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I Can Relate :
BS Questions for WS - Part 15

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Bulcy ( member #74034) posted at 5:57 PM on Sunday, December 3rd, 2023

Still confused

You say " doubt BS will ever be happy…". Do you think your wife ever takes this as an implicit threat. Like, you (Betrayed Spouse) are acting like you are never going to be happy again, because you are upset or sad or angry, and therefore I may just give up and stop trying, or even worse I may leave. I want you BS to think about that (the risk that you are incurring by seeming upset or sad or angry) and improve your behavior so I don’t have to deal with it. Otherwise just remember BS, I may give up or leave.

That's an interesting question. I've left and threatened to leave on multiple occasions. Both physically and emotionally. I've used this to shut down conversations when I am not wanting to discuss, when things become completely overwhelming and and a way to hurt BS. I would always tell myself I was doing right by leaving even to the point of saying I'm doing her a favour. I rarely thing I will not be happy any more. I do still struggle with negative thoughts and shutting down, but feel I'm better at dealing with these things. Although, by them still happening and me not shutting it down immediately, I recognise I am still causing distress to BS. I've in the past weaponised my emotions. This I have since recognised is abusive behaviour. Unacceptable, so I now need to speak openly and honestly if I'm feeling negative emotions. That way BS and I can talk through together. This is still work in progress. Giving up is a common default thought. With counselling and talking I am learning to push away thoughts of giving up reasonably quickly and recognising them enough to apologise when it happens. I'm not sure on other WSs but negative self talk is still something I am battling most days.

My husband used to say stuff like this a lot: "it’s always there", "you’re never going to get over this", "its in between us all the time", etc. Etc. I always took it as a sort of a threat. A caution from him to stop acting upset, sad or angry. He wasn’t saying, "you’re sad/angry/upset so what can I do to improve the situation?". Instead he was choosing to say, if you keep acting like this and don’t get over it watch out.

Yes, we have that conversation. We both recognise that this is always going to be there and that triggers are going to happen at any time. Yes, I've thought about giving up and running away when these have happened. I think we're better at this now. We certainly acknowledge and discuss triggers and I think I react with more empathy now than I have in the past. I feel I am still trying to "fix" a trigger and immediately put on my fix it cap. I am working to be more interactive with BS and see what solution we can do together. You know, communication. An example, we had a few stuffed toys that have become rather tatty. This morning we spoke abut them and I said I've been looking for something similar to replace them. One thing I had forgotten is that the idea of buying these came from a former friend who knew of my infidelity. Therefore they were triggering. I know in the past I would have made a bit thing about throwing them away. We had a brief talk, I apologised for the number of triggers and hoped we could discuss others. The toys were given to the dogs and will end up in the bin. I do look for triggers, sometimes they come as a surprise, but I hope to deal with these empathically going forward. Looking back at past responses I can see how BS is still very wary of bringing things up as I've reacted very badly.

Then it seemed like a lightbulb went on and he started saying, no matter what you do (sad/angry/upset) I’m always going to be here. I will just settle for the sad/angry/upset version of this marriage. So let’s just settle in and you do you, but no matter what it is all going to be okay because I will never ever ever leave. This went on for maybe six months and we made great gains. It created a floor.

Thank you for sharing

So the question is… are you making a sort of sub-conscious threat when you complain about her never getting over it. Or a conscious threat? Are you trying to get her to "snap out of it" so you don’t have to deal with the fallout of your actions?

In the past yes, that is exactly what I did. Both consciously and unconsciously. I've not said "you need to get over this" for a long time, buy my actions have said this a lot. I do try to be comforting and say "I'm not going to leave you". My past has made this really difficult for BS to believe. I've said lots of things lots of times and still I would flip out at times. I have and still in some areas (family being a big one) avoided the fall out. Even not accepting my own choices and behaviours. I looked for was of ducking my responsibility. Usually just head in sand and avoid. Sat here today, I don't feel that my BS "needs to get over it" I recognise it is a long road and we need to walk it together. I have to become the man who knows this and acts this every day.

And how come it seems like you have soooo much insight, but seem to backslide yourself so much? What does that process look like?

I've read a lot and talked a lot to both BS and WSs. BS and I have talked for hours and I've journaled. I'm not stupid, academically anyway, and I understand all the words I've read. That bit was/is easy. I've struggled with my emotional intelligence. I refused for years to take personal responsibility and to be honest. That's the biggie. Honesty to myself, to BS, to counsellors and to all these people who have tried to help me. I'm my own worst enemy and have thought in the past that I am super smart and can get away with minimal effort. I've read things on here and seen these behaviours in me, but chose to ignore as it made me out to be a bad person in my own head. I have done some horrible things to BS and yet my arrogance still allowed be to not make changes needed and to resent that changes I was making. I'm in a better place now, but there are times when things get too much. My choice now is to shut down or to talk. I have chosen to talk, I now need to consistently do and show this.

