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Reconciliation :
Reconciled and married... but still very triggered after almost 3 years

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 iamjack (original poster member #80408) posted at 12:50 PM on Tuesday, May 2nd, 2023

Hi all,

I've been browsing the forum for a few years now and this is the first post where I'm going to talk a bit about myself.

I am not a native English speaker, so please excuse me in advance for the way I express things.

I am 48 years old, my wife is 47, we have been together for almost 20 years.

I discovered the A by chance, almost 3 years ago. My wife had met a 50 year old man who was in the process of divorce, in the train at a time when she was looking for a sympathetic ear (the usual story : our couple was not going well anymore, we were not talking, etc.). You know the rest, the sympathetic ear — who also happened to have a penis — became a friend, and their friendship turned into an emotional and then physical relationship, which lasted six months, right under my nose. 20+ sexual relations, of course usually unprotected, in the forest, in the fields, in cars... I had access to 6 months of SMS exchanges, and so I have the extremely precise account of all their sexual and amorous antics...

After a month of pick-me-dance, I did the hard 180 and kicked her out. She was visibly shaken and began to understand the consequences of what she had done.

We both went to therapy, together and separately, my wife went to great lengths to understand where her problems came from that made her such a lousy partner, and such a sickening act possible.

Today we are reconciled and happily married, and overall we have a great time together. But not a day goes by when I don't think about what she did. I know I need to move on, but I can't help but notice the kind of woman she was when she was with him (through everything I've read) and who she is with me. Even if she tells me the opposite, I absolutely do not find the same intensity as in what I read, not the same thrill, not the same desire... He got the naughty, horny, always available girlfriend, and when it ended, I got the tired mother, the pre-menopausal wife that sometimes has sex with me but almost never gets kinky, naughty, or sexually excited (even though, and that puzzles me even more, she loves having sex with me — she even told me repeatedly that sex with me was and had always been way better — it wasn't for the sex that she cheated on me)

To give a precise example of what I'm feeling right now : during all these years, I always got a very vanilla, almost puritanical speech about sex: "we are not going to spend the day in bed making love, we are not teenagers", "sex accessories? what for, we don't need them", "sex in the shower? meh, if you want, if it's your thing...", "Again? but we already made love 3-4 days ago", etc. She's not really different now, she just initiates sex a little more I'd say.

However... I still find very hard to hear the words above, after having read things like "I could spend all day with you in bed", "We'll have a picnic, I'll be your dessert", "I want you so much", "I'll rip off your bathing suit" etc etc.

I am willing to accept, as my therapist tells me, that she was another person at the time of the adultery. That she had that Madonna-whore complex girls have when in an A. I can accept that an extramarital relationship can be more exciting, especially because it is new and secret, and because you never know when you can meet the AP again (as you don't know that, my therapist explained that you're in a kind of "always available" mode, sexually and emotionnaly).

As a couple, things are indeed better. Even sexually, I would say that it is better than before (which is not difficult, considering we had sex every 4-6 months). Yet I can't help but compare, I can't help but get that feeling that her AP has sexually freed her in many ways, but that now she's just back with her "good ole hubby" and I can't help but suffer from it. Every rejection, every failed attempt from me to get back to the level of intimacy and excitation she had with the AP triggers me so much I can get in a rage that takes some time to cool down...

Does it ever stop? Am I exaggerating, am I an eternal dissatisfied person? Am I the only one who feels this way?

Thank you for having read this far.

J.

[This message edited by iamjack at 1:13 PM, Tuesday, May 2nd]

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The1stWife ( Guide #58832) posted at 1:51 PM on Tuesday, May 2nd, 2023

Here is the advice I got regarding communication between the CS and OW/OM:

The cheating spouse will act out of character to the AP because they have to do things to keep them engaged or interested. The relationship is new and you need to give it 100% - just like the cheater did when dating the spouse (remember those early months of your relationship?).

It may or may not mean anything more than words.

I get the irrational feeling you get. My H was a non-communicator with me — but with the OW she got texts and emails that were novels 😡😡. But he did it to impress her. And eventually if they stayed together he’d be treating her the same way as he did me.

She (the OW) was nothing special. She was just new (to my H). It wasn’t love. It was infatuation.

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled. 10 years out from Dday. Reconciliation takes two committed people to be successful.

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 iamjack (original poster member #80408) posted at 2:21 PM on Tuesday, May 2nd, 2023

Dear The1stWife,

Thank you so much for your words. Coming from you, this really means a lot. And I'm also glad (so to speak) to see that you got the same feeling from a man, as I also was told that this was all just "because I'm a man and men are much more sensitive about this subject"...

I think she really doesn't care about the guy, and she completely accepts now that he's just an empty, miserable bloke (coming from someone who just 3 years earlier said he was her "light in the darkness", her confident, and that she was "in love with him" in a different way than with me (the infamous ILYBNILWW I've read about here...)

I really appreciate you mentioned that you need to give it 100% when you're in a new relationship, whether a regular one or an A.

My wife often told me since the A that she was mostly reciprocating, "playing her part", as he was giving her what she needed at that time (the feeling she was heard, the feeling she was valued, validated, etc.)

But... but... what if the part she says she was playing was precisely something that had been missing from our couple for too long ? I know we'll never be "new" lovers, but what if I was longing the thrill of what the relationship was before ? I still am in love for my wife as I was 20 years ago. I still have a strong desire for her, despite what happened. She still makes my head spin and I would still love to have some crazy, unexpected, intimate moments with her. Do I have to accept that the feeling isn't mutual ?

I feel the door she opened, even if it was "because reciprocating", has started a fire that I'm having a hard time containing sad

[This message edited by iamjack at 2:26 PM, Tuesday, May 2nd]

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The1stWife ( Guide #58832) posted at 4:24 PM on Tuesday, May 2nd, 2023

I understand your emotional state. I was still very much struggling at year 3 of R.

