never angry or upset, I just wanted to know what was happening, because it affected my life too. But he simply cannot be open, honest, and transparent--because at this point in his life he is A Liar. And becoming An Honest Person is work, work which he has not chosen to engage in.

Your wife lies because it works and it gets her what she wants, which is NOT a partnership with you. (She has all the trappings of partnership while being able to maintain her secrecy and independence. Why would she want true partnership in that situation? It's a loss for her, from her current perspective.)

Me, BW: 50s. WH: 50s. Kids: 3 great young adults.

1998-2021: DDays without end. Porn, cam girls, online EA, dating and cheating websites, actual dating, online sex games, prostitutes, more cam girls. And that's only the stuff I know.

posts: 97   ·   registered: Mar. 5th, 2021   ·   location: CA
id 8738561
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Mene ( member #64377) posted at 11:07 PM on Friday, June 3rd, 2022

Lying is going to be hard for her to delete from her character because it’s the tool she’s used to get things going her way, as TheWorldYouWant has mentioned.
If she’s in sales it’s the way she’s used it to her advantage to sell products and further her career. It’s the way she’s used it to interact with her father. The way she’s used it to lie to the AP to get the validation. It’s the way she’s used it to get what she wants from you.
It’s a serious character flaw and for many something that cannot be broken because it would require them to change their whole character. And their approach to relationships and the world in general.
This is your major problem. Her lying destroyed your marriage. And really it wasn’t a marriage built on honesty, transparency and love. It was one built on lies, deceit and compromised love.
She really has to work in IC with this and it will take years for her to accept this has been her way from young and then change this habit. I don’t know anyone who has achieved this who is a habitual liar. I hope she can for you, your marriage and your family. Your children will mirror this behaviour too if they see it in their mother. She’s learnt that the only way to survive and prosper in her relationships with her father, her work colleagues and you is to lie.

Life wasn’t meant to be fair...

posts: 854   ·   registered: Jul. 7th, 2018   ·   location: Cyberland
id 8738564
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Aletheia ( member #79172) posted at 5:45 AM on Saturday, June 4th, 2022

I don’t even know where to start. I just felt compelled to write. I read part of the original thread and most of this second thread. I have a bad habit of skimming so I apologize in advance if I misconstrue, misstate or missed facts.

How are your children coping? I’m not sure whether I’m rooting for you two to stay together for containment purposes or desperately hoping you end it. Ultimately, I think your children’s best interests are what is paramount and I’m hoping both you and your wife are prioritizing them. Do they seem to be effected by all this turmoil?

I’m no mental health professional so I will use colloquial term to say your wife is simply a mess. And I truly mean that in the most empathetic way possible. She says she barely even knows who she is and I believe her. One thing that’s making me cringe are all the posts egging you on re the sexual aspect of the affair. Your wife says she offered and did those things b/c she figured AP would like them. Seems accurate. B/c that seems essentially what she did with you when you first met. I think I read that you believed the sex was good between you two until you moved in together? Once she figured she locked you down over the other girls appears she didn’t feel it a necessity to be as adventurous anymore. And it’s essentially what she’s doing now with the hysterical bonding and willing to do "anything" you want sexually. Your wife may have some deep rooted intimacy issues and uses sex to keep the attention of men. Again, I have no degree, this is speculation. I was also thinking when you described her as grimacing when you were a little more dominant in bed, at first read I thought she could be being dramatic as a means of using sex as control, and perhaps that is true. Perhaps she was also being truthful in that she only likes dominant sex as a top but not a bottom - unless she’s topping from the bottom. Maybe she was being truthful when she says she wants sex with you to be more tender and although that’s what you say you were willing to give, you two have different ideas of that that means? Behaviors surrounding sex can be so intricate. Have you either considered specifically seeing a sex therapist to deal with both your individual kinks or aversions and difficulty in communicating with each other surrounding these issues?

As I said I do have empathy for her despite being the cheater, as OP I’m not sure you’re the best person for her right now. Even in light of all the defending you do on her behalf. Again, recognizing you are the victim (and your children) of the infidelity, your wife is like a 1000 puzzle piece that you want assembled asap and not only is that impossible, based on the way you’ve described her, it just doesn’t read that she can ever be the person you want her to be. It feels like she’s in this futile fight, and she knows that it’s futile. She doesn’t navigate the world in a healthy way, like additionally unhealthier than your average person. On top of that with the guilt of the affair, the embarrassment, and the abject terror of losing you, she’s mentally unwell.

Where I see problems is that you have a very dominant personality, and there’s nothing wrong with that! But combine that with your wife’s mental health and your admittedly less than empathetic nature, not the best lol. E.g., your wife had just earlier been obliterated in therapy, seems to me she wouldn’t be in the best of moods for a exciting dinner, and then on top of that from left field you start talking about her family and forgiving them. Like why would you bring that up after a therapy session where your wife had just been dismantled? I’m not trying to come at you, just trying to say when reading that, it was a lot. And made perfect sense to me why she was withdrawn. She furthermore may have felt ganged up on by you and the therapist which is why you being on the phone likely triggered a pet peeve of you being on the phone - which probably happens more frequently and is more bothersome than you realize. Added to that, how often would you say you say to her, "maybe we should divorce/separate?"

I’ve seen posters refer to you as being faithful but haven’t you also cheated on your wife in the past? I understand that you don’t see these online sexual relationships that you’ve had outside of your marriage as adultery, but is that also how your wife sees it? Has this been discussed in your couple’s counseling? Does your wife have any resentment or other lingering feelings surrounding you having extramarital sexual relationships with other women?

