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The danger of seeking why.

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blakesteele posted 7/2/2013 06:41 AM

Okay, its been a bit since I started a post. Thank you to SI members who have private messaged me to just check in.

I am a detailed oriented person. Like many of us I sought why the A happened. While it is basically a fruitless venture it has exposed something within me that I was not fully aware of.

The following has come to light through much work and introspection.

Pre-A (about 3 years ago the downturn started) our marriage was in trouble...neither of us were aware of it and had no idea the dangers that lie ahead. We both felt some level of detachment from one another...both felt that our attachment would naturally come back...and that what we were experiencing was just not a big deal....we have kids, she runs a small business, I have a 50 hour a week career...what we felt was we looked to our friends around us, we had it better then most. Believe me...that is all stated NOW with the luxury of hindsight...neither of us were anywhere close to that enlightened during that time.

Unfortunately this led us both to do some very unintentional things that hurt our marriage. I engaged my wife in unhealthy ways. Not abuse but I fixated on non-personal, non-relationship based conversations and engagements. I would come home from work tired and with not much left over for our marriage. We made some time for date nights, but we now see they were just not fulfilling...nothing ever hostile...just not depositing love units in each others accounts. My wifes reaction to this was to pull back and reduce engagement and eventually have her A.

Add to this our FOO fear of abandonment due to a father who disappeared immediately following their divorce and her own issues which add to the desire to hold back...and it comes as no surprise we are having serious issues. Ahhhh the wisdom that time brings....

Now to the danger of seeking why....

For the past 6 weeks I, through my journey to seek compassion for my wifes position within our marriage that set her up to be vulnerable to an A, have come to realize that I was not having love deposits in my account either. Up until this revelation I believe I was lying to myself as to what I had in our marriage pre-A...specifically what I was doing for and getting from our marriage. Like my wifes actions were born out of ignorance...neither my wife or I intentionally, initially started out with the intention to hurt each other or our marriage. Our feeling at the time was generally good. Now I believe I was holding back from intimacy in a similar way that my wife was...only for different reasons.

About this time is when I noticed the tears stopping over the loss of the marriage I had. I have not posted on here during this time as I have wanted to digest this thought...have discussed it in IC and with my appears to be real. Reality is a fleeting state during this process though...isn't it?

Most recently I have noticed my wife and I not really 100% in our relationship. She has remorse and I love my family...but our priority is not always us. In addition I have come to accept that my wifes love bank account has had more recent deposits made in it then mine has. Yes, I know they were made by a married man during an illicit affair...but deposits were made. A relationship that was on some levels satisfying was had by my wife.

I cant remember when my relationship with my wife was really satisfying. I can remember when it was more calm and peaceful...but not really satisfying.

I can now understand, at least in part, why my wife got into an A and why it has been hard for her to completely close the door on at least the love deposits she got from it (if not the OM himself).

We are not in a good spot. We are both willing to be patient. We are both curious on what we are to do to reconnect and save our marriage and family.

Long post...hoping to set the stage to see if other SI members experienced this. It is concerning as this feeling on both of our parts will not lead to a healthy marriage.

Please refrain from posting anything about what my wife is or is not doing...that is for her to figure out and to talk about on here if she chooses. I am really just interested in thoughts regarding my feelings...see if other BS have ever arrived at a spot like I just described.

SUMMARY; The danger in seeking why is that the BS will arrive at the same spot the WS that has you questioning just what is really at risk and then coming to the conclusion that there is something out there worth risking your marriage and family for at all endangers the marriage and family unit. I think it is beneficial for at least one of the spouses to have a genuine sense of risk with regards to what the loss of the marriage is.

God be with us all.

[This message edited by blakesteele at 7:04 AM, July 2nd (Tuesday)]

JustWow posted 7/2/2013 07:05 AM

IMO, this is the flaw in the counseling approach that says something was wrong with the marraige - that is why the A happened.

