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General :
The Turing Test

Topic is Sleeping.
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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 6:41 PM on Wednesday, September 20th, 2023

I don't think we (or he) should assume that just because WOEZ or HikingOut had shitshow first years post-D-Day we should assume that it's normal, healthy, or acceptable for a BS to sign up for that.

I know emergent is not suggesting otherwise but I am not suggesting a bs sign up for it either. A lot of factors go into what happens after dday. While I said it was a shit show, I did fully confess on my own, remained no contact with the Ap, and met all transparency requirements. When I say shit show it was more I couldn’t see how to get to where I needed to go.

I share it usually because we are seeing people a couple of weeks to a few months in and people chanting that the ws hasn’t done the work. I just think the kind of work that goes into being a safe partner longer term is bigger work. I definitely think they still should be showing forward movement in getting out of the affair and showing good faith that they are going to try and do what is needed.

So I just wanted to fill that in a little further because I agree with emergent, I don’t feel it’s the bs’s responsibility to sign up for anything that especially if their ws hasn’t. But I definitely think empathy and remorse takes time to make room for when you have spent so much time justifying your behaviors and dehumanizing your spouse. I would be actually a little suspicious of a person who could completely effectively do this out of the gate.

[This message edited by hikingout at 6:42 PM, Wednesday, September 20th]

7 years of hard work - WS and BS - Reconciled

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WontBeFooledAgai ( member #72671) posted at 6:48 PM on Wednesday, September 20th, 2023

InkHulk:

I literally invited my toughest critic to not abandon his message to me

You called? laugh

*****************************************

I am definitely what one would consider a Doubting Thomas. Much of this is specific to our friend InkHulk's situation though...

1. He is **locked in** on R. I mean, he may have been knocked off-course for a bit due to (extremely serious) events a couple of months ago, but he locked himself right back into R within only a few weeks. (Does IH design Patriot Missiles? Maybe he should. If only our military's weapons were laser-guided this tightly on their targets!) Anyways, WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH MY CONCERNS exactly? Well for one thing I am wondering if he is the one driving the bus here, and this includes IH may be trying to do himself some of his WW's work. For another I am wondering if he is squinting too hard in trying to find similarities between his WW and a model fWW such as @hikingout, similarities that may not actually be there.

2. This is still an awful lot like the movie we seen before--and didn't like so much. (A bunch of times this past spring, InkHulk HAS praised his WW's efforts, only for him to admit every few weeks that his WW's efforts were far from acceptable.) So that's why a few of us are in the theatre grumbling and some of us are even throwing rotten tomatoes at the screen.

3. The specific details don't assuage concerns. I suppose it is good that WW is now "finding her voice" but wasn't their marriage always like that? InkHulk caving to avoid conflict. InkHulk's WW always sounded selfish to me, at least in her marriage to IH.

4. Besides true love, IH's WW has many social, financial, and material interests to keep the marriage. It isn't pleasant to read I know but I do think it needs to be acknowledged. Does IH's WW really want IH himself and not just the perks of marriage to IH?

Now, there are things we do not know and at least I myself have been guilty of pressing too hard, past the point that it is constructive. But these are my points...(described already in different words, I am really trying to describe an elephant here. sometimes it is the tusks sometimes it is the thick legs and sometimes it is the long long snout.)

[This message edited by WontBeFooledAgai at 7:15 PM, Wednesday, September 20th]

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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 7:39 PM on Wednesday, September 20th, 2023

Won’t be fooled,

I can appreciate I don’t have the background here. I have been largely absent from the site.

I can give my own background but you are right, we are two different individuals. That is certain.

I will push back on this, but only slightly:

Does IH's WW really want IH himself and not just the perks of marriage to IH?

Here is the truth. And I think it’s true for both bs and ws. People’s motivations in the beginning of R can and do change as their thinking evolves. I don’t know of many ws or bs who haven’t cited financial or having children or anything in between as a reason for staying initially.

I certainly didn’t say "I want us to work on this marriage because he is beyond a shadow of a doubt the one I want with all my heart". That would have been pretty disingenuous to say right after I just spent all that time cheating and lying.

