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Newest Member: Daughterofthemosthigh

Reconciliation :
Don't think I can take the mental gymnastics anymore....leaning towards signing the papers for D :(

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 lessthinking (original poster member #83887) posted at 5:52 PM on Thursday, April 25th, 2024

Just a rant in the safe place of the SI community.

I don't know even where to begin. duh I feel like I have a yoyo brain. I take responsibility for a lot of it because, well, I AM an overthinker. However, he is giving me mixed messages constantly and it feels too much. I am starting to feel the physical toll from it as well.

One minute he is grateful and appreciative that I'm still "in it". Admittedly I'm just riding the fence and can't make myself go either direction still. The next moment he is not sure how much longer he can give his 100% effort for so little in return. That is a HUGE red flag right?! I already feel awful riding the fence, in limbo, in relationship purgatory. BUT him saying one thing/love bombing and then literally in the same sentence saying he feels so down with getting nothing in return, then next breath saying "But I know you are letting me stay in the house, spending time with me, trying MC, etc. so I am not saying that is nothing". He's calling CSATs frantically right now to get better support and to accommodate my recent need but I'm just not sure I'm going to make it honestly. I feel like I'm dying a little inside. I was so sure yesterday on a walk that it was over I came home and read a poem about letting go and was so overcome with grief I just sobbed. crying I don't know where I thought I would be 9 months post-DD but this is NOT it. I think my brain has gotten addicted to the pain of thinking about it and being in limbo.

Just when I settle I feel the strong urge to reread my thoughts or reread the texts he sent to her. AGONIZING!
Additional recent red flags...
1. Thinks 10% of me is asking him to do a poly or not be intimate is from a place of me wanting to punish him
2. Every insight he has had took SO MUCH EFFORT and was me that initiated it (reminder for those that don't know my story - he had ADHD, low executive functioning, and low emotional intelligence). I don't think he has the capability of even understanding what work needs to be done. But am I giving him a pass with this thinking? How much of this is codependence, over and under-functioning?
3. When talking about doing a formal disclosure and poly he has 2x said that maybe he should ask me to do one. Seriously, wtf. I'm chalking that up to major emotional maturity but still a mind fuck for me when I'm on this rollercoaster.

I know I still have love for him but maybe I AM holding back the romantic love out of punishment. Maybe he is right?! If that's the case then why does it feel so AWFUL to not be able to turn to him with that love? I would think there would be a small part of me that would feel good to "get him back" or have control. I don't feel ANY of that, just sadness.

If there wasn't so much good in him and our relationship I would think this would be easier but maybe it wouldn't.

Am I romanticizing our relationship out of fear? Am I gaslighting myself? Is he manipulating me? Am I just obsessed about these indiscretions and about to throw away an otherwise very good relationship?

People here, in books, and podcasts, encourage the betrayed to work on the self, and self-concept, build a sense of self, return to who they were, focus on what they want, etc. I'm completely blocked in this area. I've done a lot of work knowing WHY we found refuge and safety in our relationship when we did but I think since we have been together for so long when I was just 16 yo, I never got the chance to fully develop my sense of self independently so maybe the fear and confusion is because returning to who I was is a 16-year-old? I don't know how to answer WHAT I WANT.

As always I welcome honest feedback, no censoring is needed.

posts: 127   ·   registered: Sep. 19th, 2023   ·   location: West Coast
id 8834713
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SacredSoul33 ( member #83038) posted at 10:15 PM on Thursday, April 25th, 2024

I think you need to get some space from him for a while so that you can have some peace and be able to think. Can you do that? (I'm sorry, I can't remember if you have children to consider.)

Remove the "I want you to like me" sticker from your forehead and place it on the mirror, where it belongs. ~ Susan Jeffers

Your nervous system will always choose a familiar hell over an unfamiliar heaven.

posts: 1335   ·   registered: Mar. 10th, 2023
id 8834745
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TheEnd ( member #72213) posted at 12:52 PM on Friday, April 26th, 2024

He hurt you very very deeply. As a response, you built a wall and retreated behind it.

That's exactly what one does. It is smart to protect our hearts after this betrayal. Your emotional self protection is normal. In other words, you aren't punishing him.

Yeah, it also sucks. Being behind the wall is lonely.

But his job is to stand on the other side and rebuild enough trust so that you - inch by inch - consider taking down the wall. It is a long and slow process. There is also no guarantee for either of you that it will work. He needs to be patient.

