"If the grass is greener, it's time to water your lawn"
I have been lonely most of my life and have a hard time connecting deeply with others. I'm pretty intense. If I like doing something I do it A LOT. Exercise. Drinking (not a binger, just a 3 beer a day girl). World of Warcraft. Makeup. Shopping.
I am somewhat like beach, I seem to have a backup in case whatever I'm doing doesn't work out. I'm not very confident over my life's decisions (others find that startling since I'm very goal oriented and I guess some may consider me educated also).
As a result of living in a split home, I had very little parental guidance and interaction. I may have become very independent, secretive, and self-controlled to get by such a situation. Also I rejected my parents' religious teachings and to some extent, we feel I threw the baby out with the bathwater (because my parents were very serious about their beliefs, they sounded a bit stodgy and unbending as I was a kid, which didn't fit my existential type of philosophy).
I totally feel broken. I wish I wouldn't have challenged everything my parents said.
I guess I should also state as a very young child (6-8 or so) my dad had an affair and as a teen my mom had an EA with a teenage boy who was a gifted but mentally unstable friend of my brothers. When he moved into our home for a winter, my dad moved out in early spring and that's how my parents became separated. So it seems as if abandonment, EA's, emotional unavailability and conflict avoidance are in my genes UNFORTUNATELY.
Count me in as one more who wrestled (often unsuccessfully) with low self esteem and the like. But to go into a little more detail... nothing I ever did was good enough. Not for other people, but for me. And as many successes or positive things I had going for me, I could only ever focus on the one or two negatives that I experienced. They ballooned in my mind. They festered. They occupied all my thoughts, all my attention. To the outside world... heck, to my BW... I seemed a confident, charming, capable fellow. Inside... I felt anything but.
And so the A, for me, was like - as it is often compared here - a drug. After all, in my twisted way of thinking at the time, my BW had to tell me she thought I was handsome or smart or anything like that... because she was married to me, and that's what you say, right? (It didn't matter that I told her she was beautiful and sexy and intelligent because she really was... those kind of things weren't true about me, right?) But the OW... she had no reason to think those things. So maybe... if she thought them... they were true?
I was immature and ignorant. I had the notion that "in love" was a real feeling that we should all have all the time -- that the excitement of romance should always be there. I didn't understand that it takes work to make marriage work, and it takes a lot of work to stay "in love" with someone rather than merely staying infatuated with them.
D-Day (2) 4-2-08 (finally told the full story)
Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future. ~Paul Boese
Additionally, I'm a serial cheater--I've cheated in every relationship I ever had. Ever. I know I have that propensity. The only difference between the past and htis time, I guess, is that I didn't intend for this A to happen and this was the first time I ever had feelings for the other person. I fell in love with FOM before I knew it, and I think that is waht stopped the A from escalating to full intercourse. Complicated stuff.
Not in any specific order.
1. If you read my profile - you can get a better idea of what i am about to say. BBF was having at least an EA with an ex of his (i still think there may be more but he is sticking to his story) and he wanted me to be jealous, he wanted me to think that he was leaving me after being together at that time for 11 1/2 years and leaving me with all of our bills, he paid little attention to me (we spent all of our free time together but it was more of a friendship ...)and our sex lives had depleted so much over the last few years (we used to have a very active sex life) (too comfortable, me becoming 'his mom'..., he resented me because i refused to move out of state (again) with him with no new jobs and with little money...) - he wanted me to think some really horrible things so that i would "come after him and tell him that he f**ked up" and then he was going to propose (so he told me after i confessed to my A).
2. low self-esteem, co-dependent...
3. several years ago, i worked in the medical field for someone who committed insurance fraud (I did not know this while i was working for him). Well, everyone that worked for this person either would be arrested for same or had to 'turn themselves in' (I choose the latter) because it was seen that his employees helped him to commit his crime. I had legal bills, i was terrified that i may go to jail, I had court appearances for three years and i was horrified that all of my hard work in grad school was now gone (I graduated with a 4.0 and i was so proud of myself - i worked so hard to achieve that). I didn't know what my future held because i worked for someone who took away everything i worked for! I felt like the biggest failure. I was never in trouble in my life, never got into fights, never cheated on tests, always did stuff by the books, and now i am a loser. I really had trouble dealing with that and at times i still do - i am fortunate and have a good job - but it is not in the field that i wanted - i am trying to start my own business in addition to my job.