The trouble is, 2 people were in the same "flawed" M, yet usually we see here that only 1 chose to cheat as a "coping" mechanism.

So all this attention gets shifted to the pre-A M, where, IMO, it doesn't neccessarily belong.

Sure, the M could always use work, but it does not address the WS faulty coping mechanism.

Like you noted, your love bank was not so hot either. So why not cheat?

Addressing only this type of stuff puts the M on the hamster wheel of trying to manage the M so the WS never encounters something that will "force" them to pull out their faulty coping mechanism.

The true path to the WHY,IMO, is thru IC for the WS, and I mean IC with a therapist who does not subscribe to the above approach. Many do not.

[This message edited by JustWow at 7:06 AM, July 2nd (Tuesday)]

karmahappens posted 7/2/2013 08:11 AM

Finding the true why's are difficult and IMO a solitary process.

It inviolves digging into your childhood, your family history and for many lots and lots of pain.

Once the whys are brought about and one is able to see clearly the marriage can be tackled. The issues within a marriage are separate and need to be dealt with by a couple coming from a healthier place.

This is why I believe after an A you heal yourself first. You cannot fix what is broken when being broken yourself.

Lastly The danger of seeking why is only to not seek it.

In not finding the truth you will never live an authentic honest life.

The fear isn't in the truth, it's living the life that the freedom of that truth provides you that really frightens people.


crazyblindsided posted 7/2/2013 08:44 AM

The true path to the WHY,IMO, is thru IC for the WS, and I mean IC with a therapist who does not subscribe to the above approach. Many do not.

Finding the true why's are difficult and IMO a solitary process.

Oh absolutely I agree with both of these statements. The WHY usually is a bad coping mechanism.

The WHY of an A is very individual I feel. My WHY (I am a madhatter) is different from my WH's WHY, but they both share the same element: Bad coping skills on both our parts and each of us has different FOO issues that contributed to this bad coping skill.

PinkJeepLady posted 7/2/2013 08:55 AM

Just a little thought, our MC has stated it this way to my WH, "What lie did you tell yourself to allow you to make the choice to cheat?".
We don't really use "why" anymore. I don't that any of us will ever really "understand" this mess, but I will say the above question has helped us tremendously.
I wish you both the best in your recovery!
Take care,

karmahappens posted 7/2/2013 09:03 AM

"What lie did you tell yourself to allow you to make the choice to cheat?".

The lies someone tells themselves enable them to keep their head in the sand.

The whys are the reason you put your head there to begin with.

The whys are the source. Dig up the hole and get to the source.

wert posted 7/2/2013 09:17 AM

Lastly The danger of seeking why is only to not seek it.

Word. It's another thing entirely if one doesn't want to know and continue to repeat the patterns.

Blakesteele - danger or not, you seem to be searching. I don't agree with searching through the M to find it, but I am glad you are searching yourself. In the end I think that we all need to define these messes ourselves and for ourselves.

Your post comes across as you trying to figure out why your W had an A. IMO, that is a fools game. She needs to figure that our and share it with you. IMO, a BS jobs is to figure out there own why. Why the hell do/did I decide to stay with a person who cheated. For me the answer is my W is figuring out her why and how and sharing them with me and in turn helping me trust her again.

If there was something wrong with our M (which my W and I agree there wasn't - well anymore than life) it has nothing to do with the A. That's on her.

take care....

DixieD posted 7/2/2013 09:34 AM

Have you read about the 4 stages of marriage? Most relationships experience Romance (infatuation or honeymoon stage), Disillusionment (you start to see your partner differently), Misery (BTDT), and Awakening (coming out the other side if possible with a deeper understanding that you aren't perfect and neither is your partner).

It's good that you can see your role in your marriage. Of course BS can contribute to problems in a marriage. I sure came into it with my own baggage and it was good for me to explore all of those things. I still do. But tying that into a why my husband had affair is placing blame on the M, and that I will not agree with and neither does my husband (now). I did that in the beginning. Thankfully I found SI and pushed that WHY back into my husband's lap where it belonged. If I hadn't done that, we would not have reached the level we are at now.