Your job is to work on you. As you sit on that side of the wall, alone and confused, your job is build your own strength. You've been with him since you were practically a child. You don't know who you are without him. Find out. You're not alone here either.

Many BSs have written that their identity was "wife" and without that, they have no clue who they are or what they want. That's the self work for you. Are you in IC? How about reading books about personal growth and health? Never mind the marriage stuff. Work on YOU. What your interests are, what you care about, what you'd like your future self to be doing.

I know you don't know right now. But you won't ever know if you don't start focusing on asking yourself these questions and finding resources that help you develop.

The blank white page is an intimidating thing. Especially when we thought our futures were clearly mapped out. But it can also be an exciting thing. You can write whatever story you want now. The marriage is secondary to your personal growth right now. R or D, you can't make either work until you are more of a whole person.

[This message edited by TheEnd at 12:57 PM, Friday, April 26th]

posts: 623   ·   registered: Dec. 3rd, 2019
id 8834785
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HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 1:05 PM on Friday, April 26th, 2024

why does it feel so AWFUL to not be able to turn to him with that love?

Because you know he isn't remorseful. He's regretful. Sorry he was caught. Very sorry he has consequences. But he's not remorseful. He says he's empathetic, then says something that totally tells you he's not.

It is not punishment to want the truth. It is not your fault that you can't trust him. This is all on him.

Its ok to be done. I know you will be told it takes awhile. You will be told it took their ws a few years to reach remorse, and pull his head out of his ass. But there is a lot of damage done to the BS while she sits around waiting on their ws to stop inflicting pain on them.

You don't have to put yourself through this.

he is not sure how much longer he can give his 100% effort for so little in return.

This tells you all you need to know. His "work" is contingent upon your behavior. That also means his fidelity is contingent upon your behavior. Why is it so hard for him to give you 100%? If he was in this for the right reasons, it wouldn't be so hard.

It's ok to save yourself.

[This message edited by HellFire at 1:06 PM, Friday, April 26th]

Our field of dreams,engulfed in fire..and I'll still see it,till the day I die..

posts: 6775   ·   registered: Jun. 20th, 2017   ·   location: The Midwest
id 8834786
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 lessthinking (original poster member #83887) posted at 2:20 PM on Friday, April 26th, 2024

SacredSoul33 - I plan on going somewhere alone for a week soon to think without disruptions from him and our 16 yo. WH spent 6 weeks away but unfortunately, our son went through a very difficult situation for 4 weeks so didn't get the opportunity I needed.

HellFire - Yes, you are correct. I think he's trying so hard to be remorseful but doesn't seem to grasp what that takes or looks like. Then he says things that show he isn't getting it or it's just taking so long. I think I am feeling the damage this is having on me waiting as you mentioned. I've always been able to sustain a level of over-functioning but with this, it's just not working.

TheEnd - You are right. I'm in IC but I think my therapist isn't helping as much as I would like with this. The therapist was great for work before DD but now not so much. I need to find a focus on self-discovery.

posts: 127   ·   registered: Sep. 19th, 2023   ·   location: West Coast
id 8834810
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TheEnd ( member #72213) posted at 4:53 PM on Friday, April 26th, 2024

I switched therapists after taking a break for a while.

My first one was great at helping me through the initial trauma (really just being super supportive and kind) and helping me identify some personal growth areas. But, she was less skilled at helping me grow. Not her fault, just her style didn't work for me.

My second therapist was allllll about personal growth. I don't know if it matters but she was/is a trauma therapist as well. So she understood all my feels. She had so many tools to help me dig deep into my self, who I am, who I want to be, what holds me back, etc. I mean so many tools. It's been quite amazing actually.

Try finding someone new. Perhaps one trained in trauma.

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 lessthinking (original poster member #83887) posted at 5:00 PM on Friday, April 26th, 2024

TheEnd - I think that is for sure what I'm ready to focus on now. I'm looking for trauma therapists now, sent a few emails. Were there particular tools you found useful? Journal prompts/books? Anything?

posts: 127   ·   registered: Sep. 19th, 2023   ·   location: West Coast
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standinghere ( member #34689) posted at 5:08 PM on Friday, April 26th, 2024

I don't know where I thought I would be 9 months post-DD but this is NOT it.

None of us did, I am sure, but at nine months post DD, most of us are just getting by, or have filed for divorce.

I'm not sure I have anything really useful to add, it sounds like you really understand your situation, from what you write, it also sounds like you're WS just doesn't like the reality of what their infidelity has created.

