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pre-A issues with the M

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20WrongsVs1 posted 12/17/2013 15:48 PM

I'm not exactly certain when R officially started, but after nearly 500 posts I've gotten up the nerve to start a thread here. Because BH and I were talking today about several posts where the WS(es) are still so intent on bringing up the "pre-A" M problems, and what an impediment that is to healing. It was a nice moment, because BH and I realized we're meeting in the middle, we've both done some work, and the M problems...and more specifically the cause of them...were irrelevant. Because today it doesn't really matter if our primary communication problem was that he *really* couldn't accept criticism, or if instead I just interpreted his every word and action negatively. What matters is, we don't armor up and go to war anymore, where one must win the argument and the other loses or concedes. Do we still have hurt feelings and heated discussions? Hell yeah. But they're no longer existential crises. And we *resolve* stuff. It's a beautiful thing, but it is hard work, every hour of every day.

What we realized today is there's a correlation between my truly accepting ownership of my infidelity, and his willingness to take a look at his own issues...for which I am so grateful because it's been instrumental in us learning to communicate effectively and, therefore, R. (I was/am deeply damaged, tons of issues, that's never been in dispute.) When I was still blameshifting, still feeling entitled, he sensed it. I mean, seriously, when a WS thinks, "Yeah, the A was 100% my fault, but come on! Our imperfect pre-A marriage was 50/50, that's not all on me!" that putting the BS in a mood to R? IMO, nope, it's not. Taking responsibility and ownership of the A, as a WS, is about more than just "saying" we do. We have to believe it. We have to stop keeping score, stop looking at the state of the M as a contributing factor. At all. If you must, you can go back and read my (mortifying) early SI posts. [Begin me quoting my pre- and immediate post-DDay self.] Because I was *owed* an A. Our M wasn't like yours, ours was different! [end quoting] Months ago I *said* I'm just as wayward, and my husband is just as betrayed, as anyone else here. But I didn't actually own it.

Not sure when R started, maybe a month ago or so? We have a long way to go, and I have so much work to do on myself. So much. But it feels like we might be a team again. And today that feels pretty great. I love you honey. Thank you for our wonderful life, full of promise and possibility.

Oldernotwiser posted 12/17/2013 16:02 PM

I haven't read your older posts, sorry. Could you help me with understanding how the change came about? We can't seem to find a way out of our mess. I am glad for you.

Jrazz posted 12/17/2013 16:47 PM

It's truly a turning point when the couple both feel like they're in a place to tackle pre-A issues in the marriage. Introspection on both parts is what will keep things healthy.

This seems to come about when the FWS has truly done the work at owning the A and has deep compassion for their BS.

I'm so glad you posted in R today.

Razor posted 12/17/2013 17:23 PM

Thank you for posting this. Especially here in Recon.

Linking pre-A M problems to the affair can really hurt recovery IMO.

Good for you! and best wishes to you and your BH.

TimeToManUp posted 12/17/2013 17:30 PM

I never link pre-A problems to my horrible choice to have an A. I do feel incredibly strongly that the pre-A issues, as we enter year 3, are really putting us at an impasse. Those same communication issues that were there before are still there. How do you R if you can't communicate?

That being said, I'm glad to see this working out for you. I feel it is a monumental step in the process. Congratulations and good luck to you.

womaninflux posted 12/17/2013 17:30 PM

I am afraid to proceed with R because of the pre-A marital issues. I am not perfect but so many of our issues were due in large part to my husband's addiction to porn. The anger, the resentment, the lack of connection and intimacy in our marriage...the poor communication is partly my fault. I will own that. But when someone is an asshole to you, you stop caring and check out. At least I did.

SAWH says he knows we cannot return to the place our marriage was in even before pre-A. The thing is…that is how our entire marriage was. Now that i am starting to move beyond the A, I am questioning WTH I am coming back to this M in the first place? We're getting along fine, communicating, etc. husband is saying mostly the right things. I am really stuck here though. I am terrified to move forward on this.

Jrazz posted 12/17/2013 17:34 PM

I am terrified to move forward on this.

Remember that moving forward doesn't mean you have to make a decision today. There are plenty of ways for you to prepare yourself for the healthiest path for you.

