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Newest Member: Isthereapoint

I Can Relate :
BS Questions for WS - Part 15

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DaddyDom ( member #56960) posted at 8:25 PM on Friday, July 7th, 2023

Are you saying that all WS who are not in the fog are at their core are capable of being empathetic? Or that we as BS should be looking for signs of that in order to see if WS is reconciliation material or something else entirely?

A little of both, but primarily the latter. I'm not a therapist or any kind of expert mind you, I just share from my own experience, so... that. However, I believe that most people are born with the capability for empathy. That doesn't mean everyone has it however. Life experiences, trauma in particular comes to mind, can dull and diminish our capacity/capability for empathy and self-love.

In my opinion, there is one universal truth about infidelity. I believe that a person who is capable of self-love will develop and maintain the healthy boundaries necessary in order to maintain their own integrity, morality and decency. For example, if someone asked you to kill another person, you would probably so "no" before anything else even needed to be said. You would say no because at your core, you are not that kind of person. Your own code of ethics would never allow it, and if you did kill someone, even accidentally, you would probably never be able to sleep at night. That is what I mean by core integrity. Now, could part of your reasoning also be that you don't want to hurt someone else, or that you respect law and order, etc? Sure. But those things need not even come into play... you'd stop yourself before you even had to consider those aspects.

I believe the same is true for infidelity. A person who has self-respect, who is authentic and decent and who cares about who they are and what they put out into the world... is not capable of infidelity, similar to how/why you would not kill someone. They would not need to have an affair and there would be nothing positive to be gained from it. They would hate themselves for even thinking of it.

However, that means the opposite is true. A person who DOES have an affair, cannot be capable of self-love or self-respect, and IMO, someone incapable of loving themselves is incapable of loving someone else. If you cannot see beyond yourself then empathy or love for another person is impossible. So yes, if your spouse seems capable of self-love and empathy, I would personally consider that person to at least have what's needed for R to even be attempted.

Bear in mind, your WS could turn themselves around and become the most perfect human being on earth... it still may not make a difference to you in terms of R. Infidelity is one of the most serious trauma's a human can experience, right up there with the loss of a loved one or a severe accident. (Look up Post Infidelity Stress Disorder). It's not my place to tell a BS or anyone else what they need for R. Only you can determine that. But if I were in your shoes... I'd need to see some real, personal growth and change (and maintain that over time) before I considered R.

Me: WS
BS: ISurvivedSoFar
D-Day Nov '16
Status: Reconciling
"I am floored by the amount of grace and love she has shown me in choosing to stay and fight for our marriage. I took everything from her, and yet she chose to forgive me."

posts: 1412   ·   registered: Jan. 18th, 2017
id 8798620
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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 4:32 PM on Monday, July 10th, 2023

Are you saying that all WS who are not in the fog are at their core are capable of being empathetic? Or that we as BS should be looking for signs of that in order to see if WS is reconciliation material or something else entirely?

In terms of some of some

Ws, I don’t think it’s not that they never had a good heart or good intentions but affairs tend to bring out a lot of narcissistic tendencies even for those who don’t have NPD. I do not have it, but my actions before during and after were increasingly narcissistic.

I think of "the fog" as the effects of the self brainwashing that happens to allow yourself to have the affair. The surface stuff like why the ws thinks the ap is so great, the not connecting the dots of their actions.

I believe the the lack of empathy happens by creating shame so deep and wide it’s difficult for most of us to look it in the eye for a long time. We don’t know how to climb out of it and it makes us focus almost completely on our selves because our operational system is unusable. And being narcissistic by definition is someone who protects all their trauma by becoming a walking talking coping mechanism. I have been there.

Until the ws can address deep seated issues with self worth, self love, the value we place on others and the love we are capable of giving are all filtered through that. So in other words, we must eradicate the poison because everyone we touch is infected by it, and we are so wrapped up in our own trauma drama we are oblivious of that.

The fog is short lived, the effects of being in the fog take longer to unwind. Because we told ourselves a whole lot of bullshit that we repeated to ourselves until we believe it’s reality. That’s why ws don’t typically experience true remorse until much later than they need it. They have to put out their own fire and understand themselves and it’s a complicated process that often takes time.

I think the dog only lasted a few months after the affair for me. Getting back to being empathetic was almost a year.

