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CantBeUndone posted 1/25/2014 21:59 PM

I'm such a mess tonight and I don't have anywhere to turn. Short background, been married 10 years, I had a EA & PA that started 11/12 and continued for about 4 months, there's been NC for over 6 months. I've been in IC since 5/13 and after a lot of work on myself, I decided to tell my BS on 1/10/14, so everything is fresh and raw. I'm 100% committed to our marriage and am willing to do whatever it takes to save our relationship. He has access to my phone, email, and computer. I also told him I would check in regularly or do whatever he wanted to feel comfortable that I'm where I say I am and am telling the truth. All that to say, I'm doing everything I can think of right now to help him feel more secure even though I know at this point, there's really nothing I can do to lessen the blow.

So tonight, he is out with a friend who I wouldn't call a friend of the marriage (a term I got from the book Not Just Friends). My BS has said for many years that he thought this friend regularly cheated on his wife while he was away on travel. Since I've told BS about the A, he's repeatedly said that he deeply regrets not cheating on me when he's had opportunities over the years and that right now he just wants to go out and hook up with whoever he wants. I know he's hurting right now and try not to take anything he says too personally. Now that he's out with someone who I have no doubt would encourage him to go ahead and make himself feel better with a one night stand, I find myself totally freaking out. If he were to cheat right now, could I really fault him? Could I say to him, if you cheat on me this will not work after all I've done to him? I'm asking him to forgive me, if he has an A now, don't I have to forgive him? Does my A give him a free pass to do whatever he wants? I feel like I can't even voice these concerns to him because really? I've hurt him in the worst possible way, how can I ask him not to do what he wants? He did ask if I minded if he went out with this friend and I said no. I did say that I would be more comfortable with him hanging out with other friends who I knew would support him while giving him good advice but in the end, I said I didn't mind him going out. In reality, I don't mind him going out. He needs friends and support right now and I respect that.

I guess my question, am I allowed to set any ground rules or really ask for anything from my BS right now? Has anyone's BS had a retaliatory A and had the marriage still work out? The saddest part to me is that I know if he were to do that, he would just feel worse and probably blame me for making him do that in the first place. (We've been together since HS and were each others' first.) I just don't know at this point what to say or if I just have to sit back and watch and hope for the best. For the record we did go to MC on Monday but it was too soon for him and just made it worse.

I guess this is what I deserve right now for all I've done. Even knowing that, it still hurts.

Brandon808 posted 1/25/2014 22:18 PM

Could I say to him, if you cheat on me this will not work after all I've done to him? I'm asking him to forgive me, if he has an A now, don't I have to forgive him? Does my A give him a free pass to do whatever he wants?
BH here and I would say you have every right to say "No".

It is the WS decision to cheat. It is the BS decision to forgive. Remember forgiveness does not mean R. Some couples do R with the BS stipulating that forgiveness is a process that takes time. Some BS forgive but cannot "forget" in the sense that forgiveness does not mean they can live with it.

And for the record if he does have an A then he will be a WH himself and you will be the BW in that circumstance. It's up to him if he wants to live with that but answering hurt with more hurt, and the added guilt/shame, isn't going to help him heal.

Does he want to R? If he does then having an A will not help. There is a thread in the I Can Relate forum for Madhatters (when both spouses have had A's) if you want to read up more on the problems it causes.

If he is unsure whether he wants to R then he should not do anything that could damage the possibility.

If he wants to D, which is a big decision that should not be made impulsively, then it would be better to be single.

There is no fair, no balancing of the scales in doing what he is talking about doing. It is just more hurt. More bad choices.

R takes two. It takes healing (imho) and healing is not achieved by inflicting more hurt.

CantBeUndone posted 1/25/2014 22:42 PM

It's only been 2 weeks since DD so I don't think he knows if he wants to R at this point. Well, I think he wants to but doesn't know if he can ever get over the betrayal. I think he's ambivalent right now which I totally understand and accept. It hurts but all I can do is be the best wife I can be today and hope that in time he can forgive me. That's why I'm so scared right now he will make decisions that he will regret at a time when he's in such an awful place. He's a good guy and I know he's having a major internal battle right now.

PrideFallen posted 1/25/2014 22:57 PM

If he's a good guy, that side will likely win out, with respect to a revenge affair. (Which doesn't mean he'll necessarily want to R, in the end.) My BW talked a lot in the very beginning about how she thought having an A herself would balance the scales and put us back on an even footing. I suspect this is almost universal after DD. She talked about going to a large city that's an easy drive away, and how easy it would be for her to have a ONS. (Sadly, the fact that it would be easy if she wanted to is no doubt true.)

She never did any of this, though. The idea disgusted her and the culture of infidelity disgusted her. She gradually worked past it. (The idea of a revenge affair, that is, not the disgust.)

regret12 posted 1/25/2014 23:05 PM

CantBeUndone, I'm sorry you have to be here, but welcome. Wow, our situations are similar right now. I just posted on the WS forum this eve about my frustration with my B/WH and similar actions. Tomorrow will be 7 weeks from DDay of my A, which was TT over 12 yrs.

