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

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HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 1:56 PM on Monday, July 18th, 2022

It's usually not the actual affair that's the dealbreaker..for men and women. It's the behavior of the ws after dday that's the dealbreaker. It's the lack of remorse,lack of empathy, continued cruelty, the continued lies,and the continued need to throw pity parties. It's also often broken NC. Or refusal to do the work.

posts: 4495   ·   registered: Jun. 20th, 2017   ·   location: The Midwest
id 8745239
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HFSSC ( member #33338) posted at 2:56 PM on Monday, July 18th, 2022

What that says to me,is IMO, she knows how she should respond,and how she should behave,but when caught off guard,her mask slips and she shows her true self. That,for now,those measured responses,are inauthentic.

I don't entirely agree with this. Hellfire, from reading your posts, it seems like you have always had a strong moral compass and treated people decently. I don't remember if you've had a history of abuse in your childhood, so forgive me there if I'm off base.

I grew up in a very chaotic home with a mentally ill mother. Went through CSA and never talked about it until adulthood. My brother, my sister and I all developed completely different coping mechanisms. Unfortunately several of my coping mechanisms that were hard wired were quite destructive in the long run. Truth and lie in our home were very very commingled. We were gaslighted by our mom and so grew up unable to trust our own perceptions. I definitely internalized the message that no one was looking out for me and I had to look out for myself to survive. And it was CRITICAL that no one ever get close to the "me" in the center of the identity that I created. There were walls and fences with barbed wire and armed guards protecting "me". I didn't have relationships, I had transactions. Every person in my life was only as valuable as what they did for me.

When I finally got sober in 2008, rigorous honesty was probably the most difficult part of sobriety for me to achieve. I wanted desperately to stay sober and become a better person. But as a dear friend in recovery told me, "Brain broke. First thought wrong." I had to learn to pause and sit in the moment before reacting. That shit was hard. I messed up a bunch of times, and had to make amends. It took longer than I like to admit for me to learn that it was much easier to tell the truth than to have to set the story straight and make amends.

I don't know Mrs. S's back story. I'm just offering my experience as an example of someone who truly, truly wanted to be a decent human being but took more than a minute for me to rewire my first impulses.

Me, 54
Him, 45 (JMSSC)
Married 24 years. Reconciled.

posts: 4748   ·   registered: Sep. 12th, 2011   ·   location: South Carolina
id 8745249
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HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 3:36 PM on Monday, July 18th, 2022

Hi HFSSC. It sounds like we have somewhat similar childhoods. I'm truly sorry for what you've been through.

My mother was a narcissist. She had me at 18,and disliked me,blamed me, for taking away what should have been her fun,carefree years. I was well aware she didn't love me,as I grew up. She later had my brother,and the difference in which she treated me was blinding. As I grew older,and began to develop, I attracted a lot of male attention. A lot of it from men,who should not have been attracted to a very young girl. My mother was jealous. I weighed 109 pounds at 14,and my 100 lbs mother made sure I felt overweight. I developed insecurities about my body,on top of feeling unloved. As a teen,I wasn't a good person. I didn't treat people decently. But, after I had my first child at 20,all of that changed for me. Oh,also,my bio dad abandoned me,and my adopted father was in,and out, making me feel even more abandoned. So my choice in men wasn't all that great. Add in a stepfather who assualted me,and eventually shot my step sibling.

I come from a long line of abuse.

When my mom died, I felt relief. When my dad died, I felt nothing.

I decided I was going to be the absolute best parent I could be. I've made mkstakes,but apologize for those mistakes. My kids know I am their biggest fan.

I understand its hard to learn to be better. I think our situations are different from Mrs S. IIRC,there was no abuse in her background. She seems to be a spoiled child,who became a spoiled adult. Now she's trying to love a husband who she didn't treat with love,for several years prior to the affair.

End threadjack

[This message edited by HellFire at 3:43 PM, Monday, July 18th]

posts: 4495   ·   registered: Jun. 20th, 2017   ·   location: The Midwest
id 8745251
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 4:05 PM on Monday, July 18th, 2022

It's usually not the actual affair that's the dealbreaker..for men and women. It's the behavior of the ws after dday that's the dealbreaker.

HF, I strongly suspect that’s not true. Perhaps it’s true for those who come to this site for help. It may even be true for those who try R and fail. But it disregards all the relationships that just end in the moments of DDay. For many, an A is just a dealbreaker on day one, so your assumption seems to ignore all of those (the OBS in my situation falls into that category).

Regardless, for me, the dealbreaker would absolutely be her behavior post-DDay and you’ve been a strong guiding light in keeping me balanced on my journey.

