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Is this denial?

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jost1125 posted 7/11/2013 10:29 AM

We are at about 9 months, and I still haven't asked many questions and I still don't tell him when I trigger. I'm not quite sure why. I have had fWBF read posts on here, and he's started to read how to help your spouse heal from your affair (he's only a couple chapters in). I know one reason that I don't like to tell him about my triggers is that the couple times that I have, it didn't help. At first, he wouldn't say anything, now he at least says that he is sorry that I feel that way and that I have these thoughts in my head and that it's all his fault. For some reason that doesn't seem good enough.

Yesterday I wrote down what I wanted out of a conversation with him about triggers. I wrote that I wanted him to tell me how he felt at the time of whatever it is that I'm triggering about (how he felt about me, OW, and about himself), that I want him to tell me how he feels about it now, and I wrote that if something I am imagining didn't even happen, to let me know (I don't remember what it was about, but at one time he had said "well, if that's what you think, there's nothing I can do to change it"). I'm hoping that if he does this it will be more satisfying to talk to him about it.

The thing is, I still can't make myself do it! At first I thought maybe it was because I don't want to make him think about her anymore than he already does (which I don't), then I thought it was because it wasn't satisfying and gets me nowhere, then I've thought that the answers will just hurt too much and I can't take it (which I think may also be true), but the other day I wanted to tell him something and ask him a question, and I thought to myself that I didn't want to because that would make it "too real". After that thought, I realized maybe that's my problem. Me saying the words out loud, and then hearing the answers come from his mouth will make it real and I can't bear it. It seems stupid to me, because obviously I know it's real. I cry every damn day, I'm pretty sure I know he fucked her, and I'm pretty sure I know that there was kissing and touching that led to the actual act. I know that he felt excitement and anticipation (that really kills me) at thoughts of her, at the sight of her, at the feel of her, so why would saying it and hearing it make it any realer? I have no idea.

I guess I just wanted to see if anybody had any ideas as to why I can't talk about it, and maybe some advice on how I can be able to.

I did just start seeing a new IC, I only had one appointment with her and the next isn't for another 2 weeks, but maybe she can help me too.

Markone posted 7/11/2013 10:42 AM

I'm sorry for what you're experiencing, jost. There's all kinds of opinions on this and you'll get better advice from others but wanted you to know that I experienced the same feelings -- wanting to know, and not wanting to know all at the same time. It's definitely a matter of what helps YOU heal best.

I ended up choosing not to know the details. Partially because I thought that I would never know the actual truth just a version from WW and also because the small amounts of information I did know made me feel inferior, sick, angry and didn't change the facts. I chose to leave OM as a cartoon, a fictional character and one in keeping with the point that the A was not about me, not even about OM - but a selfish act caused by a broken person (WW).

The only thing I would add is to make sure there's a difference between not knowing the details or all of them (if that's what you choose), and rugsweeping. Rugsweeping doesn't work with or without the details - I have first hand experience with that.


bionicgal posted 7/11/2013 10:44 AM

In my experience, hearing the details hurts like hell, but it helps you and him. It shines a light on the relationship, which will help it lose power with him. It also helps because then you two are fighting the same battle together.

You don't need all the details if you don't want them. Some things could actually do more harm than good (I think sexual specifics go here unless they are somehow pertinent.)

Any time we have a details talk it is like someone stabbing me in the heart, but we end up in a better place afterwards. It is better than imagining the bogeyman in the closet and letting your fears about it build and build. Open the door, shine a light in, and deal with what is there. It will be better for both of you.

sisoon posted 7/11/2013 11:23 AM

I had number of purposes in asking questions. (I haven't stopped yet, BTW, although I ask very few questions nowadays.)

My W's answers gave me a (probably false) sense of power over my circumstances.

Answering questions tested my W's honesty.

Honest answers built trust, not quickly by any means, but every little bit of honesty and trust mounts up. I asked the same Q multiple times, and getting the same answer each time was a big help.

I shared my feelings honestly, too. After all, if she couldn't support me in my grief and accept my angry venting, what did I want her around for? Besides, she needed to learn to be honest - I provided a model.

My guess is you're afraid he won't do what he needs to do to heal and to R.

By not asking your questions and sharing your feelings, you're depriving your BF from opportunities to step up and help. That's doing a disservice to you and/or to him.

Bottom line: yeah, it sounds like denial or rug-sweeping to me.

