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Newest Member: Stillconfused2022

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

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kiwilee ( member #10426) posted at 6:09 PM on Friday, October 28th, 2022

Yes, this is his last attempt to manipulate you and you know that in your gut. I agree that considering agreeing to a number of sessions (2-4) and choosing the therapist could set some parameters of control for YOU!

There is absolutely nothing to be gained in MC at this point and no matter what you do or say it will be turned against you. For example, he may say you didn't give it your all, you didn't open up, etc. Nothing will satisfy his desire because he is looking everywhere else to lay the blame instead of looking inside of himself (which has nothing to do with YOU!)

The outcome of getting a favorable separation agreement in place might be worth you attending the circus for 2-4 sessions. You may have to detach and remind yourself WHY you are there- not to mend or rebuild or listen to his BS, but to move forward with a separation agreement you like.

Hoping the tide turns for you soon. You have made amazing strides in a short amount of time. Rest when you can.

posts: 570   ·   registered: Apr. 17th, 2006
id 8762676
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swmnbc ( member #49344) posted at 8:22 PM on Friday, October 28th, 2022

We went to MC straight away. We booked it when I thought it was "just" an emotional affair, but I found out it was a PA the day before our first session. I called up the old therapist I had seen when I lost a loved one to suicide. I don't know if she was a good marriage counselor or not, to be honest. Those days were such a blur. What I do know is that, somewhat comically, she turned out to be a great cheerleader for me. It took him a while to shift from "I was justified in what I did because you neglected me" to "oh sh*t I am a terrible person." I'm sure he would have loved it if the MC had asked what was going on the marriage to make him look elsewhere. But instead she just kind of glared at him whenever he spoke and then said things like, "Are you always so self-centered?" LOL

So yeah, MC was pointless in terms of the marriage, as people here always say, but it was good for me in that it bolstered my right to be outraged and to demand change. I was still operating in good faith like I always had and trying to give the benefit of the doubt and I needed someone to say, wait, did you SEE what this guy just did? Aren't you furious? He gets zero good faith right now!

I do agree that you should keep the required number of sessions manageable (you can always include a "will continue if mutually agreed upon" clause to give him false hope) and that you have veto power over the counselor. Of course we all just want to make sure you aren't thrown into shark infested waters in this scenario, and the right fit is really really important because unfortunately some therapists present cheating as a symptom of something wrong with the marriage instead of something wrong with the half of the marriage that cheated. And yes, it's possible he'll share details in counseling if he thinks it's his only currency to get you to give him an extension. I do know how much you desire those. Knowing him, though, complete and unadulterated truth is probably unlikely. He's obviously not bothered by lying and he will want to have control over the outcome of counseling.

Saying no is an option too. I remember when I sent a letter revoking my membership in a church that I had come to realize was very sexist and judgmental. The pastor said that he would only revoke my membership if I met with him. I just laughed . . . no, it doesn't work like that. We don't both need to agree on whether I get to leave. I get to leave whenever I want and the only thing I need to do to make that happen is say so. It's pretty rich for someone who did all.the.things your husband did to then suggest you can't end the marriage without trying to save it first. Um, remind me, why is the marriage dying again?

As for your relatives looking to you for comfort, tell them to comfort each other! Goodness gracious. I would definitely lean on the ones who have shown themselves capable of supporting you and lean away from the ones who don't get it. You need to be putting your oxygen mask on first here and letting them worry about theirs.

posts: 1822   ·   registered: Aug. 27th, 2015
id 8762691
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BoundaryBuilder ( member #78439) posted at 8:26 PM on Friday, October 28th, 2022

This feels so controlling. The marriage counseling refusal is probably one of the few times you ever said straight up "NO" to him. So, he's gotta take charge of that and make you do the one thing you clearly stated you didn't want to do.

You could say no...... swmnbc makes an excellent point. You both don't need to agree on whether you leave.

Did he state a goal (besides the obvious manipulation) for the marriage counseling in the paperwork? Insisting on marriage counseling as a condition to sign, but not specifying the goal seems intentionally vague.