WH (50's)

Multiple sexual, emotional and online affairs. Financial infidelity and emotional abuse. Physical abuse and intimidation.

D-days 2003, 2017, multiple d-days and TT through 2018 to 2023. 28 years of destructive and health damaging choice

posts: 368   ·   registered: Mar. 12th, 2020   ·   location: UK
id 8817202
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cedarwoods ( member #82760) posted at 1:58 AM on Wednesday, December 6th, 2023

Thank you again to all the waywards for answering our questions. I know many of our questions are repeats and so I thank you for being so patient with us and taking the time to respond over and over again.

My question:
How often do you think of your AP?
And when you do, is it with a sense of pining and wishing she/he were back in your life?
Or thinking of the good times you had, how you enjoyed the emotional/sexual aspect of the affair?
Are there certain triggers that cause you to think about the AP?

posts: 211   ·   registered: Jan. 20th, 2023   ·   location: USA
id 8817416
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Stillconfused2022 ( member #82457) posted at 5:35 AM on Wednesday, December 6th, 2023

Bulcy, I wanted to thank you sincerely for the time spent responding to my questions. I see many similarities between my WS and you. There is definite progress but it is slow, sometime excruciatingly slow. His selfish parts pop up on the regular, at least every 2 weeks, only to be discounted (sort of the way you did in your first post). After a 24 hour break he will say that his comments were wrong and selfish and only illustrative of the fact that he got triggered by the situation and sunk into a little shame spiral. The fact that this is likely true does not make it more satisfying.

I still commend you for your work overall, your humility (you are braggy about your smarts—probably appropriately so) but humble about your needed characterologic improvements. I’m sure we could all use some of those.

posts: 391   ·   registered: Nov. 27th, 2022   ·   location: Northeast
id 8817431
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denwickdroylsden ( member #51744) posted at 12:39 PM on Wednesday, December 6th, 2023

How often do you think of your AP?


If not daily, several times a week.

And when you do, is it with a sense of pining and wishing she/he were back in your life?


No pining. And I don't wish she were back in my life. Our A hurt her badly and I have no wish to inflict more harm on her. When I think of her I wish with all my heart that she has recovered so completely from me that she's forgotten me entirely.

Or thinking of the good times you had, how you enjoyed the emotional/sexual aspect of the affair?


I do think about those things. We had a real connection at every level and it was developing, but cut short most likely for the good. Although– I try to be as honest as I can here– I do think had we met under other circumstances, things might have gone differently.

Are there certain triggers that cause you to think about the AP?


Yes, places were we were together, mainly.

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

posts: 66   ·   registered: Feb. 9th, 2016
id 8817440
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Bulcy ( member #74034) posted at 8:29 PM on Wednesday, December 6th, 2023

There is definite progress but it is slow, sometime excruciatingly slow. His selfish parts pop up on the regular, at least every 2 weeks, only to be discounted (sort of the way you did in your first post). After a 24 hour break he will say that his comments were wrong and selfish and only illustrative of the fact that he got triggered by the situation and sunk into a little shame spiral. The fact that this is likely true does not make it more satisfying.

I recognise this in me. I seem to go thought a two week cycle of working on me and working on us. I allow things to slip or say something really dumb and push us backwards. I am still reactionary, I used to take pride in being less reactionary than a year ago, but reacting is reacting and it is detrimental to my BS. I, too often, think of giving up. Like your WS, usually within 24 hours, I've pulled my head from my ass and talked though what upset me. Shame spirals are still a thing, again less often, but still there and still negatively impacting.

WH (50's)

Multiple sexual, emotional and online affairs. Financial infidelity and emotional abuse. Physical abuse and intimidation.

D-days 2003, 2017, multiple d-days and TT through 2018 to 2023. 28 years of destructive and health damaging choice

posts: 368   ·   registered: Mar. 12th, 2020   ·   location: UK
id 8817478
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Bulcy ( member #74034) posted at 8:45 PM on Wednesday, December 6th, 2023

How often do you think of your AP?

I think about my infidelity every day. It depends on which or what part of the affair depending on if I've been triggered or if I'm focussing on a particular AP for trying to do the work. As is often discussed on here, there are triggers everywhere. Especially on TV. When triggered I think about infidelity and therefore an AP. Also, when talking with BS, I think about them. Nowadays I do not think of them fondly. I hate everything I did with these women. I feel sick and my chest tenses up when I have to think back. This does lead to shame spirals and me making dumb ass reactionary choices.