Sorry to ramble. Basically, i was in a bad place (self-esteem, life, etc.) - i wanted so much more in my life and even in my relationship - after all of these years - we don't own a home, we are not engaged/married, no kids, etc. and these are all things that we discussed that we wanted...and then bbf plays 'a game' with me!!!
Him - bbf (bs) - 39 y.o.
Me - wgf (ws) - 36 y.o.
Years together - almost 13
D-Day - 12/31/06 (still enduring his mind f**k games but surviving and focusing more on me)
I have read all the posts and what everyone said is right on for me.
I have ALWAYS needed external validation...especially from men. Low self esteem is a major factor for me as well...it's something my IC and I are working on.
I was bored with my BH and never gave him the opportunity to be anything but vanilla...if only I had used my big mouth! I assumed he was happy with things and didn't want to rock the boat so I jumped ship without BH knowing. I thought that someone else could make me feel things my BH couldn't...my BH was my second sex partner in my life and it was always "nice" but never amazing. I always wondered if that was how it was supposed to be -my Mom always said it was a "wifely" duty and sex was never discussed in my household. My mind always wandered back to my first boyfriend (OM) b/c we never got to have sex (although we tried to plan it, it never happened) b/c I dumped him for another guy.
I have never felt like I was my own person, always need someone to tell me how good I am, or how special I was...and I never believed them anyway. I was always the one in the family that kept us all together even though I didn't know it. My IC says I was the "glue" that held it all together...and that carried into my M. The responsibility became too much and I had to figure out how to get away from it all without actually leaving- make sense?
Immaturity is HUGE for me as well. I was coddled as a child...kinda kept in the bubble even though I saw my Dad abuse my Mom on a daily basis until I was 7 or so...then my Dad SA me for a year or two. All that is kinda foggy but I am working on that. I never had to make my own decisions. I was told what I was gonna do. My childhood was very messed up and I have a hard time recalling a lot of things.
I guess to sum it all up, I would say:
3)Unsatisfactory sex life
4)Felt like I was being smothered
5)This one is kinda strange, but I wanted a guy that was opposite of my BH. OM was the exact opposite.
I could go on and on about this all day...and I think of anything else helpful- I will post again.
Thanks for a great thread. It is helpful to see what others post and know that you are not alone
It's never too late to be what you might have been
Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end
ScarletA, what an insightful and courageous post!
Many of the things you said in your post sound so much like things my FWW has told me, after months of soul-searching. She has struggled with terrible self-esteem throughout her life, and a desire to feel pretty & sexy, but no belief at all that she really is those things.
She has a history of poor boundaries, and seeking external validation. She had never before cheated in/on a relationship before. This time she slipped right off the slope, which started with flirtatious and inappropriate comments and a very predatory OM.
At first it was easy for her to try to lay the blame on OM's constant advances and the onset of (bipolar) mental illness, but the more she delved into her feelings and motivations, the more she began to see patterns in herself she no longer wanted to experience.
When I can tear myself away from my own devastation as a BH, I feel a lot of compassion for her. Her attempts to find something to make her "feel better" only made her feel worse about herself than she ever has, left her feeling shame and grief, for the damage to her M and family, for the hurt she caused me, and for the way she betrayed herself and her core beliefs.
Thank you again for such a thoughtful and open post.
ETA: FWW also said it was never about sex or sexual excitement. It was all about feeling "sexy and pretty" and "special," and she went along with the sexual stuff because that got OM to tell her how "hot" and "beautiful" she was.
[This message edited by Crossbow at 1:35 PM, April 9th (Wednesday)]
2 DSs, ages 8 and 6
I have done so much soul-searching since D-Day to try and figure out how I ever allowed myself to become an adulterer.
ScarletA, I also have been doing the same thing. Soul searching and trying to figure out what was wrong with me. I was certain (I would never do that to my wife). I had no doubt that I would not turn out like my father.
But, from your profile, you do not tell us about your upbringing. That might be something you only talk about in IC, or MC, at the sea or any C you may see.
