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I Can Relate :
BS Questions for WS - Part 15

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BraveSirRobin ( member #69242) posted at 4:48 AM on Sunday, March 3rd, 2024

Do you think AP's being single has anything to do with WS seeing him or her as a victim? Both in my wife's case and yours, AP was single, and both of you felt like you owed him something.

Possibly. I wouldn't have felt so much like I was abandoning him to the void. Of course, the underlying premise of "the void" is that I was this amazing treasure, central to his world. I got a massive charge out of feeling that powerful.

Honestly,I think my stubbornness on that point had more to do with me than with him. He had given me a few excellent reasons to dump him on his ass and walk away, but I didn't want to believe those negative things about him, because the appeal of the affair was that this sweet, attractive, funny guy was head over heels for me. If he was actually a weak, dark, manipulative guy, then I had endangered my relationship with BH for nothing. I also had been summarily dumped and ghosted myself in the past, including by guys who had promised they'd always care about me, and I swore to myself that I wouldn't do the same to anyone else, ever. In my mind, abandonment was even worse than cheating. The reasons why I thought that would be food for another very long post, but I truly thought I was taking the ethical road by insisting on staying friends with the OM. Now, of course, I see that it was the cruelest thing I could have done to everyone concerned.

WW/BW

posts: 3632   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8827032
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straightup ( member #78778) posted at 6:05 AM on Sunday, March 3rd, 2024

Thanks to the regulars who reply on this thread. I have learned a lot from you and it has helped me reconcile and keep my family together, which was something I wanted.

When in the affair, did you ever think of the AP as a person who was doing something damaging and disrespectful to your spouse. As your spouses enemy, so to speak? Did that give you pause?

We have been together for over 20 years, have two teenage kids and are mostly reconciled. Things are okay. But I sometimes get caught up on imaging scenes where someone does something bad to me, say spitting in my face. Unless there was some big mitigating circumstance, like me acting terribly, or the person having a mental health crises, I expect that my wife would have immediately distanced that kind of person, even during the affair.

I think what happened with my wife pursuing a relationship with a women for months was much worse than that.

I know of answers like compartmentalization, resentments, rewriting marital history, family of origin issues, existential crises. They don’t speak to me about the lived experience of it in the moment however.

If you can recall anything about the mental gymnastics which stifled instincts you may had to protect your spouse, in the context of the affair, I would appreciate it. I just can’t quite think myself into that headspace.

If I can get it, maybe I can quit trying to imagine it.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
Mother Teresa

posts: 364   ·   registered: May. 11th, 2021   ·   location: Australia
id 8827037
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Howcthappen ( member #80775) posted at 1:20 PM on Sunday, March 3rd, 2024

For the WS who realized they affaired down physically.

I know my husband did affair down as do most and tried to make her look better than she did in his head. I think the more blow jobs and salads she tossed the more attractive she became with all the dopamine. But I saw her in person. In real life. She was not attractive. I found photos online of her and one day I shoved it in his face and he looked disgusted.

My question to you is…. Did you affair down, did you trick yourself into an attraction and when did the rose colored glasses come off for you?


I know every AP is an affair down because they are willing to go in the gutter and accept the very ugly parts of the WS.

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

posts: 225   ·   registered: Aug. 30th, 2022   ·   location: DC
id 8827045
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BraveSirRobin ( member #69242) posted at 1:34 PM on Sunday, March 3rd, 2024

When in the affair, did you ever think of the AP as a person who was doing something damaging and disrespectful to your spouse. As your spouses enemy, so to speak? Did that give you pause?

No, because then I would have had to see myself as an even greater enemy. I had made promises to my BF, and OM had not. IMO, a better analogy would be if your wife had punched you in the face and OM followed up by spitting on you. Would it make sense if she turned and screamed at him for treating you disrespectfully?

I think the closest I came to that kind of logic was when the OM referred to me as his "girlfriend." I had a strong emotional reaction to that. I felt that OM had crossed a line, because I wasn't OM's girlfriend, I was BF's. Note that I had already slept with OM at that point, so it's crazy that a word felt like a more significant boundary violation than sex. Maybe it's because it forced me to think about my own hypocrisy.

When a BS wants to reconcile, there's a desire to see the AP as the mastermind of the affair. Sometimes they are. In my case, the architect was me. That made it harder for me to cast OM in the villain role while arguing that I deserved a second chance.

