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I Can Relate :
BS Questions for WS - Part 15

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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 5:56 AM on Wednesday, February 7th, 2024

This is where I have my current struggles. Looking back she says she knew all along that he was a loser, but she made him something more in her mind which is the only way she could carry it on.

To us normal functioning people that seems like too much work.

I relate to what she is saying but I also understand why it makes no sense to you. Let me see if I can compare it to something a normal functioning person might be able to relate to.

Have you ever suppressed a gut feeling, a fleeting thought because it didn’t fit the narrative of what you wanted?

I would get a fleeting thought of knowing this guy was in no way the same league as my husband. Or that I should make it stop. And I’d push it away because I needed the fantasy of it more. I literally ducked the first time the guy tried to kiss me- why would I do that if I really wanted that?

It took understanding why I did it, what I was getting from it, to understand what he represented. So I would say it was maybe a few months after the affair ended when I started to realize that the things I thought about him was basically vapor. My therapist would say "what did he do that gave you that impression?" And I would realize that answer was nothing. It was all projecting and mirrroring.

I am not saying no one has affairs out of attraction. Even in my situation, I mean the AP was funny, and accomplished. It wasn’t that there was nothing attractive about him. But honestly it was more like a gambling or shopping addiction than a love story. I knew deep down he was a serial cheater, too old for me, that being with him would have gotten me fired, gotten me divorced. But in my little narrative none of this was going to happen.

Probably like when someone tries drugs they don’t believe they will become an addict. You make this decision to do something destructive because y I need to escape, but then before long the momentum takes you in a totally unexpected direction. Stupid. You knew the risks you just felt you were above them.

And then when those voices say "ew, this guy?" You push that away because you are already I too deep. You can jot admit what a fool you are to have risked everything over nothing, so you keep intensifying the story so it is easier to justify. That’s why you often hear things like soulmate in an affair. Over the top notions. It’s to try and make it okay.

I am not sure that you can relate to that at all.

[This message edited by hikingout at 6:06 AM, Wednesday, February 7th]

7 years of hard work - WS and BS - Reconciled

posts: 7284   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
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BraveSirRobin ( member #69242) posted at 12:01 PM on Wednesday, February 7th, 2024

Probably like when someone tries drugs they don’t believe they will become an addict.

I've used this analogy, too. Another WS compared it to a thrill ride. There you are in line, with a clear view of people getting the shit scared out of them, dropped from suicidal heights, snapped back and forth to the point where they're screaming. Why would you volunteer for that, especially when you've had plenty of time to change your mind? Because you think it's all a game. Someone else has put on safety rails. The thrill is real, but the risk is imaginary. True, there's a tiny chance something could go wrong, but that's anxiety talking, right? You're just going to have a little fun, and it will all end on schedule with no harm done. And so, you jump on board.

Ironically, being in a good relationship made me feel fireproof. There was no way being flirty was going to get out of hand, because I wasn't that kind of person. I was far too kind and smart and ethical to betray my boyfriend. Therefore, what I was doing had to be above board, or I wouldn't be doing it. When the logical part of my brain started to fight that premise, I stuck it in a soundproof box in the corner of my mind. Other WS don't have such a box, so they fight back instead, making up excuses why they are entitled to cheat. In their minds, a good person wouldn't be unfaithful unless there was some outside justification. If there's nothing handy to blame within the marriage, they'll make a reason up, like rescuing the poor, struggling AP. And of course, you get the narcissists who don't even have an inner voice to appease. They're just bottomless wells of entitlement who see no reason not to take what they want.

After the sex, I felt surreal. It was supposedly impossible, and yet I'd done it. The soundproof box in my mind didn't even need to be soundproof in that moment. My inner voice was too stunned to have anything left to say.

WW/BW

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TrayDee ( new member #82906) posted at 3:34 PM on Wednesday, February 7th, 2024

Thank you BSR and Hikingout for helping me understand.

It is hilarious because your examples are spot on for me.

I never do drugs and I haven't ridden a roller coaster in over 30 years.

Not because I am scared, but because I don't get anything out of it. I am very risk/reward conscious so I always measure the risk in anything I do vs what I get from it. I don't risk anything of value unless there is a good chance of a reward that is greater than the risk.

It seems WS in general don't believe the risk is that great, or mentally minimize the risk, or they just live in the moment for whatever reason. It is only when the roller coaster breaks or the drugs become an addiction that they realize it is problematic.

posts: 45   ·   registered: Feb. 21st, 2023   ·   location: MS
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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 5:34 PM on Thursday, February 8th, 2024

It seems WS in general don't believe the risk is that great, or mentally minimize the risk, or they just live in the moment for whatever reason. It is only when the roller coaster breaks or the drugs become an addiction that they realize it is problematic.