My initial thoughts were "It’s been a long marriage, It’s had a lot of great aspects and memories. I will put forth the effort to see this through and see what can be done"

My discovery was that I had buried a lot of love under a lot of toxic thinking and stories I told myself. Today, I can say I am wholeheartedly in the exact marriage I want to be in and I wouldn’t want it with anyone else in earth. I love him infinitely.

It goes back to my initial comments on this thread, thoughts aren’t truth and feelings tend to follow what we think in a lot of situations. We can be wrong, and eventually see the truth.

I would say my ambiguity over why I was staying didn’t stay around even the whole first year. So your instincts on this could be entirely true. I just think it’s worth noting that the reasons both parties stay often evolves for both people. We didn’t have kids at home, I made slightly more money than he did at the time. But the fact we had those kids and our finances were intertwined were certainly additions to the reasonings I started with.

In the end I saw how much impact I had on the marriage instead of blaming him. So it can be an evolution though I am not asserting it to be the case here. I am not asserting it isn’t the case either.

[This message edited by hikingout at 7:42 PM, Wednesday, September 20th]

7 years of hard work - WS and BS - Reconciled

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 InkHulk (original poster member #80400) posted at 8:26 PM on Wednesday, September 20th, 2023

Sure you weren’t perfect. Neither was my husband. That doesn’t mean it brought in the cheating.

Given the nuance in all this discussion and me saying that my story can be thought of as similar to a MH situation, I want to say that I 100% agree with this. I did not cause her cheating, it’s completely on her. Nothing I said was intended to imply otherwise. I don’t think or feel otherwise.

People are more important than the relationships they are in.

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WontBeFooledAgai ( member #72671) posted at 3:00 AM on Thursday, September 21st, 2023

@hikingout,

Sure I see where you are coming from in your most recent post #163. But as of know it has been **over a year** from D-Day for IH and his WW, and even longer that WW's affair (supposedly) ended.

And in regards to a point I made earlier, IH is trying to glean as much feedback as he can from you. What about his WW? Is his WW seeking out people further along to help guide *her*? Maybe she is, but that is a fair question I think. That probably should be part of *her* work!

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 InkHulk (original poster member #80400) posted at 4:29 PM on Thursday, September 21st, 2023

Her work

I’m going to structure my answer about her work in a format that parallels how I answered my own. Should address Lurking’s questions and if you thought what I wrote about myself was something greater than hogwash, maybe consider that as you read this.
1. She has stayed in the marriage while she has endured public shame and unsustainable behavior from me, including angry outbursts, needing comfort in countless hours of sadness, and deeply probing embarrassing questions. She was also carrying her own hurts that she suppressed for years.
2. She has been forgiving as well for how I have wronged her. She has recognized the destructive effects of her shame and worked to keep it in check. There is progress here. She was atrocious in the beginning. She isn’t perfect now, but she has come a long way.
3. I can hardly give her high marks for transparency and honesty. Her actions have made it almost impossible for me to deeply believe that I know everything. But that is going to have the consequence of keeping discussion about the A alive longer and until I’m satisfied. We talk about it more now than we ever have. She is learning to tolerate more of it. She continues to tell me things that help me deepen my understanding of the A, things that paint her in such a bad light that she hates to even say. (You might say, "why hasn’t it come out already!" Her deceptions mean we’re re-covering ground and we’re continuing to probe deep into the "why’s". It’s not a bad thing that new things are still coming out).
4. She has regularly gone to IC. From what I can know without being in the room, I think the sessions are helpful and seem in the spirit of HikingOut’s described journey. She has taken in many books. She has done more self reflection in the last year than all the years before combined that I’ve known her. She has written original poetry. She’s digging deep.
5. She kept her own hurts in the background in the last year. She saw the anguish I was in and did not attempt to force her complaints to the forefront. They are real, if aged due to her holding them as resentments rather than bringing them to light years ago.
6. She has aligned with me on not taking an unmet needs approach. She agrees philosophically, she takes ownership of her A, and she didn’t blame me for walking out of that dipshit therapist’s office 15 min in, even though we were in desperate need of help.
7. She is deeply digging into her FOO. She is understanding impacts of generational sin and trauma, and that the environment she grew up in emotionally stunted her. Again, think of HikingOut’s descriptions of the "selfless" person and their false altruistic motives and building resentments. She’s not all the way there in it (IMO) but she’s on the path.
8. My money is her money, so she has committed it the same as I have to therapy and recovery.
9. She has similarly embraced Gottman, sees that she has her favorite horsemen (defensiveness and stonewalling) and wants to make a change.
10. I have not as much locked in on my own FOO issues, I’ve been pretty busy healing from the betrayal trauma. As such, it’s hard to make an apples to apples comparison here. She has grown significantly in her empathy for my betrayal trauma.

