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Breakthrough! Truth and understanding

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olwen posted 8/2/2014 11:39 AM

Finally we have an explanation that fits for us both, makes perfect sense and most importantly it's no longer what H 'thinks' happened. It's what really did happen.

It sits in my mind as the truth, answers all the weird questions and ties up all the loose ends. It also hurts. To me that's the truth. At last. I didn't suggest things, I didn't play psychologist. He stopped, he thought, he remembered, he came on here, he read. He came to me with facts this time. Not theories.

He did everything, including the sex, to feel wanted. To feel worth something. To feel noticed. To feel desired.

Our marriage had been a pretty barren place on and off for years so I understand. I really do. Put an expert AP into the mix with all this and a weak man and you have an affair.

He WAS attracted to her BUT not physically. It wasn't even really emotional. He didn't care about her or like much about her for herself. Just how she made him feel about himself. She is non descript. Not attractive, not ugly - just good enough for what he wanted. Also she does this a lot and knew just how to play him and he was willing to be played.

Most importantly the reluctant sex has been explained to my satisfaction and his shame.

He DID want it. BUT not in a physical way. He wasn't aroused, he wasn't itching to get at her. It was simply that she wanted him. That was all he wanted so he took it when it was offered. To feel wanted.

He admits that there was curiosity, what would it be like with another woman? It was also a chance to have sex for the first time in months. But this was more of a case of 'yeah, go on then' rather than 'I must have her'.

That makes sense to me.

BUT when he touched her he didn't like it, she felt weird and he came out of the fog with a snap. The guilt flooded in then and stopped any enjoyment he may have felt. He didn't like it but didn't feel he could stop in case he offended her. So he went through with it but couldn't finish as he lost his erection. She was not a happy bunny.

That doesn't change the fact he chose to go through with it though.

So he wasn't pushed into it, he did want it, he did chase her, he did encourage her.

There was guilt all the way through though and it got to him in the car that night.

His pattern was typical.

Cross a line - feel guilty - try to end it or back off - panic he wouldn't be wanted anymore - jumps back in even deeper so she would still want him. Rinse and repeat for weeks of alternate excitement and validation vs guilt and disgust at himself vs panic and being lost.

Sounds right to me. And yes, I do believe he didn't enjoy it. What's to enjoy? having sex just to feel wanted, with someone you don't fancy, who was dry, stubbly, rubbery and just felt wrong, flooded with guilt, panicked, uncomfortable almost impossible position, unmoving lesbian partner who never touched you and who you couldn't talk to about what you were doing, always guessing what she was thinking .....yeah, I believe him. Also, don't forget the state I found him in the next morning. Sobbing in the garden. I didn't know then what had happened but he was a mess.

The story is no longer full of gaps, full of well if it was that then why..... it flows, it adds up. My mind is quiet.

I feel sad but at peace.

Chinadoll30 posted 8/2/2014 11:55 AM

I am glad you got answers. And found your truth.

devasted30 posted 8/2/2014 11:59 AM

That is great news. Now, you can finally start to heal together.

olwen posted 8/2/2014 12:23 PM

Thank you both.

It's definitely opened up communication. We are discussing everything now. It's so strange to have him coming to me with thoughts and ideas. Discussing his life growing up, ex girlfriends, us - everything.

So different from feeling like I was pulling teeth and coming up with suggestions all the time.

The affair is no longer a topic that makes him defensive and even though I am grieving it's not as bad as the first ddays. Probably cos this one actually brought it all up to the surface.

I can't quite get used to it being him that's bringing it up for discussion.

Maybe I can start enjoying my sewing and audiobooks again soon if my mind is quieter and lets me concentrate.

I'm cautiously hopeful.

peaceBmine posted 8/2/2014 19:36 PM

Thank you for sharing and I am happy to hear this has put some pieces in your puzzle.

Strangely enough, I believe your story has actually put some pieces in my puzzle as well. Some of the things that WH has tried to explain to me just couldn't fit (like why attempt to have sex when you can't get/keep an erection; and certainly why try it AGAIN when it was terrible and awkward the first time...just to have it turn out even worse.) OW in my case is NOT ugly and WH was very attracted to her (as anyone would be)...but MORE to the way she made him feel about himself. Logic is so far removed from their actions that it makes it difficult to understand, but thank you for helping shed some light on it for me.

notanavrageangel posted 8/3/2014 02:27 AM

Wow can I relate to this. My WH has deep deep FOO issues and a huge history of not opening up about emotions and never having a stable home. He never felt validated and had always felt like the failure being the youngest, living in a toxic home the longest, and being less successful in school and career than his older sisters who remind him all the time. Also felt he wasn't the man I deserved so he sought out a fantasy life where he could be someone else. Created a Ashley Madison account, met OW. Met with her 5 times over 2.5 months and had sex once. He told me as soon as they started having sex he stopped because he admitted the intrigue of someone wanting him and someone new Drew him in but once he was in the act he immediately had his wake up call. I believe him, and he has opened up to me so much including admitting that in the 5 years we have been together he has never fully allowed me into his heart for fear of being let down. I see such a broken man when I look at him and we are both in IC and MC now. He has already had so many breakthroughs and they are painful but I am so hopeful that this is the wake up call we needed so we can begin to build the strong marriage we have always wanted. It's a long road but I can actually see a tiny light at the end of the tunnel and I love him for sharing so much of his past with me recently that I was never aware of.

olwen posted 8/3/2014 03:43 AM

Thank you both. I am glad my babbling has done some good for you too.

