Forum Archives

Return to Forum List

Second Choice

You are not logged in. Login here or register.

Camalus posted 8/19/2014 14:22 PM

Figured this out in MC yesterday. Don’t know why it has taken this long for me to realize much of my anger and resentment stems from being the ‘second choice’, ‘backup plan’, ‘fallback position’, or any other term one would use.

Both fWW and MC tried to convince me I am wrong about being her fallback position. I can’t see it any other way. fWW and OM had plans to ‘run away’ to California and teach at a small college. fWW had gone so far as to have phone interviews and intended to fly to CA for the formal interview that spring. Their A ended when his BW confronted him. When faced with the choice, OM threw fWW under the bus and elected to stay with his BW. fWW did not choose me the choice was forced on her. She had lost her fantasy ‘soul mate’ and decided keeping her family was better than having nothing.

MC wants me to list four things fWW can do to convince me I am not just Plan B. Honestly, I can’t think of a single one. Moreover, what kind of assignment is that anyway? I think fWW should be the one trying to come up with things she can say or do to convince me that I was not a fallback position.

Oh well, just another day in this living Hell created by two weak people.

wanttogoforward posted 8/19/2014 14:29 PM

I asked my H if I was his second choice several times throughout our relationship... wanna see someone go crazy??? That apparently was the wrong question to ask... and yet, I felt as though he would leave me in a heartbeat for someone he thought was better than me. I sometimes still think that even though he is always telling me how important I am to him now. I guess the trauma is one that is hard to get over and rears its ugly head during times of stress.

The worry that you are not the number one choice is natural after everything we have all been through.

Rather than you creating this list on your own can the two of you do it together? She should be doing everything she can do to prove to you that you are not her second choice.

Skan posted 8/19/2014 16:29 PM

Screw that list. I think it would be far better if your WW created a list of reasons exactly WHY she thinks that you were NOT considered Plan B! Because given the circumstances as you've related them, I would feel the same way.

Keepcalm posted 8/19/2014 16:52 PM

My WH was dumped by the OW when she found out I knew. I too feel like second choice, but WH is not putting much work into R. I think the counselor is trying to get you to express your needs. Some things that could be on your list, verbal or written affirmations daily, ask me how I am doing every day and really listen, try to anticipate my triggers and help me through them, etc. I wouldn't be angry about the list. Now if you make the list, your W understands it and chooses not to do them, then get angry.
Good Luck

motod posted 8/19/2014 16:56 PM

If the OM had secured a divorce and told your wife: "Ok, I'm free, let's leave here together", and your wife responded: "No, I'm staying with my husband - he's the one I want", then I would agree that you were her first choice.

Maybe, when the affair ended, if she had confessed to you and offered you the options of divorce or reconciliation with complete remorse, that would have been a way to demonstrate that you were her first choice.

But, in any scenario other than the two outlined above I think you are correct to assume you were/are the fallback position.

Good Luck!

mom2my4kiddos posted 8/19/2014 16:59 PM

((())) I'm dealing with that worry/fear too. My DH had said that he came home because he wanted me and our marriage, then later on he made the comment that she had chosen someone else. When I asked him to clarify, it sounded more like a mutual decision to end things with him initiating it. Who knows our I'll ever even know for sure. I accused him the other night of using me for a safety net and as his "fallback guy". He denies it. I think your MC is being pretty unfair. If anything, your wife should be coming up with lists, not you.

sisoon posted 8/19/2014 17:23 PM

IDK ... being 2nd choice during the A is pretty much a given. I think the most important question now is:

Are you her first choice now and for the future?

In any case, you're asking the questions. Your W can't read your mind. Only you know what answers will satisfy you.

JMO, of course.

A guess: with a D-day only 13 months ago (especially with the horrendous delay between the A and it's coming to light), you may still be too angry to come up with a list, though.

[This message edited by sisoon at 5:26 PM, August 19th (Tuesday)]

Jospehine85 posted 8/19/2014 17:35 PM


WH and MOW had plans:

Plan A - They were set up to go on a vacation together 5 days after what turned out to be Dday. The plan was for WH not to return home after the vacation. They were going to hide their relationship for 6 months and then pretend to just start dating. They didn't want anyone knowing how low their behavior was.