If you agree to his demand, might help maintain some control of the situation to not only pick the therapist, but YOU set the GOAL of this "marriage counseling." Hope you can attend the counseling sessions via Zoom or Skype to help maintain the feeling of separation you've worked so hard to achieve. Remote counseling will allow you to not be in the same room with him while he plays the blame game. During covid distancing many people found they liked online modes - especially the convenience - so most professionals continue to offer remote sessions. Doing it remote will allow posting your bullet points and helpful reminders all over the room, on the wall behind the desk, or even right on the screen. Put a post it note over his face so you don't have to see him! Maybe rather than negotiate an online setting with him in advance, you simply make it so. "My schedule is very tight right now" or a similar explanation. Or when you choose the therapist find someone working remote. Or look for therapists in your network but not in your local area "I liked their specific expertise in____________"

Hang in there Sigyn. Getting the paperwork signed is the REAL goal.

[This message edited by BoundaryBuilder at 9:52 PM, Friday, October 28th]

Married 32 years w/one adult daughter
ME:BW 64 HIM:WH 65
13 month texting EA with high school X who fished him on Facebook 43 years later
PA=15 days spread over final 3 months
D-Day=April 21, 2018
Reconciled

posts: 146   ·   registered: Mar. 4th, 2021
id 8762692
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 Sigyn (original poster member #80576) posted at 9:05 PM on Friday, October 28th, 2022

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.

Literally everything WH has done since the day I confronted him has been about his control, lack of control, his regaining control - it must be so f-ing exhausting to care that much about who is on top/wins every single human interaction. Yes, this is something I've seen in him before but never to this extent. Or I didn't or wasn't willing to see it to this extent, I don't know.

As you all pointed out, I said no to marriage counseling therefore he wants it. He might not want it for any reason other than that. I don't know what he thinks will happen in it, but suspect he believes he will win the therapist over and/or he can say that he wanted to try to save us and I bailed on our marriage. Honestly that would hurt me, even though I know it's not strictly true. Either side. I don't think he truly wants to save "us" because he's not thinking about me, really, and I really do believe I am the only one who had a real vision of an "us" in our marriage.

I would absolutely LOVE a marriage counselor to ask WH what needs in him I wasn't meeting. I would love to turn to WH and ask him, "Yes, what needs was I neglecting that forced you to see no less than THIRTY different sex workers at last count and 15 years of additional romantic relationships with women?" Because what could he say to that? I honestly don't know how he even found time to have that much paid sex, much less also "fall in love" with multiple women at the same time AND maintain our marriage relatively seamlessly. Maybe he doesn't actually have any other hobbies. Maybe all his mountain bikes are props. So far the only thing he's told me that he was unhappy about in our marriage was that I looked into his psyche 'too harshly' and that when I noticed patterns in his behavior it felt like I was pouring alcohol on an open wound. What would a therapist even say to that?

I'm going to think about it this weekend. If I want to stand firm in my no, or get him to sign the papers enough to bargain a few sessions. I know this is the first negotiation of a million, and the way I start will set the tone. I need to think a lot more about this.

posts: 76   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2022
id 8762700
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TheEnd ( member #72213) posted at 10:09 PM on Friday, October 28th, 2022

It's your call obviously but I have faith that you will make the right decision for you.

His demand is laughable if it weren't so transparently self-centered and cruel. You don't need his permission for anything. You are actually "negotiating" by not filing straight away for an actual divorce and doing this separation thing. He then takes that inch, sees it as weakness, and tries for the mile.

You might respond: No. If you aren't comfortable with the terms of the separation, my only option is to file for divorce. You'll hear from my lawyer.

That's the card you have available to push back on this. His not agreeing to the separation means divorce. He should understand that.

Or you could agree to a few sessions and prepare yourself. It's perfectly fine to say that all you want to discuss in marriage counseling is YOUR questions and YOUR needs. Lay that out in the first session and then go stone cold if he tries to take it in another direction. Just constantly redirect. "How is your mean mother an answer to how many girlfriends have you had over the years?"

