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Newest Member: Crushedafter46years

Reconciliation :
When "It Was All a Fantasy" Doesn't Help

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 Wounded Healer (original poster new member #34829) posted at 5:08 PM on Friday, October 7th, 2022

Hi Again

I continue to process all sorts of stuff from my current location in trying to survive infidelity. In the interest of fuller disclosure, part of the increased urgency to recover is due to what my Dr. is now becoming increasingly convinced is affair related complex PTSD. Last November (about 6 months post DDay 2) despite a remorseful fWW who is pretty much willing to do anything to help me, I started having a plethora of very acute and slowly worsening physical symptoms (DEEP fatigue, intense brain fog, memory issues, momentary forgetting where I am, dizziness, and just an overall Twilight Zone like "out of it" feeling all the time...SCARY stuff) I thought for sure it would be cardiac related. Tests say no. Then I thought neurological...EXTENSIVE tests say...no. Everything from vitamin defenciencies and Lyme disease to sleep apnea has been tested...and...no. So, just about all (to my deep disappointment) physical causes have been/are being ruled out. Since it's getting REALLY hard to function at any level, let alone a high one...I am more urgently seeking to look as deep as I can within the affair truama stuff to seek alleviation from this. (P.S....I find it ridiculously hard to believe that someone *i.e. my therapist* is going to be able to "talk" me out of these very PHYSICAL realities I am experiencing...but I digress). So...

One of the things I am trying to be brutally honest about is the fact that I'm pretty sure that the whole "It was all a fantasy" notion does not really help me...and I'm trying to figure out why. I COMPLETELY GET the reasoning/logic that says pretty much everything done and said in an affair is not ultimately valid in a true/truth sense because of the fact it was all conducted in an unreal, artificial fantasy bubble that pretty much illegitimizes the things done and said within.

I know many here (and I am in awe of you) are able to leverage that concept to effectiviely mitigate and reframe the otherwise visceral long term impact of terrible things done and said to and about the BS during the affair(s). I can't seem to get there. And I guess I will try in my very broken way to expain why.

I think my struggle lies in that I think there is at the very least a small core of truth in the words and events of affairs. I.E....one member posted recently how one of his wife's texts mentioned her AP's "perfect smile" vs. his and something else about her appreciation of her lover's build. He's haunted by this...10 years later even (I totally relate) and is pretty much triggered even now when he smiles because of this comparative statement from his most trusted and intimate person. AND I TOTALLY GET THAT. And, the conventional "it was all fantasy" so that statement really doesn't MEAN anything SUBSTANTIVE as it pertains to him is supposed to paint that comparison as ultimately meaningless. Untrue. A lie even. But I'm not sure it (and all the many other statements our all of WS's make in their affairs) is.

I think it's a particular master's level of suck for many of us who have (in addition to all the physical things done..and what those things can mean) our WS's correspondence with their AP's IN PRINT (texts - emails) or (God help us) VIDEO/AUDIO. We have no choice to fully confront what we are reading/seeing/hearing...unfiltered. And, getting to the point I guess, at least MY heart and wiring looks at the "fantasy" defense and says...okay...I get there is dopamine fuel, NRE, illicit adrenaline, and the removal of all REAL pressures of life at least PLAYING INTO what I am reading and hearing/seeing my beloved say and do here...BUT...(and here it comes)...

My heart...does...not...care.

And I think at least part of why is that it thinks there has to be at VERY LEAST an ELEMENT of truth in what it is seeing. I had my penis compared to AP2 in a chat. I had my fatherhood brutally criticized, she expressed dissatifaction in our sex life, and endless variations of how much better life, sex, love, family...is going to be with AP. And, damn it, even though I even know OBJECTIVELY these things are "off" I cannot get past that my wife BELIEVED them enough EVEN UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF FANTASY to go there. To SAY them. And it just leads me to believe that, at least for HER, there was truth in those statements. And, becuase hers is the most trusted voice in my entire life, likely ACTUAL truth there. And I also have suspicions that love blinds us at times. In the case of our fellow traveler who's wife compared his smile to the AP...likely when love was real and working in her she thought his smile was just fine. More than fine even. Beautiful. But there's this sense that, if you strip away the love filter and get the "raw" unfiltered truth...well she prefers AP's smile. And my wife prefers her AP's d*ck, and his dad game, and life with him. And it just seems damn near impossible for me to chalk it up to fantasy. My heart and mind SCREAM THERE'S SOMETHING TO WHAT YOU ARE SEEING AND HEARING/READING YOUR WIFE SAY/DO THAT ABSOLUTELY TRUTHFULLY MATTERS HERE EVEN THOUGH SHE IS DOPED UP ON THE FANTASY. Those sentiments didn't just spontaneoulsy materialize out of vapor...they came from something real inside her...directed at me.

And I also know we are not supposed to lean on outside sources for supporting our self worth/image etc...but by DEFAULT....isn't a spouse purposefully and maybe even NECESSARILY given access to the deepest places that exist in us?!? So when they speak. They speak in that INNERMOST CHAMBER of us and because of that, those words are supercharged with 1000% more power/weight/potency...and being spoken in that chamber...those nuclear infused words go literally straight to our cores. So...yeah...ultimately we aren't supposed to rely on ANY outside sources for all that esteem/validation/image stuff. But the very system of marriage/monogomy is kinda set up to give at very least *A* voice like that to our spouses it seems?

