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Losing the idea of yourself as the prize.

Topic is Sleeping.
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 MintChocChip (original poster member #83762) posted at 11:54 PM on Sunday, September 24th, 2023

Suppresse, that sounds rough :( did the MC ever come up with any feedback on why the emotional detachment?

D Day: September 2020Currently separated

posts: 273   ·   registered: Aug. 20th, 2023   ·   location: UK
id 8809239
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BoundaryBuilder ( member #78439) posted at 12:32 AM on Monday, September 25th, 2023

"Private messages work a little like email, but are limited to registered members of this forum with at least 51 posts. You may send a private message to a member of this site by clicking on the "Send A Private Message" link in the members Profile or by clicking on the two Smiley faces on the members upper right corner of their name."

Cut and pasted from FAQ section. Hope it works!

Married 34 years w/one adult daughter
ME:BW
HIM: 13 month texting EA with high school X who fished him on Facebook 43 years later
PA=15 days spread over final 3 months
D-Day=April 21, 2018
Reconciled

posts: 218   ·   registered: Mar. 4th, 2021
id 8809242
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 MintChocChip (original poster member #83762) posted at 12:35 AM on Monday, September 25th, 2023

Thanks BB. That function doesn't work for me duh

D Day: September 2020Currently separated

posts: 273   ·   registered: Aug. 20th, 2023   ·   location: UK
id 8809243
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The1stWife ( Guide #58832) posted at 1:04 AM on Monday, September 25th, 2023

Go to the post of the person who responded that you wish to private message.

click on the person icon in their post - to the right of their name (first icon).

When their name and profile appears select private message - first line on the right.

I hope this helps you.

[This message edited by The1stWife at 1:04 AM, Monday, September 25th]

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

posts: 13970   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
id 8809246
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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 3:09 AM on Monday, September 25th, 2023

I just woke up today feeling heavy about something. The loss of that feeling of being "the prize".

I realised my entire life I'd felt like that, and doubly so with my WS. He used to always say he was punching above his weight.

I realise how sad it feels not to feel that way. That there was (albeit a brief) time where he wanted something else.

I think that what you are feeling is normal but as a former ws, I don't think any of it had to do with you at all. I definitely thought I married up, and that he was better than me in so many ways. People liked him more, he came from a better family, he was older too which made it seem like he was more of an authority due to having more experience.

But, those things were never about him. Those thoughts were indicators of my relationship with myself. My lack of worth had always been there. I think sometimes when we get in the mud with the AP, it's more about being able to pretend to be someone else. Someone stronger, cooler, younger, sexier, whatever it is that we don't feel we are.

In all reality a healthy relationship is a yin and yang, not one person feeling the other is superior. There were tons of things I was the better authority on, better at, etc. We tend to prop ourselves up by believing the AP sees us the way we wish we could be seen. None of this really has anything to do with the BS.

And to me the BS is the prize to be won in reconciliation. This is honestly the only time the relationship should be out of balance. They were more faithful, they are the injured party. It's our job to figure out why we weren't faithful (and the correct answers to this is always internal to ourselves, not things to pin on another person), to provide the best environment in order to heal.

WS often do not understand love as more than how someone else makes them feel. But, in reality most of what we feel is really just a projection of what others think of us. 

Worst of all, despite being completely sure it was me he wanted after Dday, he definitely missed her after the A stopped.

He likely didn't miss her, he missed how she made him feel about himself. And that probably wasn’t even real- I find it more of a projection of what we want them )or anyone to make us feel. It's not people's jobs to make you feel better about yourself. That lack of self love is driving us to seek adoration even through u reliable means. I am pretty sure the AP showed me in most ways how little I mattered to him, yet I didn’t accept that as truth. I saw what I wanted to see.

I guess I just feel like I wasnt the prize, and because he never put 100% into R - I don't think I ever regained that feeling.

This is about your relationship with yourself. He has damaged your picture of yourself. But, being the prize doesn't need to be in someone else's eyes. Obviously, you were a loving, dedicated, faithful spouse, his lack of appreciation over that doesn't make that worth less. This is exactly what it was like "grieving" the AP to me. If he didn't see my value it no longer existed because I gave him that power. Yet, he was an incredibly crappy person.

I just feel like my sense of who I am is a bit lost now. I still feel stuck on why he acted after the A ended like he was addicted and coming off heroin.

