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Newest Member: Beschaedigt

Just Found Out :
H is a complete stranger with a second life.

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swmnbc ( member #49344) posted at 2:35 PM on Monday, October 24th, 2022

It's the nature of a site like this that you will get a lot of advice, some of it more salient to you and some less. In my early days here I was very fixated on the OW, this stranger who turned out to play a pivotal role in my life. I remember people telling me not to think about her because I was "giving her my power" and I was like, yeah but she doesn't know I am thinking about her... how could that be true? I am just processing my feelings, and I'm not going to feel bad about my curiosity about someone who entered my life against my wishes with the aim of becoming my kids' step-mother. So I understand. It felt like people were emotionally invested in me treating the OW how they wanted me to. And I'm sure there's some element of that when people discuss something so raw and elemental, some kind of schadenfreude. We want to see the cheating spouses and scheming APs put in their place.

Anger is a powerful catalyst that gives us a boost to get out of situations that don't serve us, but it's also a superficial feeling that's masking what's underneath . . . hurt, vulnerability, fear. So if you aren't stewing in anger, maybe it's because you're more in tune with what's underneath. Though from our end, we're wondering, does this mean she needs a push to do what the anger would help her do? Does she need our help taking next steps? Is this time for processing, or is this bargaining and denial? Or are those one in the same (meaning, bargaining and denial are a natural part of coming to grips with the traumatic loss of your daily reality)?

I believe that feelings are feelings, as you said. They aren't right or wrong. Sometimes following them and amplifying them can cause us to go against our values and/or screw up things that are important to us, so it does matter how we respond to them. But we feel however we feel. We want whatever we want. And I suspect that some day, it will feel worse to remain in limbo with your H than it does to take the next step, and that's when you'll know you're ready.

Take the advice that speaks to where you are right now, and leave the rest. I agree that however well-intentioned, any question that says, "But why are you thinking or feeling this?" when you are in the trenches is probably not the right question. Of course your world is upside down. Of course you don't know which way is up. Of course you have feelings about that. Just remember that you can feel however you want but also examine what changes need to be made to protect you and your son from future hurts.

posts: 1822   ·   registered: Aug. 27th, 2015
id 8761874
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Beachgirl73 ( new member #74764) posted at 2:39 PM on Monday, October 24th, 2022

Dear Sigyn,

You are absolutely right. There is no rush and you should take all the time you need.

Everyone here has tremendous respect for the thoughtful, considered, and rational way you have conducted yourself through this traumatic time. We all support you and are rooting for you.

Continue to stay strong and please do keep us updated, because we care.

((Hugs))

posts: 42   ·   registered: Jul. 3rd, 2020
id 8761875
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whatisloveanyway ( member #66450) posted at 3:36 PM on Monday, October 24th, 2022

Sigyn, I hear you, and sympathize with all that you are feeling. At only two months out, you should still be in a pile, but you are taking hard steps forward every day. Maybe not everyone remembers how much time it takes to move forward and heal, or just wishes they could help you cut to the chase, but time will not be rushed. You will need so much time to grieve all that you have lost, to mourn the death of your marriage and the life you thought you knew. It is a terrible burden to carry and may be the defining moment in your life. Please don’t add to this feeling that you need to justify or explain yourself to any of us here, and please don’t let responses that hurt take up too much bandwidth. Only you know what is best for you.

They say to take the advice you need and leave the rest. I know for me, coming here became about finding someone whose life stage and experience closely matched mine so I could say me too, and look for help navigating the same waters. A younger member or someone who has chosen D over R isn’t able to offer me specific advice on moving forward any more than I can help advise you on moving forward with S or D because I haven’t lived that experience. But I know that there are no right answers for any of us here, just best choices. I also know your process is a terribly painful one and that you are doing your very best with the situation you find yourself in, and are considering so much more than just yourself or your marriage in moving ahead.

I hope you keep coming here for support, sympathy, suggestions and whatever else you need to get by. You have so much to deal with that you did not ask for and sometimes you just need to scream about the injustice of it all. We will be here to listen, and if you are lucky someone will offer some insight or advice that helps… Please keep taking care of yourself and cut yourself all the slack you never did before. Hugs.

BW: 62 WH: 62 Both 57 on Dday, M 35 years, 2 grown kids. WH had 9 year A with MOW, 7 month false R, multiple DDays, years of trickle truth.
I got rid of her with one email. Reconciling, but the lies have piled up. Trying one more time, again.

posts: 452   ·   registered: Oct. 9th, 2018   ·   location: Southeastern USA
id 8761886
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NowWhat106 ( member #35497) posted at 6:13 PM on Monday, October 24th, 2022

The responses have already said what needs to be said, but I’ll echo again that you are exactly where you need to be, doing exactly what you need to be doing right now. You are doing it so well that it’s easy to forget you’re only two months out. As I’ve said many times in your thread, I was in a heap at 2 months. Hell, I was in a heap at a year out. There are just very few things that are harder or more devastating than this.