/ t/j

lhhell posted 12/17/2013 19:00 PM

Thank you 20WrongsVs1 for posting this. It hit the nail on the head of something I've been struggling with but didn't know I was struggling with. I didn't know how to articulate what I was feeling about WH actions but you've said it very succinctly.

I'm so happy for you that you are now posting in R!

20WrongsVs1 posted 12/17/2013 20:19 PM


Could you help me with understanding how the change came about?

Incrementally. My therapist never excused my choices, but learning in IC that sexual deviancy is a common (but not inevitable!) response to CSA really helped me reframe my As as a symptom of my own damage instead of a response to my BH or our M. Even with that realization, though, detoxing from my second AP was a hurdle that I struggled to overcome for months.

Months of therapy, and reading, helped me learn to *feel* and identify my emotions, from which I'd become profoundly disconnected due to the CSA. That's been a difficult, sometimes terrifying in sci-fi movies when the robot gets an emotion chip installed. Although I paid lip service to being "sorry" for my As, I'd never in my life experienced guilt. About anything. What I *think* is genuine remorse started hitting me about seven months in (just weeks ago) and for the first time I was able to acknowledge how deeply I'd hurt BH.

That's why I say R only started recently, even though we've stayed together...and mostly pretty congenial...since DDay. As long as I was still clinging to old resentments, and (mentally) the AP, we weren't in R. I wasn't a safe partner in the M. I was, to put it mildly, empathy-challenged.

I won't speak for BH, maybe he'll weigh in.

blakesteele posted 12/17/2013 20:23 PM

Wow....what a profile you have written 20wrongsVs1!

For someone who has detached so completely in their life, you sure have put some effort into understanding yourself pretty completely!

It helped me read your profile.....thanks for bravely putting it out there for others to view it. I see many WS slow to find remorse or empathy....your profile helped me see that it could very well be related to a WS ability to detach from their own feelings. I am encouraged to see you making such great have had some serious hurdles to over come.

I see some several SI members who have CSA in their past....also see some connection to coming from families with addiction problems as well as single parent families.

IC has worked with me to uncover 12 year old blakesteele coping was scary at first but, like you, are finding more and more motivation to heal these old wounds.

God be with you both.

blakesteele posted 12/17/2013 20:29 PM owe me nothing. But if I may be so bold as to ask the following question....

How does your husband view his pre-A marital activities with other women?

I ask because pre-A blakesteele used porn. My wife knew about it, never expressed concern or forbid it, watched some with me. Sounds like you never were mad or angry that your husband slept with other women....and you participated in it sometimes.

I look back on it NOW and feel horrible. Like I used meth, my wife used it with me sometimes....we both thinking it was harmless. I feel the opposite now. For me, this is good for me to change my view.

I am not judging you guys....just wondering if this new way of learning to do M has altered his or your views of your pre-A M activities with regards to other women being welcomed into it?

Again, you owe me nothing. I am asking to further my own journey. I am not contemplating changing my mind....but as I visit with other men who have turned away from porn I see a strong trend of discontent and frustration of their choices to use a man they are viewing it like I am now. Just wondering if your husband shares a similar change of perspective?

Peace be with us all.

20WrongsVs1 posted 12/17/2013 20:42 PM


Those same communication issues that were there before are still there. How do you R if you can't communicate?

Another huge reason I say our R just started recently. Until we learned to communicate on (somewhat) the same wavelength, IMO we were not truly in R. I accused BH of being unreceptive to even the mildest criticism, he accused me of unfairly attacking him. We were both right, or wrong, but it's like the old cliche, "Would you rather be right, or would you rather be happy?"

20WrongsVs1 posted 12/17/2013 21:13 PM

<t/j>500th post! Proud to be a *paying* member of SI and encourage y'all to upgrade if you can.<end t/j>


just wondering if this new way of learning to do M has altered his or your views of your pre-A M activities with regards to other women being welcomed into it?

I won't speak for BH. Your question is topic-appropriate, but heavy. In short, at this, I haven't retroactively altered my views or feelings about our pre-DDay arrangement. BH and I are, and always have been, incredibly compatible. When we started dating, and got married, the relationship worked for us, it was what we needed at the time. Now we need something different, and we're working together to figure out what that looks like.

blakesteele posted 12/18/2013 06:40 AM

Thanks for answering my questions.....I appreciate it.

To be sure I feel bad for my porn use decisions of my past....but I am gentle on myself. I was ignorant then. I know better now.