But unfortunately for them I found out. I threw WH out but he wouldn't leave. I couldn't figure out why he wouldn't leave. If you read what he wrote about me, there was nothing but hatred. He even told MOW that I was "make do". That he married me knowing I was just "make do".

So why stay?

His reputation.

Plan B stay with the BW so no one finds out what a fucking scum bag cheat he is. The first time he cried after Dday was when he found out I told my brothers about him. He cried for his reputation, but not what he did to me.

Furious1 posted 8/19/2014 19:04 PM

For a long time, I felt like I was WH's second choice also. Last week, it finally dawned on me that I wasn't. None of the OW can hold a candle to me.

My WH also had plans to run off into the sunset with two of the OW. From my new perspective, it would have served WH right to end up with any of them. Talk about Karma.

I also realize that he could have just divorced me. He didn't for a reason. Not that I am perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm a good woman. He's lucky to have me. I'm far more than he deserves. WH's biggest problem is that he took me for granted in an extreme way. He assumed I would never find out about his A's. He assumed I would always be here for him. He assumed that since we were married, he no longer had to anything more than simply not file for divorce to keep me.

So no, I'm not his second choice. He made himself my second choice. My first choice is now ME.

c24j posted 8/20/2014 00:51 AM

Calamus, I think this may be a matter of past tense and present tense. If your wife and the MC are talking about the situation 15 years ago . . . then they are both in denial. From what you wrote, she was ready to go with him. In my opinion, if they can't face the reality that at that time you were a fallback . . . then it will be difficult to move forward.

But that was then . . . If they mean that TODAY (and for the last 12 years or so) you are her one-and-only, above all others . . . well, that's great if true . . . and hopefully it is. If she once thought you were Plan Z but now realizes you are and always should have been Plan A (or A+) . . . that's progress!!! However, they want ideas . . . here are a few you can ignore, modify, bandy about . . . what have you . . .

1-Wife and MC need to admit that at one time you were indeed Plan B. Work on demonstrating that thinking was from the mind of a messed up person, and that it is no longer the case.

2-In the future, if you are truly number 1, they won't ask you to come up with solutions that she should be working on with you and the MC or her IC.

3-Her recent hesitance about dropping the former friends who kept her secret (and therefore also betrayed you) who wanted to visit you guys is more the action of someone who still takes you for granted to some extent (in my opinion). Since you're her number 1, she should (without prompting) want nothing to do with anyone who had any part in hurting you . . Would you have any dealings with someone who hurt her terribly?

4-I think you said she did things with OM that you guys'll probably never do . . . which should now have this addenda -- unless YOU decide you want to. She should be eager to do anything with you more often and better than done with him.

5-It's up to you, but I think maybe she should tell family members (did you have a daughter?) that this has been kept secret from, and enlist their aid in pointing out to her things she could do.

6-She should attempt at least to fantasize about you. She should share some of the fantasies . . . maybe bring some to life.

7-Maybe on her own she should work out how her life would have been if he HAD left his wife and gone with her . . . a serial predator, who would continue to cheat and ruin other's lives (she does know about that part, right?) At what point does she think she would have caught on to what he was, and realized what she'd become, and what she'd thrown away? Can she imagine that? Is she thankful every day that she was spared such a fate?

If you can provide at least four, then gently suggest that if you are truly number 1, then they will need to tackle an assignment. The MC (or her IC) needs to help your wife come up with forty ways to prove you are now and for the rest of your lives her Plan A.

[This message edited by c24j at 1:41 AM, August 20th (Wednesday)]

Ostrich80 posted 8/20/2014 02:21 AM

Wow, I can't think of one thing. Probably because words can so easily be said. Show me!!!!! I don't want to hear any more promises or sweet talk , just prove it!!

Camalus posted 8/20/2014 10:56 AM

Thanks for some excellent advice. I am forever amazed at the insight shown by SI members.

I think Sisoon hit on the bigger issue. For her this was all over almost 15 years ago. Nevertheless, I’m barely 13 months from DDay. I think fWW and MC both tend to forget this all very new to me.

I’ve decided to go with a combination of things suggested.

(1) I want her to admit that I was the backup plan during the affair and the fog following.