This trip to Italy has been wonderful—I’m in a much better headspace than my trip here in April. I feel so much clarity of purpose—I know precisely what I’m expecting from my WW moving forward.

[This message edited by Drstrangelove at 9:55 PM, Monday, July 18th]

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: 776   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8745255
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Never2late ( member #79079) posted at 8:17 PM on Monday, July 18th, 2022

Good to hear you have some additional clarity.

I also agree with your general deal breaking comments. Collection of this information from a site like this or gathered from therapists et al does not account for the selection bias. Many people in LTRs with betrayal just bail...no counseling, no forums, no priests, etc..

posts: 57   ·   registered: Jul. 7th, 2021
id 8745296
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 12:49 AM on Thursday, July 21st, 2022

Sorry for the lack of updates, but the end of the trip was a blur and I just got home from Italy this evening. I thought I'd give a brief post for my state of mind as my WW and kids return tomorrow.

I'd say my optimism for getting to R only improved with the trip. My WW and I have only had positive interactions all week (some really great email and text exchanges throughout the trip) and we both know what we're expecting moving forward.

But perhaps most importantly, I feel a great sense of clarity now. If my WW can continue to improve and show she's trying, I want to be meet her in the middle and get to entering R in the coming weeks. I'm going to do everything I can to keep things light and positive and just continue to let us both heal from these wounds.

And as for the trip itself, it was predictably awesome--no better place than Italy. And it was even more enjoyable than my trip over in April as I was in a positive frame of mind virtually the entire time--the affair was an after-thought--I was either enjoying the moment or thinking about the path to a future with my WW.

I'd say I've never felt more positive than right now--which means I'm probably in for a big plummet soon...but we'll see.

I hope you're all doing well!

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: 776   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8745614
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Stevesn ( member #58312) posted at 12:52 PM on Thursday, July 21st, 2022

I’m glad that you are optimistic. A trip to Italy can do that for anyone even when they are at their lowest.

I wonder what you discussed with your wife that makes you feel like she may now be ready to show the empathy you are looking for? I am always hopeful that she will. But your last discussion before you left was not an indication that she was there yet.

You have been trying to meet her half way for four months now in my eyes. I do hope she’s finally ready to do her part to meet you in the middle.

Welcome home.

[This message edited by Stevesn at 12:52 PM, Thursday, July 21st]

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

posts: 3438   ·   registered: Apr. 17th, 2017
id 8745637
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 7:26 PM on Thursday, July 21st, 2022

I’m glad that you are optimistic. A trip to Italy can do that for anyone even when they are at their lowest.

I wonder what you discussed with your wife that makes you feel like she may now be ready to show the empathy you are looking for? I am always hopeful that she will. But your last discussion before you left was not an indication that she was there yet.

You have been trying to meet her half way for four months now in my eyes. I do hope she’s finally ready to do her part to meet you in the middle.

Welcome home.

I finally took the advice of focusing on myself. smile

I recognize the things I can change in myself and I'm working on them. And in all of our conversations and text exchanges, I finally felt like my WW was showing empathy. I guess the best way to frame it is that previously I was the victim and I always felt like she couldn't be as empathetic as I felt I deserved, but by reframing things to not be so down on me, it was my WW showing more empathy for me than I felt I needed.

I don't know that it was a mindset change as much as it was just the time passing and my organic healing. I'm just in less pain now and I don't *feel* like a victim constantly. During the trip, I was just having a great time, focused on who I wanted to be. Then I got home last night and worked out, unpacked, did some laundry--just creating space for myself to be me without wondering what my WW is thinking or doing.

And I know that's the advice I've gotten all along, but quite simply, I wasn't able to do it before.

I just got her and the kids from the airport and things feel good at home--I'm working in the office now and I'm sure we will have plenty to talk about tonight. I'll be *very* surprised if we end up in a fight though with my current mindset. We'll see though--I'm going to take it day by day and keep seeing who she is.

I also just don't care as much about the weeds anymore. Last night I was thinking about that fight we had a few weeks ago regarding her going to dinner with the PTA mom--how hurt I was by it. Right now, I couldn't care less--she should go out to dinner with her. I just feel different. And looking back at it, I don't think I was wrong in my position, but my reasons probably had some entitlement and victimization blended in that I couldn't see.

Can my WW work on herself so that I'm happy in our life together? If so, I'm going to try for R and let her prove it on behalf of my kids. Or maybe I'm just in a stupor from all the pasta and gelato and this is going to get really bad again. laugh

[This message edited by Drstrangelove at 7:27 PM, Thursday, July 21st]

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: 776   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8745686
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HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 8:09 PM on Thursday, July 21st, 2022

I'm glad she was about to sound empathetic. Let's hope her actions match her words.

