I'm so sorry, Fold. And I know the grief is so very overwhelming, but you are doing great. There is no way around trauma and loss--just through it. Keep reminding yourself of that, validating your right to grieve as needed. As my IC once said to me, "Nobody has ever actually cried themselves to death. The tears will stop when they are ready." How to survive the worst days? One hour at a time, if need be. You just plan out one hour of getting by at a time, and then you figure out the next hour when it comes. Be very, very kind and supportive of yourself. Don't chastise yourself for your sadness. You have a right to your feelings--all of them. It always feels better when I tell myself, "Of course you are sad. Be sad. This is hard stuff, OIN." It feels good when I have my own back.
You said several days ago:
He was never boastful or rude or talked down to anyone, but he enjoyed a certain level of privilege that came professionally. And he did have selfish tendencies — things we’d quibble over — he liked what he liked when he liked it and I guess that includes other cheaters, willing to gamble their families away. He probably felt he deserved to have sex with OW because she was willing and new and it was exciting, and because he worked hard and wanted some fun
And this reminded me of an article that I read years ago (in an actual, physical magazine, I think. Maybe Newsweek?) about men and success. They followed a law firm in Chicago as they wrapped up a big case. They ended up winning the case, and the authors interviewed the men (the article did not, to my memory, mention any women) and the way they processed and celebrated success--and how it always involved very extreme entitlements. The entire firm hosted a big party with drugs, alcohol, lavish food, expensive music, and escorts. Everyone was expected to participate. Many attorneys were interviewed and asked about wives and families, and they scoffed at the idea that they'd find out or that it mattered. These men oooooozed entitlement. "We have earned these rewards!" That is 100% the way they viewed it, and I recall that this was the article's point; it made me feel ill. I remember the article asked why men subconsciously held a notion that success entitled them to whatever they wanted, to break the rules, if only for a short time. (But who knows? Is it only for that one night? Do those feelings of entitlement permeate one's life?) The authors alluded to the idea that this mentality is found in many careers, not just law. Success = entitlement.
I see a connection to your WH. I do think success and the privileged treatment that comes with it breed an entitlement that leads to rule breaking, immorality, and selfishness, as was highlighted in that article. It does not have to lead to that, but those that remain grounded are most likely the exception rather than the rule. Look at what happens to celebrities? They struggle to stay humble. The world caters to them, and it changes them. They sometimes get weird because of it! If you happened to see the strange academy award nominated movie Triangle of Sadness last year, it mocked the world of the ultra wealthy and how they are so out of touch due to their privilege. When people treat you as if you are special, it changes how you see yourself.
I am NOT excusing your WH, just saying that he very well may have been caught up in new entitlements. And now he is paying the price. It will be "interesting," since I don't have a better word, to see if he learns and becomes his old self (if he is punished severely, he may learn from this) or if he clings to his new beliefs and stays the course that he is right and has done nothing wrong. If the latter, he'll continue to have professional and interpersonal issues...and a bumpy life. There is a lot of peace in working to be respectable rather than successful, not that they are mutually exclusive. But one thing I learned from this infidelity shit show is that liking myself and being proud of myself in the ways that nobody else knows or sees (I know who I am when nobody is looking) is very, very powerful. And peaceful. And nurturing. Yes, it does lead to success in many ways, but that isn't the goal. My approval of my imprint on this world is my goal, my spiritual legacy. I wish I had understood the value of this earlier, but at least I get it now. I hope your WH, for your kids' sake, figures it out too.
Stay strong. One day at a time.
[This message edited by OwningItNow at 1:32 PM, Saturday, July 1st]