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A look into the shame of a BS for both BS and WS

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TxsT posted 8/30/2013 10:05 AM

Many of you know my story. Many of you have privately thanked me for my attempts at positive and constructive posting. Well here is one I wanted to state myself.....

My shame

I don't know how many other BS's felt shame after their WS's A was discovered but boy oh boy did I enter into a world of my own shame when my new world came to light. For the past year I have never been able to put my finger on why I, the BS, should feel shame as deeply as did.

This morning it came tome like a bolt of lightning. My shame was a direct product of my feelings about the ways I had let down my marriage. To realize that you, the BS, had at your fingertips, the ways and means to possibly stop a LTA from happening in the first place was a very sobering moment in my journey. To feel all the same things my WS felt about the lack of intimacy, lack of connection,the fact that all was not well in our marriage and to NOT HAVE HAD THE COURAGE MYSELF TO SPEAK UP is where my own shame has come from. How sad that most of the stories like mine probably suffer from so many similar problems.

Well today I am putting my shame aside. I am steaming full speed ahead into my new life with my RWS and we aren't looking back. I am thankful, yes thankful, that the A between us has shaken us both to our core. We have waisted enough time. It is now time for us to grab what we really want and run with it.


[This message edited by TxsT at 10:06 AM, August 30th (Friday)]

sisoon posted 8/30/2013 10:19 AM

I certainly felt shame, though not so much any more. My shame came from how I'm pretty sure lots of outsiders would respond if they found out: sisoon not only couldn't satisfy his W, he was so bad that she cheated with a woman!

To realize that you, the BS, had at your fingertips, the ways and means to possibly stop a LTA from happening in the first place was a very sobering moment in my journey.

That says to me you're doing a bad job on yourself. If you had raised the issue, your H would have probably cone deeper into hiding.

It took me one MC session to start to feel there was nothing I did or didn't do that caused my W to cheat. It's terrible practice to generalize from one data point, but ... I think it's true for virtually all of us. Our WSes cheated for their own reasons, not because of us.

Look, TxsT: you were in the same M, had the same issues, had similar dissatisfaction, and your H bears 50% of the responsibility for all of that. If you caused him to cheat, why didn't he cause you to cheat?

Nothing you did or didn't do caused your H to cheat.


SisterMilkshake posted 8/30/2013 10:28 AM

To realize that you, the BS, had at your fingertips, the ways and means to possibly stop a LTA
No, you didn't. The only one who could have stopped it was your RWS.

I concur with everything sissoon said. The only shame I felt was the fact that I was giving a lying, sneaky, cheating man a chance to stay in our marriage. I got over that pretty quick.

I did speak up. We went to MC. Nothing worked. Because FWH wasn't ready to hear and accept responsibility and work on his FOO issues and his other dysfunctional traits.

TxsT posted 8/30/2013 10:46 AM

thank you for your in sites...

my shame also came from what people might think but now i know that it really doesn't matter what they think.

Unfortunately, I feel strongly that I did indeed have the ability to speak up when I was feeling unsaticfied in our marriage before the A even started. Many of my friends on SI have also confided in me that they too knew their marriages were not as healthy as they needed to be. Of course I know I couldn't stop my husband from choosing to cheat. Once someone gets that far away from their marriage I dont think anything can stop them.

What I could have stopped was how I kept my discontentment about the state of my M to myself. Why I could never speak up about my concerns for our marriage. Why I was just towing the line and hoping everything would work out. I was INACTIVELY nurturing our marriage as badly as my husband was. That's the part that brings me shame. Why did I settle for the mundain? Why didnt I voice my opinions either? Had ONE of us spoken up we both know now we would have at least changed the direction our previous marriage was going in. might it have prevented an husband has told me it would have certainly been a huge step in the right direction. His A was developed through his feeling that our marriage was over romantically and sexually. He was right in those areas. Had it even appeared to him that I was just as sad, lost and disolusioned I know we would have tried to do something.

I dont take the blame for causing my H to A...thats his cross to bare. But I will always accept my actions, or inactions before the A as a help for the A door to even appear.


[This message edited by TxsT at 10:48 AM, August 30th (Friday)]

TxsT posted 8/30/2013 10:54 AM

Please also note that I did not intend for this to be a message to anyone. It is my own revalations on my own journey. It may or may not be relavent to anyone and then again it may help others.

I am sorry that so many of you have much nastier and more unhealthy situations then I do. It pains me to know that there is so much badness in people. But the simple fact that I can take account of my own actions before our A even started is a huge step that every BS has to take at some point in time if they ever want to get to R. It is these pre A things that are at the root cause of an A. In some cases all of the Pre A things are the WS's own inner problems and the BS has NOTHING TO DO WITH THEM AT ALL.

