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I Can Relate :
BS Questions for WS - Part 15

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 SI Staff (original poster moderator #10) posted at 6:39 PM on Wednesday, August 10th, 2022

This thread is for Betrayed Spouses to ask questions of Wayward Spouses. Betrayed Spouses are not to answer on this thread.

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HeartbreakInHawaii ( new member #80401) posted at 7:44 PM on Wednesday, August 10th, 2022

I'm currently 3 months out from DDay 1 where I learned about WS' EAs, 2 months out from DDay 2 where I learned about WS' PA. Same old story: he convinced himself he was unloved and unwanted in our relationship and gave himself permission to collect ego kibbles elsewhere. He immediately went NC with all APs, and has always claimed his disinterest in pursuing relationships with them post-DDay, insisting ours is the relationship he wants. However, he remains a fucking wreck and is speaking to a psychiatrist about medication this week. In his state of depression/insomnia/manic episodes/anxiety he says he doesn't know if he's in love with me.

My question is, how long did it take y'all WSs post-DDay to escape the fog and reach a clear understanding of your situation/wants/needs with regards to R or D/S? I'm currently NC with WS, but he needs to move his things out of my house eventually. I would like to have a conversation with him when he's not consumed by his own self-pity and shame for my own closure and processing. Do I wait another month? Another 3? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 7:03 AM on Thursday, August 11th, 2022

I don’t think you have to wait any longer than you want to. It would be best if you are able to focus on yourself and healing but I know that’s easier said than done.

However, I was an absolute mess for at least 6 months, I was in therapy 8 at that point.(my dday was two months after the affair ended when I confessed. But I had started counseling immediately)

Dr. frank Pittman writes about romantic infidelity and some of the common psychological responses someone has in a limerant affair. You might google some of his writings, you will see your husband is doing and saying many common things. That may not help entirely but it will give you some insight that there is nothing special with this AP, moreso an addiction has been triggered that your husband can’t deal with the withdrawal.

And the withdrawal is a bitch. I won’t lie. But it has nothing at all to do with the AP being special it’s a typical psychological response that is inevitable because if the conditions rather than provoked by the AP if that makes sense.

[This message edited by hikingout at 7:05 AM, Thursday, August 11th]

5 years of hard work
Reconciled
WS & BS

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DictumVeritas ( member #74087) posted at 11:35 AM on Thursday, August 11th, 2022

I am a cynical man. I have reason to be. I postulate that there is no difference between limerence and real love but for the fact that the object of one is a taboo and the other is socially acceptable.

I'd love to be shown where I'm wrong in this postulation and to be enlightened why a BS should think the love the WW has/had for them is in any way worth overlooking the other attachment.

Full disclosure, I have never seen reconciliation as a viable path, but I am hoping someone can change my mind.

Your life is but a flicker to the cosmos and only the brightest flickers are recorded by history for good or bad. Most of us just want to live our lives without being interfered with.

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ff4152 ( member #55404) posted at 6:10 PM on Thursday, August 11th, 2022

DV

I postulate that there is no difference between limerence and real love but for the fact that the object of one is a taboo and the other is socially acceptable.

My take on the two is this; a relationship needs to have a solid foundation in order to survive and thrive. This includes all the good and bad life has to offer. You see and accept your partner for who they really are. That's not the same in an A. I only saw my AP for 2 hours every 1-2 months so I only witnessed the "best" part of her. The one who was always carefully coiffed, smelled nice and told me what a great guy I was. I didn't see her stressed or sick or worried about bills so I was only in love/limerence with an illusion.

On the other hand, I've been with my wife for over 30 years and we've seen each other at our best and worst. Despite that the love for each other exists, has endured and has deepened to a level that cannot accurately be described by me.

My wife is a part of me, the AP never was.

I'd love to be shown where I'm wrong in this postulation and to be enlightened why a BS should think the love the WW has/had for them is in any way worth overlooking the other attachment.

I don't think an A can be overlooked nor should a BS be expected to. I think if a BS ever considers R, they will have to reach an accommodation with it. An acceptance that it happened. But its not something that can be overlooked or rug swept.

Me -FWS

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FireandWater ( member #80084) posted at 8:38 PM on Thursday, August 11th, 2022

Question for WS:

This question has weighed heavily on my mind, and I'm almost embarrassed to ask it. But here goes... In your mind, did you compare your BS and AP in terms of sex? I know that the AP did things that I am not into. WH knew these things about me before we got married. We'd been having sex for several years, so it's not like he didn't know who he was marrying. I'm definitely more conservative in that way than the AP, and I refuse to change or compromise myself now that he's had that other experience. WH obviously wanted those things since he did them so readily with her. He assured me that he doesn't compare me with the AP sexually. But how can he not? Human beings compare everything. It's in our nature. We compare McDonald's fries with Wendy's. We compare cars before we buy them. We compare gas prices before filling up. We're in a constant state of deciding what we like and pursuing what we think is best for us. How does a man not compare sexual partners when he turns back to his wife after a torrid 2-year affair? He says it's way better with me because he loves me and we are connected on an intimate level. He says he didn't love her and it was just an act between two people. Still, we were each other's only partners until the A. Is he feeding me a line of bull when he says he doesn't compare?