I honestly think there are a lot of people cheating to feel wanted. That their need to be noticed and valued is stronger than their conscience.

Yes, some affairs are about the sex, some about revenge, some about love, some about the thrill, some about a mix of things.

I think they mostly follow the same pattern but the reason differ and guilt kicks in at different times, if at all, depending on the reason.

For H it was sex because he had told himself, before it was offered that that was the line he wouldn't cross. So when he did give in to temptation, he was disgusted with himself and it woke him up. If it had been lust I think he could have got so wrapped up in the sex he wouldn't have stopped. He can't say as that wasn't the situation, he hopes he would have still felt guilty but of course, you never know til it happens.

Some wake up after kissing, some after touching, some after sex, some after the shine wears off, some when they get caught, some a long time later, some never.

That's my thoughts anyway. I'm no expert I have been lied to and believed it. I am just throwing thoughts around.

My H also never felt good enough. He saw himself as a geek and thought no one he wanted would ever want him. He has also told me he always kept a part of himself and his heart back from me as protection from losing me.

Not anymore.

[This message edited by olwen at 3:58 AM, August 3rd (Sunday)]

peaceBmine posted 8/3/2014 08:26 AM

WH has felt like a failure for years and OW made him feel otherwise. He justified that he had already failed in so many ways, that adultery was just one to add to the list. SUCH wrong thinking is hard to comprehend, buy the escape from the negative thinking about himself seems to have been the main cause. Oh if I could have understood this BEFORE the A.

olwen posted 8/3/2014 09:42 AM

That's the horrible thing. If they had come to us then maybe the affair wouldn't have happened but they chose not to and there isn't anything we can do to go back and change it. all we can do is try and pick up the pieces now.

It's unfair, it stinks. No matter how you look at it.

peaceBmine posted 8/3/2014 14:40 PM

It is unfair for sure. I know that my husband DID try to let me know how he was feeling...but he refused to go for help and there isn't much else I could do to change how he felt. He didn't plan for the A to be his escape, but he fell into that trap of self-medicating low self-esteem and depression with the newness and excitement of a new relationship- yes, it started as friends, but he knew it was wrong from the very beginning...just didn't want to lose the feeling he got. The problem now is that he feels like even MORE of a failure than before. The escape was brief and he enjoyed it while it lasted, but now come the consequences. I do love this man and hate to see him have to go through this. I hate the pain he has caused me as well, so I hope this was the wake up call he needed to make some serious changes in his outlook on himself and life.

What my WH really enjoyed was the attention and the affirmation he received. Men tend to convert that into sexual feelings. I think he technically "woke up" and knew things went too far after the first sexual encounter, but by then he was so deep in he didn't know how to stop it. He says he wanted to get caught (which seems pretty true considering how blatant he had gotten), but otherwise he was scared to just stop and tell me and destroy me. My argument is that it went WAY too far WAY before that. He agrees now, but didn't see it that way at the time.

Here's my current struggle. WH's love language is definitely Words of Affirmation- exactly what OW gave him. Physical Touch is a VERY close second, but he has always gotten that from me/home...even during the affair...and given the HB, even more after DDay. However, I am terrible at giving Words of Affirmation...always have been...but especially now that I am hurt and angry and pretty much disgusted with his actions. He understands that this will take time to come back, but it hurts me to see how much he really does need this from me during this time. I don't want him to escape any consequences for his actions, but I do hurt when he hurts, so it just sucks that I haven't yet figured out how to get this terrible cycle to end.

Questioningall posted 8/3/2014 15:07 PM

Here's my current struggle. WH's love language is definitely Words of Affirmation- exactly what OW gave him. Physical Touch is a VERY close second, but he has always gotten that from me/home...even during the affair...and given the HB, even more after DDay.

I struggle with the same thing. WH's primary love language is physical touch and then words of affirmation. Unless I'm triggering and/or furious with him, the physical touch is pretty easy. The affirmations, though….How do you affirm someone who set off a nuke under you? OW bragged about his sexual prowess and how generous WH was, while I've been neglected for the past few years (receiving gifts is my primary love language. I'm running at a deficit.) So I look for small things I can honestly praise him for. I tell him I really appreciate his sobriety. I thank him for doing things around the house. He's currently working on our dishwasher, which is outside his comfort range, and I told him I was confident he could fix it. He said that meant a lot to him. I praise him for providing for the family. As time goes on and R proceeds, I think it will get easier. Until then, it's a conscious effort to meet his need for affirmation. He's also working on that in IC.

olwen posted 8/4/2014 02:13 AM

For my H I think he wants a bit of all the love languages. His main ones would be physical touch, words of affirmation and acts of service.

I was always good with the words of affirmation. I thanked him for everything and always called him a star, told him how good it was of him when he did something and how much I appreciated him. I would say how lucky I was to have him.