(2) I want her to spend some time thinking how her life would have turned out if she had run off with mOM then explain how what she thinks now is different from what she thought while living in fantasyland. Sort of a fantasyland vs. real world comparison.

(3) I do think she needs to explain and apologize to our adult DD. If you are familiar with my previous posts, DD and fWW have a strained relationship. DD is convinced her mother didn’t like her during her high school years. Even now, fifteen years later, she resents how her mother treated her during that period. Reality is fWW did not have time her family due to the A. We were nothing more than an inconvenience standing in the way of ‘true love’. For some odd reason, I feel doing this will go a long way to showing me she values her family and puts us first now.

(4)The fourth item may sound odd. I want a list of things (actions, words, etc.) she has done to prove I am now her number one. I suspect when she puts it in writing, she will realize the list is quite sparse.

Right now I am swinging between anger and a ‘Mehhh, who gives a shit if we R or not’ attitude. The anger I take care of by working on a heavy bag I hung in the barn. The ‘Mehhh’ (I think that is what folks on SI call the lethal plain of flatness), I just try and ride out.

bluewater posted 8/20/2014 13:16 PM

Hi Camalus.

After being here as long as I have there aren't many stories that stick in my mind. They all tend to become a blur. Yours is one is one of those that stood out and that I remember without having to look back into your earlier posts

With respect to your wife’s contention that you were not her second choice I think if you and your wife or anyone for that matter were to sit with any number of people who knew nothing of your wife’s infidelity and you told them an anonymous story of a marriage in which one spouse took a lover, made plans with that lover to leave their betrayed spouses, applied for a job, did interviews for it and all the rest of the things your wife did but they didn’t go through with it because the lover’s spouse found out and the lover dumped and ran (like your wife’s lover did). Then you ask them if the betrayed spouse was the cheating spouse’s first or second choice. I am sure you would be hard pressed to find anyone who agrees that the betrayed spouse was not the cheating spouse’s second choice.

I am sorry but your wife is at best lying to herself. Though one might be able to understand given the circumstances. After all what would the consequences of her admitting what to any impartial observer it is obvious truth that she stayed with you only because her lover threw her under the bus and ran to his next “conquest”? So rather than admit it to all, she lies to herself.

I am very surprised that the counselor would try to convince you otherwise.

In closing I would like to say that Sisoon’s take on the whole situation is spot on. And since I cannot think of any way she would ever be able to convince you that after all the things she did you were her first choice when she was making her plans those years ago I think your plan and list of the things you will ask her to do are both excellent.

And for the record I did what I suggested in my office. Of all the persons I narrated your tale to (using no names or sexes) I am yet to find anyone who thinks that the betrayed spouse was the cheating spouse’s first choice. Again, sorry.

c24j posted 8/20/2014 19:10 PM

Actually I believe it's worth noting Furious1's advice. It may be that you were always the first choice and she just couldn't admit it to herself. Even if that were true, I have no idea how she could ever prove it, and her (all important) actions were not those of someone who had you as PlanA.

I'd forgotten about the years you were the only real parent to your daughter. This makes your wife's situation, in many ways (though she brought it on herself) quite tragic in and of itself. Those high school years, the ones as her daughter grew from a child to a young woman, the many typical family/school happenings, the special personal things between a mother and daughter . . . all the wonderful shared experiences from that period in your daughter's life . . . your wife lost them to her addiction . . . and she will never have them . . . there's no do-over for that. They're gone forever. And lost to what, a home-wrecking predator who used her (and others too gullible to see him for what he was) for his own gratification.

Now, I could be totally wrong here, but if she hasn't apologized to any negatively affected, I have to wonder if she's truly understood the extent of how her actions impacted others (and her own life). If she does eventually realize that, keep a close eye on her please . . . I'd have to think it could be really depressing. (Sorry, I'm not overlooking your hurt, but I just can't imagine dealing with the loss of my experiences with my kids in such important years. I still dwell on little things I know I could have done better at that time.)

I hope you all can find new wonderful memories. I hope your wife comes to realize that maybe the problem wasn't just how she treated you . . . maybe it was just as much about not loving and respecting herself. And if that is indeed the case, by that point, I hope you've healed enough to be able to tell her that it's okay, you've always loved her enough for the both of you.