I kept waiting to "feel better". I was waiting to be "past it". And I realized I must heal myself — the cheater can only do so much. But the rest was up to me.

I had to work hard to stop allowing myself to analyze every detail and aspect of the affair. I was blindsided 10 days after dday1 when my CH decided he wanted a D. And that’s what I heard for the next 6 months — he wanted a D.

The point is I decided if I was going to stay married I had to stop putting HIM first. Stop putting the marriage first. Stop living in the past and create a new "normal". (Again this is just me).

I think if you want a romantic intimate night with your wife you should make it happen. It could be a game changer for you. And if she refuses, then you may want to consider your marriage isn’t giving YOU everything you need.

And that needs to be a topic of discussion between you.

[This message edited by The1stWife at 4:29 PM, Tuesday, May 2nd]

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled. 10 years out from Dday. Reconciliation takes two committed people to be successful.

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Trdd ( member #65989) posted at 5:56 PM on Tuesday, May 2nd, 2023

Have you told her what you've shared here with us? Directly, candidly? How much sex you want, the type of sex you want and how not getting it makes you feel? If so, what did she say?

And was the frequency every 4 months pre-affair as you wrote or was that a typo? What is your frequency now?

Many married couples with no affair suffer from different needs for sex compounded by never speaking about it. But your fWW has a different issue added to that in that she gave AP the frequency you want and perhaps she was kinkier with him too and gave him things you want too. So she has proven she can do it if she wants to. In my opinion that makes the case much clearer for her to move along the continuum more toward the amount and type sex desired by you.

But you have to help her understand what you need very clearly. And why it matters to your R. I am not a fan of having the WS have to guess at what the BS needs. R means communication that is open and honest. You may get to the point of better communication in R than you ever had pre-A. It's possible.

One thing to think about is that new relationship sex is more intense for most people but You are, essentially, in a new relationship when in R. You are building a new marriage after the A killed the old one. And a new engagement plan for sex should probably be a part of that.

So let us know the answer to those questions because strategy is very different if she knows but says no or doesn't act vs. she is not fully aware of your needs.

[This message edited by Trdd at 5:57 PM, Tuesday, May 2nd]

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Butforthegrace ( member #63264) posted at 8:45 PM on Tuesday, May 2nd, 2023

Yet I can't help but compare, I can't help but get that feeling that her AP has sexually freed her in many ways, but that now she's just back with her "good ole hubby" and I can't help but suffer from it. Every rejection, every failed attempt from me to get back to the level of intimacy and excitation she had with the AP triggers me so much I can get in a rage that takes some time to cool down...

Does it ever stop? Am I exaggerating, am I an eternal dissatisfied person? Am I the only one who feels this way?

Somewhere around year 3 is where a lot of BH's enter into what is often referred to as the "Plain of Lethal Flatness." The POLF is that point in post-affair life where the roller coaster of mixed emotions has smoothed out, the anger has subsided to manageable levels, and you start getting a clear view toward your horizon. What you see, stretched out before you for the rest of your life, is this. Exactly what you describe. The A will be a permanent plus one in your marriage. How you feel now, this is about as good as it will ever get.

Your WW's pattern of heightened sexual brio in the A compared to the marriage is common. The explanations about how it is a fantasy and all that, those explanations are probably mostly right. But explaining a thing is not excusing a thing. It is legitimate and fair to want what the AP got. You cannot compel your WW to give that to you, nor should you try. However, if that's what you want, it is legitimate to move on and seek it elsewhere.

Please recognize that the things you are feeling in this regard are perfectly normal and totally legitimate. That is why the point you are at right now is a common node where a BH decides to choose divorce. There is no blame. You gave it a good try, but as much as you tried, your WW's efforts toward rebuilding the marriage just aren't enough. That's okay too, by the way. I'll assume she has given what she has in her to give, in good faith. Good faith isn't always enough.

There is a poster here called "waitedwaytoolong". You should find his threads and read them.

Edited later:

I read some of your other posts. I take back what I said about your WW having given what she has in her to give, in good faith. It doesn't feel like she has made a good faith effort. The cornerstone of successful R is empathy by the WW. Your posts don't suggest your WW has found a path to empathy for your trauma.

To that same point, and keeping in mind that the only basis we have for offering advice or commentary is what an OP reveals in his own posts, I think the caption of this thread is inaccurate. You may still technically be married, but I would not describe your marriage as reconciled as reconciliation is typically considered here.

[This message edited by Butforthegrace at 10:13 PM, Tuesday, May 2nd]

"The wicked man flees when no one chases."

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 iamjack (original poster member #80408) posted at 6:09 AM on Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023

Thank you for your answers. I'll try to reply in order :

The1stWife

I kept waiting to "feel better". I was waiting to be "past it". And I realized I must heal myself — the cheater can only do so much. But the rest was up to me.

I had to work hard to stop allowing myself to analyze every detail and aspect of the affair. I was blindsided 10 days after dday1 when my CH decided he wanted a D. And that’s what I heard for the next 6 months — he wanted a D.

The point is I decided if I was going to stay married I had to stop putting HIM first. Stop putting the marriage first. Stop living in the past and create a new "normal". (Again this is just me).

I think if you want a romantic intimate night with your wife you should make it happen. It could be a game changer for you. And if she refuses, then you may want to consider your marriage isn’t giving YOU everything you need.

And that needs to be a topic of discussion between you.

Again, The1stWife, thank you for your words, they really helps. I think I need to get some work done on myself, stop focusing on her as she has gotten used to for the past 20 years. I'm like that, when I love I do everything I can to please, and I know that can be repulsive in a way. I usually give way too much and she had been a princess all this time.

