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How to deal with WS grief over NC AP

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TemporalReset posted 8/29/2013 18:46 PM


Wife has finally gone NC with AP. We are able to begin our reconciliation. There are a ton of issues to deal with but presently the one on my mind is how do I deal with WW's grief over losing her "friend". I know I have to let her go through this, but what can I do to maintain my sanity and hers?


standingonmarble posted 8/29/2013 18:54 PM

Stay disengaged from her when she goes into the pity party. Take care of yourself during that time, don't hold her hand or try to ease her pain. That pain might just be the only thing that gets thru to her about just what a stupid thing she did. Don't let her hide that struggle either, if she can't share it with you, she just might open up contact again. Its a fine line at times. The AP is much like an addiction, the pleasure pathways in the brain are missing the stimuli. She will need to make them die and replace them with a healthier choice.

I would also caution you in pushing to hard at R right now. Until she is a little further down the road concerning the process of letting go of AP, she won't be much good at R. I know you want your pain to go away, I found that R can be more work and pain filled then most would like.

lostworld posted 8/29/2013 23:22 PM

My H dealt with any grief through IC. I didn't want to see it, support him through it, talk about it, or anything else. I wasn't a witch about it, but he seemed to know, and our therapist supported him, that any expressed grief to me about his AP would likely be the death knell for us; I just couldn't take it emotionally.

So, even though my H believed during the A that he loved the MOW, he never exhibited signs of sorrow or pain or grief in front of me. I honestly believe that after the false R, his overriding emotion was one of relief that the constant turmoil was finally over. That's not to say that I think he just instantly walked away from his feelings about the MOW, but he knew they were not "true", and that if he would throw himself completely into real R, the feelings for her would dissipate and we would stand a chance of rebuilding our M.

At this point in our relationship, he is truly repulsed and amazed over what he once thought were his feelings about the MOW and the A. Just my personal opinion, but I think it's asking way too much for a BS to stand witness to, or support the WS's grief over the AP--that's what therapists are for.

myperfectlife posted 8/29/2013 23:35 PM

I agree, take care of yourself and disengage. This is the WS issue to work through, not yours. It's like weaning from an addiction.
I wish my WS would get to the point where he can see his AP for who she really is, that he wasn't really in "love" with her or her with him.
It makes me want to vomit just thinking about it.
But there's no conversation that YOU can have which will help them see this.
Anything I've ever said about the OW has been seen as just a petty, bitter insult. Regardless of the truth, and there's a lot of truth my WS does not yet want to see.
You do not need to support WS through this withdrawal, just back away and let them mourn the loss of the ego kibbles on their own. It's the only way it will be real for them.
IC is a big, big help.
I had to say to my WS today "I am not talking about this anymore. Talk to your therapist about it."

StillStanding1 posted 8/30/2013 08:34 AM


To deal with your WWs "grief" over losing the AP is, IMO, as destructive (or more) to your mental health as dealing with the A. I am dealing with the same thing and it is shredding my soul.

I've told my WH that he's dropped my heart on the floor so many times. I keep picking up the pieces and gluing them back together. At some point, there's not enough super glue in the world to hold it together anymore.

Our MC agrees that he needs to process those feelings but that he should do it with anyone BUT ME.

Yesterday, a similar thread was up and, within it, another thread from a year ago was posted. I've read it and re-read it probably 20 times since then. Really helped me explore my mixed feelings on this issue. It's eventually a dealbreaker for me, but I haven't figured out my timeframe yet. Here's the link:

I hope it helps you too. I don't think there's any way to "maintain your sanity" if the grief over the AP sticks around too long. It's just about killing me, even if he says he IS coming out of the fog.

How are you feeling about all this? How long ago was Dday? I wish you great strength for the rollercoaster ahead. May you find healing and peace.

[This message edited by StillStanding1 at 8:35 AM, August 30th (Friday)]

JustDesserts posted 8/30/2013 09:10 AM

1) Note to Moderator's: I was trying to find a link to Maia (Maya's) withdrawal/recovery thread but couldn't. I thought it would be helpful to this poster.

2) This MIGHT help, and was from an SI poster. I found this, as a Wayward, to be like a bolt of lightning. You and your WW's mileage may vary.

I've read quite a bit of Helen Fisher, the anthropologist from Rutgers. She has done some amazing work in the relationship field and attacks it from a very scientific perspective. I just came across this. She found that losing love is an addiction in and of itself. It stimulates the same part of the brain as an addict going through withdrawals. "The evidence is clear that the passion of romantic love is a goal-oriented motivation state, not a specific emotion," Fisher said, adding that the results showed that romantic rejection is a form of addiction, and those coping with these hurtful feelings are fighting an uphill battle against a strong survival system. "There's a whole pathway that when you are rejected becomes activated just as it does with nicotine cravings or alcohol," Fisher says. "These areas are associated with physical pain and decision-making. If you've been rejected, you're in pain, craving this person, trying to figure out what's going on.