And again I’ll come back to the point that she is acting like a self respecting human being. To read her timeline, she just seemed like a junkie addict doing anything to get a fix, defiling herself, risking hurting our kids, ultimately coming to the point of being suicidal. I have never wanted a boot licker for a partner, and I don’t want one now. The best thing she can do, for her, me, and the kids, is remember that she is a child of God full of value and beauty and love into that. That is the mountain that I want moved.

People are more important than the relationships they are in.

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 InkHulk (original poster member #80400) posted at 4:41 PM on Thursday, September 21st, 2023

1. He is **locked in** on R. I mean, he may have been knocked off-course for a bit due to (extremely serious) events a couple of months ago, but he locked himself right back into R within only a few weeks. (Does IH design Patriot Missiles? Maybe he should. If only our military's weapons were laser-guided this tightly on their targets!) Anyways, WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH MY CONCERNS exactly? Well for one thing I am wondering if he is the one driving the bus here, and this includes IH may be trying to do himself some of his WW's work. For another I am wondering if he is squinting too hard in trying to find similarities between his WW and a model fWW such as @hikingout, similarities that may not actually be there.

This seems adequately addressed in this thread in general. Both partners, all in, to make R work.

2. This is still an awful lot like the movie we seen before--and didn't like so much. (A bunch of times this past spring, InkHulk HAS praised his WW's efforts, only for him to admit every few weeks that his WW's efforts were far from acceptable.) So that's why a few of us are in the theatre grumbling and some of us are even throwing rotten tomatoes at the screen.

I laughed hard when I read this, well done. Man, from reading your critiques, I can only imagine that you have a idilic calm and simple life. Cause this is just how my life is, not just with infidelity. Some days things are going well and I can tell of it with all truth and some days the shit hits the fan. The passing of time allows for my life to contain both of those things. Life is complicated. Embrace it.

3. The specific details don't assuage concerns. I suppose it is good that WW is now "finding her voice" but wasn't their marriage always like that? InkHulk caving to avoid conflict. InkHulk's WW always sounded selfish to me, at least in her marriage to IH.

It’s complicated. The dynamics of putting a person like me with an unidentified avoidant personality are combustible and chaotic. Again, HikingOut has described it better than I’m going to right now. There is a good kind of selfish. I want her to find that.

4. Besides true love, IH's WW has many social, financial, and material interests to keep the marriage. It isn't pleasant to read I know but I do think it needs to be acknowledged. Does IH's WW really want IH himself and not just the perks of marriage to IH?

At this point, I’m convinced enough that she wants me. This whole thing is a doubt in any BS’s mind who has the earning discrepancy like we do. Honestly, I’m at peace about this. If she doesn’t really love me, I’ll figure that out in due time.

People are more important than the relationships they are in.

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WontBeFooledAgai ( member #72671) posted at 5:28 PM on Thursday, September 21st, 2023

I laughed hard when I read this, well done. Man, from reading your critiques, I can only imagine that you have a idilic calm and simple life. Cause this is just how my life is, not just with infidelity. Some days things are going well and I can tell of it with all truth and some days the shit hits the fan. The passing of time allows for my life to contain both of those things. Life is complicated. Embrace it.

I am glad I provided you with some laughs! ;)

I understand I had made some pointed observations and that life is complicated and that we are not there on a day by day basis to see you and your WW. But, I stand by what I had said--that on here at least, you were defending your WW's efforts the past year even when they hardly seemed defensible. And then quite understandably, you reached a breaking point. This can't just be swept away by "life is complicated".

