One of the issues that I believe could be contributing is the fact that I'm currently tapering off of Effexor because I want to proceed in this Reconciliation as myself. I don't like feeling different from the meds. They've numbed my emotional side. The withdrawal has some nasty side effects that I've been enduring for a 1-1/2 weeks.
For the most part, the R has been going well with the expected ups and downs, but we seem to be moving in a positive direction almost 5 months out from D-Day.
This past Friday night/Saturday morning I had a weird gut feeling to check my 14 year old son's phone while he was sleeping. I was horrified to see him engaged in a text message thread with a boy from school trying to buy marijuana from him. I then looked through his photos and saw a couple pictures of my son holding a joint. He is a great kid. Loving, compassionate, outgoing, sensitive. He does very well in school and works hard at his sports. I was devastated. I woke up my WW and we then woke him up and confronted him. He sung like a canary (thankfully two of his strongest traits are that he is extremely honest and conscientious). For the sake of brevity, I won't go into all the details, but one thing he did say was that he started doing it to fit in with some other kids, but also that it helped him forget his problems, namely his concern with our coming close to divorce in the past. I asked if he really did it because of that, or was he making an excuse. He admitted it was just a bad excuse, but that he did have concerns and that he would like to talk to me about them in private.
I took him for a drive down to the lake. We sat on the edge of a pier and had a heart to heart. With tears in his eyes he told me he was concerned that his mother might have another affair because neither her nor the OM were punished for what they did. He admitted to me he felt like I was weak at first, for not beating the crap out of the OM. My heart sank. No father wants to look weak in their son's eyes. I explained to him that his mother was punished and continues to be punished every day by the reminder of the hurt she brought into the house. I told him she is working hard through IC to make sure this never happens again. As far as the OM is concerned I told him that I often had thought about revenge and how good it might feel...for a very little bit. I said that WW and my two DS were more important to me than that rotten person and that it was my job to focus on them. If I were to retaliate, it would only make our lives more difficult and sometimes it requires more strength to put your hostilities aside than to give in to them. We talked about other things and all in all it was a good conversation. He knows what's expected of him regarding the marijuana and will be working to right his wrongs.
After this talk though, I couldn't help but feel so damn angry at WW for bringing these hurts and doubts into our childrens lives. I don't blame her for the marijuana, but I do blame her for the insecure feelings they have about the safety of our marriage. I had a hard time being close to her yesterday. She could sense it and made a few attempts to get close, but I was shut down.
Our 21st anniversary is coming up this October, and it will be 4 days after her ONS from last October. I'm already dreading that day. Now I feel like a failure as a father and wanted nothing to do with Father's Day. How could I feel good having them celebrate me, when my boys are hurting and one of them was heading down a dangerous road? I told WW I didn't want any recognition today, and just wanted to lay low. She understood.
Now she's spent most of the day away from the house doing activities with the boys while I'm sitting here alone with a headache, nauseous, brain zaps (read about Effexor withdrawal and you'll know what those are), and feeling like life just handed me another kick in the ass.
I know I'm partially feeling sorry for myself, but I haven't felt normal in almost 7 months and I'm just getting tired of having my life manhandled by the affair.
Thanks for letting me vent.
Firstly, I can fully understand this feeling
I'm just getting tired of having my life manhandled by the affair.
I know. I get this. You feel as if the A did not happen, none of this would be happening. Your son and pot, his feelings of anxiety, his anger at your wife, you not wanting to take part in father's day. I would do that too. I would make everything about the A. All roads led back to the A. Everything. I gave it wayyyy too much power and got to the point where it exhausted me. In fact, I was approx. 7 or 8 months out when I was almost at my peak of exhaustion. But before the summer was over I knew I had to start focusing on all the good that my H was doing and where we were now.
Having said that, I still get that you see the world differently, I really do. I can only say that time does help but it's also what you DO with your time.
I do commend you for a) following your gut to check your son's phone and b) taking your son out for a heart-to-heart talk following the discovery of his pot usage.
Small bit of insight here. My H started smoking pot at approx. the same age. It was also at this time that his dad had had an A and altho my H did not know about the A, there were changes in the house that brought anxiety to all and depression to his Mom. Smoking pot with friends was a) the cool thing to do and b) helped him laugh and embrace a lighter side when things at home were not so great.