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ff4152 ( member #55404) posted at 11:27 PM on Thursday, August 11th, 2022

Fireandwater

My 2 cents

You’ve more or less described the dynamic between my wife and I. She is very conservative in the sex department. While the only sex my AP and I did was her performing oral on me, it’s something my wife will not do. To say that I didn’t enjoy it when my AP was doing it to me would be a lie.

But there is still no comparison. My wife has been dealing with some medical issues for the past few years and our sex life is virtually nonexistent But the AP still couldn’t hold a candle to my wife.

In this respect, I find what your H says to fall under the believable category.

Me -FWS

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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 4:45 AM on Friday, August 12th, 2022

Hi Dictum,

First, no one here would suggest that the attachment should be ignored if there was one. The betrayal was a purposeful act, that attachment would not exist without making decisions to move forward with behavior you know you shouldn’t be doing. A drug addict always makes those initial choices that lead to the addiction so to speak.

However, limerence has a lot of documentation online, even if you Wikipedia it. Dr. Frank Pittman writes a lot about it. There has been a lot explored.

Here are a list of ways the affair is different than a regular new relationship, and I think is supporting evidence of how it is different.

1. AP is usually not an appropriate choice of love interest and likely not someone that you would date not married. They say ws affair down, and that is almost always the case. It’s because you have to scrape the bottom of the barrel of who would do this as a married person or with a married person. My ap was 20+ years older and a philanderer. I would never pick someone like that in normal circumstances.

2. Often you never really know the AP. Unlike a significant other it’s usually someone you get snippets of time with. You are both looking for some sort of validation so most of the time you spend together you are putting on a show so they think you are great. The getting high feelings are making them seem better but most of what you think you know are only projections. You end up mirroring each other to keep it going. There isn’t room for an authentic connection.

3. It’s likely to end. You know that going in. This amps up the need to prove how great you are. It’s an extremely narcissistic relationship.

4. Lies - all AP’s lie to themselves, the ap, the bs, and more. How does one fall in love in those circumstances? It’s a pressure cooker with a constant stream of dopamine. Mental gymnastics.

Now do I think sometimes people manage to continue a relationship and leave their spouses and get married? Sure. We all know people who have done it. Divorce rate is 94 percent. The two people involved don’t have love, they have an addiction that wears off in 2.4 years on average according to the studies. Until the ws fixes themselves they will never be capable of a deep lasting relationship.

So no, I wouldn’t ignore the problematic attachment but I know most of the time is not equivalent to love. I was treated for OCD to fix the withdrawal. It’s a true thing.

[This message edited by hikingout at 4:48 AM, Friday, August 12th]

5 years of hard work
Reconciled
WS & BS

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DictumVeritas ( member #74087) posted at 5:10 AM on Friday, August 12th, 2022

ff4152 and Hikingout, thank you for the time you took to answer. My mind is not swayed yet, but your time and significant effort to address my concern is appreciated.

[This message edited by DictumVeritas at 9:14 AM, Friday, August 12th]

Your life is but a flicker to the cosmos and only the brightest flickers are recorded by history for good or bad. Most of us just want to live our lives without being interfered with.

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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 5:42 AM on Friday, August 12th, 2022

Of course. And I really didn’t try and convince you if anything, I just relayed what I learned. I would recommend some further research as it’s been highly studied and documented. You have of course seen the posts about the cheaters handbook. You have been here long enough to know there are vast similarities to what we say, do, etc. what we are talking about is the most common psychological response to having an affair. If you want to delve into it, the information is voluminous.

When my h had his affair, I applied this same knowledge. It wasn’t a situation that I came up with all these answers only to turn around and change my mind. I personally found the lying and their shared secrets, all the aspects of betrayal to be the thing that is harder to get over. But each of us have our own circumstance. As you said it’s an attachment, and I would’t dispute that. I would just say that the ws doesn’t love anyone and is too wrapped up in themselves feeling good. It’s problematic no matter how you slice it.

5 years of hard work
Reconciled
WS & BS

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DictumVeritas ( member #74087) posted at 9:28 AM on Friday, August 12th, 2022

Thank you again, hikingout. There are so many sober voices to a "drunken" problem here. Let me elaborate on the "drunken" problem statement since affairs have been called an addiction quit often.

The way limerence is described, there really is no difference between it and the initial stages any love, great, doomed, welcomed or illicit. If something at it's foundation is the same as the foundation of the love for the BS, then the foundation itself is compromised and devoid of meaning, structure or virtue.

There is my difficulty. Once a relationship has been compromised to that level is there really a way for the WS to convey to the BS that the very foundation of what is built upon in future, in case of R is somewhat more significant than the foundation that was blown apart and so easily replaced with limerence (which to my mind is identical to the initial stages of the relationship with the BS)?

Is it really limerence or is it affectional transference? If transference, why should the BS (now realizing only existing as a placeholder or non-persistable variable as object for the WS's emotions) believe they had become more than that after being proven they weren't?