My best advice for someone with a spouse like that is therapy because we can’t become self aware without laying our shit on the table and really looking at it. Most ws need that structured time to get started. Writing helped me a lot but everyone is different.

[This message edited by hikingout at 4:35 PM, Monday, July 10th]

6 years of hard work
Reconciled WS and BS

posts: 6478   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8798875
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Beachwalker ( member #70472) posted at 9:31 PM on Monday, July 10th, 2023

This is probably a repeat question, so please forgive me for being too lazy to look through many, many posts for this answer, which may or may not be there.

To the WS's who would be "caught", then later return to cheating, perhaps multiple times, did you not see how this affected your BS? Or if you did, how did you justify starting the A up again knowing if/when the BS found out they would be exposed to a second dose of pain?

posts: 333   ·   registered: May. 4th, 2019   ·   location: US
id 8798931
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Gracey ( member #79334) posted at 6:08 PM on Wednesday, July 12th, 2023

I have a Question for WS that lied to themselves throughout affair and even after getting caught, did you lie to yourselves in other area’s of your life to? I ask as my WH does this a lot to avoid looking at the truth over what he has done or become and in other areas of his life. I was on a recent get together with his family and I noticed his mother lied to herself when talking about another family member who has behaved really badly. You could call it making excuses I suppose, however this particular family member is liable to go to jail so I found her lying to herself somewhat dysfunctional. Is it a coping mechanism that is learnt from parents?

Together 34 years Married. 17 years

posts: 83   ·   registered: Aug. 27th, 2021   ·   location: United Kingdom
id 8799147
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DaddyDom ( member #56960) posted at 8:33 PM on Wednesday, July 12th, 2023

I have a Question for WS that lied to themselves throughout affair and even after getting caught, did you lie to yourselves in other area’s of your life too?

Sometime in the first year or two after Dday, I asked my wife to join me at a local restaurant so that we could talk. Things between us at the time were really pretty bad. She was at a point where she was questioning our entire 20+ years together, and trying to determine if I had always been a liar/cheater/asshole and she had just somehow missed the signs. I was desperate to convince her that nothing could be farther from the truth, that I had always been an honest, trustworthy and loving person, and that the affair was really just a "blip" in my otherwise untarnished record as a spouse.

But that's not how the conversation went.

During our talk, she pointed out to me that I had, indeed, always had the capacity to lie and hide things and get my own way selfishly. For example, she pointed out that I had been a drug user for a long period of my life. And do you know what drug users tend to do? Lie. Hide shit. Gaslight. Act selfishly and without thought as to how it hurts their family members, etc. She pointed out that I had been really irresponsible with money and had tried to hide purchases. And with each point she made, she gave me examples of times that she knew of that I had been less than honest or respectful and instead was selfish and secretive when it came to things I wanted, but couldn't or shouldn't have.

I have to admit, my brain short-circuited. I was in shock. I had truly, honestly, never looked at myself in that light, and seen those things in myself. Somehow, being sneaky and secretive when I wanted something so just so ingrained in my personality that I failed to even see it. It felt "normal" and had developed a habit of just "pretending it didn't happen or didn't matter" because I got away with it. Which over time, also grew into a sense of entitlement that I was also completely unaware of.

The good news is, this was really one of the first steps I took towards pulling my head out of my ass. When confronted with the truth (and thankfully a truly open mind) my self-image and self-delusion shattered. While it still took me time and therapy to really grasp it all, that was the first time I had been able to let go of my own, "But I'm a great guy" attitude, and see that there also existed a not-so-great-guy, and that he had been there all along. The lies I told myself about what a bang-up, upstanding person I was were gone, and I began the arduous process of accepting that I was not who I thought I was, and that I needed help, and needed to change. Because I didn't like what I saw, who I saw, what I was. I DID have lots of wonderful traits, but I had just as many bad ones. And while I didn't know it at the time, that act of self-realization combined with doing "the work" was key to the growth that followed.

While I can't speak for all WS's, in my experience so far, it seems that many (if not all) of the WS's I have spoken with over the years struggle with self-lies and self-realization. Honestly, I think it's necessary for an affair to occur in the first place. Entitlement, selfishness and a lack of self-love are the hallmarks of infidelity, and you don't just pull those out of nowhere. I think what ends up frustrating many BS's is simply the question of why/how they didn't see this coming? But we ourselves (WS's) usually don't see it coming either. No one ever says, "I wanna be a cheater when I grow up", but here we are. Getting here involves a lot of self-deception. Doing the work to recover and become someone better, involves a lot of self-acceptance and the courage to see your true self.