It sounds like you are on top of the roller-coaster. Just know that it is normal to go back down. You will have days when things seem wonderful. But you will have bad days as well. It's the nature of the roller-coaster that everyone who attempts reconciliation is riding. I hope she is able to buckle up and ride with you.

posts: 4495   ·   registered: Jun. 20th, 2017   ·   location: The Midwest
id 8745701
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TheEnd ( member #72213) posted at 10:01 PM on Thursday, July 21st, 2022

I think the main thing I post to newbies is self care. Self focus. Healing. I'm sure I'm tiresome about it. smile

But truly, as you heal and grow stronger, clarity arrives.

There is no shame in acting or feeling what you did (what we all did) in the shock and awe of betrayal. But that hurricane of pain and anger keeps us in the weeds. Unfortunately, it takes TIME and, I believe, serious self-focus for us to get out of those weeds and figure out where we actually are (i.e you're still standing. You're life awaits you. One fucked up person is not the end of YOU).

To me, the ideal place for a BS to get to is one where the pain and anger doesn't rule their every thought and thus behavior. Where a BS stops seeing themselves PRIMARILY as a victim. Yes, we were victimized. Oh how we hurt! But that is not all of who or what we are and in a lot of cases, the affair is not the totality of our marriages. Detaching from the victim mentality can offer sweet release but more importantly, a more objective view of what our future might look like.

I'm glad (so glad!) to hear Italy was a reprieve for you. Yes, it's a roller coaster and you're pain and anger will rise again. Remember what worked. Remember that self-care, pleasure, the love of others, heals you. And in that space, you are more clear headed.

You're marriage will or won't survive. But you must. Go forward knowing you have the strength and support to handle whatever happens. Keep feeding yourself with all the feel goods you can. If your WS doesn't step up, you will naturally gravitate to the loving support you've given yourself. She will lose you, but you will be OK.

posts: 206   ·   registered: Dec. 3rd, 2019
id 8745720
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Dude67 ( member #75700) posted at 12:16 AM on Friday, July 22nd, 2022

Doc. That’s terrific. However, all of the positive interactions you had with your WW while you were away we’re accomplished from the safety of her being behind a screen. To me, it’s a lot harder to do everything in person than via text snd email.

I’m saying this to help manage your expectations. Let’s see she does in person.

posts: 480   ·   registered: Oct. 21st, 2020
id 8745745
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 12:53 AM on Friday, July 22nd, 2022

Doc. That’s terrific. However, all of the positive interactions you had with your WW while you were away we’re accomplished from the safety of her being behind a screen. To me, it’s a lot harder to do everything in person than via text snd email.

I’m saying this to help manage your expectations. Let’s see she does in person.

Exactly that--so many familiar feelings are back today being around my WW again. Flashes of sadness and anger that I haven't really felt in eight days. And it's nothing she's doing--she's been great all day--it's all from inside me. Just being near her again is a trigger I'm trying to actively manage.

But that's ok--I think I can deal with it. Day by day.

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: 776   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8745757
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lparistotle ( new member #78629) posted at 4:18 PM on Friday, July 22nd, 2022

Exactly that--so many familiar feelings are back today being around my WW again. Flashes of sadness and anger that I haven't really felt in eight days. And it's nothing she's doing--she's been great all day--it's all from inside me. Just being near her again is a trigger I'm trying to actively manage.

But that's ok--I think I can deal with it. Day by day.

Do you think the week long seperation should be extended to a lot longer. Seems if the week was good a month would be better. Have you asked you wife her thoughts on thsi?

posts: 12   ·   registered: Apr. 8th, 2021   ·   location: US
id 8745889
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 10:21 PM on Friday, July 22nd, 2022

Do you think the week long seperation should be extended to a lot longer. Seems if the week was good a month would be better. Have you asked you wife her thoughts on thsi?

Truthfully, I feel fine. The instances of sadness are nothing more than flashes right now—I resolve them very quickly. She’s been saying and doing all the right things. We did MC today and took our daughter to pierce her ears—no incidents and no flashes of sadness from me.

I’d like to chat more with my WW, but I want to skip tonight I think. I’m still jet lagged and haven’t had a good night’s sleep in more than a week. Grey Man just came out on Netflix and I enjoyed the book, so that seems like s light way to spend the evening.

Overall though, I see no reason to separate now. I want to spend the time with her so I can see her behavior and and make an informed decision about my future.