Again your call. I do really trust you to do what is right for you.

posts: 279   ·   registered: Dec. 3rd, 2019
id 8762702
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LostInHisFog ( member #78503) posted at 10:10 PM on Friday, October 28th, 2022

🤯 ... what on earth? MC is not a magical place that will turn you polyamorist or him faithful. MC doesn’t stop cheater’s cheating. So what is his scheme here? Is it a custody bargaining chip? Power trip? Warped form of hoovering?? To show the world he tried? Stalling tactics?? Whatever his motives are to demand MC it’s not for you nor the marriage.

I wouldn’t go under these circumstances but if he is stubborn and making it hard I’d call the MC before and be honest "WH is a serial cheater, has been our entire X-yr relationship, has a hooker problem and has confessed he is polyamorist. I’m a monogamist and do not accept other sexual partners in my sexual partners life so I’ve left. The marriage is over. He is stalling by demanding MC. I don’t want to waste your time but he is stalling until we do this. I don’t want to waste your time so instead of faking a session which will not solve anyone’s core values or stop me leaving will you help me communicate to him that this marriage is done?" ... obviously in your own words but the idea is, instead of wasting time, maybe work together with the therapist to help you confront WH and help you start the closure process?

IDK my serial xWH wanted MC and I caved and said yes and he didn’t turn up because he double booked me and a GF lunch and like always I came last. I just figured instead of MC being a hopeless waste of time and allowing WH to use it as a manipulation tool you could flip the script and use it to your advantage if you have no choice but to go.

So hurtful throwing this up as a road block. Pro adultery forums do encourage and coach cheaters how to prey on BS hope to keep them around as much as they give each other tips on how to hide, maybe he is just being a dickhead and trying that, preying on your hope by offering MC, to keep you hooked? Whatever the reason it’s unkind and I’m sorry it’s happening to you. The punches do keep rolling for sometime but they do stop.

They can make as many promises as they want, but if they don't put action behind it, it doesn't mean anything.

I edit because I'm fluent in typo & autocorrect hates me.

posts: 300   ·   registered: Mar. 14th, 2021
id 8762703
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 Sigyn (original poster member #80576) posted at 10:19 PM on Friday, October 28th, 2022

You are actually "negotiating" by not filing straight away for an actual divorce and doing this separation thing. He then takes that inch, sees it as weakness, and tries for the mile.

Doesn't matter. I will not divorce to appear strong to WH or to 'win' some imaginary game of chicken. I will only divorce on MY time, when I can be sure my son is prepared and supported, when I am emotionally ready, and when my son's therapist agrees that we've prepared him for it. I will absolutely not cave in to any manipulation. I don't care what my WH thinks about it or how it makes me look. I will not value ego or false shows of strength over the emotional safety of my family. That's the only thing I'm completely sure about right now. My husband can see it as weak if he wants. One of us has to see our family, our home, our marriage and child and ourselves as something other than a power play or a contest. I will not be sucked into that game. WH has called the shots for far, far too long. Let him see me as weak. I can't live and die by his vision. I know that I'm doing the strongest thing I can possibly do for my family right now.

posts: 76   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2022
id 8762706
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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 11:06 PM on Friday, October 28th, 2022

I'm going to think about it this weekend. If I want to stand firm in my no, or get him to sign the papers enough to bargain a few sessions. I know this is the first negotiation of a million, and the way I start will set the tone. I need to think a lot more about this.

I think that's a good idea. Yours are the boots one the ground and you know your situation best. From this side of the keyboard, I have no confidence that he would abide by any agreement which results in his signature on your separation document, but I could very well be wrong about that.

When I walk a mile in your shoes, the satisfaction of watching him squirm while he attempts to answer the questions you posted above is small consolation for my discomfort with yet another attempt to maneuver me into compliance with how he thinks this thing ought to play out. From the beginning when he was nailed down and couldn't deny the truth anymore, his response has been to try and make himself into YOUR project, ala "I'm going to need your help" and variations on that theme. When you're dealing with disordered people, this can turn into terrific centrality for them. They become a "patient" and all their transgressions are then blamed on their pathology instead of their character. Everyone around them becomes a satellite in orbit around their "crisis".

