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Figuring out what I want

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StartingFreshNow posted 7/31/2014 08:21 AM

As some of you know on Mon night I came out to my BH that what he thought had been a semi-short EA was actually a much longer A and included a PA more than once. It crushed him and as I expected he said that was the final straw - the fact it went that far more than once and the fact I lied for the last 10 months was too much for him to be able to forgive.

He's in so much pain right now. Originally I told him how much I want to be with him, that if he changes his mind, I want to be with him, etc. He was dead set on D which I could understand after all the TT I did and how many times I have lied to him.

Here's the thing. He's starting to calm down about all this and he's now looking for a reason to stay. I have to say I honestly don't know what I want. I want our family to stay together so badly, but at the same time for the last 24 hours I have felt relief knowing it's done. As much as I hate so many ideas of us getting a D, I also feel excited about aspects of being single again. I also don't trust myself not to cheat again right now. Even though I've been in IC this whole time, we've never touched on the affair, we've dealt with other issues. I am currently changing counselors but I don't get in to my new one for 2 more weeks.

I guess what I'm looking for is to know whether my feelings of relief and excitement at being single are just a normal thing or if they are a sign that D is really what is best/right for me? I don't want to hurt my BH again by cheating again but I also don't want to break up our family. I don't know if I truly love my BH or if I love the idea of us being together. I'm so torn and confused. Last night my BH told me he's looking for reasons to stay and for what I would do to keep him. I honestly hadn't given that any thought up to that point which really disappointed him. At the same time, I thought he was 100% done so I didn't think there was a point in trying to convince him to change his mind.

I just don't know if I need to be hit on the head or what so don't hesitate to be honest with me. I've been very remorseful but suddenly I'm feeling less remorse. I don't know if that's normal or not. I'm just completely confused right now.

TheIrishGirl posted 7/31/2014 08:35 AM

A bunch of questions for you to consider:
Was the relief that you got what you were expecting (request for D)?
Was the relief that your secrets are all out and there's no more lying?
Was the relief that you don't deserve BS anyway and D is the appropriate punishment?
Was the relief that with D you won't have to do the work of R (not only fix yourself, but also heal him, and work to regain trust)?
Was the excitement for the single life excitement about the prospect of having people think you're good enough/pretty enough/smart enough and tell you so?

As for not trusting yourself not to cheat again, you just have to force yourself to be accountable. Easiest way to do that is to be very open & honest with yourself and someone else, if you stay together, that someone else should be BS.

tangledknot posted 7/31/2014 08:41 AM

I'm kind of dealing with something similar. A part of me felt excited when BH brought up divorce, and of course, the other side of me was devastated. I asked for six months. In my situation, we are both too close to the trauma, and I believe we both need time to work on things together and some time to heal. I am hoping that we are both stronger and better able to make those kind of decisions.

5454real posted 7/31/2014 08:49 AM

I also feel excited about aspects of being single again. I also don't trust myself not to cheat again right now
I've been very remorseful

I would contend you've actually been feeling regret and not really remorseful. The two statements above directly contradict each other. What do you feel you have been doing(not saying) to show remorse?

I have to say I honestly don't know what I want

Originally I told him how much I want to be with him, that if he changes his mind, I want to be with him, etc

So why did you lie again? I'm just trying to get you to look at your motivation here. Are you more concerned with his image of you than you are of presenting an authentic side of yourself?

Again, not meant as 2 X 4's. (Though I could see how they might present as such)

You may want to reconsider the stop sign

PrtyInPink posted 7/31/2014 08:49 AM

I have been struggling with the same issues lately, except my H is the WH in this case and I'm the BW. WH was recently arrested on domestic assault charges (didn't hit me but did threaten). He was ordered no contact and stayed at his brother's house for 2 weeks before the no contact was lifted. I actually really enjoyed it. And now that he's back home and talking about R, I'm not sure it's what I want. But I too am on the fence on what my real feelings are.