But you know your sitch better than I. Maybe it is denial; maybe it isn't. You know the answer that works for you, and you can always wait to talk with your IC. Don't sweat this - it's a stage almost all of us go through.

[This message edited by sisoon at 11:26 AM, July 11th (Thursday)]

SorrowBhindSmile posted 7/11/2013 12:22 PM

I have experienced the same feelings, so i understand.

For me, i think part of the reason i wasn't able to talk about my feelings/triggers was because i didn't trust my WH. I couldn't bring myself to share my triggers with him because of the pain HE caused me. I couldn't let him in because of the devastation HE caused. I mean, how the hell do you share whats going on with someone who has destroyed your soul????? Its total self defense.....if you dont let them in they cant hurt you anymore.

Also, for me...At the same time, you want to know details...your dying to know. You need him to tell you something, anything that will take away the pain. But in your heart you know that there is nothing he can say. Anything he says is just going to cause more you avoid, don't ask. If he doesnt say it, maybe it wont be true.

Eventually, as time went on...and my WH showed true remorse, true commitment to me, true acceptance for what he did, total ownership for the pain he caused...i began to be able to let my walls down. slowly i was able to talk to him, let him in...allow him to help me. I was able to feel comfortable talking to him about my feelings, triggers and such.

So, you ask...are you in denial, rug sweeping?? Maybe. You need to feel some level of safety with your WH before you can open up. If your WH isnt making you feel safe and giving you the support you need to be able to open up...then no, you arent in denial/rugsweeping. You need to work with your WH/IC/MC to create a safe environment for you to express your feelings.

If your WH is giving you that safe environment...then perhaps you are in denial/rugsweeping....and you need to work with your WH/IC/MC to help you open up. I had to do WH DID give me that safe environment, but i wasnt able to trust myself and my WH (i didnt believe it was a safe place). Working with my MC/IC helped me greatly with that.

Its a long road. Allow yourself to feel what you feel. But dont push it about your feelings. Telling my WH about my triggers allows us to process them and work together to get them under control. I have even been able to get rid of a couple!!

hugs to you!

sri624 posted 7/11/2013 12:28 PM

hugs to you....i understand your pain. it is so hard.

i think it is important to know the truth. you dont have to know the sexual positions...i dont think that is necessary..but it is important to understand the extent of the affair, what was involved, how long it lasted, and any question that you might have about it. it is hard, and painful to hear the truth, but you will need that truth in order to r. r is not is painful...and there is no "easier way" to get through it. it is a process that you will have to go through...and it will be hard.

i believe that not getting the matter what... is denial and rugsweeping. and then there is the task of actually getting the truth...and rocking the boat...or being afraid that if you ask certain questions, he will lie again, want to leave you, or you will be told that rehashing the past will not help the r.

i think you have to get through all of this BS...and still get the truth, no matter what.

jost1125 posted 7/11/2013 12:44 PM

Thanks everybody, I guess I'm just really freaking out because I had such high hopes for some good conversations last week and this week because tomorow night is a bachelor party that he has to go to and I know I am going to be a horrible mess the entire time he is gone (they rented a bus to go to bars where he could run into OW and we both know they are going to end up at strip clubs). I thought if we really connected and had some good talks that it might not be so bad, but it never happened. Partly because I didn't make it happen, partly because we were somewhat busy, but in my mind, the main reason it didn't happen is bacause he didn't initiate anything. I keep telling him he should be leading this R, but he doesn't. He has read so many things that I have written over the past 9 months, and never says a word. He could go back through those notes and start a conversation about any of those things, but he never does. I feel like then I would have to talk about it. I feel like maybe I need him to push me and make me do it. Maybe that's not fair, I don't know. All I know is that tomorow he will be out drinking with his buddies and watching nasty-ass strippers shake their tits for him and it makes me sick.

(I say he has to go because he's the best man, he had to plan the party, he wanted to do something else but didn't want the grooom to be disappointed so he planned what the groom wanted-even though there's already been all kinds of drama about it and the bride says if they go to the strip clubs the wedding is cancelled, but the groom doesn't give a shit and wants to go.)

jost1125 posted 7/11/2013 12:51 PM

He is giving me that safe environment (now), it took months to get here, but now that we are, I'm the problem. Last night I got all teary and he said
"what's the matter, having an eye attack?". I laughed and said yeah, an eye attack, and he reminded me that I am supposed to discuss my triggers with him and he also reminded me that I am not following my rules

SorrowBhindSmile posted 7/11/2013 13:05 PM

All I know is that tomorow he will be out drinking with his buddies and watching nasty-ass strippers shake their tits for him and it makes me sick.

dont do that to yourself. There is NO reason he needs to go...none. He's the best man, who gives a shit?? he needs to be YOUR best man....he needs to do what makes YOU feel safe....

dont tell him its OK to go....clearly its NOT ok with you. Dont rug sweep your feelings in this case....I spent years rugsweeping mine...and look where it got me

sisoon posted 7/11/2013 13:38 PM

...the bride says if they go to the strip clubs the wedding is cancelled, but the groom doesn't give a shit and wants to go.


