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struggling with regret

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plainpain posted 7/5/2014 11:45 AM

This is sort of the thing I am stuck on lately... regret for how I didn't listen to myself during the A. I 'knew', but I didn't believe it. I found a hair in the laundry. He was charging his phone in the truck. He had a scratch on his back. He smelled of perfume. He lost his favourite sweater. There were dozens of things. There were at least three times where I wanted to surprise him at work, or follow him somewhere, but I didn't. I had his phone and I thought about having his texts copied to my phone, but I didn't. So many things I could have/should have done, but didn't. I could have caught it so early. I asked him two weeks after he met her if he was having an affair. I knew something was off, but I didn't trust myself. I trusted him over me.

I am angry at myself. I have long, detailed 'fantasies' of catching him in the act and how I would react, completely devastating his life. He told me, because she was pregnant. It would have gone on for years, I am sure, if that cold reality hadn't splashed water on his face.

It's like that movie 'Sliding Doors'. I am sure I would never have recovered in my marriage if I had walked in on him - and I am glad for the H I have now - but I am really stuck here. It's like I replay it all over and over again, but this time I have control of the events.

I'm sure this is common. Anyone have thoughts on how I can move through this? It feels like I am constantly in a self-inflicted Dday.

Mercilesslynuked posted 7/5/2014 11:54 AM

This one is hard for me too, I knew within 48 hours of the EA starting that something was wrong, confronted her about it and allowed myself to be gaslit. Fast forward a few days, the night she first kissed him, I knew again, confronted and allowed myself to be gaslit yet again. Fast forward another few days, two days after they began the PA, one simple phrase she stated, and I knew again... In the end though, we cannot continue down this mental path.

Shoulda woulda coulda only keeps us in the same emotional stagnancy and is unhealthy. I still do this from time to time but it is helpful for me to stop myself immediately, and then remind myself that whatever shoulda/woulda/coulda I could even come up with, would not have prevented the main one: it was only a matter of time before this happened, stopping it earlier would have gained me nothing but amnesty for a few weeks/months/years/whatever. The path we are on now is the only path we could have walked given the tools in our toolbox; we did not know then what we know now, and neither did our partners. What matters more is what we do with the time now.

Want2help posted 7/5/2014 12:40 PM

I just commented on your other thread, but I feel the same way. I think back to all of the times I could have done *something*, and hopefully intervene BEFORE he got the OW pregnant, and we would not be living with an OC hanging over our heads.

The kicker is, I was given information and confirmed he was having an A. I drove out and confronted him and her. Destroyed his lies about our "sexless" life (we had slept together less than 48 hours before the confrontation).

I caused a huge fight for them, then she conceived days later, undoubtedly during their own "makeup sex".

As betrayed spouses, I do not believe in destiny or fate, but sometimes there is nothing we can do. Only a WS controls their behavior. We have to cut ourselves some slack.


plainpain posted 7/5/2014 12:55 PM


It is so painful, isn't it? I wish I had found SI so much sooner... after the first DDay. But I didn't. I did everything "wrong", but I did the best I knew how to do at the time. Such a brutal way to learn life lessons. But I am wiser, stronger and more honest with myself than I have ever been. I guess I am proud of that.

blakesteele posted 7/5/2014 15:36 PM

Yeah, pretty common I'm afraid. I actually found a therapist to help me with my anxiety the summer of my wife's affair. Wife attended sessions with me. I did not know about the affair at the time.....but hindsight I should have.

How do I deal with this?

I accept my own limitations and my own ignorance.

Limitations in the form of FOO coping skills and CoD tendencies tied to them.

Ignorance in that I honestly never thought my wife could choose that.....maybe I could see her hurting me but never see her jeopardizing and hurting our girls or another family with kids. I held tight to the false belief that "men cheat, women dont". That helped me stay ignorant to the reality that exists.

Then, after accepting those things I work on changing MY choices. I regularly put one of my girls in my position...envision them at my age going to choose as I want to. If I have a "oh shit!" moment I stop and restart that exercise. I do this until I find a choice I would be proud of my girl for making.