So I’ll say again: you are navigating this in such an admirable and insightful way (from our perspective). It can make people forget the fragility and chaos that is also part of any BS’s internal reality. You are fierce in protecting yourself, which will ultimately be such a critical element in helping you move forward. I also know that we don’t see the moments when you collapse in complete despair and agony, the moments when you doubt every decision you’re making, the moments when you feel weak. I hope that we’re providing some support for those moments too while we’re cheering your progress. I know that your IC and your sister are providing more, and are there on the ground with you which is a great comfort.

Trust yourself that you are doing what you need to do for yourself and your son (and even for your WH although he doesn’t appreciate or like it). And yes, take what helps you and leave the rest here. We are all survivors of the same trauma. It has left us with scars of infinite variety and configuration. Your situation is unique to you, and you’re finding your solitary path through it. We’re here more as support for the immense difficulty of that journey than as the perfect guides to lead you through.

There is no timeline for when you have to do what—or even what exactly you have to do. There is no one right path. As you’ve mentioned many times, he’s left you shitty options, all of which involve pain, difficulty, and imperfect resolutions. Keep moving forward and eventually, as others have said, you’ll know which way to go. I’m almost positive that you won’t like that path too much either, but it will be the one that takes you where you need to be.

As i always tell my kids these days, No decision is irrevocable. If you find yourself somewhere that you don’t want to be, you can always plot a new course. Some of us (I raise my hand high here) have to do this multiple times. There is no handbook for the right way to go. There is only YOUR right way to go that gets you where you need to be in the end.

This sisterhood is not one that any of us have chosen. It doesn’t discriminate that much in terms of who can find themselves involuntarily shoved into the initiation ceremony. The richness here is that you can find a thousand different perspectives and hopefully pull out a few that help you.

Know that everyone here is coming from a desire to support you, carry you through the worst moments, and hopefully offer a word or phrase that resonates and gives you something that you need at any given moment. Even the posts and advise we hate can sometimes ultimately provoke important realizations and processing.

We’re here with you. As I’ve said before, we’ll be here no matter what you decide to do.

Sending you hugs of support and strength, as always. NW

Me BS
Him WS
LTEA with old HS GF from 25+ years ago
DD #1: 10/6/2011
DD #2: 10/21/2011
2DS under18
My marriage didn’t survive but I did

posts: 516   ·   registered: May. 2nd, 2012
id 8761916
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VezfromTaz ( member #80815) posted at 7:37 PM on Monday, October 24th, 2022

The "why doesn't she leave" narrative is raised quite a lot in the DV space (I'm a DV lawyer and even hear judges querying victims as to why they would stay if things were that bad). It's a form of victim blaming, albeit a legitimately confusing thing for the everyman to understand when all the signs say run.

I dont think anyone posting here is saying that, although that's how comments may have been interpreted. I think mostly good people dont want to see someone suffering, so the advice comes from a place of good intent.

No one will ever really know precisely what goes on in the heart and mind of another person. It is a lonely feeling at times to realise that.

posts: 64   ·   registered: Sep. 1st, 2022
id 8761928
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ThisIsSoLonely ( member #64418) posted at 10:04 PM on Monday, October 24th, 2022

What I'm defensive about is that people who have been through this can be confused as to how I need to process that the husband I thought I had is gone. People ACTUALLY ask me why this thought is even in my mind? How can people who have gone through this not understand missing my life before infidelity?

Ooh I remember feeling like this too - like exactly. Processing takes time - different amounts for different people. I recall being in awe of the people who can find out about an A, be upset, devastated, angry, the whole kit and caboodle and manage to file and move on in a matter of months. IN all honestly, I still am. The infidelity is a deal breaker and they know it in an instant people are amazing to me - I wish that had been me.

I recall being really pissed when one poster asked me point blank "Why would you ever stay with your WH? Your situation could be the warning poster for how infidelity can destroy multiple lives at a catastrophic level..." I was also admonished by some for not telling the OBS (which eventually I did). I was told that leaving my WH should be easy because we didn't have any kids, and so on (not all in the same post of course). I got very frustrated with some of the posters who said those things, even though often I agreed with some of those same users posts on other topics. The fact that I can look back now and agree with a lot (but certainly not all) of the posts I found offensive/irritating/abrasive does not matter one iota. I could not make MY process go any quicker, despite my desire for it to do so.

