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Newest Member: Crushedafter46years

Reconciliation :
relapsing

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Adolfo ( new member #79193) posted at 5:48 AM on Saturday, October 29th, 2022

servus,

Apparently we must have things in common. One of the things that led me to make my marriage better was the recurring dreams I had that she had left again, or maybe I was back in the past, not sure... I would wake up with a puzzled mind, with a feeling of abandonment, then realize it was just a dream. Still not sure what that was all about, but the dream hasn't recurred since the changes we started eight years ago. Even my neurologist once told me "there are a lot of things we don't understand about the brain."

Glad your situation has improved.

[This message edited by Adolfo at 5:52 AM, Saturday, October 29th]

posts: 15   ·   registered: Jul. 28th, 2021   ·   location: NC
id 8762746
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 shouldofleft (original poster new member #82234) posted at 2:38 PM on Saturday, October 29th, 2022

survus, I haven't a clue as to why this came back to haunt me except maybe that my hours at work by my choice has been cut back to borderline retirement level. There is no one from her ONS anywhere near us to trigger me, I just don't get it but as I type this I am disgusted at how naive and trusting I was, like a gullible fool married to stranger capable of anything.

posts: 26   ·   registered: Oct. 25th, 2022   ·   location: East coast
id 8762765
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 shouldofleft (original poster new member #82234) posted at 2:50 PM on Tuesday, November 1st, 2022

update, I seem to be doing better as far as handling the intrusive memories with the help of a book called "How to heal yourself from Depression when no one else can. I have E-mailed about 7 therapists and only 2 responded and informed me that they only do online sessions. I guess covid got them all comfy in their own homes but unfortunately my home situation is not suitable for that so basically I'm becoming my own therapist. It still boggles my mind though that no matter how well you think you know and trust another human they can be capable of anything.

posts: 26   ·   registered: Oct. 25th, 2022   ·   location: East coast
id 8763105
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redbaron007 ( member #50144) posted at 9:14 AM on Wednesday, November 2nd, 2022

As for my wife wanting a divorce, she was only pissed and tired of my periodic melt downs on this issue, she assured me to stay and do whatever it takes to help me.

Your WW, a serial cheater, is pissed and tired of YOUR meltdowns? That proves she regrets her cheating but has no remorse. Like most regretful (not remorseful) cheaters, she appears to have imposed a deadline on your healing, and since this deadline has expired, YOU are now the problem - you need to "get over it or else we should divorce".

A truly remorseful cheater will NEVER do that. They will NEVER lose patience with you, they will exhibit true remorse, AS LONG AS IT TAKES, decades even. That's why there are so few truly remorseful cheaters. The very fact that she threatened divorce means she has failed to support your healing.

YOU are not the problem, SHE is.

Me: BS (44)
She: WS (41)
One son (6)
DDay: May 2015 (OBS told me)
Divorced, Zero regrets, sound sleep, son doing great!
A FOG is just a weather phenomenon. An Affair Fog is a clever excuse invented by WS's to explain their continued bad behavior.

posts: 254   ·   registered: Oct. 30th, 2015   ·   location: West Coast
id 8763221
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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 3:29 PM on Wednesday, November 2nd, 2022

A truly remorseful cheater will NEVER do that. They will NEVER lose patience with you, they will exhibit true remorse, AS LONG AS IT TAKES, decades even. That's why there are so few truly remorseful cheaters. The very fact that she threatened divorce means she has failed to support your healing.

Not true. Former WS's are still people, not supreme beings with inhuman levels of tolerance.

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: 6169   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8763257
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 shouldofleft (original poster new member #82234) posted at 3:44 PM on Wednesday, November 2nd, 2022

Redbarron, I appreciate your perspective thank you. My wife has been getting grilled on every aspect of each and every time she was with another guy for 3 to 4 years after I found out. She cried and begged and has said and done whatever it is I wanted and or needed for 23 years. This recent episode hit me hard and I made damn sure she knows it and was extremely hard on her. She has been beyond regret, remorse but she was weak and frustrated that I do not take into consideration that she has been faithful and dedicated to me for decades and blurted out something to the effect of " If you won't or can't forgive me we should get a divorce. She assured me that it was said out of frustration and would never leave me no matter how long it takes. What I'm torturing her over was over 35 years ago before we were engaged and during a short one-week breakup. She hasn't slept with anyone since we got back together in the mid 80's. I think most of my pain, distrust and anger is that she didn't come clean back then and only admitted it with the threat of a lie detector test after 10 years of marriage with children. To be honest I sometimes wish she never told me.

posts: 26   ·   registered: Oct. 25th, 2022   ·   location: East coast
id 8763261
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Bigger ( Attaché #8354) posted at 5:35 PM on Wednesday, November 2nd, 2022