I have been in IC right from the beginning. I have read a bunch of books. I've lurked on the boards quite a bit trying to gain some insight into my own broken self. At first I toyed with the idea that maybe I'm a sexual addict. It was proposed that maybe I was bi-polar. I even went to a psychiatrist and his official diagnosis was Anxiety and Impulse Control issues, for which I am on medication. After much pondering, I have concluded that, although lots of the symptoms of sex addiction and impulse control disorder definitely fit my patterns, I'm not entirely sure that's what drove me to do what I did.
I am about the same way in that respect. I spent some time trying to find a "category" or "label" for my problem. It seemed like a sexual addict or other labels did not entirely fit. But, then I came to realize that no one will ever fit perfectly into a category or diagnosis.
I was a deeply unhappy person. Not because of anything BS did. Just because of me. And even as a young girl, I basked in male attention. So, if I ever needed a pick-me-up for my ego, I'd find someone to compliment me and make me feel pretty, interesting, special, etc.
I did many of the same things. But, mine were a bit worse. Any time anything was getting me down, I would just go hook up with someone. They would always make me feel acceptable or wanted or ____ fill in your own blank.
What I came to realize was I was an attention addict. I craved the attention that I got from OW. The problem was that I LET MYSELF have permission to do this. That was the key. Sure, I had done it for years. Cheated on every gf I ever had. I did all this, but kept telling myself that I would never do that after I got married. I was single, there was no ring on my finger, so, it was all OK.
To make matters worse, I even had a gf tell me that I could sleep with whomever I wanted, just to not break up with her! That sense of entitlement was just that! It was a failure of me to do what I knew was right.
But, I was also thinking that it was ok since I was not married. However, that shows a total lack of integrity in a person. So, of course, what ended up happening is the metal band on my finger did not change me.
So, years later, after I've evolved into this horribly unhappy person, rather than have to too closely examine the root of my discontent, I sought ways to distract myself from experiencing that pain.
Exactly! You were doing what I was also doing. You were hiding from yourself. I found that I did not really even know ME.
Only by learning about me, truly about me, and why I had this sense of entitlement was quite difficult. But, we, BS and I are working on it. MC is a huge help.
It seems to stem from my childhood. I probably should profile my story, but BS and kids and I are going away to south padre island for a couple of days, so I cannot right now. Anyway, my mother chose me to go with her when I was 7 and we found my father hiding behind a tree at his gf's house (parents were still married). Then, my mother's coping strategy was to D him and go screw anyone she could find. While, dear ole dad kept up all his shit. So, I never ever learned how to be in a relationship of any kind. It was survival of the fittest. Evolution at it's worst.
To make a long story that much longer, I grew up knowing that all I had to do was protect myself from getting hurt. There is much more to the childhood, with abandonment issues, etc, but I will not bore people any longer with it
And that was to revert to the patterns of my youth and look for validation from inappropriate sources. In the beginning, it seemed harmless enough. But it soon progressed to such a degree that I could no longer keep track of all the lies I was telling. And truth be told, I was more deeply miserable than ever.
All this paragraph is exaclty what I figured out. It seems to me that you have it figured out as well, and to not be miserable, you have to keep telling yourself that you are good enough. You deserve better than you are behaving. You are meriting your actions.
The strange part is, it was never really about the sex for me. It was more that the sex was an eventuality of the flirting and the attention I was seeking.
THAT is exactly right. Attention addict! If you are one, raise your hand (had highly raised here!)
Through this contemplation, it has caused me to wonder what other insights Waywards have had about themselves and to give them an opportunity to share. I started this thread because there really is no support group for people with the type of addiction I believe I have. And it occurred to me that there may be more of us out there (ie. on this website) than is commonly known.
There is mine! Hope that works for ya! Hang in. Just keep analyzing yourself. The payoffs are huge.
This stupidity was totally due to a massive emotional blow from a previous relationship and OMM had all the right words/actions to patch up those holes. Or so I had it in my head that way.....ugh
I had to realize I was the only other person in my head, and so therefore no one else was going to make me feel better but me. Period. I could flatter myself on my own with things that didn't include intruding into someone else's life. I could take walks on my own without needing someone to go with me to make me feel wanted. I could go shopping on my own without someone going with me to feel pretty.
Good post topic, Scarlet!
FSOW - late 30's, married now.