There are reasons for both my user name and my signature line. At the time I registered my username was appropriate. Later on I discovered my signature line, which was also appropriate at the time. Now, thankfully, the feeling behind my username is a thing of the past but my signature line - that remains with me for good. At the time I was incredibly lonely, and letting go of the fantasy that was my 14+ year relationship with my WH was long and arduous, and normal.

You have to take your time - however long that is. You are moving much faster than I did. Two months is NOTHING. Your situation is different than mine in many ways - but the devastation, the hurt, the anger, the spinning head feeling...is likely similar.

2 months after d-day1 I had to make a 6 hour drive. I'm a pretty grounded person - friends would say I'm the person you call when the shit hits the fan - the organizer - the get shit done girl. I went to get gas, connected the pump and sat back inside my car and started sobbing, and just drove off because I just forgot what I was even doing there - pump connected to car, gas flying everywhere (thankfully they have an auto-shut off for that), without paying (I noticed the hose dragging behind my car as I was pulling out of the parking lot). I turned around and went in and paid and they fixed the problem....so 4 hours later I need gas (as I hadn't come close to filling up my car when I drove off). This time I filled the tank and then got into the car, and again drove off with the pump still inserted into my car. after not a minute before chanting to myself "put the nozzle back on the pump." While the gas was not running this time and I did realize it sooner, I again broke the pump hose, had to go back into the the store etc.

That was me at 2 months - incapable of remaining focused enough to put gas in my own car and put the nozzle away. Needless to say, as hard as I was trying, my ability to think clearly was impaired to the extent making decisions about my own life - big decisions - wasn't possible or advisable. You're entitled to take the time you need - in fact, you should take all the time you need. You have big decisions ahead - getting yourself on more solid ground, even if you think you know what you need to do already, is imperative.

All that being said, when you get to 5 years out there is a level of clarity (at least for me) and you want to share that with others - you want to impart that upon those you see suffering precisely because you KNOW how it feels to be trying to swim in the infidelity-aftermath-split-pea-soup and if you can save someone one second of that misery by saying "hey - wake up - you should do x, y or z" then you say it, even if in hindsight you look at it and say "that wasn't helpful at all" as you know the old you would likely have not been prepared, nevertheless in the right headspace to even process what you were suggesting. At 5 years out it is hard to recall that at 2 months in I was still mourning the loss of what I thought I had with my WH. Now I KNOW not only that I never had it, but I also know what I did really have, and I'm no longer in mourning for what I thought-was-but-never-really-existed. As a result I'm sure that sometimes I come off a bit harsh - sometimes we all do. Infidelity sucks is the biggest understatement ever. You will get through this at your own pace. There are some posters, IMO even on here, who seem to be a bit overly insensitive - but for the most part you have come to about the most caring place you can find. As others have already said, take what you want and ignore the rest (or at least file some of "the rest" away for now until you are ready.)

[This message edited by ThisIsSoLonely at 11:31 PM, Tuesday, October 25th]

"Sometimes you're going to have to let one person go a thousand different times, a thousand different ways, and there’s nothing pathetic or abnormal about that. You are human." - Heidi Priebe

posts: 1914   ·   registered: Jul. 11th, 2018
id 8761952
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NowWhat106 ( member #35497) posted at 11:12 PM on Monday, October 24th, 2022

OMG, ThisIsSoLonely, I just have to share that I too drove off with a pump handle still in my car during the early days. That and a lot of other VERY untypical things. I am a working professional who normally has ALL her shit together both at work and at home.

This shit is truly HORRIBLE. We all need grace to go through what we have to go through.

Peace and healing to all of us.

[This message edited by NowWhat106 at 11:12 PM, Monday, October 24th]

Me BS
Him WS
LTEA with old HS GF from 25+ years ago
DD #1: 10/6/2011
DD #2: 10/21/2011
2DS under18
My marriage didn’t survive but I did

posts: 516   ·   registered: May. 2nd, 2012
id 8761963
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Trapped74 ( member #49696) posted at 6:15 PM on Tuesday, October 25th, 2022

And I read some of the posts here of people who tried to put their marriages back together at any cost and I wonder -
do I just not love him enough? Should I be doing that too, even if it doesn't work,
even if it causes me more pain and is ultimately not going to work,

Most of the BSs who threw themselves on the fire to keep heir WH warm have come back years later with a new DDay.

He actually took me and MY KIDS to meet her once.

My WH and his OW were on a "break" around my son's Bday. He suggested we invite OW's kid to my son's bday party, as they had gone to preschool together 2 years prior. WTF??

I just have to share that I too drove off with a pump handle still in my car during the early days.