I guess sort of.

I view it as more the affair came out of desperation to alleviate a lot of pain, and the reward (the highs) weighed more than the risk.

Depression causes you to not care about things, to be numb. My husband was part of my numb life that I was escaping. In that distorted way of being, it doesn’t feel like a risk, it feels like relief. It felt like I deserved some happiness, I turned it into entitlement moreso than framing it as a risk.

But it wasn’t my husband’s fault that I was depressed. Or that I chose not to seek help. Or that I had the affair. It was my fault I was unhappy and my fault for choosing to leave the marriage improperly. And it was false happiness, fools gold. My decisions are what brought in the most misery of all.

[This message edited by hikingout at 5:35 PM, Thursday, February 8th]

7 years of hard work - WS and BS - Reconciled

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Stillconfused2022 ( member #82457) posted at 8:28 PM on Friday, February 9th, 2024

Hiking Out: wondering whether you would understand that saying your husband was part of your numb life that you were escaping sounds like you did not believe he was interesting or valuable. Was that true? What made him stop seeming valuable to you? Is this an example of « taking for granted ». How can a BS feel that they are really valuable to their WS if they were willing to risk that. Did you put other things you valued at risk? Like are you a person who always locks the door on your car/ your house etc? Wondering how you framed this to your BH to help them cope with the pain this kind of description might elicit.

Thank you very much for all the work you do helping others understand wayward perspective.

posts: 391   ·   registered: Nov. 27th, 2022   ·   location: Northeast
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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 9:15 PM on Friday, February 9th, 2024

Still confused,

I think maybe you are reading that as my husbands behaviors or actions had anything to do with my affair. My affair was 100 percent on me.

My depression had stemmed from working 18 hour days 6-7 days a week and not feeling like I was doing any one thing well. H was starting a new business that I was helping with, our youngest was a senior and there were a million activities to keep up with. I worked full time and took care of all the domestic stuff. It easily made three full time jobs.

I was burned out, feeling unhappy and unhealthy. And when I would go to my husband to say I am at the limit he said to push through it wouldn’t be like this forever.

That doesn’t deserve to be cheated on. But my mentality was loneliness, I was not liking how I was starting to look because I had been neglecting self care, and I felt like everyone was on me about my mistakes. It was because I wasn’t functioning well.

And I did keep pushing all that down below the surface and not addressing any of it. Not speaking up or taking control over my own life. My husband was largely in the dark about how I was feeling and honestly I didn’t take any time to self reflect either.

I started to fantasize about living alone and only being responsible for me. And when the ap came a long it was just a perfect storm where instead of taking any assessment of what was wrong with me or trying to take steps to fix it, I escaped into this world where I was a younger and more vibrant version of myself. I stopped doing all the things and largely ignored any further complaints about it. I started back to self care and was wildly unhealthy in a different way. I was addicted to the attention because of it wasn’t there to distract me then my world started closing in on me again.

I don’t feel this was my husbands fault and neither does he by the way. We were largely disconnected for a long period leading into my affair. He wasn’t as surprised I wanted out but he was blindsided that I had an affair instead of really putting my foot down and saying this is all not working for me. He felt I had more integrity than that. He felt if I had said the state I was reaching that he would have stepped in and tried to help me figure it out and he would have fought to get our marriage back on track. And I believe he probably would have.

So if anyone was taking anyone for granted it was certainly both of us. But I think he had confidence in how much I loved him and he thought we could get through it because he felt we were both devoted to each other.

And I am about 10 years younger than he is, we had been together since I was a very young woman. I felt like he was the authority in our marriage for all those years and I didn’t think I could have my power back because we had long established roles and how our marriage worked. I don’t think he was conscious that I felt that way because he never saw us that way. But I wanted autonomy. In fact, I never thought I would be with ap either, I didn’t see myself ever wanting to get married or live with a man again.

But my affair didn’t have to do with my husband not being attractive to me, him not being a good husband. Or being boring or any flaws about him. My affair was because I was sleepwalking through life and didn’t give a shit about anything in my life anymore but wasn’t a being very conscious about it or why it was.

Numbing bad feelings also numb good feelings, it’s not a selective sort of thing.

I wish I had reacted in any other way, but my recklessness was in relation to not valuing myself, and you can’t give what you don’t have.

My husband is the love of my life. I crave him in every sense. But until I could fix my relationship with myself, I was of no use to anyone.

