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I Can Relate :
BS Questions for WS - Part 15


Howcthappen ( member #80775) posted at 4:42 AM on Thursday, April 25th, 2024

I need 100% transparency from the WS.

How much of your reconciliation is about needing to right the wrong and repair the damage vs a genuine desire to choose your spouse again?

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

posts: 225   ·   registered: Aug. 30th, 2022   ·   location: DC
id 8834638

hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 3:15 PM on Thursday, April 25th, 2024

I think that is something that evolves (or doesn’t)

Early on it was not really for me about repairing the damage. I didn’t even know what that would mean at that point.

I stayed early on because I did want to see if we could repair the relationship and get to a better place again. When I had the affair I blamed my marriage for my unhappiness. When the affair ended I enrolled myself in therapy and went for two months before I confessed. During that time I was deciding whether to just end the marriage, and trying to process all that just happened.

I still had big feelings for the AP and I told the counselor on the first day I wanted to figure out those feelings because they seemed incongruous with the nature and length of the relationship/ I knew something wasn’t right in that attachment and I wanted to remove it.

After two months I could see that I had rewritten the marriage and assigned responsibilities to my husband that should have been mine. I decided I wanted to see if we could repair the relationship and fall back in love. So I confessed because I wanted to make this attempt as earnest as I possibly could.

So as time went along I I wonder a lot of the toxic thinking and lies I told myself and I felt like a complete fool and sick that I had taken the action of having the affair to begin with. I could fully see he didn’t deserve what I did.

7 years of hard work - WS and BS - Reconciled

posts: 7284   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8834675

BOAZ367 ( new member #82836) posted at 2:45 PM on Friday, April 26th, 2024

HikingOut, I'm kind of new here and read many of your posts. You have great wisdom and thanks for being so willing to share. I'm sure you worked very hard for and paid a hefty price. Through your words I have gained a better understanding of my WW, her actions during and after the affair. Again thank you.

A couple of questions; In a previous post about self adulation you mentioned "when I started my affair", in this more recent post you talk about the affair ending & later you confessing;
How did you start your affair, were you pursued or did you seek it out? How did you meet, coworkers or friends or other. How did it end? Was your AP outed, did he drop you, or did it just fizzle out. You mentioned longing for him shortly afterward.

I see many similarities with my WW. I really commend you for sharing your hard earned wisdom.


posts: 47   ·   registered: Feb. 5th, 2023   ·   location: East coast
id 8834825

hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 4:01 PM on Friday, April 26th, 2024

It’s always nice to know that people get something helpful for them from my posts.

My affair was with a colleague that I worked with from a long distance. I had known him for years, we always had a good rapport but he was 20 years older and I honestly considered myself very happily married and never really looked at other men.

However, leading into one of our live meetings I was struggling in many ways. Our third kid was leaving home for college, I had been working 12-18 hour days 6/7 days a week and had been diagnosed with emotional exhaustion and told I needed to stop. I was at probably one of the lowest points in my life. I started believing that I just needed to get divorced, I felt like my husband wanted a servant rather than a wife and it was all…delusional I think is the best words I wasn’t doing well at work, at home, keeping up with the kid who was leaving and what they needed, and it felt like my world was caving in.

I spent a good deal of time on this trip doing group outings, and he kept flirting with me. The group went to shows and dinners, etc during this conference. I slept and had fun and it was like a rejuvenation sort of. On the final night, I hated to see it end. After dinner I asked folks if they wanted to go in a walk but he was the only one who said yes. I worked with male colleagues and occasionally traveled alone with them, it just didn’t seem out of the norm. I just didn’t think that much about it. The flirting was more banter that I just didn’t think was meaningful in anyway, more it seemed like humor.

He said a lot of things to me on the walk that were flirty, and it was obvious by the end he was hoping to go back to my room. I darted out of the elevator and bid him goodnight. Nothing happened, I was really a little confused by it.

On the flight home, I didn’t want to go back to my life. I texted him about something work related then added something flippant that I don’t recall what it really said anymore. Too many years have passed now to recall. And we basically never stopped texting and at first it seemed clear he definitely was looking for a sexual thing, while I was really more interested in just having him flirt with me.

