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 Thisisme68 (original poster new member #43067) posted at 4:08 AM on Friday, September 23rd, 2022

I offered to do a polygraph many times in 2013. He never agreed to let me do one. He never gave me a reason why but I assume it’s bc he was clinging to a hope that I was telling the truth and was terrified at the idea that I could fail, either bc I was actually lying or bc the test was faulty. I eventually stopped suggesting it.

With all of my divorce threats, he feels like he has no control in the marriage. The last thing I want to do is something else that takes away his power by doing it on my own.

We’ve talked in MC that it doesn’t matter what actually happened in the A, it’s the betrayal, lying and secrecy that’s the poison.

Since there are several who keep suggesting it and I truly want to do anything I can to help him heal, I will ask him again if he would like me to take one.

posts: 8   ·   registered: Apr. 10th, 2014
id 8756625
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ChamomileTea ( Moderator #53574) posted at 3:33 PM on Friday, September 23rd, 2022

After 20 plus years I'm confident it still consumes much of his head space. Any time you're looking for affection it probably crosses his mind that you had sex with another guy.

Not to get too far off topic, but I'm just curious as to why you would think that's normal? At nearly eight year out, I don't typically think of the infidelity at all unless I'm here at SI. If I thought of it every time there was any affection toward my fWH, I can't imagine why I'd still be married to him.

BW: 2004(online EAs), 2014 (multiple PAs)
Married 40 years; in R with fWH for 8

posts: 7061   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8756747
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Dkt3 ( member #75072) posted at 4:29 PM on Friday, September 23rd, 2022

Its likely you had enough truth to start rebuilding trust.

Like you I rarely think of my wifes infidelity, because we dealt with it. In this case her husband doesn't believe her, in her own words he believes that she slept with that guy and from his perspective she isn't being honest. So for 20 years he has lived with the unresolved feelings of betrayal.

posts: 111   ·   registered: Aug. 3rd, 2020
id 8756763
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Ivory ( new member #52026) posted at 7:40 PM on Friday, September 23rd, 2022

I disagree with the "It doesn't matter what happened in the affair". Sex is a big deal. What is said is a big deal.
You say "it's the betrayal, secrecy and lying." You didn't include much secrecy and lying in your posts. For me it reads that your H was aware of most everything, and that you were just doing what you wanted to do, your immature self not being mindful of your spouses feeling.
I think, make clear what the secrecy was. Flirting and a crush from what I read.
Your spouse wanted to be that special one for you. That made him feel like he was somebody to you. Despite your calls for D, you are still there. Your H says he is happy with what you are doing. So keep doing!

The visits to your AP... You were there and your H knew you were there. Was your H waiting for you to come home? Those are some long moments. I can tell you.

posts: 16   ·   registered: Feb. 27th, 2016   ·   location: Florida
id 8756799
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ChamomileTea ( Moderator #53574) posted at 7:49 PM on Friday, September 23rd, 2022

If he truly believes that she's lying though, doesn't that mean that he's elected to continue a marital relationship with a liar for thirty years? So, every day he wakes up, looks at her and thinks, "gee, my spouse is a liar" and then just goes about his day?

Let's say the OP goes ahead and books a polygraph. Is that the end of it, or does he start researching what methods people use to pass a poly? I just can't imagine that after three decades that this will just go away. There's something pathological about holding on to a grievance for thirty years and I don't think that gets resolved until the root problem is found. The OP can't prove a negative. She can take the poly, and if she is still inclined to continue the marriage it's a good idea, but I don't think it's going to resolve her husband's suspicions.

BW: 2004(online EAs), 2014 (multiple PAs)
Married 40 years; in R with fWH for 8

posts: 7061   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8756800
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Dkt3 ( member #75072) posted at 8:58 PM on Friday, September 23rd, 2022

Without knowing him, I would guess he has some abandonment issues. His wife has made him feel unsafe in the marriage and its caused him to fight wars on two different fronts. One being within for staying which often manifest in outward anger. The other being for his marriage. This has created a valley he can't escape from.

I personally don't think they will achieve a happy marriage without a lot of therapy. The polygraph can help to START rebuilding his trust in her.

As far as him making an agreement, well that can be said about them both right? I mean she has put up with his behavior for the same period.