All this to say: ya’ll two both have SO much to work through individually, let alone as a couple. Just giving my perspective from reading the threads I hope I haven’t overstepped or offended. I’m wishing you both well, especially for your family as a whole. And IMO your wife should start to post here ASAP, her family are clearly not good influencers, if not for the marriage, but for herself individually.

I apologize this was so ineloquent.

posts: 230   ·   registered: Jul. 25th, 2021
id 8738603
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 12:54 PM on Saturday, June 4th, 2022

I will underline again - and this is something you may want to consider in a safe environment of MC - is to ask your wife if there have been other affairs. If she seeks validation from men all the time, this most probably wasn’t her first affair - EA or PA.

I raised that question in yesterday’s MC session—she again said she has not had another affair; while blaming the question on ideas put into my head from this forum.

The MC responded that regardless of where the "idea" came from, it is a totally normal and fair question for a BS. My wife confirmed again she never had a PA or EA.

I don’t think asking her in a therapy session changes anything though because I think she’d lie just as easily—if she is lying.

Again, from my perspective, I don’t think she cheated before during our marriage, but think it’s very possible she could have while we were dating. What I think doesn’t mean much, but it’s enough for past affairs from her to not be top of mind for me all the time.

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 607   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8738613
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 1:05 PM on Saturday, June 4th, 2022

In my own experience, it absolutely has not mattered one bit how open to communication or sensitive I've been, or forgiving of past lies, or anything. Nothing I have ever done has changed my WH's continuous lying. That's because his lying is NOT ABOUT ME, just like your wife's lying is NOT ABOUT YOU. (Except insofar as it is about controlling you.) You can and should change your communication style as needed so that you know you've done your best as a partner, but you can't fix this problem. Only your wife can fix this problem. You can't convince, cajole, or coddle her enough to convince her to stop lying; she has to come to a determination inside herself that she doesn't want to be a liar anymore and then change her behavior based on that desire.

You’re right. I tried to explain her agency to her yesterday on this exact topic (on a drive to dinner). In MC we all agreed it would take my wife year’s to fully change how she chooses to lie and how she poorly responds to feeling hurt. But the point I made to her is that it’s not something that she just ignores for awhile and then in three years she’s magically able to do it—she needs to actively try every moment of the day now.

And if she’s trying and fails, I need to be ok with that, but she has to be trying. I could see she didn’t understand that at first—she didn’t realize she needed to try to change now. It was like an epiphany moment for her. But honestly, even her understanding that she needs to do it now doesn’t convince me she will.

It’s all very frustrating.

As an example...my husband wanted to date other women when we had an "open relationship" (after he cheated on me the first time). I said "OK, but please just keep me informed." Well, he kept me informed for a while, and then stopped letting me know that he was communicating with other women and going out on dates. I found out and I was mad. WHY would he cover up and lie when I had been as open as possible to the communication? I was never angry or upset, I just wanted to know what was happening, because it affected my life too. But he simply cannot be open, honest, and transparent--because at this point in his life he is A Liar. And becoming An Honest Person is work, work which he has not chosen to engage in.

That’s how I see her now. Lying has been her primary protection tool her entire life. I don’t think she has it in her to stop using it entirely, especially with me. A part of her still feels like she’s in a war with me, so asking her to drop her gun isn’t going to work. I have zero faith that she’ll be transparent with me moving forward if she knows she can choose not to and avoid conflict and remain in control.

Your wife lies because it works and it gets her what she wants, which is NOT a partnership with you. (She has all the trappings of partnership while being able to maintain her secrecy and independence. Why would she want true partnership in that situation? It's a loss for her, from her current perspective.)

Spot on. She wants a partnership on her terms and she’ll blindly agree to any of mine simply because she fears the alternative is divorce—but she doesn’t actually want or plan to meet my terms. I have this growing fear that a real partnership with her may ultimately prove impossible.

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 607   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8738614
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tushnurse ( member #21101) posted at 1:45 PM on Saturday, June 4th, 2022

She willingly agrees to anything because she knows at the end of the day you won't enforce it.

Stop carrying her load. Start forcing her to own her shit. She will either step up or she won't but this constant delay and believing its too much is bullshit. You are just delaying.

Listen back when I went through this my H was saying the right things and certainly didn't want our M to end. He had too much to lose. However he didn't fully get it and make real changes and become truly remorseful until I had enough. I enforced consequences. Then he understood I was unwilling to tolerate less than I deserve. Thats when things really started to change. Thats when real R began.

Me: FBS
Him: FWS
Kids: 22 & 25
Married for 30 years now, was 16 at the time.
D-Day Sept 26 2008
R'd in about 2 years. Old Vet now.

posts: 19321   ·   registered: Oct. 1st, 2008   ·   location: St. Louis
id 8738615
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 1:53 PM on Saturday, June 4th, 2022

How are your children coping? I’m not sure whether I’m rooting for you two to stay together for containment purposes or desperately hoping you end it. Ultimately, I think your children’s best interests are what is paramount and I’m hoping both you and your wife are prioritizing them. Do they seem to be effected by all this turmoil?

It’s hard for me to say. They seem fine, but It’s difficult for me to identify if they sense the conflict, and if they do, how much it’s affecting them. My wife and I are still largely hugging and whatnot around them, so I think they still see us as emotionally connected. There is an obvious sadness that comes over my wife and I at times that they may see. For me it leads me to wanting to distance myself from everyone, but I have had those moments throughout my life (I like being alone on occasion), so perhaps it’s normal for them.