To answer the "romantic night" part : I tried last year and the year before, in a kind of desperation. I took her on trips, "into the wild" style, as I know she loves this (and she did that a lot with the OM). The big difference is that during this romantic trips she always refused sex (later told me she felt forced to) even that she knows this was the most important thing to me, to erase all the memories of her having sex in the wilderness, with memories of us. That didn't work. We had arguments later and during a big talk, she told me "we could maybe do such things, "but no sex in the woods" because it reminded her of the horrible person she was". Since then nothing happened, everything's still very vanilla, and we never have sex outside of the marital bed. I think I just suck at sexualization look


Trdd

Have you told her what you've shared here with us? Directly, candidly? How much sex you want, the type of sex you want and how not getting it makes you feel? If so, what did she say?

Of course. A lot of times. She replied she's not a machine and we don't have the same sex drive.

And was the frequency every 4 months pre-affair as you wrote or was that a typo? What is your frequency now?

No this wasn't a typo... the year before the affair we had sex 2 times I think. I must add we were not even sleeping in the same room because of my snoring.

Many married couples with no affair suffer from different needs for sex compounded by never speaking about it. But your fWW has a different issue added to that in that she gave AP the frequency you want and perhaps she was kinkier with him too and gave him things you want too. So she has proven she can do it if she wants to. In my opinion that makes the case much clearer for her to move along the continuum more toward the amount and type sex desired by you.

I'm sorry, I don't understand, you mean she could ?

But you have to help her understand what you need very clearly. And why it matters to your R. I am not a fan of having the WS have to guess at what the BS needs. R means communication that is open and honest. You may get to the point of better communication in R than you ever had pre-A. It's possible.

I did help her. She knows. And if there's anything I learned from what she wrote, she knows how men work and she knows what and when to give them what they want.

One thing to think about is that new relationship sex is more intense for most people but You are, essentially, in a new relationship when in R. You are building a new marriage after the A killed the old one. And a new engagement plan for sex should probably be a part of that.

That was the deal. In a way we have way more sex than before, can't deny that (1-3 times a week)


Butforthegrace

Somewhere around year 3 is where a lot of BH's enter into what is often referred to as the "Plain of Lethal Flatness." The POLF is that point in post-affair life where the roller coaster of mixed emotions has smoothed out, the anger has subsided to manageable levels, and you start getting a clear view toward your horizon. What you see, stretched out before you for the rest of your life, is this. Exactly what you describe. The A will be a permanent plus one in your marriage. How you feel now, this is about as good as it will ever get.

I was litteraly in tears when I read your reply. How can it be as good as it will ever get ??

Your WW's pattern of heightened sexual brio in the A compared to the marriage is common. The explanations about how it is a fantasy and all that, those explanations are probably mostly right. But explaining a thing is not excusing a thing. It is legitimate and fair to want what the AP got. You cannot compel your WW to give that to you, nor should you try.

That's what my therapist said.

However, if that's what you want, it is legitimate to move on and seek it elsewhere.

Please recognize that the things you are feeling in this regard are perfectly normal and totally legitimate. That is why the point you are at right now is a common node where a BH decides to choose divorce. There is no blame. You gave it a good try, but as much as you tried, your WW's efforts toward rebuilding the marriage just aren't enough. That's okay too, by the way. I'll assume she has given what she has in her to give, in good faith. Good faith isn't always enough.

crying crying crying

There is a poster here called "waitedwaytoolong". You should find his threads and read them.

I think I already have, but I will.

I read some of your other posts. I take back what I said about your WW having given what she has in her to give, in good faith. It doesn't feel like she has made a good faith effort. The cornerstone of successful R is empathy by the WW. Your posts don't suggest your WW has found a path to empathy for your trauma.

She changed a lot in these 3 years, and since the wedding. These posts were from 2022, and even then she has shown true remorse, contrition and empathy. But we just keep failing on the part I was mentioning earlier.

[This message edited by iamjack at 6:10 AM, Wednesday, May 3rd]

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This0is0Fine ( member #72277) posted at 6:17 AM on Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023

You don't need to "move on". Or maybe I'm wrong on this, but I don't like the whole "move on" concept as indicating you shouldn't be bothered by it or ever bring it up again. You can be both bothered by the A, accept it as part of your relationship history, but still be content and happy in R.

At some point your desire to talk about it and the relevance to you daily life should decrease, but you don't have to "let it go" or "move on" or "rugsweep".

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

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Edie ( member #26133) posted at 7:43 AM on Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023

Somewhere around year 3 is where a lot of BH's enter into what is often referred to as the "Plain of Lethal Flatness." The POLF is that point in post-affair life where the roller coaster of mixed emotions has smoothed out, the anger has subsided to manageable levels, and you start getting a clear view toward your horizon. What you see, stretched out before you for the rest of your life, is this. Exactly what you describe. The A will be a permanent plus one in your marriage. How you feel now, this is about as good as it will ever get.

I was litteraly in tears when I read your reply. How can it be as good as it will ever get ??

I am going to assume that as ‘but for the grace’ does not have a crystal ball therefore no clue what your feelings will be in the future that he is perhaps saying that if you are in the Plain of Lethal Flatness (which btw is something experienced by both sexes) that it may FEEL like this is about as good as it will ever get and that lethargic pessimism is a sAlient feature of being on the plain. But perhaps that was not clear in translation as it were.

Regarding the sex, many women can feel a menopausal drop in libido and the male sexual part of the brain is in any case larger than the woman’s. Libido is something that can be revived (mainly by simply saying yes because then arousal will happen) though but not through resentment or feeling obliged. I really encourage you not to make invidious comparisons between the currency of sex your WW ‘gave’ the AP with the kind of sex that is part of a long marriage. The affair sex was illicit and furtive, with novelty and the spice of the unknown adding a certain zest perhaps or requiring her to play her fantasy part, and is not something that would have sustained in other circumstances.