Keep in mind that all we have to go by is your posts. And GOING BY GENERAL INSTANCES, if a BH is still sticking around after his wife had a 3-year affair, the tendency is for us to assume that the BH is settling for less than he deserves (for lack of a better way of putting it). Especially if said BH expresses such a strong aversion to D. That assumption appears to be true looking at all too many instances on here, so the evidence supports this assumption--sad to say.

I do hope that you and your family find or stay into happiness/joy, if it means either you staying married or not and moving on!

[This message edited by WontBeFooledAgai at 5:54 PM, Thursday, September 21st]

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 InkHulk (original poster member #80400) posted at 6:11 PM on Thursday, September 21st, 2023

But, I stand by what I had said

Of course you do wink

that on here at least, you were defending your WW's efforts the past year even when they hardly seemed defensible. And then quite understandably, you reached a breaking point.

What you are missing here is that this is all so multifaceted. I just wrote out a 10 bullet point list about her "work". All it would take for us to tumble is a good screw up of any major pillar. But I defended them then and I’ll defend them now, she was growing back then and I’m currently seeing the fruits of that work. And she’s continuing to work, and that gives me hope for even better in the future. Highly defensible, even if imperfect.

Keep in mind that all we have to go by is your posts. And GOING BY GENERAL INSTANCES, if a BH is still sticking around after his wife had a 3-year affair, the tendency is for us to assume that the BH is settling for less than he deserves (for lack of a better way of putting it). Especially if said BH expresses such a strong aversion to D. That assumption appears to be true looking at all too many instances on here, so the evidence supports this assumption--sad to say.

Ahhhh, look at you doing Bayesian analysis, bringing your preconceived notions into judging your current situation. That’s so great! I’m not 100% aligned with Sisoon’s take on statistics and how they apply here, but it’s helpful enough here. I’m trying to write my own story here, I’m more than a category.

People are more important than the relationships they are in.

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MintChocChip ( member #83762) posted at 6:37 PM on Thursday, September 21st, 2023

I thought about the question in the original post for a couple of days and if the AP was an AI instead of a human it would not have hurt me as much for the obvious reasons. But ultimately I very much agree with what someone posted:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

This is very true.

I think before the A, my relationship with my exWS didn't include all those things because I think he had never fully learned what that was or allowed them to exist in his life. I think he had absolutely no idea what love was or how to truly experience it. I think afterwards, he did. Even though we are separated now, that beautiful passage describes how that man feels about me NOW, today, and it was his affair which taught him that.

I have read so much about affairs and I am sure there are elements of the typical affair kibbles involved in his choices. We were long distance at the time and he hadn't seen me in ages. He was selfish, he was good at compartmentalising. He was a master rationaliser. He felt entitled to feel good because he felt hard done by in life. I am sure the sex was good after not having sex for months and I am sure being completely worshipped by a source (not dissimilar to AI) felt amazing.

But here's the thing. In my exWS's case the AP was a disturbed person, and I think deeply abusing. That is not me speaking out of jealousy, I think that is true. I remember listening to the testimony in the Jonny Depp /Amber Heard case and she sounded exactly like Amber heard. Disturbed, violent, abusive. Of course she didn't look anything like Amber heard unless you added 150lbs, 20 years and removed her hair (sorry, mean but true)

So to be honest, I think my WS was groomed. I think this person came along when he was completely alone, feeling damaged inside, and pretended to be his very best friend in the world ever. Classic love bombing. Reading it all back it was really obvious to me what looked to be happening was love bombing. And he was susceptible to it because he had all those existing flaws.

Maybe that's a lot like all affairs to a degree, but what made this one stand out is that the person was truly abusive. She hit him, threatened him and made his life a misery once things had begun and then lo and behold he was trapped and couldn't tell me or get help or out of the situation because he got into it by cheating.

I read up a lot on abusive dynamics and understand how this played well into his particular past, and I know there was no infatuation with the AP, but what was created was a dependency. A fear, a kind of fawning where he clearly felt his life almost depended on keeping her from her next explosion.

I think to be honest that was why he broke NC so often. Albeit that again was only possible because his weaknesses and fears were bigger than his loyalty.

A sorry mess.