I have noticed changes in my daughter (turning four in two months) that I noted earlier in the thread—in fact, she started sleeping in our room often in late Nov. and then largely stopped in early March (roughly outlining the PA). She still comes in at times, but it seems foolish to think that was a coincidence—my gut tells me she saw the turmoil my wife was in and wanted to be with her. Since March she’s been more cuddly with us, always trying to do group hugs—she feels like an emotional support pet at times and it’s really touching.

My 7-year-old son seems largely unfazed, but again, I don’t know how to really tell.

I’m no mental health professional so I will use colloquial term to say your wife is simply a mess. And I truly mean that in the most empathetic way possible. She says she barely even knows who she is and I believe her. One thing that’s making me cringe are all the posts egging you on re the sexual aspect of the affair. Your wife says she offered and did those things b/c she figured AP would like them. Seems accurate. B/c that seems essentially what she did with you when you first met. I think I read that you believed the sex was good between you two until you moved in together? Once she figured she locked you down over the other girls appears she didn’t feel it a necessity to be as adventurous anymore. And it’s essentially what she’s doing now with the hysterical bonding and willing to do "anything" you want sexually. Your wife may have some deep rooted intimacy issues and uses sex to keep the attention of men. Again, I have no degree, this is speculation. I was also thinking when you described her as grimacing when you were a little more dominant in bed, at first read I thought she could be being dramatic as a means of using sex as control, and perhaps that is true. Perhaps she was also being truthful in that she only likes dominant sex as a top but not a bottom - unless she’s topping from the bottom. Maybe she was being truthful when she says she wants sex with you to be more tender and although that’s what you say you were willing to give, you two have different ideas of that that means? Behaviors surrounding sex can be so intricate. Have you either considered specifically seeing a sex therapist to deal with both your individual kinks or aversions and difficulty in communicating with each other surrounding these issues?

What do you mean by posts egging me on about the sex in the affair?

And yes, I think it’s clear sex was a tool for her to get what she wanted from men—and it was used in identical fashion with me early on as with AP, especially when he would appear distant to her (she’d respond by feeling like she needed to push boundaries to keep his attention).

The sex now absolutely checks that same box—sometimes. And I feel like I can see the differences at times: when she’s being sexual with me for my healing rather than for her interest. I do think both are playing out. There have absolutely been times when she was all in and really enjoying the physical bond with me—and others when she is going through the motions of a physical act because she feels like she needs to do it.

Last night was a good example—I had a rough night and was feeling really depressed (unsure how else to describe it). She didn’t do anything wrong and was trying to support me. At one point I initiated sex—I genuine have no idea why as neither of us were in a good frame of mind. She was dry, so I moved down to give her oral sex, but she stopped me. I asked why and she said she just wasn’t in a good frame of mind and didn’t want me to do it—so she asked me to just get lube. I didn’t want to do that—it felt like she was essentially offering herself to me as a hole to fuck. It just felt like we were both so broken in that moment.

As for the grimace, I believe she only likes to be "dominated" when she is in control and safe, knowing exactly where things are going. With AP, the only negative thing she noted about their sex was when he put his hand around her throat the first time (it was terrifying for her), but when he handcuffed her and fucked her ass, she was all in because both of those things were her requests—she felt in control.

Even to the point on the anal, she has said she requested anal for "selfish" reasons. He mentioned it over texts (as his wife wouldn’t do it), and she said no on the first meetup, but she said she might might be open to it next time, so going into the second one, she felt like she "had" to do it for him. So when she was handcuffed and he was getting close to cuming, she asked him to "stick it in my ass"—in her mind, she knew it would be quick because he was close and she wanted to get it over with for the night rather than potentially doing a longer anal session with him later.

It’s all bat shit crazy logic, but it sounds like something she could think.

As for a sex therapist, I have no doubt one could help us, but I don’t think we have space in our schedules for a fourth therapist right now.

As I said I do have empathy for her despite being the cheater, as OP I’m not sure you’re the best person for her right now. Even in light of all the defending you do on her behalf. Again, recognizing you are the victim (and your children) of the infidelity, your wife is like a 1000 puzzle piece that you want assembled asap and not only is that impossible, based on the way you’ve described her, it just doesn’t read that she can ever be the person you want her to be. It feels like she’s in this futile fight, and she knows that it’s futile. She doesn’t navigate the world in a healthy way, like additionally unhealthier than your average person. On top of that with the guilt of the affair, the embarrassment, and the abject terror of losing you, she’s mentally unwell.

That’s all fair and my primary fear right now—her literally being incapable of being the partner I want her to be for me.

Where I see problems is that you have a very dominant personality, and there’s nothing wrong with that! But combine that with your wife’s mental health and your admittedly less than empathetic nature, not the best lol. E.g., your wife had just earlier been obliterated in therapy, seems to me she wouldn’t be in the best of moods for a exciting dinner, and then on top of that from left field you start talking about her family and forgiving them. Like why would you bring that up after a therapy session where your wife had just been dismantled? I’m not trying to come at you, just trying to say when reading that, it was a lot. And made perfect sense to me why she was withdrawn. She furthermore may have felt ganged up on by you and the therapist which is why you being on the phone likely triggered a pet peeve of you being on the phone - which probably happens more frequently and is more bothersome than you realize. Added to that, how often would you say you say to her, "maybe we should divorce/separate?"

I suggested not doing the dinner—there were too many triggers: we had just had a hard MC session, the restaurant was located one block from the parking garage she would meet AP, and it was the three month anniversary of the last time she saw/fucked AP at that garage (March 2-June 2).

My wife pushed for us to go because she is trying to push fun things for us to avoid everything being sad—she also feels like she could be disappointing me for wanting to cancel it.