So. I struggle (insane understatement) to find comfort in the fantasy. Maybe because I am not certain ALL of it was. And those words I have on record of my one true love speaking in my innermost chambers of being, with all the potency that a spouses words are infused with. Yeah.

Deep breath.

Man. All this turned out way more ranty and incoherent (did I mention brain fog?) than I hoped. But I think I mostly accurately described waht's going on in my heart here.

Thanks as always for taking time to read.

WH

BS - 39 years on DDay

DDay #1: 10/13/2010 - 4 month EA/PA with Divorced OM from 10/2009 to 2/2010

DDay #2: 4/14/2021 - 8 month EA with married OM/family friend 2/2010 to 10/2010

Crazy about each other. Reconciling.

posts: 45   ·   registered: Feb. 15th, 2012   ·   location: Northern Indiana
id 8758628
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Butforthegrace ( member #63264) posted at 6:23 PM on Friday, October 7th, 2022

Are you old enough to remember when Marty McSorley intentionally swung his stick and hit Donald Brashear on the head, causing a concussion? McSorley was later convicted of assault and incarcerated.

I recall watching a news conference with a tearful McSorley blubbering something about "That's not me. I don't play like that." And yet there was video footage, from multiple angles, of McSorely playing exactly like that: approaching Brashear from behind and forcefully sucker-whacking Brasher across the temple with a hockey stick. Full NHL swing. Direct, intentional stick-to-skull contact. Nobody believed McSorley was in any sort of trance, nor under the influence of drugs, nor experiencing some sort of out-of-body experience. He chose to do it because it was what he wanted to do. He was a seasoned NHL veteran who fully understood the consequences, but he wanted to do it more than he was concerned about the consequences.

He deserved to go to jail for it. He deserved to get kicked out of the NHL for it. No matter how sorry he was, Brashear will suffer concussion symptoms for life behind it.

Sometimes, the injury is just too great. The injured party just needs to move on.

I COMPLETELY GET the reasoning/logic that says pretty much everything done and said in an affair is not ultimately valid in a true/truth sense because of the fact it was all conducted in an unreal, artificial fantasy bubble that pretty much illegitimizes the things done and said within.

Nicht wahr. Where did you get this? From a crappy MC spewing vapid pop-psy in a low-rent attempt to duct tape your broken marriage? You know she allowed another man to put his penis insider her vagina. Was that "not ultimately valid"? What does "not ultimately valid" even mean in that context?

When it comes to affair recovery, the heart knows what it knows. Clearly you are tortured by the pain caused by her actions and her statements. You try to choke down the notion that she didn't mean any of it, that it was the crazy talking or something like that, but your heart knows what it knows. From your description, she was intrigued and delighted by the AP's dick. Maybe now she wishes that she had not given in to her curiosity about said lingam, but she did, and it was a purposeful choice, while she was a lucid adult woman. I don't hear you suggesting she was inhabited by an alter-ego during the A.

[This message edited by Butforthegrace at 8:12 PM, Friday, October 7th]

"The wicked man flees when no one chases."

posts: 3988   ·   registered: Mar. 31st, 2018   ·   location: Midwest
id 8758638
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Want2BHappyAgain ( member #45088) posted at 8:47 PM on Friday, October 7th, 2022

I find it ridiculously hard to believe that someone *i.e. my therapist* is going to be able to "talk" me out of these very PHYSICAL realities I am experiencing

It IS hard to believe...until it happens smile . Although we never told anyone else about my H's A...people KNEW something was not right with me look . I tried explaining it away...I had just had 2 surgical procedures done. That got most people off of my back...but my kids weren't buying it. I finally told them it had something to do with sex...and if they REALLY wanted to know...I would tell them. That stopped them from asking laugh !!

I was a person who could meet someone one time...and remember their name the next time...even if it was a year or so before seeing them again. Numbers were "my thing". I could rattle off house numbers...phone numbers...mathematical totals with NO problem...until Dday. I couldn't function crying . My world as I knew it was demolished...and I didn't know HOW to climb my way out of the infidelity HELL my H AND the adultery co-conspirator put me in crying . By the GRACE of God I found a way out...but not before being very ANGRY at Him too...another thing I thought would NEVER happen!!

The physical stuff also was so SCARY sad . The weight loss I could understand because I just couldn't eat. Those SHAKES though...I never knew what was going to set them off...and I had no idea how to STOP them crying . I ended up getting WARTS as well!! I had EIGHTEEN on my hands before they finally started going away!! My teeth started breaking too shocked . My dentist asked if I was under stress....YESSSS!! He said that some people who are stressed will grind their teeth at night...and their teeth start breaking look . When I told this to my H...he said that I would wake him up at night with grinding my teeth shocked !!

We didn't go to counseling...but I found plenty of AMAZING counselors on this WONDERFUL Site grin . This site truly SAVED my life...and I will be forever grateful to MangledHeart and DeeplyScared for starting this site smile . If someone would have told me 8 years ago that I would be feeling this GOOD...I would have never believed them!!! So please don't rule out anything Dear Sir...miracles happen EVERY DAY smile .