But maybe all affairs (except maybe for the true love ones where it's at the end of a broken marriage) are really a kind of artificial intelligence. The particular needs, flaws and weaknesses of the spouse are all served and intertwined with this horrible mess that has nothing to do with love and everything to do with a void being filled in the most inauthentic way possible.

All of that said, I also agree with another poster that one of the worst things about this is knowing they made the choice to cheat or want something other than you. That hurts in a way I don't think will ever go away.

D Day: September 2020Currently separated

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MintChocChip ( member #83762) posted at 7:01 PM on Thursday, September 21st, 2023

So you have the rejection element, but that in itself isn’t enough to trigger the betrayal anguish. So what does it take?

From what I’m reading here, I think the necessary elements are

1) rejection - a rival that engenders attraction that draws our love away from us

2) intention - our love has it in their heart and mind to pursue the rival

3) deception - our love had kept this rejection and intention hidden from us and possibly even actively lied to us to keep it from the light.

If this model is useful, it would explain why SC and ADS experience the anguish without the elements that so many of us fixate in, namely feelings and sex.

I am voting on InkHulk writing a book out of this one....

Yes, that summarises the entire, unbearable pain of the whole thing in three bullet points doesn't it.

D Day: September 2020Currently separated

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WalkinOnEggshelz ( Administrator #29447) posted at 8:10 PM on Thursday, September 21st, 2023

Wow, I’ve been on vacation and there is so much to chew on here!

Keep in mind that all we have to go by is your posts.

This is key for multiple reasons. I think it’s important to understand that people are going to be much more apt to discuss and post things that are troubling them vs the things that are going well. This is why many people come and then fade away. Do you really want to hear about us making dinner together, giving the dog a bath, having deep philosophical discussions about current affairs? Probably not. I’m not going to come here and talk about how uneventful a day was. When many members get to this point, they drift away.

On the flip side of the coin, that first year is filled with shock, unbearable pain, confusion, loss, panic, you name it. Not only do you not know if R is a possibility, but the idea of how to go about it is utterly overwhelming. I think that the first year is much too difficult to comprehend what reconciliation means and what both parties want out of it. Some say that the second year is the hardest because the shock has worn off. Reality sets in. This is the stage that real healing can begin.

The problem is though, healing is not linear. I think it’s common to have set backs and question the process. It’s common to feel some hopelessness amidst hopefulness. It’s very much like HO described, an evolving process.

People have said that the WS works on themselves, the BS works on the BS, and both work on the marriage, but sometimes the lines are too blurred to and it’s impossible to keep it so neat.

From what I have read, it seems IH has a decent head on himself and is the most important judge as to whether his WW has been putting in the work and is making enough progress for him.

It’s funny, on a personal note, my husband became shy of sharing progress and the good things that were happening because in those early days I did a lot of stumbling. He didn’t want to have to defend me and he also didn’t like feeling like a fool every time we struggled. My point is, I think it’s too early to write off whether or not Mrs.IH is R material.

R is so complicated and nuanced. Let’s help IH navigate those bumps and turns.

If you keep asking people to give you the benefit of the doubt, they will eventually start to doubt your benefit.

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emergent8 ( Guide #58189) posted at 8:18 PM on Thursday, September 21st, 2023

From what I have read, it seems IH has a decent head on himself and is the most important judge as to whether his WW has been putting in the work and is making enough progress for him.

I agree.

One question I have though Ink and maybe this is just my pet issue, but does this

We talk about it more now than we ever have. She is learning to tolerate more of it. She continues to tell me things that help me deepen my understanding of the A, things that paint her in such a bad light that she hates to even say.

mean that you guys are talking about things at home now as it comes up naturally? Has an end been put to the "questions are for therapy only" rule?

Me: BS. Him: WS.
D-Day: Feb 2017 (8 m PA with married COW).
Happily reconciled.

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MintChocChip ( member #83762) posted at 8:19 PM on Thursday, September 21st, 2023

This is key for multiple reasons. I think it’s important to understand that people are going to be much more apt to discuss and post things that are troubling them vs the things that are going well. This is why many people come and then fade away. Do you really want to hear about us making dinner together, giving the dog a bath, having deep philosophical discussions about current affairs? Probably not. I’m not going to come here and talk about how uneventful a day was. When many members get to this point, they drift away.