[This message edited by Dkt3 at 8:59 PM, Friday, September 23rd]

posts: 111   ·   registered: Aug. 3rd, 2020
id 8756822
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 Thisisme68 (original poster new member #43067) posted at 10:00 PM on Friday, September 23rd, 2022

Update:

I talked to BH today about a polygraph. Told him I was willing to take one if it would help him heal. I reminded him that I offered to take one in 2013 and I was offering again. He declined. He said it didn’t matter if I had sex or not. It was the emotional aspect that destroyed him. It was that part of it he had the most trouble dealing with. I asked him if he was sure that it wouldn’t help him at all. He was thankful that I offered by again said no.

I told him I understood his perspective but it still bothered me that he thought I was lying. He always wants me to put myself in his shoes. I asked him to put himself in my shoes for once. If I accused him of something he knew he didn’t do, and I continued to believe he was lying, how would he feel? We agreed this was something we would have to work out in therapy.

posts: 8   ·   registered: Apr. 10th, 2014
id 8756826
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ChamomileTea ( Moderator #53574) posted at 11:27 PM on Friday, September 23rd, 2022

He said it didn’t matter if I had sex or not. It was the emotional aspect that destroyed him. It was that part of it he had the most trouble dealing with.


Sounds to me like he's moving the goalposts whenever you offer help. What you've described is a guy who is "disconnected" and who occasionally stonewalls you going days at a time without speaking and that sort of thing. It's getting tougher and tougher to believe that this is really all about something that happened thirty years ago because every time you offer solutions, he shoots you down.

Don't get me wrong, I don't want to minimize anyone's experience. I know from personal life that it's painful when your spouse professes feelings for another person, Added to that, you really did put yourself in a situation in which it would be very difficult to prove a negative. I'm just wondering if there's a possibility that he's comfortable with the distance and that an incident from thirty years ago allows him to have an excuse for his lack of attunement within the relationship. You said that your MC believes this is the root of all the problems, but that doesn't mean your problems only have one answer. It could be a more complex issue. Maybe having the emotionally intimate relationship that you're looking for isn't comfortable for him, but it doesn't have to be just this one explanation.

BW: 2004(online EAs), 2014 (multiple PAs)
Married 40 years; in R with fWH for 8

posts: 7061   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8756834
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Dkt3 ( member #75072) posted at 12:24 AM on Saturday, September 24th, 2022

I'm not a huge fan of Esther Perel but one of her quotes has really stuck with me and its what seems to be in play here.

Sufferers are couples who never get over affairs but stay together, sniping at one another. One blaming the other for cheating forever and the other blaming the person they cheated on.

These people likely had a difficult childhood and learned maladaptive roles and patterns they are still stuck in today

More than anything,
this couples need the kind of therapy that will take them back to look at childhood and heal emotional issues such as abandonment, avoidant attachment or codependency that they have both struggled with all thier lives

I paraphrased abit. But I think its something you should really think about.

posts: 111   ·   registered: Aug. 3rd, 2020
id 8756842
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Hippo16 ( member #52440) posted at 3:36 AM on Saturday, September 24th, 2022

Thisisme68

Your story is almost like the story my WS gave me. Except she lied for decades about the extent of the "kissing" and what else.

So I will tell you my perspective on your story.

You spent quite some time developing an attachment (emotional? friendly/conversational?) whatever - and went to his house.
(My WS did exactly that) - and you two (your husband and you) were having relational issues - so all the scenery is set for a
"fun" time between you and AP.

And you deny anything happened? Your credibility with your husband is (my assessment) less than 5%

Rather than double-down on talking to each other and working on your relationship - you repeatedly suggest/offer divorce.
Your creditably is now down to 2.5% or less -

So you have an almost impossible problem - stay married and be happy?

Well, first you have to help him by being firm that he has to get help dealing with his mental devils. You can't be the one.
He has to "heal himself" - and that is either figure out how to live with what you did and stay married or throw you to the gutter. For him - from what I read in your posts - that is NOT what he wants at this time.

So a bit of a conundrum - what do you do and how to do you act and talk to him and live together? This is the difficult part of recovering from an infidelity...

Both of you want to stay together (how much %?) - so how to go about behaving and talking to each other on a day-to-day basis?

First - talking - measure your words very carefully - no mention of divorce ever again. If divorce becomes your "solution" - just do it. Skip the talking about it.

Apologies (words) wear thin quickly. Very quickly- What you DO and how you BEHAVE is/are 99+% of who you appear to your spouse.
"Thank yous" for doing stuff - Southern politeness - if you want to impress him that you CARE - press his shirt for that special meeting at work. Fix his favorite breakfast on Sunday Morning and DON'T PREFACE by asking "What would you like for Breakfast?"

What is my point? Don't start a debate on anything unless there is a difference of opinion or "desired direction to take" scenario.