So I think he has seen over the last 7 years how mindful I have become, how communicative, how I prioritize him (and myself too) and I think he sees that I learned not to be asleep at the wheel, to say hard truths, and to show my devotion towards him very single day. I think he sees And believes I am responsible for my own happiness and no longer harboring expectations over unstated needs.

7 years of hard work - WS and BS - Reconciled

posts: 7284   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
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Groot1988 ( member #84337) posted at 3:41 AM on Sunday, February 11th, 2024

After dday my husband said some things to me that were very hurtful. It was in the first few weeks after discovery as we were talking about things.

1. He said she "knew him better than me". They had a four month affair and we’ve been together 11 years and he admitted they never talked about anything really of substance , just ego kibbles.

2. said "she’s just like you and we can talk just without all the noise and kids". Uh she is nothing like me , I wouldn’t sleep with a married man willingly and I sure wouldn’t do drugs and leave my kids at home… later he told me it’s because we both liked to read and liked Halloween ( yeah ok)

3. He said " she had a nice body" but she didn’t…. I’ve seen her. Not long after he admitted he didn’t see her for what she was and that she was in no way attractive (but it took a month or so).

4. When I asked him why he is staying with me if it was for me or the kids he said" 60% kids and 40 % you.

5. When I asked her what she texted him about when I first saw the message it said "I’m not in a good headspace to talk" he told me it was none of my business about her life… a few weeks later he threw her under the bus and said that she was getting her paychecks garnished and couldn’t afford her bills. But yet sex with my husband was her business…

Holy hell. The things that came out of his mouth may have been worse than the affair itself. When I brought these things up the first few times he said he couldn’t remember saying them and if he did he was sorry. After I kept bringing them up because I needed answers , he started to cry and said that he started to remember them and he feels horrible. He said he was so selfish and defensive and didn’t want to face what he did so this was his way of defending himself. I told him that the things he said killed me and he said he hates he ever said them and he meant none of them. And that he felt attacked in the moment , that he chose an "ugly" AP , that if he had to admit it all then basically it hurt him. I didn’t feel as if he was defending himself , it came off as he was defending her. He said he couldn’t tell me a thing she said about her life or her needs he only remembers the shit she told him about himself and the compliments she gave him.

Is this common? I meannnnn he really said the dumbest stuff and then a few months later he is acting like it all meant nothing also using someone like that …… and not caring a damn about her , that seems scary as hell. (Not that I care about her because I don’t) but that is just scary in general.

He is doing IC and they are digging deep but mannnnnnnnn.

[This message edited by Groot1988 at 3:43 AM, Sunday, February 11th]

Married 5 years (together 11) Four children Me Bs 36Him WH 35- 4 month PA Dday Oct 6- lots of TT final disclosure Jan 16.

"If we walk through hell we might as well hold hands, we should make this a home"- citizen soldier

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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 4:42 AM on Sunday, February 11th, 2024

Groot,

As much as I hate to admit this, yes a lot of it sounds familiar.

There is a good document somewhere in the healing library about how ws brainwash ourselves. I don’t think it happens in all affairs, but yes it was like that in mine.

So basically what happened with me is that I knew what I was doing was wrong, on some level I even knew the person I was having an affair with was slime. But I was so desperate to play this role of being younger and sexier, that I unconsciously made a lot of concessions about him, projected things that weren’t there.

Many times the person having an affair is having some sort of narcissistic episode. I am not an actual narcissist by the way, but inside the affair I was. I was very focused on myself. How I was being seen, etc.

Because I had been so depressed prior to the affair, I believed my husband saw me the way I saw myself. In the affair I was pretending to be someone carefree, and vibrant.

In order to keep crossing boundaries, there is a lot happening psychologically. There is a lot of numbing, mentally throwing the spouse under the bus, even dehumanizing them to a certain extent.

For me, that looked like "my husband doesn’t love me he loves what I do for him that makes his life better". I painted him as emotionally unavailable. I felt a lot of resentment I had been storing. (When in reality, it was me not sharing, me not being emotionally available, me not feeling loveable)

Coming out of the affair because of that self brainwashing from the stories I was telling myself, I said all sorts of ridiculous things. Some of them are even on your list. And I hate that I did that, at the time I was very mixed up and shell shocked the secret was out of the bag. Facing what I had done came in increments, and the more I worked through therapy the more I understood that my thoughts during the affair were so baseless.

I can understand how painful what he has said to you is on top of what he did to you. I do think that is what they call the "fog" which a lot of people here think is rubbish. I believe it exists. It’s not the reason I had an affair, it’s not even what kept the affair going. To me the fog is the disorientation of coming out of a fantasy world back to reality and slowly facing your shit. You tend to live in that fantasy world more than the real world during the affair and so much has been unexamined because it’s not like there are usually people to talk to about it with.