He still has his head up his ass.

FWIW, My FWS was always afraid I was going to leave, after DD, there was so much lying, so much gaslighting, massive trickle truth, it was agonizing. But the problem was her very behavior was what was causing us to have the severity of problems that we were having in MC, after MC, and leading up to MC. She made things FAR worse by all that. It took over six months in counseling before she pulled her head out of her ass and stopped doing this stuff. She still wasn't very good at it, but she finally started doing what she should have done in the first place.

FBH - Me - Betrayal in late 30's (now much older)
FWS - Her - Affair in late 30's (now much older )
4 Children
Her - Love of my life...still is.
Reconciled BUT!

posts: 1655   ·   registered: Jan. 31st, 2012   ·   location: USA
id 8834900
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 5:56 PM on Friday, April 26th, 2024

One of the reasons I chose R was that my W decided to change without any thought of getting any return from me. She knew she was the main beneficiary of changing from cheater to good partner. The fact that your H wants some return from you worries me - if that's his motivation, when R get tough, he's too likely to blame you for his difficulty and look to you to change. But if it's his difficulty the solution lies within him. If he blames you for 'making' him do the work, he's too likely to fake it and not do what's necessary - which just sets you up for finding out it's false R after putting in a lot of time in the effort.

More than that (as if that isn't enough), I'm concerned that R seems to require you to do mental gymnastics.

I wanted R. I often checked in with myself to see if it was what I continued to want, but the answer was almost always 'yes', except for some very brief periods.

I actually chose R because I wanted it AND because I thought my W was a great candidate for R. I kept checking within myself on that, too, and my answer was almost always that she continued to be a great candidate.

IOW, I never thought I did any mental gymnastics.

I'm not saying that you can't R. I'm just urging you to be very sure of what you want. If you need to do mental gymnastics, maybe it's your gut telling you your H is not (yet) a good candidate for R.

R takes a lot of work. My reco is: don't commit to R until you're sure you want it and until you're as sure as you can be that your WS will do the necessary work.

[This message edited by SI Staff at 6:00 PM, Friday, April 26th]

fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.

posts: 30044   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8834904
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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 9:15 PM on Friday, April 26th, 2024

Given the profound nature of your husbands overall issues, I think this decision is likely the best one. There are things he can control and then there are others that you realize he will always have or will require long term professional intervention.

Reading your posts, I simply do not believe you and he were equally yoked to begin with and add the cheating and possible fetish or sexual
Addiction, it seems like a big mountain to climb. I simply do not believe he has the ability to enhance your life in the way that you deserve.

This goes even beyond being wayward. I am sorry it’s coming to this but I believe that in time you will find that life is lighter if you don’t have to carry your partner. I read your posts as you have been doing that to some degree your entire marriage.

I also think it’s hard because there are aspects of it that he legitimately struggles against and has issues gaining control over. I know because you see that, it makes this decision harder. But we only get one life, I can clearly see what this is not the ideal way to spend it. Peace and courage to you.

7 years of hard work - WS and BS - Reconciled

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id 8834926
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ChamomileTea ( Moderator #53574) posted at 9:51 PM on Friday, April 26th, 2024

Were there particular tools you found useful? Journal prompts/books? Anything?

Probably this most helpful book I read was The Journey from Abandonment to Healing by Susan Anderson. It's geared toward people who have split up, but weirdly, this helped me in R more than any other resource because it focused me on self recovery.

There's this one little exercise in it called "Big/Little", which sounds super silly but really made me confront so much of where the hurt was coming from. In a nutshell, you imagine yourself as a little child, about four years old or so, and you listen and respond in a nurturing way to whatever that child has to say. I know it sounds dumb, but once my inner "Little" got going, man.. did she have a lot on her mind. shocked

I was able to make connections between previous traumas and the current infidelity, how I had abdicated autonomy in a lot of ways, how I was failing to respond to myself emotionally, the role my innate need to bond had played in it all. You know, as humans, we're born helpless. We need to bond for survival. Somehow, I was still in that primal headspace of "need", even though I'm an adult who is fully capable of taking care of herself. I don't think we realize that we take that with us into adulthood and then transfer it from our parent to our mate. I had thought myself a capable, independent woman, but my fWH's adultery broke me. "Shattered" is the word the author uses, and it's completely apt.