I was discussing this on another thread. When you post you are venting the worst.

Let's be honest - people like me had a WS who was really bad at R. I mean, I read the other day a "20 mistakes to make during R" thing from one website, and this guy nailed like 15 of them. Consistently. He was a really poor candidate for R and he found it really hard.

Then you read other posts saying; "my spouse did X,Y,Z" and you feel - frankly - along with the general shame of being a BS in the first place, added shame that

a) your WS is not trying as hard as everyone else's
b) you are tolerating it

The one thing I LOVE about this site is that the users here don't judge or shame. They can defend you and share and support you and make you feel less alone, but they don't usually shame you. They get it. They have ridden the rodeo horse.'

I read InkHulks list of what WW was doing for recovery and thought, wow! I wish I had got that! So, you know, we are all in various shades of it and it's a matter of perspective.

I think the way people don't judge me for maybe sticking around through BS is one of the reasons it's one of the only places I get any healing.

D Day: September 2020Currently separated

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 InkHulk (original poster member #80400) posted at 10:25 PM on Thursday, September 21st, 2023

fawning where he clearly felt his life almost depended on keeping her from her next explosion.

My wife has latched on to this word, fawning. The book she has found most useful, regarding complex PTSE, talks about fight, flight, freeze, and fawn as the potential threat responses. Fawn was new to me. But I must say, the book is convincing and it makes sense for her. When I’ve described her as naive in the past, this is probably a better description for what I meant. Subservient, and for no good reason. Deciding to undermine life’s most important loyalties for just the threat of an unimportant person being unhappy. I have a really really hard time relating, I can kind of understand it in her, and it’s super shitty and weak. This is where she is most embarrassed about herself.

I think to be honest that was why he broke NC so often. Albeit that again was only possible because his weaknesses and fears were bigger than his loyalty.

A sorry mess.

Exactly.

But maybe all affairs (except maybe for the true love ones where it's at the end of a broken marriage) are really a kind of artificial intelligence. The particular needs, flaws and weaknesses of the spouse are all served and intertwined with this horrible mess that has nothing to do with love and everything to do with a void being filled in the most inauthentic way possible.

Just want to let you know that this paragraph really landed on me. Well written, thanks for sharing.

People are more important than the relationships they are in.

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MintChocChip ( member #83762) posted at 11:58 PM on Thursday, September 21st, 2023

My wife has latched on to this word, fawning. The book she has found most useful, regarding complex PTSE, talks about fight, flight, freeze, and fawn as the potential threat responses. Fawn was new to me. But I must say, the book is convincing and it makes sense for her. When I’ve described her as naive in the past, this is probably a better description for what I meant. Subservient, and for no good reason. Deciding to undermine life’s most important loyalties for just the threat of an unimportant person being unhappy. I have a really really hard time relating, I can kind of understand it in her, and it’s super shitty and weak. This is where she is most embarrassed about herself.

I learned so much about tis concept so let me try and explain it.

People with complex PTSE or similar (my WS also has this from childhood abuse) will have a familiarity with trauma. It can feel like love to them (not like "OMG I am so infatuated") but more like a comforting kind of feeling. The dynamic of abuse generally follows one simple concept:

The thing you need for survival / meeting your needs is also the thing hurting you.

Which ironically isn't all that different from being cheated on, but the difference is that if your neural pathways are already formed then you can withstand trauma in a different way generally.

So people with complex PTSE or anything similar to that will show these patterns in their behavior. So for example my WS will respond with "fight" (defensiveness) if he feels "attacked". These are not healthy mechanisms, but it's how their younger self learned to survive a hostile world.

Fawning is the worst one probably. Because generally the mechanism to get there is basically "this person is so dangerous to me that if I don't keep them sweet / please them, then something bad is going to happen to me". They are the creator of trauma for you, but they are also the caregiver. So you crave on some level to please them (if you are pleasing them then they are not going to hurt you).