In hindsight, it became a tit for tat. He did push limits often and each time I would be taken aback but then I would be right back at it again. We just started giving what the other wanted. I believed he thought I was funnier more interesting and more attractive than I was, and he believed he was sexually irresistible I guess???? I became obsessed with my appearance and tried to be clever all the time. I so wanted to be this other person and not the tired hag I had been feeling like. It made my life seem better, and it made me stop doing so much (I later recognized it was me that turned myself into a servant, and the evidence is now I had suddenly all this time to conduct an affair)

We had a trip a month later and it went physical. About three weeks later, he had the messages discovered and he confessed. He sent me a final note that said he needed to repair his family but not to worry I was safe, no one was going to out me. I didn’t ask him to do any of that, but because he technically would have been over me at work, I think he was worried about me reporting something or getting work involved? So I think it was a play nice tactic.

And the very next Monday I went to my first therapy appointment.

[This message edited by hikingout at 6:27 PM, Friday, April 26th]

7 years of hard work - WS and BS - Reconciled

posts: 7284   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8834870

morted ( member #84619) posted at 6:38 PM on Wednesday, May 1st, 2024


I'm wondering if you've experienced love or only limerence or infatuation.

Limerence is an emotional state. Love is a active commitment.

Recently, my family therapist told me bluntly, "You don't love your BS." And she was completely right. It's something that BS was trying to tell me for a while. I sort of knew it but would "Yes, but..." in my mind. Admitting that my "love" is actually really strong feelings for my BS and related to how good he and the relationship made me feel. I wanted BS in my life not because of what I could bring to his life, but for what he could bring to mine. I took a lot and gave little. I'm learning to love him now.

It still wasn't the same thing as the limerence I felt for AP. The limerence I felt might have been different from others' experiences, as it was also tied in with an attachment cry trauma response for dark reasons. It was entirely illusory. I felt insecure and weak, so I created a fantasy relationship where I had AP wrapped around my finger and could pretend to be the perfect significant other with the perfect person. There would be moments where the fantasy would slip and I would see AP as he was. In those moments, I was disgusted by him and shocked that I could be picking someone like that over my husband who is a better person by every metric that matters. In reality, I was really out of control, in over my head, and being abused and manipulated.

My husband loves for real though. He wants to see me grow to my full potential. His love doesn't come from using what I can give him to him but from a desire to see me happy, healthy, and thriving. He has given to me selflessly for that purpose. Before DDay, he was committed to loving me in this way for the rest of our lives. Basically, his love comes from heart, not ego like infatuation or limerence.

I can illustrate the difference between love and limerence with this example. Last fall, toward the end of the affair, I was growing as a person. I was becoming more self-confident and more in touch with my authentic self. This led to me starting to pull away from the affair as I became increasingly ambivalent toward it. An affair doesn't align with the person I wanted to be. I always saw myself as faithful and loyal before that, and I obviously was not. AP reacted by becoming increasingly insecure as he could see I was growing past him. He started tearing me down about my internship, which is where I was gaining my self-confidence and awareness. He didn't want me to be my best self if it meant leaving him behind. With my husband, however, he was so happy and proud of me! He had supported me in getting to that place to see me thriving. It brought us closer together rather than creating distance.

The way limerence is described, there really is no difference between it and the initial stages any love, great, doomed, welcomed or illicit.

If I had heard the term limerence before DDay, I would have agreed with you. I thought that it was normal for the early days of a relationship to be obsessive and filled with love bombing. I've learned that that's not the basis for a healthy relationship though.

posts: 56   ·   registered: Mar. 19th, 2024
id 8835350

wjbrennan78 ( member #84763) posted at 4:32 PM on Wednesday, May 15th, 2024

Question: We are a month past DDay and as the BS I have lashed out when angry and frustrated and said "You are a selfish and self centered person!" I know it hurt her, but really it's what I honestly feel. I don't want to cause anymore resentment issues (Which what lead up to her A), but she needs to know how I am feeling and that her behavior is not acceptable.

Looking back through the last few years she always made everything a bigger competition than it was. Seemed to always need the last word. And couldn't really express her frustrations without picking at my "scabs".

I understand she is going through her own trauma. I'm giving her some space and time to figure out how to recover from those issues. I know the OM is still in her brain, it's devastating, but it's human nature.

I guess my point is - how scarring can the lash outs be? Am I justified in them - even though I am making a conscious effort not to attack like that. Just trying to convey how I feel without really attacking her. Even though what she did at this point is unforgivable, disgusting, selfish, and self-centered.

posts: 51   ·   registered: Apr. 21st, 2024   ·   location: Illinois
id 8836574

hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 7:43 PM on Wednesday, May 15th, 2024


Gently, this is a symptom of pick me dancing. Most people do it in some way, so know I am not criticizing you.