Yes, it was for me too. Think about people who have gambling or shopping addiction. They aren't addicted to the act, they are addicted to the dopamine in their brain flooding. They escape their life and pain by artificially causing those highs. Affairs are often like that. I perceived it as love, but it was actually sick and nothing like what love should be or is. I didn't truly care about the AP or tearing his life and marriage up, I cared that he kept showing up so I could continue to avoid and escape.

Yes, I've read everywhere - affairs feel like addictions, but I don't really get it. It sounds to me like they just fell in love.

Affairs arne't love. Love isn't hurting everyone else in your life and helping someone else do the same. Love isn't hiding and sneaking and acting like you are 15. Love isn't even just feelings, it's actions and truly caring about someone else's well being the same as your own. A WS doesn't understand love, they understand whatever makes them feel good. Whatever outlet they can use to escape.

[This message edited by hikingout at 5:47 AM, Monday, September 25th]

7 years of hard work - WS and BS - Reconciled

posts: 7297   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8809258
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The1stWife ( Guide #58832) posted at 11:41 AM on Monday, September 25th, 2023

I am the prize. Even if it’s only in my mind - I restored my self esteem after his last affair.

It’s sad that we don’t value ourselves more and stop letting the opinions of others do deeply affect us.

Just recently my H & I had a discussion and he told me the example I used was irrelevant and made no sense. The example was of his behavior and how he finally changed something (after years of me asking, pleading, begging etc.) because HE decided to change. My point was people don’t change unless they want to.

I stopped to think — why does His opinion matter so much?

In fact it only matters if I let it matter.

I am the prize. Period.

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

posts: 13970   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
id 8809283
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 MintChocChip (original poster member #83762) posted at 5:57 PM on Monday, September 25th, 2023

StillConfused...

Go to the post of the person who responded that you wish to private message.

click on the person icon in their post - to the right of their name (first icon).

When their name and profile appears select private message - first line on the right.

I hope this helps you.

Thanks 1stWife but this seems to only allow me to message certain users, maybe a MOD can explain if there's more rules around this :)

D Day: September 2020Currently separated

posts: 273   ·   registered: Aug. 20th, 2023   ·   location: UK
id 8809326
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 MintChocChip (original poster member #83762) posted at 6:06 PM on Monday, September 25th, 2023

HikingOut, thanks for another of your really enlightening and helpful posts.

I think sometimes when we get in the mud with the AP, it's more about being able to pretend to be someone else. Someone stronger, cooler, younger, sexier, whatever it is that we don't feel we are.

Than you for explaining this, but it makes me sad that my good opinion and respect for him was very genuine - as he was. It's a shame he reduced my respect for him to get cheap admiration from someone who would admire a sandwich :) I guess that's the mindset though huh.

And to me the BS is the prize to be won in reconciliation.

This is a lovely thing to say, and something I had never considered before.

D Day: September 2020Currently separated

posts: 273   ·   registered: Aug. 20th, 2023   ·   location: UK
id 8809327
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crazyblindsided ( member #35215) posted at 6:22 PM on Monday, September 25th, 2023

You are and always will be the prize ;)

I know what you mean though and that part is really hard to get over eventually you will realize that doesn't matter anymore. I have lost so much respect for my xWS that I wouldn't want him to view me as anything as he is irrelevant. The way he debases himself, who he is as a person his opinion is flawed.

fBS/fWS(me):51 Mad-hattered after DD (2008)
XWS:53 Serial Cheater, Diagnosed NPD
DD(21) DS(18)
XWS cheated the entire M spanning 19 years
Discovered D-Days 2006,2008,2012, False R 2014
Divorcing

posts: 8834   ·   registered: Apr. 2nd, 2012   ·   location: California
id 8809329
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emergent8 ( Guide #58189) posted at 6:49 PM on Monday, September 25th, 2023

Thanks 1stWife but this seems to only allow me to message certain users, maybe a MOD can explain if there's more rules around this :)

Not a mod, just a guide but I know it is possible to turn off private messaging (and some users choose to do so), so it is possible that is what is going on for you.

--

I realise how sad it feels not to feel that way. That there was (albeit a brief) time where he wanted something else.

Diamonds are diamonds and they will sparkle whether someone prefers a ring made of rubies (or dog shit) or something else. Our intrinsic value or worth does not come from someone else. If you were a prize before your WS, you remain one now. His perception of you has nothing to do with that. He doesn’t get to define your value. What matters is what YOU think.