Anyway, she also goes into quite a good explanation of the way the brain and body are affected by the trauma. Another good title for that would the The Body Keeps Score by Bessel van der Kolk. The big takeaway for me on that title was that it's not our fault . Trauma affects our brains in a predictable way, and we can't just talk ourselves out of it, no matter how good our logic usually serves us. The connection between the "lizard brain" and our executive functioning is kind of wobbly. There are some therapies can help. Personally, I got pretty good results with EMDR.

[This message edited by SI Staff at 9:55 PM, Friday, April 26th]

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

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 lessthinking (original poster member #83887) posted at 6:45 PM on Saturday, April 27th, 2024

Thank you ChamomileTea, just downloaded The Journey from Abandonment to Healing. I've done so much work understanding my FOO and how we got here but struggling with moving forward to "healing" and redefining the new me and what I want. I never developed a sense of self prior to our relationship because of only being 16 so that is what I want to focus on now. Just feels like I can't imagine it..feel lost. I don't even know what that means. I'm going to read this and do some values work.

HikingOut, as always your words ring so true for me. I appreciate the honesty so much smile

Sissoon - spot on about the mental gymnastic....actually my brain has leaned toward it not working out and imagining that life. When I think about leaning toward reconciliation it's more because I'm too sad to leave....not because I want to stay. I just WANT to WANT to R because I don't want to D. Does that make sense??

standinghere - the lack of executive functioning he struggles with would require me to stay on him about the work...I was able to do that prior to DD but after, I just don't think I have it in me. I have to guide and direct him what to focus and work on in R. He is eager and frantic to do the work but it how is that fair when I'm hurting.

thank you all

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Mindjob ( member #54650) posted at 8:08 PM on Sunday, April 28th, 2024

I don't know how to answer WHAT I WANT.

How about:

- a husband who understands and acknowledges he broke his marriage vows;
- a husband who understands his own flaws and limitations, their source, and their effects on his life and yours;
- a husband who earnestly desires to work within his own flaws and limitations to achieve an environment of safe recovery, growth, and healing;
- a husband who will listen to understand, rather than love-bombing and asking "why isn't THIS good enough for you?";
- a husband who will try to improve himself for the sake of being better, then offering that better self to you in good faith, rather than characterizing your interactions as a transaction under which he puts in X effort and gets Y result, including sexual intimacy, in return;
- a competent man who will take ownership and leadership of these painful tasks leaving you with enough space to safely do the work you need to do.

Sound like a good start?

Present him with the list, say "This is what I want," and then let him put in the work. With ADHD it's going to take an enormous amount of time and effort that is entirely unfamiliar to him, so you decide if a continued relationship with him is worth the time and effort it's going to take him, if he even starts those wheels rolling at all.

he had ADHD, low executive functioning, and low emotional intelligence

Am I romanticizing our relationship out of fear? Am I gaslighting myself? Is he manipulating me?

How much were you aware of his conditions before getting into the marriage? If you were, you already know he's a "bad bet" and rolled the dice, anyway. This isn't an accusation or conviction, it should just inform you that there's a lot less "sunk cost" into the relationship than it feels like.

If you were NOT aware, then you're not gaslighting yourself at all. You're just adjusting to a situation which is chaotic, unpredictable, and unfamiliar, with perhaps some guilt that you got into it and don't want to break it out of hand, particularly because you feel love for him still. Remember that he's the one who broke it, and the emotion of love should inform your decisions, not drive them. He's the one who killed your obligations, and they are well and truly gone. It is entirely up to you to decide whether or not to continue forward with him or without him, and whichever decision you make will be the morally correct one.

Am I just obsessed about these indiscretions and about to throw away an otherwise very good relationship

Two things.

1) You're not "obsessed" about these "indiscretions." You are attempting to process the trauma of adultery. Your brain is going to try to shy away from processing that this has happened to you, while at the same time, contradictorily (Yes I'm making that word up XD), your brain knows that you need to integrate all of this into your internal story. This isn't obsession. This is a the perfectly normal, natural, and truly painful way that we all integrate trauma. The main thing to focus on when you are processing and integrating is that the events aren't happening to you right now. The texts they exchanged aren't particularly substantive, they're the mutterings of a limerance-laden fantasy. Take small bites, give every emotion its time on the stage, and understand you're in it for the long haul. All this pain is going to change you, yes, and there's nothing you can do about it. Accept this (no need to approve of it, it's crappy and will remain crappy for all time), and be fair to yourself as you grow into a new and different person.