[This message edited by hikingout at 4:44 AM, Sunday, February 11th]

7 years of hard work - WS and BS - Reconciled

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Groot1988 ( member #84337) posted at 2:09 PM on Sunday, February 11th, 2024

Hiking out , thank you so much for the transparency.

I also believe in the "fog" because my husband explained it like that before he even knew it was a thing and he’s absolutely disgusted by all the stupid stuff he said but he said he felt like a dog in a corner.

I’m doing my best to not compare myself to the AP because it wasn’t about her and really he admits he affaired down but regardless it still hurts. If we are ever going to move forward I have to worry about the affair itself l(not her) ans he has to figure out how he allowed himself to do it which he is working through. Thank you again for letting me know I wasn’t alone.

[This message edited by Groot1988 at 2:11 PM, Sunday, February 11th]

Married 5 years (together 11) Four children Me Bs 36Him WH 35- 4 month PA Dday Oct 6- lots of TT final disclosure Jan 16.

"If we walk through hell we might as well hold hands, we should make this a home"- citizen soldier

posts: 320   ·   registered: Jan. 6th, 2024   ·   location: Darker side of gray
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Apollos ( new member #84379) posted at 5:24 PM on Sunday, February 11th, 2024

deleted...

[This message edited by Apollos at 5:59 PM, Sunday, February 11th]

posts: 37   ·   registered: Jan. 18th, 2024
id 8824240
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Ragn3rK1n ( member #84340) posted at 5:43 PM on Sunday, February 11th, 2024

hikingout,

Your posts are beyond outstanding. Just by reading a handful of your posts and replies, I've learned more things about the WW perspective than I ever could figure out in the ~15 years since my fWW's A. Are you a writer or a public speaker?

BH (late 40s), fWW (mid 40s), M ~18 years, T ~22 years
DDay was ~15 years ago.
Informally separated for ~2 years and then reconciled and moved on. Have two amazing kiddos now.

posts: 131   ·   registered: Jan. 8th, 2024   ·   location: USA
id 8824242
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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 6:32 PM on Sunday, February 11th, 2024

Hi,

I am glad if it helps someone. I gravitate back here to pay it forward, this site was crucial in understanding my bs.

Nope, not a public speaker. I have dabbled in writing, I wrote a fiction book but it is not published anywhere. I have plans to write another one that might be of enough quality to publish. I will at some point, life is very much in my way right now.

7 years of hard work - WS and BS - Reconciled

posts: 7284   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8824247
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Groot1988 ( member #84337) posted at 7:23 PM on Sunday, February 11th, 2024

Hiking out because you’re so helpful I have one more.

My husband claimed he never thought I was dumb for not not knowing about his affair. Clearly I was like many others here, just dumbfounded. I mean I thought our marriage was perfect. The whole time his affair was going on I was posting on social media and she was even friends with him and saw all that I tagged! He claimed he never thought less of me and even more hard to believe is she never asked about me the whole time until the end. It really just strikes me as unbelievable he never told
Her he would leave me. He said I wasn’t brought up , nor once and she never brought me up.

1. Can two people really just pretend like I don’t exist while they are together. I don’t get how someone didn’t have more self respect to not at least be told lies (if that makes sense)
2. Did you think less of your husband when he didn’t know? Did you think he was blind for not seeing your affair.

I am going to talk about it during therapy but I picture him laughing at me each time he walked out the door and even laughing with her but he said that that was awful. He had the audacity to say to me "I never would have her in our car or our home". He claimed he had more "respect"
for me …. Like screwing her in her car makes it better? He said if she would have brought me up he would have defended me and it would have brought him back probably. I feel like he is a master compartmentalizer? Idk.

Married 5 years (together 11) Four children Me Bs 36Him WH 35- 4 month PA Dday Oct 6- lots of TT final disclosure Jan 16.

"If we walk through hell we might as well hold hands, we should make this a home"- citizen soldier

posts: 320   ·   registered: Jan. 6th, 2024   ·   location: Darker side of gray
id 8824252
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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 11:40 PM on Sunday, February 11th, 2024

No I didn’t think my husband was dumb. I largely ignored what my husband would think because that would be about consequences and that would have been a situation crusher.

Let’s put it this way, if I were a drug addict and stole my grandmas pearls, I would just hope and pray that she never found out because I could not bare to consider what she would do or how she would think of me. This to me would be the best example I could come up with.