Fisher says that rejection causes the neurotransmitter dopamine to wash over the brain, triggering feelings of frenzied desperation that can lead to behaviors such as stalking, homicide, and suicide. "You crave the person who dumped you," She says "You go through withdrawal, you can relapse, and cravings can be sparked months after you think you've gotten over it." The good news is that though it may take a while, the researchers say they found that the greater the number of days since rejection, the less activity showed up in the brain area associated with attachment.

I'm wondering if the pain of break ups can be as much "fantasy" as affairs themselves. I use fantasy in quotes as it never was a term that resonated with me. Whether something is fantasy or reality is rather pointless if the effects are the same thing and feel all too real.

Rejection is such a primal fear for some that I believe many feelings caused by experiencing it can be very easily confused with love, hate, on both sides, when it's the rejection itself that is the catalyst. Just my thoughts and didn't find anything that confirmed this.

3) And this:

I wanted to let you know, Temporal, that I felt acute grief over losing my friend, my "lurrvv", my (fantasy) princess unlike any that had ever graced the planet throughout the known history of man. It was and is a rough process, very much akin to addiction/alcohol withdrawal for an alcoholic/addict (that's also me...and I have almost 19 years sober).

My spouse was someone in early R who I actually leaned on regarding this withdrawal...unfairly, selfishly, mind-bogglingly. That lead to my epic first post here on SI (feel free if you have an empty stomach: "The Cheater who got Cheated on" - Wayward Side - Page 16). I bring that post up as an example of how Wayward "addiction" to AP/xAP can be an incredibly powerful, blinding, and surreal force. My wife is now retired from being my nursemaid, my therapist, my enabler, my shoulder to cry on, my anything with regard to my xAP (my "Poison Princess"). I am in IC, I am here, and I am working on letting go of triggers, resentments and feeling anything for my xAP other than indifference. It is, for me, a process. And time is involved. More time than I wish, I'm afraid. And there's no shortcutting that.

My recovery from that lapse and delusions has been spurred by the strength, wisdom, and blunt help I've received here on SI.

I wish you the best and that you will find yourself on the road to R when time and circumstance dictate. I know none of us Wayward's deserve the gentle, supportive, caring, and selfless unconditional love of our betrayed spouses. But I received just that, and my wife's gift to me, us, our family, and our marriage of exactly that has been an incredibly powerful motivator for me to get myself healed, and bring to the table for her what she deserves more than anything else in the world: my authentic me, living an authentic life.


[This message edited by JustDesserts at 9:15 AM, August 30th (Friday)]

TemporalReset posted 8/30/2013 13:34 PM

Thank you for your replies. I should have made my point clearer and your posts did touch on my meaning.

I don't want to help her through it, I meant my own head watching her go through it. How do I deal.

Knowing my wife, completely detaching would make the recovery process longer and more difficult. I'm personally so far along this journey that I don't feel anything but sadness for her. I'm past anger and bargaining etc. I am in a place where her finally going NC is brought me back to normalish. Anyone in my shoes?

[This message edited by TemporalReset at 1:38 PM, August 30th (Friday)]

TemporalReset posted 8/30/2013 16:30 PM

This MIGHT help, and was from an SI poster. I found this, as a Wayward, to be like a bolt of lightning. You and your WW's mileage may vary.

If I'm understanding this correctly, you are targeting this at my rejection of WW in order to trigger that response of self preservation. This has been done. And it's the big motivation behind her desire to change. At least I think so. She knows I am 1 foot out the door if she doesn't start dealing with her crap.

She was very non-committal until I gatered the strength to show her I was leaving. She's a confused, fucked up little flower. Since she's turned towards me, I feel like it's best to be the sun rather than a dark cloud.

[This message edited by TemporalReset at 5:01 PM, August 30th (Friday)]

Patchy posted 8/30/2013 19:30 PM

I would caution you to keep an eye on her for some time. Check up on her. I spent 5 months trying to recover from an A that never actually ended when he said it did. He too referred to her as his "friend" and I know her pull was strong in the beginning, so much so that he never really stayed away. He "sort of" tried for about a month, but had had a phone conversation with her just a few days after first DDay that ended with "until we can find a way to reconnect again", which took place about a month later.

Your wife is still in the fog and while a big part of her may want her marriage to work, she may also have a hard time seeing that happening. She may either want to keep him as an option over on the side, just in case it doesn't work out with you . . . or just not be able to stay away because of her strong pull to him. In either case, she won't be giving her whole heart to you, to the marriage and to recovery and can't begin to happen until she is out of the fog.