Me: WS
BS: ISurvivedSoFar
D-Day Nov '16
Status: Reconciling
"I am floored by the amount of grace and love she has shown me in choosing to stay and fight for our marriage. I took everything from her, and yet she chose to forgive me."

posts: 1412   ·   registered: Jan. 18th, 2017
id 8799163
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Confused10 ( new member #83443) posted at 2:37 AM on Monday, July 17th, 2023

Curious to get a WS view on this. Despite some improvements, my WH still sees AP in a positive light. The A was online and not physical. He says he knows what he did was wrong, but when it comes to speaking about AP he is quick to defend her and talk about her like she was a good person who helped him. A few times he said the opposite to try to shut me up, but it doesn't take long for the truth to later come out which is - he appreciates her and has good memories of their moments.

This has angered me. How can a person appreciate someone who helped lead them to this nightmare we're living in now? How can you appreciate a person who helped push you away from your family to the point where you almost lost them? How can you have good memories of moments that led you to hurting your BS to the point where I've been broken and crying every month since D day?

This has angered me so much and put a stop to me wanting to reconcile. It's hard because he's doing a lot and making improvements in other ways but it all feels a bit pointless to me if he still sees AP so highly. I can see him visibly get annoyed whenever I put her down. It feels like I've attacked his relative or something

Is this normal in the first 7 months of discovery? Just need to understand whether it's one of those things I need to wait for him to recover from because as much as I hate to admit it, I realise years of building up a relationship with a person won't make it easy to instantly switch off the feelings. However I'm concerned he's trying to rug sweep his feelings for her and not face them and find a way to kill them by understanding the damage its done. Therefore the good thoughts remain, but there's no way I want to move forward with him if he will continue to see her in a good way...did you/do you still have generally good feelings about AP? Does/has this caused a distraction with R?

posts: 19   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2023
id 8799660
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BraveSirRobin ( member #69242) posted at 4:18 AM on Monday, July 17th, 2023

I have a Question for WS that lied to themselves throughout affair and even after getting caught, did you lie to yourselves in other area’s of your life to? I ask as my WH does this a lot to avoid looking at the truth over what he has done or become and in other areas of his life. I was on a recent get together with his family and I noticed his mother lied to herself when talking about another family member who has behaved really badly. You could call it making excuses I suppose, however this particular family member is liable to go to jail so I found her lying to herself somewhat dysfunctional. Is it a coping mechanism that is learnt from parents?

I 100% learned this self-lying pattern from my parents. My mother is a veteran blameshifter and excuse maker. For example, she can rarely admit that she misplaced something and will insist that someone must have stolen it (I'm talking about things that no one would want to steal and would have no way of finding even if they did). But she'll genuinely convince herself that someone took it to avoid facing the consequences of having lost something she believes is valuable. I've concluded that she must have been horribly chastised for making mistakes as a child, especially mistakes that involved losing something, as her family was very poor.

The crazy thing is that I was aware of this behavior in my mother and still completely failed to recognize I had picked it up myself. I didn't claim someone had stolen things I lost, but I had equally thin excuses at the ready to deflect blame when I knew I was in the wrong. My father was also good at this game, especially when driving. He'd refuse to take directions and then furiously blame my mother's navigation when we got lost.

I feel I should point out that my parents were actually very caring, conscientious and self-sacrificing in many ways. I love my mom and miss my dad terribly. But it's amazing how badly you can fuck a kid up with your FOO, even with the best of intentions. Since D-Day 2, I have worked very hard on limiting that with my own children, and I carry it in my heart on those occasions when I realize I've screwed up.

WW/BW

posts: 3537   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8799669
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ff4152 ( member #55404) posted at 9:58 AM on Monday, July 17th, 2023

Confused10

Curious to get a WS view on this. Despite some improvements, my WH still sees AP in a positive light. The A was online and not physical. He says he knows what he did was wrong, but when it comes to speaking about AP he is quick to defend her and talk about her like she was a good person who helped him. A few times he said the opposite to try to shut me up, but it doesn't take long for the truth to later come out which is - he appreciates her and has good memories of their moments.

