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Amends to the other betrayed partner

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RockyMtn posted 9/17/2013 16:15 PM

Other Betrayed Partner (OBP) = OW2 was in a long-term committed lesbian relationship at the time of A.

WH is sober 9 months (WTG, Stepp). One of the 12 steps is making amends to those you have hurt. With the caveat, "except when to do so would cause further harm." That is further harm to the person you are making amends to...and to anyone else.

That's where I come in and where I'm looking for other perspectives. OBP was lied to as I was - "EA only!" She later broke up with OW2 and, found out it had been a PA after they were kaput. OBP outed the PA to me in January, more than a year after the A took place. She and I met once and exchanged many emails She is also the one that clued me in that WH had an A before her girlfriend, too. We have NC now because, well, that's the functional thing to do. But I care about her a lot.

WH wants/needs to make amends to her. But we're NC with everyone involved in the situation - even peripheral people. I'm loathe to bring any of these folks back into our lives. But I would make an exception for OBP because I know she wouldn't make drama out of it.

Plus - I just struggle with this amends thing. WH is making amends to me. And that makes sense. But making amends to OBP? Doesn't it become more about getting shit off your chest (clearing the slate, so to speak), rather than about the person receiving the amends? I'm not saying this is WH's motive, just how I think about it sometimes. I think he does want to express his deepest remorse.

It is really his call, not mine, but he sought my input because he doesn't want to cause trouble for her or me. His plan is to email his amends and then let her ignore him, meet with him, whatever she wants.

So, BS, what say you? If the OP made genuine amends to you, what would you think? Would it make things worse? Better? OW2 and I met, for the record. Her apology was total "woe is me" bullshit. It didn't really bother me or make things worse, but I know others have different opinions about being contacted by OP. If she had given me a real, genuine apology? I don't know what that would have meant to me, honestly.

Amends can take other forms as well, so maybe there is a better way than contacting her.

OBP has a pretty balanced, sane approach to this whole thing. I think she's sad about how everything went down, but she's not raw.

[This message edited by RockyMtn at 4:19 PM, September 17th (Tuesday)]

bionicgal posted 9/17/2013 16:35 PM

They aren't still together? Then I see no harm in it, and it might be benefical to your H.

I also have to say I got the same "woe is me" letter. Great way to describe it! Poor, poor OWs!! They feel so bad about themselves! (Rightfully so!)

HFSSC posted 9/17/2013 16:48 PM

What does his sponsor say?

Here's the thing about amends. It's not just about saying "I'm sorry." It's about mending a relationship, making things right. The 8th step involves making a list of all persons we have harmed and becoming willing to make amends to them. Step 9 says, "Made direct amends wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others."

I had a list of people on my 8th step list that I really felt I owed amends to. My sponsor and I spent a long time together dissecting each one and assessing what the harm was, how an amends could be made, and if to do so would injure them or someone else. There were a few of them I had to let go because it would have hurt JM. For me, there were also some amends that involved actions I had done that were harmful but not known to the person. To come up 10 years later and say, "Oh by the way, you didn't know I did this but I did this and now I'm really sorry, how can I make it right?" would be more harmful. For those, we worked on a way to "make amends to the universe". Living amends, where I go about each day, determined to do good, live with integrity and not cause that same harm again.

So what I think Stepp should be doing here is working with his sponsor to evaluate his motives, determine what amends would look like, and then assess the potential for further harm.

My prayers are with both of you. Steps 8-9 were the hardest part of my recovery. But once through them, absolutely the most worthwhile.

RockyMtn posted 9/17/2013 20:15 PM

I dropped out of Al-Anon after giving it the ol' college try for 6 months. But I did grasp what amends mean and I understand it is more than apologies.

Stepp has a fantastic and involved sponsor. Extensive weekly meetings for 6 months and they are planning even more meetings around the amends steps. They've talked a lot about other amends he needs to make and have come up with some ways to ensure that no one is hurt, not even collaterally (me, specifically). So, amend with the uni, as you say, HFSSC.

I think with this one, the OBP, both of them feel the amends should be more direct. She confronted Stepp after D-Day 1 and he bullshitted the hell out of her. She's not afraid of direct, but I also am worried that dredging this up for her will be harmful - but there really is no way to tell.

Selfishly, too, making direct amends will kick his ass emotionally and mentally and I'm kind of all for that. Not as punishment, but as an extra reality check. Reality checks are good in R and good in sobriety.

AFrayedKnot posted 9/17/2013 20:30 PM

I second everything HFSSC said.

Since he asked you how it would make you feel be completely honest with yourself and him.

JustDesserts posted 9/17/2013 20:38 PM

WS here. Alcoholic/addict here. 18+ years clean/sober here.

HFFSC gives good advice. Very good.

9 months sober is early days. Very early. Add in recovery from affair issues, and I'd personally suggest that "low hanging fruit" amends might be fine, but not "expert level amends" which is what you're describing, IMHO.

Amends don't have a fixed time line. They don't need to be listed and done in some proscribed manner. Those in early addiction recovery sometimes get focused on fast tracking and check listing in a goal oriented way. While admirable, I used KISS as my mantra for my first 5 years in recovery: Keep It Simple Stupid.

I think sustaining an ongoing amend for a BS right now would be a better focus than OBP amends, which is one step removed from AP.