I remember I made a list of all the ways he 'wronged' me, all my unmet needs, all my grievances of how I felt in my marriage and what was lacking on his part and I handed it over to him. He read it and said 'wow, you had more reasons to cheat than I did'. Yep, sure did -- but I didn't. I had time, motive and opportunity - but still didn't. I didn't look him in the eyes and lie to him everyday like he did to me. That I couldn't do. Actually I got right to the edge on the slope and looked down into the pit and said - nope, this is wrong. I can't do it. I won't do it.

That was one aha moment for him to realize we were BOTH in an unfulfilling marriage but only one of us cheated. Only one of us was THAT selfish and entitled......hmmmm.....why was that? The why for that went much deeper and it was all in him and for him to figure out. It was at that moment he realized, he really had been a terrible husband for many years. Quite a dose of reality that went against what he had believed about himself and what other people, including his AP partner, had kept telling him. He had not been a 'great guy' who deserved to have an affair as some sort of reward for good behavior.

Once he started digging into HIS whys, he saw his affair and himself for what it really was in the harsh light of day. If my husband thinks of it - including as you put it... love deposits from the AP (what an elegant way to explain total bullshit BTW) - he gags and heaves. The door is firmly clamped shut.

Lastly The danger of seeking why is only to not seek it.

Very true.

[This message edited by DixieDevastated at 4:01 PM, July 2nd (Tuesday)]

Ascendant posted 7/2/2013 09:38 AM

I agree with what many of the people above have said regarding the state of the marriage being fairly unimportant as to explain 'why' she had an affair. The state of the marriage was not the reason she had an the most, it gave her a reason to do something she had, on some level, already felt compelled to do. It's like those idiots who loot stores and flip cars over when their local sports team wins a championship....nobody says that the event CAUSED them to act like an idiot, it just gave them conditions under which they could justify their shitty behavior to themselves under the guise of "Woo!!! Blackhawks *effin* rule!!!!"

Which is not to say that they don't....because they do.

I've been thinking about the "perfect storm" idea lately, and I don't really buy it. As far as I know, infidelity is the only form of domestic abuse where you can walk into a counselor's office (or friend's home, or whatever) as the injured party and be told that since the state of the marriage was 50% on you, it's *kind of* your fault as well....even if it's put in other words. If someone applied that same logic with domestic violence, or substance abuse, they'd be laughed out of a job. I mean, if I beat my wife, and we go to a MC and the MC said to my wife "Well, he is responsible for his actions, sure, but I think this is more of a perfect storm of events,,,he has certain FOO issues that played into it, sure...but maybe....maybe if the marriage wasn't in such a sorry state he wouldn't be beating the snot out of you....?" They'd be shut down.

unfound posted 7/2/2013 10:01 AM

per your request, I'll try to address only your feelings and thoughts..

it's good to acknowledge your part in the M. that's your responsibility to come to terms with, figure out your "whys", and take steps to learn healthier actions.

it's not healthy to accept that anything you did or didn't do in the M or the result of those things in the M as a reason your W had an affair.

I can see your line of thought, "I wasn't giving her what she needed and she allowed herself to accept it from someone else." but YOU (or the situation you helped create in the M) can't take responsibility for her actions, just like she can't take responsibility for you NOT having an affair.

I think you're on the road to "why" your M was not in a good place before the A, but how each of you reacted to that has it's own individual why. and, like karmahappens said " the true why's are difficult and IMO a solitary process."

the danger of seeking why is not figuring out that the BS will arrive at the same spot the WS had, but allowing yourself to accept that it goes no further than that... that it doesn't branch out to the individuals choice in how they've reacted to the shared "spot" they've arrived at.