Wow... I frequently complain that I live in a state where we can't pump our own gas.... Maybe that's a good thing! I might have done the same thing after DDay! laugh

We're ALL rooting for you Sigyn, and those of us (I know I count among them) who are encouraging you to leave aren't heartless or even forgetful of our own journey. It lives within us every damn day, stares back at us from every reflective surface. I'm 7 years out, and not a day goes by when I don't think of my WH's betrayal... and I'm battling breast cancer ffs! If I had one wish to make something awful that has happened in my life go away, I'm honestly not sure which one I'd wish away. Most of that is because I chose to stay. If I'd done the smart thing right away, I know 100% I wouldn't have a single regret and I would be a much healthier, happier person. I believe my kids would be too. And that knowledge kills me.

The problem with staying is that the betrayal journey NEVER ENDS.

Many DDays. Me (BW) 46 Him (WH) 49
Happily detached and compartmentalized.

posts: 245   ·   registered: Sep. 21st, 2015   ·   location: Oregon
id 8762071
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Solarchick ( member #80222) posted at 10:14 PM on Tuesday, October 25th, 2022

I'm going to have an Elle Woods moment here, so please be patient. But trust me, I do have a point.

When I was going through the early days of discovering that the man I thought I was married to never existed, and desperately certain that the man I thought I had married was "in there," I would pray REALLY HARD on the half-hour drive to work every day. I would start with 3 or 4 structured prayers, and ask God if my WH was coming back to me or not. Then I'd basically have a heart-to-heart with God with no structure for the rest of the way to work. I cried a lot on my way to work in those days.

False R was over, and I was getting down the choreography of the pick me dance, while my WH had been kicked out of my house for breaking NC with the OW, and was sleeping at the OW's house while lying to me that he was staying at his parents, and I was playing along with that lie to hold onto any hope that my marriage could be saved.

Every day when I asked God if my WH would wake up, come out of the fog, and finally really commit to our relationship, I got no answer. It was like I was being stonewalled by God, of all beings!!! I was getting pretty angry with Him (as I understood Him at the time). After all, hadn't He and I just rebuilt our relationship, and wasn't I working on trust in this relationship too? How could He DO this to me? I really needed that answer.

I was finally in good recovery, after white-knuckling it for the first three years and relapsing. My sponsor had helped me work through my trust issues with God, and I was finally at a tentative peace with God for the first time in decades.

I shared my stonewalling God story with my sponsor, and she told me that I wasn't ready to hear the answer yet, and when I was ready, God would leave no doubt. I didn't believe her. After all, she kept telling me all of these crazy things, never mind that all of her crazy things came true. laugh

Well, it took close to a year between D-Day and answer day. But one day, I was headed to work, doing my regular pray, ask, and talk routine, and I asked if I was going to get my WH back. Suddenly, NO resounded not only in my head, but also in my heart, in my soul, throughout my entire being.

It was that day that I was ready to move forward. And I was 100% confident that I would do the right thing for me and my boys. So I did it with surety and certainty, and didn't waiver for even one second.


I don't know what your answer will be. I never want to say that anyone is a lost cause (although I already have in this thread because I find your WH so damn infuriating). There are unicorns out there that can get their shit together, even though they seem like complete asshats for far too long. Magically, the fog clears, and while you don't get the guy that you thought you were married to, marriage 2.0 can be built and turns out OK for some of the lucky ones. This new guy you're married to is somebody you think you could fall in love with. It'll never be the same again, but some people can build a new relationship despite the wreckage of the past. (But please know and acknowledge to yourself that I'm not saying this will be the way things go for you, so please don't build false hope on the possibility of this happening. If he doesn't change at the core of himself, please at least consider everyone that's telling you to GTFO of a dysfunctional, abusive marriage.)

But what I do know is that one day, when you're ready, you'll know. And you'll be confident in your decision when you come to it. Until that day and that answer, please please take good care of yourself!

Me: BW, 56, two awesome grown sons. Remarried in 2010. That lasted 11 years.WXH: Not even a blip on my radar anymore. I'm glad he's messing up the OW's life now and leaving me alone. D (with cause) in 2004.

posts: 113   ·   registered: Apr. 11th, 2022   ·   location: Hilton Head, SC
id 8762115
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redrock ( member #21538) posted at 12:24 AM on Thursday, October 27th, 2022

Sending you hugs and more hugs!

One of my neighbors had her husband lose his ever loving mind in his 40s. We knew him and saw his actions as a devoted husband and dad for a decade before he jumped off the cliff.

He decided he deserved more. He found a 23 year old soulmate and left. He wanted to enjoy life and be FREE!!!

My friend and the kids were crushed. I remember attending a block party where at least 3 people came up to her to tell her they were glad they didn’t have a husband like hers. I remember thinking even then…. That’s way too much confidence..