[This message edited by DictumVeritas at 9:30 AM, Friday, August 12th]

Your life is but a flicker to the cosmos and only the brightest flickers are recorded by history for good or bad. Most of us just want to live our lives without being interfered with.

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HeartbreakInHawaii ( new member #80401) posted at 6:25 PM on Friday, August 12th, 2022

Thanks for your insights HikingOut, Dictum and ff4152. I appreciate them and will absolutely look up Dr. Pittman.

I guess my real issue is this: I'm not sure I want to S from or R with WS. But with him being unsure about his feelings for me (regardless of his feelings for the APs), he's clouding whether or not R is even an option (I know I can't make someone want to fix their shit). He has fully fallen apart and is wallowing in self-pity and cowardice rather than making a choice one way or another - "I want to do the work to R" or "I don't." I'm a very decisive person when I have all the cards on the table (and even as I'm writing this I realize how unrealistic it is for this situation...) but I resent that I'm being forced to make a decision (wait and see how he feels, if R is an option, and then decide if that's what I want, or S immediately) because he is too scared to make a decision.

I'm trying to understand if this turtling/deflection of responsibility is something that is common post-A and something therapy/medication might shake him out of eventually, or if I just accept that WS is too indecisive and without conviction and move on?

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ff4152 ( member #55404) posted at 7:01 PM on Friday, August 12th, 2022

HH

I'm trying to understand if this turtling/deflection of responsibility is something that is common post-A and something therapy/medication might shake him out of eventually, or if I just accept that WS is too indecisive and without conviction and move on?

I recall being "In the fog" for about 3-4months after I ended my A. I was miserable and certain I made the biggest mistake of my life. I do liken an A to drug addiction; when you're hooked, its hard to break the habit. So when you finally start to grasp what you've done, it can be soul crushing.

That being said, my recovery was completely on me. I could choose to wallow and feel sorry for myself or do something to change. Certainly that can apply to everything in life, not just infidelity.

Provided your H is really remorseful for what he's done, it is not unrealistic to expect him to need some time to get his ass in gear. Most folks usually give it around 6 months to see if there is any movement on the WS part but you can certainly have a different time table.

IMO, you shouldn't hinge your healing on his. You have your own trauma to deal with and should be focusing on that. I'm not suggesting you shut your WS out, but you cannot make it a priority over yours.

It sounds as if you could possibly entertain R down the road which is certainly up to you. Perhaps set a date on the calendar to reassess where things stand. If you see some improvement, move the date out again and check again. That might give you a better idea on the best path for you.

Me -FWS

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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 11:19 PM on Friday, August 12th, 2022

Dictum-

I understand what you are saying. And yes, it’s easier to say this sober than in the moment.

It’s not transference, it’s more like self brainwashing. It’s not that I gave my love to my husband to someone else. It’s more I didn’t appreciate my husband, and instead of taking responsibility for that I blamed him. I allowed the resentment to harden me and as I became more depressed looked for ways to escape not just him but myself. The AP didn’t get the kind of love I had for my husband over the years. He got someone who was a black hole of need and was my audience and my source of validation. That’s not love. The highs were all there but the person was interchangeable. Who the AP was had no real part of the equation.

I would tell you it’s not transference because I didn’t love anyone while I was like this. I was a screwed up person.

And you are correct, there is NO foundation left of the marriage. Trust is gone. Specialness is gone. And in many ways it would be easier to start again with someone new as a bs.

People who truly reconcile it’s a complete start over and with someone who has a long term proven track record of new thoughts and behaviors. There is a risk because the biggest predictor of future behavior is past behavior.

For us, we saw benefits of choosing each other, given our compatibility, our family, shared history, and other practical reasons.

I know it’s hard to believe but my self awareness went from very low to pretty high. I act differently in all my relationships because I am very different. I no longer think feelings are permanent, and my emotional maturity has expanded. The words love, commitment, etc all have a different meaning to me. Are most people going to go to those lengths maybe not. I think I did because I did not like the outcomes I was producing. I would have totally kept going regardless if he divorced me because I never want to feel or stoop that low again.

But this is not about me. It’s the only experience I can relay as examples.

We have rebuilt our relationship with a lot of unmistakeable intention. We truly enjoy being Together and we have started over more intelligently. I was very close to divorcing him after his affair. But he too has shown me a bettered person and it’s evident to me in so many ways I could not list.

Sure, he could cheat again. I would not go through this again. And it’s true in reverse. Honestly I think if there was so much as a lie the other one would be out the door.

Reconciliation is a miracle because so many things need to be in place. The work is astronomical. It’s hard now to say there isn’t something special about the two of us together that we were able to get to this place. And trust is probably restored to as far as it ever will be. I trust him, he trusts me, no one will blindly trust again, but Neither of us would blindly trust anyone now so I don’t see that as a disadvantage to our specific relationship.

Anyway, that’s my experience. I have had other relationships and this marriage, having an affair is a different animal because the chemical dependency of the dopamine and the adrenaline and the lack of really being who you are and the lack of them being who they are. That’s the best way I can describe it to someone who has never had one.

[This message edited by hikingout at 11:55 PM, Friday, August 12th]

5 years of hard work
Reconciled
WS & BS

posts: 6202   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8750288
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