Thanks again.

God be with us all.

p.s. paying member here too...premium membership was less than 1 hour of counseling....and this site has allowed more growth than 12 months of counseling! Join join join

[This message edited by blakesteele at 6:42 AM, December 18th (Wednesday)]

TimeToManUp posted 12/18/2013 08:38 AM

We were both right, or wrong, but it's like the old cliche, "Would you rather be right, or would you rather be happy?"

I plan on posting a separate post of my own about our poor communication, but yes, we fall into this cycle of right or wrong all the time. Both of us. Not just me, not just TCD... Both of us. We just can't communicate without it resulting in tears. Fear and mistrust. This was a problem long before my A. And that problem remains a huge factor in our efforts to R.

I have no desire to find someone else, and TCD says the same. But we just keep going round and round and round again, spiraling towards the same well-travelled conclusion.

Sorry if I thread-jacked a bit here, but thank you for addressing my comments and I wish you continued success.

20WrongsVs1 posted 12/18/2013 09:51 AM

TTMU, not a t/j at all. Communication is the key. It's everything.

Categorizing everything as right or wrong is a major theme in our R, and in parenting, that we're starting to look at.

bionicgal posted 12/18/2013 12:40 PM

I don't think this is the norm, but we've worked on pre-A issues in parallel with working through the A. We had to - we needed to learn to communicate, fight properly, and be vulnerable in order to deal with all the crap the A dumped on me/us.

I don't, honestly, understand how you can process all the way through the affair before working on the M as a whole. I don't think that means I take responsibility for anything I shouldn't, but it does acknowledge there were cracks in the vase before H took the sledgehammer to it. The cracks came from unhealthy ways of interacting, which is what we are working on.

Marathonwaseasy posted 12/18/2013 13:34 PM

I'm with bionicgal
I'm not to blame for the A but our M was not in great shape at all. I posted about this recently - the boat that sank
It was listing and there were leaks in the hull but he shouldn't have taken a depth charge to it.
We want to R. I believe in us. But I'm not going back to sea in a boat that isn't one hell of a lot safer than the old one.

Rebreather posted 12/18/2013 13:55 PM

We learned some small tips in MC that were wildly beneficial to our learning to communicate effectively. We also made some deals with one another about our intent in our communications that worked well for us.

20wrongs, great post. Nice to see you join us in R. You've come a long way. Good work.

20WrongsVs1 posted 12/18/2013 16:01 PM

Thanks for the input and the warm welcome.

we needed to learn to communicate, fight properly, and be vulnerable

Yes! And that, IMO, is where the spouses (in R) need to meet somewhere in the middle and stop keeping score. You chose each other, presumably, equipped with essentially the same communication skills you had on DDay. My infidelity, however, shone a spotlight on how broken our communication was. Even if the pre-DDay communication problems were 99% "my fault," we had to take joint responsibility for communicating effectively going forward.

I'm not to blame for the A but our M was not in great shape at all.

When I see that "but," that's when I bristle a bit. Because the state of the M is irrelevant and IMO shouldn't be mentioned in the same sentence as the A. Irrelevant! Doesn't matter. Not even a little. Sure, delusional-cheating-bitch me made it about BH and our M, so I could justify my choices. But I took the coward's way out and sought my validation fix elsewhere, instead of trying to have an honest conversation with my husband.

To R, of course you need to look at the state of your M. But, more in a caveat emptor way, than scrutinizing pre-DDay problems. I'll try to use the vase and boat analogies.

there were cracks in the vase before H took the sledgehammer to it

That vase is a pile of shards that's long since been taken out with the trash. Time to buy a new vase, and decide what color, shape, and size works for you both now.

I'm not going back to sea in a boat that isn't one hell of a lot safer than the old one.

You wrote that you damaged the boat while you were bailing. Irrelevant. Leak or no leak, luxury yacht or rough-hewn canoe, your WS's depth charge would've sunk any boat. Should you discuss the qualities of the old boat that you liked and didn't like? Heck yeah. Must you agree on how to maintain the new boat? Definitely. But the condition of the boat before your WS bombed it has no correlation to how or why it sank.

That's why I bristle when I hear either party say, "The blame for the A is totally on the WS, but the M wasn't perfect."

YMMV. Not trying to censor or contradict anyone, and I'm very interested in any and all opinions.

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