So that's question number one: WS has said she'll try to answer any question that I have, but I've actually asked her to hold off for the time being on giving me details of the affair because I feel like it would be good to have a coach help us with this particular item... is this a stupid thing to do? Does this mean it's going to make gaslighting, blameshifting, and TT more likely?
Question #2 is closely related: Why should I ask for a timeline? I'm so incredibly ambivalent about this.
I think I already have a pretty good sense of what was going on, and don't know that I need to know more about what was between the lines in the text messages, SYPE chat, and Facebook messages.
What I have no direct knowledge of is what they've said to each other on the phone, on any video calls on skype, or to each other in person. I think my wife must have deleted most of the emails between them along the way. Most of the ones I could find were relatively recent. Or maybe they just didn't email each other very much.
But, as I said, I'm ambivalent about how much I want to know about any of those other aspects of the affair. So many times in other posts I see reference to the importance for the BS to have a timeline from the WS. Can someone please explain to me why this is supposed to be helpful? I'm not questioning that it is helpful, but it would sure help me sort out my feelings to know why others DO find it helpful.
Q3 for you all is going to take some explanation, but it is basically rooted in a question that asked WW but didn't get a satisfactory answer to because, she said, answering it would require discussing details of the affair that I'd already said I'd like to wait for an MC to coach us through. That question was whether she would have quit the affair if she hadn't been caught. Obviously, I'm not asking you if you think she would have quit. I think we all (including me) suspect that the true answer to that question is no. But the question I have for you all concerns why I would even want to ask about matters that are this obvious to me but so far from accessible for my foggy, foggy WW.
Now I have to go on a little tangent here about my wife's fog (which is still heavy) before I come back to the question about quitting the affair. In a separate part of our conversation yesterday, WW said that, in the weeks leading up to DDay, it was beginning to dawn on her that the affair was harming our marriage (I didn't find this funny at the time, but it is almost hilarious when I write it down as a sentence... i have to write that again just to be sure it's what I remember she actually said... yup. she actually said that it was beginning to dawn on her that her affair--an affair of 3 years!--was damaging our marriage!). She also attempted some of that blameshifting I was worried about in my posts from a couple days ago... she'd point to the FACT that I'm a total PITA sometimes as a current problem in our marriage.
Thanks to advice from you all, I didn't rise to the bait. I said I wasn't going to deny facts, namely that I am a total PITA sometimes. But, I said, it wouldn't have made any difference even had I always been the best husband in the world because, after all, I had previously believed that we had a pretty strong marriage when we committed to having a child, went through a miscarriage and bonded (I thought) over that, and then finally did have a child. And yet she continued the affair during that entire time! And so how the hell are we supposed to be able to get through times when I'm not everything my WW fantasizes about when she can't even get through the times when even she says she thought we had a strong marriage (even if, unbeknown to me, it also included her AP)?
[Bit of a rant coming here, folks... more typical self critical comments and questions from a lost soul to resume following this paragraph.] Arghh! This fog of hers is so frustrating for me! It's like trying to convince someone that water is wet. I mean, this isn't just some kind of opinion I have that I'd like her to believe because I think it's probably right (or because I'm trying to avoid looking at my own character flaws). And it isn't some super-technical item of specialized knowledge that a person can only acquire after years and years of careful study and observation. It's something that is plain as day. It's plain as day... to EVERYONE... other our ridiculously self-deluded WSs. But they HAVE to know this is true, too. Otherwise, why would they keep these things a secret?
Which brings me back to the point. As I said, WW had already mentioned she was beginning to realize the affair was damaging the marriage, but when I followed up with whether that meant that she eventually would have confessed, she said probably not. When I asked if she would have ended the affair but not confessed she said that, to be honest, she wasn't sure. And so when I asked why she probably wouldn't have confessed and might not have ended the affair even though she realized it was damaging our marriage, she said she couldn't answer that without going into details about the affair, which I'd already said I wasn't sure I wanted to know right now and thought I'd want an MC to help us figure out the best way to share that information anyway.
Now here's my Q3 for you, my brothers and sisters. Why would I even want to know my wife's responses to these questions? What could I possibly learn from these responses? As far as I can see, I'm only going to get two pieces of information: (1) that my wife had a long, highly emotional affair with someone that she slept with on some number of occasions (do I care how many times?) and whom she wished she could be with physically more often than their long distance relationship allowed, and (2) that she's completely deluded about the effects of this on her perception of our marriage and my contribution to what I'm increasingly disinclined to think of as "our" problems. But I already know those two things. The only bit up there I don't know is how many times they slept together, and, at the end of the day, that really isn't the thing that matters in terms of how destructive her behavior has been.