Is it possible to have a separation? Could you agree to be mutually exclusive and go to MC but be separated? This would sort of in a sense give you that "single life" you are wanting? Have you two even been to MC at all? I see you are going to IC and I don't recall in your previous posts mentioning MC. Ask him why he wants to stay. Is he too wanting his family to stay together? I honestly don't think this is a decision that needs to be made any time soon. You both are going through a lot and I'm sure there will be a rollercoaster of emotions over the next few weeks or months. I would definitely discuss it in IC though!

StartingFreshNow posted 7/31/2014 08:49 AM


Thanks for those questions. I have to say the relief wasn't the first two but I do agree that I don't deserve BH and D is an appropriate punishment. I don't know that I feel a sense of relief about that though, I feel sadness (for myself, which is totally selfish) about it.

I do feel relief of not having to do the work of the R. My BH helped me realize last night that I have already given up so much to try to fix our M all this time, the thought of giving up even more sounds absolutely terrible to me. I have control issues (I used to have an eating disorder which is all about control, and of course I'm starting a relapse right now) and the more I give up, the less control I have. That completely freaks me out and makes me want to talk to AP again. Totally illogical connection, but that's how I feel.

The excitement of the single life is definitely the validation of things like that. I know my husband feels that way about me, but getting it from someone else is just way more rewarding to me.

tangledknot - in that 6 months are you guys "together" or are you living as if you are not together? I'm curious if you're using that 6 months to explore your other options or what...?

StartingFreshNow posted 7/31/2014 08:56 AM


For the last 3 months I have given up many liberties of mine. I do everything I can for my BH - take on the responsibilities at home, with the kids, etc. I have been open and honest with him although not fully since until 2 days ago he didn't even know the truth. I haven't placed any blame on him for all of this - I know it's all me. I haven't rushed him or asked him to get over it. I've done everything I could think of to be honest. We weren't even sure it was enough to get us through just the EA, nevermind everything else that it actually was.

I wasn't lying when I told him how much I wanted to be with him and all that. I truly felt that way. A day later is when the relief hit me. The first 24 hours I was honestly heartbroken and devastated so at the time it wasn't a lie. It's just now my feelings are starting to change but I don't know if that's just because the lies are gone and the secrets are gone, or if it's because I truly feel happy to be done.

I'm very concerned with his image of me. Very. I still can't be open with him about how I feel because I don't want to hurt him more but also because of his image of me. I have a desperate desire to be liked by everyone and to avoid conflict and I'll do anything to have things be as good as possible. I can't admit to him that I possibly want out of this relationship. I can't quite figure out why, but I know it has to do with my imagine (with everyone, not just him).

StartingFreshNow posted 7/31/2014 08:59 AM

PrtyinPink -

My husband refuses to try a separation though I've wanted to try it multiple times. We have had 3 sessions of MC that were mostly focused on our history and had just started to get into "helping" us when I told my BH the full truth. We had one more MC session less than 24 hours after I told him and it was very helpful but in the sense of us parting ways because that was when my BH was still 100% about D.

I'm truly afraid that I can't be faithful through all of this if we decide to try to work it out. I no longer trust myself at all. Is that normal or a sign that I'm not truly remorseful?

bionicgal posted 7/31/2014 09:01 AM

The excitement of the single life is definitely the validation of things like that. I know my husband feels that way about me, but getting it from someone else is just way more rewarding to me.

So, is this the healthy part of you talking? Or the part that wants to revert to something destructive and take the easy way out?

Just because you feel something, doesn't make it the best thing for you.

If you stay, you have to face up to being the cheater, and you have to face up to the fact that you weren't perfect. With your history, this is going to be hard. But always running to where the good feelings are is not helpful or healthy in my opinion.

StartingFreshNow posted 7/31/2014 09:08 AM

So, is this the healthy part of you talking? Or the part that wants to revert to something destructive and take the easy way out?

Wow, that really hit me for some reason. That was (probably obviously) the part that wants to take the easy way out.

