Thank you so much for the Bump. To ScarletA, you are incredible for starting this thread. All my life I have been looking for external validation. Everything I do I look to someone, anyone for approval. My BS constantly says how great I look and what a great father I am. Itake the compliment and look for more. She now says that all of her compliments were not enough.
She is scared that this will happen again. I need to convince her that I now have a better understanding of the problem and can work to fix it. Now looking back I can see YEARS of this. right now at work I am called "the golden boy". I did not see how that all just feeds and feeds into my ego. Sometimes I don't know how I fit my head in the car.
Thank you all for your insight. Low self esteem or high I definitely have a problem. But the question still remains. We have all come clean with our problem of needing so much validation. Has anyone found an effective way to deal with it. I imagine just being more insightful of my needs would be the first step. But I need to never let the validation get the best of me again.
I'm sure a good IC will be more helpful once I find one. It just good to possibly see a starting point. I myself have asked about sex addiction, narsacist, just an ahole. I need to figure out the answer and fix it. At least start. My BS means the world to me and I need to be a better man for my son. I don't want him using me as the reason he is an F up. I need to set an example from here on out that your actions affect many, many more people than just you. I want to be a better husband for my BS and my son.
If you decide to leave I will not fight you, but I will fight for you!
Love doesn't fail...
The bad relationship with my husband, selfishness, external validation, poor self-esteem, feeling attractive/desired, etc were all contributing factors. The question I needed to answer was given where I was, why did I choose to have an affair instead of making a healthier choice. The answer for me is fear of change.
It was fear of change that let me accept the degradation of my marriage over the years. Whenever I thought about my marriage and whether or not I wanted to stay in it, I would immediately think that I didn't want to start over, to be a single mom, to deal with everything related to divorce. The fear of change (which has always been a big part of me) kept me in my marriage, even when I probably should have said enough, I can't live like this, we need to change things or I have to leave. It's ironic that fear of risking my marriage caused me to risk my marriage, but since I was so good at compartmentalization, I never saw the affair as risking my marriage. The AP knew me well enough to know that my fear of change meant I would never consider ending my marriage for him, so it didn't feel like that was where I was heading.
I'm not sure I'm explaining this well, but it makes sense to me.
Nothing much but love to give you, even less have I to hide - Tim O'Brien
A major part of my story can be found at http://www.survivinginfidelity.com/forums.asp?tid=315647 but in a nut shell, I ended up with an EA with my high school girlfriend after a 30 year period.
Yesterday, my BS and I were talking about our thoughts on “what is love?” within the marriage framework. There is no doubt in my mind that we create in our own heads the mental image of what true love really is starting with our FOO and the life experiences that we have as children. I think as adults, we all recognize that this picture changes as time moves on. After all, in some respect, every divorced person or anyone who broke up with someone, walks into the next relationship with a different mental image than they had the first time around. It’s a shifting paradigm in one sense but permanent in another, insofar that the mental image can be rooted so deeply into our psyche that we have a very difficult time seeing the tree for the forest.
In that process of trying to find that deep buried “why”, I've been examining the “how and when” of when I formulated my ideas on what love were.
I grew up as a reader and as a child, a lot of the books that I read were books where knights would forsake their true love to go off and fight for king and country. Men would do the right thing and forsake their lovers. Women would pine for their husbands away in the far lands. It was romantic, it was heroic, it was doomed and it was tragic. It was also unrealistic but I did not know it as a child. I think that I grew up to view love as a form of limerence which is defined as an involuntary cognitive and emotional state of intense romantic desire for another person. The term was coined by psychologist Dorothy Tennov to describe the ultimate, near-obsessional form of romantic love.
I think that my feelings and thoughts on this “romantic love” served to set the ground work for my eventual affair. The old fashioned knight in shining armor, unrequited love and doomed love scenarios which I grew up reading about and dreaming about created this "trap" which I have been stuck in since I was a child. Of course, I romanticized my breakup with the OW. After all, I was conditioned to think that "true love could find its own time" in the future if only you held true and dear onto the vision of your love. My heart felt that if I held her in my heart forever, then true love would conquer all. Of course, that’s what my inner voice or my sub-conscious was telling me. So, perhaps, I was living out my doomed and tragic POV when I had my affair. After all, it was so romantic. Star crossed lovers, destiny, doomed forever to be in love but never consummate. And I fell, hook, line and sinker for the whole “unrealistic, romantic crap” and started up this affair.
