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Relapse: I visited fantasy-land again

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20WrongsVs1 posted 8/18/2013 15:07 PM

Just relapsed, and would appreciate some insight and advice on a new DDay. A couple weeks ago I started thinking about AP again, and instead of resisting I indulged. I looked at AP's FB, watched him in a televised performance, and wrote a couple of gushy emails that I didn't send. Not because I'm so committed to R that breaking NC would be 20 kinds of wrong, but because I outed AP to OBS and was terrified he'd reciprocate

Essentially, I slipped back into dissasociative fantasy-land, which IC says was my means of coping with PTSD from CSA. Since then (age 7 or so) I've routinely escaped to an alternate fantasy world in my head. After puberty the fantasies became erotic. When my A started this January, AP assumed the role previously occupied by random (usually dark/evil) fantasy characters.

Thanks to IC and reading, I'm boarding up fantasy-land, and starting to reconnect with and identify my emotions. This may be difficult for many people to comprehend, but I truly never felt many emotions. BH used to say I was a Vulcan without the logic. I identified with many characteristics of sociopaths.

So, what caused my relapse? Weakness, yes, but did something trigger me? BH was incensed that I broke NC; he doubts I didn't send the emails, but IMO writing them and breaking all kinds of virtual NC is just as bad anyway. While BH was throwing things and screaming GTFO on Friday night, instead of complying & apologizing I played the "Yeah, because monogamy was such a sacred tenet of our M" card.

Background: before and throughout our M, BH openly slept with several women, and I had a few women, usually in BH's presence. Sex with OM ("other men" in general, not a specific OP) held zero appeal for me, but BH always said I could have an ONS (with a man) so long as BH and OM never knew each other existed. Well, maybe a year ago, something snapped and I started lusting after OM. Having a random ONS seemed gross, impractical and dangerous, so eventually I decided to check out Ashley Madison (yeah, so safe). Clearly I knew deliberately seeking out an EA/PA was outside the scope of our M agreement, so I seriously considered renegotiating with BH; but, he never wanted to know, and damn it, I really wanted OM, I felt it was "my turn."

BH busted me after 2 APs (AP1 couldn't get it up) in 3 mos.. Initial DDay was on day 3 of AP2's weeklong visit from Europe, and BH let me go back to him twice, figuring I'd get it out of my system. My IC says the intense sensations I felt with AP2 weren't "like a drug, they are a drug." When I first kissed AP2 (in January, his first visit, we kissed once), the phenethylamine injection made my head explode; once I was hooked it was hard to kick. During my relapse, I was essentially "using" again. That is not what I want, I want to close fantasy-land forever, I love BH, I want our M, I want to hold hands with him at DS's wedding in 20-30 years.

Some may say our M arrangement makes BH "less betrayed" than other BSs. Monogamy may not have been a virtue in our M, but honesty and loyalty were, and I betrayed that--BH never did. In the A emails, which BH read, I praised the APs and trashed BH. That was shitty, BH didn't deserve that, and I'm so sorry, I wish I'd been emotionally mature enough to realize that I needed therapy, not illicit sex. Or at least, had the guts to renegotiate our agreement. But I wanted it, and I was afraid BH'd say "no." My As were as bad as any other WW's, even though I believed (and told APs) I was technically "allowed" to have sex with OM, I knew the romantic attachment and lying were completely unauthorized.

BH will read this, so I'm trying to stick to facts and refrain from speaking for him, but he's clearly angry and hurt by my intial and recent betrayals. R had been going pretty well, BH recently said I was "doing a great job" on myself and us, but he also recently said he's been easy on me, and I haven't suffered enough. We've been in separate bedrooms the last two nights, and haven't spoken much.

So, WTF is my deal? I'm not sure, but I keep going back to our previous M arrangement, and eventually I'd like us to try MC and dig into that. BH says we both agreed to it, we have (now) decided to be monogamous, so there's nothing to discuss.

[This message edited by 20WrongsVs1 at 3:12 PM, August 18th (Sunday)]

UnexpectedSong posted 8/18/2013 15:56 PM

I'm boarding up fantasy-land, and starting to reconnect with and identify my emotions.

What are you replacing it with?

And... Have you ever seen a CSAT?