As for the family issues discussion, I wouldn’t say it was out of left field—her family was a primary topic of my email from a few hours earlier, so it felt like a natural bridge. It was clearly stupid of me though.

I have not avoided the topic of divorce as a discussion, but the evening of June 2 was the first time I said we should do it. I think I get your point though—she feels like divorce is being held over her head and she’s walking on egg shells. It’s hard for me to manage because I don’t think that’s inaccurate—that’s how I feel right now. I’m desperately trying to find signs that I should try R and I keep failing to find them, so it’s me staring at a clock realizing D could very well be coming soon. So it’s how I feel—I feel like her inability to demonstrate effort to change is going to force my hand into D. That result is becoming more real every day.

I’ve seen posters refer to you as being faithful but haven’t you also cheated on your wife in the past? I understand that you don’t see these online sexual relationships that you’ve had outside of your marriage as adultery, but is that also how your wife sees it? Has this been discussed in your couple’s counseling? Does your wife have any resentment or other lingering feelings surrounding you having extramarital sexual relationships with other women?

My decision to talk with women online was wrong. I was upfront with my wife that I was doing it.

I felt trapped. I would have these three-hour discussions with her trying to get to the bottom of our sex life issues (that was the core problem as I saw it throughout my marriage) but I’d talk 90% of the time and she’d largely just stare at me until the conversation ended.

I was opposed to having a PA on principle and I felt like I couldn’t handle my profound unhappiness about our sex life—and talking to her for hours on end over years wasn’t accomplishing anything. In my mind, it was a choice between divorce or transparent online affairs—both horrible choices, but I’m just wired to feel like divorce is a nuclear option and my happy sex life wasn’t enough to detonate the bomb. And that just became locked in once we had our first child in 2015–there was no way I was willing to break up our family so I could have a better sex life.

The obvious answer is I should have forced therapy, but my feeling then was my wife would have just stayed walled-off there and it would have been a waste of money. And I don’t think I was wrong—I think the only reason she’s willing to open up now is because she is the one on the hook post-affair, so she has no leverage. If we tried therapy pre-affair, her entitlement and defensiveness would have been off the charts.

And as for her feelings about my online relationships, she never wanted to talk about them. I’d bring them up and she’d disengage from the conversation. Post-DDay she has acknowledged that knowing they were happening made her feel inadequate.

All this to say: ya’ll two both have SO much to work through individually, let alone as a couple. Just giving my perspective from reading the threads I hope I haven’t overstepped or offended. I’m wishing you both well, especially for your family as a whole. And IMO your wife should start to post here ASAP, her family are clearly not good influencers, if not for the marriage, but for herself individually.

I apologize this was so ineloquent.

My wife has attempted to sign up for the forums three times with three separate emails. She always gets the initial automated response, but never a follow up to the 24-hour review. The emails and user handles are all registered now, but she has no password or way to log on.

And please don’t feel like you over-stepped with your post. I thought it was insightful to read. Please keep sharing your perspective—it’s valuable.

[This message edited by Drstrangelove at 2:07 PM, Saturday, June 4th]

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 607   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8738617
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 2:12 PM on Saturday, June 4th, 2022

She willingly agrees to anything because she knows at the end of the day you won't enforce it.

Stop carrying her load. Start forcing her to own her shit. She will either step up or she won't but this constant delay and believing its too much is bullshit. You are just delaying.

Listen back when I went through this my H was saying the right things and certainly didn't want our M to end. He had too much to lose. However he didn't fully get it and make real changes and become truly remorseful until I had enough. I enforced consequences. Then he understood I was unwilling to tolerate less than I deserve. Thats when things really started to change. Thats when real R began.

I call out her bull shit constantly and I’m willing to D her—something I know she very much believes. I don’t know what else I’m supposed to do. How else can I enforce anything?

I can file for D or put our house on the market, but if I had to bet, those actions would likely force her into a shell, so it can’t be a bluff—it would VERY likely set us on a one-way spiral out of the marriage. So if I’m going to do that, I need to be all-in on the decision and I’m just not quite there after 2.5 months.

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 607   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8738620
default

BraveSirRobin ( Guide #69242) posted at 5:05 PM on Saturday, June 4th, 2022

At the MC session, I gave the example of how my wife should have handled me briefly being on my phone during dinner the other night. First, she should have thought about it: she's upset, feels devalued and feels like other people are more important to her than me--why does she feel that way? Should she be upset? Is she being unfair or is it rightful to be upset by it? If she determines it's rightful, she should raise it with me afterward: "I just want you to know that when you used your phone tonight at dinner, it upset me." I then can react--do I think it's reasonable for her to be upset or unreasonable?

Fair enough -- in which case, it's also fair to analyze how you might (and indeed should) have handled things differently.

I thought I’d take my wife out to dinner and we’d hopefully lighten things up a bit.

I understand why you want to take a time out from the volatile interactions you've been having with her, but because of that volatility, it was predictable that this evening would go sideways. If you aren't ready for that, don't go.

I knew I’d be meeting her for dinner in a few hours and I thought I’d get some of my thoughts down on paper rather than bog down the dinner with conversation on this stuff.

Part of you knew that having a fun evening would require rugsweeping, and you resented it, even though this dinner was apparently your idea. What you wrote next wasn't meant to get your thoughts out of the way, it was to put those thoughts at the forefront of her mind. And while it's fair to remind her that her marriage is hanging by a thread, it's also not conducive to a relaxing evening.

I drove to meet her for dinner (about a block from the parking garage she would meet AP) and I was still feeling largely negative about our status, but was trying to pep talk myself into being positive at dinner. I arrived and she was seemingly doing the same—fake smiles so we can both pretend all is fine.