Those might sound like rhetorical questions, but they're not. I really want to know... is there something you all think I can learn from these responses that might actually be more helpful than what I already know?
Or is the best (and possibly the only) reason for me to ask these questions of my WW is that, in her struggling to response to them, she might, just might, be able to get through the fog? That would be reason enough to pursue these questions, but do you all think that this is likely?
Also, here's a different sort of question for Q4: should I take this kind of question over to one of the other forums so I can get a little perspective from the FWSs on here? Or would that be a potential disaster for me?
What do you think?
The big issue that overshadows everything is
what matters in terms of how destructive her behavior has been.
Being ambivalent about details is fine, give yourself time and space to heal. How about we focus on the big issue? I have found that when the big issue is addressed - the details become a little less important, sometimes unimportant - so let's get to that.
The blameshifting she's doing is a sign of lack of remorse.
Remorse is the key crucial component of successful R.
are the others.
The "big" question your heart needs an answer to - in order to make an informed decision going forward with your life is:
Is she remorseful?
She may regret the consequences to herself, but don't confuse that with remorse.
Don't accept crumbs and convince yourself it's a meal.
Remorse is when she's sorry about the pain she caused you. The consequences to you.
Read the truly remorseful ones in the WS forums - you'll see what it looks like.
This may help you too:
Here's the thing about the early "truths" we receive. Some are earnest and some are bullshit. What they spew changes and morphs and fluctuates. I don't know how much to base early decisions on.
I am a believer in time. Time for you to reflect on the life you want. Time to determine the level of trust you must have till death do you part.
You have the power. Unless she pulls out every stop to rebuild your trust - you might have your answer.
March away from the wreckage and keep the courage.
You are oobviously a highly intelligent man, and are certainly doing a much better job at finding your way through this shit storm, in these early stages than most of us do.
The timeline question? If you don't need you don't need it. I didn't either, I could freaking look at a calendar and tell the day it started. He changed. That change in how he acted and who he was lasted the entire A. About the last 2-3 months of it he was fighting some inner battle to end it, and really deal with what he had done, and I would see glimpses of the good guy, but over all he was different didn't need the time line. Had it.
Details- I didn't need to know all the nitty gritty details, i did need to know that yes they had sex, yes it was on multiple occasions, and no he did not use protection all the time. Good enough. Don't need to know much more than that, other than, I was better at his favorite act than she was by far.
Would she have ended it? Most likely it would have ended at some point having run it's course, but woule she have told you if you didn't have proof, hell no.
WS's do anything they can to protect themselves. They have no problem with taking secrets to the grave, and allowing us to feel like we are loosing our minds.
I remember asking my H immediately after Dday that had I not found the proof would he have ever confessed, and he answered with strong NO. Absolutely not. He was still foggy, about 6 months later, I asked him, the same question, when I knew he really got it, and his focus was on healing and making wrongs right, and he acknowledged the fact that he had previously said no, he wouldn't have told me and then went on to explain why that was so wrong.
My point is when your WS is still thick in the fog, it's difficult to get good answers, my H was truthful with my questions in those early days, but he was not forthcoming with info. Which can be crazy making in itself, it's hard to know what questions to ask, when you are looking in on it as an outsider. Thank God for my friends here. They helped me to figure out the things I needed to know.
I don't know that waiting until you are with MC to ask your questions is the best idea. But I am not good at waiting. I was able to ask anything that came to mind intially, and although some of it hurt like hell I felt like I was actively doing something to heal our M.
We did agree at the outset after confession that I would be able to ask questions whenever I wanted and I would get the truthful answers then and there. Also the day after Dday we went on a 2 trip of just the 2 of us, and it afforded us a lot of time to talk uninteruppted, and that helped me tremendously.
But eash of us has to deal with this in our own way. My only concern for you is that you don't deal with it enough for her to defog, and then rugsweep what happened. I think not forcind her to answer questions, and really face what she did is setting you up for that.
Remember she did this because there is something fundamentally broken in her, and she needs to do some really hard work to figure out why, and fix that in herself. Anything less than that sets you up for a repeat perfomance.
I copied the post that JJCT linked above for WW to read ("Things that every WS needs to know"). Hopefully she'll get the point.