And when you do, is it with a sense of pining and wishing she/he were back in your life?

No, not at all. Part of the work I have been doing has made it obvious to me that I did. That Some of my reactions were related to still having feelings that I had not acknowledged or refused to own up to. It would be horrific if any of them were physically back in my life. Because of my infidelity they are always there and continue to impact our lives. Owning this is difficult.

Or thinking of the good times you had, how you enjoyed the emotional/sexual aspect of the affair?

As with above, any thought of APs is a huge trigger. Places, past jobs, specific times of year, special occasions with BS, some sex acts have all been ruined by me. I am aware of these and feel tense whenever I see a potential trigger and crushed and often overwhelmed by my past. I also have difficulty in these feelings given they are self inflicted and also a whole lot worse on BS.

Are there certain triggers that cause you to think about the AP?

Yes, all triggers make me think of infidelity and by default an AP related to the trigger will come to mind.

I try to discuss the above with BS, I'm not great at it as when feeling ashamed or overwhelmed I avoid or shut down. This obviously triggers BS even more. I see this and NEED to be the one to do something about it.

WH (50's)

Multiple sexual, emotional and online affairs. Financial infidelity and emotional abuse. Physical abuse and intimidation.

D-days 2003, 2017, multiple d-days and TT through 2018 to 2023. 28 years of destructive and health damaging choice

posts: 368   ·   registered: Mar. 12th, 2020   ·   location: UK
id 8817483
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seizetheday ( new member #83712) posted at 11:16 PM on Wednesday, December 6th, 2023

How often do you think of your AP? "And when you do, is it with a sense of pining and wishing she/he were back in your life?"

2 years out I rarely think of the AP at all unless triggered. I am thankful that she is out of my life.

Or thinking of the good times you had, how you enjoyed the emotional/sexual aspect of the affair?"

I look back and don't see good times but see acts of betrayal and consequence to my BS, family and myself.

Are there certain triggers that cause you to think about the AP?"

Reminders of my offending (locations, certain dates, events, some times-of-day) are all around me and I work hard to replace the default shame/pity party response with an acknowledgement of historical facts, a healthy current reality and continued future growth.

For my BS the triggers are locations and some of my behaviours - especially those that are attention seeking, hiding or withdrawing. I'm working on being more consistent in recognising my emotions and choosing healthier behaviours.

Me - FWS

posts: 24   ·   registered: Aug. 10th, 2023
id 8817512
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Howcthappen ( member #80775) posted at 8:28 PM on Friday, December 8th, 2023

This morning we got into an argument. He was saying that he needed to know if I thought he had lines or if I had so little faith in the work he was doing that I still thought he was the same. He was NOT trying to get any leeway - it was prompted by me questioning who he was going to hire when he started interviewing.

The reason I’m writing this is because he was frustrated with my questions about the AP. She was not at all attractive and it just dumbfounded me that he was with her so long.

He said she was like him gorging out in a hotdog competition and then when it was done he gagged in the corner. He feels disgusted when he thinks about the time during the affair. I was like you never eat hotdogs yet you needed someone’s applause to say you were winning a hotdog eating contest.

Do any wayward relate?

Three years since DdayNever gonna be the sameReconcilingThe sting is still present

posts: 225   ·   registered: Aug. 30th, 2022   ·   location: DC
id 8817811
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ff4152 ( member #55404) posted at 1:39 AM on Monday, December 11th, 2023

Howcthappen

I can relate to what your WH said. While my AP wouldn’t have given Shrek a run for his money, she was not what people would consider hot. she was overweight and was at best plain looking. I suppose if were splitting hairs, she was gifted in the boob department.

For me, My AP blew smoke up my ass and told me what a great guy I was. My wife’s love language doesn’t contain words of affirmation. My AP gave me blow jobs every time I saw her. That particular act is something my wife has never done. So I suppose from that perspective, I gorged myself.

Now, I feel disgusted by the whole thing. It’s quite sobering to consider that I did all of these awful things for something as phony as an affair.

Me -FWS

posts: 2103   ·   registered: Sep. 30th, 2016
id 8817967
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Seateasea ( new member #62771) posted at 5:28 PM on Monday, December 11th, 2023

My wife and I have been married for 42 years and she had an affair 39 years ago. I found out 5 years ago when she confessed. She says that this was the only time that she was unfaithful during our 42 years of marriage. Reconciliation is going well but one thing that I still struggle with is how likely is this the only time she cheated? Would a WW that is not found out and thus never faced any consequences of their actions for 35 years stop her wayward behavior after one affair or would she continue to cheat until found out?