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: 776   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8745960
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iggyb ( member #74562) posted at 11:35 PM on Friday, July 22nd, 2022

So happy you are in this mindset.

Really hope you have turned a corner and your WW is really getting it.

posts: 57   ·   registered: Jun. 10th, 2020   ·   location: UK
id 8745971
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BluerThanBlue ( member #74855) posted at 2:16 AM on Saturday, July 23rd, 2022

Hang in there man, one thing I do think I can say about you is this: you might obtain some temporary relief from some of what you’re experiencing if you acted decisively and divorced her right now, but you might very well come to regret that, too, if you later believed you did it prematurely

Perhaps I’m a succumbing to selection bias, but I’ve rarely heard of any BSs who felt they divorced too hastily. There are legions, however, who regret wasting precious years of their lives hoping that their WSs would suddenly transform into a person that they aren’t and never were.

It’s one thing to revive a marriage that used to be good and reform a person who temporarily lost their way. But Mrs Strangelove has spent years treating OP like gum stuck on the bottom of her shoe. How is it reasonable to expect that after putting a sledgehammer through the heart of their marriage, she will suddenly start to love and cherish him the way she ought to have this whole time?

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

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

posts: 844   ·   registered: Jul. 13th, 2020
id 8745979
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 11:35 AM on Saturday, July 23rd, 2022

But Mrs Strangelove has spent years treating OP like gum stuck on the bottom of her shoe.

That’s not true at all.

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: 776   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8746000
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20yrsagoBS ( member #55272) posted at 10:10 PM on Sunday, July 24th, 2022

latched onto this because WH told me I was too black and white as one of the reasons for cheating on me


So how does engaging in lying and cheating make a BS NOT black and white?


So, DrStrangeLove, I guess we have that annoying attribute in common?

BW, 54 WH 53 When you lie down with dogs, you wake up with fleas

posts: 2184   ·   registered: Sep. 21st, 2016   ·   location: Tampa Bay Area, Florida
id 8747070
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BluerThanBlue ( member #74855) posted at 1:38 AM on Tuesday, July 26th, 2022

That’s not true at all.

It's not? What about everything you've written about your relationship prior to the affair? The denial of intimacy, the emotional abuse?

My opinion is entirely based on multiple pages that you wrote, so if I'm interpreting anything incorrectly, please clarify.

[This message edited by BluerThanBlue at 1:39 AM, Tuesday, July 26th]

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

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

posts: 844   ·   registered: Jul. 13th, 2020
id 8747198
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 3:22 PM on Tuesday, July 26th, 2022

latched onto this because WH told me I was too black and white as one of the reasons for cheating on me


So how does engaging in lying and cheating make a BS NOT black and white?


So, DrStrangeLove, I guess we have that annoying attribute in common?

Indeed we do!

I'd suggest this though: it's all just feedback. Perhaps we're "too black and white;" perhaps someone else is "too grey." We all navigate the world with the tools we have at our disposal. For me (and you), I need truth as my compass. If I can't define what something is, I can't interact with it--and most importantly, I can't analyze and work on it.

In your case, being "too black and white" had nothing to do with why your WH cheated on you though.

It's not? What about everything you've written about your relationship prior to the affair? The denial of intimacy, the emotional abuse?

My opinion is entirely based on multiple pages that you wrote, so if I'm interpreting anything incorrectly, please clarify.

Apologies for my quick reply the other day; I've been swamped at work since returning from Italy and have not had any time to write unfortunately.

Virtually all of my resentment pre-A revolved around our sex life. My wife treated me largely wonderfully outside of sex.

Truthfully, that's what's making this point in time so difficult to measure. If I don't engage on anything emotionally complicated, we have zero conflict in our lives. Add I'm getting all the sex I want (with her initiating multiple times a day); life right now is just fine. She's being a wonderful, caring wife as long as I'm not looking too hard under the hood.

I've decided to just slow things down and let developments happen more organically. Every time I push an issue, it blows up into a (really stupid) fight. We had a brief disagreement the other night over some emails I sent while away--I found her reactions to them a bit unloving and insensitive. Instead of digging in, I just let it go though.

Then this morning, three days later, she sent me a text noting that she read through my emails again to explore them.

And I know half of you are rolling your eyes because giving her the space to figure things out on her own is precisely what you've been asking me to do since DDay. I just couldn't do it until now. The trip to Italy really changed my perspective on all of this. I don't feel such a heavy weight on my shoulders anymore; I'm not thinking about the A all the time; I'm just living my life and letting her figure things out.

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: 776   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8747264
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