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I lost myself for awhile... but I'm back

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PhantomLimb posted 4/8/2014 19:20 PM

I'm at the year mark. DDay1 was late April. DDay2 was mid-May and I moved out. Trial S until July. Filed. It was over by November (no kids, no property).

I've been full NC and IC since DDay1. Reached out to family and friends and took all of the help I could get. Since then I've managed to find a new job, get a new place, finish my advanced degree (well, almost! a few weeks to go!). Lost all of that weight I've always wanted to lose on the infidelity diet. Been taking care of myself. Cultivating friendships. Putting myself first in ways I haven't in years.

The further and further I am from my M, the more I'm realizing two things: (1) how poor his character was from day 1... and I made tons of excuses and rugswept and (2) how much of myself I lost along the way in an effort to make him feel good about himself, support him, do things "for us" when, really, he was doing the bare minimum in return.

On #1: I don't have to go into the list, but, as they say, he showed me who he was from when I first met him. And the funny thing is, I knew. I didn't like him much. I wasn't attracted to him. Something about him just told me to say "no" when he asked me out. But he love bombed me and I was young and stupid. As the years went on more and more I would see glimpses that he was a narcissist, that he was a procrastinator, that he didn't stand up for people when they needed it, that he broke rules he shouldn't break, that he would lie by omission to people, that he was lazy, that he didn't have any friends from the past (so telling!!!!!) and never made an effort to meet or keep any when we were together (except OW).

But he was kind to me and our dog. Pretended with my friends and family to be a good guy. But why wouldn't he? My family was wealthy and paid for most of our stuff, bought him presents, took care of him. I have wonderful friends who accepted him even though he was a freaking weirdo sometimes. And I never put any pressure on him. When he acted like an asshole at work and got into shit, I'd give him tough love, but help him through it... he never faced any real consequences from me or anyone else. And I was there to get him out of a jam if he needed it.

#2: I used to include him in on my work and other decisions to make him feel good about himself like he was helping. I knew he was insecure and part of his love bombing was trying to make himself seem indispensable and useful. I let him. I kept a sense of myself for a good number of years in the M. But somewhere along the line, we both started to believe his own bullshit. I began to defer to him. Let him call the shots. I got to the point where I wouldn't even send an email to a colleague without asking him to proof read it. When I look back at that now, it seems insane to me, given what an independent person I was.

A lot of this year has been putting my M into focus and owning my shit. Our M wasn't all bad-- and he wasn't all bad, either. In many ways he was a sweet and helpful and lovely man. We had some really, really good years together. But I have to admit that it was dysfunctional near the end. It should have been something we talked about and worked through as a couple... but he didn't and we didn't and he did what he did. It's tragic and it's unjust. But I needed to ask for more, ask him for more accountability and stand up for myself. And I didn't. In a lot of ways, I was content to let him take the lead in our relationship for awhile there... and maybe that can be okay in some relationships... except he never showed me that he deserved that kind of trust. Not really.

After I got through the worst of it and the D was final, slowly I've started to become myself again. I still have bad days, but overall I'm happier, healthier and, if I'm honest, I don't miss him as much as I probably should.

Again, the further I get away from this the more I realize that it's true when people on SI tell you that you can only control you. You are the person you need to be most accountable to. And you are your own best advocate.

Dobegirl posted 4/8/2014 19:44 PM

So happy for you and your progress. I needed this today. I hope to get there soon. I know I'm on the right path finally.


(1) how poor his character was from day 1... and I made tons of excuses and rugswept and (2) how much of myself I lost along the way in an effort to make him feel good about himself, support him, do things "for us" when, really, he was doing the bare minimum in return.

I too am realizing this and soooo can relate to this almost to a T.

Tripletrouble posted 4/8/2014 20:35 PM

Congratulations on your progress. Your post really resonates. I also had a late April D Day and November divorce. I also feel I lost myself in his shadow during the marriage, even though I was successful and independent going into the relationship. I think it is a work in progress and a big step towards healing when we can look back and see the good parts of both the marriage and the person that hurt us so badly in the end. I remember a few months ago seeing an old picture and it made me smile instead of cry. I knew it was a turning point.
Onward and upward PL

Bluebird26 posted 4/8/2014 20:41 PM

I could have written your post word for word as well, except I was stupid and had kids with him.