2) What relationship? Good, bad, or otherwise, that relationship is dead and gone, and he killed it. People want to "get back to where we were before" and pine for the innocence and untrammeled terrain. You never will. Grieve what you have lost, for it is well and truly lost and will never return. We say "reconciliation" but what we are really doing is building a new relationship altogether. It will never be the same as the old, dead relationship, because it cannot be. But what you can do is build in authenticity, effort, new knowledge, and compassion. Primarily for yourself. And if he cannot or will not build in these things along side you, then you may take or leave his presence in your life as you see fit.

These are the sorts of things that worked for me in the aftermath. As with all things SI, take what is valuable for you and leave the rest. All the best in your journey.

- Mindjob

Those in Reconciliation are not simply trying to survive infidelity, they're also trying to overcome it.

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id 8835077
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 lessthinking (original poster member #83887) posted at 7:20 PM on Monday, April 29th, 2024

Thank you for the validation Mindjob - all good reminders for sure. I didn't know about the ADHD/Low exec, I was 16 yo and we were high school sweethearts...we knew nothing really. I do feel guilty seeing the effort he is putting in now. I realized logically I don't need to but yet here I am.

posts: 127   ·   registered: Sep. 19th, 2023   ·   location: West Coast
id 8835156
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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 7:50 PM on Monday, April 29th, 2024

I was 16 yo and we were high school sweethearts...we knew nothing really. I do feel guilty seeing the effort he is putting in now.

I almost asked if that was the case.

My first marriage many eons ago was to my high school sweetheart. I feel like there are benefits and possible pitfalls in that. Our frontal lobe doesn’t even fully develop until we are 25, and for us we established a lot of patterns and ways of being before we knew how to conduct ourselves or a relationship.

It was a similiar situation in we just we not equally yoked. And I don’t mean that as a way of saying I was better than him, I don’t feel that way at all. Moreso, we came into the marriage unaligned in our sensibilities, compatibility, expectations, etc.

I know lots of couples who were able to evolve their relationship as they aged. And if you think about it, all couples, high school sweethearts or not have to learn and change together.

The guilt of leaving that relationship took me to some hard lessons but ones that I am better for. We ended up having an amicable divorce and we would run into each other over the years and chat. Life can and will move on if you want to go. That first year was rough for both of us, and he really had a hard time letting go. But the commitment in my heart to the life I wanted to lead included that list above. We would never have gotten there. We remarried at a similiar time and his youngest and my youngest were born one day apart.

Having children with someone with low executive function would be a hardship. My experience with that (my first husband qualifies as well) would have been him being very frustrated every step of the way. It would have been managing him more than the kid.

It’s so hard because in many ways when you marry the person you dated in highschool, it’s harder to imagine what ending the relationship and moving on looks like. Suddenly he was saying and doing things he never did before, but in the end that wasn’t who he was and the reverting was inevitable.

7 years of hard work - WS and BS - Reconciled

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 lessthinking (original poster member #83887) posted at 6:35 PM on Tuesday, April 30th, 2024

Hikingout - Spot on, thank you. Being with someone from 16-50 yo is a LONG time, through a LOT of developmental stages, the whole frontal lobe thing.
I do feel we are on different levels, not one better than the other, just different.

But the commitment in my heart to the life I wanted to lead included that list above.

Do you mean Mindjobs list? What was the life you wanted to lead for yourself?

posts: 127   ·   registered: Sep. 19th, 2023   ·   location: West Coast
id 8835245
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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 6:58 PM on Tuesday, April 30th, 2024

Yes. I was just saying that my first husband really didn’t meet the qualities a husband should including many things from mind jobs list.

7 years of hard work - WS and BS - Reconciled

posts: 7301   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8835250
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 lessthinking (original poster member #83887) posted at 10:10 PM on Tuesday, April 30th, 2024

Hiking out - got it :)

posts: 127   ·   registered: Sep. 19th, 2023   ·   location: West Coast
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 lessthinking (original poster member #83887) posted at 10:14 PM on Monday, June 10th, 2024

Updating all my threads...Polygraph completed today, results show truthful, passed all 4 questions. My brain is processing this information.

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HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 1:23 PM on Tuesday, June 11th, 2024

It's good that he passed.

Just remember, you don't owe him reconciliation. He has already done the damage. It's ok..and healthy..to decide you're done.

Our field of dreams,engulfed in fire..and I'll still see it,till the day I die..

posts: 6775   ·   registered: Jun. 20th, 2017   ·   location: The Midwest
id 8839225
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