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Separating "then" vs "now"

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bionicgal posted 1/30/2014 08:33 AM

Last night, and this morning, I am stuck firmly in "then." I triggered yesterday over something undefined, and then asked some details I was unsure of -- and the answers hurt. Really hurt - like, heart-cracked-open hurt. Disgusted hurt. Not-sure-I-can-get-past-this hurt. (I, sadly, don't appear to be one of those people whose imagination is worse than reality; I wish I were.)

I feel like this is a pattern. . .I get to a relative state of ease (and I mean relative. . . the cloud is always there) and then I ask more. Is this healthy? It certainly is painful. H is forthcoming, and honest even when it hurts. He actually told me more than I wanted to know last night -- which compounded my pain. My initial question was, "What did you let her think she was giving you that I didn't". (Remember, this is a friend, someone I knew.)

So, my H wasn't a big compare-guy, she knew me and he couldn't get away with how awful I was. But, the area where he let her believe was better was so personal, and hurtful. Is it reality now? No. Was it even reality then? No, not really. It was rationalization and justification for his behavior and flagging ego. But, it is so acutely painful.

So part of me wants to dig deeper - to get the grimmest of facts. . .just minute, raw data about the sex. But another part of me knows that it was all jacked up to begin with -- in the end, (and during, but unbenownst to them) meaningless and empty. But I still get stuck in his reality at the time.

He sees that it isn't true now, so where do I go from here?

rachelc posted 1/30/2014 08:38 AM

bionicgal - I just want to offer hugs to you!! (bionicgal)

I was up last night with obsessive thoughts. I hate it = he's not that man right now so why do I "go there." It IS part of processing trauma but I am further out and can put up a stop sign - hard to do when sleeping though...

H is forthcoming, and honest even when it hurts.

this is good. It WAS jacked up. It isn't reality now.

I'm so sorry you're hurting. Wish i could help more.

karmahappens posted 1/30/2014 08:44 AM

Hey BG

I feel like this is a pattern. . .I get to a relative state of ease (and I mean relative. . . the cloud is always there) and then I ask more. Is this healthy?

This ^^ to me is healthy. You can't learn it all at once, so you go through "patterns".

You ask, you hurt, you process, repeat.

Until you are done....and that day will come.

The time between asking and hurting will diminish and eventually you'll have a few questions and realize, hmm, I don't even need to ask. KWIM?

Process the new hurt, relive the then and when you are ready now will be here.


The reality of today is what matters, it takes time to get there. Living authentically, honestly and thoughtfully. The thens will pass when it's time.

[This message edited by karmahappens at 8:45 AM, January 30th (Thursday)]

bionicgal posted 1/30/2014 08:55 AM

Oh god, Karmahappens. Are you sure the "thens" will pass?
I try to have faith -- I do. Most of the time, I do.
It doesn't even make sense to me how this can be so painful.

SisterMilkshake posted 1/30/2014 09:05 AM

I agree wholeheartedly with Karma, bionicgal.

I had the same pattern all through at least 18 - 24 months from d-day. Then, when I had questions, I decided to wait on them for a week and see if they were still important and if I wanted to ask them. Funny thing is by the time the week passed, I forgot what the question was. Not saying I didn't have questions probably going into year 3 but they were very few. Your timeline will vary, most likely.

karmahappens posted 1/30/2014 09:07 AM

Yeah bionic, they pass. The only way they will is by processing them. If you don't, they will stay in your "closet" and visit when you least expect it.

Don't let that happen, process, walk through and let it go.

Time, time, time. You don't see it when you are in the middle of it, but when you start to get to the other side the weights will lift off your heart.

It will come.


bionicgal posted 1/30/2014 09:13 AM

(((rachelc, karmahappens, and sister milkshake.)))

Ya'll give me hope. I need it today.

marionwendy posted 1/30/2014 09:23 AM

Im there too. I just cant separate the 2. I wish I could Im so darn sick of all of it. I really miss the old me the happy me the fun me.