On the one hand, if he's going online and furiously questing for "what do i do now that i'm caught", going to therapy would be one of the first suggestions, right? So, maybe he does think there's some magic fix there that's worth alienating you by basically extorting your participation. On the other though, and forgive me for the Snidely Whiplash caricature here, I can't get past the thought of him bragging to his cheater forum about how he's maneuvered you into the MC office. As things stand, I have no idea how you might put that kind of braggadocio behind you should R ever become an issue.

Anyway, I do think you've made a good decision to take some time for mulling it over. These guys are right that there could be an excellent opportunity for making him sign, but the question is... will he indeed sign or will he move the goal posts when things inevitably don't turn out like he thought?

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.
id 8762711
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VezfromTaz ( member #80815) posted at 1:44 AM on Saturday, October 29th, 2022

If there is any strategic benefit to you in going to counseling that outweigh the myriad risks, especially to your emotional wellbeing, go for it.

I cant think of many, other than putting yourself in a better position to resolve property and child related legal issues in the future.

There is a website One Moms Battle Tina Swinton and she has some good YT videos about using mediation to your advantage.

posts: 64   ·   registered: Sep. 1st, 2022
id 8762731
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justanotherperson ( new member #82218) posted at 5:55 AM on Saturday, October 29th, 2022

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?

You already know what the purpose of the counceling is.

As other members pointed out, it is one more attempt from your WH to try and regain some control over the situation. A person who planned all those interactions with other people, all those years, calm and colected will not loose those traits all of a sudden. Control is still the priority there.

You getting angry and pointing out the terms YOU FEEL YOU require for your own well being is the way to go in my opinion. You were the one being played here, you were the one suffering. Act from your head after a good night's sleep. Breath. Be calm and collected in moments of decision. Breath. Decide your actions to suit your interests and your healing. He has been deciding the same for himself for all those years - with tremendous disregard for you and your own interests and well being. It is only fair you do what is best for YOU. For your well being. For your mental health. NO MORE eating the cake and keeping it. Get angry. Show him what you REALLY NEED to go forward with your life.

In the end you will be ok. And you will know what to do. You are doing GREAT (considering the shit sandwich served upon you).

YOU WILL be alright.

[This message edited by justanotherperson at 5:59 AM, Saturday, October 29th]

"It can't rain all the time."

posts: 50   ·   registered: Oct. 23rd, 2022   ·   location: O´Porto
id 8762747
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PricklePatch ( member #34041) posted at 6:36 AM on Saturday, October 29th, 2022

My husband is high functioning asbergers, one of those super smart but not the best with interpersonal dynamics. I requested to go to the first session and do a 10 minute check in once a month so we were all on the same page. At the time he lied to both of us he had given a complete disclosure. When I told him about the polygraph I did so when he was leaving for his IC. The IC told him he didn’t have to tell me. My husband came home and did tell me as he knew the consequences of not taking the poly or coming clean ahead.

I was angry that his IC told him he didn’t have to tell me the final disclosure. I got it later, it was also a significant step in his recovery.

Why does he have a woman IC? After his behavior I would not tolerate it.

BS Fwh

posts: 3178   ·   registered: Nov. 28th, 2011
id 8762749
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NowWhat106 ( member #35497) posted at 7:10 AM on Saturday, October 29th, 2022

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.

As always, your self-awareness is so spot on and so valuable to others in this situation. This describes so perfectly how I felt for probably the whole first year post discovery. Every bit of equilibrium in your life is destroyed so completely and unexpectedly. There is no firm ground anywhere a good part of the time (even when you are as clearheaded as you are to understand on some level that you are the lighthouse).