I remember that thread you are writing about. I posted on that thread smile . I probably wrote some of that "It was all fantasy" stuff...although I usually use the word FAKE smile . Because my H had his A while working alone overseas...I had so much information via expense and time reports...time-stamped restaurant receipts...event receipts...emails...Whatsapp texts...SKYPE calls...etc...that I could practically tell how long they fucked rolleyes . I played a GOOD Jack Webb detective after Dday..."Just the facts ma'am" smile . I gathered so MUCH information from both my H and the adultery co-conspirator. I could see HIS truth...HER truth...and THE truth wink .

When I joined this site...and started reading on the Forums...I completely understood what people meant when they wrote about "The Cheaters Handbook". When new Waywards come on and post...they TRY to argue with the vets on here that THEIR A was DIFFERENT...IT WAS REAL rolleyes . After a while...when they come out of the A FOG...which is disputed on here as well...they admit that their A was really NO different. A's are made up of two SELFISH and BROKEN people who USE each other to get their selfish DESIRE met. The desires may be different from person to person...but the way they go about it is always the SAME SELFISHNESS.

I am very happy to see you post this smile . You aren't broken Dear Sir...but you might be a little bent wink . We ALL process things differently...there is NO right or wrong in how we heal. The important thing is TO HEAL smile . With you posting about this...you may open someone's eyes to what THEY are going through. Or you may find several others who feel as you do.

Looking deep down inside you is a good way to start! You definitely do not want to rugsweep. Clean out all of that MESS!!! I rugswept after I went for D with my 1st H. He cheated...we divorced...end of story...right? WRONG!! ALL of that stuff came up when my 2nd H cheated on me crying . It is written on here often that it takes 2-5 years to heal. For ME...it took 7 years...probably because I had to sweep out everything from when my 1st H cheated too!!

You are writing about fantasy/truth on here. I can see where there is truth to some elements of an A. As one poster wrote to me once...the sex is definitely REAL. That is a TRUTH. I have a question for you. You wrote that you believe there is some element of TRUTH to what your wife wrote to her adultery co-conspirator during her A. Do you also believe there is TRUTH in what she wrote/said/videoed to YOU during her A?

A "perfect marriage" is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other.

With God ALL things are possible (Matthew 19:26)

I AM happy again...It CAN happen!!!

From respect comes great love...sassylee

posts: 6324   ·   registered: Oct. 2nd, 2014   ·   location: Southeastern United States
id 8758662
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 Wounded Healer (original poster new member #34829) posted at 10:18 PM on Friday, October 7th, 2022

Hey BFTG

Thanks so much for the investment to reply here. I always appreciate it.

Nicht wahr. Where did you get this? From a crappy MC spewing vapid pop-psy in a low-rent attempt to duct tape your broken marriage? You know she allowed another man to put his penis insider her vagina. Was that "not ultimately valid"? What does "not ultimately valid" even mean in that context?

Nah. Pretty sure I got it from simply being observant in life. And what it means is "valid" in the sense of it being ultimately, empirically, and actually TRUE. Human beings IME
play with, alter, embellish, enhance by omission, twist, and otherwise mess with truth for endless reasons of their own justifications all the damn time. There are fleeting moments when I think I can see the possibility that people in affairs ARE actually "acting" wayyyy out of character and, to the topic at hand, say all kinds of twisted things that aren't patently true but do/say them to keep whatever they are getting from the affair (Esteem boosts? Sex? Dopamine rush? Chicken freaking nuggets?) coming. How many BW's have we heard say their WH's sold some sad sausage song to their AP's about their wives being "prudes" or "frigid" or sexless...when in TRUTH these BW's were f*cking their WH's through the floor? BH's were selling that NOT-REALLY-TRUTH to their AP's to keep getting sympathy @ss. That's just one example. There are tons more. So...it happens. WS's say shit to build up their AP's...but the kicker is...in the instances I have referred to, it's at their BS's EXPENSE. That's where it crosses some nuclear line for me. EVEN IF IT IS NOT ACTUALLY TRUE (sort of processing out loud atm...but gonna go with it). Maybe that's what actually bothers me MORE. That it was said AT ALL. No matter the reasons or empirical accuracy. Maybe that's what I can't over? The indignity that it was said at all. I think I've been a good (very good? great if I may?) dad. I also think our married sex life was pretty expcetional. I was there for it. And I'm pretty sure of the quality of it. But that my wife said the f*ucking opposite to the man she was trying to manuever into a new life with...whether actually true or not...just screams in that innermost place you know? And becuase it echoes around in that core of cores...sometimes it gets the big voice and makes discerning what is really real in terms of my fWW really messy to keep grasp of. And still...it just matters to me if she THOUGHT it was true...even partially. Even if I KNOW different. So yeah, it's just an insane mess to wade through.

Clearly you are tortured by the pain caused by her actions and her statements.

Yeah. I am tortured. Clearly. But...I think I am smart enough to know that that it's at least possible that I am torturing myself with these things just as much as it is possible that they are torturing me. What I'm NOT smart enough to know is...

Which is it?