I get it, betrayal does a number to our self-esteem. The fact that part of you feels like maybe if you had been worth it to him, he might have gotten his shit together is only adding to that. But that’s a him problem – it really has nothing to do with you (just like his A had nothing to do with you). Obviously everyone loves a compliment, but those moments are fleeting and it’s much more useful to get that mood boost and good feelings you are looking for from within. The great thing about deriving your self-worth from internal rather than external factors is that that the feelings are much more stable over time.

Finally, do you really want to be someone’s prize/trophy? Like really? There are all sorts of connotations surrounding being a "trophy wife". It suggests that you are valued as a status symbol. I mean, sure it feels nice to be valued/recognized, but what are you really being valued for? The way you look? What you do or provide for that person? Is that what you really want? Do you think trophy wives ever get to feel "safe" in their relationships? Would you? There is always going to be someone younger, prettier, funnier, smarter, more successful, etc. Things happen. It’s why one of the classic vows is "in good times and in bad, for richer or poorer, for in sickness and in health".

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

posts: 2167   ·   registered: Apr. 7th, 2017
id 8809334
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 MintChocChip (original poster member #83762) posted at 8:35 PM on Monday, September 25th, 2023

Diamonds are diamonds and they will sparkle whether someone prefers a ring made of rubies (or dog shit) or something else. Our intrinsic value or worth does not come from someone else. If you were a prize before your WS, you remain one now. His perception of you has nothing to do with that. He doesn’t get to define your value. What matters is what YOU think.

I get it, betrayal does a number to our self-esteem. The fact that part of you feels like maybe if you had been worth it to him, he might have gotten his shit together is only adding to that. But that’s a him problem – it really has nothing to do with you (just like his A had nothing to do with you). Obviously everyone loves a compliment, but those moments are fleeting and it’s much more useful to get that mood boost and good feelings you are looking for from within. The great thing about deriving your self-worth from internal rather than external factors is that that the feelings are much more stable over time.

Finally, do you really want to be someone’s prize/trophy? Like really? There are all sorts of connotations surrounding being a "trophy wife". It suggests that you are valued as a status symbol. I mean, sure it feels nice to be valued/recognized, but what are you really being valued for? The way you look? What you do or provide for that person? Is that what you really want? Do you think trophy wives ever get to feel "safe" in their relationships? Would you? There is always going to be someone younger, prettier, funnier, smarter, more successful, etc. Things happen. It’s why one of the classic vows is "in good times and in bad, for richer or poorer, for in sickness and in health".


To be honest, I read this and realised it's not me being the prize that I feel a great sense of loss over - it's more the specialness of "us". Which I guess is the forever tainted and gone bit.

D Day: September 2020Currently separated

posts: 273   ·   registered: Aug. 20th, 2023   ·   location: UK
id 8809343
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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 11:56 PM on Monday, September 25th, 2023

Than you for explaining this, but it makes me sad that my good opinion and respect for him was very genuine - as he was. It's a shame he reduced my respect for him to get cheap admiration from someone who would admire a sandwich :) I guess that's the mindset though huh.

I suppose mindset is the right word. But that rings narrow for me.

It’s cumulative. It’s led there by lots of pieces- value system, relationship to self, programming through too and other experiences.

I think you almost have to look at cheating as a byproduct of your relationship with yourself. He didn’t respect himself. Someone who doesn’t respect himself doesn’t respect others. He didn’t respect anyone. And unfortunately, he likely never did unless they were making him feel good about himself.

I can see how someone with a great relationship with themselves or at least a history of it to say the validation was cheap. Value is in the eye of the beholder.

You seem to think of this as something that happened as a lapse. On the surface I think that’s true.

I would have called mine an abomination at one point in time in my recovery. But it wasn’t, it was a byproduct of my belief and value system. The flaws were always there and when a few things landed together on top those flaws became deep fissures.

I was married for decades and never even looked at another guy. I was a great wife. But I did not know myself, love or respect myself for things that were about me but rather what I did for others or how I was seen to other people (nice house, successful career, good marriage). I didn’t feel like any of it was anything but a byproduct of my hard work to have all those things. When I felt burned out, and still had to hustle for those things, I started to believe these things made me unhappy. in reality, it was up to me to tend my own garden all along, in much healthier ways.

So the part that feels narrow to me is that under those conditions, I was deeply depressed and extremely lonely. The validation I was getting was everything to me. There were deep imbalances to make that become true. No one deserved what I dished out for out to them. My husband loved and respected me very much, but I was unable to receive it. And that loops me back to what I started with- our relationship with ourselves dictatesour relationships with others. I couldn’t give or receive what I didn’t have for myself.