YOU MUST keep in mind - you have given him a memory for life - an unpleasant one at that - so you have to learn what will trigger his mind to go to the crap you did. There will be occasions where you have no control of the memory popping into his head.
Keep in mind and try to figure out how to not be a trigger. That one is a royal hard one to do.

News Flash: Some days his mind (for whatever reason) will trigger his memory of your "fun" and there is not a thing you can do about it but give him "space" to deal with his pain. The very best you can do is a silent hug. Add to that doing something that he likes - like fixing a Pina' Colada for desert after dinner. (Que the Pina' Coloda song)

So much for the immediate stuff - now the hard part.

Do you REALLY want to go forward in your life with your husband (on whom you cheated) and share the vagaries of the future?
Loaded question? Yes - Life can be hard and crap can visit you in an instant. It is a risk we all take and, when we really do LOVE our spouse, willing sign on for the duration. (There is a thread on one of these sites about his wife having MS)

OK, so you want to stay the course, then map out WHY. History? Family? YOU REALLY WANT to spend your time with your husband?

I suggest you look on this board for the post on "Contriteness" - it is worth the read and then ask yourself if you are fulfilling the task of being contrite?

Ok? So your husband is sill by your side after all the time that has passed. Take that to mean he really does LOVE you!
So, you have the winds of fate blowing in your favor.

To move towards the true bonding of being married - you have to TALK to each other - a lot - a WHOLE lot - and you will find that many words will suffer contentiousness - so keep talking til you have worked through the differences.

My post is really a list of high-lights on what I see as necessary for a couple to re-establish the bond that brought them together. To do the topic justice is a book-length tome.

You have a lot of work to do - and he does too - you have to figure out how to heal each other and to heal yourself.
You - fix your boundaries!
Him - this is hard - his manhood has been shot through the heart - yet he still breathes. He needs help and your patience and some level of understanding that you are the CAUSE of the hurt and that you need to support him however it may need to be to learn to live with your "visit to the AP" house.

Caveat - - some just can never heal - Family issues growing up (aka FOO?) general type of personality?

Try as you may to resolve the unhappiness with your spouse - keep in mind the worst can happen years down the path of life.

In case you are wondering - I'm still with her - after 50 years. And it still hurts. Your Husband may be of the same persuasion.

I hope these thoughts help -

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.

posts: 911   ·   registered: Mar. 26th, 2016   ·   location: OBX
id 8756855
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 Thisisme68 (original poster new member #43067) posted at 4:15 AM on Saturday, September 24th, 2022

Thank you, Hippo. Truly. This was exactly what I needed to hear. A good dose of perspective with a glimmer of hope. :)

posts: 8   ·   registered: Apr. 10th, 2014
id 8756857
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 Thisisme68 (original poster new member #43067) posted at 4:26 AM on Saturday, September 24th, 2022

Sounds to me like he's moving the goalposts whenever you offer help. What you've described is a guy who is "disconnected" and who occasionally stonewalls you going days at a time without speaking and that sort of thing. It's getting tougher and tougher to believe that this is really all about something that happened thirty years ago because every time you offer solutions, he shoots you down.

I don’t know that he’s moving the goalposts so much as he isn’t as focused on that anymore. I think the divorce threats of late have done more damage. I think *I’m* more focused on the EA vs PA bc I feel wronged. I need to let that go if we are going to heal.

posts: 8   ·   registered: Apr. 10th, 2014
id 8756859
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numb&dumb ( member #28542) posted at 2:00 PM on Monday, September 26th, 2022

I am in the .001% of WW who have been caught and swear they didn’t have a PA. But that is the truth.

You don't have to convince me. Your BH is not buying it either. It doesn't help that you threaten a D wvery few months. That does not give the impression that you want to work on anything or that you even care.

Why wouldn't he shut down? Why invest in fixing anything if you get defensive and coerce what you want your BH to do?

Have you two discussed a poly?

Dday 8/31/11. EA/PA. Lied to for 3 years.

Bring it, life. I am ready for you.

posts: 5116   ·   registered: May. 17th, 2010
id 8757070
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Ivory ( new member #52026) posted at 6:13 PM on Monday, September 26th, 2022

I feel it very helpful that you offered this again at this point. Just as an acknowledgement that you understand that he is hurt and that you are willing to help. It might not have helped to offer that before when he might have been in anger/self-justification, but from where you say that your R is now, I believe it really helps him internally.