Again, I really recommend that you not set yourselves up for failure this way. It is too soon (it may always be too soon) to have a genuine date night on the home turf of the affair. If you need to reclaim it, that's a different kind of venture, and you shouldn't expect it to be a roaring success.

The dinner atmosphere turned negative quickly, her giving a 100-yard stare into the distance and me not knowing what to say or do really.

You were hours out from reminding her that divorce was probably your best shot at happiness and that she was going to need to do some very challenging and unpleasant things for you to be willing to consider R. Then you both got dressed up and went out in public. I'm not surprised that neither of you knew what to say.

I tried to dig in a bit with her about her childhood, again probing if there were any repressed issues

In the middle of a fancy restaurant, you pressed her to deconstruct her traumatic childhood. That's what you think is the right time and place for such a conversation? I'm surprised she'd be receptive to discussing something so vulnerable in that venue. But fine, let's say she was...

I politely apologized to my wife for the interruption and I took 30~ seconds to read what was happening just in case I got a call from my CEO.

If you press her to dig into her FOO, and she tells you for the first time in your marriage that her sister was molested by a family member, silence your fucking phone. Don't start a conversation like that and then act like it's not worthy of your undivided attention. I don't care if the discussion in that exact moment wasn't heavily loaded. The phone should have been off before you asked. And if you aren't in a time or place where you can silence it, for whatever reason, don't have the conversation until you are. I would have been very upset if my BH checked his texts in the middle of that disclosure.

So I paused for a bit to figure out what was happening: it seemed like she was picking a fight with me over my 30 second phone use for a work emergency at dinner and applying it to me making her feel isolated in our marriage—that leading her to cheat.

Except she didn't say that. She didn't say anything about justification for cheating. She said that what you did in that moment made her feel devalued and deprioritized and that this is a trend with you. You asked her to be vulnerable, she did so, and you checked your phone and thought you could "dive right back in." You can't just put a conversation like that on pause, and she was, IMO, right to tell you so. This made you feel defensive, and you put words in her mouth and blamed her for using them.

Spent most of rest of dinner in silence, I paid the large bill, for which she thanked me, then we quietly took a long walk to the car and long drive home.

You've mentioned the cost of dinner a few times. It's not relevant. If you can spend money on her genuinely without resenting it or thinking it entitles you to something, that's great, but otherwise, don't spend it at all.

We got home fairly late and went right up to bed. I told her what she did was wholly unfair: again explaining that I’m completely devastated right now and she’s picking an unnecessary fight with me at dinner.

Your wife is a human being under enormous stress. The stress is of her own making, but if you think that makes it easier to manage, I can tell you from experience that it does not. She handled things imperfectly. You both did. It won't be the last time, either. The dynamic between you is fucked up and needs to be torn down to its foundations. If you can't tolerate that, then divorce really is your best option.

And on that note:

Bull shit. The takeaway should have been: why did the word upset my wife? Does she think she acted like a whore? Why does she think that? Hell, why did she act that way? In no way should we be discussing mean people on the internet or how a word is inherently mean--it's valueless and, in my view, ignorant.

You seem to be under the impression that therapy is taking your wife in for a tune up. You bring her in, the CT tells her she's a piece of shit, she realizes that her perspective is entirely wrong, and she hopefully mends her ways. Challenges to abusive language directed at her by your support group, one that you are pressing her to join, are "valueless and ignorant" because they don't fit that paradigm.

IMO, the only mistake the CT made was backing down. She's not there to enable your WW, but she's also not there as your mouthpiece. Your IC is for you. Her IC is for her. Your CT is for both of you, on behalf of the marriage, which is why most people here advise against CT this early on. After all, you're not trying to save your marriage; you're trying to assess whether you even want to try to save it. That's fine, it's exactly where you should be at this stage, but it makes CT a useless exercise. If you're going to have it, you should expect that sometimes, she's going to agree with your wife. If you can intimidate her into backing down, she's not going to be very effective.

This is a common misperception about the Wayward forum too, btw. Yes, we call out fellow WS out on our bullshit, but we do not exist to force recalcitrant WS into the mold their BS would like. We exist to help each other heal and make better choices. If you send your WW there, prepare for her to hear viewpoints that do not align with your own.

[This message edited by BraveSirRobin at 5:06 PM, Saturday, June 4th]

WW/BW

posts: 2736   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8738633
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clouds777 ( member #72442) posted at 5:08 PM on Saturday, June 4th, 2022

I call out her bull shit constantly and I’m willing to D her—something I know she very much believes. I don’t know what else I’m supposed to do. How else can I enforce anything?

She lies and lies and lies. She doesn't change her behavior. She won't do things she thinks are too hard. You accept this because you've determined she's not ready yet, which is an excuse. She blames this forum for putting ideas in your head because she is completely unwilling to learn. It's just a new thing for her to blame.

And yet nothing in her life has really changed. She lies, you get mad. She lies again. She sulks or explains or whatever and you accept it as she can't stop or whatever. You still treat her like your wife and fake it like everything is going to be OK. You aren't taking any space from her for yourself or making her take charge. I think this is because you already know she wont and you aren't ready to accept that. But you're just delaying the inevitable. You have got to demonstrate that you're done with this helpless bullshit because when you cross that threshhold of no return and you really are done with her, it will be too late.