With all that said, nothing excuses what I did. All I am saying is this person you were married to was always imbalanced. This wasn’t a tipping over point.

[This message edited by hikingout at 11:57 PM, Monday, September 25th]

7 years of hard work - WS and BS - Reconciled

posts: 7297   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8809375
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WalkinOnEggshelz ( Administrator #29447) posted at 6:49 AM on Tuesday, September 26th, 2023

Not a mod, just a guide but I know it is possible to turn off private messaging (and some users choose to do so), so it is possible that is what is going on for you.

This is my thought as well.

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

posts: 16686   ·   registered: Aug. 27th, 2010   ·   location: Anywhere and everywhere
id 8809423
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 MintChocChip (original poster member #83762) posted at 4:23 PM on Tuesday, September 26th, 2023

HikingOut, the thing is, the narrative you have on your affair makes logical sense to me in an abstract way but because I can't imagine ever thinking or feeling that, it's hard for me to connect with.

I will spend time thinking on it and see if I can get my brain to engage that kind of feeling.

D Day: September 2020Currently separated

posts: 273   ·   registered: Aug. 20th, 2023   ·   location: UK
id 8809454
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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 2:35 AM on Wednesday, September 27th, 2023

Oh, no please don't worry about that. I am not asking you to empathize with me or your WS or any of that. In fact, I am not even sure if that would be a healthy thing to do at the point you are right now.

I wrote what I did because I get this feeling that you think the affair was the only issue at play. You seem to romanticize him slightly because you believed he was a wonderful person. And, I am not saying he didn't have wonderful attributes. I get that he did. But, what I am saying is the things that allowed him to cheat, the imbalance in him, was a composite of many different things that were always there.

I looked at my affair as a aberration to who I believed myself to be. And, since there had never been cheating or even temptation that seemed true to me. But, in all actuality there was a lot missing inside me that I just didn't know or examine. Poor coping mechanisms, I was drawn to chaos, overly selfless, the inferiority complex to him. I could go on and on. I self-traumatized myself by having the affair, so it would not be something I would repeat but without fixing the things that were wrong I would have acted out in other ways. Reality is, it doesn't matter who I married I probably would have come to the place I reached. I was trying to erase some of the projection you have on him based on who you are, if that makes sense. The saying is not everyone has a heart like yours.

When I discovered my h's affair, I blamed myself for a long time. I thought if I hadn't done it he wouldn't have. And, it's true it was the precipitating factor. But all cheaters have a precipitating factor. There are character flaws and all these complexities that have always been just beneath the surface. So, I basically set the boundary that he needed to go to therapy and trace the ones that belonged to him.

This is all to say, this wasn't a lapse in judgement on his part, it's just one of the many ways he chose to act out. The person that did that was always there. Again, no worries about if you digest it or even agree with it, I just want to try and explain it. There is no excuse for cheating, I certainly wish I could turn back time. However I was feeling should have been dealt with in a healthier way. So, I am not really asking you to empathize with it, it's healthy that you can not.

7 years of hard work - WS and BS - Reconciled

posts: 7297   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8809524
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 MintChocChip (original poster member #83762) posted at 3:04 AM on Wednesday, September 27th, 2023

Hey ho, I didn't think you meant empathise:) it's just empathy is my personal way of processing. Is that weird? Now you've said it I'm wondering if that's something I do that isn't what other people do!


I wrote what I did because I get this feeling that you think the affair was the only issue at play. You seem to romanticize him slightly because you believed he was a wonderful person. And, I am not saying he didn't have wonderful attributes. I get that he did. But, what I am saying is the things that allowed him to cheat, the imbalance in him, was a composite of many different things that were always there.


You're 100% right. One of my problems processing is not understanding. Because in my mind he's a good person. We were talking earlier tonight and he said quite calmly "I'm a completely different person to back then. I've learned a lot aboit my flaws and weaknesses. I'm much more self aware"

So he's obviously come to similar conclusions as you but hasn't shared them with me. I'm not sure why. I would like to know.

I self-traumatized myself by having the affair, so it would not be something I would repeat but without fixing the things that were wrong I would have acted out in other ways.

This. I doubt he'd cheat again for that same reason but I can see a lot I dysfunction.


I was trying to erase some of the projection you have on him based on who you are, if that makes sense. The saying is not everyone has a heart like yours.

I guess I do assume people are like me!