Calling her selfish is not traumatizing. Cussing her, calling her names, throwing shit, that’s really the only things you are trying to avoid. You should be able to respectfully talk to her about your feelings.

she misses the affair feelings, and I agree that’s human nature. I don’t think it’s the AP she actually misses and in time she will see that too. Her job is to still be completely no contact, and be transparent with you.

Honestly, I was surprised at first over how hurt my husband was. I had talked myself into believeing he didn’t love me. That’s not uncommon for ws to do. When you are doing things that make you unlovable you are going to also believe that you are. It’s all shame.

I am sorry, I can hear the pain in your post. You are doing nothing wrong in what you are expressing. She has to figure out how to get over her own shame - the shame knows it’s true that she has been selfish and it’s jarring to hear that when you have spent a lot of time thinking you are the one who has been out upon in the marriage.

Truth is someone’s resentments belong to them. They are their responsibility. She didn’t manage that responsibility in talking to you about how she felt or working on the relationship. So don’t be gaslit to believe you were supposed to know she was building resentment.

Also keep in mind that she likely put a circle around all that as a way of justifying her behaviors, and if you are to reconcile she will need to come to terms with that.

7 years of hard work - WS and BS - Reconciled

posts: 7284   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8836603

Theburna1957 ( new member #84846) posted at 9:07 PM on Wednesday, May 15th, 2024

From all the sites I read and comments they make, a lot of the time its economic. They are often comfortable, just bored or looking to find what is missing and then too lazy to initiate change. Then they find someone who will listen and make supportive comments back and mould themselves into a non-comparative person that your spouse is not. Women who are with successful men will often link to rock apes, men who have incredible wives will link to street level whores. They then enjoy the unlimited values of a fake person for minimal cost. I notice so many don't discuss the way they treat their SO so they have an escape to spend spurts of time with their AP, then return to their confort zone and expect reverence from their SO simply because they return. They are masochists purely and simply. Why leave a goof life when you can enjoy getting away with bad things. The Eagles summed it up in "Lying Eyes"
Of course this is not necessarily the case for victims of violence, and don't get me started on that topic.

[This message edited by Theburna1957 at 9:08 PM, Wednesday, May 15th]

posts: 11   ·   registered: May. 10th, 2024   ·   location: Australia
id 8836615

hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 9:32 PM on Wednesday, May 15th, 2024

Then they find someone who will listen and make supportive comments back and mould themselves into a non-comparative person that your spouse is not. Women who are with successful men will often link to rock apes, men who have incredible wives will link to street level whores. They then enjoy the unlimited values of a fake person for minimal cost.

I do not agree with this assessment. I am pretty sure you need to phrase this as a question for we to post in here. So I will respond to this as if it’s a question. I think often AP’s are just whoever is convenient to them to roll around in the mud with. My AP wasn’t the opposite of my husband in the way you are stating. Both have had successful careers, so I didn’t seek out like a blue collar person to contrast my husband. My AP wasn’t as good of a husband as mine was, and I wasn’t as good as his wife was on the basis we were both willing to have an affair in the first place but I don’t think they have to be an opposite.

90 percent of affairs happen in the workplace. So often I think what happens is we spend more time with people we work with in the us than sometimes we do our spouses. If we don’t have good boundaries, integrity, etc then we start over sharing things and create an intimacy where there shouldn’t be one.

7 years of hard work - WS and BS - Reconciled

posts: 7284   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8836621

Howcthappen ( member #80775) posted at 9:38 PM on Wednesday, May 15th, 2024

For those WS who know the door is still open for you to return to the AP how do you stay faithful?

Is it out of fear to know that if caught it’s really over? Do you not trust the AP won’t try to blow up your life?

My FWH says that he feels repulsed by his affair and only feels disgust with himself. In fact sometimes when we’re in a heated battle he lets me know that he’d never bee back in such a dark place to sink that low in a partner like her. He says she was a reflection of how horrible he felt about himself inside. I threatened him that he’d go back to her early on and he says that he is in a better place emotionally and spiritually that he has no appetite for that anymore. Can you relate?

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

posts: 225   ·   registered: Aug. 30th, 2022   ·   location: DC
id 8836624

hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 9:56 PM on Wednesday, May 15th, 2024

Yes I relate. 100 percent.

My husband could divorce me tomorrow, and I would never want to talk to my ap again. I have no desire to reach out to him or have him contact me. I am disgusted and always will be disgusted by what we did, and I would not be interested in returning to anything that reminds me of who I was in that timeframe or with that person. AP also would be sorely disappointed in who I really am because he didn’t really meet her, he met a woman playing at being someone she wasn’t.