But I also hear it’s also a matter of frequency for you, not just the vanilla aspect, that upsets you and that sounds understandably very frustrating, as you continue to make comparisons with the affair sex. I wonder how communications are otherwise between you, as it sounds like more talking might bring you both closer, as currently sex sounds like a great elephant of anger, resentment and obligation still sitting unspoken between you. Whilst it certainly needs her to have more cognisance of your feelings, this plays both ways, and perhaps you could both explore with curiosity how to work with her changing hormones and the libido changes where she might need more stimulation elsewhere as well as penetrative sex. This naturally occurring wax and wane and needing to mature the sexual understanding between you is of course complicated by the affair and your lingering feelings about it. I wonder if you are now both at a stage where sex therapy might help on this next part of the journey of healing?

Maybe a long walk in the Hindu Kush would do it?
BW (me) 52
FWS 55
Together 29 years; 2 kids 15 & 12
Dday Dec 08 (confessed) R'd.

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 iamjack (original poster member #80408) posted at 8:09 AM on Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023

Thank you Edie. I am always interested to read women's point of views here.


Edie

I am going to assume that as ‘but for the grace’ does not have a crystal ball therefore no clue what your feelings will be in the future that he is perhaps saying that if you are in the Plain of Lethal Flatness (which btw is something experienced by both sexes) that it may FEEL like this is about as good as it will ever get and that lethargic pessimism is a sAlient feature of being on the plain. But perhaps that was not clear in translation as it were.

Yes maybe you're right, maybe things are more subtle than what I understood.

Regarding the sex, many women can feel a menopausal drop in libido and the male sexual part of the brain is in any case larger than the woman’s. Libido is something that can be revived (mainly by simply saying yes because then arousal will happen) though but not through resentment or feeling obliged.

I completely get that. I do. But if I'm not asking for intimacy, it still doesn't come naturally. It isn't even just about sex, really. We had a meeting with our therapist where I bursted in tears because my WS wasn't listening to that. I want intimate moments with her, I want cuddling, I want kissing, not just in our bed but outdoors. I know I may be comparing but I don't even ask for sex, cuddling and kissing would be fine by me ! But I know if I don't initiate she won't either.

I don'tI really encourage you not to make invidious comparisons between the currency of sex your WW ‘gave’ the AP with the kind of sex that is part of a long marriage. The affair sex was illicit and furtive, with novelty and the spice of the unknown adding a certain zest perhaps or requiring her to play her fantasy part, and is not something that would have sustained in other circumstances.

Yes, but maybe I would also like, sometimes, to "play" a part with her. Why wouldn't that be possible ? Why can't I help but recollect how she was rejecting me at the time of the A, for the exact same things she was eager to do with the AP ? She recently told me I should "stop diminishing myself". But I FEEL that way. Even though I'm not comparing myself as much as I did a few years back, when she's not initiating I feel like shit, really. I try not to express any anger or resentment because as you say I know I can't force her feelings, but I feel like crap and she sees it.

But I also hear it’s also a matter of frequency for you, not just the vanilla aspect, that upsets you and that sounds understandably very frustrating, as you continue to make comparisons with the affair sex. I wonder how communications are otherwise between you, as it sounds like more talking might bring you both closer, as currently sex sounds like a great elephant of anger, resentment and obligation still sitting unspoken between you. Whilst it certainly needs her to have more cognisance of your feelings, this plays both ways, and perhaps you could both explore with curiosity how to work with her changing hormones and the libido changes where she might need more stimulation elsewhere as well as penetrative sex. This naturally occurring wax and wane and needing to mature the sexual understanding between you is of course complicated by the affair and your lingering feelings about it. I wonder if you are now both at a stage where sex therapy might help on this next part of the journey of healing?

We already talked about this a lot. I get the feeling she views the menopause she's going into as a "I'm not going to be demanding sex or even intimate moments anytime soon". She feels resigned, whereas I view the thing as a way of exploring a new way of finding our sexual balance. And again, I'm fine with that, even if a voice in my head sometimes tells me "she didn't look resigned at all sex-wise just a few years back"...

As for the sex therapy, maybe it could help. But for that I guess she would have to recognize we have a sex problem to resolve... From her point of view, everything's fine, women don't have the same sex drive as men do, and she's perfectly happy with the sex we have. I'm just always unsatisfied, a "half-empty glass" kinda guy....

[This message edited by iamjack at 10:09 AM, Wednesday, May 3rd]

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Trdd ( member #65989) posted at 11:47 AM on Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023

So your frequency of sex went from 2-3 times a year in at least one recent year to 1-3 times a week; that's a large increase and it shows something is working in that space for sure. But you desire some different activities in the mix and additional intimacy. Perhaps you could set a small goal in each of those areas that is mutually agreeable and attainable? Who knows what it would be but something like 1 night of sex each month we are going to try something new so we can find a few new flavors we like and then incorporate them moving forward. And one night a week we sit together and snuggle while discussing a topic or watching tv or whatever.

A few suggestions if you haven't already tried them: love languages quiz and a sex fantasy quiz for couples like mojoupgrade. The first may help intimacy. The second gets a lot of possible bedroom activities on the table and mojoupgrade has a methodology where things one partner really puts a hard limit on are excluded from the result but things that might be possible are included and graded by level of interest. I found that helpful in my marriage a number of years ago to introduce new ideas and several have stuck with us. But now, as I write this, it might be time to try it again actually.

