A few months ago, fww and I were having a very serious and civil discussion about our M, about D, and about the obstacles of R. I was explaining to her my challenge of coming to terms with a failed M of 20+ years and how to build on that to R (the Aís started when we were dating). Then she replies that it wasnít all bad all the time. Granted, there were some good times, but in my mind it was all under false pretenses. She rejects that mindset because she seemingly separates our relationship from the relationships sheís had with other men and somehow and the M was only bad when she was with them.
I guess I look at the M and the relationship with a very holistic view, and she sees it more as a day-to-day moment-to-moment sort of thing. I would hazard a guess that it implies the level of commitment to the M or the moment. To me, itís not like a test score where you deduct 1% point for every different guy.
At the same time, it doesnít mean that I canít appreciate some of her good qualities, it just means that its very overshadowed by all of the lies and betrayal since the day we met.
Am I off base here or does an A affect the entire status of the M?
I think it is different for my fws...
my educated guess is that he thinks of his A's as, yes, terrible mistakes that he regrets, but at the same time, much less significant to the entire M.
(Early on after dday, he actually said that after 25 years of M he thought it was "pretty good" that he had had only 3 affairs - only a total of 10 months out of 25 years - wow! )
Classic compartmentalization and minimization so often characteristic of a ws....
in my mind it was all under false pretenses.
My husband thinks there were "good times." I see them for what they were: times when he was "being good." He was white-knuckling, or pretending, or even trolling for his next affair.
There was no marriage. Not ever.
And that I believe this infuriates him. Because it conflicts with the good-guy view of himself he likes to maintain.
I am still looking at everything as having been a lie, but I am finally getting to the point where I can admit that pre-A, we had some good times.
He had a 12 yr A, and he keeps telling me that even during that, we had good times. He wouldn't think of her when with me, and vice versa. He says that he was still happiest at home. I'm sure that in his mind he is being honest, but BARF!
Ours was 33 yr M including the A time, and yes I am definitely mourning the FAILED M... but I totally get what you're saying...if I am brutally honest with myself, the M failed long ago and I just didn't know it.
So, if we choose to face facts and "build" a new one, how do we categorize the old M? Where do we "put" it in our minds?
We have two adult children, many family Christmases, deaths, births, so just where does that all "go"? Will *I* especially, EVER be able to think fondly of our memories again?
Even in the "good" (non-cheating ) years he was still being selfish and not reliable. He sees that now, he now apologizes for the whole path.
in my mind it was all under false pretenses
^True for me too. I think this is especially true when the A's go back to the beginning of the M. You end up questioning everything. How could you not?
For me it came down to realizing that what he said, meant, or swore to, at any given point in time - was only good for that moment in time.
His vow of fidelity came with some unpublished fine print that I wasn't made aware of: this promotion may be revoked at any time without cause, explanation, or notification.
I too heard: "but I was good for 20 years" -- we'd been married for 28! And try as I might I couldn't find anyone selling winkie buttons congratulating a spouse for being faithful 2/3rds of the time?
Here's the rub: if I had known the truth, I wouldn't have married him. And he knew that! That's why he lied!
He admitted that as if it was commonsense and commonplace. And at the end of the day - he really doesn't understand that that was not, and never could be okay!!
As time goes on, my discomfort is getting less and less. I suspect it will for you, too, as you get more certain about what outcome you seek.
If I was fooled for 19 years, how can I trust whathe says and I see now?
Now I look back at the 26 years we've been together (almost 24 of them married) and see it as not real. I thought we had many good times, but now I feel used. It was all under false pretense.