20WrongsVs1 posted 8/18/2013 16:21 PM

Thanks for responding. Is CSAT CSA therapist? My C is fantastic, I've learned so much from two months of IC, about how CSA affected me and how to heal from it. She said since I've relied on fantasy-land for 30+ years, I shouldn't beat myself up that I haven't completely shut it yet. Going several weeks (as I did) without visiting it was a personal record; I dropped my guard, though, kinda like "it's just one drink, I can stop anytime."

What am I replacing fantasy-land with? I've been reading (self-help, no fiction yet!) a lot, trying to be more present to my family instead of my stupid electronics. My C suggested taking up a hobby. I've been playing my musical instruments again. Can't go to fantasy-land when I'm trying to play Csikos Post or learn a new bass line.

Mrs Panda posted 8/18/2013 17:13 PM

Relapse aside for minute ...

I guess what I want to know is are you or were you OK with this M agreement. Because I wonder if you have some seriously suppressed rage. Yoir BH arranged the perfect fantasy ... For him. And used your supposed unemotional ways to his advantage.

Why did you ever agree to the previous arrangemt? And how do you really feel about it? My feeling is when you understand that, you may understand a lot more about yourself.

BTW from what I have seen here I call bullshit on the sociopath label. I think that has been thrust upon you as a control factor, and that you have bought into it. JMHO

I agree that your betrayals were terrible, and the relapse is 2x4 worthy. But I also think you have some other serious issues to look at above.

In other words, don't rugsweep the renegotiation.

UnexpectedSong posted 8/18/2013 22:49 PM

CSAT is certified sex addiction therapist. Google "sex addiction types" and look at the first non-sponsored link, type #1.

Trying33 posted 8/19/2013 00:05 AM

Not really sure what to say that may help apart from well done for fessing up and dealing with the relapse.

I also agree that the previous arrangement you both had has not been given enough emphasis on how it's affected you. The whole "it's my turn now" is loaded with resentment.

Also, have a think about why you indulged? What was your thought process at the time? Was there a particular trigger?

caspers1wish posted 8/19/2013 09:51 AM

I completely agree with Mrs. Panda. There are a lot of issues going on, the marriage arrangement in the beginning, is they why you have chosen your screen name? Just wondering.

Hon, you are not a sociopath. You were sexually abused as a child and numbing yourself from feeling anything is a coping mechanism to protect yourself.

R had been going pretty well, BH recently said I was "doing a great job" on myself and us, but he also recently said he's been easy on me, and I haven't suffered enough.

This statement raises the hair on the back of my neck. Not exactly a recipe for successful reconciliation. Maybe it's just something to say, to hurt with words, to convey his own hurt, it's another thing if he follows through I guess.

uncertainone posted 8/19/2013 10:49 AM

When I started posting here I had members telling me I didn't have an affair as I never lied or hid it from my ex. Gave him the same options I exercised.

While lying to him wasn't an element my thought processes were as wayward.

I understand how you are struggling with your choices and your recognition of how unhealthy they are for you.

Working through this process will require you looking through ALL your thought patterns. All of them. I found that all areas of my life needed that internal examination. Dysfunction isn't situational. It isn't neatly cordoned off in one little area. It's pervasive. Your agreement to the "rules" in your marriage can be an area that needs to be looked at.

Dysfunction often attracts like a fucking magnet and your husband's comment of you being a Vulcan without the logic speaks loudly of his. He hopes you are. If you lack emotions he doesn't have guilt for his shitty choices and if you have no logic you won't figure out what a steaming pile of shit he's serving you on fine china tell you it's steak au poivre.

I'm not even sure how you broke your agreement as it sounds slightly less complicated than pot limit Omaha hi/lo. He can cheat if it's out in the open, and he said it was ok for you to sleep with OW, sometimes in his presence, AND you could have a ONS if he never found out and the OM never knew him or would know him and it was Tues with 23% humidity.

Dear lord. Yeah, your feelings were completely on his mind when he created that little Christmas list from hell.

Getting healthy will mean you'll need to take a very close look at ALL areas of your life. It's the best thing I ever did. Hard but so worth it. As am are you.