I would really like the definition of what people consider a serial cheater…
From what we know from the original poster – the man who is in the mercy-seat – is this:
His wife had 6 ONS during the 2 years of their dating, all during periods when one or both of them claimed they were over and/or arguing.
It’s not been defined or clarified if he, she, or both left in a huff or if the break-up was clear and defined or just an angry "were done" followed by a romp with a random guy at the local bar followed by a make-up session next noon. For all we know they might have been "over" and not dating for a week, or two or a month. Whatever.
We could have all sorts of arguments about double standards for men and women, if she’s a slut or a hunk, if six lovers in the 2-3 weeks (theoretical total broken up over those 2 years) is a lot or what. But it’s not infidelity.
We can also discuss disclosure before marriage. But that’s not infidelity.

So a kiss with one man – verified by a poly and in her consistency with her story that it didn’t progress any further – makes her a serial cheater?

"If, therefore, any be unhappy, let him remember that he is unhappy by reason of himself alone." Epictetus

posts: 11141   ·   registered: Sep. 29th, 2005
id 8763280
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 shouldofleft (original poster new member #82234) posted at 8:51 PM on Wednesday, November 2nd, 2022

Just to clarify and be honest, My then girlfriend had 4 ONS over the course of 5 or 6 years and 2 more that were actual dates that she went on due to a serious argument/ break. None of these breaks lasted longer than 2 weeks and some were shorter than that. I feel she should have recognized that we always got back together and probably not jump into bed every single time we broke up for a damn week. I asked her multiple times about her faithfulness during these breaks prior to marriage and she swore on a stack of bibles so I got engaged then married then had kids then had my mind blown to pieces with her confessing to all of it after 10 yrs of marriage. Her confession was 23 yrs ago. As far as I know she never pulled that stuff if we were getting along fine but nevertheless it kills me and I feel humiliated and gullible. I do love her but I must admit not like I use to before I found out. PS it was between the ages of 18-23.

[This message edited by shouldofleft at 8:53 PM, Wednesday, November 2nd]

posts: 26   ·   registered: Oct. 25th, 2022   ·   location: East coast
id 8763308
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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 12:28 AM on Thursday, November 3rd, 2022

I asked her multiple times about her faithfulness during these breaks prior to marriage and she swore on a stack of bibles so I got engaged then married then had kids then had my mind blown to pieces with her confessing to all of it after 10 yrs of marriage.

Broken up is broken up. I'm sorry, but I just can't agree that it's cheating. That said, you were defrauded by lies when it came to "getting her roster" if that was an issue for you. Was there some expectation of virginity or something to that effect? I had had many lovers before I met my fWH. He doesn't feel cheated, humiliated, or gullible. I was never obligated to give names or details and never required anything like that from 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: 6169   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8763336
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 shouldofleft (original poster new member #82234) posted at 2:00 AM on Thursday, November 3rd, 2022

I couldn't care less of how many guys she slept with before we became a serious couple but once we started living together and my family started buying her Christmas presents and treating her like a daughter in law that's when I truly believe she owed me the truth after her ONS. Why lie if you were well within your rights to fuck six guys?

posts: 26   ·   registered: Oct. 25th, 2022   ·   location: East coast
id 8763352
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Adolfo ( new member #79193) posted at 2:49 AM on Thursday, November 3rd, 2022

I don't think definitions matter much here. Broken up, not broken up, exclusive, not exclusive, etc., because the traumatized brain doesn't necessarily recognize any of that. My wife and I made out in in our cars during high school after weekend group outings. At some point she started dating someone regularly at her high school. We didn't attend the same high school. (Our memories aren't good enough to remember whether I had her first or the other guy did duh .) She continued dating him until senior year in college, and they considered themselves boyfriend and girlfriend. She and I also spent time together (very off and on) in college, but we didn't go to the same college either.

Middle of senior year, she was kinda' fed up with the direction her relationship was going with the other guy, and we happened to run into each other one day during Christmas break. We hadn't really spoken in a couple of years because she had blown me off a couple of years earlier during a phone call where I asked if she wanted to see me anymore. sad She told me to come by sometime, and I jumped at the chance. She was able to finally break it off with the other guy by graduation, but not before lying to me about him on occasion. We continued to be together for quite a while and none of that stuff with that guy bothered me. I even found the lying kinda' comical because I knew, not sure how, but I knew I had her and she was done with him.

Fast forward a few years and she cheated on me with a guy who was way below her in education and ambition. It hurt, but I got over it. Go forward another three years, we were engaged and she started a relationship with some asshat piece of shit that hit on her repeatedly at work knowing she was engaged. (He worked for a vendor and was not an employee at her company.) I caught her cheating with him and thought she had stopped seeing him and that we were working on going forward. However, a year and a half later I found the POS in her bed one morning. So much for false reconciliation! She eventually left me for him, but two years after that we got back together and after another two years we married.