You should be working to separate from her emotionally. Let her sink or swim and focus on your issues. You're still hoping for R when she still doesn't give you any reason to think she can do it. Even when she reads here and is basically given the answers to the test.

posts: 271   ·   registered: Jan. 1st, 2020
id 8738634
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 6:10 PM on Saturday, June 4th, 2022

I understand why you want to take a time out from the volatile interactions you've been having with her, but because of that volatility, it was predictable that this evening would go sideways. If you aren't ready for that, don't go.

Agreed; we should not have gone to the dinner. I suggested not going, but she pushed back and I caved. Truthfully, it's hard to know how to act--should we be forcing ourselves to go out? Sometimes it pays off and we have a lovely time; other times it's a disaster; and other times it's probably meaningless. It's a judgement call and we both made a bad judgement on June 2.

Part of you knew that having a fun evening would require rugsweeping, and you resented it, even though this dinner was apparently your idea. What you wrote next wasn't meant to get your thoughts out of the way, it was to put those thoughts at the forefront of her mind. And while it's fair to remind her that her marriage is hanging by a thread, it's also not conducive to a relaxing evening.

Yes, fun nights out now absolutely require rug-sweeping--seemingly no way around that.

I disagree about your framing of the email. The email was written as a positive gesture, focused on my primary goal being a successful R and my potential willingness to rug sweep my issues with her parents if we attempted R and that's what she wanted. The email was my olive branch after a really hard MC session for her. Within the lengthy email, I did include a line about how divorce had a higher probability of leading to my happiness than R (considering how awful things have gone thus far)--that point was not a new revelation in the email and it only setup the following point that in spite of that, I still wanted to see if R could work because I felt our best outcome was a loving relationship with each other. My wife ignored everything else in the very positive email to focus on that single negative sentence. It was unfair of her to do and it is unfair of you to double down on it now.

Again, I really recommend that you not set yourselves up for failure this way. It is too soon (it may always be too soon) to have a genuine date night on the home turf of the affair. If you need to reclaim it, that's a different kind of venture, and you shouldn't expect it to be a roaring success.

Again, we agree. You're spot on. We never should have went to that dinner--we set ourselves up to fail.

You were hours out from reminding her that divorce was probably your best shot at happiness and that she was going to need to do some very challenging and unpleasant things for you to be willing to consider R. Then you both got dressed up and went out in public. I'm not surprised that neither of you knew what to say.

Again, we agree. Though your point about divorce being my happiness is very unfair. That was not the point of the email. I would share the email to demonstrate that, but I've decided to try to keep some of our correspondence private. All I can note, if it's of any value, is that the MC agrees that my wife unfairly put a negative spin on the email--however, she also noted that in my wife's mental state, it can be very difficult to comprehend complex emails and she can be in a frame of mind to focus on negativity.

Bottom-line, I do not believe the email was the issue--the issue was the dinner that we should not have gone too. We both felt badly and my wife drank a lot of alcohol to cope with feeling so poorly--it was a recipe for disaster.

In the middle of a fancy restaurant, you pressed her to deconstruct her traumatic childhood. That's what you think is the right time and place for such a conversation? I'm surprised she'd be receptive to discussing something so vulnerable in that venue. But fine, let's say she was...

I did not press her. I led by referencing my issue with her in-laws and my willingness to bridge that divide if needed. She then opened up about her childhood, ultimately focusing in a bit on her sister. We had been at the restaurant for a bit and it was the only thing she seemed she wanted to talk about--all other topics were dead ends quickly. I was not looking to dig into it, but it happened organically once she engaged.

If you press her to dig into her FOO, and she tells you for the first time in your marriage that her sister was molested by a family member, silence your fucking phone. Don't start a conversation like that and then act like it's not worthy of your undivided attention. I don't care if the discussion in that exact moment wasn't heavily loaded. The phone should have been off before you asked. And if you aren't in a time or place where you can silence it, for whatever reason, don't have the conversation until you are. I would have been very upset if my BH checked his texts in the middle of that disclosure.

She did not tell me for the first time that her sister was "molested"--it was an incident I've been well aware of. And it's not like she was mid-sentence talking about child abuse when I grabbed my phone. Your negative framing on all of this is not the 2x4 you're hoping for--it's largely comical because you're suspending reality so drastically to try to make your points.

And if your point is that I should have had my phone nicely tucked in my pocket all dinner, then we agree. 100%. There's no reason I should have been on my phone at all, even for a moment. You can make that point without misrepresenting what happened (I was there; I know what happened).

Except she didn't say that. She didn't say anything about justification for cheating. She said that what you did in that moment made her feel devalued and deprioritized and that this is a trend with you. You asked her to be vulnerable, she did so, and you checked your phone and thought you could "dive right back in." You can't just put a conversation like that on pause, and she was, IMO, right to tell you so. This made you feel defensive, and you put words in her mouth and blamed her for using them.

She absolutely used it as a justification for cheating. She has said early on that a primary driver for having an affair is that she has felt isolated and unvalidated by me in our marriage. We've moved on to that with her agreeing that her decision to have the affair was all on her--full blame. The problem is she doesn't actually believe that still. She doesn't grasp the idea that her choice to have an affair is entirely her fault.

So the moment at dinner, after I went on my phone, was to bring up a point six years ago that I was on my phone during dinner (it's not random that she took an example from six years ago to make her point as I don't typically make a point of going to dinner and sitting on my phone). She then pointed out that me being on my phone is an example of how I would make her feel isolated in our marriage. So no, she did not literally say: "I cheated on you because you were on your phone too much," but indirectly that's exactly what she said. She was using my phone use as a justification for cheating--and she acknowledges that, so it seems pointless to debate it with a stranger online now (but I'm an idiot with nothing better to do on a Saturday afternoon). She agrees that the MC session, the text from her sister and the alcohol put her in a very defensive and negative mindset.