[This message edited by uncertainone at 10:50 AM, August 19th (Monday)]

20WrongsVs1 posted 8/19/2013 10:58 AM

If y'all read that entire treatise, thank you again.

caspers, thanks, of course comments like that sting, but from what I've read on SI it's not uncommon for BSs to convey their hurt with statements like that. But, it's a zero-sum game, isn't it? My As were, in part, about "evening the score," and look how that worked out! Yes, screen name was a transparent attempt at justifying my As to myself: he had 20 (exaggeration) and I don't get one?!

UnexpectedSong, hmm, I clearly resemble #1. Maybe I'll bring this up in IC this week.

Mrs Panda & caspers, thanks to my C I'm relieved to know I'm not a sociopath; I'm just saying I related to many characteristics of sociopathy. My C says I was (am) on the disassociative spectrum.

Mrs Panda, why indeed? When BH and I met, I was 25, and while I'd had relatively few partners, definitely <10, I was a little wild: I considered myself bisexual (which I no longer believe) and had some threesomes. So, it's not like BH led some innocent flower down the path of deviance; au contraire. BH is not an opportunist that took advantage of me. He knew about the CSA, but even I didn't realize the depth of my damage until after DDay.

Suppressed rage? Maybe. TBH I'm a little scared that when I fully reconnect with my emotions, I'll experience some retroactive pain and anger. How the heck do I resolve that? Perhaps I agreed to the arrangement under diminished capacity, but that's not BH's fault, I have no right to be angry with him. It was only when I decided I wanted OM (for whatever f'ed up reasons) that I viewed our arrangement as unfair. Since the thought of being with OM had previously disgusted me, I never thought to say--12+ years ago--if you can openly have sex with whomever you want, then if I ever decide I want OM, it's only fair we should play by the same rules.

I feel frustrated and hopeless and sad, but at the same time I'm thrilled that I am now able to "feel." When my C gave me "homework" for learning how to connect with my feelings, for the first couple weeks my feelings were: numb, ambivalent, confused. To truly "feel," even sadness, as crazy as this must sound, it's fucking awesome. Holy shit I am crying, somebody call a camera crew!

Trying33, it was more a case of BH saw the WW glint in my eyes and asked me what I was thinking about, than me confessing. As for triggers, I can't be sure. But I'd told my C (at our last session) I was feeling guilty about the manner in which we outed the OBS; I thought it was cruel for the email (to her) to come from me, but in the end I did it BH's way. It kinda parallels a situation with one of BH's APs a few years ago; my only rule was that he never risk getting OW pregnant, and one time he was unsafe--and I was livid. He didn't want to call her, so since it was a time-sensitive issue, I ended up calling her to ask about her BC status, and told her to get herself to the pharmacy for Plan B. BH and I have discussed this; two wrongs (or 20) don't make a right, but whether I'm justified or not: I have feelings now. I feel angry that I allowed BH to "make me" do something, when in vaguely similar circumstances I couldn't "make him." That's not BH's fault; I'm angry at myself. I may have tons of uncovered issues, but I do believe I'm owning my feelings and taking responsibility for them, instead of blameshifting like I have my whole fucking life.

20WrongsVs1 posted 8/19/2013 11:03 AM

I'm not even sure how you broke your agreement as it sounds slightly less complicated than pot limit Omaha hi/lo

Thank you UO for weighing in. My choices were wrong and I knew it, but that bit made me LOL just when I needed it.

alphakitte posted 8/19/2013 13:17 PM

20, you and I have childhood sexual abuse in common, and I certainly understand so much of what you describe.

However, I think we differ in that at age 21 I knew that in order to have healthy relationships, of any kind, I had to tear myself apart and rebuild. It sounds like you have used the coping tool of dissociation most of your life. I understand that, entirely. I do. I also know that it is most unhealthy, for you, and anyone in relationship with you.

You can certainly tear you childhood and prior life apart as to why you do what you do. It is critical to understand that dissociation has become your pal, your entertainment, your safe place, your preferred coping mechanism and that is the issue you must deal with. You have to treat dissociation as an addict treats their drug of choice.

You must sever your relationship with dissociation. 12-step it, or what have you, but dissociation is not your friend.

Dissociation may be why you agreed to the prior marital agreement. You may have dissociated yourself from that natural feelings most of us would have when our spouse declares that they will be emotionally, or physically, intimate with someone else. You may have dissociated yourself from any hurt you felt over that.

