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Newest Member: Crushedafter46years

Reconciliation :
relapsing

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DIFM ( member #1703) posted at 7:22 PM on Friday, November 4th, 2022

CT, I really appreciated your post and the way it made me consider the reality the outcome of choices.

If my fWW were to leave (or perish), vs staying for the rest of our lives......I must admit to a sincere quandary. Of course, I recognize I cannot know for sure how I would react, prefer, feel unless and until it happened, but I have given a great deal of thought and consideration over the potential and, after that, am still not sure how much I would end up feeling more sadness or more relief. I can't attest to knowing for sure, which way my feelings, emotions, etc. would go. But I can imagine feeling equal sadness and relief, and also imagine it being mostly sadness.

I can only imagine how I might feel. I really don't know for sure. All I can say is, based on my life and my imaginings of how I might react an feel, I can imagine an outcome that has me feeling sad and relieved, but also an outcome that is mostly sad.

All this is a clusterf**k of emotions, trauma, attempts to make sense, broken people issues.....I can't be sure how I would react or internalize the loss. But I can imagine it....even if that is not what it would be.....

posts: 1756   ·   registered: Jul. 14th, 2003
id 8763677
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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 8:23 PM on Friday, November 4th, 2022

I'd have never thought I'd choose R, so yeah.. the reality of something can be different than our imaginings. I think on some level we already sense that though, hence the trepidation. That said, we can spend our entire lives in some mediocre state of dissatisfaction when we fail to choose. For me, actively choosing to be present in R by honoring my own agency, my own daily choice, is what makes all the difference. It's not my fWH's fault if I'm vacillating on a decision. I've got all the pertinent facts now. My agency has been returned to me. I have to trust my own gut that I've made a correct analysis on that. There are no guarantees. That's why I keep a fallback plan and that plan is ME.

Ultimately, my fWH is going to do what he's going to do and I don't have any control over that. But I'm not required to trust him, not first and foremost anyway. The one I most need to trust is ME. Have I made a correct appraisal of fWH's current character and what do I do if I'm wrong? Once I've got that mapped out, I'm free to just enjoy my life and the people I've decided to let into it.

I would be sad if I came home one day and fWH had bugged out, but not sad forever and not broken like I once was, certainly not abandoned like I once was. I'm don't need him to survive or to be happy, but I wouldn't feel any sense of relief at him being gone either.

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 8763687
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DIFM ( member #1703) posted at 12:16 AM on Saturday, November 5th, 2022

I'm don't need him to survive or to be happy, but I wouldn't feel any sense of relief at him being gone either.

I think this describes my state of mind well.

posts: 1756   ·   registered: Jul. 14th, 2003
id 8763723
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Unhinged ( member #47977) posted at 5:37 AM on Saturday, November 5th, 2022

shouldofleft, it seems to me that you've resigned yourself to live with an internal conflict, a quiet desperation, that you've deliberately avoided for decades on end, only to the detriment of your own peace of mind, body and spirit. Whatever has triggered these recent thoughts and feelings maybe entirely irrelevant when compared to this lingering conflict within. Until you can resolve whatever that is, you're bound to repeat this cycle in the years to come.

Married 2005
D-Day April, 2015
Divorced May, 2022

"The Universe is not short on wake-up calls. We're just quick to hit the snooze button." -Brene Brown

posts: 6609   ·   registered: May. 21st, 2015   ·   location: Colorado
id 8763752
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 shouldofleft (original poster new member #82234) posted at 10:28 PM on Saturday, November 5th, 2022

I seem to be getting this thing under control, put back in the vault in the back of my mind. Everyone's input is greatly appreciated. I have analyzed everything going on in my life trying to see what could have sparked this relapse to no avail. I do know my wife has been good to me for 35 years and like CT said I chose to stay its on me at this point to solve my own insecurities surrounding this ancient history.

posts: 26   ·   registered: Oct. 25th, 2022   ·   location: East coast
id 8763848
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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 12:03 AM on Sunday, November 6th, 2022