With this new R, have you recommitted from asking for a divorce? What is the best way to solidify the commitment to your marriage.
What words could one use? "I'm going to hang in the there for you..."

You didn't mean to feed him the poison, but it did make him sick. "In sickness and in health..." right? There might have been something about forgiveness in the wedding vows. Once he gets his mind unstuck, forgiveness will come. IC, Trauma therapy.

What I want through was a long long time ago, but I clearly remember the details. The way she was acting, things she said to me, her Mona Lisa smile, her prefabricated and ridiculous justifications. It's best not to think about it at all, but I know what it's like to be stuck there. A total waste of time.

The teaching is to fist recognize that you are in a story-line, then let it go. That takes some practice. Keep practicing. Watch out for the common problem of self justification, feeling better from being justified at the expense of anger and resentment.

posts: 16   ·   registered: Feb. 27th, 2016   ·   location: Florida
id 8757097
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Ivory ( new member #52026) posted at 10:26 PM on Monday, September 26th, 2022

" I think *I’m* more focused on the EA vs PA bc I feel wronged. I need to let that go if we are going to heal. "
I can understand how that the accusations would cause more anger being that you didn't do those things. So your responses over the years was probably more gruff. My bet is that it was hard not to wall up on the point of PA/EA. he argument stuck on a disagreement then. Lots of time stuck there, so acknowledge the time wasted on the subject and and work to strengthen everything else.

My heart goes out to you for trying to help him heal and keep what he wants most. You.

posts: 16   ·   registered: Feb. 27th, 2016   ·   location: Florida
id 8757127
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This0is0Fine ( member #72277) posted at 1:32 AM on Wednesday, September 28th, 2022

BH where fWW had an EA here.

For me the extent at least conceptually mattered. I needed to know what I was forgiving in order to forgive it.

Whether or not it was a PA, putting a boundary or understanding on the depth of the betrayal might help here.

Say for the sake of the argument the sex really isn't the deal breaker here, it's the lying, etc. Is there any way for your husband to believe he has the effectively complete story of the betrayal?

It's been so long for both of you, I recommend "How Can I Forgive You" by Janis Spring, more so than the typical post affair books.

If I were to believe your story as you tell it here (which I don't because I think you are likely minimizing), I would call it a proto affair and I could understand why you would cling to a sense of no wrongdoing early on. It's not clear to me what is hurting your husband so bad if, in fact, the peak betrayal was making an excuse to see a friend you had a crush on to have a longer than normal talk after returning some items over a glass of wine.

Love is not a measure of capacity for pain you are willing to endure for your partner.

posts: 2670   ·   registered: Dec. 11th, 2019
id 8757293
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BraveSirRobin ( member #69242) posted at 12:21 PM on Wednesday, September 28th, 2022

I offered to do a polygraph many times in 2013. He never agreed to let me do one. He never gave me a reason why but I assume it’s bc he was clinging to a hope that I was telling the truth and was terrified at the idea that I could fail, either bc I was actually lying or bc the test was faulty.

What if he's actually afraid you'll pass?

My BH also suffered PTSD from my long ago A, and he had a lot of shame around his suffering. He knew that at a certain point, he "should" have either been able to accept what happened and move forward with me or told me it was a deal breaker and ended our marriage. Instead, he was caught in the ruminative loop that others describe here, and he was well aware that most people would blame him and not me for remaining stuck. In the grand scheme of things, he had every opportunity to dump me after the A without major consequences. We were young (19), living 300 miles apart, no finances, no kids. Instead, he stayed and married me, and as time passed, I remained faithful. We bought a house, had children, built up savings, and enmeshed our families. With every year, he knew that it was less and less fair to hold on to the memory of a teenage betrayal. He hated himself for not letting go, and he hid it from me, and then occasionally took it out in coldness or remoteness that I couldn't understand.

In your case, your BH has even less to hang his hat on then mine did. I had sex with the OM, exchanged ILYs, and refused to go NC. Your BH is suffering years of angst over a handful of conversations. If you had actually slept with the AP, that might confer more legitimacy (in the eyes of the world, and therefore his own eyes) on his inability to recover. He may be feeling like the uncertainty about a PA is the only thing anyone else would understand about his anger. Men get it when other men can't forgive the sex, although there's less sympathy when those men decide to stay. Confirmation of something physical would give him legitimacy, but then he'd "have" to leave; confirmation that it was solely an EA would mean he's "weak" for not letting it go. It's a lose-lose proposition, blaming him no matter what the outcome.