But in my case pre exisiting reasons are at the heart of our A. I accept them, understand them, contributed to them and have taken responsibility for those of them I helped put in our path.


SisterMilkshake posted 8/30/2013 11:01 AM

I understand what you are saying TxsT.

Our marriage wasn't healthy before the affair. I knew it. Hence, we went to MC. It all fell on deaf ears to my FWH. Didn't. Change. A. Thing.

I have no shame in this, but I am angry with myself for allowing FWH to treat me the way he did. To allow him to be so selfish. I did speak up. It was always twisted back to what I was or wasn't doing. I built up a wall to protect myself from his selfish ways. That made FWH feel unloved and unwanted and opened the door to his justifications for having an affair. What I should have done was divorce him.

You are not omnipotent, TxsT. There is no way of knowing what you did/didn't do or coulda, shoulda, woulda would have put your WS on a different path. Because, in the end, it is and was his path. His. Path. He was the only one in control of that.

Painfuljourney posted 8/30/2013 11:02 AM

I look at my marriage the past 24 years. Was I a perfect wife? No. I wasn't. I was vulnerable to having an affair myself if enough opportunity came my way. I would have never looked for it. But if a man pursued me, I told my WH I might have done it too.

We didn't have intimacy. He rejected me sexually many times. I was lonely and felt inadequate. But I didn't. He did. So for that I take no blame. I take no blame for his actions. He could have just as easily come to me, discuss with me his issues. Instead he justified it.

Bottom line, WS is the one to blame. We can look back and would have should have could have. But WS did the ultimate betrayal. It's the cowards way out. It's the weak thing to do.

I'm glad you are putting aside your shame. It is a useless emotion. You didn't deserve what happened. And likewise we can forgive our truly remorseful husbands and let them not live in shame forever as well.

It's a day at a time. But we can be happy despite past regrets and mistakes.

heforgotme posted 8/30/2013 11:03 AM


Kudos to you on the self examination.

If it makes you feel any better, I did speak up. Frequently and repeatedly. I read every book I could get my hands on. I begged for marriage counseling. I planned get-away weekends. I had enough lingerie to stock a small boutique. And on and on.

It never made much of a difference.

So, maybe speaking up would have helped and maybe it wouldn't have. But I think your ability to be so introspective is cool nonetheless.

TxsT posted 8/30/2013 11:12 AM

My husband did speak up years before the A happened. He spoke up and I did not want to follow his desire to seek counseling. I think it was the way he approached me. I was extremely depressed and he knew I needed help, that we needed help. But when he asked if I wanted to get help it made me feel like he didnt think he needed any, that it was all my fault I was the way I was. Had he said WE need help to get through this I know I would have gone along.

We have spoken often about our perfect storm marriage. So many things involved in it we really had no control over. As non US citizens at the time we needed to be sponsored by a US firm. Once sponsored you are beholden to that firm until your green cards are approved. Think of living for 15 years being held back because you weren't a card carrying holder?? I dont care who your are, the BS or the WS, 15 years of feeling trapped by circumstances you CAN'T control or change yourself is hell.

Thank you Heforgotme for your post. Your words are the real reason why I posted this. So many SI members have asked me how I got to where we are today....positive....this in site into myself is one way I got there.


Heartbroken2013 posted 8/30/2013 11:26 AM


Your not alone I too felt shame! The Shame i felt was that I DID contribute to what was happening in my marriage.
No I didn't send him on his merry way to log on and have an online affair, no I didn't make him talk to other women, BUT I knew his time online was extended, I knew that if he was on it, I could get onto my facebook, or get on an do the things I wanted to do, I could go shopping WITH HIS PERMISSION this was great. I went to bed each night on my own safe in the knowledge that I wudnt have to have sex, that I could relax and cuddle into nice clean bed sheets by myself. I let him do what he wanted to do.

I don't BLAME myself for what happened, no - he did it all ... BUT, also with a little help and shove from me!

kg201 posted 8/30/2013 11:27 AM

My husband did speak up years before the A happened. He spoke up and I did not want to follow his desire to seek counseling. I think it was the way he approached me. I was extremely depressed and he knew I needed help, that we needed help. But when he asked if I wanted to get help it made me feel like he didnt think he needed any, that it was all my fault I was the way I was. Had he said WE need help to get through this I know I would have gone along.