But now, I am seeing that my behavior in that regard was a huge mistake. I allowed myself to fall into a trap that had no basis in reality but since it did in my fantasy world of "doomed / unrequited" love, that’s what happened. I’m not arguing that this explains all of the mess in my head regarding the feelings to the OS but I think it sets up the ground floor on the “how” I fell into love with her and then subsequently, it sets up the “how” I dealt with the breakup 30 years ago. It helps to explain "why" I carried a torch for her ever since then. It helps to explain what happened when we did connect 30 years later.
Of course, we all know how that worked out. Badly! The reality was that I was married and this was not some romantic star crossed lovers rekindling their love scenario, it was in fact, just another ugly, dirty, tawdry affair.
So, while carrying a torch for 30 years might have been this grand romantic gesture in my sub-conscious heart and mind, of course in the real world, it was a disaster in my real world marriage.
Ah well ... I still think this is only the tip of the iceberg. My BS has worries about a future reoccurrence of this and therefore, I am committed to digging deeper and learning more and finding new ways to think and cope with the past. With the grace of God and a kick in the pants from my wife, I am still working at learning why and what I need to do so she and I will be able to one day feel secure that I have the right knowledge and skills to move on.
Thought of the Day - For every lie I told her, I told two to myself.
[This message edited by HUFI-PUFI at 12:22 PM, November 2nd (Monday)]
I don't have a self esteem problem. I have lots of friends, I'm involved in the community, and have a very active lifestyle with exercise, motorcycles, and the outdoors.
It simply comes down to incompatibility in the relationship, which should have been addressed years and years ago.
[This message edited by petitecrivain at 1:20 AM, May 3rd (Thursday)]
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.
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.
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.
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.
I've never posted on here but when I read this it almost jumped from the page for me. I couldnt even be patient enough to read the replies because this is me exactly. I have said all of these things to myself--have wondered what the heck is wrong with me that the male attention is that important. Prior to my H's affair, I had always been faithful and had frankly though this side of me had gone away. Whoa, now that I have been thoroughly devastated and felt so worthless, unlovable, undesired...it is like he created a monster. I thrive on the male attention as if to show him, "See, I could get other guys!" I know he knows this now but the thing is, I now crave this male attention/flirting etc more than I want the marriage.
I have learned that I had intamacy problems,traits of sexual addition,narsisstic qualities,selfishness,a cruel streak that caused me to emotionally abuse my wife. I also have had to admit that I always think of myself first.
The hardest things for me to understand and admit to were problems with size(mine),being abused while growing up,realizing that I never matured past the age of fifteen or sixteen,how firmly I believed the lies that I told myself.
Understanding somewhat all of this I realized how much I sought out the ever powerful ego stroke and the lengths I went to to get it.
I think I have been this type of person my entire life,a problem that started with my mother,a need to please and hurt at the same time,a role my wife had no idea she was assuming when we got married.
Like everyone else it is a question that still knaws at me.
[This message edited by roller at 6:30 PM, November 16th (Monday)]
ScarletA's post was me except that I had just one A( I know that is not better, I don't want my BH to read this and think I haven't told him everything) This was me as a teen for sure. AND I knew this about myself. I see this in teenage girls all the time and identified with it. I know where it came from and why. AND I still lied to myself at the time the A began. (Talking to one of the "validators" was harmless.)
So why did I do it. I talked to the OM just to catch up after 20 years. I told him how great my life was and how wonderful my marriage was. I think I was looking for him to be envious(validation). But then we started talking about the past and I was drawn back to that time and all the emotion and selfishness that went with it. OM would flatter(validate) me and compliment(validate) me. I would struggle in my head, knowing that my BH didn't deserve what was happening, but then I would crave just one more validation...this happened over and over again...we were texting and calling at that point. One more validation lead to one more and a meeting and it was now all beyond bad. There was no turning back, no validation of anything good, I wanted out, but I needed one more validation. OM was really a piece of crap and it was becoming clear to me even in my fog, but I still wanted one more validation...validation of what? That I am a piece of crap too? What else was there at that point.