Just IMHO.


Knowing posted 9/17/2013 21:32 PM

Because breaking NC would cause more harm than good, extending an apology is not warranted in your case. The real way for your WS to make amends to you and to the OBS is to stay NC, and to make some real lasting changes to her thinking and behaviour. Her actions here on out will speak louder than any words of apology, shallow or heartfelt, ever could.

RightTrack posted 9/17/2013 23:27 PM

Maybe she can make amends to all people affected by infidelity by donating to SI.

ItsaClimb posted 9/18/2013 00:11 AM

I don't pretend to know or understand anything about the various steps etc, having no real knowledge of the step program; but as regards this:

So, BS, what say you? If the OP made genuine amends to you, what would you think?

speaking purely as a BS, I would very much appreciate genuine amends from the AP in my case - she bullshitted big-time soon after D-Day. It would bring me some comfort to know that she has seen the error of her ways and that she acknowledges the pain she caused me. I would definitely appreciate a gesture made by her.

RockyMtn posted 9/18/2013 07:53 AM

Are you calling me low hanging fruit, JD?

To all the sober folks who chimed in, bravo and peace. Good, honest work.

Stepp is my WH. I've seen him referred to as her/she in this thread. The other couple (OBP and OW2) were both women. Dude made a special kind of mistake, hurting two strong ladies - me and OBP.

OBP and I have what I would call a special connection. I know sharing pain does that to people. But the conversations we shared were about life in general, how we've grown, and so forth. Even before we were in touch, she was so worried about me because, unlike her, I had these two precious little kids. And she cried when we talked about them and said how she worried about them all these months. That meant a lot to me and to Stepp. She shared with me that her dad cheated on her mom, but that their R was successful and 10 years later, they are a loving couple. Part of me thinks she'd want to know how Stepp has evolved.

Because of all of this, I feel like making direct amends to OBP would be making amends to me as well.

JD, if he waits years to make amends to her, I think I'd feel he was avoiding. As a reforming conflict avoider, I feel like part of him living an amended life (as HFSSC said) is engaging even when it is hard. KISS makes a lot of sense, though, and I'll keep that in mind. He's made such strides that I often forget this is a life-long haul.

Knowing, when I say NC with this situation, it was all our doing, not agreements made with any party. OBP and I ended our conversations, but she left the door open.

Righttrack, that is a fantastic idea. Something he should do whether or not he contacts her.

[This message edited by RockyMtn at 7:55 AM, September 18th (Wednesday)]

StrongerOne posted 9/18/2013 08:28 AM

As a BS who got a pseudo apology (and then broken NC on the part of the MCOW), I would love to have a sincere apology and a genuine effort to make amends from the MCOW.. I'm glad the NC has now held for over a year, the MCOW and her BH have moved out of the immediate area, and I feel she has a lot less real estate in my head. I think that I could evict her completely, if she sincerely apologized and made amends.

I don't think I;d forgive her, but I do think it would help me.

Kelany posted 9/18/2013 09:49 AM

This hits close to home as my husband is SA, and he was fired for sexual harassment last summer. One of his employee's turned him in to HR because he made her feel very uncomfortable. He hugged her once, and patted her on the knee twice and told her he wanted to kiss her once. This was verified on video and by the woman (I spoke to her).

She was a victim and I applaud her bravery for turning him in. This was his wake up call, him falling flat on his face and prompted him into recovery.

So...what does he do when he gets to this step??

Does he reach out to her to make amends? Does he not because she may not want to hear from him, as she was a victim? This is something I've struggled with.

My thought is this...I'd prefer he didn't reach out to her because I don't know if it would hurt her further. This is a very touchy situation. If he decides he really needs to, I'd like to be the buffer, or his sponsor. I don't want him to directly contact her, because it could cause so much pain and that's the last thing I want to put her through. It's a very thin line.

I do like that if you decide it's too risky, that he do something else to make amends. Obviously, he's making amends to you, but perhaps he can do something for the OBS in her honor? Does that make sense?

RockyMtn posted 9/18/2013 15:11 PM

Yep, that makes sense Samantha. The part about doing something in her honor. Some of the other amends he needs to make are pretty indirect. That may be what your WH chooses given the sensitivity of the situation.

Is there an SA-anon, Samantha? Something for the family and spouses of SA? Even though Al-Anon wasn't a fit for me, I went for several months and it really gave me a decent understanding of the 12 steps which I can utilize when WH speaks of them. I don't know the steps as intimately as he does, but I have a context.
My WH's sponsor strongly suggested that I NOT run interference between WH and OBP if the amends is direct. Of course, the sponsor doesn't get to decide that, but I think it made sense. WH can't hide behind me on this, but your situation is very different. I even wondered whether I should post this thread because of his sponsor's suggestion that I leave it between him and OBP. But I felt I needed to post because WH did ask my input and I personally wanted SI's input.

For the others who said they'd appreciate direct amends, the more I think about it, I probably would, too. If anything, it would reassure me that this dramatic mess would stay out of my life. Even though both OWs in my case are out of the picture and we haven't heard from either, there is a big part of me that wonders sometimes if they'll come back. Not that I think WH would start up again with either - I'm just worried about toxic drama. That they'd spread rumors, talk about our family, and so on. If there was amends, I think I'd have peace of mind that there shit would be out of my life.

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