Importantly, you said the A and her writings made it clear she knew what to do to get a man going sexually. Super painful knowing that happened but it tells us that she can particpate in setting a goal and she has the ability to pull it off. And of course the jump in frequency you are enjoying shows she can do this with you too when she tries. I would present it in a positive manner with the expectation that the two of you can make it happen, the two realistic goals that is. If she refuses to try, then you have to ask yourself is she fully committed to R in every way.

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Luna10 ( member #60888) posted at 11:51 AM on Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023

It is a natural reaction to compare your marriage to an affair once dday happens and request the same treatment or even better, be it sexually or emotionally.

In fact I personally believe that, in order for the BS to consider reconciliation, they need to see the WS’s willingness to offer the same or better than they offered to the AP (emotionally, physically, sexually). Instinctively our nature leads us in that direction in a lot of cases and some "weird" biological/psychological reactions take us by surprise such as HB, which is a way of reclaiming our partners and requesting them to raise to the expectations.

But… and here is the big but, this is not sustainable long term. The same way that the affair dynamics would not have been sustainable should the relationship had moved into real life, a renewed marriage where the sex, sexting, constant demand of attention and love gestures is on steroids cannot last.

My personal experience showed me that, whilst my requirements were high in terms of what I needed in order to reconcile, after a while we did settle into a more sustainable dynamic, one were our marriage is an improved version of what it used to be, but the comparison to affair dynamics has ended long time ago once I realised that it was all bullshit and no substance.

Initially we had sex like rabbits for about 3 years, WH did all the romantic gestures he could think of, we even tried sexting (I’m sorry, it isn’t my thing so I gave that up after a couple of attempts).

I constantly expected him to see me as an attractive woman and not as his wife or mother of his kids, I had proper meltdowns when he said stuff such as "you’re so cute" as I wanted him to show me that he sees me as sexy, desirable, fuckable. blush I wanted flowers on any occasion he could think of, I wanted to be treated like I am on the highest pedestal he could find.

And yet here I am, close to my 6th dday anniversary, telling you that, whilst that was what I desperately needed back then to give reconciliation a chance, what was REALLY needed was way deeper than that: I needed to remind myself that it isn’t my WH defining who I am, how pretty/cute/sexy/Intelligent/
nice/kind/desirable I am. My value comes from within, not from a fragment of time when my WH may have decided I wasn’t all those things. I had to focus on myself a lot to reach this place where, whilst I love my WH and our life together, I don’t need him in order to be happy and fulfilled.

Whilst I expected my marriage to be an improved version of the one prior to the affair and I still hold him accountable for his share of it, I don’t by any means expect any "affair like behaviour" in our life. What would that be? Trust me, I’ve analysed the affair with the biggest magnifying glass I could find and whilst it took me a while to get there, there’s absolutely nothing from that sleazy relationship my husband had with a low self esteem woman that I want in my life. Lies, deceit, selfish, manipulative actions. Self serving behaviours that we have worked hard to identify and remove from our own character.

I’ve done a lot of imaginary exercises of that affair behaviour and seriously, some of it I find hilarious. For example the phrase you quoted "I want to spend the whole day in bed with you". Erm… I don’t know how old your wife is but I’ve tried that in my younger years (spending the day in bed with my boyfriend at the time). By the time we had sex a couple of times and a snooze in between, I was sore, hungry, and ready to see the back of him and we were only an hour and a half into the "programme".

The ow in my WH’s affair used to send him descriptive texts on how his sperm tasted and how delicious it was. I’m yet to find a woman who honestly claims to like the taste of sperm. (No, I am not denying that women can enjoy BJs from an offering pleasure perspective,I’m talking about the actual taste of it). This was the same woman who claimed she did not have any sex toys although she was single, so obviously she was struggling between the two personas she was trying to adopt to keep the affair going.

Affair dynamics are about selling bullshit and believing the bullshit you’re sold even if it isn’t matching reality.

Healing takes time. Give yourself permission to analyse these feelings you are feeling and hopefully your wife is emotionally capable to join you in your pain and hold your hand on this painful path.

Dday - 27th September 2017

posts: 1826   ·   registered: Oct. 2nd, 2017   ·   location: UK
id 8789374
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 iamjack (original poster member #80408) posted at 12:10 PM on Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023

Trdd

So your frequency of sex went from 2-3 times a year in at least one recent year to 1-3 times a week; that's a large increase and it shows something is working in that space for sure. But you desire some different activities in the mix and additional intimacy. Perhaps you could set a small goal in each of those areas that is mutually agreeable and attainable? Who knows what it would be but something like 1 night of sex each month we are going to try something new so we can find a few new flavors we like and then incorporate them moving forward. And one night a week we sit together and snuggle while discussing a topic or watching tv or whatever.

This is a great idea and this is what I'm trying to achieve. But surprising as it may seem considering the A, she's a creature of habit, and if I don't change things myself I know she won't. So I'll try harder laugh

A few suggestions if you haven't already tried them: love languages quiz and a sex fantasy quiz for couples like mojoupgrade. The first may help intimacy. The second gets a lot of possible bedroom activities on the table and mojoupgrade has a methodology where things one partner really puts a hard limit on are excluded from the result but things that might be possible are included and graded by level of interest. I found that helpful in my marriage a number of years ago to introduce new ideas and several have stuck with us. But now, as I write this, it might be time to try it again actually.

We accidentaly stumbled upon such a quizz at a friend's house. We did it just the two of us and she loved it. We have another quizz for couples at home and the more I suggest we should try it, the less she's willing to, so I just stopped asking...

Importantly, you said the A and her writings made it clear she knew what to do to get a man going sexually. Super painful knowing that happened but it tells us that she can particpate in setting a goal and she has the ability to pull it off.