I guess I get stuck - I start to make connections about my A and the issues that were related to it (I'd say caused it, but that's not taking accountability in my opinion) but then I get totally lost. That's why I need counseling to help me I think but unfortunately I have to wait for that which also scares me to death.

somethingremorse posted 7/31/2014 09:08 AM

R is hard. It never ends. I am pretty sure we are OK, but I still face every day not knowing if this is the day BW will say "enough."

It makes us feel awful. Every good day, every special time with the family, reminds me that I did everything possible to throw it away.

I used to be a good person in the eyes of my BW and her family. Now I am not. Now I'm the guy who cannot be trusted. Even if everyone acts normally, they are all waiting for the other shoe to drop. That is never going to change.

I have plenty of friends who are divorced. Both parents are very involved in their kids lives. If you want, D doesn't mean destroying your relationship with your kids.

I mention all of this to say this -- I understand if you or anyone doesn't want to do this work. Maybe you just don't have it in you. Maybe your M isn't worth going through this. It sounds like your BH is giving you the ability to make that choice. Lots of people here don't get that chance. Just be honest with yourself, about whether you are able to go through the pain and the work.

tangledknot posted 7/31/2014 09:23 AM


We are together for the next six months. I can't speak for him, but I am going to work on myself and my marriage in earnest for the next six months. We are in MC; I am in IC; I am reading books, journaling, and doing my best to change my thoughts and become a stronger person. BH is firmly in the anger stage and is reeling in his pain right now. I am trying to show him compassion.

I need time to see if my love for him can grow. I am in a place right now that I am confused about what love is, and if I can love him in the way that he needs. I need to love him in a way that brings me joy as well, instead of an obligation - which isn't really love. We will see where we are in six months. I may end up being the one to pull the cord. I don't know yet.

StartingFreshNow posted 7/31/2014 09:44 AM

tangledknot - that sounds like something that might really help me/us if my BH would agree to it. I'm really going to think about that and present it to him. Thank you.

somethingremorse- thank you - what you wrote was very nice to read - it was free from judgment and really "allows" me to know whatever I choose is ok and doesn't necessarily define me as a bad person.

ExWayward posted 7/31/2014 09:48 AM

ExWayward /mad hatter here.

I'm not seeing much remorse from you. I'm just not. I see a woman who feels bad about blowing up her family and hurting her husband, but not true remorse. Remorse is when you internalize your BS's pain and make it your own. I think you fell guilty, I think you feel bad. But those are emotions. Remorse is an action, a choice.

3 months of giving up your freedoms? C'mon.... That reeks of entitlement and evasiveness..

It takes years for BSs to get over the devastation of an affair, and even longer when the WS trickle truths like you did. You want your husband to heal at your timeline. That's not being remorseful.

Look if you cannot handle the rigors of R, then you need to proceed to D. It's that simple. If you cannot empathize with the pain your husband is going through, then you don't deserve him. I'm not trying to be an ass. But you need to wake up and at least try to put your husbands need's first during this D process. Don't humiliate him any further by jumping into dating the second the separation papers are filed.

I'm sorry if I'm coming across as harsh, but I think you really need to look objectively at yourself and figure out if you are the type of woman who can even be married at this point in your life. And you need to know this: divorce is awful. You see it as freedom. It's not. Get that pie in the sky notion out of your head. There is nothing fun or liberating about it. But if it will free your husband, then it is the best thing.

Be kind to your husband. If you cannot commit to being everything he needs in R, then let him go. Free him and allow him to find a woman who will lift him up and restore his sense of worth.

Now I was horrible to my ex WW. Like you she hemmed and hawed and TTd and ate cake and strung me along. When I found out the full nature of her affair I went off the deep end. I lost myself for years in promiscuity, alcohol abuse and destructive living. She divorced me after she found out the horrible things I was doing, and had every right to do so, because my revenge affairs were devastating to her.

It's ugly on both sides of the fence.

StartingFreshNow posted 7/31/2014 09:54 AM

ExWayward -

I loved your response. Thank you. Honestly.