My H has always turned to flirting and boosting his self esteem when things have gotten rough in our relationship. He's had EA's and PA's (no intercourse, but touching and kissing involved) throughout our 22 yrs together and I used a lot of that to justify my own PA 12 yrs ago. Then a few yrs ago he had two EA's within a couple yrs and now completely justifies all of his by saying they were the result of my A 12 yrs ago, which DID involve sex and thus makes it "worse" than any of see how mad hatters like to trump? Yeah, it sucks and it spirals and it doesn't end well.

My H is also dealing with the total revelation of my PA by going out with a friend who would likely also be encouraging him to flirt and make himself feel better. He's texting constantly and I know a few of these are girls. He says we are separated.

So I say this, if he is considering you separated then be very clear with him about what that means and what it means to you. I've told my H that if he decides to sleep with someone in retaliation that I will consider it an A, cheating, etc. just because he wants to say we are S, we are still married and even living in the same house.

I'm sorry you are experiencing the paranoia...I know how that feels. And they do too! That's part of the pain as well and then the guilt as well. We don't want to feel like this, hate that we ever made them feel like this, don't feel that we have the right to say anything bc of our guilt.

Hang in there and try talking to him calmly about the subject as you can. It's gonna be an emotional roller coaster, so buckle up. But take care of yourself too. We are all here for you.

Brandon808 posted 1/25/2014 23:24 PM

My advice would be to get into IC immediately. Talk to him about this. Be calm. Let him know you see how he is hurting. I would not ask him for a decision as much to wait awhile before making a decision to include any actions that cannot be undone.

Dontcare5 posted 1/26/2014 00:42 AM

Well you asked so Ill share my story with you. Like your marriage my marriage is almost very similar. Me and my wife were HS sweet heats and were each others first and only and were about 20 years together when I found out about the affair. So when I found out I was completely devastated. I thought that my wife was an angel and the love of my life my whole world but after Dday I stop feeling that for my wife. First I was in grief then I was in bargain as I kept justifying the affair as something I did wrong in our marriage then I went to hate and now Im kinda in a hate/acceptance/grief end. My wife assured me I did nothing wrong but it was just a fling that lasted about 1 year and 7 months that just happened. And I thought to myself yeah I have been tempted but I always thought my wife is beautiful sexy and my love so I only need and had her. I now accept that she deosnt feel the same even though she says that she does and it was a moment of lapse judgement I dont believe her. So because of my kids I stay and tried to make it work but I cant feel love for my wife even though we date express more affection and spend a lot of time together I cant feel love for my wife anymore but she thinks I still do. I put on a show when I get home until my kids go to college (which is soon) but I have a LT girlfriend on the side and I cheated my wife a few times before I met my girlfriend. Dday was 3 years ago I spend 1 year in a hidden depression burying my feelings from my wife and am still having a "affair" for 2 years now and cannot wait to divorce my wife even though she thinks everything is better. It saddens me a little when I think of how much I loved my wife back then and the life we could of had but she did what she did and this is the result. I guess the point of this is to just tell you about my "marriage" from someone who did have an affair after my wifes affair. Good Luck on your marriage going forward.

Monsterslayer posted 1/26/2014 03:04 AM

Unfortunately this is the consequences of A.

What he may not understand about A is that very few are premeditated. Rarely does a person say "I'm gonna go out and hurt my spouse in the worst possible way". Rather it is a function of vulnerability and opportunity colliding in the perfect storm in which the WS is swept away. I am not excusing the choice they made or the resulting pain they cause I am merely suggesting that in most cases they did not intend to have an affair and cause their spouse and family such devastation and pain.

A revenge affair is not so. They don't cancel each other out. A revenge affair is truly premeditated. Going into it they know fully the pain they will cause, the havoc their actions will release and they choose to do it anyway. IMHO there are no free passes, never, for any reason. There is always a price, the more you know the higher the price.

As BS most of us have toyed with the idea at one time or another, thankfully reason and common sense won out. I hope and pray that will be the case with your BS.

rachelc posted 1/26/2014 05:40 AM

monsterslayer - great post. There sure have been a lot of RA threads lately.

My husband had two affairs after mine, he doesnt' refer to them as RA because he didn't set out to hurt me or have affairs but once the vows were broken I guess he gave himself permission.... it has nearly destroyed us. There is no "now we're even" thing. It's just more pain added on top of pain.

There is a thread I think in Reconciliation where Aubrie explains that a RA would be a dealbreaker for her. If a BS knows the pain it would cause but does it anyway?

JustDesserts posted 1/26/2014 06:01 AM

Your husband "deeply regrets not cheating on you"? He doesn't want a free pass. He wants a lifetime exemption. And this buddy, he's giving him his play book.