I take comfort in changing my choices.

In short I have given up all hope of a better past and try to live in the present as often as I can.

I may not be where I want to be but thank God I am not where I was!

I am not "all better" but I am most certainly better.

Take comfort also in the fact that your stumble was done within the marital bounds.....a waywards stumble is intentionally and repeatedly done outside of them, with another person. 2 minds better than one? Only possible in a M, not in an affair.


plainpain posted 7/5/2014 16:09 PM

I think it probably has a lot to do with my co-dependant issues. Somehow I believed it was my job to keep him from cheating. I feel like I dropped the ball and that, if I hadn't, he would not have "fallen" and my heart would not have shattered. It's the narrative I tell myself. After DDay 1, I couldn't carry that weight any more.

He has been so great, right from the start, about taking full responsibility for it. He said it was inevitable, based on his life coping strategies. He said nothing I could have done would have stopped it; delayed it, maybe. It was not my fault. But I still feel it anyway - that I was the one who was supposed to keep this from happening. Like he was some kind of wild thing that I believed was domesticated, and was floored when I turned my back and he ripped my neck off. Crazy. I didn't tell him I wanted the pots put in a different cupboard because I thought it might drive him to cheat. Blah.

I'm so glad I'm not in THAT marriage any more, but at the time I thought we were incredibly happy.

Time Ticks On posted 7/5/2014 19:50 PM

We trusted them. So when something was a little off we brushed it away. Then d-day happens and we look back and see the red flags. I know I felt so stupid. Why didn't I pay more attention? We had a good marriage and I trusted him. He abused my trust that is on him not me, It took a long time for me to realize that.

Ostrich80 posted 7/6/2014 03:56 AM

Don't bear yourself up over this. It is not natural to have to be in detective mode over the person your supposed to trust. We give them the benefit of the doubt because we love them and are trying to be understanding. We believe them when they say
nothings wrong, just tired today, or I have a lot on my mind. Isn't that what a spouse does, try to be there for each other. So
something feels off, our intuition is telling us "danger danger" our heart is saying, don't be so paranoid, don't be suspicious, he/she doesn't deserve to be quizzed just because they don't want to have sex tonight. An A just throws everything off kilter and we just don't have the experience to know we,are being played by the one we love.
So please don't be mad at yourself. Maybe your heart wasn't able to match what the mind suspected because it just wasn't ready and was trying to protect you. I'm rambling now but I hope you get what I'm saying.

Daisy312 posted 7/6/2014 07:38 AM

My ic made a good point with me that helped me deal with regret because I too saw sooo many signs but pushed them out and said not my H he would never betray me!
For me the A started 2 months after our second planned pregnancy. I saw signs then but pushed them out of my head. My ic thinks that my mind knew but knew my body couldn't handle the emotional stress at the time. I had issues with my work and family and it if I had caught his A then I probably would've lost the baby from so much stress. I listened to myself at the end of my pregnancy when my baby was full term and I could deal with it.

nomistakeaboutit posted 7/6/2014 08:17 AM

And if you had discovered it after the first clue and confronted him and received an admission from him, how would that have helped you feel better?

[This message edited by nomistakeaboutit at 8:33 AM, July 6th (Sunday)]

plainpain posted 7/6/2014 16:19 PM

I'm not sure it would have made me feel better. It would depend on whether he would have continued on with the A or not. I might not have an std. He might not have an OC. I for sure would not have skipped to the door to meet him after work. I would not have sat in a room full of people telling everyone what an amazing man he was. I would not have to live with knowing the humiliation of hearing "how did she not know"? I would not have made excuses for him when he missed funerals and family gatherings and birthday parties. OW would not have purchased my daughter's 16th birthday present. Stuff like that.

I do believe, on some level, that the timing was what it was 'supposed' to be. It's just hard to live with. I haven't quite made peace with it yet. I am trying to live my life forward, not looking through the rear view mirror. But sometimes it just overwhelms me. I am hoping that is another one of those things that time and distance will give clarity to.

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