Personally I think he is paying you a lot of lip service when he says "I know what I did was wrong" yet in the same breath think she is a good person. Who helped him. Read that again. WHO HELPED HIM.

It’s still all about him. He should be more concerned about who harmed you and your marriage. While she didn’t make any vows of loyalty to you, she was still a willing participant in the upending of your marriage. Does a good person do that?

As I alluded to above, I’m really questioning his overall sincerity since he really doesn’t get/care about what he has done to you. It is still early in the process but I am troubled by his mindset. Do you get the sense that his other actions are truly genuine or is he going through the motions to "shut you up"? Perhaps it’s the cynic in me but I find his demeanor troubling.

Me -FWS

posts: 2058   ·   registered: Sep. 30th, 2016
id 8799683
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denwickdroylsden ( member #51744) posted at 12:37 PM on Tuesday, July 18th, 2023

Curious to get a WS view on this. Despite some improvements, my WH still sees AP in a positive light.

I deeply regret having the A (which went on for 2 years). But I do not subscribe to the theory that I must now regard AP in a negative light. Certainly she was a full partner in our crimes against our spouses. In this we are equally despicable. It has been double digit years since any contact and I do not seek any. It is well behind me.

That said, AP had positive qualities (of course; why else would I have been with her?). I remember and value those positive qualities. I find it difficult to accept the premise that because we violated our vows to our spouses and caused tremendous pain and damage, this automatically means I must see everything about AP "in a negative light." It's just not that simple, speaking strictly for myself.

For those who wish continued suffering on WS like myself, rest easy. I beat myself up plenty over what I did, every day, even all these years later. I have not re-offended, which I guess is something. But that does not remedy or erase the past.

Me: WH frequent flyerNow on straight and narrow.
Paragraphing: Try it. You'll like it.

posts: 57   ·   registered: Feb. 9th, 2016
id 8799828
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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 8:31 PM on Tuesday, July 18th, 2023

Curious to get a WS view on this. Despite some improvements, my WH still sees AP in a positive light.

I am not sure how far you are out, or what he is doing therapy or otherwise.

I am 6 years out. I think my perspective evolved for a couple of years.

Early on it was hard to see him in a bad light because it would mean the ego validation I received and the risks I took were not worthwhile. barf I would say things like "I am not a bad person, I did a bad thing" and often the way we see the AP is a mirror of ourselves.

Then, as I gained perspective and remorse, I realized I didn’t know the AP at all, he showed me what he wanted me to see and vice versa. Most positive things I attributed to him were projected by me, unproven by him. In fact some of his behaviors towards me were outwardly callous. I saw what I wanted to.

I don’t think about the AP in any terms now other than someone I used to escape my life and someone who had no respect for me or my life. I recognize I had no good intentions towards him either, or I would not have helped him betray his wife.

I don’t see him in a positive light, I see I knew him at his worst, he knew me at mine. Nothing good was ever going to come out of that. I regret my thoughts and behavior, and wish I never went down that road at all. But he is someone that was a fictional character. I don’t hate him, or have feelings specifically about him. I only look back on that time as being lost in an abyss of my imagination, and my rock bottom era. There is nothing positive or anything to miss.

It takes a while to take accountability as a ws because if we were normal functioning people we wouldn’t t have had an affair to begin with. Doesn’t mean you should put up with it or wait, but the lies he has told himself to justify his behavior can take some time to unravel.

The fact he is honest with you about this is maybe good, honesty is important. But he is far from being a safe trustworthy partner until he can gain perspective on what expense those good feelings came at. He needs to be 100 percent on your side, which is impossible if he still defends her.

6 years of hard work
Reconciled WS and BS

posts: 6478   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8799914
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Littlepuppet ( new member #83426) posted at 7:43 PM on Wednesday, July 19th, 2023

Why is "just a friend" to you and not an full AP, the guy who proposes a solo trip to my wife in a private message?

Why every time there is intermittent contact with "just a friend" old marital conflicts reappear (inheritances/associated expenses, etc... that reopen old wounds of D)?

Why, after committing and telling me that you have closed and NC (Whats App block) with OM, do I verify that it is a lie *, (his number is not on the list of blocked contacts)?