I have always felt like a very self-possessed and confident person, but when the person that you trusted above all others in the world suddenly reveals himself to be the person who has disrespected your very existence and being, your ability to trust ANY of your reactions to people disappears. Suddenly, it’s easy to see disrespect in a very personally wounding way wherever it comes from and no matter how impersonal it really is. My sense of my own ability to keep myself safe and accurately judge others’ reactions was just shattered. The world just doesn’t feel like a safe and benevolent place anymore—anywhere.

I honestly don't know how he even found time to have that much paid sex, much less also "fall in love" with multiple women at the same time AND maintain our marriage relatively seamlessly. Maybe he doesn't actually have any other hobbies. Maybe all his mountain bikes are props. So far the only thing he's told me that he was unhappy about in our marriage was that I looked into his psyche 'too harshly' and that when I noticed patterns in his behavior it felt like I was pouring alcohol on an open wound.

He has led a life completely focused on one person and on satisfying his every single whim without consideration of anyone else in the world. He didn’t consider whether or not his whims were healthy for him or anyone else, whether they were actually good things to want. He just indulged himself. Your marriage was probably the same—he participated in the marriage that he wanted to have and got the things he wanted from it.

This was my WH. I’m the one who filled in all the rest around him and our kids. One of the hardest parts for me was realizing how dishonest I had been with myself about what our relationship had been. Since I pride myself on preferring reality to fantasy (especially after this—i want nothing to do with rose-colored glasses), it’s actually weird how much of how I saw him in our relationship was complete fabrication on my part. It took me a long time, and a lot of small epiphanies and moments of small clarity, for me to discover and acknowledge that. I still have those moments sometimes.

My WH used to complain that I was controlling. After discovery, he said one day during a difficult conversation that I controlled all of the decisions in our life. My immediate response (in light of what I now knew) was that I had controlled NOTHING in our marriage. Much of this was because you can’t really have any control when you are clueless about the decisions that are being made in secret in your marriage. With my WH and his love of secrets and shitty secrecy to get around anything that he wanted that he thought I wouldn’t agree with. He ended our marriage without bothering to tell me and left me to discover it 7 years later when I’d been wondering for quite awhile what the hell had happened to the person I thought he was.

Another reason that I had no control in my own marriage and family was that he manipulated all of us as the poor victim. No one would ever suspect him of being an emotional bully because he was such a sad sack and so butt hurt over anything he perceived as criticism (as in asking him to hang out with the kids on the weekend when he wanted to just sleep on the couch and watch Marvel all day or reminding him that if he left dirty dishes on the counter after a nighttime snack, it would draw ants). Everyone would turn themselves inside out to make him feel better—including reversing whatever we’d done to make him feel bad or just sucking it up and doing it yourself rather than mentioning anything. So he ultimately got what he wanted AND as a bonus, got to resent us for being so mean to him to begin with. I sucked up more and more of the responsibilities of our life and just didn’t ask.

So yeah, when I hear your WH’s demand for counseling, I see everything that you and others have pointed out here. Honestly, you are seeing the whole picture so clearly right now, so I know that you’ll make the right decision for you and your son. That doesn’t mean it won’t be a mindfuck if you agree to MC. It will because he still has the power to hurt you just by being who he is at this point when you needed and depended on so much more from him. But you know this, and you’ve been amazing at knowing yourself and what you need to do in spite of him. Whatever you decide, you’ll get through it and be true to yourself ultimately.

This is all wading through shit, whatever we do, thanks to their bad decisions. You get to decide the path you take through it and whether or not you avoid the deepest pools or plunge right in because there’s something you need there. You always have the right to stop it completely and get out. You’ll know when to do that You’re never stuck with any course. He’s broken literally every commitment to you that he ever made. You only owe yourself and your son now.

You’re absolutely right that this will be the first battle of many, and it’s important to consider your decisions carefully. You are SO wise to do that. If you have the option, I agree that demanding veto power / choice of the counselor and a preliminary meeting for each of you alone with the person first would be important, especially the choice of counselor. Will he bullshit and try to control and paint himself as the victim and the reasonable one? Of course. Will he try to paint you in any number of dishonest ways? Absolutely. You know this in advance. That’s why the counselor is such an important choice if you decide to proceed.