Me-BH(58)
Her- WW(57)
Married- 37 years
Affair - 1984
DDay - 1/192018

posts: 15   ·   registered: Feb. 19th, 2018   ·   location: Arkansas
id 8818014
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gr8ful ( member #58180) posted at 5:40 PM on Monday, December 11th, 2023

Seateasea i am not allowed to ask you questions in this forum but I would highly recommend you post in General where you’ll get a lot of feedback.

posts: 379   ·   registered: Apr. 6th, 2017
id 8818017
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ff4152 ( member #55404) posted at 8:12 PM on Monday, December 11th, 2023

Seateasea

For context, my A ended in 2016. I ended the A and was not caught nor have I confessed.

I can say with as certainty as possible that I would never have an A again. The first 3 or so years post A were some of the worst of my life and I have no desire to go through that again.

As far as whether or not your wife will ever cheat again, no one really knows that for certain except your wife. If you are unsure as to whether she had other A, you should seriously consider having her take a polygraph test. Some might say that, given the amount of time that’s passed, you should let sleeping dogs lie. I disagree. If this is still torturing you after all this time, I think you have the right to ask for it.

Me -FWS

posts: 2103   ·   registered: Sep. 30th, 2016
id 8818032
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Bulcy ( member #74034) posted at 8:30 PM on Monday, December 11th, 2023

Howcthappen

He said she was like him gorging out in a hotdog competition and then when it was done he gagged in the corner. He feels disgusted when he thinks about the time during the affair. I was like you never eat hotdogs yet you needed someone’s applause to say you were winning a hotdog eating contest.

Do any wayward relate?

I think I can relate. My APs and my "friends" I had at the time were awful people. They had no decency in them. Yet I still pulled them towards me. I am working with my IC to rid myself of this need to be liked. These people inflated my ego, they acted in or supported me in my infidelity, they allowed me to use them in my justifications. I sought out people who would allow me to continue in my behaviour, no matter how shit these people were I looked for them. None of these people were friends of the marriage and that was exactly what I was looking for. I have a couple of friends from years ago, these people I kept my wayward behaviour quiet. I knew they would not approve and would either tell BS or slap me with a bit of 4x2 and insist I sorted myself out.

Today, I do not seek out people who are not friends of the marriage. I try to recognise people who are wayward and steer clear. However I do still have a need to be liked, and have to be very conscious of my behaviour and how I interact with people to ensure I am not building any relationship that is inappropriate for a serial wayward. Fortunately BS and I are both working from home, so BS get to hear most of my meetings, that way she can challenge me if she feels I am being too friendly. I do struggle though.

Waywards seek waywards. We use one another and while I am responsible for my choices, I used these people to promote my actions as well as promoting theirs.

I'm not sure if this is quite what your WS was trying to say, but hopefully it is of use.

WH (50's)

Multiple sexual, emotional and online affairs. Financial infidelity and emotional abuse. Physical abuse and intimidation.

D-days 2003, 2017, multiple d-days and TT through 2018 to 2023. 28 years of destructive and health damaging choice

posts: 368   ·   registered: Mar. 12th, 2020   ·   location: UK
id 8818035
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Howcthappen ( member #80775) posted at 3:10 AM on Wednesday, December 13th, 2023

Thanks for replying. But it just doesn’t make sense to me that you would feel disgusted but not stop.

Three years since DdayNever gonna be the sameReconcilingThe sting is still present

posts: 225   ·   registered: Aug. 30th, 2022   ·   location: DC
id 8818150
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BraveSirRobin ( member #69242) posted at 3:56 AM on Wednesday, December 13th, 2023

Thanks for replying. But it just doesn’t make sense to me that you would feel disgusted but not stop.

It might help to think of the quest for validation as similar to other addictive behavior patterns. The world is full of people who start every day vowing to change their diet and end it staring morosely at the bottom of the potato chip bag, or vow sobriety and fall back into the scotch bottle after dinner, or vow to quit smoking and start taking deep, self-loathing drags by mid-afternoon. The action itself is pleasurable, but the knowledge of how unhealthy it is, and the actor's disgust at their own weakness, are what sticks with them after the momentary pleasure concludes. There is no comfort or relief for the addict in reminiscing about past indulgences. They're just reminders of the deep hole the addiction has dug in their life.

I'm not saying this is true for all waywards. Some feel no guilt, some immunize themselves from guilt by justifying their behavior with real or imagined resentments, and some are expert compartmentalizers. But I believe that it is one of the flavors of infidelity. It's empty calories temporarily filling a void and leaving the consumer feeling even more empty afterwards.