I also should emphasis the very obvious projecting from her. Whatever my poor phone use habits are, hers are 10x worse. Her issues with her phone don't defend mine at all, but perspective for you from afar is probably important.

You've mentioned the cost of dinner a few times. It's not relevant. If you can spend money on her genuinely without resenting it or thinking it entitles you to something, that's great, but otherwise, don't spend it at all.

You're right, I shouldn't have noted the cost as it's not really relevant and I don't resent spending money on her. In my mind it was just to point out what a waste of money it was to have such a bad night--again reenforcing we shouldn't have gone.

I also should point out she has been picking up a lot of the bills post-DDay as an olive branch to me--she knows I'm hurt about all the money she spent on AP. So yea, no issue with the cost at all, in terms of our relationship.

Your wife is a human being under enormous stress. The stress is of her own making, but if you think that makes it easier to manage, I can tell you from experience that it does not. She handled things imperfectly. You both did. It won't be the last time, either. The dynamic between you is fucked up and needs to be torn down to its foundations. If you can't tolerate that, then divorce really is your best option.

You're a WW, so I understand you defending my wife as you relate to her situation. But your reframing and twisting of reality doesn't actually change anything. My wife did a horrible thing, so squaring it away as we're both imperfect beings is incredibly hollow. Us both making mistakes in our handling of June 2 doesn't leave us with a clean slate--her mistakes that night were more grievous. But that's ok. I don't need everything to be balanced; I am still here because I want to support my wife and achieve an outcome we can both be happy and proud of. But those mistakes are tallying up and taking our marriage in a doomed direction--she has to recognize it and address it immediately.

You seem to be under the impression that therapy is taking your wife in for a tune up. You bring her in, the CT tells her she's a piece of shit, she realizes that her perspective is entirely wrong, and she hopefully mends her ways.

You're right. I do feel that way. If me, the CT and her fired IC and her current IC can't get the message through, I guess that's that.

Challenges to abusive language directed at her by your support group, one that you are pressing her to join, are "valueless and ignorant" because they don't fit that paradigm.

IMO, the only mistake the CT made was backing down. She's not there to enable your WW, but she's also not there as your mouthpiece. Your IC is for you. Her IC is for her. Your CT is for both of you, on behalf of the marriage, which is why most people here advise against CT this early on. After all, you're not trying to save your marriage; you're trying to assess whether you even want to try to save it. That's fine, it's exactly where you should be at this stage, but it makes CT a useless exercise. If you're going to have it, you should expect that sometimes, she's going to agree with your wife. If you can intimidate her into backing down, she's not going to be very effective.

The CT backed down because she was wrong. It had nothing to do with our marriage--she was wrong because she was allowing her feelings on how a word made her feel derail a conversation in the session. I was ok with all of it--I enjoyed the conflict.

This is a common misperception about the Wayward forum too, btw. Yes, we call out fellow WS out on our bullshit, but we do not exist to force recalcitrant WS into the mold their BS would like. We exist to help each other heal and make better choices. If you send your WW there, prepare for her to hear viewpoints that do not align with your own.

You--who I find bizarrely disingenuous throughout much of your post--could be her one and sole mentor on this site and I'd still be ok with her posting here. I do not fear opinions, perspectives or information. What will be will be.

I also should add, I know nothing about your personal situation--the details of your affair or how things turned out for you. I hope you don't find my responses offensive or dismissive--I enjoyed reading your post as it pushed me out of my comfort zone and forced me to analyze my perception of events the other night. Ultimately, I think your tone is off, not mine, but it's likely valuable nonetheless.

[This message edited by Drstrangelove at 6:11 PM, Saturday, June 4th]

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 607   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8738640
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 6:44 PM on Saturday, June 4th, 2022

She lies and lies and lies. She doesn't change her behavior. She won't do things she thinks are too hard. You accept this because you've determined she's not ready yet, which is an excuse. She blames this forum for putting ideas in your head because she is completely unwilling to learn. It's just a new thing for her to blame.

And yet nothing in her life has really changed. She lies, you get mad. She lies again. She sulks or explains or whatever and you accept it as she can't stop or whatever. You still treat her like your wife and fake it like everything is going to be OK. You aren't taking any space from her for yourself or making her take charge. I think this is because you already know she wont and you aren't ready to accept that. But you're just delaying the inevitable. You have got to demonstrate that you're done with this helpless bullshit because when you cross that threshhold of no return and you really are done with her, it will be too late.

You should be working to separate from her emotionally. Let her sink or swim and focus on your issues. You're still hoping for R when she still doesn't give you any reason to think she can do it. Even when she reads here and is basically given the answers to the test.

So one thing she did was send a lengthy email to her mother last night. She laid out the depths of how bad her behavior has been and how unfair to me she was. She attempted it before (months ago) and I told her not to send the email (it read like she wrote it at gun point from my urging). This one she didn’t seek approval on and it read more honest.

So I can’t say she’s not doing anything. The tangible stuff she is doing—took action on finances and her family. She is struggling with the emotional stuff with me in conversations, but I have to be fair that she’s doing well on the stuff separate from me.

I guess alcohol is still be used as a crutch for her at times—she went cold turkey initially but now that it’s back in her life, it’s easy for her to lose control. We discussed the idea of capping herself at two drinks and she wants to try that—I’ll let her sink or swim with it though as I have no plans to enforce drinking limitations.