My H soon learned that it was easier to get high then engage in any conflict. It became an escape. It's too bad bc he was at a great age to learn about the importance of talking about fears, anxiety, pressures of youth. That didn't seem to happen. He would continue to smoke pot on and off for the next 3 decades. Again, he used it as an escape. The A was an escape too.
I only mention this bc I hope you will keep talking to your son about this. Checking in with him and helping him to open up. Maybe even draw up a contract.
Slight wrist-slap now...
How could I feel good having them celebrate me, when my boys are hurting and one of them was heading down a dangerous road? I told WW I didn't want any recognition today, and just wanted to lay low. She understood.
Maybe your wife understood this but what about your boys? What I think they need now more then ever is their Dad. I don't want to make you feel worse then you do - not my intention whatsoever - but this is what I mean when I wrote about giving the A too much power. And the A gains power every time you chose to step out of family time, or a celebration or a moment to connect with your wife and kids.
You acknowledge at the end that yes, you are feeling a wee bit sorry for yourself. Yes, you are. You can't get that time back but you can work on bettering the future and embracing the now. So, time to take a deep breath. Give those boys of yours a big bear hug. Tell them how much you love them. How impt they are to you. You did wonderfully with your son and that talk. More of that siyotanka. More of that.
Happy Father's Day. I wish you well.
Now I feel like a failure as a father and wanted nothing to do with Father's Day.
You feel like a failure....I get that. Had those moments too. Nice thing about feelings? They change.
Your son wondering why you didn't beat OM up? He is a boy going into puberty. You are a man charged with shepherding that boy through his adolescents and into manhood. The fact that he naturally thinks this is a battle between you and the OM confirms he needs your guidance to mature....guidance that I lacked as my Dad completely disappeared upon parents D. I was 12.
A weak person allows their feelings to take on the role of dictator, rather than what feelings really are....indicators.
You are a good man. Your gut is intact and functioning maturely.....and NOT like a 12 year old boy. Your response to your gut and the subsequent interactions with your son directly displays your health as a role model and shepherd.
"More is caught then taught"
Your sons are blessed to have you as their role model. The women they will marry will be blessed by the love you are displaying.....both to them and their Mom.
My heart aches when I think if what this will cost our daughters. They, unlike your sons, do not know of my wife's affair. But, also like your sons, have been hurt by her affair.
I do, however, believe much good can come from this. I pray our M can R and that our daughters can witness two adults process through what some have labeled "the toughest trial a M can be subjected to" and grow thru it.
It takes courage to stand your ground. It takes courage to chose love day after day with such pain inside you. It takes courage to engage your son as you have, and courage to not engage the OM. It takes courage to choose this route.
A weak man would not chose as you are.
PM anytime.....I welcome fellowship, especially from men I can learn from.
The thing is, she's doing all the right things now, but I am continually plagued with hurts and reminders of the affair. I end up creating new hurts rather than properly deal with the old hurts. Never my intention, but it happens too much. When it does, her honest reaction sometimes is that she doesn't know if she can keep living like this. That response only gives me more fear of abandonment and I get angry because I feel she owes me the space to get through what she's done. I realize though I have an obligation to this marriage to handle my hurts more appropriately. Not always easy.
Thank you for your kind words of support. They mean a lot to me.
Blakesteel, I wish you the best with your daughters. Believe me, I know the fears you have. As I've known in my heart, and have had reinforced here, the best we can do is love them and let them know that our love is forever and on that they can count. Keep the conversations open and frequent. Keep the hugs and kisses flowing. They will make it and so will you.
OM has 5 kids, one is a boy in puberty. My fear is he will decide a man needs to be in his home and he tries to take over that role.
This OM (his Dad) dumped my wife and was onto another woman within a couple of months....confirmed by my pastor. It has also surfaced my wife was not his first.
My concern is that this puberty-aged boy will do as your son wishes you would do. He will see his Mom in pain, his Dad inflicting it, him ill-equipped to deal with it as it is (his Dads issue)and he will lash out against his Dad's other women in any way he can lash out. Sadly, this could be against our own daughters....confronting them, calling their Mom dreadful names....ugh.