WW/BW

posts: 3632   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8827049
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straightup ( member #78778) posted at 9:54 PM on Sunday, March 3rd, 2024

Thanks for your reply BSR. I appreciate it.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
Mother Teresa

posts: 364   ·   registered: May. 11th, 2021   ·   location: Australia
id 8827103
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cedarwoods ( member #82760) posted at 2:26 AM on Monday, March 4th, 2024

We are 18 months into R. WH is remorseful. I can see and sense it. He is not the selfish asshat he was during AND prior to the affair. He is attentive, caring, kind, and i can tell he is really trying. When he apologizes, i can hear it in his voice. BUT sometimes I still get angry and want to bring up the affair again. I don’t bring it up often. Maybe once every 4-5 months because I don’t find it helpful and i have all the information I need to move forward. BUT I want to remind him of all the terrible things he has done and said. I want him to know how I am hurting. I want him to hurt as well. Maybe I feel this way because if I don’t bring it up he might think I am ok now. Maybe it’s because i want him to not let his guard down and have another affair.
As a wayward, what was too much for you to take from your BS? What made you feel defeated and beaten over the head over?

posts: 211   ·   registered: Jan. 20th, 2023   ·   location: USA
id 8827126
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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 4:22 AM on Monday, March 4th, 2024

Gently cedarwoods, you are worried about him running away because your feelings are too much. 18 months is still fairly early, we were still talking about it almost daily.

I think your husband needs to realize you won’t just heal magically on your own. This is a major trauma that you have gracefully given him a second chance. I think the fact you are holding it in probably will make it very hard to let go of.

7 years of hard work - WS and BS - Reconciled

posts: 7284   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8827133
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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 4:32 AM on Monday, March 4th, 2024

Straight up,
For me, getting to the point of having an affair meant that I was as very closed off in my marriage. We were not spending much time together, and I had justified a lot with narratives about how he didn’t really love me, he loved the benefits I provided to him.

Also, I think some of what bsr was saying subconsciously was going on as well. You tend to suppress the idea that you are also the other woman in his spouses story, and no one likes to consider themselves a villain.

7 years of hard work - WS and BS - Reconciled

posts: 7284   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8827134
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straightup ( member #78778) posted at 9:48 AM on Monday, March 4th, 2024

Thanks Hiking Out.

[This message edited by straightup at 9:48 AM, Monday, March 4th]

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
Mother Teresa

posts: 364   ·   registered: May. 11th, 2021   ·   location: Australia
id 8827146
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cedarwoods ( member #82760) posted at 4:17 PM on Monday, March 4th, 2024

Hikingout
You are right. I am afraid of "messing" up the R process by being too emotional. I am afraid of driving my husband out due to my perceived inability to cope with what has happened.
Thanks for all the insight and advice you share on this forum. Posters like you have been a lifesaver for me. Thanks

posts: 211   ·   registered: Jan. 20th, 2023   ·   location: USA
id 8827185
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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 9:23 PM on Monday, March 4th, 2024

I feel you need to share this journey with him. He needs to share it too. Rebuilding a marriage based on holding things in and not sharing what’s in our minds and hearts can get ugly, but if he can successfully be with you through it, a new bond can firm. You have the need to process this because it’s a natural need. It’s the way through. I recommend the two of you listen to the audiobook "rising strong" together. It encourages vulnerability. It’s natural not to want to be vulnerable with the person who hurt you but the flip side is it’s keeping you from having the reconciliation that I believe you deeply want.

And if he can’t do that, either he has more work to do, or you may have to reconsider if this is the right situation to reconcile in. Because if you have to rug sweep, neither of you will heal or grow.

7 years of hard work - WS and BS - Reconciled

posts: 7284   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8827234
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Trumansworld ( new member #84431) posted at 7:30 PM on Friday, March 8th, 2024

To all the WS's here who kept their betrayal a secret for years and years. How did you live from day to day for 20 30 40+ yrs knowing that your marriage was built on betrayal/deception/lie/shame/guilt. That the person you vowed to love and be faithful to didn't have a clue. Trusted you. Did you become the perfect partner or were you filled with such self-loathing that you held back and were never 100% vested? How did it affect you? There isn't much written on how secret keeping destroys the secret keeper.

And there is the other side of it. As a BS I feel that burden of harboring the deep dark secret affected every corner of our marriage. From a lack of real connection with me to the relationship WS had with his kids. We got ripped off. WH has become a new man since DD. I'm having trouble with what could have been. In one hand I feel that our first 42 yrs were ruined by his guilt and shame and on the other hand I sense such a burden has been lifted off of him that he can now be the H/F he should have been. I need to focus on the present.