[This message edited by c24j at 7:16 PM, August 20th (Wednesday)]

dragon1128 posted 8/20/2014 22:42 PM

You gave me some great advice earlier about living an honorable life, and I want you to know that you may have saved my marriage (from me "evening the score"). Thank you for the wake up call!

Remember, your wife's affair was 15 years ago. She's not the same person today that she was then. Even if you were the fallback position, to me, that is a compliment, albeit a backhanded one.

You are someone's soft place in a hard world. You are dependable, strong and honorable. You can't be a fallback position without those qualities. Focus on that, and not the fact that she forgot what a nice thing that is to have.

Besides, affairs are often more complicated than a choice between 2 people. I hope you're able to give her a good chance to win you back, and I hope she makes the most of it! 34 years together is worth it.

sisoon posted 8/21/2014 13:22 PM

Has anyone ever pointed you to the thread 'What Every WS Needs To Know'? Its' here

It may help your W (and MC) understand why you're where you're at and get you're W to open up in a different and better way.

Just musing...

The question you ask may be something that WSes and BSes just can't communicate about. It's like the claim that the WSes in R always loved their BSes all through their As.

I don't buy it. Our MC doesn't buy it. But a number of fWSes on SI who seem to get it totally maintain the claim. These fWSes look so honest in everything else they say that I can't entirely discount them. (My W says it, too, and she's been honest since d-day.)

It could be that you always were your W's first choice in her mind, even though only some WSes can understand how that works.

As I say, just musin'....

toomanyregrets posted 8/21/2014 13:31 PM

I was a "plan B" too.
I alway's thought it was because she found out what the OM realy was like. But 4 years ago I finally realized tat I was the fall back plan.

I decided that I'd had enough and told fWW that I was done and wanted a D. She realized that I was serious and has since changed her ways, but sometimes I feel it's too little, too late.

Don't be a door mat. It isn't worth it.

Edie posted 8/21/2014 18:14 PM

MC wants me to list four things fWW can do to convince me I am not just Plan B.

That she undertake:
1. to read 'not just friends' by Shirley Glass
2. To explore the idea that it was never a choice between two men, but between two women (lying cheating one and the whole healthy un -addicted one).
3. To explore the idea that it was never a choice between two men, but a choice about whether to resolve ennui, fear and dissatisfaction the healthy fulfilling way or the unhealthy fantasy way.
4. To debate with you the idea of real love as opposed to the Hollywood soulmate nonsense of riding off into the sunset with a knight in shining armour from the ordinariness of the everyday , and find the extraordinary ness of that, the quotidian, of real love.

c24j posted 8/22/2014 19:33 PM

Calamus, It has occurred to me that there are some things in the way she's behaved that would you feeling like the backup, even today. Perhaps she and the MC could use a little enlightenment there.
While I don't know what bothers you most on a personal level, there are things one could list that might make one FEEL like they were not PlanA (even though you most likely are) . . . here were some that came to mind based upon what you've said:

1-OM knew about you . . . You did not know about him until 13 months ago . . . so for years she protected him and the affair above telling the truth and actively healing the marriage with you. That could make someone feel like a fallback even if they weren't.

2-By not telling, she allowed you to think certain people were good friends - people who by lack of action had betrayed you as well. She should be protecting her Main Man, and this action makes you feel you weren't.

3-Her not taking responsibility (earlier) and explaining to you and her daughter why she was so cold in your daughter's high school years does make it seem she put the family second. (This still really gets me, eliciting both anger and pity . . . Sorry, not my place.)

I believe that NOW you ARE her Number 1, PlanA, MainGuy, or other superlative person. But it's important she (and MC?) identify those behaviors that seem to indicate otherwise. Again, you might suggest a counter-exercise, where she and the counselor come up with a list of behaviors that might make someone feel 2nd best. I'm a little surprised your MC hasn't been a bit more in tune with your feelings in this, though that may just be my interpretation of what you've written. You've come up with some good ideas in my opinion . . . Hang in there !!

[This message edited by c24j at 7:35 PM, August 22nd (Friday)]

Return to Forum List

© 2002-2018 ®. All Rights Reserved.