Remorse is when you internalize your BS's pain and make it your own. I think you fell guilty, I think you feel bad. But those are emotions. Remorse is an action, a choice

You're right - I feel those emotions. I have tried and tried to internalize his pain and as he keeps telling me "I'm just not getting it". Which makes me think there is something truly wrong with me (aside from what I already know is wrong with me).

I'm starting to think/realize maybe I'm not the type of woman who can be married right now. I don't want to hurt my BH more by "abandoning" him when he's even considering giving me another chance. I feel like if I make the decision it would be far worse than if he makes the choice and I want it to make his healing process from all of this as easy on him as possible. He is very vulnerable right now and I don't want him to feel like I used that against him. I guess I just don't know what I want, maybe that's what I need to tell him....

TheIrishGirl posted 7/31/2014 10:00 AM

T/J into the eating disorders comment:
You mentioned a history if eating disorders- I know it's all about control, and I have been dangerously close to sick with these. I told my WH on DDay that I needed him to keep an eye on me in this regard because with life going out of control, this is the danger zone.

Did you seek treatment previously? I know it feels like control when it starts because you can control what you eat/how hard you work out/etc. and see results in how you look, but it's not you in control- the disease has taken control at that point. Don't let it. You can do this. And you can ask for help when and if you need it.

StartingFreshNow posted 7/31/2014 10:06 AM

I'm highly restricting again - I don't deserve to eat at this point and it's self-punishment for what I did.

I've gotten help in the past but right now I don't want it. I just started restricting again so I'm fine health-wise. If I lose 30 pounds maybe I'll ask for help but that's a ways off.

I appreciate you mentioning that though. :)

JustWant2BHappy posted 7/31/2014 10:07 AM

Wow you last paragraph I could have written. Why is it that we seem to want to "not hurt" our BH by withholding feelings, avoiding conflict, etc. This is definately a flaw of mine that needs to be addressed. In the end, I believe the withholding will eventually be reveiled and BH will be hurt anyway.
There's no way to avoid the hurt if it's there.

Bs72 posted 7/31/2014 10:22 AM

No stop sign, so here goes...and yes, I apologize in advance as a BH.

If you think it was a nightmare just getting out the truth you are in for a rather rude awakening to the path of destruction that now requires your complete and devoted attention for R. As a BH myself, I can tell you that my WW's total commitment is going to be required to help me heal her A -- far more than simply her desire to R and heal and her regret for the damage and pain she caused. It requires real remorse and actions to back it every day.

When I discovered her A, it was like a jagged-edged knife getting plunged deep into my chest. If you imagine that gruesome scene, now imagine that for real R it's going to take the full effort of my WW to help pull the knife out one centimeter at a time, with all of the pain and screams that will accompany it, over a period of years. If my WW isn't all in, it's not worth the pain and screams just to get it out a little only to have it get pushed back in -- let it go.

I guess I'm trying to say that at this point if you're not sure, then you are actually sure -- it's not for you. Your affair may be a realization of your desire to leave the marriage -- and exit affair. Don't try and make the marriage something it isn't, because if you're not all in (and you're clearly not), then even if you somehow R now you're in for the same pain down the line and way more of a mess. That's besides the fact than even if you were all in that R still may not work!

I'm sorry if this is harsh, but as a BH I would ask -- on your BH's behalf -- to just get it over with. If getting busted in an A wasn't enough to make you realize that you wanted to be married, then you don't want to be married. I'm sorry, but to me it might be that simple (and yes, I'm much more black and white and analytically bent than most, so take it for what it's worth). I wish you well either way -- you only have one life to live, so live it honestly.

StartingFreshNow posted 7/31/2014 10:34 AM

Bs72 - I really liked your post. It's the "harsh" ones that hit home. And it's not even that it was harsh, it just was direct, and that's what I need.

You're right - if I'm not sure, that means I'm not all in and that's what my BH needs to know. It IS that simple.

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