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Conflicting wants

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ItsaClimb posted 5/18/2014 02:20 AM

What I want:
A: I want to throw myself into creating a good life with fWH. I want to work on my issues, to see him working on his issues and I want the two of us to work together on our marriage. I want to forgive him. I want to focus on the present and do everything I can to make it wonderful. I want to make plans for the future – dream of the holidays we will go on, our retirement, the fun we will have with our grandchildren. I want to let go of the anger and pain I have been feeling for nearly 2 years now and instead focus on joy. I want to be free of the affair – free to live the good life and have the good marriage that I know we can have.

B:I want to yell and scream and rage at fWH. I want to continually remind him of the depth of my pain and the volume of damage he has inflicted on me, our marriage and our family. I want to remind him of the priceless treasure (our marriage) that he has defiled by his senseless actions. I want to spit in his face and kick him in the nuts every single time thoughts of the affair cross my mind. I want to see recognition and humiliation on his face when I talk about what he has done. I want to force him to acknowledge again and again, what a total arsehole he was. I want to hear him beg, I want to see him grovel. I want to watch him hurt as much as I am. (<= and it shames me to admit this! So please, go easy on me! And no, I don't ever kick him in the nuts, except in my fantasies..)

Now, how on earth do you reconcile A and B. Because, truly, deep down I want both of those things. I know that B is cruel, senseless, inappropriate… just… horrible. I know that if I continually hang around in B I am basically drinking poison and expecting fWH to die. B will not bring me happiness. I KNOW that, but it doesn’t stop me wanting it. I don’t want to want B. But I do. I want to be a better person than that. I honestly do. And, god knows, I try to hang out in A. But I get drawn back to B time and time again. How do I make myself stop this?

I often think that there must be some unfinished business that draws me back to B. There must be work that still needs doing. But for the love of life I don’t know what it is. We have gone over everything again and again. fWH is being open, remorseful, willing to talk, to do whatever it takes to help me get past this. I have talked, read, journalled, had counselling…..again and again.

Something I hit on last week that may explain it is that my emotions have not caught up with my head? In my head I have accepted the affair happened, I have worked out what is the better course (A, obviously) I have it all together in my head. But my emotions are still hanging around in B. Emotionally, I still sometimes want to retreat into denial and then when that passes I get caught up in B again. Emotionally, I am perhaps not ready to move to A. But I so badly want to be in A. I am tired of this. Really, really tired. I can see fWH is tired too, even though he tries so hard to be patient. Even the family dog is tired of it...

Advice? Thoughts?

[This message edited by ItsaClimb at 2:22 AM, May 18th (Sunday)]

devasted30 posted 5/18/2014 05:25 AM

^^^^^^^^ I agree with everything you have said. The only thing IMHO that will help is time. And when we are still hurting, time seems to travel so slowly. (((((ItsaClimb)))))

CATransplant posted 5/18/2014 07:22 AM


I have had those feelings as well. At times B was gaining over A...However I chose to tell my FWH just how I was feeling when I was in B. I let him know that this was how I was feeling about what he did and that I really needed to hear how he felt about what he did. Funny thing was that he listened.

He began telling me at times that he felt the same way about his actions.

When I heard the words from his mouth and knew they were sincere I lost the feeling B.

I was afraid to share my deepest anger with him.

I was afraid to give voice to bad feelings.

I was afraid to let my FWH know that I even had such thoughts.

I expected him to be open, and honest with me, but I still was not being honest with him.

I am so glad that I learned to share more of myself. We have much deeper discussions now and I no longer fear rejection of me! Best thing is B no longer haunts my thoughts.

((HUGS)) to you and your journey.

brokensmile322 posted 5/18/2014 08:10 AM

Its a climb,

What you are describing is very normal. Time is really the magic answer.

You will spend less and less time in B and more and more in A. It happens gradually. After this happened for a long time and I finally got that I was mostly in A, I realized this was a pattern that was happening. I was mostly in A but I would slip to B, I realized that I was actually 'putting' myself back in B. It was a slight difference from before when it happened. I was afraid to be in A because I thought WH would forget or think I was 'over it', etc… So I realized that the reason I was in B at that point was my fear rather than my hurt. At that point, I made the choice to be in A. Does that mean I do not slip back to B? NO! I do and I suspect I will for a long time.

I hope that helps.

[This message edited by brokensmile322 at 8:12 AM, May 18th (Sunday)]

Mama3030 posted 5/18/2014 08:15 AM

It's only been three months for me but I feel the same way.

WH says I want him to be miserable and I admit that part of me does want that. Whenever I see him in a moment of happiness there is a part of me that thinks "how unfair for him to be happy at all right now." Not very productive thinking I know.


sudra posted 5/18/2014 08:48 AM

I totally, totally feel the same way. Except I'm nearly four - FOUR - years out! Of course, at about two years out, I found out that he had no problem with me looking at his computer "anytime I wanted" was because he was using inprivate browsing to view his porn and who knows what else.

So that was a setback...