Thanks again


WH

BS - 39 years on DDay

DDay #1: 10/13/2010 - 4 month EA/PA with Divorced OM from 10/2009 to 2/2010

DDay #2: 4/14/2021 - 8 month EA with married OM/family friend 2/2010 to 10/2010

Crazy about each other. Reconciling.

posts: 45   ·   registered: Feb. 15th, 2012   ·   location: Northern Indiana
id 8758670
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Butforthegrace ( member #63264) posted at 10:31 PM on Friday, October 7th, 2022

Human beings IME
play with, alter, embellish, enhance by omission, twist, and otherwise mess with truth for endless reasons of their own justifications all the damn time. There are fleeting moments when I think I can see the possibility that people in affairs ARE actually "acting" wayyyy out of character and, to the topic at hand, say all kinds of twisted things that aren't patently true but do/say them to keep whatever they are getting from the affair (Esteem boosts? Sex? Dopamine rush? Chicken freaking nuggets?) coming. How many BW's have we heard say their WH's sold some sad sausage song to their AP's about their wives being "prudes" or "frigid" or sexless...when in TRUTH these BW's were f*cking their WH's through the floor? BH's were selling that NOT-REALLY-TRUTH to their AP's to keep getting sympathy @ss. That's just one example. There are tons more. So...it happens. WS's say shit to build up their AP's...but the kicker is...in the instances I have referred to, it's at their BS's EXPENSE. That's where it crosses some nuclear line for me. EVEN IF IT IS NOT ACTUALLY TRUE (sort of processing out loud atm...but gonna go with it). Maybe that's what actually bothers me MORE. That it was said AT ALL. No matter the reasons or empirical accuracy. Maybe that's what I can't over?

Dude, I'm sorry, I don't disagree with any of your musings, but taken as a whole, this is a living, breathing example of analysis paralysis. Explaining a thing is not the same as excusing a thing. Humans sometimes do shitty things for shitty reasons. In the process they sometimes hurt the ones they love. Often, the right answer for the injured loved one is to cut the shitty actor out of his/her life.

"The wicked man flees when no one chases."

posts: 3988   ·   registered: Mar. 31st, 2018   ·   location: Midwest
id 8758673
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 Wounded Healer (original poster new member #34829) posted at 10:48 PM on Friday, October 7th, 2022

Hi W2BHA

I'm always humbled and amazed when internet "strangers" invest so much thought and time in encouraging and seeking to help another internet stranger. And you do it tons. So...thank you tons. Going to read over your post again and really try to "listen." I know. My wife says all thr right things now...and has consistently throughout this whole mess. She doesn't minimize or deny the things she said/did. The things in print I've been speaking of in this thread seem to haunt her almost as much as they do me. And she realizes she has zero defense for them. She has tried to dig into her thinking at the time and says that she was just trying to build up the AP...and I guess the most "efficient" way to do that was to do it at my expense. She of course says she didn't mean any of it...it was an act to try and hook him. But there's where the cage match is for me. I would think there could have been thousands of ways to build him up and get her hooks in him....without bringing me into it. And that's just where it's hard to keep my grip on what I think is really real. Does she REALLY...did she really think those things? Does she secretly still do...even a little bit...despite years of now consistent statements/actions to the contrary? And...so what if she did? What does that mean? And I guess its that "love filter" thing I mentioned. She thinks I'm all great NOW because her love/attachment for me is intact. But you want to know on their WORST DAY that your beloved will not try to kill you KWIM? And I will always struggle to NOT believe that those awful things would be her estimation of me if all her filters were shut down. That the woman my wife became during her affairs with all the associated words and actions is simply a glimpse of my wife unfiltered towards me.

I'm rambling now and not even certain I am making sense.

I will stop.

But thank you so much again for your time, thoughts, and words.

WH

BS - 39 years on DDay

DDay #1: 10/13/2010 - 4 month EA/PA with Divorced OM from 10/2009 to 2/2010

DDay #2: 4/14/2021 - 8 month EA with married OM/family friend 2/2010 to 10/2010

Crazy about each other. Reconciling.

posts: 45   ·   registered: Feb. 15th, 2012   ·   location: Northern Indiana
id 8758678
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The1stWife ( member #58832) posted at 12:41 AM on Saturday, October 8th, 2022

One if the aspects of healing (for me) was the realization that I put waaaay too much stick on what my H thought of me.

I have let a person who has lied and cheated on me for years hold the my self esteem in his hands. Yes I was a people pleaser and his opinion snd approval was most important.

Now - my opinion is the only one that matters. The shift occurred b/c I realized I needed to stop being a doormat in my life and putting him first.

Wounded Healer. I am so sorry you are suffering both physically and emotionally. Does your view now change in that she is NOT the person she once was AND her opinion of you should matter less?

My H wrote about me to the OW and really hit below the belt only once. Most of their emails had nothing to do with me - my H never bashed me to the OW in writing. However, this one time was soul crushing.

It took me years to get past.

But the interesting thing is that The anger and rage he caused was what propelled me to get past all of it. My goal was to not let his affair ruin my life or impact my life for one more second.

It mostly works. I shake off the self doubts I have by thinking — he’s got some nerve to be negative or critical of me. He’s not perfect. He’s done worse.

I’m happy. I feel good about myself. Therapy helped. Restoring my self esteem helped by not letting the opinions of others control me.

I hope you can get there. It’s very possible you will feel free and not so bothered by others.