7 years of hard work - WS and BS - Reconciled

posts: 7284   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8836631

morted ( member #84619) posted at 10:24 AM on Thursday, May 16th, 2024

I can relate to that too.

I would never go back to AP. My AP also sexually assaulted me twice and emotionally manipulated me for months so coming out of the affair and waking up to that didn't help the warm and fuzzy feelings to grow. Seeing the person who I was being and the damage that I did makes me not want to be that person.

I'm still very early in my healing journey. I can't say with 100% certainty that I will not have an affair if dropped in any situation at this point. I got into an affair because I thought I could play with fire. I know better than that now. I am insecure and look to other people for validation/distraction. This usually attracts people who also aren't in the healthiest places in their own lives.

I do feel strongly confident that I'm not going to have another affair so long as I am protecting myself/my relationship from having another affair (and really just having a healthy social circle) is becoming more secure and confident myself. I'm learning to love myself and be my own parent/friend. Instead of sacrificing my values and contorting myself to fit in with whatever person I find myself around, I'm getting to know people and setting up boundaries before getting attached. I'm paying attention for potential red flag in them or myself. Mainly myself. If I notice I'm getting attached immediately, or want to, I pull back a bit and look at why. Do I want to get to know this person better because I think they're someone who would be good for me and I could reciprocate that? What proof do I have that they actually live the values they claim to have? Or do they feel familiar? For me, familiar isn't a good thing. Familiar almost always means "like FOO" and mine is highly toxic.

Another way to protect myself from affairs is not being TOO confident. I'm still a baby healing wayward. I know now I have the ability to massiv

posts: 56   ·   registered: Mar. 19th, 2024
id 8836679

TrayDee ( new member #82906) posted at 3:23 PM on Friday, May 17th, 2024

How can a BS, in your opinion, believe that you are "disgusted" with who you were in the A?

I mean from our perspective, it seems like you were "ALL IN" on the behaviors then that you now find "disgusting".

How do we now KNOW that the person who was behaving in such a "disgusting" manner is NOT the real you?

posts: 45   ·   registered: Feb. 21st, 2023   ·   location: MS
id 8836859

hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 4:13 PM on Friday, May 17th, 2024


The person doing those things is still part of who I am. It's behavior I am capable of because if it weren't, I wouldn't have done it.

However, at the time I did it, I had not yet lived though the damage that I caused. Once you add that layer to the equation, and you see how wrong you were about not just doing it but so many things, you can't think that behavior was good. You can't go back and see what was happening knowing what all it caused and not wince. The whole thing gets flavored with the trauma that you inflicted on yourself and your spouse.

So, how do you tell:

1. The WS acts with remorse. They understand your pain (as well as another person can) and their behavior and words align with that. You can't be remorseful and like your behavior.

2. The WS shows changed behavior in their underlying character flaws. People do not change behavior they are comfortable with or that they like. They are showing stronger character traits. For me, I stopped people pleasing, I am vulnerable, there is a discernable improvement in all my relationships, I am honest (which I was not a liar within my marriage until the affair, but it's still a symptom), I have better boundaries, I communicate more. Discernable and consistent change that I manage without my husband having to say a word, this demonstrates my interest and dedication to these changes.

[This message edited by hikingout at 3:54 AM, Saturday, May 18th]

7 years of hard work - WS and BS - Reconciled

posts: 7284   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8836868

Howcthappen ( member #80775) posted at 10:25 AM on Wednesday, May 29th, 2024

Do you ever settle in with the realization that your actions quite literally emotionally scarred someone you claim to love? On purpose?

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

posts: 225   ·   registered: Aug. 30th, 2022   ·   location: DC
id 8838094

hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 4:33 PM on Wednesday, May 29th, 2024

I don’t think settling in is how it worked for me.

I will likely never forgive myself for what I did. However, I also can’t live out my life being defined by the shame, guilt, etc. that is the opposite of healing.

At seven years out, I feel that I have made as many amends as possible. I also feel my husband has taken on his part in healing from those things.

What I did was unforgivable. He has chosen to work through that with me, and has worked on his part of making that happen and we have covered a lot of ground that way. Nothing will make up for what I did completely, but he has found grace for me, and I have grown to appreciate, nurture, and cherish our relationship.

I feel like reconciliation is the process of developing a new marriage. Not everyone wants that. If I had a Time Machine I could take it back. But part of becoming a healthy person is releasing my past and focusing on my now and my future.