Remember none of the antics with her first boyfriend bothered me back in the old days or even for years in our eventual marriage. But around eight years ago when I decided to get closer to her for a better marriage, all the old hurt came back. Only now, not only thinking about her with the POS, but also thinking about her with any one of the guys she had ever been with was very bothersome and hurtful. The hurt from the POS that broke up our engagement just overwhelmed me, and still does. That contaminated my thoughts of her from the earlier days, so that now those thoughts are very hurtful when earlier thay hadn't been.

I think shouldofleft has had a similar experience. Hurt breeds more hurt. His brain doesn't care whether they were broken up or not, it still hurts! sad Especially so when placed along side the revelations of the "kiss" affair.

Unfortunately, I don't know the cure for it. I would love to see other's thoughts on it...

I think that's the point of this thread, how to find a cure, not whether his wife was technically cheating or not.

[This message edited by Adolfo at 4:16 AM, Thursday, November 3rd]

posts: 15   ·   registered: Jul. 28th, 2021   ·   location: NC
id 8763361
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gr8ful ( member #58180) posted at 5:23 AM on Thursday, November 3rd, 2022

CT, I am so disappointed at your response:

Broken up is broken up. I'm sorry, but I just can't agree that it's cheating. That said, you were defrauded by lies when it came to "getting her roster" if that was an issue for you.

It seems you have judged OP and so you seem to say his pain is own fault. He just literally said he asked her repeatedly about the times on these "breaks" if she had slept with anyone and she LIED THROUGH HER TEETH, on a stack of bibles. CT, why can’t you see his pain is that he married her under false pretenses? She robbed him of his agency. So disappointing CT you can’t muster any empathy for him and instead pedantically claim he’s butt-hurt because she wasn’t a virgin. Or something.

posts: 152   ·   registered: Apr. 6th, 2017
id 8763368
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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 6:11 AM on Thursday, November 3rd, 2022

Which is why I used the word "defrauded". I think that word actually does convey the seriousness of the deprivation of agency.

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: 6169   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8763371
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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 6:17 AM on Thursday, November 3rd, 2022

Why lie if you were well within your rights to fuck six guys?

No matter what her reasoning was, she can't change it and you've been aware of it for twenty-three years. Unless she's kept you chained in the basement, you've had agency since that time. And yeah, I know that sounds a bit callous, but it's not meant to be. It's meant to be EMPOWERING, because when you take ownership of your choice to be standing in the place you've decided to stand, it destroys whatever vestiges of victimization you might have been harboring, and feeling like a victim is a miserable, helpless feeling.

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: 6169   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8763372
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swmnbc ( member #49344) posted at 11:51 AM on Thursday, November 3rd, 2022

Shouldofleft,

I'm sorry it's so hard to find a therapist right now. You mentioned doing DIY therapy . . . something I've done at home is called tapping or EFT (emotional freedom technique). You can google "How to do tapping/EFT" or "Tapping/EFT for PTSD" and get some info on it, and you can watch YouTube videos on how to do it. I found it very useful for processing my big emotions.

Basically as you tap on different pressure points on your head, arms, and torso, you state how you are hurting. "I wish she had been honest with me. I wish she had been faithful to me. She hurt me. She lied to me." And then you say something loving to yourself, like, "I have all the love I need" or "I love and accept myself." When I've done it I've found it very therapeutic. I would also recommend looking into breathing techniques or meditations that resonate with you.

It still boggles my mind though that no matter how well you think you know and trust another human they can be capable of anything.

This is the crux of it, isn't it? We want a guarantee that we can avoid being hurt again like we have been. But the truth is that loving other people open us up to hurt. Sometimes that hurt is by losing them too soon. Sometimes that hurt is by their actions. The guarantee that we do have is that we'll always be there for ourselves, that we are strong and resilient and will always have people in our corner.

