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When is it ok for the betrayer to have hope?

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PenitentMan posted 4/23/2014 13:29 PM

So.... we had our first MC session last night and she admitted that she wants to stay and work things out and rekindle what we lost so many years ago. She teared up as did I. She spoke gently about us. She laughed when she recalled how we met and decided to get married (that story for another time perhaps). Our MC told us that while we were reminiscing she could tell we still have some sort of chemistry that she feels she can work with and help us. Yay? I asked our MC if we were the worst case she's seen and she said no. But maybe she says that to everyone. In any case, I felt relieved and, dare I say it, hopeful. I made an appointment for IC (which won't start for a few weeks unfortunately), but that's not a big deal because I'm here for the long haul. BW thinks I have self-esteem and anxiety issues. Maybe "impulse-control disorder" which I guess is similar to boundary and self-control issues? I.e. I have a hard time saying "no"... Throw in a little anger management since I'm quick to get irritated, especially when interrupted. So yeah, good times.

Right now, however, you seem to be regarding this whole thing as "something that happened to you." Something you can *fix.*

But that's just it.. I know I'm broken now; am I not trying to fix me? How is it wrong to regard it as that. Let me be clear: I made bad, horrible, evil choices that there is no excuse for and then I lied about those choices. But why can't I feel better that we're identifying these things together and I'm admitting to them? I'm not trying to minimize what happened or her pain and maybe my tone right now is too cheerful or whatever, but knowing she *wants* to stay and she *wants* to try and she *wants* things to be as they were and she *wants* to believe that I can be that man again.. *her* man.. It brings a joy to my heart I can't even describe. I was in such pain (I know, I know, I'm the betrayer, so boo hoo for me) but now, even knowing she still could work on herself and decide she's better off without me, even with that in mind I'm comforted and thrilled to hear her say she does want things to work out. Because that's a start. I know that's not a promise of reconciliation, but is that not a gift in itself? A gift I don't deserve, to be sure, but can't I feel happy about it? A wonderful shining 24-karat gold nugget of hope. Right now I feel there's nothing that can't be accomplished; no mountain that can't be moved. I am determined and I *will* talk through things, either with her or in counseling and I will get to the bottom of all of my flaws. I *will* keep my head down and my nose clean. No porn. No facebook. No temptations. Lots of family time and togetherness and healing; as much as she lets me. I know full-well we're on "the rollercoaster" and it hasn't even been a full week. I know it could be weeks or even months before she even lets me touch her again, but I just don't know why it's so wrong for me to feel a little hope.

I feel like people here don't want me to have hope this early on. I hit rock bottom yesterday. I sat with my dogs and stared off into space and felt numb. I daydreamed about the lonely little apartment I would have and how I'd be sitting at my little kitchen table eating cold soup from a can. Today is better. I guess I feel a little bit guilty that today *is* better, like I don't deserve it to be -- at least in the regard of having some hope. Isn't feeling hope better than feeling hopeless? Despite what you might think I *am* taking the hard look at myself. And yes, I'm proud of myself for doing so. Is that wrong? I don't want this to ever happen again or sugar coat anything or sweep anything under the rug, but I feel your measuring eyes weighing me and judging me if I feel anything other than horrible right now.

I still know I caused all this and I still feel like the biggest, dumbest f-up ever; an a-hole of epic proportions; but I feel better that positive steps are being taken. Positive things are being done. Positive words are being spoken. Questions asked, answers given. But it's more gentle now. At least I think it is. Isn't that a good thing? I'm just thinking out loud and maybe this is just an "up" on the rollercoaster. Just trying to make sense of my feelings today. I'm still a big POS and maybe I'm still being selfish for having some hope; for seeing that ray of sunlight break through the clouds. She wants to stay! At least for the moment I will take strength from that light. I'm sure this is going to upset someone somehow, so I'll keep the stop sign. I thought of not posting this at all, but isn't that the whole point of this forum? That we help each other recover? Are my feelings today not valid? Is having hope today continue to make me selfish?

BaxtersBFF posted 4/23/2014 13:41 PM

Your feelings are absolutely valid. After you've been here a while, you may look back at your first post and have a whole different view of where you were at when you came here. My first post was epic fog and luckily some members whacked me into reality. It's just something that happens. Each newer person is at a different point and we all have our own takes and our own opinions on what's going on. We read between the lines. Don't worry about it though...

Your BW is sticking around! That's awesome.

I know what you mean about feeling proud. I've posted about that in the past. Not about being a WS, but being a WS who is doing the work.

Keep it up. Celebrate the wins. Stay in tune with your wife's needs and maintain an open perspective as new challenges come along during your healing.

splitintwo posted 4/23/2014 13:47 PM

Are you regarding the A as "something that happened to you"?