I was young and stupid when I got married, but I most assuredly had no desire for a last fling. If I had wanted to fool around, I would've backed out of the wedding myself. It's not morality that draws out my comment - it practicality.

Ah, well. YMMV.

I can't help wondering why they're getting married.... I guess it takes all kinds.

1devastedmom posted 7/11/2013 14:08 PM

I would tell him NOT to go the the Bachelor party. There's no way I would be OK with that. It would kill me inside.

Rebreather posted 7/11/2013 18:38 PM

I wouldn't allow the bachelor party attendance. And I mean that sincerely. That isn't a healthy place, a healthy event and gee, how long until the groom to be is a cheater with that belief system in place. Your WH needs to see it for himself, that he shouldn't be doing that to you, or even WANT to go to a place that like.

By not allow, I mean, literally, "it is not an option. Send your regrets, or talk to my lawyer."

jost1125 posted 7/11/2013 19:55 PM

ummmm....actually, the groom cheated on the bride about five years ago, rug-swept the entire thing. She still has nightmares about it. She just said to me that he doesnt value family but its "obviously not a big thing since we are ready to get married". I have no clue why she is marrying him.

But anyway, thank you everybody, a lot of what you all said makes a lot of sense. I never really considered telling him he couldn't go to the bachelor party, he knows that I hate the idea of the whole thing. The whole time he was planning it I told him I didn't want to hear about it and I was not going to help him, unless they went to the grooms cabin-then I'd make them all kinds of food and whatever they needed. I guess I've just been resigned to the fact that he HAS to go, because he feels like he has to, and I have just been hoping that he thinks about me while he's gone and that he misses me. Nobody else in our lives seems to think this is any big deal. WBF's mom doesn't even think there's anything wrong with them going to stipclubs, his sister said "I didn't think she was like that" when she heard what the bride said about it. I know it doesn't matter what anybody else thinks, but if I didn't let him go, everybody would think I was pathetic and insecure (which I most certainly am!!) Plus, how can I take away his best buddies bachelor party? That whole group of guys will talk about it forever, and WBF will remember that I didn't let him go.

blakesteele posted 7/12/2013 03:19 AM


First things first...relax and breath. I forget this sometimes....but remembering to do it more and more the further from my DD.

Second, our minds know what we can handle to a point...and so what we experience is a sort of governing of the damage we let into our mind...meaning we have mechanisms to let pain in in doses we can easily digest. The problem with affairs is the level of trauma some...maybe all...of us go through is for a bit it seems like a never ending stream of stress. But you are stronger then you think...we all are. Our minds sell us short sometimes...

Third, we are all different. I seek every little I kinda wished I left the sexual acts details alone...but I didn't so now I have the real deal. But even that...had I not had the details from my wife my mind would have made it even worse then it was.

Honesty is key to getting through not only exposes the issues, but the solutions as well.

4th point....he should not be going to strip clubs at this point...period.

Pre-A I had gone to clubs before...back when I was young and more recently, but pre A, to restaurants that have waitress with very revealing outfits on as a part of business...I saw this as harmless then....I have aggressively abandoned that incorrect thinking...and I am the BS.

I am sorry he does not get that...but WS just cant seem to grasp the trauma that this is for the BS. In addition, it appears your husband is failing to fully grasp what danger he is putting himself in. His weakness of unfaithfulness has been exposed, and yet he is going into the pit thinking he is strong in this area?

I know you are concerned about how his buddies will perceive you. IMHO...if this is true, these buddies of his are not friends of your marriage...or their marriage if they are married. Your husband should be protecting you at this point...should have been doing that from the beginning. At the very least he will be stimulated by a woman outside of his marriage in a very outwardly way.

Be patient with yourself...ask questions when you can...and when you cant? Understand that refraining from questions does not make you weak, does not say that you are not working on your resting along the way you are still moving to healthier spots each day.