I am so thankful he is not in my life anymore. I will be even more thankful when the youngest DS is 18.

SBB posted 4/8/2014 21:27 PM

I'm so proud of you I could burst my friend.

On the tombstone of my M: "Not bad enough to leave, not good enough to stay." That was the theme for a vast majority of it. Willpower and fear are a heady mix.

He was never good enough. Through all of this shit I've realised just how good I am - I'll never lose sight of it again.

RedWheelBarrow posted 4/9/2014 02:53 AM

Thanks for this. I hope to be able to write a post like this soon.
This part especially has me nodding:

As the years went on more and more I would see glimpses that he was a narcissist, that he was a procrastinator, that he didn't stand up for people when they needed it, that he broke rules he shouldn't break, that he would lie by omission to people, that he was lazy, that he didn't have any friends from the past (so telling!!!!!) and never made an effort to meet or keep any when we were together (except OW).

norabird posted 4/9/2014 10:08 AM

The further and further I am from my M, the more I'm realizing two things: (1) how poor his character was from day 1... and I made tons of excuses and rugswept and (2) how much of myself I lost along the way in an effort to make him feel good about himself, support him, do things "for us" when, really, he was doing the bare minimum in return.

I can see this coming into clearer focus for me too. I'm glad you have the distance to see these things and not be in the thick of them anymore!

strongerdaybyday posted 4/9/2014 14:00 PM

(1) how poor his character was from day 1... and I made tons of excuses and rugswept and (2) how much of myself I lost along the way in an effort to make him feel good about himself, support him, do things "for us" when, really, he was doing the bare minimum in return.

Me too. It's amazing how much we'll put with even when the other person doesn't put in half as much but acts like they do.

except I was stupid and had kids with him.

As much as I love my kids their father leaves much to be desired. Ugh. All I did was ask him to work. Pull his share 50/50. And how did I get repaid? He slept with another and created an OC. Which DNA confirms is his but he's decided to deny him because he doesn't look like our kids.

[This message edited by strongerdaybyday at 2:03 PM, April 9th (Wednesday)]

Inalittlewhile posted 4/9/2014 15:30 PM

This is so inspirational, and I can identify. Almost identically.....

zoma posted 4/9/2014 22:04 PM

oh damn you just posted how I've been going over this whole relationship I've gotten myself out of! No former friends-I was strong and keeping everything going with my kids and me. He admired strong women, especially those that got themselves out of an abusive marriage. His story was his ex was the fuck around- he only stayed for his boys- years later come to find out he was the 1 who was screwing around! She would call and beg him to come back-guess he don't know me as good as he thought, or thought that the story would repeat! I've been lucky in that I've got a good daughter that said you're finally finding the pieces of yourself that you kept dropping off to please him!

gypsybird87 posted 4/9/2014 22:11 PM

Welcome back, PL.

Amen and ditto to every word of your post, except my divorce was final in May. My dday anniversary is tomorrow.

Like you, I can't believe the things I ignored, the independence I gave away, the parts of myself I buried... for someone so unworthy. Nice on the surface, but inside, friendless, soulless, an empty shell of a man.

But I needed to ask for more, ask him for more accountability and stand up for myself

As soon as I did this ^^^ was when he emotionally vacated the relationship and graduated from EA to PA. After that, it was just a matter of time.

I don't know about you, PL... but in a way I just feel so lucky to have gotten out alive. I don't mean that literally, but I'm so thankful that more years of my life weren't wasted, and that when it did end, I wasn't so lost that I couldn't find my way back. Back to myself, back to a good place in life.

(((phantomlimb)))

Thanks for posting this today.

Nature_Girl posted 4/9/2014 22:22 PM

Wow, so many similarities in what you wrote with my own life that it's a bit eerie at the moment. Good job that you're reclaiming yourself! (((HUGS))

Sadmumma posted 4/10/2014 07:12 AM

The further and further I am from my M, the more I'm realizing two things: (1) how poor his character was from day 1... and I made tons of excuses and rugswept and (2) how much of myself I lost along the way in an effort to make him feel good about himself, support him, do things "for us" when, really, he was doing the bare minimum in return.