WW/BW

posts: 3632   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8818155
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cedarwoods ( member #82760) posted at 12:37 PM on Wednesday, December 13th, 2023

BSR
Your explanation is excellent. Thank you for that. How then does one free himself from this addictive behavior and get clean?

posts: 211   ·   registered: Jan. 20th, 2023   ·   location: USA
id 8818170
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ff4152 ( member #55404) posted at 1:33 PM on Wednesday, December 13th, 2023

HowCTHappen

Thanks for replying. But it just doesn’t make sense to me that you would feel disgusted but not stop.

I always felt a twinge of disgust or sliminess after being with my AP but obviously it wasn't enough to make me stop.

What started me down the road to ending my A was to stop and really consider what I was doing. An A is a very selfish act and its all about the wants and needs of the WS. I was Googling A stories one day and came across an AskAMy column post. The married OP described how she went on a girls trip, hooked up with a guy and ended up pregnant. She couldn't hide the A because the AP was of a different race and she was looking for advice on how to tell her BH.

For the first time in forever, I put myself in someone else's shoes. I was horrified for the BH in the above story and how he was going to feel when he found out. I did some additional research and came across SI where I spent a long time reading the stories, especially in JFO. That was when things started to really change for me and the way I thought about myself, my family and my life in general.

JMO but nothing would have changed until I looked outward instead of inward.

Me -FWS

posts: 2103   ·   registered: Sep. 30th, 2016
id 8818178
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BraveSirRobin ( member #69242) posted at 5:38 PM on Wednesday, December 13th, 2023

How then does one free himself from this addictive behavior and get clean?


I think that here again, the answer will vary by wayward, but it's similar to what has to happen in recovery from other addictions:

- Facing that your behavior is destroying important relationships in your life, possibly irreparably

- Therapy to identify what is behind the compulsion to continue the behavior despite the obvious consequences

- Support from other people who are walking the same path (and who understand thought patterns that seem inexplicable to a healthy person)

- Evaluating your resentments and deciding whether you ought to be ending a toxic relationship, instead of using those resentments to justify your own unhealthy behavior

- Making amends to the people you have hurt in the form that is most useful to them, not to you

- For some people, turning to a higher power to obtain strength and grace

WW/BW

posts: 3632   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8818204
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Bulcy ( member #74034) posted at 2:48 PM on Friday, December 15th, 2023

Thanks for replying. But it just doesn’t make sense to me that you would feel disgusted but not stop.

The feelings of disgust really only hit me after. I was still defending APs and people who were part of the affairs long after 2017. I knew these people were bad and wayward, yet I chose to keep them as "friends" because they placated me. They helped minimise or make BS out to be over the top in her upset. They knew secrets that I did not want BS to know. I believed in "harmless flirting". There were a lot of justifications in my mind, still are some really.

I knew but chose not to see the reality.

WH (50's)

Multiple sexual, emotional and online affairs. Financial infidelity and emotional abuse. Physical abuse and intimidation.

D-days 2003, 2017, multiple d-days and TT through 2018 to 2023. 28 years of destructive and health damaging choice

posts: 368   ·   registered: Mar. 12th, 2020   ·   location: UK
id 8818402
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Bulcy ( member #74034) posted at 2:55 PM on Friday, December 15th, 2023

I think that here again, the answer will vary by wayward, but it's similar to what has to happen in recovery from other addictions:

- Facing that your behavior is destroying important relationships in your life, possibly irreparably

- Therapy to identify what is behind the compulsion to continue the behavior despite the obvious consequences

- Support from other people who are walking the same path (and who understand thought patterns that seem inexplicable to a healthy person)

- Evaluating your resentments and deciding whether you ought to be ending a toxic relationship, instead of using those resentments to justify your own unhealthy behavior

- Making amends to the people you have hurt in the form that is most useful to them, not to you

- For some people, turning to a higher power to obtain strength and grace

^^^ THIS ^^^
These are, on paper, simple rules for a WS to follow. I've yet to do this consistently, I've held onto so many resentments. I hated being forced to do the work (hence I didn't) as this resulted in hateful acts committed by me to BS through false R. Everything she tried to do for me was seen as an attack. I realise this is not true and am less reactive nowadays but I've inflicted a lot of damage. So, when I do react, it brings my aful bahaviour flooding back to BS and even me.

WH (50's)

Multiple sexual, emotional and online affairs. Financial infidelity and emotional abuse. Physical abuse and intimidation.

D-days 2003, 2017, multiple d-days and TT through 2018 to 2023. 28 years of destructive and health damaging choice

posts: 368   ·   registered: Mar. 12th, 2020   ·   location: UK
id 8818411
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