Hang in there.

God be with us all.

jost1125 posted 7/12/2013 05:59 AM

Ugh! This wasn't supposed to be about this stupid party tonight, but as it gets closer, I am freaking out. Last night he read this thread and when he came to bed he said "you CAN tell me not to go to the bachelor party".

I blew it. I said "no, I can't". That's it. I should have said "I don't want to have to". Honestly, I guess I've been hoping that once he goes and collects all the money to pay for the bus, he will realize he shouldn't be there and come home. I know this is not going to happen. He also said that maybe they won't even go to the stripclubs because the other day the groom said "I don't know, maybe we won't even go to (name of nearby town with the stripclubs)". I'm not stupid and I know that even though he said that-the bus is going to be there, its paid for, and the other 30 guys are going to want to. He asked if he should say "I don't think that's a good idea" when the club's mentioned, but then he said, "yeah, I probably just won't say anything"

He went to a stripclub for a different bachelor party a few years ago and I didn't want him to. He actually went to the bar across the street when everybody went to one, but at the other one there wasn't anywhere nearby to go so he went in. He said the chicks were disgusting and that he had better at home. I believed him. I don't even know why I care, he already did so much worse than LOOK at a naked chick, why does it even matter?

He also said last night that I have nothing to worry about while he's gone and that even though he doesn't know the right things to say sometimes, he loves me and wants to be with me forever. Thing is, he's said that for 13 years, and somewhere in there that changed. Plus, it's really not only that I will be worried about what he's doing/seeing, but also that I just seem to flashback to him not being home and thinking about what he was doing during his A when he's out. I will be reliving every moment of last summer/fall while he is gone.

Man, this sucks. I don't even know which way is up. Going to work today, and then try to stay busy while crossing my fingers that he will decide not to go to this stupid party.

blakesteele posted 7/12/2013 06:43 AM

I know you think he should know what to do on his own. I feel my wife needs to know what to do on her own...what is the right thing to do.

In MC our C focuses on what we need from each other and expressing those needs in a kind way.

This is how I know what you are feeling. As a BS we feel our WS need to step up and figure things out. Read as many books as we are, double their IC sessions, share their journey to recovery...etc..

The thing is most of the time I don't think WS have that natural turn inside them. To start to change that inside them is painful...and WS have already displayed what they do when faced with a painful situation...they turn away from it, tuck it away, tell themselves it is not that big of a deal, and a myriad of other lies to deal with uncomfortable relationship issues. This, I believe, is one reason they choose to have an do otherwise would be to have to take a more painful path. But ultimately LESS painful then the A has turned out to be...

But here is the rub...while BS are not perfect I would venture to say that at least with regards to our relationships we are more skilled at recognizing that which is broken and expressing those parts that need addressing to our spouses. We are far from perfect at this, but we are stronger then our WS have been.

And it is tough to also remember this fact...our WS are dealing with pain too...pain in addition to this new pressure to be honest. They have pain over seeing their BS in pain, may have left over pain over the loss of the affair (yes, this sucks but their is some truth here), pain that the future looks so just because they had their fun doesn't mean they have actually benefited from it...they are paying a price too.

So we have a choice....we can build on a skill that we at least have a partial foundation to build from or we can follow our spouses lead down a path they are not particularly good at walking down.

Our past two MC sessions have stalled out. As I think about it I believe one of the main reasons is anger, my vulnerability, my weakness to face some sort of truth is keeping us static.

I mention this to point out that while I believe BS are stronger at NOT running from our problems, I still have issues facing all of them directly.

I could be off on this...perhaps their is another reason for our static state...but our C is pushing me hard to lean into something here....

If you can, find the courage to request (not demand) that your husband refrain from going on this bachelor party trip. He may not feel pressured or controlled...he may actually be really grateful to have a tangible way to prove his love for you and his desire to win your heart back...a heart that he broke.

IMHO, it almost seems that your husband is asking you to confirm something he already knows here...but he lacks the courage to take that step without some support from you. Is it fair that he is asking this of way! But I don't think marriage is about fairness and keeping is about working together.

Man, it sounds like I have something figured out here...and I tell you I wrestle with this something fierce....being a man I want to step up and protect my family...but then I see the pain that my wife invited into it and it is scary to engage her in the ways I just advised you to do. Any wonder I am NOT a counselor?!?!

God be with you today...always really...but particularly today.

[This message edited by blakesteele at 6:53 AM, July 12th (Friday)]

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