My BH discovered the A and plucked me out of what felt like a hurricane in my head. At that moment the fog started to lift, but the destruction was forever. My BH saved me. Even if we don't make it, I will always be grateful that he saved me from myself that time.
But that doesn't leave us with much now. Am I fixable? I want to be fixable. I/we have been going to IC/MC since the week of DDay. But I still don't know how to fix me. The unhappiness with myself since my early teens along with the new contempt for myself over the A makes up poison that might very well kill what is left of the my perfect BH and the marriage that everyone envied, and probably still envies, because they don't know the ugly truth of it(me)now. We put on an impressive fake face for everyone.
I know we love each other very much, but can love conquer all? I am not feeling it today.
( I really want to post on a good day sometime soon.)
I so desperately want my husband to know that I treasure him and every minute with him.
I think my BH understands that part about me now. I too had a need for validation from men even at a young age. It may have been triggered by
inappropriate attention from an older man when I was around 13. Or maybe that fed into something that was already there. So we go back to a futher deeper why, and I have not been able to find anything except a basic flaw.
We all know that people are different in their physical addictions. Some have drink, some have tobacco. Some are killed by drugs, some overcome, and some never get hooked.
I am not trying to excuse it, but this need for validation runs very deep in some of us. We therefore need to recogniste this trait and develop the coping skills of an addict
It's ok if no one reads this.. I just need to say it.
In 2000 I lost my oldest brother to cancer, he was 50 years old, an alcoholic and the saddest person I ever knew. I helped my parents care for him, as he was divorced and his children were not quite old enough to do what had to be done. The same month my exH's father died from cancer. I liked him, and am sorry I didn't have to strength to visit with him while he was ill. Then in October of 2000 my mother died after a 2 month battle with cancer - she didn't know she was ill until I came by the house one day and noticed she was yellow - her liver was failing and she was full of cancer. I was the only child able to stay with her regularly and help Dad care for her. She was angry, and scared and I dealt with her each day. I cried constantly - and suffered with major depression for months. My H was supportive, in his way - but I was so sad, and so lonely, to the point of being suicidal. During this time, I befriended a man online. Chatting and unloading all my problems to a stranger who passively listened and expressed empathy .. and I "fell in love" with the idea of him. I began meeting with him and having coffee and talking.. all the while I was caring for mom I'd call him for support and I know that I was shutting my H out, and using this OM when I should have turned to my H. I also became "friendly" with a more agressively sexual man, and finally - just before I was hospitalized for suicidal thoughts, I became involved with another man who promised me love, happiness and an escape from my state of mind. My H confronted me, and honestly I don't know if it was before or after I was hospitalized now - (I was in a psychiatric hospital for several weeks) - medicated to the hilt and diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, major depressive disorder and God-knows what else. Looking back on my A 0r As as they were I was desperate for the pain of my situation to go away, just for a while.. and the attention from outside my real life did that temporarily. My H said it took years to get over for him. For me, it was done once I was on the proper meds, and back in my right mind. (during all this - I had blackouts, slept for days, lost 40 pounds, and had hallucinations from my meds)
My father passed Dec of 2007 - sad and hard but I kept my focus on what was good, and didn't have the major despression like with mom. My youngest daughter had a son, and gave it up for adoption - she moved to CO, then CA and married a boy last monday - she told me 3 days b4..
Three days or so before Thanksgiving - I discovered my H was seeing escorts. So now the shoe is on the other foot -- and me -- being the squishy, easily injured thing that I am -- I am devastated. and a hypocrite .. I hate what he did, I am disgusted and I feel I can't blame him. I deserve this, what comes around goes around.
UGHHHH.. I am lost - and afraid of losing my mind yet again.
I am making an appointment to see a IC for now. But I have to admit I am afraid that I can't deal with it all..
Sorry for the long mess.. I just needed to let it out, and better here than somewhere else. Thank you all for listening..