A firm limit on the commitment is really important too, as many have mentioned. At this point, I’d suggest that absolutely nothing should be open-ended and without benchmarks. As I’ve said many times, time has a way of getting away from us in this situation. He will absolutely try to get you wound up in ongoing messes to keep you engaged and prolong the time during which he maintains some control over what’s happening. Setting limits gives you those real points when you can stop and assess where you are and how far (or how very not far) you’ve come in a measurable frame—3 mediated counseling sessions or 2 months of stonewalling or another birthday for your son.

You are seeing so very clearly here and doing SO well. Frankly, just rereading your own posts here, where you’ve said so much of value for yourself and others, might be the best idea when you’re feeling uncertain.

Sending you huge hugs and positive energy as you deliberate your course. We’re here whatever you decide and at this point, we all KNOW that you’ll plot the best course for yourself through this.

[This message edited by NowWhat106 at 7:14 AM, Saturday, October 29th]

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 8762751
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TheEnd ( member #72213) posted at 1:53 PM on Saturday, October 29th, 2022

Doesn't matter. I will not divorce to appear strong to WH or to 'win' some imaginary game of chicken. I will only divorce on MY time, when I can be sure my son is prepared and supported, when I am emotionally ready, and when my son's therapist agrees that we've prepared him for it. I will absolutely not cave in to any manipulation. I don't care what my WH thinks about it or how it makes me look. I will not value ego or false shows of strength over the emotional safety of my family. That's the only thing I'm completely sure about right now. My husband can see it as weak if he wants. One of us has to see our family, our home, our marriage and child and ourselves as something other than a power play or a contest. I will not be sucked into that game. WH has called the shots for far, far too long. Let him see me as weak. I can't live and die by his vision. I know that I'm doing the strongest thing I can possibly do for my family right now.

I hope you don't think I meant I saw you as weak. It's the opposite in fact.

I was echoing others thoughts on his manipulation and possible responses to it. Mostly, I am/was simply dumbfounded at his thinking that he can control this situation with threats and bartering versus genuine care and concern for the damage he has done.

Hope you are well today.

posts: 279   ·   registered: Dec. 3rd, 2019
id 8762762
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truthsetmefree ( member #7168) posted at 4:25 PM on Saturday, October 29th, 2022

I’m going to be a bit of a "voice of dissension" here when it comes to your WH setting any demands - and especially the notion that agreeing to them will later better your position. I just don’t want this to come across as necessarily advice for your particular decisions - or when you should make them. As an aside, I was 14 yrs post wreckonciliation and over a year into the separation before I realized that any idea of negotiating or being amicable was not serving me. It was just subjecting me to more of the same manipulation.

Your WH has already well demonstrated that he has no value for negotiation, no sense of fair play, no conviction to hold up his end of the bargain. All of your WH’s motives have been self serving - whether he was out fucking strange or home playing the devoted husband and good family man. This perspective is likely not going to change…and just requiring marriage counseling as part of his cooperation is just one more indication of such. He is literally holding you hostage in the current marriage, emotionally. My sense from that is - God help you,sweet lady, when it comes to negotiating things like finances and custody. sad

There is a real danger in buying into an idea that you can "work with him" as you move through this process. There’s a solid reason why he has demanded MC - as opposed to something more substantive to the actual separation. He’s already working in opposition to you. He also likely believes that a third party (triangulation) betters his chances of obtaining the outcome that HE desires - all while he continues to ignore and reject what you are telling him you most need. You’ve told him what you need - he has denied you that.

The danger in trying to nice him is that it once again gives him power and control. It also confirms to him that he still has the right to make demands, that he still is in the driver’s seat to some regard. You can still give it a try - I gained so much clarity about my XH’s character and manipulation tactics through the divorce process - but I think it foolish to think that doing so will put you in a better position. The goalposts will just continually be moved.