*Why if you have 15 blocked contacts, do you tell me..."-How do you do that? I don't know how to do it"...?

posts: 22   ·   registered: Jun. 6th, 2023   ·   location: Madrid
id 8800062
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SkipThumelue ( member #82934) posted at 3:58 PM on Thursday, July 20th, 2023

Confused10,

My perspective also has evolved over the 4 years my BW and I have been in R.

In the early days, I too saw my APs in a positive light. "We're just humans who made terrible choices, but we're not awful. Plus she really isn't (fill in the blank with whatever BS I was thinking at the time)." This was absolute rug sweeping on my part as I was still traumatized and just getting into the heavy-duty stuff in IC.

As time passed, I went through a period where I started to hate them. Any thought or mention of one in particular would just make my blood boil. IC revealed to me that this was simply me transferring my self-hatred (something I have long struggled with) to them.

I'm now in a place where I can honestly say that I'm indifferent to them. I rarely think about them at all, and when I do I wish them neither well nor ill. It's a fleeting thought that disappears as fast it arrives.

It was crooked path to get there, but it was worth it.

WH
DD: 5/2019
Reconciling and extremely grateful
I do not accept PMs
"The truth is like a lion. You don't have to defend it. Let it loose. It will defend itself." - St. Augustine

posts: 106   ·   registered: Feb. 24th, 2023
id 8800182
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DaddyDom ( member #56960) posted at 9:41 PM on Thursday, July 20th, 2023

[D]id you/do you still have generally good feelings about AP? Does/has this caused a distraction with R?

In my personal opinion, this is an issue, and one that will need to be resolved in order to have any chance at R (and speaking from a purely WS POV, any chance of your spouse pulling their head out of their ass and getting honest with themselves).

Without even knowing them, anyone can tell you that an AP is never a person who is capable of true love or of self-love. (Assuming the AP was aware of being an AP). You simply cannot date a married person and yet maintain your own integrity and morality. You can't truly love someone and want what is best for them while encouraging and enabling them to do things that debase themselves and destroy their lives and families. You cannot lie and cheat and manipulate and yet claim to have a pure heart and pure feelings. Nothing about an affair is ever "real", everything about an affair is selfish, manipulative and cruel.

WS's go through a real mind game when they decide to cheat. They honestly, truly, are not dealing with full reality. I know this is incredibly frustrating and intolerable for a BS whose mind just wants things to "make sense" for once, to make any sense at all regarding what happened. But the truth is, it doesn't really make sense to begin with. When you are trying to make sense of someone who isn't in touch with reality, it's frustrating. It's like reading tea leaves. They don't make any sense, but we want them to, and so we try to do so.

But IMO, that's not really the problem here. For many WS's, ending the affair and going to therapy and working on R are things that should bring them back to actual reality, and as they get more and more back into reality, the "fakeness" of the AP and the whole affair starts to become more clear. They start to see that the AP took part in, or even encouraged, the lies. They start to see that the AP was using them to get attention and praise and that they were doing the same. They start to see who they became (liars, living a double life) and realize that they didn't like who they became with the AP. There is no set timeline for this to happen. It could take a few weeks or it could take a few years.

My point is, if your spouse still thinks of the AP as "a good person" and misses them, then they are still just as wrapped up in the mind games that got them into the affair in the first place, and if that's the case, that means they are still not "safe" to be around. Your spouses AP could have cured cancer, promoted world peace and donated to charity, but if they did all that and still had time to help you plan how to lie to your spouse and kids so you could go see them instead, then they aren't a healthy person, a good person, or a person that deserves your love and respect.

If your spouse still misses the AP then they still need something from them. Attention. Being put on a pedestal. An escape from reality. Whatever it is, it's clouding their judgment, and until it's fixed, it's a problem.

My AP smelled really bad and didn't shower often. She had poor hygiene. She dressed like a child. She was terrible with money and lived at a poverty level. She couldn't keep a job and was obnoxious to people. Her family disowned her. She paid the bills by being a private escort. She was half my age and we had nothing in common (other than being very broken people). Yet if you had read the emails and seen the interactions you would have sworn everything was "lovey dovey". Thinking of her, of myself, of that whole time, makes me physically ill now. Even if I had been single when I met her, she's not the type of person I would date, or even just be friends with. She just happened to be the person that approached me. She could have been anyone, there was nothing special about her. To be clear, I don't hate her or even wish her ill will. I realize how very, very broken she is, and I hope that one day she gets the help she needs and turns her life around. But that being said, she is a danger to others, and I respect that fact as well. There are no feelings for her.