Appreciate your thoughts.

BW 63WH 65DD 12/01/2023M 43Together 48

posts: 38   ·   registered: Jan. 31st, 2024   ·   location: Washington
id 8828014
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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 9:26 PM on Friday, March 8th, 2024

I don’t think we have many we’s that there was that large of a gap in their dday. Maybe Brave Sir Robin? Most of us are here because we were discovered or confessed and not with a big gap. There are some betrayed here that represent that group- old wounds comes to mind as one.

I suspect your ws didn’t feel like that time was fake or not true. After all, he knew everything from his end. I suspect also that while this weighed on him, after some time he probably did his best to put it away. I imagine it added to the shame he felt over who he was, but probably didn’t see that in any discernible way. Most ws are avoidant, and people think that’s just in terms of the relationship, but they do associate within themselves. He probably thought in some ways he was saving you pain and could make it up to you by being a good spouse moving forward, but I am taking that as he may not have stepped up to that plate in real life.

I hope you will get some responses here, but if you don’t just know we just don’t have many ws that are in that boat that I am aware of. We do have a long timer who hasn’t confessed, but I don’t know iff he will speak up here, we tend to avoid the topic with him quite a bit because all it does is incites a riot, and it doesn’t change his mind. He is in the camp of not wanting to hurt her and showing up to be a good husband now is what he focuses on.

7 years of hard work - WS and BS - Reconciled

posts: 7284   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8828040
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BraveSirRobin ( member #69242) posted at 2:34 PM on Saturday, March 9th, 2024

My A wasn't a total secret for those 29 years. I confessed the highlights (or lowlights, I guess) as soon as I ended it. I had expected my BF to be furious and possibly dump me. I wasn't prepared for his devastation. As soon as I realized that he wanted to reconcile, I backtracked and downplayed the extent of the affair. Because I had admitted to sex and emotional attachment, I felt I was still within the boundaries of "truth" when I made it sound like OM and I just got carried away one night. The reality was that we basically lived together for six weeks (BF and I were in a long distance relationship, so this wasn't hard to hide), and everything that happened between us was consciously planned.

I'd say that for most of those years, I was as skilled at lying to myself as I was to my BF (who later became my H). I buried the truth in the deepest vault I could dig. I convinced myself that if I could forget what I had done, then it was almost the same as not having done it. I'd have told you that I had moved on from the past.

At the 29 year mark, my husband admitted that he had never fully recovered from the A because we had rugswept it soon afterwards. On reflection, he felt that the story I told him didn't add up, and he wanted to know if there was anything I had left out. I panicked and trickle truthed for several weeks. That was the first time I had to turn and face the reality that my "honesty" narrative didn't hold water. It wasn't as simple as telling him what I had been hiding. I had to force my way in and break the locks on those buried memories, with my lizard brain shrieking at me the whole time that confession was a suicidally stupid move.

Once I finally came completely clean, as gutting as it was to both of us, I felt a weight lift from me that I had spent three decades denying was there. The guilt over those secrets was something that arose frequently and was stuffed down before I could get a good look at it. It wasn't constant -- there were months where it wouldn't cross my mind -- but there are hundreds of months in 29 years, and the ones where fear and shame didn't at least flash through my head were the exception rather than the rule.

I don't know if this made me a substandard partner in our day-to-day interactions. It certainly made me a substandard partner in a more global sense, because I was married to a man who didn't know the real me. He was married to a woman who was capable of far more deceit and manipulation than he ever believed possible. These things were true no matter how well we got along or how sincerely we supported each other through major life hits. There is a limit to how much intimacy you can achieve without authenticity.

The work I did after D-Day 2 made me more patient, empathetic, and present in our marriage. It's easier to embody those qualities when you don't loathe yourself. My buried guilt and fear took far more energy to repress than I ever realized.

WW/BW

posts: 3632   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8828120
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Sonos ( new member #82948) posted at 8:25 PM on Saturday, March 9th, 2024

I appreciate everyone's take on things.

He was married to a woman who was capable of far more deceit and manipulation than he ever believed possible. These things were true no matter how well we got along or how sincerely we supported each other through major life hits. There is a limit to how much intimacy you can achieve without authenticity.

My WW intention was to "take it to the grave" and only when the AP passed away and we were not informed until after the ceremony did I become curious. I could not figure out why. Only then did she "kind of" come partially clean. That was 4yrs ago.