Having affairs may have been a way to dissociate from the feeling of being controlled by your husband's demands. I'm not excusing any of it. A much healthier way to have dealt with it would have been to express your feelings when you became aware of them and negotiating a new agreement, at that time, not have affairs. Of course, you would have risked your husband's possible unwillingness to renegotiate and then you would have been faced with some difficult choices. Dissociating was cheaper, easier, etc.

Yes, you played the,

"Yeah, because monogamy was such a sacred tenet of our M" card.
However, it is the raw truth. It is time to address how you felt, and feel, about that.

BH says we both agreed to it, we have (now) decided to be monogamous, so there's nothing to discuss.

That may be true, but it may still be the crux of the issue and refusing to discuss it means that it stays retarded right where it is. Resentment will be expected result of not discussing it. Just because there was an agreement in place doesn't mean that disappointment, rejection and hurt shouldn't have been an expected outcome. I think that is what many have been trying to express regarding your situation. Refusing to discuss that means refusing to accept responsibility for the outcome. Neither of you gets off easy with this. You are both responsible for the outcome of that agreement. You are responsible for what you did (dissociation/affair) and didn't do (express emotion and attempt renegotiation) about the outcome.

" . . .he's been easy on me, and I haven't suffered enough."

This is most troubling! I think demanding that you be the one to out AP is an issue of control and an effort to shame you. Very unhealthy behavior!

As to you having to be the one to call an OW regarding issues of birth control? Certainly that was an agreement broken! How is that breach of the marital agreement any different than your breach? Yet, he cared so little and wasn't responsible enough to make that call himself?

[This message edited by alphakitte at 1:18 PM, August 19th (Monday)]

Mrs Panda posted 8/19/2013 17:45 PM

Mrs Panda, why indeed? When BH and I met, I was 25, and while I'd had relatively few partners, definitely <10, I was a little wild: I considered myself bisexual (which I no longer believe) and had some threesomes. So, it's not like BH led some innocent flower down the path of deviance; au contraire. BH is not an opportunist that took advantage of me. He knew about the CSA, but even I didn't realize the depth of my damage until after DDay.

So was it something You wanted then? Because it sure doesn't sound like you enjoyed this type of arrangement . IDK, only you know.

Doesn't matter to me about the sexual promiscuity or what not. BTDT. Doesn't mean you have forfeited your right to a monogamous Relationship, if that is what you want.

Why would you have to call an OW about birth control? Obviously the OW would know that the sex was unprotected. Why call?

I am concerned for your future, because I doubt your BH is suddenly willing to give up FantasyLand after years of having it his way.

20WrongsVs1 posted 8/19/2013 19:38 PM

Catt, thanks, as they say: the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second-best time is now. Until two months ago I'd barely heard the word "dissociation," and thanks to you I can now spell it! Your characterization of its place in my life is spot-on, and I intend to kick it. I won't be the addict who gives up her family for a fix.

The situation with the one BC-challenged OW, yes it was a serious breach, but 20 wrongs still don't make a right. I clearly had lingering resentment about the phone call, but I got over my anger about the actual event in a couple of weeks. Mrs Panda, I called her because it was a drunken ONS and if BH wasn't thinking about BC I assumed OW wasn't either, and I was correct.

I never asked BH for a monogamous relationship. We just never were that, and it worked for us--until it didn't. His dalliances weren't super frequent; less than once a year on average. After DDay, BH said he was pretty much ready to quit screwing around anyway. In the early weeks he expressed some bitterness about giving it up, but I haven't heard that in awhile, and our agreement is that the M (if it survives) is closed indefinitely.

"Control" has come up a couple times in this thread, and "power and control" was a phrase my C used early in our sessions, that I'm just beginning to grasp. I don't believe BH is controlling, but it's beginning to occur to me that I have willingly given up some power in our M, such as accepting some of BH's decisions without question. Our previous home, I had reservations about its location that I didn't share with BH, because he found the house and was so enthusiastic about it. Like a year later, we signed a contract to build a new house, because we hated our location. Perfect example of a situation where I wasn't assertive, but I resented the decision BH had made. Totally unfair and blame-shifty of me; another lifelong habit I intend to kick.

[This message edited by 20WrongsVs1 at 7:39 PM, August 19th (Monday)]

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