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled.

posts: 12794   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
id 8758686
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BreakingBad ( member #75779) posted at 1:56 AM on Saturday, October 8th, 2022

If I'm understanding correctly, you're basically saying:

1) You understand that the A was built on a "fantasy" component--a relationship that didn't have to play by real-world standards and certainly not by long-term, committed relationship standards where people are real (the good and the bad, the warts and the pretty, the flatulance, the short-temperedness, the diapers, the bills...).

2) You also know the cheating was real. And the terrible, disloyal criticisms and comparisons that were said or written, likely have an underlying belief or truth to them too.

You aren't off at all.
You've got it right.

Understanding the fantasy component doesn't absolve anything.

The questions are:

Based on the reality of what was done and said, can you live with it?
Can you continue to be married to someone capable of doing and saying those things?

Sometimes, no matter how much remorse a WS shows or how much work a WS does, there just isn't a path to reconciliation.

Some betrayed spouses just have to cut ties and heal by going on solo.

I'm so sorry for your physical and emotional pain. You deserve relief and healing.

"Don't you love it, don't you love it?No, I ain't happy yet.But I'm way less sad."[Credit to group AJR]

Me=BW; fWH=online affairs with 3 APs over 2.5-3 yrsBoth in IC & MCMarried 31 yrs now2 kids-both in HSAttempting R

posts: 291   ·   registered: Oct. 31st, 2020
id 8758690
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BreakingBad ( member #75779) posted at 2:22 AM on Saturday, October 8th, 2022

On the topic of comparisons, I also want to add this.

IMO, mentally comparing your spouse somewhat unfavorably to someone else isn't typically the problem.

We have all likely noticed people who are better looking, more built, more svelte, bigger in desirable areas, smarter, funnier, or even more adept parents under certain circumstances than our spouses/SOs.

Comparisons are common.

The disloyalty starts when our partner verbalizes this to others--especially in an ongoing way that denigrates us.

The betrayal starts when this is done with the person who they see as the positive comparison, because then it's being done to build that relationship while tearing ours down.

So I ask myself:
Can I be okay with the fact that my fWH actually believes that one of his APs has better breasts or looks sexier in a pic she sent, etc?

Is the mental comparison the real issue? Or is it that he used that preference to act in ways that betrayed me, because he told her that and because he used that comparison as personal justification to cheat on me? (As in "I like the following things better about you than my spouse, so right now I pick you."

"Don't you love it, don't you love it?No, I ain't happy yet.But I'm way less sad."[Credit to group AJR]

Me=BW; fWH=online affairs with 3 APs over 2.5-3 yrsBoth in IC & MCMarried 31 yrs now2 kids-both in HSAttempting R

posts: 291   ·   registered: Oct. 31st, 2020
id 8758691
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Grieving ( member #79540) posted at 2:32 AM on Saturday, October 8th, 2022

Gently, have you considered divorce? I mean, seriously considered it as a path toward healing.

I haven’t suffered as much over my husband’s affair as you have over your wife’s. He didn’t keep up the lies for a decade, and for a number of reasons, based on evidence I found, I don’t think he bad mouthed me to his AP. And chalking some of the hurtful things he did say up to the fantasy bubble is useful for me because my instinct is that he was indeed caught up in a fantasy bubble trying to escape some really shitty things happening in our lives (not our marriage, but other trauma).

But still, with all those caveats, something within me remains broken. I have physical symptoms like you describe; albeit at a much milder level. I just flat-out shake sometimes. I feel foggy still. I still have trouble focusing and concentrating. I actively pursue tangible things every single day designed to increase my happiness, elevate my mood, and make me a stronger, more grounded person. But I still fall apart mentally sometimes. My trust level is still quite low.

All that, and the betrayal I experienced was NOWHERE what you have.

Trying to overcome complex ptsd when you’re living with the source of your trauma just might not be in the cards for you.

I would say at bare minimum, you need to be truly open to the possibility that divorce may be a necessary step on any path to real healing.

Another thought: even if there were some way to definitively prove that every hurtful thing your spouse said in an affair was part of a fantasy bubble and not as real as their relationship with you, that doesn’t solve everything. It still matters what they said. The mere fact that they are susceptible to fantasy bubbles can be a deal breaker. If my husband had maligned my mothering and denigrated my body and ridiculed me sexually during his affair, I don’t know if I would care whether what he said was fantasy or not, because regardless my takeaway would likely be that he was cruel and unsafe and I wouldn’t be able to go on living with him.

It is an ok choice not to remain married and partnered to someone who treated you so cruelly. What your wife did would be a dealbreaker to many/most people. It’s ok if it’s a dealbreaker for you. I feel like there are a lot of things in your mind and life path that make you want to reconcile with your wife, but that your emotional core is rejecting reconciliation at a cellular level.

I’m not a therapist and might be totally off base—these are probably deeper and more treacherous waters than I should be wading into, and advice dispensed by strangers over the internet can be problematic no matter how well intended. But brother, I feel for you. Hugs. Take care of yourself.

[This message edited by Grieving at 2:35 AM, Saturday, October 8th]

Married for 20 years with two kids when my husband had a six month affair with a coworker. DD1: 6/2020. DD2: 7/3/2020. Reconciling

posts: 276   ·   registered: Oct. 30th, 2021
id 8758692
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OwningItNow ( member #52288) posted at 4:21 AM on Saturday, October 8th, 2022

People, even those we love the most, say and do hurtful things--even when they don't cheat. It's a fact. So what do you do with the info, with the hurt you feel?