7yrsflushed posted 7/2/2013 10:09 AM

I did some similar soul searching and trying to figure out why. I actually came to some of the same conclusions you did. I understood what you are saying but the question I came up with after was if my M was so unfullfilling then why didn't I have an A? I didn't have the tools to communicate very effectively at all either but I didn't go out and do what my WW did. I dug into my issues and found out some things about myself and went about fixing them. There is no magic book that tells all the secrets to a successful M but there are plenty of books and articles and people that have experiences they can relay to us that can help us grow in our M's and even get through tough times like A's if we choose to remain in the M and work at it.

If you are owning up to some of the things you did in the M that you aren't happy with then okay but your issues in the M are in no way tied to your WW's decision to have an A. You shouldn't be searching for her why, she should be doing that. If the reason she is giving you or the reason you think the A happened was pre-A issues then as others have stated the pre-A M is completely seperate from the A. it just is. If it wasn't then why didn't you have an A or file for divorce if it was that bad ro why didnt' she file for D if it was that bad.

My point is as a BS looking back at your pre-A issues in the M is an excercise you do for your own healing and becoming a complete individual. You can't make yourself safe or your M A-proof for your WS. Honestly all that work is done to make yourself a whole person. If you did have issues then you work on thsoe issues for you.

We are not in a good spot. We are both willing to be patient. We are both curious on what we are to do to reconnect and save our marriage and family.
IMO, this is not a safe spot to be in. No movement means limbo and no change which leaves the status quo in place. At least you are doing the work on yourself.

I think it is beneficial for at least one of the spouses to have a genuine sense of risk with regards to what the loss of the marriage is.
This is true but speaking from just my own experience, the benefit you get from working on you is seeing the reality of your situation. when that happens the patience you refer to for the BS at least becomes finite. It becomes finite because YOU, the BS, realize that your WS for some reason did not have that genuine sense of risk of losing the M that you stated above. you have done thsi work to heal yourself and if they aren't pulling just as hard in the same direction instead of sitting around being patient your BS internal clock starts ticking and you may not even realize it. The question is no longer why did they have an A but becomes why am I still here...

I wish you and your W the best. I just think digging for reasonse for her A isn't your job. We all do it but IMO it's a subtle or not so subtle way BS's still try to take some blame for their WS's A.

MC_Jack posted 7/2/2013 11:40 AM

I am all for self-discovery and being honest. After dday, I knew in my heart that I had neglected the M. And, as I have posted before, THAT WAS A SELF-TRAP. On one hand, I realized I had some work to do on me and what are my attachment, anger, happiness, etc., problems. However, it allowed me to blame myself for my WW having an affair. She never blamed me, but in my mind, she needed the rescue that only my 'compassionate understanding' (i.e. self-blame) could provide. Not good.

I only want to echo what others have said. Once I got out of the trap, I saw there were more than one 'why' subject area. The 'why' of the A is now on my WW to figure out, and she is slowly doing that. The 'why' I acted the way I did in the marriage is a separate 'why' and is connected to my FOO issues, my own negative thinking, my poor coping skills - BUT HERE IS THE RUB - my behavior in the M was connected to my WW, her issues, and maybe a lot of what I was blaming myself for was really just a reaction to crappy shit my WW was giving me.

So, while keeping the A as separate from the M in terms of reasons is compelling from a fairness perspective, it is also very practical to do so. You still have a relationship to conduct and an M to fix. And, you can only fix you and your share of the M. If your WW can not fix herself then by extension she will not be fixing her share of the M. They're related, no? Which leads to the money question:

why am I still here...

I think a lot of BS's - me included - think after the first few months of R and HB, etc. that the M is going to be the best M ever. But, how could it be if the old M was never addressed? I have felt a let down myself - meaning, this is all that there is? and all the negative thoughts/feelings I had before might be coming back?