She was a good wife and mom. She had no real way to predict he’d hit midlife and lose it to that extent. I’ve been with my husband since I was 19. Nothing about that redrock girl , or 25 year old or 30 year old had better skills than my friend at picking a life partner.

We all have our struggles. Thank goodness I was a good friend because boy did I need her when my life hit the infidelity skids.

Long drawn out story to say we are ALL Are or have been through this. Rating ourselves is like saying I’m the richest beggar. If I’ve said anything in a post to hurt you further or make you feel a lack of support I sincerely am sorry. I don’t want to be like those dang neighbors.

You are wise and kind and walking your path. Keep on trucking!! Another hug!

[This message edited by redrock at 12:32 AM, Thursday, October 27th]

I don't respect anyone that can't spell a word more than one way:)

posts: 3504   ·   registered: Nov. 6th, 2008   ·   location: Michigan
id 8762310
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redrock ( member #21538) posted at 12:27 AM on Thursday, October 27th, 2022

PS The Husband that wanted to be free….. I saw him a few years ago at his 17 year old’s wrestling match with a toddler. I’m not sure if karma got him or not but he didn’t look joyful or free.

[This message edited by redrock at 12:34 AM, Thursday, October 27th]

I don't respect anyone that can't spell a word more than one way:)

posts: 3504   ·   registered: Nov. 6th, 2008   ·   location: Michigan
id 8762312
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BigMammaJamma ( member #65954) posted at 1:29 PM on Friday, October 28th, 2022

Thinking of you Sigyn. Hope you are doing okay and making progress on your to-do list.

Me- born in 1984
Him- born in 1979
We both have 3 kids from previous marriages and we share a four year old. I might be a BS, but at this point, I don't know if I'll ever know.

Update: As of 5/8/2020, my WH confirmed I belong in this club

posts: 254   ·   registered: Aug. 23rd, 2018   ·   location: Deep in the Heart of Texas
id 8762546
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 Sigyn (original poster member #80576) posted at 2:30 PM on Friday, October 28th, 2022

It felt like people were emotionally invested in me treating the OW how they wanted me to. And I'm sure there's some element of that when people discuss something so raw and elemental, some kind of schadenfreude. We want to see the cheating spouses and scheming APs put in their place.

I agree, and on some level I really do understand this and I guess I'm just not in a place right now where I have the emotional energy to really process other people's long view when I'm so mired in just getting through each new day in front of me. It's so hard. It's so hard to feel like one day I wake up strong and empowered and feel like I could cling to this feeling and rise above what's happening to me, and then the next day I'm back to having the same exact arguments with my absent WH while alone in my car and feeling like a smear on the sidewalk that people are walking over me and grinding me into nothingness. Not people here, specifically, just in general. Like when someone is rude to me in a store, I take it so personally right now! Some days I feel like everyone is out to get me, when intellectually I know it's just not true, people are going through their own things and none of those things have anything to do with me. But I'm in such a defensive place inside my own head, I see everything as being dangerous and directed at me. It's hard to know what's real.

My family is really suffering too. At this point I've told all my siblings - my one sister I've written about here lives very close to me, but I have other siblings farther away that I'm not as every-day close with, so I've told them and my parents as well. They all love WH, consider him a brother/son, and they are also struggling with emotional whiplash from this. Some days I'm actually having to comfort them.

I've also told some of my closest friends and then randomly one coworker because our offices are next door and she couldn't help but notice my door is almost always closed these days. Not the details, in the case of my coworker, just that I'm separated and struggling.

My update is that WH has hired an attorney, and he responded to my separation agreement by saying that he will only agree to it if we go to marriage counseling. We don't have legal separation in our state, but if we're living separately we can draft something that specifies how we should handle our finances and time with our child while living apart. If we are successful in this agreement, meaning things feel fair to both of us and our son is being well cared for, the separation document can be used as the basis for a future divorce agreement. I want our son to spend time with both of us equally if possible, but also know that with WH living in the one bedroom apartment temporarily it's not completely the same scenario as we would have more permanently, so some stipulations about changing living arrangements were included. The finances are also pretty straightforward. Since this written agreement is not really as official as it would be if there were such a thing as legal separation, the negotiations are also pretty loose - hence WH saying he will agree to it only if I agree to marriage counseling with him.

I talked to my therapist about this because as painful as the separation from WH has been, it's also let me enforce boundaries about seeing WH, talking to him about specific things like his second life only when I'm prepared to do that. We have other times we talk about family and financial things only. It hasn't been perfect, I've definitely laid into him about his affairs during financial talks, but the times I've been able to force myself not to bring his second life into other conversations and not to let him talk about it have been really helpful for me. And that right now as things stand I can always say no, I'm not ready to talk right now. If WH tries to push, I just don't answer his calls or texts.