My H said something very hurtful when we were newly married. (Because he's always been somewhat of a non-thinking idiot.) I stewed about it, felt bad, but then I had a conversation with myself in my head. "You need to decide: do you care about this and want to let it impact your life forever? Or do you want to not care and learn to ignore? We need to decide! What's the plan?"

That's the truth no matter how you look it. At any "it" that comes up. So which is it? Do you want to let it ruin things, or do you want to let it go?

Gently, have you considered divorce? I mean, seriously considered it as a path toward healing.

If you cannot handle the level of hurt one throws at you, if the insult is so great that you feel you have lost all dignity, then divorce is the only antidote. A very, very loving and remorseful WS may help you recover, but sometimes our dignity just will not allow us to forgive or forget. If this is you, you have to admit it to yourself and end your suffering. You have to admit that it's too hurtful to your dignity and leave. Will your self-esteem recover? Maayyybbbeee. But it's not a guarantee. (See below)

One if the aspects of healing (for me) was the realization that I put waaaay too much stick on what my H thought of me.

Yep. Maybe we need to love and accept ourselves enough to not care what a WS thinks or says? We should just say, "Maybe it's true, but I don't care because I am a freaking amazing person and total catch!" If that is your decision--and I believe it's a good one--then that is an inside job. You working on you. Your self-esteem comes from you, not what others think of you. Make that be true by doing the work. You have to learn the art of self-love and admiration, and that work may be required whether you R or D.

For me and my H's early insult, I decided that my H had very high standards for me but low ones for himself. So I decided to see myself as the amazing partner and beautiful person that I was and am--outside and in. His insult doesn't bother me one bit now, nor do the other hurts we have lived through. I know who I am now. I value myself just as I am. I don't need anyone else to agree or act as my cheerleader. I have no doubt that whatever obnoxious but hurtful things your WW said, they do not compare or even count against the many reasons she wants to stay with you. And I feel confident that many other women wouldn't think twice about these supposed deficits and would instead see all your attributes. But it's all about the tape that plays in your head and the messages you tell yourself.

So if this hurt is too huge and you are just afraid to D, I'm sorry but this R will probably not work. You are trying to swallow a bowling ball, and it simply won't happen. Your dignity won't allow it.

But if you can begin to work on loving you as you, imperfections and all, and elevate your own opinion of yourself over what anyone else says, then you can be very happy again. But like I said, that's an inside job. And you are going to need to learn how to really love and accept yourself. It took time and lots of IC for me to accomplish this.

Good luck to you!

I know you can be truly happy again.

Eta: I notice that your tagline says, "Crazy about each other," but here you are telling us these horrible things that she said about you. Do you think it's possible that reality is relentlessly intruding into the story that you've told yourself? In a way that won't stop until it is properly acknowledged?

It has been my experience that when we want something to be true but are continually faced with contradictions, anxiety and depression then haunt us. They are protective forces, I think, who are loudly screaming, "Things are NOT fine! They are NOT as you say they are! Do something. You are not safe."

Are these thoughts trying to protect you from glossing over unforgivable indignities? One thing is for sure: these feelings are demanding your attention and healing--one way or another.

[This message edited by OwningItNow at 4:41 AM, Saturday, October 8th]

me: BS/WSh: WS/BS

Reject the rejector. Do not reject yourself.

posts: 5682   ·   registered: Mar. 16th, 2016   ·   location: Midwest
id 8758703
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veryconfused ( member #56933) posted at 4:40 AM on Saturday, October 8th, 2022

I know we can all get caught up in words and descriptions and the discussions, but WH this is strip you have to take in your own way. I am not surprised that you are having physical issues but I am a bit surprised at the severity!

You need to find a way to process out that pain and trauma. Keeping it in is what destroys us. Did you know that high levels of stress can induce shingles? I didn’t till a year after D-Day. I was 45 and about to loose my job as I still wasn’t functioning and had recently quit the antidepressants which wiped me out.

For what it’s worth
1. You are attempting to make sense of what a WS does and apply meaning to it. Please keep in mind that they all lie to themselves! I know it doesn’t help, till you get to the point of acceptance.

2. See a trauma specialist. Let them help. If not get "the body keeps the score" (I recommend the audio version on this one)

posts: 264   ·   registered: Jan. 16th, 2017   ·   location: Mid West
id 8758704
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GoldenR ( member #54778) posted at 10:19 AM on Saturday, October 8th, 2022

I'm sorry you're going through this, Wounded.

Me? Ive always been of the opinion that what the cheaters say to each other is 100% how they feel at that time. At the time it's happening, for the ones saying it and receiving it, it's as real as anything else. They may regret it later. But that doesn't take away the fact that they this is how they felt.

Feelings change, especially when the grass isn't greener. What they felt then isn't how the remorseful feel now. But it doesn't invalidate that it's how they felt during the A.

They love to use the "affair fog" defense, as it's the best thing to ever happen to WSes, BSes believing in the affair fog.

For me, everything she told him was how she 100% felt at that time. To this day she tells our daughters that she was never going to leave me, that she never liked anything about him over me. Maybe she even has said it enough that she actually believes it now. I don't.

So, yeah....you're not alone in believing that there's truth there. I how you can find a way to deal with it.