Thank you. I'm glad to know that specific pain isn't just me exagerating the whole thing... Never saw her so provocative and openly sexualizing. She had always been very shy when it comes to sexuality whereas verbally or physically (to the point where I couldn't even see her naked, we only had sex in complete darkness) so yes, this was very shocking.

And of course the jump in frequency you are enjoying shows she can do this with you too when she tries. I would present it in a positive manner with the expectation that the two of you can make it happen, the two realistic goals that is. If she refuses to try, then you have to ask yourself is she fully committed to R in every way.

Thank you again for giving me hope. But you're right, I need to stay focused on that.

posts: 77   ·   registered: Jul. 6th, 2022
id 8789375
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 iamjack (original poster member #80408) posted at 12:39 PM on Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023

Luna, thank you so much for your words. You have no idea how much they can help ♥

Luna10

It is a natural reaction to compare your marriage to an affair once dday happens and request the same treatment or even better, be it sexually or emotionally.

(...)

But… and here is the big but, this is not sustainable long term. The same way that the affair dynamics would not have been sustainable should the relationship had moved into real life, a renewed marriage where the sex, sexting, constant demand of attention and love gestures is on steroids cannot last.

That's what my wife also told me. But until now, this sounded like a way of trying to shift the blame on something else. Maybe she was right on this one (well you can't be always wrong, I guess laugh )

My personal experience showed me that, whilst my requirements were high in terms of what I needed in order to reconcile, after a while we did settle into a more sustainable dynamic, one were our marriage is an improved version of what it used to be, but the comparison to affair dynamics has ended long time ago once I realised that it was all bullshit and no substance.

Initially we had sex like rabbits for about 3 years, WH did all the romantic gestures he could think of, we even tried sexting (I’m sorry, it isn’t my thing so I gave that up after a couple of attempts).

I constantly expected him to see me as an attractive woman and not as his wife or mother of his kids, I had proper meltdowns when he said stuff such as "you’re so cute" as I wanted him to show me that he sees me as sexy, desirable, fuckable. blush I wanted flowers on any occasion he could think of, I wanted to be treated like I am on the highest pedestal he could find.

My God, you have no idea how much these words resonate in me. We went through the exact same things. I demanded to be her "lover", not just her nice husband or the father of our children. I wanted to feel passion, I wanted her to show me how much I could be attractive to her. Heck, I even went nuts every time she just said something nice like "you're kind", or "you're such a good man"...(I still find it hard to hear, but I don't scream at her when she says these things)

I expected and demanded more. I wanted the passion I had read through these thousands pages of chat transcripts. And in a way, for a while, we were kinda like that. But she later told me she felt obligated to give in to my demands, and that the felt trapped. So you're right, not the kind of sustainable couple you would love to be...

And yet here I am, close to my 6th dday anniversary, telling you that, whilst that was what I desperately needed back then to give reconciliation a chance, what was REALLY needed was way deeper than that: I needed to remind myself that it isn’t my WH defining who I am, how pretty/cute/sexy/Intelligent/

nice/kind/desirable I am. My value comes from within, not from a fragment of time when my WH may have decided I wasn’t all those things. I had to focus on myself a lot to reach this place where, whilst I love my WH and our life together, I don’t need him in order to be happy and fulfilled.

This is so true...

Whilst I expected my marriage to be an improved version of the one prior to the affair and I still hold him accountable for his share of it, I don’t by any means expect any "affair like behaviour" in our life. What would that be? Trust me, I’ve analysed the affair with the biggest magnifying glass I could find and whilst it took me a while to get there, there’s absolutely nothing from that sleazy relationship my husband had with a low self esteem woman that I want in my life. Lies, deceit, selfish, manipulative actions. Self serving behaviours that we have worked hard to identify and remove from our own character.

You're right. Even though I can't help but think that I would have loved to experience this with her, this was just "an experience", nothing more. And a pretty pathetic one at that.

I’ve done a lot of imaginary exercises of that affair behaviour and seriously, some of it I find hilarious. For example the phrase you quoted "I want to spend the whole day in bed with you". Erm… I don’t know how old your wife is but I’ve tried that in my younger years (spending the day in bed with my boyfriend at the time). By the time we had sex a couple of times and a snooze in between, I was sore, hungry, and ready to see the back of him and we were only an hour and a half into the "programme".

Thank you, this bit had me literally laughing out loud laugh laugh laugh

My wife is 47, she was 44 at the time of the affair, but even then and for years she had always told me "staying in bed when you're not a teenager is just boring, unpleasant and exhausting".

So I suppose she was just playing that part in order to have him aroused (and as I was saying a couple posts above, she very well knew what could turn a man on). Doesn't change the fact that it hurt a lot (especially since the timestamps proved she wrote that after she came back from having sex with him, and a few minutes before we had our first fight in years... She told me she wanted to be "alone" for some time, "to get some space" and maybe get a flat somewhere. So much for the "I need space" part...)

But I get what you're saying. This probably was just words to keep him interested and aroused.

The ow in my WH’s affair used to send him descriptive texts on how his sperm tasted and how delicious it was. I’m yet to find a woman who honestly claims to like the taste of sperm. (No, I am not denying that women can enjoy BJs from an offering pleasure perspective,I’m talking about the actual taste of it).

LOL again... I'm sure you're right. Sorry in advance for TMI, but more seriously, my wife never was into that. But hey, she never was into anal either, and had I discovered the A just a few months later, I'm positive they would have done it (I even got proof she ordered an enema bulb the day after he tried to talk her into that... try to deny that evidence tongue ) But this would have been as much a dealbreaker to me as if they had had sex in our house or bed. So luckily for her, I found out earlier.

Affair dynamics are about selling bullshit and believing the bullshit you’re sold even if it isn’t matching reality.

Healing takes time. Give yourself permission to analyse these feelings you are feeling and hopefully your wife is emotionally capable to join you in your pain and hold your hand on this painful path.