My WS's case is extreme. I don't make excuses for him, but we were not physically together and he got into this relationship with this AP who was genuinely abusive. And he's a grown man, but believe me a woman can scare you. The shit she did (and I have read the evidence and seen for myself) was really terrifying. Stuff that was relentless - public humiliation, threats she would kill herself, threats she would call me (his worst possible nightmare), threats she would tell people he hit her (he hadn't) as well as generally making him physically unsafe - breaking his possessions and not letting him physically "escape" as well as the psychological abuse (like telling him he was a terrible person and no one liked him except her). Based on what he's said, I also believe she sexually abused him (the sex at times certainly did not sound consensual to me). Like if the person has repeatedly said they don't want to have sex with you and you come to them drunk and start touching them, is that truly consensual?

Now in the mess of this, he is consumed with a lot of shame and feel he has brought it all on himself because he is a bad person, so he deflects to the fawn response. He doesn't actually WANT to be having an affair on a meaningful level, but he's basically conditioned now to see this person as the caregiver - the abuser but ALSO the person who comes back after every terrible thing and apologised and says she loves him and he is wonderful and she is only so crazy because she just loves him so much.

So really after DDay, when he still could not physically get away from this person and the threats continued and escalated - the fawn response in him was to pander to her. Even if it meant betraying me. Because if you can see your abuser and be their friend then they are going to be nice to you, right? If there is an active volcano under you, then you want to see it. I think this is the way it works and why breaking NC was what he kept doing. Fawning. Craving on some level the approval of this terrible person.

That is obviously the extreme, and my WS now struggles with PTSD very seriously from that which if course made R very, very hard. How can you deal with your BS shouting at you if you have just dealt with an insane person and have PTSD? So it got very complex in terms of where the line was on that.

But if your WW has complex PTSD then this sort of response will sometimes seem illogical to you. Approval is very important. More so from a shitty person (who is a potential threat) than from a safe person (like you, because you are not a threat). This can be how people operate when they are seeking safety in the world.

WS's often share so many of the characteristics like selfishness, entitlement, self loathing, compartmentalisation, rationalising, lack of empathy. But I think I am sympathetic because often it's their own trauma which made them that way. No that is not an excuse to pass the trauma to you - but it's an explanation for why they are like that. This is why I don't believe in terrible people. Just people who have learned to feel okay in ways that are unhelpful.

[This message edited by MintChocChip at 12:00 AM, Friday, September 22nd]

D Day: September 2020Currently separated

posts: 273   ·   registered: Aug. 20th, 2023   ·   location: UK
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MintChocChip ( member #83762) posted at 12:06 AM on Friday, September 22nd, 2023

I want to add to that because it sounds like I am minimising - my WS also had an affair because he wanted to feel good and get admiration / attention / affection when I wasn't around. This was a shitty decision and entirely his - but the point I am making above is more about how unhealthy dynamics can play out.

I don't believe my WS would have cheated if someone hadn't gone after him intensely / love bombes him / kept feeding him alcohol - I am not saying he is in any way blameless because he should have said NO, but I believe it was a crime of opportunity.

I also don't believe my WS would have continued the affair if she hadn't been abusive. I think he would have just said "this isn't what I want, I love MCC and want to be with her" and any healthy / normal person would have left it there.

I also don't believe my WS would have ever broken NC if the hadn't been harassing everyone and causing so much trauma, I think he did it because keeping her "friendly" felt safer than keeping her mad.

Absolutely none of that excuses his initial decisions, which I think were based entirely on all the usual things, but it's an illustration that once these things begin, broken people have many varied reasons for feeling addicted or tied to something that is inherently toxic for them.

D Day: September 2020Currently separated

posts: 273   ·   registered: Aug. 20th, 2023   ·   location: UK
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MintChocChip ( member #83762) posted at 12:23 AM on Friday, September 22nd, 2023

I am blathering on here, but so much keeps spring to my mind and this is kind of relevant to how "inauthentic" and similar to artificial intelligence can actually be.