As for the inevitable—is D inevitable? Perhaps. But there’s a saying: "that’s why they play the game." So I’ll play it out and if it ends the way we expect, so be it. You’re right that I haven’t accepted that she’s unable to change. I feel like she has another gear and it’s going to lock in at any moment. Foolish perhaps, but it’s also faith in the person I have loved for my entire adult life.

Separating from her emotionally feels like a death wish to the marriage for me. She doesn’t respond well to solitude—not because she thinks I’m bluffing now, but because she’s an inherently weak person that will simply fail in spite of her best efforts. She is dependent on me and if I bail on her now, I know she’ll fail.

I see your point though—if I’m wrong, my support will just lead to her failure on this path. You may be right. It’s really a gut call on my part.

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 607   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8738642
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truthsetmefree ( member #7168) posted at 6:45 PM on Saturday, June 4th, 2022

I enjoyed reading your post as it pushed me out of my comfort zone and forced me to analyze my perception of events the other night.

I’m just not sure how much you actually analyzed though.

At the culmination, you’re still at a very rigid "I’m right and she’s wrong"…and a "scorecard" for comparison/reinforcement. I have to admit that it is troubling for me that you almost seem to enjoy the superiority of that - and especially that it seems to involve aspects of triangulation to really drive that home. If you’re driven by a need for "a pound of flesh" I completely understand that. Just be aware that the scales won’t measure beyond 15 ounces.

Can you see your own defensiveness in your response to BSR’s post? I know you feel like you are explaining - and that can be a challenge when dealing with strangers on an anonymous forum. But even more so, can you see how that defensiveness actually moved on to offense? Walls. These are walls. And you can’t expect or have vulnerability when walls are erected. I see this as a challenge for both of you - which isn’t really all that surprising. Water seeks its own level.

Some of us are trying to offer awareness. But focusing on right vs wrong isn’t conducive to that. I get that you want your wife to change. But how much do you value knowing your wife - and especially beyond just her affair?

Hope has two beautiful daughters; their names are Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are, and Courage to see that they do not remain as they are. ~ Augustine of Hippo

posts: 8844   ·   registered: May. 18th, 2005
id 8738643
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 7:20 PM on Saturday, June 4th, 2022

I’m just not sure how much you actually analyzed though.

At the culmination, you’re still at a very rigid "I’m right and she’s wrong"…and a "scorecard" for comparison/reinforcement. I have to admit that it is troubling for me that you almost seem to enjoy the superiority of that - and especially that it seems to involve aspects of triangulation to really drive that home. If you’re driven by a need for "a pound of flesh" I completely understand that. Just be aware that the scales won’t measure beyond 15 ounces.

Can you see your own defensiveness in your response to BSR’s post? I know you feel like you are explaining - and that can be a challenge when dealing with strangers on an anonymous forum. But even more so, can you see how that defensiveness actually moved on to offense? Walls. These are walls. And you can’t expect or have vulnerability when walls are erected. I see this as a challenge for both of you - which isn’t really all that surprising. Water seeks its own level.

Some of us are trying to offer awareness. But focusing on right vs wrong isn’t conducive to that. I get that you want your wife to change. But how much do you value knowing your wife - and especially beyond just her affair?

I don’t see defensiveness in my response. I’m open to understating how you see it though. I paused before responding to that post very conscious that it would be easy for me to get defensive.

Instead, I tried to go through all her points, agreed or disagreed as I felt appropriate. I’ll be honest, her attempt to twist the reality of the evening bothered me—why did she do that? Was it honest mistakes or intentional? And if it’s intentional, what purpose does it serve?

As an example, if the point is I shouldn’t be on my phone—great, I agree. If the point is I’m an awful person for taking out my phone at the moment my wife was bearing her soul to me about her sister’s childhood trauma, then I lose sight of the point. That’s not what happened—in a very literal sense. So why exaggerate or misrepresent what we’re talking about to achieve the same point? Is it to make me feel bad? If so, it doesn’t because it’s not accurate to what happened.

Do you think I went on offense because I framed her as a WW? I felt that was very relevant, but I didn’t attack her for it.

It’s a strange position to be in—I don’t think there’s a moral defense to have sex outside a marriage without your partner’s consent, but I’m on a forum populated by people who have done that. I’m not here to judge them though—in fact, it’s the opposite, I’m here to learn from them. I want to understand what breaks in a person to do that.

Do I feel "superior" to cheaters? I might; it’s something I’m actively exploring in my own mind as I post here. I don’t think someone is irredeemable for past actions though—so I try to enter each encounter with an open heart and mind.

I also don’t enter into these conversations under the impression that everyone here has something to teach me—I suspect many still have plenty to sort out in their own lives before they attempt to fix mine. But I read and comprehend it all regardless. I do trust my compass though. I have to.

Lastly, I feel like I do know my wife—she’s an incredibly complicated entity, just like everyone else. I know my representations of her here are not a fully fleshed out representation. I do love every part of her—she is an immense challenge for me to navigate at times and I fail all the time. I’ll keep failing, but I’m trying.

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 607   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8738647
default

sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 7:45 PM on Saturday, June 4th, 2022

It's common to be blind to one's own dysfunctions. If one saw them, one would probably do something to fix them or, at least, own them. IOW, it's common to be confronted and not accept the confrontation. IMO, one sort of wisdom is taking feedback in and thinking, among other things, 'Suppose it's true. If it is, then what?'

*****

I never called my W a 'whore'. I've never thought of any WWs as whores unless they took money for sex. I think calling a WW 'shore' insults and devalues real prostitutes. Same with 'bitch' and 'slut' - it's entirely unnecessary to associate a WW with a dog. It's common, to be sure, but it surely isn't necessary. Or helpful.

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: 27290   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8738651
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