If your WS is seeing an IC, I would strongly suggest they work on the "why's" of their continued feelings for the AP, and how those feelings are being driven by internal needs. Your WS needs to be able to find the value they seek externally by looking internally. And yeah, that's a tall order after you just finished destroying everything and everyone. But that's what's needed.

Me: WS
BS: ISurvivedSoFar
D-Day Nov '16
Status: Reconciling
"I am floored by the amount of grace and love she has shown me in choosing to stay and fight for our marriage. I took everything from her, and yet she chose to forgive me."

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AintDatSpecial ( new member #83560) posted at 5:28 PM on Friday, July 21st, 2023

I’ll try to make this brief.

D-day haunts me. WH told me when I asked. I didn’t have any evidence at all just a bad feeling about how he was acting. I told him immediately to end it. He said he couldn’t because he could be "passing up a golden opportunity". Those words will forever stay with me. He initially asked for "time apart" to work on himself, but planned on staying in the house and said he would not cut it off with AP. I cried, begged, did the whole pick me thing. I hate myself for it. Later that day, he broke down, cried, said he wanted to stay with me, etc. He did end it but it didn’t sound like a convincing NC text to me. In the text, he apologized for any pain he might have caused, said he’d hope she’d be ok, but he needed to try to make it work with me because he still loved me. I wish I had saved the text because it’s blurry now but that’s how I remember it. I have repeatedly asked what happened that day and he keeps saying he had a moment of clarity. He said he was panicked and acting irrationally but eventually let his true feelings in and realized what he was doing. He says he doesn’t know why he made the golden opportunity comment but he never felt that way, he never wanted an actual relationship with her. He went from being cold towards me to crying and apologizing within a few hours. He said he had wanted it to end it for a while but did not want a confrontation at work.

I guess my question is, did anyone have that "moment of clarity"? Does that even sound real? I feel like if all his feelings he has now are true (his supposed love and devotion to me), he’d have tried to beg me to stay that day not the other way around.

I will say that he has started taking the steps. He blocked her, read How to help your spouse heal, signed up for IC and attended a support group. He agreed to re-write a real NC letter but I am undecided on if I want this or not.

Me- BW/ Him- WH, both early 40s/ D-day June 2023/ working on healing me

posts: 22   ·   registered: Jul. 6th, 2023   ·   location: United States
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DaddyDom ( member #56960) posted at 7:14 PM on Friday, July 21st, 2023

@AintDatSpecial

Honestly, your spouse's story sounds very similar to mine in some ways. My NC letter was the same... full of apologies, empathy, hope... however I sent the NC letter and then deleted it so that my wife would never see it. (Big fat dumb move that I regret to this day). I too "waffled" at first and wasn't sure how I felt or what to do. My wife finding out what was going on was something I had run through in my head a hundred times, but in my mind, I pictured it similar to how it works on TV. I figured she'd get mad, cry... maybe she'd leave me, and if she did, it would be amicable and she'd realize that it was all for the best. But that's not real life. I wasn't prepared for the real feelings, the real trauma, the real devastation. My whole rose-colored view of how things would go was like a cold bucket of water to the face, and to the soul. I've never seen someone in that much pain in my entire life. I've seen death. I've seen torture. The pain in my wife's eyes made those things look like Disneyland by comparison. Still, at that point in time, I had much more compassion and empathy for the AP and myself than I did for my wife and kids. I hate to think about that, to admit that, but it's the truth I need to own.

Sometime within the first day or two after dday, my wife told me she was going out for an hour, and that I had that one hour to figure out, and commit to, what I was going to do. Either leave and go with the AP, or stay and try to fix the marriage, but she was clear that doing both wasn't going to work. That forced me to think hard and make some hard choices, but it also forced me back into reality. I realized the damage done to my wife and kids. I also started to think what life would be like if I stayed with the AP, or I went my own way. All the things I had compartmentalized, justified or excused suddenly came to the forefront and I started to feel like I had lit the fuse on a stick of dynamite and was just sitting on the stick, waiting for it to explode.