Dec15 posted 1/30/2014 09:31 AM

Did your WH ever let your ex-friend that what he told her about you was patently untrue - that he lied to her. I am not suggesting that he do so now (I'm assuming that you are both NC with her), but if he did tell her he lied, maybe that's something you can mentally hold on to now.

bionicgal posted 1/30/2014 09:45 AM

It was more a self-deception/deception than a purposeful lie. He thought he loved her, thought the sex was great, etc. In retrospect of course, it is all BS, but it isn't the kind of lie he'd have known even when he wrote the NC letter. So, no -- no solace to be found there, except that now he sees it for being as empty and devoid of meaning as it was. Or so he says.

Rebreather posted 1/30/2014 09:53 AM

What karma said. Totally. 100%.

Maybe that's not much comfort, unless knowing others have made it through helps.

JustShine posted 1/30/2014 10:01 AM

Oh bionicgal, you aren't alone. I am having a similar experience today and yesterday. I'm usually in a "clear" place about the reality of then vs now, but sometimes I just can't. seem. to. get. there.

I also feel as though my imagination is not worse than reality, and I get SO hung up on the "feelings" aspect of the A.

It's such a positive that your WH sees it isn't true now. Are you able and willing to believe him that he sees things clearly now? If you both are on the same page about that part, then hopefully the reality of NOW will slowly become more and more convincing, replacing the painful memories of then.

I'm not sure my H is quite there yet. His actions are what I need them to be, but I still don't trust the clarity of his feelings. And sometimes I'm okay with that, because I think he'll get there and realize the complete absurdity of the "reality" of his A, and sometimes it hurts so bad that it paralyzes me.

I try to keep an image in my head of what we would look like as a healthy couple on the other side of this. I visualize us as healthy, clear-headed individuals, and loving partners. (In my head, this is always in an airport, interacting in a loving way, and I look awesome, and AP happens to walk by and see us, but my warped details aren't important ). Anyway, this picture of love and partnership and clarity helps calm me down when I lose my center.


AML04 posted 1/30/2014 10:29 AM

I'm so sorry you're "there" right now but I thank you for posting this because I am too. It is SO hard to reconcile who the man is that did all these things with the man I thought he was.

It helps to know that asking these questions isn't just pain shopping. I feel like I need to know everything, both so he doesn't have any secrets from me and also to process that this really happened!!


StillStanding1 posted 1/30/2014 10:38 AM

Wow, bionicgal and zengirl, I am right there with you. I struggle with this all the time. I am quite certain my imagination is less than reality, so I don't ask those questions. I'm not sure which way is healthier, but I can't handle those words.

I, too, see how much he is changing and know that his feelings will necessarily change over time. I'm not ready to hear about that stuff til he's at the point where even if he has to tell me how "great" he thought it was at the time, that I can see and hear the disgust in himself.... Don't know if that prolongs my healing, but I don't need the extra pain. sigh.

Karma, thanks for your words. Gives me hope.

Thanks for the thread. This is a BIGGIE for me. Good to know I am not alone.

JustShine posted 1/30/2014 10:41 AM

It was more a self-deception/deception than a purposeful lie. He thought he loved her, thought the sex was great, etc. In retrospect of course, it is all BS, but it isn't the kind of lie he'd have known even when he wrote the NC letter. So, no -- no solace to be found there, except that now he sees it for being as empty and devoid of meaning as it was. Or so he says.

This is exactly the "reality" I'm struggling so much with. The "love", amazing sex, etc....

My doubts about WH's clarity on these heartbreaking feelings is the only thing that makes me truly feel like I just might not be able to do this.

JustShine posted 1/30/2014 10:44 AM

Hugs to you, too, Stillstanding,

I'm so sad there are several of experiencing this particular version of awfulness.

Breathing in, breathing out.