So I wouldn’t say settle in, but definitely I have had to grow compassion for myself in the process of fixing myself. Without it, I would just want to use escapism because I would still hate myself and my life. Healing is being able to care for myself and love myself despite my flaws so that I will look after my happiness in a healthy way that requires presence rather than escaping.

[This message edited by hikingout at 6:34 PM, Wednesday, May 29th]

7 years of hard work - WS and BS - Reconciled

posts: 7284   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8838121

Phosphorescent ( new member #84111) posted at 1:49 PM on Wednesday, June 5th, 2024

A question for the ws...

I think that it's safe to say that having an affair is a demonstration, the actual proof actually, that there is lack of love for the BS (my wh says that that was never the case). OK... How can it be that that feeling, the feeling of love do you really feel about your BS after all that? How can you be sure, that this love is enough (meaning that it is all consuming) so that you won't be put to the same test again? On the other hand, the certainty that I had that "I would never do that to my husband because he is so great" is greatly questioned by me (although I deep down know I wouldn't) because...well... He wasn't that great...

I would like to know your feeling and your thoughts when you say "I love you" now.

[This message edited by Phosphorescent at 1:51 PM, Wednesday, June 5th]


posts: 9   ·   registered: Nov. 8th, 2023
id 8838621

hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 3:13 PM on Wednesday, June 5th, 2024

Well, this could be different processes for everyone.

But for me, after dday I had to take a long hard look at myself. I had to acknowledge a lot about myself I wasn’t aware of before. I had to acknowledge the ways I had failed the marriage prior to the affair, and take 100 percent accountability that I didn’t cheat because of external reasons, they were all internal to me.

I had to acknowledge that my integrity failed based on my own whims and the way that I viewed love was very flawed. I didn’t cheat on my husband because of him. He didn’t deserve that.

Through working on these things, and continuing to work on them, I began to change how I think, my behaviors, my relationship skills and becoming reliable and dedicated the way I should have always been.

It was a lot of work, and when your spouse works hard I think you will know it, see it, feel it.

Change is slow, and as early out as you are both of you are still trying to recover. It takes time to make these changes and observations, but if he is not making strides and doing what you need then you can’t feel that love growing. Also, he has deadened some of your love for him and that plays a factor in how you see things.

I have had a hard but successful reconciliation. I love my husband the way I love myself. And I think that is eventually what it boils down to. People like me and your husband, we don’t know how to love ourselves or make ourselves happy (well I do now). We expect others to do that for us and it creates this black hole of needing more and more.

But learning to love ourselves and make ourselves happy allows us to do that for others. Our relationship with ourselves is reflected in every outside relationship we have.

My advice to you during this time is to honor yourself. Pamper yourself. Work towards your healing. If he comes in that journey too, then make R is on the table. But if it’s not, the healing in you will be well underway and you will be okay.

You are really asking how can I know he loves me because he says he does but it makes no sense how he can do this to me. You are right to think that way. But just like I evolved towards understanding how things got to that point and my role in it, my husbands picture of me changed over time. It’s a long hard road, make sure he is in it to win it.

7 years of hard work - WS and BS - Reconciled

posts: 7284   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8838626

Phosphorescent ( new member #84111) posted at 3:49 PM on Wednesday, June 5th, 2024

Dear hiking out,
Thank you so much for the time you took to answer to my question. Yes, I question him. I am not even sure if he does "the work". It feels that way though. After a recent appointment with my IC, she told me to relax a little... See how things are going instead of trying to keep the awful memories alive and keep his feet over the fire.. Since then I relaxed... It's funny actually the way her words mesmerized me and yes I took the time to distress, and to have a good time... In exactly 20 days it will be 2 years since dday. I am at that point where I think, no...I want to make sure that I won't forgive something like that a second time because it's not good for me, my health,my life. I think that I am already sacrificing hmm... some good years and I would like to know that he is worth it, although there is no magic ball for that. When he says I love you, and I respond saying I love you I mean it, but there is.. You know.. This thing... It's not the same. But I don't want to hurt him all the time... I m tired of this too... So, I m thinking... Does he feel what he says and says what he feels, or is he like me...


posts: 9   ·   registered: Nov. 8th, 2023
id 8838630

hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 5:56 PM on Wednesday, June 5th, 2024

It’s in actions.

Does he take accountability, does he anticipate and help you through triggers, does he discuss the affair and not get defensive, does he seem to understand and empathize with you. Those sorts of things are important. Love is an action.

I think it’s very normal not to trust things yet even at two years out.

7 years of hard work - WS and BS - Reconciled

posts: 7284   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8838646
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