I completely agree with your intention to handle this on your own time frame, to not be pressured into making decisions based on just reacting to him. It’s a challenge to not become the monster we are fighting. I had the same concern. But I also had a mistaken concept that I could get through this process without getting my own hands dirtied…and in that, I was not a formidable opponent. He saw me the same as he had throughout all of his years of cheating - and he just continued to respond with his same tactics.

I get that you are probably not ready to step into this kind of war. You’ve been essentially disemboweled from a blindsided attack by your own "comrade". I’m, in no way, suggesting you need to now charge the front line. I’m just cautioning you on any notion that you can bargain with him. If you agree to MC just to get the separation agreement, then you yourself - saying this gently - are stepping into the manipulation arena…and you are outmatched there. It’s why he’s asked you into it.

So many of us who have been married to partners like your WH have been shocked at how we see things in retrospect. Not by just what our WSs did but more so by how stupid we later feel for not being able to see it. It all seems so obvious in hindsight. But that’s the value of NC. It doesn’t just break us free from all the shitty behavior….it breaks us free from all the "kind" and "nice" things that hid that shitty behavior. It’s why you sometimes just want your WH to hold and comfort you, to go back to that man you once believed him to be. That "nice guy" is the pain-killer, the numbing agent…the masker for the cancer that’s the actual source of the rot that lies beneath. MC is just another opportunity for him to hold the chloroform soaked rag to your face. And right now, it’s the only avenue he can find. To really put yourself in an advantageous position, it’s less a matter of fighting off the effects of the chloroform…and more a matter of showing him he can no longer coax you into meeting with him in dark alleys.

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: 8919   ·   registered: May. 18th, 2005
id 8762776
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NowWhat106 ( member #35497) posted at 5:04 PM on Saturday, October 29th, 2022

Truthsetmefree, what a masterful description of my exact life. Every. Word.

I’m so thankful for the amazing wisdom and eloquence of this whole thread. I’m eleven years post DDay, and I’m still grateful for the insights and support of this site.

We all have to walk our own path through this hellscape, but we walk through it with such amazing support and wisdom here.

I have so much gratitude and love for everyone on this site for sharing experience, pain, and hard-won, difficult knowledge.

And I’m sending complete support and understanding to you, Sigyn. You’ve already given as much as you’ve gained here by sharing these early steps of your journey.

Strength to you today.

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 8762780
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ThisIsSoLonely ( member #64418) posted at 5:30 PM on Saturday, October 29th, 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 would agree to this as well so long as the number of sessions were set in STONE (and not many), he would PAY, and you CHOOSE who to use - IF IF IF - in your jurisdiction the separation agreement really does hold some authority in divorce. If it's just aspirational then not only would I not go to MC but I would expect my WH (and likely yours) to not honor it eventually and when it came to divorce time I would also expect him to point out its lack of legal "teeth" so to speak.

"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 8762783
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truthsetmefree ( member #7168) posted at 5:35 PM on Saturday, October 29th, 2022

NowWhat - Isn’t it such a damn irony to experience such an event that destroys your entire life and leaves you questioning just about everything in the world…to later realize that it’s all so…cliche?

I’m still to this day amazed that I could feel so alone, so isolated…so "I’m the only person that has experienced it to this degree" - to later realize that these kind of cheaters are textbook? Literally predictable and follow the same MO.

It was all so complicated and incredibly simple at the same time. duh

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: 8919   ·   registered: May. 18th, 2005
id 8762784
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VezfromTaz ( member #80815) posted at 10:11 PM on Saturday, October 29th, 2022

Edited - tried to copy and paste but I can't work out how to do it?!

"it’s actually weird how much of how I saw him in our relationship was complete fabrication on my part"

Thanks NowWhat106 I've added this to my personal journal (which is just me messaging myself on Messenger with various comments I have read, flashbacks and rants - hopefully no one ever finds it or I may be committed laugh ). All I can say is, curating someone else's image for decades (unconsciously mostly) for everyone's benefit is mentally exhausting, and it is a blessed relief not to do it anymore. Long term friends said to me after we separated "oh we just liked him because he was married to you - we didn't know anything about him really". I had always thought ex was the more likeable one (because his family and he told me so), so it was a dumbfounding revelation.