I connect with this statement. It took me a while to recognize that I needed to look at my depression and ADHD issues. My realization that I had anger issues was also a slow process. But what gets me is that my WW put so much energy into pointing these things out, and when I finally started to get the help I needed and began showing progress, she was not willing to see that progress through. She wasn't willing to stand by me. She chose instead to focus on her needs with the affair, as opposed to our needs as a couple struggling through many difficult issues.

In the last few weeks since Dday I have begun to recognize more and more how much of our marriage has focused on her and her needs. Our separation is the first time in a long time where I can and am ready to begin understanding my real needs.

[This message edited by kg201 at 11:28 AM, August 30th (Friday)]

Heartbroken2013 posted 8/30/2013 11:28 AM

Must also add that 9 mths after DD we are getting there, we are happy ...

I am happy, and not because he logs on, im happy because he doesn't and he spends his time with me!!!

SisterMilkshake posted 8/30/2013 11:30 AM

The part you are not looking at, TxsT, is that your WS had other options.

Gosh, none of us are perfect. Yes, I have many imperfections and flaws. They gave my FWH JUSTIFICATIONS for having an affair. But, even if I had become the perfect Stepford Wife, FWH would have still had an affair because me becoming a Stepford wouldn't have changed who he was.

eta: If I had become perfect, his justification probably would have been that I was too perfect, who can live with perfection? Also, in the "Dumbest shit they've said" thread there is these two winners: One WS said he had an affair because his BW ironed too slow, the other WS said he wouldn't have had an affair if his BW made her delicious lasagna.

[This message edited by SisterMilkshake at 11:40 AM, August 30th (Friday)]

TxsT posted 8/30/2013 11:43 AM

I was never a stepford wife thank god but I was one who didnt have the courage herself to speak up when things were bad. I was the good old girl wife, following what my own mother had taught me to be when confronted with a verbally abusive husband....keep quite, it will all blow over.

I am sorry that the simple fact of me even admitting any fault in the past has upset you. Yours were not the type of responces that I really expected to get since I am well past being hung up about my husbands A. I am comfortable in our new direction and very much in agreement with Painful.....I could have easily had an A myself by the time this all started.


[This message edited by TxsT at 11:44 AM, August 30th (Friday)]

BeyondBreaking posted 8/30/2013 11:44 AM

I felt a lot of shame after the A, but not for the same reasons you did.

1) I felt ashamed at how other people might think. I was scared that they would think, "beyondbreaking can't keep her H sexually interested. He had to turn to something more."

2) I felt ashamed that after the second time he did it, I decided to R. I should have left. I didn't, and sometimes I still think that shows weakness and not courage. WH took that to mean that I wouldn't leave no matter what he did for a long time. He probably wasn't wrong.

3) I felt ashamed that I wasn't perfect.

4) I felt ashamed that our relationship wasn't perfect.

roses303 posted 8/30/2013 11:53 AM

My shame was a direct product of my feelings about the ways I had let down my marriage.

I understand you completely TxsT. I don't take the blame for the affair but I do feel shame for letting my marriage get to the point that it happened. While he was off having an affair, I was contemplating divorce because I didn't know if I could continue living like we were. It isn't that I didn't talk about it, but he didn't understand and I didn't push. Or maybe I did and he just disregarded what I was saying but I never took the next step and said "look we need to fix this"

I don't take any blame for the first time though. That happened because he was selfish and felt that his wife was putting too much time into his kids and neglecting his needs. I'm sorry, but I do not feel any shame for focusing on my health (a very complicated C-section), a baby and a toddler who both breastfed until 2, a husband who wasn't around to help with the kids because he was working long hours at a start up.

I wasn't neglecting him. I was just spread really thin for a few years. But when he looked at our friend, the OW, who had a child the same age as our youngest and she was propositioning him because she wasn't getting enough from her husband. He didn't consider that she had 2 grandmothers taking care of the kids and a husband who was around all the time. My WH thought, there is something wrong with my wife, how dare she punish me by not wanting to have sex every night, I have proof right here, OW wants it, wants me, therefore my wife is wrong. I take no blame for my husband making this decision. He chose selfishness over understanding, he chose his pleasure over his family and his marriage.

After that affair happened (although I never knew about it) I had the opportunity to work on the marriage. The kids were growing. I had more time. I could identify my needs. I knew that our relationship sucked. I could have done more to try to fix what was wrong. Instead I looked at my parents, I looked at his, I looked at other long term married couples and saw that their lives weren't always perfect so I rationalized that a sucky marriage might just be a phase we needed to work through. I read up on aspergers and other possible reasons for my husbands unavailability and I tried to come to peace with the fact that he might never be the man I needed because he didn't have the capacity. I did a lot of research and rationalization but I never said. "We need to fix this or we are over" because I thought that marriage was sacred and to death do us part and I thought he did too. I was wrong. Do I feel responsible for his affair - no. Do I feel some shame for the state of our marriage - yes. and I know I need to get past that shame. TxsT - I applaud you for getting to that point. I hope to be there someday.