Clarity, true clarity, took time. For me, it took a LONG time, years in fact. On one hand, I stayed committed to R. I never talked to the AP again, and while I did struggle with my feelings for a few months, I never doubted that I had made the right choice to stay and work on R. That being said, while I insisted to my wife that I loved her, the truth is, I was so very fucked up in the head and the heart that I really was not capable of understanding love. Everything about me was still selfish. I would write letter after letter to my wife professing my love, my commitment to her, and trying to explain to her how I was really still a good guy... but every single letter ended up being all about me, what I wanted, what I needed, and assuming that what was best for her was what I deemed best for her. So when you ask how he could possibly go from having an affair to suddenly loving you again, I would say... he can't. Not because he doesn't want to, not even because he doesn't really feel those feelings, but simply more of a "can't". It takes an enormous break with reality to justify having an affair, and even more so to live a double life full of lies and deceit and betrayal. Undoing that takes time and a ton of work, if it happens at all.

My best advice to you is simply to get as informed as possible (which you are already doing) and then make some hard decisions about what you want and what you are willing to accept while getting there. As I said, it took me years. My wife chose to stay, even through all the pain, all the horrible things I said to her, the callousness, the selfishness, the entitlement, the complete lack of empathy and compassion. But doing so did so, so much damage to her, to both of us really. In the end, that "switch flipped" for me, truly flipped, and when it did, my humanity and integrity and compassion came back too, and once that happened, progress was quick, her walls were able to start coming down, trust was able to be rebuilt, so on and so on.

I know that, at first, she stayed because of our daughter. She was 16 at the time and still had a few more years to graduate. My wife decided she wanted that to happen first, and then she would leave me. Luckily, I had one thing going for me, and that was simply that I refused to give up. I went to IC and MC, I read books, I did active research, I used every resource and every tool I could to help figure myself out, and then made strides to "fix" the broken parts that led to the affair. She saw this, she realized that I was trying (failing miserably, but trying) and that prompted her to "watch and see what happens" to some degree. When I snapped back to reality, it was easier for her to justify staying and attempting to R. We made a lot of legal decisions as well. We agreed upon a postnup where she got the lion's share of the assets if we ever split up. I signed papers ensuring that I would not get any of her 401K money and that the kids would get everything. We made agreements on how finances would work if we divorced and sold the house, etc. Then it was up to me mostly, to either give her reasons to stay, or get out of her way and not be a barrier to her happiness if she decided to leave. We are 7+ years out now and in a better place... we are already exploring retirement together and have bought houses and cars and so on. The plan is to stay together, but I also know, every day, that she has every right and every reason to leave, and that I need to be sensitive and understanding of that.

You are very, VERY early into the process right now. My advice? Don't put the pressure on yourself of deciding R or D just yet unless you feel really solid about either one. Take time to process and heal. Put boundaries in place that make sense and that help you to heal and not get wrapped up in your spouse's healing. Talk to other BS's about things such as "Detaching" and doing "a 180" which are techniques to help keep you safe while allowing you to also get on with living. Insist on your WS "doing the work" and if IC is a possibility, insist on that as well. They need to understand their "why's" and how they allowed themselves to debase themselves to the point of being a cheater. Doing so is what will ultimately help make them a safer person to be around. If enough progress is made and they learn to love and respect themselves again, that when the door to true love and respect for YOU will open. BS's ask about this all the time... how to know when it is "real". My best reply is simply that "you'll know". When a baby cries, you go and comfort it, not because it benefits you in any way, not even because it's the right thing to do, but because true love kicks in and we show compassion and care and sacrifice for those we truly love. That's what your WS is missing right now, they are still just doing CYA and trying to make this pain go away. That's not love. You'll know love when you see it because you will feel "seen" and "heard" and "understood" by them, and/or you will see them throw themselves under the bus for your benefit (e.g. a parent works three jobs to send their kid to college, or in this case, maybe the WS says, "You and the kids need to be safe and taken care of, so you take the house and car, I'll figure my own way to survive"). You can't cheat and have empathy at the same time, ya know?

Good luck, I hope things work out for you.

