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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 ( Guide #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 38 years; in R with fWH for 7

No one can make you into a liar but you.

posts: 5927   ·   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: 110   ·   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: 8   ·   registered: Feb. 27th, 2016   ·   location: Florida
id 8756799
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ChamomileTea ( Guide #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 38 years; in R with fWH for 7

No one can make you into a liar but you.

posts: 5927   ·   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: 110   ·   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 ( Guide #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 38 years; in R with fWH for 7

No one can make you into a liar but you.

posts: 5927   ·   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: 110   ·   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 -

Not Just Friends

posts: 656   ·   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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