Me 71 Her 70 Married 50yrs. LTA 4+yrs w/BF. D-Day 2020 lied to me for 35yrs and now TT's.Still married and plan on staying married.

posts: 9   ·   registered: Feb. 25th, 2023   ·   location: Midwest
id 8828163
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Trumansworld ( new member #84431) posted at 11:53 PM on Saturday, March 9th, 2024

Thank you for your responses.

Yes, the shame did burn deeply in him, however for the next 10-12 yrs he chose to bury himself in work and numb himself with alcohol. He worked in the trades and had his own business, so stopping off at the bar with a buddy got to be a habit. He avoided coming home and hanging with me & the kids. He wasn't fully present. He was a great provider (financially) but emotionally he never quite connected. Very critical and a perfectionist. It got a bit better over the next 30 yrs, but it wasn't until DD that I realized I'd been living with a very damaged man.

I'd say that for most of those years, I was as skilled at lying to myself as I was to my BF (who later became my H). I buried the truth in the deepest vault I could dig. I convinced myself that if I could forget what I had done, then it was almost the same as not having done it. I'd have told you that I had moved on from the past.

He said in all the years I had only asked him once if he had ever cheated on me. He lied. He told himself if I ever asked again he would tell me the truth. Little head game he was playing with himself. He tried really, really hard to forget what he had done, but it kept rearing its ugly head. He says he tried to tell me many times but chickened out.

Once I finally came completely clean, as gutting as it was to both of us, I felt a weight lift from me that I had spent three decades denying was there. The guilt over those secrets was something that arose frequently and was stuffed down before I could get a good look at it. It wasn't constant -- there were months where it wouldn't cross my mind -- but there are hundreds of months in 29 years, and the ones where fear and shame didn't at least flash through my head were the exception rather than the rule.

Thank you for this. My H has told me the same. He said it has been hard to look in the mirror for a long time.

I was married to a man who didn't know the real me. He was married to a woman who was capable of far more deceit and manipulation than he ever believed possible. These things were true no matter how well we got along or how sincerely we supported each other through major life hits. There is a limit to how much intimacy you can achieve without authenticity.

And this is exactly why he said he confessed after all this time. He said that I needed to know the man I was married to. He just couldn't carry this load a day longer.

Thank you for sharing your stories. I love the man and I know he's hauled a big bag of his own S**t through our life together. I forgave him for the A. Now I hope we can clean house and build up again this time with honesty and truth. We are both trying to heal.

[This message edited by Trumansworld at 11:58 PM, Saturday, March 9th]

BW 63WH 65DD 12/01/2023M 43Together 48

posts: 38   ·   registered: Jan. 31st, 2024   ·   location: Washington
id 8828183
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Molly65 ( member #84499) posted at 7:55 PM on Wednesday, March 13th, 2024

I am not sure how to navigate this topic but I hope I will be able to follow the different answers, if any.

Question for the cheater, the wayward spouse (I don't like acronym, sorry!).

How did you get back to loving the spouse you did not respect and maybe talked about negatively with your affair spouse? How did that very same person become important again in your life when you had disregarded their needs so badly and put you first? What do you genuinely think of your spouse now and why has your vision of them changed? Did you fall out of love and back in love with them? Do you recognise how your spouse's forgiveness is the greatest love gift you have ever received?

How do you live with the remorse of the trauma and pain you have caused to your spouse and do you think they don't think anymore about it?

Thank you to whoever would like to answer. I know it is a lot of questions. Honestly, it's been 4 and a half years and since D day there hasn't been a single day in which I did not think about the affair and asked myself "How could he? How did he lie to me and renewed his choice to lie to me for so long? What did he feel like every time he looked at me in the eye knowing what he was doing?" I know NOBODY DESERVES a betrayal, but I took on my shoulders so much for him and for our family AND FOR SOOOO LONG, he saw how exhausted I was and how lonely I felt and surely his choice has been really really unfair and tough on me, really, really hard to accept.

[This message edited by Molly65 at 8:00 PM, Wednesday, March 13th]

Molly NEW LIFE

posts: 130   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2024   ·   location: USA
id 8828699
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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 9:11 PM on Wednesday, March 13th, 2024

How did you get back to loving the spouse you did not respect and maybe talked about negatively with your affair spouse?