I'm glad you're feeling a little better. The brain can make weird connections. In the aftermath of infidelity, there have been so many times where something has hit me wrong and my brain went straight to the cheating. Sometimes, it's about something entirely different and because the trigger was anxiety, my brain blamed my fWH. When the anxiety is generalized or about something that's riding under the radar in terms of consciousness, it can just focus you on your fWS so that your mind can fill in a cause for your discomfort. When my mother died, I found myself often short with fWH. Underneath it, there's grief for losing my mom, but also there's disquiet about my own mortality. Super weird feeling because I KNEW it wasn't about fWH, but every instinct in my body just wanted to fight him. shocked

Anyway, it's good to look in all directions. Maybe something's bugging you that hasn't risen to the surface of your awareness yet. The body can't tell the difference between emotional stress and clear and present danger. It releases its cocktail of stress hormones either way and then our brains create "story" to fill in the gaps regarding our state of being.

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 8763864
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Bigger ( Attaché #8354) posted at 1:57 PM on Monday, November 7th, 2022

Shouldofleft

I think defining terms can be important to understand our emotions.
Frankly – based on what you share and I acknowledge that it might not be enough to be 100% clear on this – then the infidelity you are experiencing is "limited" to that kissing event.
Note I place "limited" in brackets because it IS infidelity. It is definitely 100% wrong and can cause just as much damage to you and your marriage as any infidelity. I am NOT minimizing it. But it’s not six events plus the kissing. Short relief – its like only being punched in the nose and not kicked in the balls too. If anything it might shorten the time you need before you can respond.

Infidelity can really only take place if people are in a relationship with expectations of certain behaviors or actions, and those behaviors or actions are broken. We here on SI are mostly about sexual or emotional infidelity, but domestic abuse, financial shenanigans, maybe even all sorts of addictions… are infidelity per se.

We can have all these discussions about if dating someone else n-days after breaking up with someone else is moral, sensible or good. But fact is – if one or other is clear to the other person that you are not in a monogamous relationship then its not infidelity.

This does not mean you can’t be or shouldn’t be traumatized by the discovery.
But call it by its correct term, and IMHO that term is NOT infidelity of the type we tend to deal with.

It’s possibly lack-of-trust, secrets kept, lack of disclosure and/or not giving you the correct information to process if you should have started dating your then-gf again after a x-day break during which she dated Sam or Max or whatever. It’s definitely a reason to stop and think. It definitely could have impacted a decision to resume the relationship.

MAYBE – just MAYBE – you have some accountability. Like if someone tells me "We are over" I would understand that phrase as the relationship is over. MAYBE you used that phrase with some expectation that "over" was a temporary thing. Or maybe you understood that phrase coming from her as a temporary thing. Maybe the issue could be unclear messages or misunderstandings. Not accountable for her having sex with someone else, but maybe accountable for it not being 100% clear if the relationship was "over" over or only "over" "over". Clear messages.

Or maybe I am way off.
Once again: NOT minimizing you pain.
It’s just that I think it could help you a lot to see the problems for what they are.
We have posters define your wife as a serial-cheater and shouting at you to leave her.

If you don’t want this marriage, you don’t need any excuse to leave. But do so on the right grounds. Do so because YOU want to leave. There is a certain difference in the following two statements, despite them basically saying the same and having the same end-effect:
"I divorced my wife because she kissed another man and I also just discovered that before we married she had dates with six other men during periods when we were on a break"
And
"I divorced my wife because I have issues with her having kissed another man and not telling me about the six dates she had during periods when we were on a break before we married"

Never forget that you decided to marry. Didn’t have to justify it to anyone. You just decided to marry. Basically that applies to all the time you are married. You are still married because you decide to remain married. The same applies to divorce. You don’t need a reason beyond not believing this marriage has no future.
And please – don’t hide behind things like cant afford it, bad for the kids and all that. Those might make a good case for trying to reconcile, but a terrible case for remaining unhappy.

But then… I don’t think you posted in the reconciliation forum of this site because you want to divorce.

This is what I would suggest.

Sit your wife down and tell her your concerns.
Don’t attack her, don’t expect her to defend herself. Don’t expect her to justify her actions or whatever.
I would explain how the kissing event set things off. How they triggered you. In your shoes I would accept that the poly strongly supports her truth and I would make that clear to her, but at the same time acknowledge that there is some doubt that is more your issue than hers. Make it clear that this is infidelity, and it traumatizes you just as much as had she been more intimate with OM.