Me: WS
BS: ISurvivedSoFar
D-Day Nov '16
Status: Reconciling
"I am floored by the amount of grace and love she has shown me in choosing to stay and fight for our marriage. I took everything from her, and yet she chose to forgive me."

posts: 1412   ·   registered: Jan. 18th, 2017
id 8800440
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fhtshop ( new member #83337) posted at 5:34 PM on Thursday, July 27th, 2023

I have a question for WS’s. There probably aren't many that can answer this because it's probably going to be more of a wayward wife question more than a male and there aren't many on this site.
Did any of you feel used by your AP because you felt like the relationship was more than just sex when it turns out that was all your AP was using you for after it ended? Even if neither of you were considering leaving your betrayed spouses or partners.

posts: 23   ·   registered: May. 12th, 2023   ·   location: New Zealand
id 8801098
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Darkness Falls ( member #27879) posted at 9:25 PM on Thursday, July 27th, 2023

^ No, doesn’t apply to my situation.

(I am a female WS)

Married -> I cheated -> We divorced -> We remarried -> Had two kids -> Now we’re miserable again

Staying together for the kids

D-day 2010

posts: 6490   ·   registered: Mar. 8th, 2010   ·   location: USA
id 8801127
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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 7:03 AM on Friday, July 28th, 2023

I have a question for WS’s. There probably aren't many that can answer this because it's probably going to be more of a wayward wife question more than a male and there aren't many on this site.

Did any of you feel used by your AP because you felt like the relationship was more than just sex when it turns out that was all your AP was using you for after it ended? Even if neither of you were considering leaving your betrayed spouses or partners.

Okay, so did I feel used?

I wouldn’t write it that way only because there are facets to this question.

Feeling used to me is like being taken advantage of. It places me in a state of victimhood. The AP did not take advantage of me because what I did was a decision I made.

So what I would write:

Yes the AP used me, but I used him as well. I did not do it consciously. Whether he did and to what degree is speculative and not something I ever ponder. To have personal accountability over it means that I accept responsibility for being there in the first place, giving him the opportunity to advance the situation and knowing damned well we were both married.

I have some idea you are referring more to sexually, because affair aside, there is a slant that a woman should be more virtuous than a man and that sex without the premise of love and protection is a tragedy for her. It’s something to feel shame over. Like a date who got you in the back seat of a car in highschool and dumped you the next day sort of thing.

Now bring the affair into it, the virtuous part is different. What I would describe is overwhelming shame followed my affair for years. But not because I was used, but because I learned I had no integrity or respect, and that I had fallen very far from who I wanted to be. Saying I was used sexually would be shifting the blame from myself to him.

And feeling used sexually doesn’t carry the gravity to make deep lasting changes to be a better and safer partner.

The reason I went into the nuances of this is to explain reform from your ws may start with shame. But shame and navel gazing are ineffective vehicles of the introspection and change needed in an individual who cheats. A fundamental difference between a ws and a former ws is whether or not they take responsibility for their own feelings and actions.

[This message edited by hikingout at 7:09 AM, Friday, July 28th]

6 years of hard work
Reconciled WS and BS

posts: 6478   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8801181
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Gracey ( member #79334) posted at 10:37 AM on Friday, July 28th, 2023

Question for WS
Having discovered my WH has a porn problem recently I am wondering from other WH that may have had the same problem, what came first A or porn problem. A lot of advice online appears to suggest that WS become unhealthy due to porn and then go in to A. If the A is long term and EA could the porn problem be as a result of WH wanting it to be PA. Just trying to get clarity as to if my avoidant WH is addicted or in love? Thank you

Together 34 years Married. 17 years

posts: 83   ·   registered: Aug. 27th, 2021   ·   location: United Kingdom
id 8801188
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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 2:27 PM on Friday, July 28th, 2023

Question for WS
Having discovered my WH has a porn problem recently I am wondering from other WH that may have had the same problem, what came first A or porn problem. A lot of advice online appears to suggest that WS become unhealthy due to porn and then go in to A. If the A is long term and EA could the porn problem be as a result of WH wanting it to be PA. Just trying to get clarity as to if my avoidant WH is addicted or in love? Thank you

So people do get sexual addictions like gambling or otherwise.

As for whether it was love, porn or not my answer is that is it depends. I personally don’t believe most people experience live in an affair. I think they feel highs from the elicitness of it and sometimes they translate that to love. But physical affairs with an emotional component doesn’t translate to love. Love means you care about the other person and if threat were true you would not help them blow up their work. Love isn’t based on lies.

What does he say?

6 years of hard work
Reconciled WS and BS

posts: 6478   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8801225
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