This is all to say, this wasn't a lapse in judgement on his part, it's just one of the many ways he chose to act out.

I do know that. I think he needs to be honest in getting to his whys and explaining them because I still I the dark.

Thanks so much HO for explaining this. It made me think about how my process for understanding people has a lot to do with imagining myself in their shoes, which I guess is empathy.

Its just the way my brain works

D Day: September 2020Currently separated

posts: 273   ·   registered: Aug. 20th, 2023   ·   location: UK
id 8809527
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HellIsNotHalfFull ( member #83534) posted at 4:21 AM on Wednesday, September 27th, 2023

Who cares what a cheater thinks? I’m not being crass, this is an honest question. Loyalty was never conditional. At no point in the relationship was there ever an agreement of "you aren’t happy so you can fuck other people"

It’s the wrong approach. Once they step out, they don’t have a vote. Once they make the decision to focus on someone else (especially without telling you) they have 0 credibility. Once the choice is made to step out it’s over. AP always wins, BP always loses.

But again. So what? Why do we care so much about what a cheater thinks? Try this. You know your self worth. You gave him way more than he deserved, and he threw it away because at the end of the day, he mattered more to him then you

Me mid 40s BH
Her 40s STBX WW
3 year EA 1 year PA.
DDAY 1 Feb 2022. DDAY 2 Jun 2022. DDAY 3/4/5/6/7 July 2024
Nothing but abuse and lies and abuse false R for three years. Divorcing and never looking back.

posts: 487   ·   registered: Jun. 26th, 2023   ·   location: U.S.
id 8809536
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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 5:12 AM on Wednesday, September 27th, 2023

Hey ho, I didn't think you meant empathise:) it's just empathy is my personal way of processing. Is that weird? Now you've said it I'm wondering if that's something I do that isn't what other people do!

No, not weird at all. I am like that too. I think it’s because on this board I get vulnerable when I post my perspective of the hows and whys it happened because there is always someone who stands up and says "so what" (interestingly it did just happen)

And in reality, they are right on many levels - so what? At the end of the day when you blow up the heart of the person you said vows to, does it matter why?

It can be dangerous to try and understand too much. You were in false reconciliation for a long time, to empathize more with him than what has happened to you is definitely not the mindset anyone would encourage.

At the same time, I am like you and am very analytical. I need to know what happened and why, even if it’s not going to change my course of action.

At the end of the day, the reason I will put it all out there is because I want the bs to not question what they could have done differently, what they lacked, or what feelings someone lacked having about them. I think the most important aspect when someone says so what is this: it never was about your worthiness or value.

Sharing my massively big shortcomings is only to illustrate that it’s about how someone feels about themselves.m that lead them on these destructive paths, and that it takes years of dedicated mindfulness to get better in the areas needed. But sometimes it comes across as asking for empathy, so that comment also wasn’t about you- it was just what I have learned by being on this board- that I have to be careful because often it can come across as "poor me" when that isn’t what I am saying at all. I have empathy of why my husband was in pain but that’s only because I caused that pain. What I didn’t cause was the cheating he used to cope.

7 years of hard work - WS and BS - Reconciled

posts: 7297   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8809540
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The1stWife ( Guide #58832) posted at 7:15 AM on Wednesday, September 27th, 2023

I think that is the part of R that you need to keep in mind (especially for cheating spouses who who truly want to R).

If they have made changes and are doing everything possible to make amends, you have to keep reminding yourself they are not the same person they were during their affair.

It’s a hard process but for R to really work, it’s a necessary step.

Now if it’s too little too late, then it doesn’t matter.

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

posts: 13970   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
id 8809546
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Edie ( member #26133) posted at 7:30 AM on Wednesday, September 27th, 2023

It’s natural to grieve. It sounds like grief at your loss. Loss of the sense of an ‘us’ against the troubles of the world, loss of trust, loss of belief. There’s been huge loss. Look up the dual process model of grief, I hope that may help you.

As for him ‘loving’ her, surely he only loved what he saw reflected in her eyes, all of the stuff she was projecting onto him so she could see a better version of herself mirrored in his eyes. All very transactional. None of this is love, but trying to seek self love in the wrong way. Yes, could be decried as shallow, vapid, all that stuff, but mainly it is misguided and ignorant. I do feel so much pain could be avoided if there was at least some basic psychology and real life stuff taught at school.

posts: 6646   ·   registered: Nov. 9th, 2009   ·   location: Europe
id 8809547
Topic is Sleeping.
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