I would also address the six dates/events from pre-marriage. She doesn’t have to justify them – don’t you two go into arguing if you really were over on the 14th of April 1998 or whatever. Its clear that there could have been some misinformation or unclear messages. What remains is that IF you had known then MAYBE you would have ended your relationship back then. You feel as if you maybe married on the wrong premise. You don’t know IF you would have married her, but she denied you the possibility to make that decision.

You can admit that this might not be fully rational or logical, but it is what you are dealing with. It’s the emotions that are strong in you.

Then ask her if she wants this marriage to work.
Tell her that you do. (and I’m assuming you do).

Then ask – "What can WE do to make our marriage work?"

What ideas does she have, what goals do you both share, what actions can you both take, what rut can you break out of… Basically – instead of fearing each other and fearing confrontation then embrace being honest to each other. Stop trying to win, but rather you two try to make the marriage win.

"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 8764068
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 shouldofleft (original poster new member #82234) posted at 7:30 PM on Monday, November 7th, 2022

Thanks Bigger, You are right about everything. I honestly think that I suffer from depression and need an excuse for it so I subconsciously choose her disclosure to blame it on because being unhappy for no reason is a scary thought because that means I'm ill and need lots of help which may be true. I am reading a book on depression now that has homework and different techniques to use for both the conscious and subconscious mind and it helps somewhat, I think I need to keep at it and get better at it.

posts: 26   ·   registered: Oct. 25th, 2022   ·   location: East coast
id 8764127
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Bigger ( Attaché #8354) posted at 12:52 AM on Tuesday, November 8th, 2022

Should
Don’t be so hard on yourself.
I think seeing her kissing the other guy hurt you just as much as we all get hurt on d-day. OK – it might have caught you in some sensitive moment. I compared it to "only" getting punched in the nose and not kicked in the balls.
Well… maybe the news of the other dates was a kick in the balls before you had dealt with the painful nose. I get it that it hurts and it definitely can fuel depression.

But I wonder if there was something underlying all these years… Was this a total 100% surprise to you?

My best advice? Communicate with your wife. Share how you feel and why. Ask to work this out together.

"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 8764160
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 4:03 PM on Tuesday, November 8th, 2022

Should,

That's probably very good insight - depression and hooking it to the past.

What's wrong with needing help and getting it? If the exercises in the book do the job for you, great. If it doesn't, or if you think there's something you can do to get even better than the exercises do, I urge you to seek help.

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 8764202
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 shouldofleft (original poster new member #82234) posted at 7:39 PM on Tuesday, November 8th, 2022

The thing that really sucks for me is that I can put in some really good work and think I'm gaining some true understanding and perspective on the why's and How's and forgiveness then BAM, the feeling like I'm kidding myself that I'll ever get over it complete with mind movies disbelief etc. You see my then girlfriend in "MY" mind couldn't possibly do this let alone 6 times and swear to God that it never happened. I have asked and she has answered every question since disclosure over and over again and I just can't seem to get permanency and peace of mind after 23 yrs of knowing about something that happened 35 yrs ago. My parents were divorced, and I had a real dim view of people who cheat or lie and this was discussed many times before I got engaged. I was defrauded with multiple lies probably because she knew I would never take her back. In her defense other than a kiss drunk that was freely admitted to me and has been faithful for 35 years. When I read what others have gone through here I feel like a putz for not being able to get past my situation. I have contacted around 20 therapists and 16 of them only have online sessions and the rest aren't taking on any new clients.

[This message edited by shouldofleft at 3:00 PM, Wednesday, November 9th]

posts: 26   ·   registered: Oct. 25th, 2022   ·   location: East coast
id 8764222
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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 8:59 PM on Tuesday, November 8th, 2022

I have contacted around 20 therapists and 16 of them only have online sessions and the rest aren't taking on any new clients.

Have you contacted your insurance carrier? If you call the customer service number on your insurance card, they should be able to verify your coverage (if any) and also provide you with a list of providers who are accepting new patients.

I do think therapists have become a bit lazy after the pandemic and are reluctant to give up the work-from-home situation they've had, and I'm hoping that insurance companies will start pushing back by incentivizing in-person care.