Because that didn't. That was a choice. A whole lot of other shit may have happened to you, but your A was still a choice you made. It took me a long time to lose the "my A just sort of happened, I wasn't looking for it" phrasing.

But even knowing that I made that choice, I still recognize that my brokenness contributed to my behaviors. And that's what I'm trying to fix. Me. My broken parts. That doesn't make the A go away or change anything in that regard, but to me, it's a start. I could spend all day every day wallowing in how horrible of a person I am...I deal with that voice in my head often enough, there no need to add to it. Or I can spend all day every day focusing on the things that will help me heal. That, to me, seems more productive, because until I fix me, there's not a damn thing I can do to fully fix my M.

somethingremorse posted 4/23/2014 13:58 PM

You should have hope -- of R and of becoming or regaining the person you want to be. Lots of people never sign up for that work -- they just barrel along life hurting themselves and the people around them. Try to remind yourself that you are doing something hard.

I think that line we need to be careful of is trying to get "credit" from our BS. In MC, and after my IC, I realize how it can seem selfish to celebrate my breakthroughs when it was my problems that destroyed my BW's life in the first place.

"Guess what honey, I realize that I never felt like there were any consequences to my actions, because no matter what I did, things kept on their same path. Isn't that a great thing to discover about myself?" That was a really good and necessary thing for me to understand, but it made BW want to stick a fork in my eye. Even with that realization, I find that BW has a bad night every time I review my IC sessions with her.

I think you can be hopeful and driven to fix yourself, and think that it will make you a better partner for your BS. But just remember that your BS might not see it that way, at least until she sees the changes in your behavior that your work will produce.

20WrongsVs1 posted 4/23/2014 14:57 PM

I feel your measuring eyes weighing me and judging me if I feel anything other than horrible right now. I just don't know why it's so wrong for me to feel a little hope. I feel like people here don't want me to have hope this early on.

SH, can you consider the possibility that you're receiving a message that isn't being transmitted? Quite often, we hear things through our own distorted filter, and interpret them in a way the speaker didn't intend.

Case in point, you quoted me above, but somehow seem to have interpreted it as, "You can't fix yourself." Thanks for giving me an opportunity to clarify, because no, what I meant was, "Own your shit."

You're spinning this big dramatic web about how everyone here misunderstands you or wants to keep you down. I'm not seeing it. I'm seeing WS at various stages in their journey, generously donating their time to try and understand you, and share their experiences. Do you have a tendency, in general, to think people are against you? Or that you're alone in the world, and nobody understands you?

PenitentMan posted 4/23/2014 15:32 PM

You're right, I guess I'm a drama king. If that's an "issue" I'll add it to my list... And it may very well be. I know folks here *are* generously donating their time and I *do* appreciate every last reply.

Do you have a tendency, in general, to think people are against you? Or that you're alone in the world, and nobody understands you?

This is interesting. I guess I must deep down feel that way. I never really felt I had true friends and I was bullied a lot growing up. The last picked in gym class. As an adult I thought I was past that. But maybe not. I always pictured that while I became semi-successful, those bullies all got jobs pumping gas. As I got older I gradually let all the resentment and hostility go, but maybe I kept the low self-esteem. And maybe I do feel somewhat "alone in the world", aside from my best and only friend who I married. And more often than not I'm comparing myself to those who have more, whether it be money or biceps or friends. I was actually very happy to have the other woman's husband as my friend, my first real life male friend, the same age as me, but that ship has sank now. And it was a dysfunctional and unhealthy friendship anyway for other reasons.

[This message edited by SelfishHusband at 3:38 PM, April 23rd (Wednesday)]

SlowUptake posted 4/23/2014 18:10 PM

It's great that your having these feelings of hope and joy today.

Don't want to rain on your parade.

Perhaps you might want to give a thought to the fact that your BS will not have anything approaching these feelings for months to come?

An exercise in empathy, if you will.

brokeback posted 4/23/2014 19:20 PM

Only you know your circumstances, your wife, and your history together.

I hear what you are sayn. I think some folks on SI see most newbies as just that...newbies.

Many of us, however, may be new here, but not new to the journey at all.

I think you are in the acute stages of this, so expect it to be rocky and emotional. I think it's positive your wife is saying she wants to work on your marriage. Better than the alternative.

Take each day as they come. Be open. Be honest. Be kind. Be loving. Remember the fear of losing her and losing yourself. Hang on to your hope. Some days it's all we have.

Day by day...

[This message edited by brokeback at 7:21 PM, April 23rd (Wednesday)]

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