Problem was he was so lazy at times that it kind of got negated with my nagging. The thing is it wasn't the sort of stuff I could ignore or let go.

He was pretty bad with personal hygiene, missed baths, brushing his teeth etc. I don't think anyone could let that go. He also left a trail of destruction behind him. If he did have a bath it was left filthy - every single time. Cupboard doors and draws left open, rubbish left lying around. it was pretty bad.

It didn't matter how nicely I asked, whether I nagged or cajoled he saw it as 'getting at him'. The thing was when someone repeatedly ignores your wishes about basic cleanliness day in day out then you start to resent them. That was part of our problem. I am sure he did it from passive aggression. No one forgets to rinse the bath every night for years.

Once, during the affair, I talked to him about it and he said, why won't you ask me properly. Like, please darling it would mean so much to me if you did this. Please sweetie, would you mind etc. It was like he wanted me to creep around him. He is horrified by this now. I always walked on eggshells if I asked anything because sometimes he got really pissed off with me so if I did ask him it would be, I'm really sorry to ask SL but please please could you try and remember to do xyz, I would really appreciate it. To me, that's plenty nice enough.

Of course I didn't know that as I was reminding him/nagging him, she was filling his head with. oh, you shouldn't have to help at home, you work. Oh, you're so clever, oh, you're so funny. The stupid thing was she had him doing her work and running round after her far more than I ever did. He was happy to help her though because of the way she spoke to him. Never disagreed about ANYTHING told him how great he was, how I should appreciate him more. Of course she wasn't living with the mess. She got the H who had bathed and done his teeth. She didn't have to clear up after him constantly.

My biggest problem was physical touch. I was on meds that killed my sex drive and cos I didn't want to lead him on affection stopped as well as sex.

What a mess.

He has completely changed in the past year. Can't do enough round the house. Taking care of himself great. I couldn't ask for more. I really feel for him cos I worry now when I ask him to do anything and he keeps reassuring me he wants to help now. That it's his mess too.

I am also being more affectionate and he loves it.

peaceBmine posted 8/8/2014 16:23 PM

My primary love language BY FAR is Acts of Service. I have been surprised though that since the A, I can feel it changing to Quality Time/Conversation, which has never been the case. I think it is my jealousy over how much he TALKED with the OW although he is generally VERY quiet and just listens.

From a spiritual perspective, I am praying DAILY, HOURLY, that the Lord will let me see the little things that I can affirm in my husband. He has complained for YEARS that he never felt my respect, so I am working on that as well (yes, that is DEFINITELY a struggle right now.) I am trying to respect who he is TODAY, and not who he was three months ago as there was very little to be respected during that time. My second prayer daily is that my anger will be subsided long enough that I can verbally relay these things I see to him. It's not easy, but I can see how it is changing both of us.

Good luck to you all.

notanavrageangel posted 8/9/2014 16:14 PM

olwen -

Some wake up after kissing, some after touching, some after sex, some after the shine wears off, some when they get caught, some a long time later, some never.

Thank you for your story. My WHs OW gave him a BJ the first day they met. He wasn't expecting it, didn't know how to stop it, and told her that it couldn't happen again. They then hung out a few times with only kissing but nothing sexual, and then it escalated to sex once. HE said soon after they started, he realized what he was doing and stopped with some excuse of having to go back to class. He hung out with her once more after, with no sex. I guess he convinced himself that he could separate the attention he was getting from her, helping him escape stresses of real life, from sex.

Some part of me was confused by this because I think to myself he is a man, how could he control sex as far as being able to stop and his conscience coming in, but reading your story has helped me to see that it is possible he is telling me the truth. That he got wrapped up, let it go too far, but realized it was wrong before it could turn into multiple sexual encounters etc. It gives me some hope so thank you!

ReconcilingWife posted 8/9/2014 19:17 PM

I am so very glad that you've had such a breakthrough.

There are some similarities with my case too.

For my WH, it was very obviously related to FOO issues (specifically: a mother who never bonded to him and was open with him when he was a child about not loving him, physical abuse by his mother and stepfather, witnessing abuse of his mother by his stepfather, stepfather's suicide at the exact age WH now it).

He DID enjoy the sex (which happened five times), but there was so much that was unappealing. She was also in the not-attractive/not-ugly category (he's resisted far more beautiful women before), was not very good in bed, had an annoying personality, and her apartment was filthy, and he's usually on the fastidious side. (For instance, her cat would poop on the floor, and she just LEFT it--he'd go back several times, and it would still be there. Meanwhile, he was going ballistic when he came home and there was a mess here--which in our house means clean-house-with-kids-toys-everywhere. Seriously? Cat poop everywhere, ok, but Playmobil everywhere? Catastrophe!)

For me, this helps, not just in terms of my confidence (though there is that), but also because it really underscored how messed up he was to be engaging in this affair. Two years ago, he was repeatedly hit on by a woman who was, in my opinion, gorgeous. He fended her off. I don't get why now, he actively pursued someone who was really not very appealing at all--but it's almost BECAUSE it doesn't make sense that it's easier to see it as a product of his messed-up childhood.

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