Still, I really want to choose A as well. I can sense that it would be a relief to ME to choose A. Yet B is always there rearing its ugly head.

I think when we hear it takes 2-5 years to get past this and rebuild the marriage, it really means that for some of us, it will take five years and not two years.

tl502 posted 5/18/2014 09:14 AM

I have felt the same way until very recently. My biggest issue to get past was, trying to resolve 29 years of M that was laced with lies and deceit. I think that I finally just got to a point where I let the old M die. I have grieved for it amd buried it and put up a tombstone. I can reme ber the good times with fondness and no longer need to dwell on the bad. But remember, I let myself go through the process of grieving and healing and there was plenty of B feelings in that for nearly 3 years. I think that you are exactly where you need to be, and if you let yourself go through the process of healing, you will get to the place where you can pack the hurts away and go on with your life im peace.
That dreaded "time" again. Good luck to you and your H.

Zayda1 posted 5/18/2014 09:48 AM

I am in the same place with you...the battle between A and B. I am hopeful that with time and therapy A will win the battle.

RipsInMyChest posted 5/18/2014 10:07 AM


Many of your posts resonate with me. I have these battles of heart and mind too. Looking back, I see that *slowly* I am spending more time in A. Every time I slip into B, I ask myself what kind of life I really want to live. I voice my feelings to H as calmly as I can and then try to move past hard sometimes.

I think TIME is the answer we always get and never want. I get so resentful of the time lost cleaning up this heaping pile of dung....

sisoon posted 5/18/2014 12:28 PM

I want to watch him hurt as much as I am.

My bet is that won't help. I suspect what you really want to do is to
stop hurting. When we're in the depths of pain, it often seems that the cure is to cause pain in the person who hurt us. Actually, I think, the pain stops by dealing with it directly.

That could mean yelling and screaming, but not 'You SOB!' Instead, it could mean yelling stuff at him, like 'I'm furious that you __________________!' (Fill in the blank with something he did.) It could mean telling him or someone else directly that you're hurting because of something specific he did. It could mean writing for yourself, 'I'm angry that/because _____.'

I think you're wants align very well to each other.

ItsaClimb posted 5/19/2014 01:26 AM

Thanks for the responses. It helps to know I am not alone, I sometimes feel quite crazy fighting my conflicting emotions... It was encouraging to see that so many of you are feeling like this too.

It seems like, as usual, time is the answer.

I keep thinking, "but for heavens' sake, I am nearly TWO YEARS out! Why do I still feel like this? Why am I still on the roller-coaster? What is wrong with me?"

In fact, if I stop to think, I am less than 1/2 way through the 5 years that it will probably take me to heal from this... And knowing me, it could take a lot longer than the estimated 5 years

Sisoon, thank you for that advice. I think that is a technique I need to look at. I am big on yelling at him in very general terms... I think it would probably help if I addressed the specific issues that were really hurting me at that time. Thanks for that.

RomanticInnocenc posted 5/19/2014 01:29 AM

Itsaclimb - wow you have articulated something I am feeling so well! I'm only 4 months out and know I have a long way to go before I spend much of my time in A, but it is definitely there. I guess I am still in the watching stage to ensure that wh deserves this opportunity at R by following through what he says with actions. But I just wanted to say thank you, I'm going to show WH this post so that perhaps he gets what it is like to live with this and that just because I am in B doesn't mean that I will always be.

Lionne posted 5/19/2014 01:38 AM

Yep. Hear you, feel you, BTDT. Time helps. But I also think some of this is about self preservation. Persona A is vulnerable. Persona B is unapproachable, and therefore, safe from more trauma. But of course, also not open to love.

It's a conundrum.

Time and consistency on his part, showing you it's safe to be person A will do the trick.

Gman1 posted 5/19/2014 07:41 AM

I am a year out from Dday and have very similar thoughts as you with options A & B. Fortunately, my FWW has been a model wayward if there is any such thing. I grew so tired of all the negative thoughts and A related pain that I drew a line for myself a few weeks ago. I wrote my wife a letter describing how I have chosen option A and that I was going to focus on the future, positive things in our lives and that I was not going to dwell on the past any longer. I also knew that continuing to allow my brain to "go back" to the A theme all the time was toxic and would serve no purpose. I told her that there would be days ahead that would not be good but that I was not going to allow those bad days to control my life any longer. And I also told her that although I have forgiven her that I would never forget what she had done.

Maybe you should have a heart to heart with your FWH and read him your two options and tell him that you are trying to make a decision. This will allow him to realize that you are still hurting and maybe he will understand what is going on inside of you even better. Maybe you should even show him your post so it will hit home even harder with him. At some point I think it would be best for you to draw a line in the sand and commit to option A. It would be the best for you.

SisterMilkshake posted 5/19/2014 07:45 AM

I have/had those exact conflicting wants, also, ItsaClimb. What the other posters have posted are very good. I wanted to add, though, for me it is the conflict I have for wanting "justice" and "fairness".