Several years back I was dating a guy - he had pursued me a lot (i mean for like two years he had been asking me out) and I started dating him eventually because I figured if he was so keen maybe to try it and see. We had about 10 really great dates and progressed to great sex. Next thing I know he's inviting me to meet his friends. I liked him! I wasn't expecting this to happen, but I really did. So then he tells me he is going on vacation to Houston. I am cool with this - have a great trip and see you in two weeks! And on Facebook, I then notice something weird. This girl starts posting photos of them together in Houston and all the comments underneath the pictures are "you guys are so cute together". I am like...WTF?!!! So anyway, he comes home and calls me and I ask him to tell me what happened and he tells me that he met this girl about a week before we started dating, and had sex with her when she was on vacation, and then booked a trip to see her and decided he would just go ahead with it because the tickets were paid for! But he says he really likes me, and can we continue dating please. I cut him off dead that day. Because

a) What kind of shitty person does that
b) I didn't think he could have genuine respect or interest in me to behave like that.

So it was done. Over. Zip. Nada.

In contrast, this AP meets my WS and forms a crush on him. I am not giving a biased side of this story, because I read every message with my own eyes. But she flirts with him and does the pursuing and basically the most response she gets from him is a thumbs up emoji. I mean you would have to be clinically insane to read those responses from a guy and think he has the slightest interest in you, but in her head him even speaking to her is enough. So she pulls out all the stops for months - becomes his best friend, does his shopping, gives him gifts, flatters him, becomes a shoulder to cry on. And all the way through this gets basically nothing. Until eventually there is drunken sex, which she instigates and afterwards he tells her he has a partner and loves her and doesn't want it to happen again. So instead of taking this to mean what any healthy woman would take it as, she just repeats the process and keeps going and going. The AP even admitted to me he wouldn't kiss her. I mean, imagine believing you have found "true love" when the person is refusing to kiss you and keeps telling you they love someone else? But all the way through this what she is doing is filling the void: company, affection, attention, approval, adoration - while he gets to give absolutely nothing back.

So in this situation, both me and my WS have "succumbed" in a sense to someone who we didn't actually have interest in because they have basically just tried so hard for so long that we are flattered. But you see the difference between the way me and the AP reacted to things and I think that's what makes an A so much like artificial, inauthentic bull shit that is all about feeling better and means absolutely nothing.

Setting aside the awful details of her behavior, genuinely, you do not "love" anyone who is telling you that they love someone else. What you are doing there is desperately needing them to love YOU and so for the AP I doubt my WS meant anything beyond a void in her - this desperate broken person feeling like they need to win love. And of course him: insecure, hates himself, suddenly feeling like the king of the world because this person is so desperately infatuated.

It's kind of the pattern I read time and time again here where there is something in this dynamic which isn't healing wounds - it's positively deepening them. Authentic love makes you better. Stronger, healthier, braver and you come out of it feeling proud of you and like you have grown from it. The experience of A is almost the complete opposite of that. Indulging all your broken parts.

D Day: September 2020Currently separated

posts: 273   ·   registered: Aug. 20th, 2023   ·   location: UK
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WontBeFooledAgai ( member #72671) posted at 1:36 AM on Friday, September 22nd, 2023

So, what specifically has changed in your WW's efforts since DDay-2? (By DDay-2 I mean when you found out your WW had put your D in touch w OM) It was Emergent (and not someone like @HellFire) who pointed out that before, your WW would not allow questions except in MC sessions. What in your above list is your WW doing/changing now that she was not doing back in June.

I'm not asking to "make anyone wrong"--of course you don't have to answer here and I get improvement is nonlinear. I do think it is helpful to be specific on how things are going.

[This message edited by WontBeFooledAgai at 3:22 AM, Friday, September 22nd]

posts: 905   ·   registered: Jan. 26th, 2020
id 8808817
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 InkHulk (original poster member #80400) posted at 8:40 AM on Friday, September 22nd, 2023

It’s funny, on a personal note, my husband became shy of sharing progress and the good things that were happening because in those early days I did a lot of stumbling. He didn’t want to have to defend me and he also didn’t like feeling like a fool every time we struggled. My point is, I think it’s too early to write off whether or not Mrs.IH is R material.

That IS funny, certainly from where I’m sitting, and quite hope giving. Thanks, WOES.

R is so complicated and nuanced. Let’s help IH navigate those bumps and turns.

It really really is. I’d be lost without what I’ve learned here. Thanks every one.

People are more important than the relationships they are in.

posts: 2107   ·   registered: Jun. 28th, 2022
id 8808836
Topic is Sleeping.
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