[This message edited by GoldenR at 10:22 AM, Saturday, October 8th]

posts: 2734   ·   registered: Aug. 22nd, 2016   ·   location: South Texas
id 8758713
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NotMyFirstRodeo ( member #75220) posted at 7:08 AM on Sunday, October 9th, 2022

It's the pain of a H knowing he's somewhere down the line of his W's plan A. If you're like me, it's hard to accept being openly seen as the "lesser of the two" by her.

[This message edited by NotMyFirstRodeo at 12:49 PM, Sunday, October 9th]

Every lie we tell incurs a debt to the truth. Sooner or later that debt is paid.

posts: 355   ·   registered: Aug. 19th, 2020
id 8758797
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 4:39 PM on Sunday, October 9th, 2022

Gently, have you worked to figure out what will work for you instead of why something that works for others doesn't work for you? We're all brothers and sisters, so we're all alike in many very meaningful ways, but we're not identical.

I see my W's A as a symptom of self-hate. That has nothing to do with me. In fact, my support and my strength helped push off her breakdown for decades. I have no doubt that's probably the right diagnosis in my case, which means I have some doubt but not enough to bather me so far. I also think it's possible that even with billions of adults around, this may be the right diagnosis for this one case. I mean: it's probably true for a lot of others, but probability isn't knowledge.

SO maybe your case is unique. If so, what would be wrong with looking at your case for what it is instead of what it isn't?

And even if your W has completely redeemed herself, perhaps that's not enough for you. What would be morally wrong about leaving? Whatever values you judge something by, how would leaving violate those values? You have a right to save yourself....

I'm not attempting any reverse psychology here. Rather, I'm attempting to suggest ways that might allow you to figure out what you want to and can bring yourself to do.

I guess I read your posts and conclude that you are somehow limiting yourself unnecessarily, and that taking the limits off will lead you to a solution you'll be happy to find.

Very sorry about the (possible) PTSD. That really complicates healing.

Can you be kind to yourself? Are you sure?

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: 27878   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8758820
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Hippo16 ( member #52440) posted at 6:12 PM on Sunday, October 9th, 2022

A couple of people have posted:

Often, the right answer is, Gently, have you considered divorce?

I mean, seriously considered it as a path toward healing. where for the injured loved one is to cut the shitty actor out of his/her life.

And BFTG has noted that sometimes folks get mired in "over analysis" - often leading to paralysis in getting on with life.

Re-iterating - Cheaters may state some facts in their fantasy time with their AP - "his dick is smaller" - (side note: if your research that quip - you will find most often the thought is not so much size but what they do with it) . . .
There are a lot of things in life that are true and unpleasant (or hurtful to some) but that means one needs to accept some things are just "as they are and move on." For example, eventuality, your washing machine is going to break/wear out. You will have to suffer the pain of spending $$ on fixing/replacing. Maybe go back to the quotes above and consider your relationship.

You say you two are "Crazy about each other." - That doesn't directly translate into you must stay married.

I think you should get and read:

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma written by Bessel van de Kolk, MD
It is a bit on the not so easy to read side - but worth the effort. I think that will start you on the way of getting control of your physical issues.

You will somehow have to teach yourself that you must carry on life with the memory she bestowed on you. Given enough time, the pains won't pop into your head so often and with such intensity.

I would suggest you get something set aside quickly available to help get your mind off your intrusive/negative thoughts. Maybe a punching bag? A splitting maul and a stack of wood? Fly-tying? Take up a hobby that requires intense mental attention. It will help.

Not Just Friends

posts: 686   ·   registered: Mar. 26th, 2016   ·   location: OBX
id 8758826
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Justsomeguy ( member #65583) posted at 6:40 PM on Sunday, October 9th, 2022

Just before my second D-day, the one in which my WW was forced to confess, she begged those in the know, to not tell me as it would ruin her marriage. (not so concerned when she was riding her AP). She said that she was willing to go to therapy to fix what was broken in her. (Never finished even one affair related book I gave her).Then after Dday she gave me that ILYBINILWY speech. Then she sobbed when a love song came on the radio and asked me if I would ever sing a song about her like that? I don't sing. I said nope with a chortle. Then another time, she asked me if she would ever be the love of my life again? I said nope. You were, but you chose to abdicate that position. I may one day love you, but it will never be the same, shiny, look-at-my-wife and think God, I'm a lucky man, again. That's just the reality of the choices you made. There is a pattern in all of this. Everything, and these are just a few of examples, is about her, how she feels, how the consequences affect her. I am just a mirror that reflects those things.

As men, when we pair bond, we are looking for loyalty in a way that is unique to our gender. Now, I am of the evolutionary psychology camp, so I believe we are at the mercy of our primitive programming quite often. Because a man can never really know that his offspring are really his, he needs to trust in a very different way than a woman. Ive never heard ofva woman raising children that she did not know were not her biological offspring. She always knows if she has been monogamous; he can only take her at her word. So this deeply primitive need to fully trust your mate is a driving force in male psychology. You need to know that your partner totally has your back and you can trust her in all areas. For that, you will sacrifice your very life to protect her. Prior to Dday, I would have willingly taken bullet for my W. After Dday, I realized that I had been totally committed to a woman who was completely unworthy of that level of commitment. I had been conned in this agreement.