To take path A it is giving up on the wanting/needing justice. Which I know I will never have. There is no justice for the couple that is reconciling. There just isn't. Nothing equitable that our FWS's can give or do to give us that feeling of justice. It is total surrender to accepting what they have done and giving up our want/need for justice.

Path B is the path that still wants and needs justice. To have the FWS pay some kind of price for what they have done to us and our marriage. This is holding onto what is impossible. Also, really think about what you have written.

I want to hear him beg, I want to see him grovel. I want to watch him hurt as much as I am.
When I want my FWH to really hurt like I do, to watch him beg and grovel, I realize I wouldn't be able to bear it. Truly. I would be on the ground with him, I would be comforting him. I bet you would, too, ItsaClimb. Because we love them and we couldn't bear to see them in such pain. (Yeah, I am the weirdo that was comforting my fWH on d-day, he just looked so devastated!)

Yes, I agree, the dirty four letter word, time, should help with these conflicting wants.

WarpSpeed posted 5/19/2014 08:30 AM

Three sentences into the second reply is your answer.

However I chose to...

And again in the third reply.

At that point, I made the choice to be in A.

And again in the fifth reply.

Still, I really want to choose A as well. I can sense that it would be a relief to ME to choose A.

And again later.

I wrote my wife a letter describing how I have chosen option A

I can remember making a choice to rebuild a marriage. I've never regretted it. But the choice I made before that was to be the best person I could be for myself, my family and my friends. I made the choice to be happy. I knew I was going to be happy.

You have choices to make too. Choosing to be be happy and knowing that YOU have the ability to make that happen is a great start. Then you'll decide what other choices to make that support your core choice of building a great life for yourself.

WeHadItAll posted 5/19/2014 08:38 AM

ItsaClimb - really excellent way to describe the rollercoaster. I'm also coming on 2 years, and it frustrates me that I still find myself in B territory. When I'm calm and rational, it's so easy to see how A is the *only* way to live - and how self-destructive and painful B is. But it takes real effort and extreme vigilance every single day to keep myself from slipping back into B.

SisterMilkshake is spot on - justice and R can't coexist. You forgo your "right" to payback when you forgive. But for me, forgiveness wasn't even really about him. It was about releasing myself from pain.

It was a full year after DDay that I finally had one month without going into B territory. And it felt so amazing. I hadn't fully realized how exhausted I was from a year of bouncing between A and B. I forgot what it felt like to be even keeled, calm, hopeful. I still go into B, but not for nearly as long and not nearly so often anymore. Because I just don't have the stamina for it. And because it feels so good to be back in control of my life.

This Buddhist lecture on forgiveness was my turning point -

She talks about the seductiveness of righteous anger, how it's easier and more comfortable to lash out than to deal with discomfort of dealing with it within yourself.

One other thing that helped - after a while, I was able to see that fWS was dealing with deep shame and self-hatred, that he struggled between A and B himself. It took a while for him to talk about it - before forgiveness, I was in no state to hear about *his* troubles. That's probably as close to "revenge" as I'll ever get - and it doesn't taste as sweet as you'd think.

ItsaClimb posted 5/19/2014 12:41 PM

Persona A is vulnerable. Persona B is unapproachable, and therefore, safe from more trauma. But of course, also not open to love.

^So true. I think my retreat into B is often prompted by concerns for "safety" - fear of being hurt or abandoned again.

Sister Milkshake you raised something that I have posted about before - I have some trouble with feeling that in a way justice hasn't been served.. you know that feeling that "he got to have all the fun of an exciting new relationship, while I was home caring for his kids, betrayed me in a big way and what does he get? A wife that is working hard to become a better person and a marriage that is even better than it was before!" Where's the justice in that? Logically I get it.. I know that's not how it works really. But yeah, there is that selfish little immature girl in me that sometimes thinks like that. That part of me is very rooted in B.

WeHadItAll - thank you, thank you, thank you... that lecture was amazing! I so needed to hear that.

In one part of the lecture, Tara refers to a Cherokee legend about an elder instructing his young grandson: “In each human heart there are two wolves battling one another—one is fearful and angry, and the other is understanding and kind.” When the little boy asks, “Which one wins?” his grandfather replies, “Whichever one we choose to feed.”

Love that! And it ties in with what Gman1 and WarpSpeed mentioned in their responses. Basically, it comes down to a choice.

phoenix2015 posted 5/19/2014 22:50 PM

Itsaclimb, thank you for putting into words the emotions that swirl through me daily. When I am journaling, so many times I just come back to the word "confused". I struggle with the love I feel for my WH and the intense pain he has caused me and the unfairness of it all. Your post really helped me see the two sides of the coin.
Sisoon and Sistermilkshake, your advice usually rings true with me and give me areas to work on so that I feel like I can move forward.
Tl502, I am struggling with the very topic you referenced. After 20 yrs of putting up with his sh@t, this is what I get? It is a hard pill to swallow, but I do want Itsaclimb's option A!!!
I am so glad to have the wealth of support and knowledge that so many of you share on SI......thank you

PollyA posted 5/20/2014 00:26 AM

When I fantasize about kicking him in the nuts, I'm wearing stilettos.

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