I'm afraid that in marriage counseling it's going to be open season for WH to say whatever he wants, make excuses, have the therapist tell me that every marital problem is both partners' faults. Maybe they won't say that, but what if they do? What if our appointment is for 330pm on a Friday and I don't have it in me to go over the awful details at 330 on Friday? What if WH uses the marital therapist to guilt me, or perform in front of?

So my attorney is encouraging me to accept this stipulation, saying that she was "pleasantly surprised" that it was "only marriage counseling" as it "sounds fair" as a stipulation in a separation. And yes, it does "sound fair" if you are not me and not the one who will have to go to it and be forced to hear WH blame his childhood, his mother, his upbringing and whatever else he can bring into it.

On the other hand I still have a list of questions that WH has never answered, or given complete non-answers to. Is it possible a marital therapist will tell WH that my questions are reasonable and expect him to answer them in our appointments? Is there any good that can come of this? Not in the sense of repairing our marriage, but in the sense of me getting answers? And are the answers even worth the potential pain and manipulation that could also come from this? I'm just overall scared to agree to this, but also really want the agreement signed. I'm considering agreeing to a set number of sessions so there's an end to it.

I'd really appreciate any advice or stories from people who have been through anything like this.

posts: 76   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2022
id 8762571
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BigMammaJamma ( member #65954) posted at 3:48 PM on Friday, October 28th, 2022

Man, he just has to have control over everything, doesn't he? Can never actually just do what you ask for or need. I really want to know what it is like up there in his head. Does he really think that you will get to a place where you will feel safe with him and trust him after you realized you never really knew him and your entire relationship was a lie? What is his actual endgame?

Does he stipulate how many sessions you have to go to before he will sign? Because if it were like, I dunno, two or four, I guess I could do that. If he wanted like 10 or leaves it open ended, yeah fuck that. What is your gut instinct? I definitely understand and appreciate your trepidation. Maybe you could stipulate that he must accept any outcome after you've been to marriage counseling. Like, if you decide to move forward with marriage dissolution, he will not make it difficult and agree to whatever was outlined in the separation agreement.

Either way, I am glad you are aware that the marriage counseling is a pointless exercise because it will not be in good faith. His whole purpose in going to marriage counseling is to manipulate you into staying in this relationship that is not serving you.

Me- born in 1984
Him- born in 1979
We both have 3 kids from previous marriages and we share a four year old. I might be a BS, but at this point, I don't know if I'll ever know.

Update: As of 5/8/2020, my WH confirmed I belong in this club

posts: 254   ·   registered: Aug. 23rd, 2018   ·   location: Deep in the Heart of Texas
id 8762617
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leafields ( member #63517) posted at 4:10 PM on Friday, October 28th, 2022

Some of the first words out of our MC's mouth were that we'd look at why my XWH thought he needed to go outside the M. (Unmet needs fallacy.) I told her that I was going to respectfully disagree and that there was no excuse for cheating. She reframed her stance a little bit, but my spidey-senses were at the alert for blameshifting to me. Heck, if we were going to talk about unmet needs being a reason to have an A, I would have been the one. It's ok to say that you don't agree with the therapist's stance. FWIW, my XWH confessed to sexually assaulting his next victim and I told him I was done.

Now, one of the nice things about medical/behavioral health treatment is that the provider is supposed to make treatment about the patient. Your MC sessions don't have to be about getting back together. You can make them about how you're going to co-parent your child, and how to navigate through your separation/divorce. If you let the MC know that there's zero chance of getting back together and your mind is made up, then the MC will be able to go from there and keep the number of sessions short.

What does your lawyer say? Is there something you can leverage that your WH wants that would override the desire for MC?

BW M 34years, Dday 1: March 2018, Dday 2: August 2019, D final 2/25/21

posts: 1488   ·   registered: Apr. 21st, 2018   ·   location: Washington State
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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 4:38 PM on Friday, October 28th, 2022

It's so hard. It's so hard to feel like one day I wake up strong and empowered and feel like I could cling to this feeling and rise above what's happening to me, and then the next day I'm back to having the same exact arguments with my absent WH while alone in my car and feeling like a smear on the sidewalk that people are walking over me and grinding me into nothingness. Not people here, specifically, just in general. Like when someone is rude to me in a store, I take it so personally right now! Some days I feel like everyone is out to get me, when intellectually I know it's just not true, people are going through their own things and none of those things have anything to do with me. But I'm in such a defensive place inside my own head, I see everything as being dangerous and directed at me. It's hard to know what's real.

I could have written every word of that. In fact, most of us could. It's why we come together like this in support groups because other people just don't understand until it's happened to them. This isn't forever. As hard as it is to believe when you're in the thick of it, you WILL get better.