JustDesserts posted 1/26/2014 06:09 AM

Dontcare5: Quite a first post. Obviously you don't care. You've provided a profound argument for why revenge affairs don't work. Sad.

CantBeUndone posted 1/26/2014 07:50 AM

He said he deeply regrets not cheating on me but again, with things being so new, only 2 weeks past DD, he's going through a lot of emotions. And it hurt a lot to hear him say that but I tried to push it away and accept that hopefully he doesn't mean everything he says now (or even if he means it today, hopefully in the future we can work toward something better.) When he said it, I was less worried that he was going to run out and cheat on me and just so incredibly sad. My response to him was why would you wish to be less than you are? Don't ever wish that on yourself. After the A was over I started drinking heavily because I couldn't stand myself. I couldn't look in the mirror. I never in a million years thought I was the kind of person who could do something like that. NEVER. And now, nothing I do can undo it. No matter what happens now, whether we stay together or don't, I have to live the rest of my life knowing that I WAS that kind of person. That I was capable of doing this horrible thing to my family.

As far as the premeditation, I agree with that as the WS, however, my BS wouldn't. My A carried on for 4 months and we met in hotels twice during that time. MY BS said he could understand a one time thing, drinking too much and getting caught up in the moment, that it would be hard but he could forgive it. It's the rest. The lying and seeing the AP after that. I see what he's saying, the initial crossing the line wasn't premeditated but the rest of the meetings were. But I guess the difference is that I wasn't thinking about my BS at all (I'm not sure if that makes it better or worse.) I was so caught up in the A and so "in love," really just so incredibly selfish and self-centered that nothing else mattered at that time. I wasn't thinking about my BS and how much this would hurt him, I was only thinking about me and how good I felt when I was with the AP. Obviously, I see that as a big distinction if he were to go out and do something now just to get back at me, but I'm not sure it matters what the reasons are when an A happens. There are no reasons that make it okay, I guess all I can do is pray he decides he wants to R and makes choices now that support that decision later.

[This message edited by CantBeUndone at 7:51 AM, January 26th (Sunday)]

Monsterslayer posted 1/26/2014 08:30 AM

Unfortunately, you are getting it. I can't imaging the pain you are going through now, but I can empathize. I saw my own FWW go through this stage. It sounds like you understand what happened, the next step is understanding g why you did what you did. Only with that understanding can you be able to say with confidence that it want happen again.
God bless Unfortunatly

[This message edited by Monsterslayer at 11:44 AM, January 26th (Sunday)]

pointofnoreturn posted 1/26/2014 09:06 AM

I think I have to emphasize that being a betrayed spouse doesn't make you a saint. That said, this could be him just expressing his anger and disappointment in you. That's what I hope because no one deserves the pain of being cheated on, wayward or not.

astudentoflife posted 1/26/2014 10:16 AM

Nope, your affair does not give him a free pass. It does not give him the right to be with friends who have cheated on their spouses, why he can even be with this "friend" is a mystery to me. You have a right to set parameters (reasonable), even though it is you who has cheated.

The knowledge is fresh in his mind. A RA is not abnormal for a BS to feel at this point. If he does choose it, he will have to do everything you are doing right now. It would be an asinine move IMO. Simply tell him of your concerns and see how things go. You cannot control him, you will have to keep working on yourself.

Noturfan posted 1/26/2014 18:05 PM

I have a problem with the idea of 'it's a consequence of the A'.

Just as entering an A is a choice (a VERY bad one) how the BS, OBS, AP & WS act after DDay is also a choice.

If the A is outed, then the consequences that follow are because of the outing, not the A.

If an RA is CHOSEN by the BS the the consequences of that action are on them.

Each action has a consequence, they can't all be blamed on the A, otherwise, how would the cycle ever stop?

MadnessMuse posted 1/26/2014 18:48 PM

[This message edited by MadnessMuse at 9:40 PM, April 18th (Friday)]

Monsterslayer posted 1/26/2014 18:50 PM

Noyurfan... Agreed! Not a popular position though....

MC_Jack posted 1/26/2014 18:50 PM

Hey cantbe,

I can relate to your WH. I have those same feelings, but unfortunately 20 months pas dday. For me they just came on over the last month. I did not have them at first. It is an internal struggle. As I have not cheated yet, I hope that my better self prevails as I hope your H's does at well.

I also get how dontcare5 feels. Yep it's a bad time for me. I agree, 'no free pass' is the right answer, but I am still wrapping my head around how it is so easily said now by the WS: where was that voice pre-A? Bummer.

Maybe if you can get your H into IC where he can get the right pro-M message from a 3rd party.

oh, and congrats to you on confessing. Shows a lot of courage and integrity.

[This message edited by MC_Jack at 6:52 PM, January 26th (Sunday)]

Noturfan posted 1/26/2014 19:03 PM

Thanks Monsterslayer. I quite often feel on the out with my opinions. I can understand the hypocrisy that same display though, betrayal changes who you are and how you see the world.

There is already enough hurt, I don't need any more. Neither does anyone else.

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