Thank you so much for your kind words.

[This message edited by iamjack at 12:43 PM, Wednesday, May 3rd]

posts: 77   ·   registered: Jul. 6th, 2022
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Edie ( member #26133) posted at 1:03 PM on Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023

Why can't I help but recollect how she was rejecting me at the time of the A, for the exact same things she was eager to do with the AP ?

Some great posts above 😊

I was just wanted to encourage you in therapy to explore these feelings about you being rejected as perhaps there are deeper layers and echoes from other parts of your life that make you take the affair as rejection. I feel very strongly that it was my FWH’s lost youth/ aging, his roles as provider, father, worker, his sense of mortality, his own inner ennui, his own insecurities that he was escaping with his A rather than any rejection of me and I certainly didn’t and don’t take it personally as any diminshment of me. Your FWW was I assume with her affair seeking ego strokes in mid life and perhaps some escape from her own ennui and dissatisfaction with herself and her roles, and it sounds like she has tried to explain that to you. I’m afraid we BSs are rather less important in the As than we might think, and are simply bystanders in that sense, our WSs doing convoluted compartmentalisation into boxes where BS and AP are kept separate.

She had always been very shy when it comes to sexuality whereas verbally or physically (to the point where I couldn't even see her naked, we only had sex in complete darkness) so yes, this was very shocking

.

This also sounds like a cogent argument for some sex therapy together.

[This message edited by Edie at 1:36 PM, Wednesday, May 3rd]

Maybe a long walk in the Hindu Kush would do it?
BW (me) 52
FWS 55
Together 29 years; 2 kids 15 & 12
Dday Dec 08 (confessed) R'd.

posts: 6638   ·   registered: Nov. 9th, 2009   ·   location: Europe
id 8789380
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 iamjack (original poster member #80408) posted at 2:33 PM on Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023

Edie

I was just wanted to encourage you in therapy to explore these feelings about you being rejected as perhaps there are deeper layers and echoes from other parts of your life that make you take the affair as rejection.

Touché... I know I have things to get sorted out here, and I'm working on it with my therapist. I've had a very castrating mom, and issues I need to resolve around my masculinity (long story short).

I feel very strongly that it was my FWH’s lost youth/ aging, his roles as provider, father, worker, his sense of mortality, his own inner ennui, his own insecurities that he was escaping with his A rather than any rejection of me and I certainly didn’t and don’t take it personally as any diminshment of me. Your FWW was I assume with her affair seeking ego strokes in mid life and perhaps some escape from her own ennui and dissatisfaction with herself and her roles, and it sounds like she has tried to explain that to you. I’m afraid we BSs are rather less important in the As than we might think, and are simply bystanders in that sense, our WSs doing convoluted compartmentalisation into boxes where BS and AP are kept separate.

THIS. Exactly this. She needed that because she was broken and a bigger mess than me inside. She was searching for something to fill the void in her mind, and she found the worst possible way she could do that. She knows it and I must admit she did a lot of work in IC on this. But she never really tried to talk about it. She just argued and complained about the things I didn't do. I know I should have listened more carefully, but at some point I just gave up. She did too...

This also sounds like a cogent argument for some sex therapy together.

I think the same too. But until now that's something she refuses (or she gives me the "well ok, but it's useless and if we go I won't say anything as I've got nothing to say").

[This message edited by iamjack at 2:34 PM, Wednesday, May 3rd]

posts: 77   ·   registered: Jul. 6th, 2022
id 8789393
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Dude67 ( member #75700) posted at 2:53 PM on Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023

If I may offer some suggestions. Please do not burst into tears at your therapist’s office lamenting that your wife isn’t giving you the cuddles and hugs that you want. Please stop begging for affection.

The A was all on your WW but you contributed half to to M dynamic prior to her A as well as now. For example, contributing to and accepting the situation that you were having sex only twice a year prior to her A is 50 percent on you.

Right now you are coming off as desperate and needy. For many women, this couldn’t be more of a turn off. Acting this way is opposite to your ends, to obtain unsolicited affection from your WW.

My recommendation is to immediately stop this needy and desperate behavior. Stop crying about why you’re not getting hugs. Instead, hit the gym and hire a personal trainer. Buy some new clothes now, and more when you get into tip top shape.

Work on your hobbies more, and if you don’t have any hobbies work on that. Go out with colleagues after work. Go out with your non work friends (of course without your WW). If you don’t have many friends then cultivate them through church groups, meet up groups, volunteer groups, etc., all of which can be found online.

The bottom line is that you need to put some distance between you and your WW in a positive way for you. You will show her your independence, your emotional stability, your control, and that you are quite capable of being on your own if it comes down to it. You will show her that hey, my marriage is ok, could be a lot better, but whether you’re married or not you will be just fine on your own.

And with all of this let your WW chase you for a change. Let her seek you out for affection, as she is now attracted to this super self confident man.

posts: 785   ·   registered: Oct. 21st, 2020
id 8789396
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 iamjack (original poster member #80408) posted at 3:00 PM on Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023

Dude67
If I may offer some suggestions. Please do not burst into tears at your therapist’s office lamenting that your wife isn’t giving you the cuddles and hugs that you want. Please stop begging for affection.

The A was all on your WW but you contributed half to to M dynamic prior to her A as well as now. For example, contributing to and accepting the situation that you were having sex only twice a year prior to her A is 50 percent on you.

Right now you are coming off as desperate and needy. For many women, this couldn’t be more of a turn off. Acting this way is opposite to your ends, to obtain unsolicited affection from your WW.

My recommendation is to immediately stop this needy and desperate behavior. Stop crying about why you’re not getting hugs. Instead, hit the gym and hire a personal trainer. Buy some new clothes now, and more when you get into tip top shape.