This is why affairs are so deeply damaging to men, and IMHO why most never get past them. The very person you let into your life and allowed yourself to be vulnerable with and trust fully, the very person that you willing gave yourself to and promised to protect, has shown you that you are simply human currency that she is willing to exchange in order to buy ego kibbles. She did not have your back. And now that she has had her ride and told you all her bullshit excuses, you are supposed to go back to the original contract of trust and protection? Cue happy ending and roll credits. Well, doesn't she get it all then? Quite convenient for her. You, not so much.

In the end, ask yourself, what's in it for me? I mean, what do you get out of the deal? She's shown you she can be transactional, so let's be transactional. For you, it's easy. She gets a faithful, loyal husband who has been committed to her for the entirety of the marriage. He has made a promise and kept it. He has not run down his partner to others, nor openly spoken about her vulnerabilities to others. He has not body shamed her to his friends. He has not damaged her psychologically and put her health and life at risk. He has not stopped loving her. Because past behavior is an indicator of future behaviour, these are what she expects from you to continue moving forward.

Now get her to list what you get.

[This message edited by Justsomeguy at 10:58 PM, Sunday, October 9th]

Me:55 STBXWW:55 DD#1: false confession of EA Dec. 2016. False R for a year.DD#2: confessed to year long PA Dec. 2 2017 (was about to be outed)Called it off and filed. Denied having an affair in court papers.

Divorced 2022!!!!

posts: 1364   ·   registered: Jul. 25th, 2018   ·   location: Canada
id 8758827
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Trdd ( member #65989) posted at 7:45 PM on Sunday, October 9th, 2022

What she did was particularly horrible and I think must be very hard to reconcile. There was absolutely no need to compare you to him in any way, particularly not your ability as a father to your children.

What could explain it? Well, her explanation that it was all to hook him and none of it was true is possible in my mind. Some WW are so deep in limerance they seem to be willing to say or do anything for more of their addiction. But if that is true then she must also have a very mean streak in her. To not only betray you but to also insult you so cruelly.

Was the posom some amazing catch that she would need to seduce him so much to keep him interested? Or did he get off on the comparisons and she saw that so kept doing it?

The other option is she thought it was true. Then you have to wonder did she really think that legitimately or was it just her affair high speaking?

Neither option is good, obviously. Has she done enough since to make you want to stay?

posts: 698   ·   registered: Aug. 27th, 2018   ·   location: US
id 8758835
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BluerThanBlue ( member #74855) posted at 11:25 PM on Sunday, October 9th, 2022

A fantasy is something that happens entirely in one’s head, like imagining all the things you would do if you won the lotto, or putting yourself in the shoes of a heroine in a romantic film.

An affair is not a fantasy. Your spouse did something with a real person in real life. It doesn’t matter if their choices were based on base desire, impulse, or delusion… their actions were real. The consequences are real. Your pain is real.

So the next time your WS or someone else talks about affair being "fantasy" remind them (and yourself) that affairs don’t happen in the astral plain.. they happen in real life, along with the damage that they cause.

BW, age 40
Divorced WH in 2015; now happily remarried to a great guy

I edit my comments a lot for spelling, grammar, typos, etc.

posts: 953   ·   registered: Jul. 13th, 2020
id 8758845
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The1stWife ( member #58832) posted at 11:26 AM on Monday, October 10th, 2022

I don’t know if this helps you but for me, my H’s 2nd affair was not just an affair. It was an exit affair. He told me a number of times that he wanted a D.

I was being kicked to the curb. I had no $, a house I could not afford on my own, children, a highly toxic work environment, etc. I think you get the gist.

I had the shakes every day - 24 hours a day - for months. I could not eat. I lost weight I could not afford to lose. Now add in the mental and emotional trauma of being kicked to the curb.

I needed to protect myself & my kids.

I had to hang in for 90 days to get some $ in the bank. Enough to survive in case he decides not to pay alimony or child support. I changed all our life insurance policies to my ownership so he could not change the beneficiary to the OW.

It has been 9 years since that horrible time. My H is extremely remorseful and sees the long term damage he has inflicted on me and our marriage.

But I know I have healed b/c I am a lot stronger. I don’t ever back down to him like I used to. I always gave in. Not anymore.

Based on the reality of what was done and said, can you live with it?
Can you continue to be married to someone capable of doing and saying those things?

Some days it does bother me. Knowing what he wrote is a painful reminder of how he felt at that time. However — he’s not that same lying cheating jerk. He wasn’t like that before his affair and he’s not like that now. He was in a mindset during his affair that he deserved to be happy. No matter what.

I learned from all of this that my H is a coward. I always thought he was strong and brave and confident and respected. In reality he’s insecure and a coward. He will rarely confront our children with issues. He would rather just give in and give them what they want. He forced me to be the "heavy" with our kids and he was behind the scenes being Mr Nice Guy.

Has this changed me? Absolutely. Has it changed our marriage? Yes. But you know what — I am very happy with my life. I just wish it did not have to include his two affairs and disrespect and selfishness. I thought he was better than that.

I don’t hitch my happiness on my marriage any longer.

WoundedHealer - sorry for the long post. I just want you to see that my trauma runs deep and I did survive it. I am happy. I am healed. I’m also a force he never saw coming. Lol

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled.

posts: 12794   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
id 8758897
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