Solution: fix yourself. For example, read "The Love Dare". Stripping away the biblical references in that book, you are still left with a pretty daunting view of love from a philosophical perspective. I think that it serves as one measure as to whether you are a whole, emotionally healthy person. Then you can make clear choices.

I don't want my old marriage. To be honest, my main fear is not that my WW cheats again, but that all I end up with is the old marriage again - and what came with it.

[This message edited by MC_Jack at 11:47 AM, July 2nd (Tuesday)]

doesitgetbetter posted 7/2/2013 12:10 PM

I had a similar experience. But I have a different view of it than it seems you are expressing.

Pre-DDay, H and I would both have rated our M a solid 9+ (as there is always room for improvement, right). Even though H was cheating for 5 years, he still thought our M was a 9, and so did I... I just wasn't aware he was cheating.

After DDay, let's say probably around the 9 month mark, after we'd been doing MC and IC for months, and attending Retrouvaille, we realized that our rating was WAY off! We both re-evaluated where our pre-DDay M was, and this time we both gave it a 4-5. Our discussions were superficial, we didn't talk about hopes and dreams anymore. We talked about the kids, work, and what was on TV that night. Our relationship became very mechanical and repetitive, and wasn't filling either of our love banks so to speak. But we were content with it at the time because we were the stereotypical frogs in the pot of boiling water.... if you don't know what that means just ask. ;-)

After some MC and IC, we were able to get out of that pot and really take the temperature of the water and realize just how much damage we had done to our M.

HOWEVER, none of that was a reason, or a why, for my H to have his A's. He had his A's for other reasons unrelated to our M. IMO, if a WS cheats and sticks with the story that it was as a result of the condition of the M, then that person intended to harm you and will do it again when the M isn't the rainbow and unicorn show that they want it to be. I would never put myself in the position to need to be a perfect spouse to keep my H from straying, because I know I can't be perfect all the time and would die from sheer stress of waiting for the other shoe to drop.

The state of the M may or may not have been bad before or during an A, but that has no bearing on the why the WS cheats. Lots of people have terrible marriages, and not all of them cheat. Lots of people have amazing marriages, and many of them still cheat.

All this to say, after all the MC, IC, Retrou, books, thousands of hours of discussion, etc., we now rate our M as an 8 and are continuing to try to make it better every day. We look at it and re-evaluate it on a regular basis to see where we can improve. We talk about our dreams and hopes and desires for the future and for each other. We talk about meaningful deep things like religion and politics and our views on world events. It's not just work and the kids anymore, and it's so much better!

blakesteele posted 7/2/2013 20:35 PM

Thank you all for your detailed response. I continue to be thankful and impressed by what you are willing to share with me.

Ironically, or not, my wife told me early on that her A was not about me, not about what I did or did not do...actually screamed that at me before.

My listening skills have been poor for a while...but I am slowly learning to sharpen them.

I guess a part of me still wants to be the KISA...not healthy in this case, and that is one of my poor coping mechanisms to work on.

God be with us all.

[This message edited by blakesteele at 8:39 PM, July 2nd (Tuesday)]

still-living posted 7/2/2013 21:14 PM

I see where you are going. Iíve been there.

Although itís good to evaluate how you brought fuel to the mix, be it through ignorance or neglect, as an attempt to make yourself a better person, donít ever forget that your wife set fire to the fuel. Itís not like you saw her playing with matches and you embraced her with open pots of gasoline, is it? I had obsessive negative thoughts like this. It was my way of preventing a fire. But I was wrong. It was part of my learning. The fact is, she should not be playing with matches, and if you smother this fire or remove the fuel from this fire, she can still set fire elsewhere if she does not change, and itís very, very wrong.

Problems often require multiple ingredients. Make sure you stay real and weigh the ingredients appropriately. I listened to all the BAN teleseminars on their website. They are free, and they kept me real. Work on yourself but also know you need to stay real and put your foot down and not take all the heat.

[This message edited by still-living at 9:18 PM, July 2nd (Tuesday)]

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