Work on your hobbies more, and if you don’t have any hobbies work on that. Go out with colleagues after work. Go out with your non work friends (of course without your WW). If you don’t have many friends then cultivate them through church groups, meet up groups, volunteer groups, etc., all of which can be found online.

The bottom line is that you need to put some distance between you and your WW in a positive way for you. You will show her your independence, your emotional stability, your control, and that you are quite capable of being on your own if it comes down to it. You will show her that hey, my marriage is ok, could be a lot better, but whether you’re married or not you will be just fine on your own.

And with all of this let your WW chase you for a change. Let her seek you out for affection, as she is now attracted to this super self confident man.

Well that was kinda harsh, but thank you. To be clear, I did lament because I felt I tried everything before. But that's not what I'm doing RIGHT NOW. As of now I'm getting back in shape, I do hit the gym. I don't go out as I would like to, as I'm in a very small town and I don't have any colleagues and just a few friends.
But I joined some associations to be useful, help others and meet new people. I also enrolled as a volunteer firefighter a year ago (still training).
But you're right, I still need to work on myself. And that's the path I chose, along with IC to solve some of my own issues...

posts: 77   ·   registered: Jul. 6th, 2022
id 8789399
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Luna10 ( member #60888) posted at 4:23 PM on Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023

hit the gym and hire a personal trainer. Buy some new clothes now, and more when you get into tip top shape.

Work on your hobbies more, and if you don’t have any hobbies work on that. Go out with colleagues after work. Go out with your non work friends (of course without your WW). If you don’t have many friends then cultivate them through church groups, meet up groups, volunteer groups, etc., all of which can be found online.

I agree with this 100%. I’d recommend doing this FOR YOU, not for some magic solution that would make your wife seeing you somehow more valuable and desirable, although the result may well be that your wife will start getting her act together.

The reason I’m telling you to do it for yourself (rather than as some tactic) is because this is what healing looks like in the end. In order to feel safe you need to learn that you are ok without your WS.

Once I woke up from this hugely traumatic event, I realised I needed to fix my fears, real and pertinent ones as well as some imaginary ones. In therapy I worked on my fear of abandonment, however I also had more realistic fears such as my financial dependency on WH should he leave our marriage.

In the last 5 years or so I’ve progressed my career and my earning is now at a point where, if we divorced, I would not need a penny from him. We would part ways 50/50 and I would not have to see his face ever again, nor ask for his financial help.

I’ve developed new hobbies, I baked like mad for a while, I’ve started painting, and I exercise a lot. I’ve set myself goals which I subsequently achieved such as 10k runs, exercise every day and so on. This of course has an impact on my body and my self esteem and in all modesty, I look pretty good, WH states I look exactly the same as when he met me 20 years ago.

Exercise also helps with stress and it is an amazing coping mechanism, I remember running full of anger a few years ago, holding fictional conversations with the ow in my head, or "arguing" with WH, by the end of the run everything was gone, I was totally exhausted there was no anger left. I dress well (WH must have regretted his affair only by the hit our accounts took when I decided to change my entire wardrobe 🤣), I read a lot, I’m an intelligent woman, I have friends I go out with occasionally, MY life is pretty good. If WH leaves tomorrow none of what I just described would change. That’s my stability, that’s my plan B, that’s what my healing needed, safety. I don’t fear I’ll end up alone as I don’t equate happiness with a man’s presence in my life anymore.

WH? He’s a great addition to my life but I tell you this, his affair reminded me of who I really am and what I’m capable of, I don’t need to keep another person on a pedestal when I can be my own cheerleader.

I don’t know if my transformation led to his. I didn’t do it for him, I was just desperate to feel safe and I suddenly realised that the safety element can only come from within. He has also done a lot of soul searching. He is a much nicer person, he seems to have grown some empathy and most importantly, he learnt to live in gratitude rather than focusing on what else he may be entitled to.

This is your opportunity to become the person you want to be and have the marriage you want to have. You can define that marriage in agreement with your wife, you and only you can decide what your dealbreakers are and establish if your WS is the partner you want by your side on this new path you’re taking.

Dday - 27th September 2017

posts: 1826   ·   registered: Oct. 2nd, 2017   ·   location: UK
id 8789410
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ChamomileTea ( Moderator #53574) posted at 4:43 PM on Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023

I still find very hard to hear the words above, after having read things like "I could spend all day with you in bed", "We'll have a picnic, I'll be your dessert", "I want you so much", "I'll rip off your bathing suit" etc etc.

I think what helped me was realizing that most of the exchanges I read were bullshit. My fWH said a lot of things to a lot of women. I read email exchanges and discerned this chameleon-like behavior where he loved music and hobbies I knew he didn't care about, where he was always "turned on", always "melted" by her eyes or her boobs or her unibrow or whatever. rolleyes
I KNOW HIM. HE could be writing out all those sweet, sexy nothings while eating a sandwich and balancing his checkbook.

I think sometimes the first challenge we face is deciding what the real truth is, and to be frank with you, as much as it hurt to read those things, I knew they weren't an accurate representation of the truth. It was the "Polly-wants-a-cracker" truth. He wanted someone to say those kinds of things to him, he wanted flattery and attention... so he created a venue for that to happen by priming the pump with flattery and attention and saying the things he wanted to hear.

From the outside looking in, he seemed really invested, and even he believed his own rhetoric at times because he was so immersed in it. He actually thought he was in love with that last OW, but the reality is that he was over it almost immediately after the affair ended, kind of like getting nitrous at the dentist's office. It makes you really loopy but after a few breaths of clean air, you're sober again. The whole point of the cheating is that "loopy" feeling. It's not about the AP.

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

posts: 7019   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8789415
Topic is Sleeping.
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