WH has hired an attorney, and he responded to my separation agreement by saying that he will only agree to it if we go to marriage counseling.

I wouldn't go to MC right now. I'm going to reprint a post I wrote a while back and save myself some typing, but yeah, you're right to be concerned about being manipulated.


My own WH went on a Craigslist binge seven years ago, multiple partners, various degrees of emotional attachment. He even thought he was in love at one point. But ten years before that, I'd caught him out in some online shenanigans, porn, cybersexing, emotional affair, etc. In fact, I caught him out only two weeks before a planned meet-up. I'd already seen an attorney before I confronted him and I was bent on divorce, but he pretty much cried his way out of it and I settled on MC. As you might have guessed already, we too were bamboozled with the "unmet needs" model of therapy, which sounds so reasonable. I upped my wife game, and did my best pick-me polka, but within a couple of years, he was right back at it behind my back. By the time we reached the ten year mark, he had screwed up his nerve to go live and in person on Craigslist.

Of course, I was pretty shocked as you might imagine. I thought we were good. I thought his "needs" were met. Damned if I hadn't been turning myself inside out for a decade to make sure, right? The more I thought about it, the more I revisited what I knew about the "unmet needs model", the less it made sense. I was doing everything right and he still CHOSE to cheat.

Here's the fly in the "unmet needs" ointment...

Healthy ADULTS don't need to be validated. They validate internally. Healthy adults are self-fruitful in the matter of contentment and life satisfaction, and when things come up which make them unhappy, they address the cause and solve the problem. OTOH, the vast majority of cheaters cheat because they're seeking external validation. They are NOT emotionally healthy. They can't do it on their own. They've got a hole inside them and no amount of external validation will fill it. Certainly, the old and familiar validation of a spouse doesn't get the job done. Our "kibbles" are stale and boring. They don't create enough adrenaline anymore to make the cheater feel special. It's like getting an "atta boy" from your mom, right?

This is old pop-psy which is still being taught in schools and still selling books. But it's bullshit. NOTHING you can do (or fail to do) can MAKE another person throw away their core values and do something that's in this kind of opposition to good character. If you're a person who BELIEVES in fidelity, who VALUES fidelity, you don't cheat. End of story. Because when we truly value something we protect it. The cheater has a "but..." in his values system. ie. "I believe in fidelity, but... not if my needs aren't being met." For people like you and me, we have a "so..." in our values system. ie. "I believe in fidelity, so... I don't put myself in risky situations with the opposite sex." This is the BOUNDARY we create organically. We don't sit around planning it out. It just happens, because it's innate to our character to protect what we value. The cheater doesn't have those boundaries because he doesn't really honor his values. He only claims to.

I'm not saying that your marriage is over or that your WH can't change. What I am saying though is that this "unmet needs" model is NOT going to challenge him to clean up his flawed character. In fact, it allows him to offload responsibility onto the marriage and onto YOU. It's not your job to MAKE him feel (fill-in-the-blank-here). It never was. It's his job to manage his feelings. You could have been doing everything exactly perfect for the entire length of your marriage, and he would still have cheated... because there's NOTHING in his character stopping him and he has no coping mechanism to fall back on when he feels unvalidated, inadequate, unappreciated, etc.

It's HIS job to see that his "needs" get met. Sometimes that might mean negotiating with you, say if it's about sex or about the division of labor in your home, etc. But sometimes, it might mean that what he sees as a "need" is unhealthy in an adult, like external validation through attention and flattery.

MC's are there to treat the marriage. The marriage is the client. So, of course they're going to talk about communications, resentments and expectations. The MC doesn't want to alienate anyone, so s/he's looking to find balance on both sides. But marriages don't cheat. People do. The only way your WH is going to make a change that safeguards against further perfidy is by correcting his need for external validation and becoming an emotionally healthy adult whose deeds are as good as his word. No excuses, just honoring the things he claims to value. For that, I would recommend IC (individual counseling) with a therapist who is well-versed in adultery.

The last thing any newly-minted BS needs is to walk into an MC's office, believing that they've come to safe harbor, and being handed a copy of The Five Love Languages or some other "unmet needs" gobbledygook. It would be really nice if we actually did have the power to control our mate by giving them "acts of service" or "words of affirmation", but sadly, we aren't gods who can stop a cheater from seeking out his/her choice of adrenaline rush and new kibbles. Although, this kind of pop-psy suggests that their behavior is somehow our responsibility. The more you dig into this ridiculous line of thought, the more absurd it becomes.

Anyway... sorry for the lengthy post. Nothing fries my ass more than seeing new BS's being sold this bill of goods.