Meanwhile, I'll work on:
1) not worrying about whether I should be asking her questions other than those that I do believe are important, but not rug sweeping or being afraid to ask questions that I think are important to me
2) being clear about the questions I think we need for her to address
3) that if she can't or won't address them now not to let up on the fact that they need answers eventually for us to work things out
4) being aware that the best evidence of positive change in WW will be that her answers actually will begin to change... not seeing a different, better answer as a reason to be irritated with inconsistency by comparison with a foggier, more deluded one
5) and, if there isn't progress, I've only said I'd like to try to work things out, not that I'm refusing to consider D instead of R
Here's my little rant for the morning. Just sticking it here so I can forget about it and concentrate on my job.
1) It would probably be a good thing if WW spent at least as much time telling me she's sorry I'm not sleeping as well as I should as she does conveying to me that this is all very difficult for HER right now and that she feels tired and hopeless. I feel like having to build up her self-confidence enough to get her to start working on her crap is just one more thing for me to deal with on top of everything else this affair of hers has dropped in my lap. To be frank, that makes me pretty cranky when I've already got a lot of other things on my mind and plenty of reason to be angry, hurt, hopeless, tired, etc. Feh!
2) I've now already forgotten the other little rant I had been storing up. Whew... that first one must have done the trick for the time being. Now back to work.
[This message edited by lloyddobler at 10:47 AM, October 25th (Friday)]
My H had just lost his dream job, and was already fighting a depression (half of the cause of the A) when we finally had our Dday. There were times I seriously worried about leaving him home alone. You never know what a depressed mind will do. But there was only so much I could do.
Really I found it much healthier to focus on me and my needs, and my broken self esteem. Doing things for me to make me feel better, and stronger.
Really the only person you can change is you. Like my Grandma always said, "She will get glad in the same pants she got sad in" Meaning it's up to her to fix herself.
Your story is an inspiring one--that you're stronger than ever despite all the crap your FWH has put you through.
Right now, as of this morning, I'm doing OK. I wouldn't call it a happy time by any means, and I'm aware that I'm going to have triggers and really low times ahead, but I'm basically looking forward to all of that as nothing more than the only path possible for getting my own stuff dealt with and in order. I suppose a big part of this is that I had recently (before finding out about the affair) become convinced that it was time to make some changes where my own crap is concerned. So, looked at in this light, D-Day was a really, really unpleasant kick in the pants to launch me into a project I might have approached with less enthusiasm... not, I think, that I'll ever feel inclined to celebrate D-Day for providing that kick.
Anyway, I'm determined to be able to move on whether R works for us or not. And, besides, my blameless little boy needs at least one strong parent. Obviously it would be better if he had two strong parents working together (or else I sincerely doubt that I'd even be thinking about R as an option), but that's just going to have to be up to WW.
So--I hope you don't mind me saying so--I will find inspiration in your story, and I thank you for the comforting words and good advice.
So, assuming WW does not have the 1 positive excuse, then the question is what you need to know to heal and R, if that is even in the cards, and whether more details will help or hurt that process. The answer is... nobody knows. Nobody... not even you, know how you will process the information you receive, whether you will believe it, whether it is true, whether you will experience more or fewer mind movies based on the degree of details, whether you will later obsess over information you did not receive or rue not knowing details that WW may eventually resent you dancing around now but bringing up later. Realistically, you may do all of the above to some degree or other no matter what you learn.
I wanted to know all the details about XWW so that if we wound up getting divorced, I could feel that we had at least tried as hard as possible to R. But I got what I did not really want... a divorce and a lot of details. So, it's a crap shoot. Roll the dice. Luck be a lady.
It might be wise to consider a DNA paternity test. You never know, some WW have had the children of their OM either unintentionally or worse intentionally.
Cover yourself. I doubt you want to find out much later on your child is actually an OC.
[This message edited by PhoenixReborn at 4:45 PM, October 25th (Friday)]
But, leaving aside trying to assuage my deep, primal fear about this... my WW was so completely careless and cavalier about covering her tracks that I'm actually fairly confident about the integrity of the information I have for the timeline for her long-distance affair in this regard--not information she's supplied, but information I've recovered without any difficulty.
Not certain enough to alleviate my anxiety, but certain enough to be getting by on at the moment. Probably that's the best I'm every going to have for a while where lots and lots of things are concerned anyway.
You are not responsible for her affair fog. She is.
You are not responsible for her lack of remorse or empathy. She is.
You were not responsible for her affair. She was.
You are not responsible for her lack of boundaries. She is.
You are not responsible for her own healing and emotional rehab. She is.
Do you want me to continue? I have lots more.
Divorcing her sorry a--.