PTSD is being on high alert after suffering a big blow. It's like you were attacked by a saber tooth tiger, and every time you see something move out of the corner of your eye, you think it's a tiger coming for you again. It's your brain's misguided way of trying to keep you alive. By processing the hurt you can turn down the volume on your emotions and get your body back into a state of calm. All that adrenaline really does a number on you. The truth is that the tiger attack was probably a one off, but even if another one is coming, living your life in fear probably won't alter the outcome. It will just make you miserable in the time being. The good news is that our brains are very malleable and we can train ourselves into a state of calm and acceptance.

posts: 1822   ·   registered: Aug. 27th, 2015
id 8763394
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 shouldofleft (original poster new member #82234) posted at 2:11 PM on Thursday, November 3rd, 2022

thanks again everyone, swm I am reading about EFT and tapping currently and so far it doesn't help but I'm going to stick it out for a while. CT You are right, I chose to stay and for 23 years I could have left at any time. That sometimes adds to my anguish that I was a coward for not leaving but like you said owning that decision does put the onus on me. Although I truly was defrauded I also believe it was infidelity for at least a few of them I mean the last one was after 6 yrs of being serious talking about engagement plans often and a short 5 day fight not breakup she slept with a guy she just met, that's a nasty decision on her part being that we always made up after the first 5 I mean WTF. I wonder how many people in my situation divorced over something like this or am I just an insecure weakling being triggered for some unknown reason and reliving the day she came clean?

posts: 26   ·   registered: Oct. 25th, 2022   ·   location: East coast
id 8763405
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swmnbc ( member #49344) posted at 4:13 PM on Thursday, November 3rd, 2022

I wonder how many people in my situation divorced over something like this or am I just an insecure weakling being triggered for some unknown reason and reliving the day she came clean?

I don't know, it's hard to know exact numbers, but the majority of people don't divorce after infidelity, so you're definitely not some outlier.

And you are definitely not an insecure weakling. Like I said, your brain is protecting you . . . it's on high alert. This is a normal reaction to trauma. Many people suffer from PTSD. The good news is that a lot is known about how to treat it.

I think maybe part of your feeling like you didn't have full agency was the timing. When you found out, it wasn't just about you and your wife . . . you had small kids. That definitely contributed to my decision to stay together with my husband. But in my case, the affair happened when we had kids. For you, her running out to pick up a guy every time you fought/broke up was a secret, information that she kept from you and which may have impacted whether you decided to get married.

One thing I'd encourage you to remember is that we never have perfect choices. There are always myriad pros and cons and we do our best to make a decision. Maybe the person you really need to forgive here is yourself for making what at the time you thought was the least bad decision. Though I'd be careful from linking your PTSD to having made the wrong decision because developing triggers to trauma is a very common reaction. Our primal brain does what it can to protect us on a subconscious level. You may regret your decision but you may also just resent that you had to make it at all.

posts: 1822   ·   registered: Aug. 27th, 2015
id 8763416
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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 4:22 PM on Thursday, November 3rd, 2022

You can divorce for any reason or for none. These days, there isn't the stigma there once was. That's empowering too. And that's really part of owning your choice, isn't it? ..the absolute acknowledgment that you ARE in charge of your future. If you're unhappy at this point of your life and you feel like you've been ripped off, why not file and go do something else? Yeah, it's hard to make changes, but if not now, when?

If you're feeling indecisive, try this on for size.. let's say that you get home from a weekend fishing trip and find your wife and all her stuff gone from the house. She's left a note and divorce papers. How do you feel? Relieved or abandoned? Maybe that's a place to start trying to sort out your decision.

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: 6169   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8763418
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DIFM ( member #1703) posted at 7:07 PM on Thursday, November 3rd, 2022

If you're feeling indecisive, try this on for size.. let's say that you get home from a weekend fishing trip and find your wife and all her stuff gone from the house. She's left a note and divorce papers. How do you feel? Relieved or abandoned? Maybe that's a place to start trying to sort out your decision.

Chamomile, you pull back the veil too much and also just enough. We all have choices as BS and WS and even with that, the choices, perspectives, level and sorts of pain or anger or reaction, are all so likely unique.

But your response hits the core. And everything else is a choice made "either" side for all the reasons they may have.

Would I be pained if my fWW was gone. Wow. It is both deep and not so much, at the same time. It is why all our choices are so challenging, complicated, seemingly simple, painful, and............etc.

In my case, I could imagine living with the loss, and at the same time equally preferring the status quo. I think there are many of use that end up there. So many infidelity tentacles that make what seem obvious, the very opposite.

Hard choices. Cheating leaves a legacy of issues that are complex. More for some and less for others.

CT, you often hit the mark.

[This message edited by DIFM at 3:29 PM, November 3rd, 2022 (Thursday)]

[This message edited by DIFM at 9:29 PM, Thursday, November 3rd]

posts: 1756   ·   registered: Jul. 14th, 2003
id 8763448
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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 3:56 PM on Friday, November 4th, 2022

I could imagine living with the loss, and at the same time equally preferring the status quo.

Can you really "equally prefer" though? It's kind of like that "flip a coin" trick, where you flip the coin but just before you look, you close your eyes and check your interior to see what you're hoping for. I think it's very rare for us not to have a preference and maybe it's more common for us to have trouble turning loose of what we have for fear that our imagination will fail to represent the reality of change.

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: 6169   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8763626
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