On #1: he showed me who he was from when I first met him. As the years went on more and more I would see glimpses that he was a narcissist, that he was a procrastinator, that he didn't stand up for people when they needed it, that he broke rules he shouldn't break, that he would lie by omission to people, that he was lazy, that he didn't have any friends from the past (so telling!!!!!) and never made an effort to meet or keep any when we were together (except OW).

WOW. sounds like this was written for me.

And this

I used to include him in on my work and other decisions to make him feel good about himself like he was helping. I knew he was insecure. I kept a sense of myself for a good number of years in the M. But somewhere along the line, we both started to believe his own bullshit. I began to defer to him. Let him call the shots

Definately. I need to re claim me. Its funny, in hindisght he used to paint me as "the ball breaker" to others... and when they met me they'd say "you're nothing like we pictured you". I called him on it, and he said 'oh y'know men just sit around and complain about their wives... I didnt wwant to feel left out'

yearsofpain25 posted 4/10/2014 07:53 AM

Wow PL. I applaud you again for having such a positive outlook and finding yourself. Welcome back! I admire your introspect and strength.

yop

PhantomLimb posted 4/10/2014 08:22 AM

I don't know about you, PL... but in a way I just feel so lucky to have gotten out alive. I don't mean that literally, but I'm so thankful that more years of my life weren't wasted, and that when it did end, I wasn't so lost that I couldn't find my way back. Back to myself, back to a good place in life.

I do feel like this a lot. DDay happened just as I had quit my job to take one in his office (with OW!!!!!)... I was able to get my old job back and then go back on the market. I can't even imagine what it would have been like to have started the new job and then find out about the A.

I'm also lucky that he's a 'poofer'. He tried to send some emails about 6 mos later, but I NCed him. Otherwise, he's just moved on with OW and has cut all of the family and friends from our shared past out of his life. So I never had to live through the doubt of false R beyond the three weeks I stuck around at first.

To some extent, I was also benefited from the dysfunction of our M. We didn't have a ton of emotional intimacy. If anything, we tended to compete with each other a bit. Of course we supported one another, but I personally never liked to show him weakness. I don't know why, but I just never felt like I could trust him with that (hmmm.... imagine that!). So when DDay happened I cried and raged and was in the fetal position like a wounded animal like everyone else, but when I confronted him I was generally pretty strong and stood up for myself and was collected, because I had this mentality that this guy wasn't going to beat me. And when I went NC, I stayed NC... in part because I saw it like a contest. Who could be stronger. Completely effed up mentality for a M... but great for a breakup.

Part of me is always going to regret what happened here. I wasn't unhappy with him and, without his A, I may have never realized that he was as empty as he is... and sometimes I wonder how long I could have gone on self-sacrificing and losing myself. It was clearly reaching a point that wasn't healthy and sustainable. But it might have taken me another 10 years and a couple of kids to put together fully that he has a man-child.

I'm hoping that I'll find a more emotionally fulfilling relationship at some point that will make the one with him pale in comparison. I already like who I'm becoming more without him than I was with him, so I want to keep that up. I'm the lucky one who doesn't have an OW and her kid, etc to keep me stuck in one place. I have all kind of options, when you think about it. If a part of me still wants him to feel remorse, etc... I figure living the best life I can (and hoping he hears about it!) is the only revenge that matters. And, beyond that, I just try to be grateful for the good years and I know what I brought to the table in terms of how much I loved him. As for my mistakes, again, I try to own those and make course corrections on my own shit for the future.

I think that's all any of us can do. In that respect, yeah, we are lucky we get a second chance without them.

Gemini71 posted 4/10/2014 09:53 AM

I believe that to some extent, we all have to "find ourselves" again after the breakup of a marriage. Your progress gives me hope.

I had so much invested in our family and our lives together that I couldn't imagine a future without him. Now I'm slowly building new dreams with my 'new' family unit.

You are definitely entering your New Beginning. Good luck.

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