The longer my husband was with her, the addiction to her began to lessen. He called it an addiction, which is a term I had mentioned to him early on based on how a friend of mine described her A. At any rate, he said he finally understood what it is like for addicts who need their fix. For some it's alcohol or drugs. For him it was her. Just connecting with her through a message was enough to keep him going. Looking back it makes him sick to think of what he was doing. He was rationalizing and not thinking clearly at all. Your wife may still be in this state, so be on your guard until you see a real change in her.

I had checked up on my husband for a while, but he was great at convincing me there was nothing going on. One time when I was bold enough to ask if he'd had any contact with her his reply was, "To what end?" I liked that answer. It sounded like a man who knew there was no purpose in pursuing her and had truly let it go. And yet he was lying through his teeth. Now I see the difference in him and am far more convinced the addiction has been broken. He truly loves me again and is taking steps toward recovery that he wasn't taking before.

JustDesserts posted 8/30/2013 20:08 PM


If I'm understanding this correctly, you are targeting this at my rejection of WW in order to trigger that response of self preservation.

The Helen Fisher findings, and Maya's withdrawal thread (which I don't have link for or I'd bump it -Mods help?) are for what it sounds like your wayward wife is experiencing due to the loss of her affair & AP "heroin".

That information could be helpful to both of you. You get the "Betrayed's Special Platter" because of the betrayal itself you get to experience, and seeing your wayward wife mourning the loss of the man she cheated on you with. Not fair, and I'm sorry you're in this position.

TemporalReset posted 8/30/2013 21:35 PM

I would caution you to keep an eye on her for some time.

Oh, I VERY MUCH intend to. The cell phone records are wide open to me and I still can see all the texting activity on her phone, deleted or not. I have access to her FB and email. Fortunately, one thing I lucked out on is that neither her or her AP are all that computer/tech proficient.

She also knows that one break in NC and I am 100% filing for divorce. She is to come to me the moment she even thinks about contacting him. And while I may be lenient once or twice, she doesn't know that.

seeing your wayward wife mourning the loss of the man she cheated on you with. Not fair, and I'm sorry you're in this position.

JD, thanks.

I know a lot of people are completely torn up by it. I'm at a place now where I understand that the monster that did these things to me is a broken person. I'm doing a decent job of being kind of clinical in this and realizing that the woman I knew is in there somewhere and that if she doesn't want to come out, eventually I'll leave. If I get her back healed and whole(ish) I'll be happy knowing I did everything I could to survive this. I feel very strong right now and able to put aside my pain.

This all revolves around a broken soul who did some very horrible things to me, made our life a living hell for 4 years, and right now I'm all filled up on hate, sorrow, grief, etc. Just want to move on one way or another.

Thanks to this site and other resources I can see the underlying source of this and have been able to separate it from the woman I fell in love with. Please understand I know SHE did these things, but now I have some insight into the how and, honestly, for me, it makes it easier.

jo2love posted 8/30/2013 22:19 PM

Below is the link to the Maia thread. I also have bumped it in the WS forum.

bionicgal posted 8/31/2013 09:36 AM

OMG - sending you a hug. This sucks, but you will get through it. Never did I imagine that I would be having to hear about H's grief over losing his AP! Auuugh.

MC helped a lot here. My H needed to hear that he was ordinary, and that that both his affair and his feelings of grief were ordinary. (No "special love" and "soul mate" etc.) Also, he needed to hear that they would pass. My H also read "Not Just Friends" and "How to Help Your Spouse Heal. .. " and they were helpful.

The most helpful thing our MC said about is was when he felt like he was missing the AP, that it would be more helpful to say to himself that he was missing the way he *felt* with the AP. There is a big difference. AP are mirrors reflecting back what we want to see in ourselves at the time.

This stuff is murder to hear, and I would encourage you to just breathe and hold on. At 3 months out, we can laugh about the AP now, and my H is so incredulous at some of the things he said/felt early on. It really is like being brainwashed - but it is yourself and the AP who have done the brainwashing.

Your wife probably needs to hear people other than you say this though, because you are dealing with your own stuff. So, books and counseling should help a lot.

Peace to you. Hang in there.

Josephine01 posted 8/31/2013 12:11 PM

I don't think you should help her get over him. It has to be all on her. As for your sanity. When h looked down and depressed I knew why. I would refuse to let him see me looking at him. If he talked to me I would make eye contact for a sec. look away and answer his question. It would piss him off horribly. He would say "why are you doing this?" Well the answer to that was obvious, so I didn't answer him.

She has to do this. . . the more you try to help. . . the more you will hurt.

Sorry ((Hugs))

Josephine01 posted 8/31/2013 12:16 PM

I am afraid I didn't read all the post before I responded sorry.

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