"But I also had a mistaken concept that I could get through this process without getting my own hands dirtied"

Too right truthsetmefree!. I may have said this before, but weaponising your values is a common control tactic (oh, I thought you said you were a fair person, cared about our child, weren't materialistic, yardy ya). As is mutualising abuse once you do find your voice (false equivalency - eg. I know I had a double life and siphoned family money off, but you parked my car in that time and just asked for child support and said you wouldn't - so I guess we've both done things we said we wouldn't).

I read about something called "vicarious resilience" the other day - growing through shared experience, usually in professional setting, but I think it applies here aswell. Thank you to all the posters, and to Sigyn, for your collective insights and wisdom

[This message edited by VezfromTaz at 10:23 PM, Saturday, October 29th]

posts: 64   ·   registered: Sep. 1st, 2022
id 8762816
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NowWhat106 ( member #35497) posted at 10:33 PM on Saturday, October 29th, 2022

I may have said this before, but weaponising your values is a common control tactic (oh, I thought you said you were a fair person, cared about our child, weren't materialistic, yardy ya). As is mutualising abuse once you do find your voice (false equivalency - eg. I know I had a double life and siphoned family money off, but you have just asked for child support and said you wouldn't - so I guess we've both done things we said we wouldn't).

OMG, word, word, word. You just repaid the favor completely, VezfromTaz.I can’t believe how much my WH did this and how freakin’ hard it was to respond to it because I was stuck with reasonable, fair thinking patterns and he was not limited in that way. At all. I really, really was outmatched in the manipulation game. The only thing I finally got to was recognizing what he was doing and ending the conversation. There was no logic or reasoning or explaining that would work against it. It was just a way to wind me up and keep me in the completely worthless and soul-sucking argument. It was also a way for him to tell himself that he "won," and that he was justified. Man, the mindfuck is so real.


Isn’t it such a damn irony to experience such an event that destroys your entire life and leaves you questioning just about everything in the world…to later realize that it’s all so…cliche?

Ironic. Tragic. Infuriating. Yup. All of those things.


curating someone else's image for decades (unconsciously mostly) for everyone's benefit is mentally exhausting, and it is a blessed relief not to do it anymore.

When I look back, I see how I was constantly explaining and minimizing his bad behavior and lack of basic consideration to. . .everyone. I made excuses for him. I took care of common courtesies and maintained relationships that didn’t occur to him at all or that he took for granted. Exhausting is the right word.

It really is hard to see in retrospect my own role in keeping his shit together while he pursued his own agenda.

I LOVE the "vicarious resilience" concept. I think it may very well be the main thing this site brings to many of us. I know I feel buoyed by the strength and wisdom of this undesirable club that welcomed me in when I was a completely shattered mess (and when I failed over and over to take the advise I was so graciously given by others who had walked the same path, lol).

Thanks again to everyone on this thread and to Sigyn for letting us share this horrible journey. Vicarious resilience is a beautiful and inspiring gift in the middle of the shit show that is infidelity.

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 8762818
default

VezfromTaz ( member #80815) posted at 10:56 PM on Saturday, October 29th, 2022

NowWhat the brainwashing is so effective though, the power of trusting someone, you literally cannot see what is right in front of you - all day every day I met with clients, wrote affidavits and made submissions to court about all the various weapons of control in DV cases, and yet here I was at home blind to what was going on. In fact at one stage I was so obviously being gaslit, and I said "are you gaslighting me". It was so laughably obvious, even to me, and yet still I trusted in the goodness of a person I had known for 25 years.

I mentioned earlier in this thread a book Blind to Betrayal. One of the authors, Jennifer Freyd, is a Professor of Psychology who created the DARVO terminology . She is also the daughter of parents who created the False Memory Syndrome Foundation off the back of her remembering her father had sexually abused her. It was mainly her mother who went to great lengths to discredit her, presumably to protect the husband's image.

posts: 64   ·   registered: Sep. 1st, 2022
id 8762824
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