If they get D'ed, the risk will go up...not down.
So how do I deal with that?
The same way I am processing my wifes affair and our current marital state. I address that which I can control....myself. I choose as healthy as I can and conserve my energy. Energy is wasted on "what ifs" like that I just mentioned.
But reading your sons reaction does get me back in touch with that fear. Not all bad.....just need to sit with that fear and NOT react to it until such time it is necessary. Short of moving, not much I can do about the consequences of adultery.
And moving will have its own stress on our girls.....
I pray for him and his family daily. Yes, some of it is protective prayer....for if they can improve the health of their family my family will be more safe. But I also pray for it because of the implications his actions have for the future of his 5 kids. They are developing their OWN FOO issues as I type this. Kids may be resilient (hate that phrase, but has some truth) but they also pick up on far more than parents give them credit.
Your spending time with your son is golden.
Meg Meekers wrote Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters. Her single biggest take home message is to simply "be there" for your kids.
When they fight against you they are not doing it out of hate....they are doing it out of fear. They effectively are wanting to see if they are worth fighting for.
What you are doing right now with your son is showing him he is worth fighting for. Even if it costs you BIG TIME, you are willing to pay the price.
I didn't have that with either of my parents....and that was displayed to me in grand fashion at age 12. Parents D, Dad disappeared and Mom was swallowed up by resentment to the point of neglect.
I wish you were my neighbor. I could use another thoroughbred or two to hang with.
I am trying to do what you are doing, what Meg Meekers knows to be true.
Keep the faith. Keep posting....we may not be neighbors, but that doesn't mean I can't pick up a tip or two from you.
God is with us all.
[This message edited by blakesteele at 3:34 PM, June 16th (Monday)]
So willing to stomp the OM's head until I felt earth under my boot......so UNWILLING to so much as raise my voice to my wife.
I really believe parts of me stopped maturing at age 12. Lots of therapy has me doing visualization exercises to comfort that boy-within and mature him past the puberty stage into adulthood.
I have faith I am growing. Posts like this give me just that many more exercises to grow stronger.
end up creating new hurts rather than properly deal with the old hurts. Never my intention, but it happens too much.
This is half the battle. Recognizing where we go off the rails. At first, all the hurt is jumbled together but as the days go on, we can see that there is enough w/o creating more. But just so I understand, do you mean that you create a story in your head, run it by your wife, she says "no, it didn't happen that way and I don't know how much longer I can do this!" Is that what you mean by new hurts?
Also, have to add....your wife put this car in the ditch so she is going to have to get it out - (sorry, that was a Dr. Phil-ism). Yes. While it is normal to be angry as you work this out, you can also be as grown up about it as possible. At some point, I stopped throwing insults my H's way and just focused on the facts at hand.
Curious - are you and/or your wife in IC? Do you attend MC? An IC can really help you work through your anger and make some new ground.
Incidentally, I have two young boys - 9 and 7. Neither one knew of the A but they did catch me crying early on. I just told them that no matter what, Mommy was going to be okay and that this had nothing to do with them. That someone had really hurt my feelings and even though that person apologized, it still hurt. Most impt., I let them know that they were safe.
Glad blakesteele found you and responded. He's been here for a while and always has a thoughtful comment, insight, suggestion.
[This message edited by LA44 at 4:38 PM, June 16th (Monday)]
One example is that I've had a lot of nightmares since D-Day. Coming off the meds makes it worse. Now, with the pot discovery I had a bad dream that night that my son was a strung out addict. The next morning my WW asked how I slept. Angrily I said "oh, just great! Now I have the choice of dreaming about you f***ing that a$$hole from the gym, or of my son dying from an overdose. It's great to have choices!" Obviously I regretted saying it immediately. It's just been so long since I've felt like myself and I'm getting tired of feeling like the one that has to take the high road so as not to hurt her feelings. I just wish she would understand from my perspective and give me a little more leeway before she plays the "I don't know how much more of this I can take" card. We are clearly making progress, but these stumbling blocks seem too much for her.
We are both seeing a MC and she's seeing an IC. I was but have stopped.
Thanks again for listening and offering your wisdom.