SisterMilkshake posted 8/30/2013 12:21 PM

Awww, TxsT, I am not upset. I actually feel sorry for you.

You are under the delusion that you had/have control of your WS actions. That any actions (or inactions) by you controls your husband.

Even if you had gone to MC back then, would your WS have owned his shit? Even if you owned yours? Who knows. But that has nothing to do with you. You owning your shit is separate from him owning his shit. And, there is nothing you can do to make someone own their shit.

Sorry that my response is not what you expected. It is good to see your faults and to own them. As I have said, I am not perfect. I wasn't a perfect wife. FWH had some legitimate complaints about me. If I had fixed all those faults would that have changed FWH? No! Why do you feel that if you had changed that would have changed your husband?

Heartbroken2013 posted 8/30/2013 12:37 PM

I know exactly where you are coming from Txst and here is the place to write down your feelings, without being judged. I know exactly how you feel, and I don't care who thinks what. I know I wasn't to blame for my H online affair BUT I could have prevented it if I had talked with him instead of ignoring the fact we had drifted apart. I could have turned internet connection OFF, I could have invited him into my bed instead of drifting off to mine by myself etc etc ... we had drifted apart and he looked elsewhere for companionship, which led to cybersex, which led to online affair ...

I am happy 9mths after. I try harder at my marriage, and so does he ... what is so wrong in looking deep inside yourself and seeing the mistakes you made, and trying to right them ...

SadFlower posted 8/30/2013 12:38 PM

I felt, and feel, a great deal of shame. My FWH has insisted from the outset (D-Day confrontation) that I am in no way responsible for his A, that it is all on him. That I was (am) a great wife. That he has always loved me. That he was a first-class jerk. Nevertheless, I feel:

1. Shame that I wasn't enough for him, sexually and otherwise--even though our sex life seemed great and we got along so well, seemed to enjoy each other's company.

2. Shame that, like so many of you, I lacked the courage to speak up. I knew something was wrong with him during the A years, but I chalked it up to a new job that was difficult and demanding.

3. Shame that I did not catch on to their A earlier. They had a PA for seven years! Seven! (Then two years of EA only.) How could I not have known? My first solid suspicion came about four years into the A. How could I have been so damned dumb? And blind?

4. Shame that I let him gaslight me when I did confront him the first time. (Four years into the A, after first solid suspicion mentioned above.)

5. Shame that I did not push harder during the second confrontation. I had enough evidence that he probably would have cracked, but I thought I needed more to clinch it. And I was not yet ready to face the possibility of divorce. (That second confrontation led, however, to FWH pulling back from the sexual part of his relationship with OW, which made her very unhappy. That's when the PA became an EA.)

6. Shame that I was not strong enough to face the possibility of divorce during that second confrontation. (Feeling ready for that fueled the courage I mustered for the third, and final, confrontation.)

7. Shame that the man I chose to be my husband--a man perceived by everyone to be of sterling character--was really just a garden-variety snake.

What I am proud of:

1. That I did muster the courage for that third confrontation, and badgered him into a confession. Since both he and I are highly conflict-avoidant, it is hard to describe just how hard it was for me to start that conversation. But once I got going, wow! I had him in tears in no time.

2. That I offered R after he expressed extreme remorse and affirmed his love for me. Even if we end up D at some point, I'll know that at least i tried.

3. That R is going well. We have lots of issues to work on, but we are at least being loving and kind to each other.

devasted30 posted 8/30/2013 12:50 PM

I too accept partial blame for my WS affair. No, I didn't force him to go looking, but I ignored all the signs that our marriage was in trouble. I don't know why. We both had issues and even though I knew our marriage was okay, but not good, I just let it slide. I showed no interest in intimacy and since he didn't really push that hard, I let it go figuring he was in the same boat as I was. Did I deserve to have him cheat on me....NONONONONO. But, what kind of a fool would I be if I didn't accept the fact that I was at least 50% accountable for the mess my marriage was in.
I know the truth and sugar coating it just doesn't work. I know this could of all been avoided if I had just paid closer attention and worked on my marriage. I allowed it to slide and put blinders on. Anyone who doesn't accept partial blame for a failing marriage is doomed to have it fail. It takes 2 people to make a successful marriage and I wasn't there - my husband carried the ball for as long as he could and then he too gave up. Shame on me. We are in R and it's tough and wouldn't have been necessary if we had just simple as that.

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