Nobody forgets what happens, the secret is learning to live with it.
I'm the BS, and yet so much of what you described fits me also. The need for attention from men (at a very early age, as I recall!) sometimes has felt so desperate. In high school and college, I slept with way too many guys because I loved the high I felt knowing I was turning them on. Sadly, I never got much out of the sex, and that carried over into my marriage - it took me more than a decade to share with FWH that I had never had an orgasm through sex with him (I had mastered the fine art of faking it by then!).
So even though I'm a BW, I do have a lot of understanding about why a WS strays. In my own marriage, the hardest part to recover from is not my FWH's affair, it is that he continued the deception and affair after I found out, and let it drag on so long. But I understand the need for external validation, especially during a period of feeling crappy about yourself and your marriage.
Now that it's on the table, I'm not quite sure how to go about eliminating this kind of need. How do you REALLY start the process of not needing it, to looking inward to finding that confidence? Or is it just a matter of always having to fight it, and constantly being aware of and avoiding situations where the need for that kind of validation arises? How do we fix this in ourselves? I don't have a clue where to start after realizing what the core issue is.
Thank you for this post. This forum always helps me to the most as I struggle to recover from the pain of my FWH's affair. The WSs who post here are truly heroes in my eyes - this self-reflection isn't easy stuff!
I am still searching for the magic answer, and almost feeling like even when I uncover motives- for lack of a better word- that it feels like I'm trying to find an excuse. And what I did was unexcusable. There is no justification for breaking my commitment, for hurting my BH, for acting so incredibly selfishly.
That being said, this is what I've found. (I wish there was just one answer, but I'm kind of finding a mishmosh of crap that I've been covering up for a while)
1- I've always been an attention getter. I was never the pretty one, the popular girl...so I did what I could to get attention. I remember lying to my entire girl scout troup and telling them I had strep throat on a camping trip...Why? I don't know- but I got lots of attention!
High School introduced me to theatre...is there not a better place than in a lead role to command that attention and praise??
Even at work- I was a teacher before a SAHM- I had to be THE BEST at everything.
I love being the mom with it all together- I love it when people compliment my cooking, my kids...I know now that I CRAVE that attention.
2- Complacency. BH and I have been together since high school...we know everything about each other. Our history is forever long. I honestly think we got too comfortable. We stopped fortifying our relationship. We stopped giving each other gifts for our anniversaries...we didn't need all that...that crap is silly when we love each other as much as we do. Right? Oh, if only I had read all these self-help books before I got involved with OM!
I think much of the complacen
3- Child Centered Marriage. I love my kids. Adore them. I know I want one more, even. But BH and I slipped into the child-centered marriage pattern...which compounded the compacency issue, I think. We have a 3 year old and a 1 year old- the baby has special needs. I know that I am all consumed with my boys as a stay at home mom. I absolutely put everybody else's needs in front of mine...and it caught up with me. Because as soon as OM offered his 'friendship' and 'understood' how hard I worked and 'wished his wife were as amazing as I was'--- I fell for that hook, line, and sinker.
4- Depression. My family has a history of it. I think that, even though I've been denying it, I may have been teetering on the edge of depression ever since soft markers for Trisomy 21 appeared on my 20 week sono with my son...he just turned a year last month. So, it's been a long time and a long road of grieving, coping, accepting, and putting my own fears and dreams aside while trying to meet the needs of my son, and at the same time feeling grossly inadequate because I wanted to give my first son a sibling to grow up with a depend on in life...and instead, I gave him a burden (I know this is totally un-PC and terrible, but I'm trying to be REAL here, people). I know we'll be fine. I know that his brother will teach him things and help him grow in ways that he would have never experienced with a typical brother...but still. I can't help feel like a failure of some sort.
God, this is going on and on, isn't it? It feels good to get it out, though, so you all can stop reading and I won't take offense...
**There are probably more things that I'll attribute my lack of morals or blinding selfishness to...but this is a good start. Again, I'm NOT making excuses. I effed up. Totally. There ISN'T a justification. I'm just trying to analyze myself, and how I ever even let myself step on that slippery slope.
I still look at myself, and think about my choices, and go "WTF was I thinking?!" And I still don't know. I hate that I am here. I hate that I put my BH in this position. And my kids. I just totally suck right now.