YOU aren't the problem. Your marriage isn't the problem. Your WH is the problem. HE is the one who needs to change. And the very first change he needs to make is to RESPECT other people, you chief among them.

Giving you an ultimatum in order to manipulate you toward HIS agenda is the acme of disrespect in this particular situation. It's a perfect illustration of how tone deaf and self-centered he is. There's no empathy there AT ALL. He sees that you want something from him, so he puts a price tag on it. That's not about love. That's about control.

I'm sorry because I KNOW how hard it is when all you want is to wake up from the nightmare and have your life make sense again. It sounds like he wants to "fight for the marriage" and that should be commendable, right? But his instinct is to FORCE you into compliance on HIS terms, to MAKE you give him a chance to overcome your will.

If it were me, we'd have "the easy way or the hard way" conversation. I'd call him out as manipulative and controlling, and I'd point out that he is in no position whatsoever to dictate ultimatums. I'd use hard language and let him see the pent-up rage in my eyes. I'd tell him that I was done being pushed around and that I had no intentions of cooperating with any further abuse by him, and that my eyes are now open to how selfish and self-centered he is in every word and action. Then I'd step back and see what he does with that. Whether he crumbles or doubles down is valuable information.

Hang in there Sigyn. Believe that you will be okay.

((hugs))

BW: 2004(online EAs), 2014 (multiple PAs)Married 38 years; in R with fWH for 7

No one can make you into a liar but you.

posts: 6167   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
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RaggedyAnne ( member #78800) posted at 5:15 PM on Friday, October 28th, 2022

I would agree to a certain number of sessions but I would also demand it is with a therapist of your choice. You could even use your IC. I would also demand that he is financially responsible for the sessions.

posts: 51   ·   registered: May. 15th, 2021
id 8762666
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Shockedmom ( member #44708) posted at 5:53 PM on Friday, October 28th, 2022

My cheating husband is the same type…putting on a show to everyone including the therapist. He was utterly shocked when I exposed every issue truthfully holding nothing back. He was gobsmacked, utterly speechless when his true self was revealed. The therapist was able to glean truth from boast and manipulation.

Make a bullet list of issues to refer to during your session. Stay on point and try not to let him lead the discussion.

I wish you well today.

posts: 1088   ·   registered: Aug. 31st, 2014   ·   location: Hawaii
id 8762673
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Belle25 ( member #63676) posted at 6:02 PM on Friday, October 28th, 2022

I would agree to a certain number of sessions but I would also demand it is with a therapist of your choice. You could even use your IC. I would also demand that he is financially responsible for the sessions.

I agree with this. I do agree with your lawyer that it is good that this is the "only" stipulation he made, when these things tend to get very ugly and detailed. But I would counter with your own conditions on his stipulation. No more than x amount of sessions unless you mutually agree to add more, you pick the therapist, and he pays for them.

I was also thinking about your point about not always being in the right headspace to talk about it. That is very reasonable and understandable. If you decide to agree to the marriage counseling, I do wonder if it would help you at all to know that there is a designated time that you will discuss these things. You will be able to emotionally prepare ahead of time instead of just waiting for the right feelings to set in. And if you get in the mood to discuss them when it is not a counseling day, you can keep a journal of the things you want to say for when it is. I don't know if that will work, but it might be one way to help and awkward situation.

I'm sorry. You're doing beautifully, and at least you will never look back and wish you had handled things differently. Your thoughtfulness and prioritizing your son will carry you far in the correct direction.

posts: 52   ·   registered: May. 3rd, 2018
id 8762674
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Cooley2here ( member #62939) posted at 6:09 PM on Friday, October 28th, 2022

You love him. You hate who he is and what he does. We are not robots. We don’t shrug off feelings unless we never have them. Those people are sociopaths. Does he love you. In a sick way. Look at this as you would a meth addict. I watched a man who finally recovered and he admitted he would have killed his parents to get money and he loved them. Addiction takes over the rational part of the brain. Fortunately you can get past physical addictions but how do you stop sex addiction, and I think that is what you are dealing with.
You need to shop around, based on recommendations, to find someone who understands that you will not allow a deep dive into the marriage and need to find a way to help you both move on.
You can love him forever but someone robbed him of the ability to grow up. Years of intense therapy might move the needle but curing him looks iffy.
Btw, your "paranoia" is YOUR brain in so much pain that it isn’t rational right now. Look after yourself and go as slow or as fast as you need. At this point getting out of bed, eating, bathing and working is all you can manage right now.
Pay attention to ChamomileTea. Very good advice.

When things go wrong, don’t go with them. Elvis

posts: 3604   ·   registered: Mar. 5th, 2018   ·   location: US
id 8762675
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