So, I went to therapy and figured out what my resentments were and took accountability for my part in them. I realized I had been a fool. For some time, we did weekly date nights, I planned a trip a quarter, and In an effort into getting to know him again.

I honestly did not say bad things about him, I went into the affair feeling it was more about self exploration. It doesn’t make it more right but I didn’t hate my husband. It’s true I suppressed my love for him and that I did not consider him in my decisions. But overall, we have always had a good friendship and chemistry, those things still were there after dday even if we were on a crazy roller coaster.

How did that very same person become important again in your life when you had disregarded their needs so badly and put you first?

I personally feel like I self abandoned in having the affair. I don’t mean what I did wasn’t selfish, but by doing it, I know it was not in my best interest. I think for me I needed to feel like I earned him back and the climb to feel like I deserved him was way steeper than making him important again. Almost losing him was sufficient enough for me to make him important to me again.

What do you genuinely think of your spouse now and why has your vision of them changed?

I love him infinitely. I crave him - I want to kiss and hug him or be touching him when we are together. He is my best friend, my biggest supporter, and I am those things to him. He and I share similiar sensibilities, we know each other backwards and forwards. And I saw someone say in the forum the other day that reconciling is one of the most intimate things that you will ever do- I believe that because the degree of communication, showing yourself and every single ugly flaw- and then knowing he truly loves me any way after all that. I mean I will never take that gift for granted again. The longer out from dday the more I wish I could go back and punch myself in the face…or at least give my shoulders a shake and say "what the hell are you doing, have your brains fallen out of your head? I was stupid and reckless, and he deserved so much better than that.

Did you fall out of love and back in love with them?

I feel like in any long term relationship, the feeling in love ebbs and flows. Especially when there are pressures that keep you focused on other things. So love means that you make the choice to keep working on your relationship when things are hard. In that way, I think by definition I wasn’t loving him. I was abusing him and taking his love for granted. I was not making the active choice to get us back to that flow state.


Do you recognise how your spouse's forgiveness is the greatest love gift you have ever received?

.

Yes. I absolutely do.

How do you live with the remorse of the trauma and pain you have caused to your spouse and do you think they don't think anymore about it?

We are a little further out than you. I can live with myself because as I have known better I have done better. I don’t mean just about cheating, obviously I knew that was wrong. I mean that I have self compassion because I took the opportunity to grow from it. I do think he thinks about it, though far less than he used to. We talk about it. It’s not as emotionally charged as it once was, and the triggers are far fewer and dither between. But it comes in and out of our conversations like most anything else in our lives.

Thank you to whoever would like to answer. I know it is a lot of questions. Honestly, it's been 4 and a half years and since D day there hasn't been a single day in which I did not think about the affair and asked myself "How could he? How did he lie to me and renewed his choice to lie to me for so long? What did he feel like every time he looked at me in the eye knowing what he was doing?" I know NOBODY DESERVES a betrayal, but I took on my shoulders so much for him and for our family AND FOR SOOOO LONG, he saw how exhausted I was and how lonely I felt and surely his choice has been really really unfair and tough on me, really, really hard to accept

.

It’s normal you still think about it every day. I don’t think that will go away until your husband takes it upon himself to lock his ap out of his life. Her presence, no matter how scarce, is unacceptable, and will continue to keep you in this state longer than if he stood up and protected you in every single way possible. You deserve that.

7 years of hard work - WS and BS - Reconciled

posts: 7284   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8828708
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Molly65 ( member #84499) posted at 9:46 PM on Wednesday, March 13th, 2024

Hikingout thank you so so so much for sharing your feelings about something that has affected your lives so much. I do appreciate the time you have dedicated to respond to my many questions.

If any others would like to contribute, too, that will be greatly appreciated and I am looking forward to reading more.

[This message edited by Molly65 at 9:47 PM, Wednesday, March 13th]

Molly NEW LIFE

posts: 130   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2024   ·   location: USA
id 8828712
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WhiskeyBlues ( member #82662) posted at 8:07 PM on Thursday, March 14th, 2024

If you're a WS who has successfully reconciled - how much of that success do you attribute to becoming honest and transparent? Do you think you could have had any meaningful marriage moving forward while still keeping things from your BS. Even small things?

If you believe R could not have been successful without honesty, what made you realise that and at what point?

Thank you in advance 😪

[This message edited by WhiskeyBlues at 8:08 PM, Thursday, March 14th]

posts: 114   ·   registered: Jan. 3rd, 2023   ·   location: UK
id 8828850
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