The WH's A feelings are a part of the sickness of this. They aren't/weren't real. Reality is loving enough to choose to be trying to heal from this, with us, and on their own, even though it suuuuuucks. I know my WH is struggling mightily to do what he needs to do right now. Without the true, genuine love behind his desire to heal our marriage, he wouldn't be able to come even close to looking at the dark places within him. He'd still be avoiding that hard work like the plague, as he has his whole life.

And we're all going to be okay. <3

[This message edited by Zengirl at 10:49 AM, January 30th (Thursday)]

JustShine posted 1/30/2014 10:51 AM

Sorry for hijacking the thread. This one spoke to me today, in a big way.

[This message edited by Zengirl at 10:51 AM, January 30th (Thursday)]

bionicgal posted 1/30/2014 11:11 AM

This is all approximate, and YMMV in terms of times. We have had MC since week 2.

Day 1 - Deep Fog: H thought he had lost something incredible (but still knew in his heart that his place was with me. Luckily he hasn't wavered on this.)

Second Week: Felt regret, struggled with remorse because he still had "lingering feelings of gratitude." (Sorry - that was one of the worst. I almost got a Volvo out of that line alone - ha! )

Second Month: Actual remorse sets in, he sees AP as a "high" and realizes that it "may have been for nothing." Writes apology to OBS. But, still holds out that the sex was better than we had before dday.

Third Month: Realizes he used her, had no self-respect, and drove a truck over his family for his own ego gratification and selfish needs. Reads "Sexual Detours" and starts thinking about his "why." Describes them as "sad."

Fourth Month: Holds me, and my sweaty hand, close the first major time we see her. At this point I think he has seen the sex for what it was.

Fifth-ish Month: Starts writing a thorough and thoughtful "why" letter.

Sixth - Ninth Month: The remorse actually gets more profound I think, as we go along. I trigger and hurt, and he actually feels my pain. I think this is good. He is hurting at work, and I am hurting at home. Not fun, but it will pass. My point is, that the more you share the pain, the more they can feel it. He'll get completely there if he is a good guy. My H's clarity came over time, and I think he is mostly there.

That helps, but unfortunately, can't take away all the old hurt.

[This message edited by bionicgal at 11:12 AM, January 30th (Thursday)]

Ambergray posted 1/30/2014 11:24 AM

I can so relate to this, and my dday is June 2013 as well. I have had a really hard time all week. PMS has not helped. But I have really been struggling with then and now. My struggle has been that I have no resolution to the "then." I wish I could confront that guy and really let him have it! But my husband is not that guy anymore. He is remorseful, he wants nothing but healing for me, we are moving forward. I love the life we have now, but I hate the "then" and that's what always trips me up. I also found out more details this week. I asked about them not using protection. I felt gutted all over again. Why am I still asking? No clue. I hope the questions will eventually run their course.

Morhurt posted 1/30/2014 11:53 AM

Yup, add me to the list!
I was just saying to Remone this morning that I feel I have just gotten deeper info from him lately, not "more", not TT, but more depth to what I already knew. And it's hard, I'm going to need time to process it. Grrrr... stupid time.

There was no lurve but there was the excitement of newness and that is something we can never have. We started dating at 16, we went to college together and as I've never deceived him, I have no secrets, nothing "new".

(TMI alert)
Also... I went pain shopping last night. Big time. I'm horrified at myself, humiliated and disgusted. We were kissing and getting frisky, I turned off the light and while in the act of love making I told him to pretend I was her, that the lights were off and he could pretend I was someone else. Oh my god, it was awful of me to do that. He talked me through it (saying no way, he only wanted me etc.) and I changed it to "tell me you wanted to F her and so you did! Just tell me!!" I can't believe I did that. I really can't. I think the pain and fear just reached out and gripped me at the worst possible time. But he came through for me, he never wavered, he reassured and was loving and calm, didn't pull away, was so sorry etc.

Sigh... the roller coaster is so exhausting. I'm so happy to be able to share it with you awesome people.

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