[This message edited by ChamomileTea at 8:59 PM, Tuesday, November 8th]

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 8764230
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Bigger ( Attaché #8354) posted at 2:22 PM on Wednesday, November 9th, 2022

When I read what others have gone through here I feel like a putz for not being able to get past my situation.

Please – I know that my posts might read like I’m telling you to "man up" or something like that.
No.
I fully acknowledge your pain. It’s no less than the pain all of us experience on d-day.
I also hope I have made clear that I do see your experience of discovering your wife kissed another man as infidelity.

I don’t know how pain can be quantified. I don’t think someone whose wife has one lover feels 10 pain-points whereas someone whose wife has 5 lovers feels 50. It’s just "pain". The cause, situation and form might impact the will and the work of reconciling or tip you to divorce, but the PAIN is all the same IMHO.
There are factors that can impact the pain. Like trickle-truth… It’s like having the slowly emerging scab on a constantly throbbing and bleeding sore pulled off. I don’t think it necessarily increases the pain, but definitely prolongs it.

So no – you are not a putz.
If anything your pain shows your humanity.

See my tagline?

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

That’s a quote I realized I have built a large part of my life on. I’m going to encourage you to think about what it means and how it can help you.
I’m not so naïve as to think that you can decide to not feel pain. Or decide that this won’t hurt you. It’s not your decision to feel pain. However – you can decide that you don’t WANT to remain in pain. It doesn't get you out of pain, but it can get you into the mentality where you work at improvement.

I think I subconsciously did this on my d-day. You can read about it in my profile, but it was a pretty graphic and traumatic event. One example on now I did this:
Before entering my place of work I would take a moment in my car and consciously focus my mind. I would say to myself "my problems and pains will be here when I finish work. I will leave them here and refuse to spend time on them for the next 8 hours". Strangely enough, this worked. If I found myself dwelling on my misery I would tell myself to focus on work, and that I could carry on with my negative thoughts on my commute home. Strangely when I got back in the car after work I didn’t have the same compulsive need…

This is just a small example. I don’t know how you could apply it. Maybe by accepting the definitions I made between the "actual" affair and the six other pre-marriage dates? Defining one as infidelity and the others as an extreme lack of judgement (mainly in the not telling you part). It might not sound like much but it might make your elephant one size smaller.

If you can apply this to more areas in your life you will feel an improvement. Remember my first post to you? Where I pointed out you do have options. Realizing this and understanding that we do have options and can take steps to gradually – inch at a time – move us to a better place. What this helps with is changing our mindsets from victim-mode to victor.

"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 8764295
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 4:17 PM on Wednesday, November 9th, 2022

Therapy is harder remotely, but it can still help. My reco is to try it out.

I'll echo Bigger. You made choices long ago that may have been right for you then but the implications are making themselves known today. That happens. In fact, rug-sweeping is still one of the common recommendations for infidelity.

Beating yourself up for not being able to predict the future doesn't help; telling yourself you're a putz is just plain wrong on many levels - you did the best you could. In fact, now is a time to nurture yourself WRT making that choice so many years ago. Now is a time to ask yourself something like, 'What do I need to do to process this pain?'

I think talking with someone very nurturing and knowledgeable about how people change is your best bet.

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 8764308
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 shouldofleft (original poster new member #82234) posted at 4:43 PM on Wednesday, November 9th, 2022

I think a lot of my problem is the manner in which she accomplished these ONS. Total strangers for the most part with very little time spent together ( like ten minutes ) before deciding to get a room. Totally blew my mind hearing this from a woman that I thought was true blue kind and moral. The other thing I can't comprehend is how on earth was I ok with it (kinda) for so long and now I can't get back to where I was. I'm stuck in the past and it feels like D day. I've read multiple books, done multiple types of therapies including home EMDR with strobe lights, EFT, Prayer everything. I feel like I'm in a maze trying to find my way out. Maybe I just don't love her enough to try and put this thing back in the box, it's mentally exhausting.

posts: 26   ·   registered: Oct. 25th, 2022   ·   location: East coast
id 8764313
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Hippo16 ( member #52440) posted at 6:48 PM on Wednesday, November 9th, 2022

shouldofleft

Bigger beat me to saying this to you:

When I read what others have gone through here I feel like a putz for not being able to get past my situation.