I'm not saying this makes it ok for him to blame you for a non-existent PA. He has to deal with why he's stuck. If his fear of abandonment led him to stay in a relationship where he can't forgive your betrayal, he needs to finally work through that. A therapist can help him accept that his trauma is his trauma, and it's real and authentic, regardless of whether you and AP had sex. That will help him forgive himself for his own pain, and he'll be more able to chart a course out of it, with you or without you.

WW/BW

posts: 3632   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8757331
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numb&dumb ( member #28542) posted at 1:33 PM on Wednesday, September 28th, 2022

He said it didn’t matter if I had sex or not. It was the emotional aspect that destroyed him.

You had an A. That is what bothers him. It is interesting that you go from that statement right him him not believing you.

Further I think your attempts to empathsize with him fell short. Since he did not know how to ask for that he shuts down which causes you to move to divorce. I think you both have serious abandonment issues.

At the end of the day you had an EA, you agree it was wrong.

You spend a lot of energy focusing on your H. I think you need time in IC to really figure out what you want. Further I don't think that you really understand it youself. How do you expect to move past this and have a chance at R if you can't show your Husband that you've changed.

I know. . .years of faithfulness. . .

The thing is that your H doesn't trust you. Attempts to resolve that feel short likely no one was able to be vulnerable and accountable. He can't allow himself to show you his hurt. As far as he knows you've had other As or he doesn't have the full details on your first A. Attempts to resolve cause you to threaten D (Which I honestly believe you really don't want either.) This happended more than once and is coercing him to tread lightly in this area.

So much energy has spent on the details. Honestly the details you have committed to are bad enough and it is an A.

I hate to say this. but I get the impression that you taking accoutability was skipped and it was rug swept. He shut down for lack of alternative. He was trying to endure your M because the fairy tale was already shattered.

If you want your M, and it is fine if you don't, You are going have to show him that you are willing to work this out, be vulnerable and don't use the threat of a D to get what you want.

If he feels you really do want a D why would he want to go to counseling?

You know I am in R with my wife for several years now. At this moment in time the details don't matter to me much. The lies are really the only thing that still bugs me today.

I know you say the D threats aren't manipulation. However people only make threats to coerce behavior in someone else. In the end, D threats got you want you wanted and caused him to change his approach. I fail to see the point of calling it a manipulation tactic versus an honest choice if the outcome is the same. Your husband is weary of you and considering it has been proven that occurref in the past. . .how can he not sometimes see it as manipulation.

Do you want you perspective taken as gospel or do you want to build a new M where those perspectives don't matter as much?

That last question is for both of you.

Dday 8/31/11. EA/PA. Lied to for 3 years.

Bring it, life. I am ready for you.

posts: 5116   ·   registered: May. 17th, 2010
id 8757337
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 5:15 PM on Friday, September 30th, 2022

A bunch of questions that may help you decide what your next steps will be....

With all of my divorce threats, he feels like he has no control in the marriage.

How do you know that? What does he say about how much power he has in your relationship? In fact, he has a lot of power, whether he knows that or not.

Have you considered a joint session with a good MC to find out what your H needs to heal? Or is your H willing to consult a good IC to figure out what he needs to heal?

You have threatened D. What was missing that you want? What is in your M that you don't want?

I suspect you both are making invalid assumptions about each other and that neither of you is looking inside enough, so neither of you is in touch with what you want. I wonder if you're letting fear drive you....

I haven't read The Journey from Abandonment to Healing, but several SIers recommend it very strongly. It might be a good read for both your and your H.

[This message edited by SI Staff at 5:17 PM, Friday, September 30th]

fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.

posts: 30025   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8757770
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pureheartkit ( member #62345) posted at 6:04 PM on Tuesday, October 25th, 2022

You will both have to forgive each other.

It can't keep on forever or this wound won't heal. What do you both want? What would be a happy life? The past is done. Nothing changes it. What do you want the future to be. No divorce talk unless somebody is really done.

Can you make a plan to grow in spirit together? What would an ideal life look like? The old past is no longer possible. Don't dwell on it. Today is what you have. Can he believe you or not? If not why not. Why. He has to find out.

Chewing on the raw spot solves nothing. Just more pain. You can't live this way. Pain and stress. Yes people get infatuated. They do. They have dreams at night. They make unwise choices. They might talk. Yes.

Can we learn? Yes. Can we grow? Yes. Can we forgive? Yes.

I hope you can find some peace.

Thank you everyone for your wisdom and healing.

posts: 2565   ·   registered: Jan. 19th, 2018
id 8762065
Topic is Sleeping.
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