My affair lasted two months. There were no plans to leave, most affairs don’t operate much past the day that you are on. We didn’t ignore the existence of the spouses as much as we side stepped it. They came up more like "we are going here today" or in passing. They were never a centerpiece of discussion past the initial stuff that is common in affairs. "Dead bedroom" or "love but not in love" and all of that is really just to release the boundaries, not because they have been heavily examined or even talked with the spouse about.

It’s normal for you to feel humiliated, tricked and lied to. But that doesn’t make you stupid. It probably means you trusted your husband a whole lot. And that’s what a healthy marriage is based on. You were doing what would have been normal for a wife to do.

7 years of hard work - WS and BS - Reconciled

posts: 7284   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8824286
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BraveSirRobin ( member #69242) posted at 4:58 AM on Monday, February 12th, 2024

It really just strikes me as unbelievable he never told
Her he would leave me. He said I wasn’t brought up , nor once and she never brought me up.

1. Can two people really just pretend like I don’t exist while they are together.

Yes. My BH (betrayed BF at the time) was a conversational no-fly zone between me and the OM. He and I had talked about BH a bit when things were still above board between us, but never anything negative. Once the A was underway, the last thing I wanted to do was trigger thoughts of my unethical behavior, and I assume the OM didn't want to remind me of my BF for the same reason. I don't think he wanted to risk triggering an attack of conscience that could end the affair.

I don’t get how someone didn’t have more self respect to not at least be told lies (if that makes sense)

Waywards have very little self respect. We have self -indulgence, which is not the same thing. If we believed we deserved better, we would confront our issues head on and try to fix them. But we don't, so we soothe ourselves with ego kibbles from an AP. It's emotional junk food. The OM didn't think he deserved anything better from me, and he didn't have the nerve to ask for more.

2. Did you think less of your husband when he didn’t know? Did you think he was blind for not seeing your affair.

Never. I spent a lot of energy keeping him firmly compartmentalized in my "real" life. The A, in my mind, was like a one-off episode in a series where the plot focuses on a minor character. The episode ends, the loop closes, and the main plot continues with no real impact. He wasn't supposed to see it, because it "had nothing to do with him."

WW/BW

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Groot1988 ( member #84337) posted at 1:04 PM on Monday, February 12th, 2024

Thank you brave sir Robin!

His actions at the time seem to relate your answers.

Self indulgence is such a good term!

Her literally indulges in everything, food , music, playing pool, any honby and the affair was no exception. He becomes obsessed. He told me his counselor pointed that out and is working on that with him on why he is that way.

[This message edited by Groot1988 at 1:26 PM, Monday, February 12th]

Married 5 years (together 11) Four children Me Bs 36Him WH 35- 4 month PA Dday Oct 6- lots of TT final disclosure Jan 16.

"If we walk through hell we might as well hold hands, we should make this a home"- citizen soldier

posts: 320   ·   registered: Jan. 6th, 2024   ·   location: Darker side of gray
id 8824304
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Notarunnerup ( member #79501) posted at 12:23 AM on Tuesday, February 13th, 2024

This is kind of piggybacking on another thread but I wondered how the waywards feel about Valentine’s Day?
I imagine that it is painful for both the ws and bs. How have you helped your BS with this holiday?

posts: 80   ·   registered: Oct. 20th, 2021
id 8824383
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ChampionRugsweeper ( new member #84237) posted at 3:33 AM on Tuesday, February 13th, 2024

Always hated Valentine’s Day and that hasn’t changed. My BH always said it was a made up holiday not worth celebrating even before the affair. In our house we celebrate March 14th AKA steak and BJ day

Me WS. Him BS. 5 month PA DD 1 : Aug 2006. Minimized, Deflected, Blame shifted, Gaslit. DD 2: Aug 2023 not new affair just actual disclosure

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NeverWillAgain ( member #25007) posted at 12:24 PM on Wednesday, February 14th, 2024

Notarunnerup - This is kind of piggybacking on another thread but I wondered how the waywards feel about Valentine’s Day?
I imagine that it is painful for both the ws and bs. How have you helped your BS with this holiday?

This was never an issue with us, even during the hard times of reconciliation after my affair. We always looked at it as a Hallmark holiday, nothing more. It's day to day that counts.

"So often times it happens, that we live our lives in chains, and we never even know we have the key."

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id 8824546
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Hippo16 ( member #52440) posted at 10:07 PM on Thursday, February 15th, 2024

Only WSes are allowed to respond to questions in this thread.

[This message edited by SI Staff at 5:47 PM, Friday, February 16th]

There's no troubled marriage that can't be made worse with adultery.If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, why not bungee jumping off a bridge span? For an extra thrill, don’t anchor the cord.

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