A couple of suggestions:

Look in the "I can Relate" forum for threads regarding "found out years later" & "the Betrayed Mens' - "
You will find that there are a LOT of "PUTZ" out here in the wide world! You are most definitely not alone in your pains and anxiety.


Regarding Epictetus - hit Google and search for "Goodreads" and then search Goodreads for The Golden Sayings of Epictetus

Think of the path to happiness (reaching that goal) like enrolling for a University course.
you want to learn how so you commit to many days of attending to the course requirements (lectures/study) and over the semester you learn a lot of new things and a different way of thinking and processing thoughts that cause you trouble.

then the 'final' comes and you have worked and studied - and you pass. OK? you now have a new tool to help you through life.

It is up to you to use that tool.


side note: Goodreads will list several sources from which you can obtain a copy of whatever you wish to read.

You are not stoopid - just human - If you truly were stupid - you would be able to shrug off the past like the "water off a ducks back."

Not Just Friends

posts: 686   ·   registered: Mar. 26th, 2016   ·   location: OBX
id 8764332
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gainingclosure ( member #79667) posted at 7:59 PM on Wednesday, November 9th, 2022

Shouldof, I can relate. PTSD came roaring back after 17 years. In my case, WW had an emotional and physical affair. Yeah, the whole "we're soul mates" thing, except it was all just a fantasy that came crashing down. Been about one year exactly since it started and has lasted until recently. Id keep my feelings in and then get frustrated and take it out on my wife. I expected her to heal me because after all she's the one who caused it right? But I had to accept the fact that nothing about this is fair and the only person that can really heal me is me.

Right now you need to beware not to build a habit by surrounding yourself with infidelity related content and allowing yourself to basically swim in that topic for much of the day. I know from experience that there is a real danger in continuing on like this and for some people being betrayed can become their whole identity. This is a habit that needs to be broken, and just like any other habit will take time. My suggestion is to try and reduce the time spent reading about infidelity, going on forums etc. with the ultimate goal of eliminating it completely. Don't get me wrong, the advice on here can be beneficial, but some of it can also make you more resentful, especially if what some people write makes you start thinking your wife is somehow not doing things right, never did things right, or that you aren't doing things right and never did. Ive been told here many times that Im a million miles away from being healed, and that my wife is far from being a model wayward, etc but nobody really knows your situation on here as well as you do, so just take anything said here with a grain of salt. Don't go taking this stuff to heart and regurgitating the worst of it back at your wife. Doing so will sink you in deeper and wont bring you closer. Just my 2 cents.

Reconciling BH. Full story is in my bio."The soul is dyed with the color of its thoughts" - Marcus Aurelius

posts: 93   ·   registered: Dec. 9th, 2021
id 8764338
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 shouldofleft (original poster new member #82234) posted at 10:10 PM on Wednesday, November 9th, 2022

GC, Wise down to earth advice, I must admit reading some of these stories gets my heartrate up and becoming more depressed and every now and then I pluck a pearl of wisdom out of something. Everyone has their own belief system and individual pain they have to deal with. Thanks

posts: 26   ·   registered: Oct. 25th, 2022   ·   location: East coast
id 8764365
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RocketRaccoon ( member #54620) posted at 4:27 AM on Thursday, November 10th, 2022

Total strangers for the most part with very little time spent together ( like ten minutes ) before deciding to get a room.


Armchair psychologist here:
This may or may not be correct in this instance, but some people with low self-esteem do things to harm themselves when they are unhappy. Some turn to cutting, some to drinks, some to drugs. In this case, your WGF was possibly on a self-destructive streak after/during the short fights/breakups, and went for ONSs as her drug of choice to soothe the pain of the fights/breakups.

This is not condoning the behaviour, but perhaps shed a bit of light on the possible cause, so that it can be addressed.

You cannot cure stupid

posts: 1027   ·   registered: Aug. 12th, 2016   ·   location: South East Asia
id 8764410
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 shouldofleft (original poster new member #82234) posted at 3:00 PM on Thursday, November 10th, 2022

Rocket, She was one of 5 kids of a poor family that moved around a lot and she was a bit reckless before we met from what I heard. I should have known better what she was capable of. Maybe deep down I need to forgive myself for being so as they say love is blind.

posts: 26   ·   registered: Oct. 25th, 2022   ·   location: East coast
id 8764434
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