We are in Imago counseling and they refer to it as "stories we tell ourselves"
So while (I'm sorry I can't page back to get the name) another BS was talking about rewriting marital history for justification - sometimes there is a "story" or interpretation of events the WS has before or during the A that is very different from that od the BS. It is often this breakdown in communication that leads to what my BH and I call the "perfect storm" situation where A's happen.
I really hope in four and a half years I remember much less. I think about what I did, and what it cost BH and I every minute- I think about OM specifically almost never. Does that make sense? He is irrelevant. He could have been anyone.
He also had sexual issues that made him dysfunctional due t childhood abuse Why did I go back a second time? I was not in it for sex (clearly) I traded sex for attention and affection. Plus, this showed he needed me. I needed to be needed. Real healthy.
I can't speak for your BH, but after five years forgetfulness is possible.
M 28 yrs
Did you feel shame and/or guilt for cheating on your spouse and what is the difference?
Yes to both. Shame: because I did something morally wrong and disgusting. Guilt: because I did it to the man I promised to love and honor forever.
It seems absolutely crazy to me that you could do this and not remember in vivid detail.
I can't remember details of each sexual encounter with AP either, especially not the first two (for sake of comparison to your circumstance). Honestly there's just no way it would be possible.
Edited because I re-read my answer and worried it sounded flippant and casual. My affair began 2 1/2 years ago and lasted for 5 months; there were many encounters. I know the things we did overall, but not during each encounter point-by-point. If there had been only two, maybe I would be able to remember that more clearly.
[This message edited by heartbroken0903 at 5:25 PM, June 6th (Wednesday)]
Married 2.5 years
Reconciling after divorce
My exWH left under the guise of a trial separation. He denied the rumors until he actually was seen out with her. He ate cake up to that point, but then i think he knew how much horrible damage he had caused. He had no no choice but to stay out and cling to her. In short, his actions were nothing but cruel and cowardly. I wouldn't treat my worst enemy the way he ended up treating me at the very end.
What's interesting and frustrating to me is that he still hides things. We have two young kids and certain things I should know. I don't get into his business and don't much care about his life anymore, so why does he continue to sneak and lie???? And, on top of that, why does he continue to dance around me, and even act nice every once in a while with happy birthday wishes and concerns about my health? It's clear we are not friends. I am business like and not nasty for the sake of the kids, but we certainly are nowhere near friends.
My IC says he presents like a pathetic puppy dog. I mean, I don't want him to be mean or nasty to me personally, but I also wonder why the big act??
Is he ashamed? Guilty? Afraid of me?? He's taken quite a long fall from grace and his life with OW is unrecognizable from the nice, comfortable life we ad with our kids. IC says i continue to serve as his conscience, but I don't know.
I know lots of answers will be speculative since he is the only one who truly knows, if he even does, but I would appreciate the responses. The mindset continues to baffle me whenever I do think about this.
My WH lied about...everything in MC. I could've at least gotten support there if he had been forthcoming. He wanted to go-I didn't twist his arm or anything.
So, if you're the one who wants to go, why lie there????
I didn't have a PA, so I'm not sure if this will be helpful. The farther out from the A, the harder it is to remember the specifics. But, like heartbroken0903, I believe it would be easier to remember only 2 encounters.
I do think that when the term "disaster" is used to describe the sex, that it is a more honest assessment then if he would have said "it wasn't good" and it possibly explains why he went back a second time, especially if there was an EA component. The EA is going to be the feel good part. To the WS in that kind of EA, they may be trying to convince themselves that the PA is going to be the best experience ever.
If you need to know the details, there are things your WH could try which would help him to remember. I don't know what those things are, or what specifically would work for him, but it wouldn't just be a plain old IC session. It could involve EMDR, hypnosis, or methods that take him back to that place in his mind. I don't know what it's called, but I have had times in IC where the counselor sort of guides me back and sometimes some connection will be made, some memory uncovered, or remembered.
Does your WH know how important this is to you? Have you told him directly?
Why would you waste time & money in MC lying?
My answer is that I was trying to convince my BW to leave me.
My own opinion is that MC doesn't really help with A's directly. IC does. Once the A issues are addressed and work has begun in IC, then MC can come in and help create a safe place for communication and openness, which is often a new thing for the M...but MC by itself? Save your money until later.
I like your IC's explanation about you being his conscience. At the same time, he has to accept certain realities, that he lost you, that he blew up the M, and that you have to co-parent now.
I would guess that he is trying to make everything okay inside himself. He knows where he is at with OW. He knows how things are with you now. He has to meld those two things and operate within that space. I'm not saying he is a conflict avoider (he might be, I can't remember from past posts...), but he is coping with the situation to create the least amount of conflict with himself. Sort of like, if he keeps acting this way, he can avoid facing the reality that he is the problem, that he is the one who needs fixing. In short, he is trying to maintain a facade in order to avoid his own problems.
You are probably the only one who has maintained integrity through all of this. He probably knows you are right about everything. And because of the requirements of having to act like adults for the sake of the children (not knocking you at all, I just don't know how else to say it), he is going along with it because he can, because he knows he should even if he doesn't really know why yet.
I would bet that it will all crumble some day. It will probably catch up to him, either that, or he will end up a miserable old man.
Similar to heartbroken0903, the shame seems focused inward whereas the guilt seems focused outward. Don't know why that is...
Shame at betraying my own integrity, values, and morals. Actually, maybe it is just the realization that I could ignore those so easily. That is the shame, because I had no tolerance for cheaters before my own EA. It was just something a person shouldn't do, yet I ended up doing it.
Guilt at putting my BW through so much pain and hurt. Guilt that I was willing to give up my children and my BW. Guilt that I put so much effort into someone I never should have been talking to in the first place.
To the points in the article...http://www.thirdage.com/relationships-love/why-men-leave-what-every-woman-and-man-needs-to-know
1. Being a man doesn't mean that you don't feel things emotionally, just that showing those emotions outwardly is generally seen as weak. So, guys are generally good at keeping things bottled up. Doesn't mean we don't feel. Very confusing to deal with, and it is easier to make fun of women for it.
2. Yep, describes me, but it has taken a lot of work to even recognize that. I do want to be touched, yet physical touch was my lowest score on the Love Langauge test. If someone touches me without me being ready for it, I jump. It freaks me out. I don't touch my BW enough, but I find that there are many times when I wish she was touching me.
3. I'm going to get hammered on this one...I think men do want to be taken care of. It is a secret wish for many men to be completely taken care of at home. Just as many women really want to have some sense of security from their H. Look at history, and then look at marketing and social pressures. Men were supposed to take care of things to make sure everyone was safe. Women would be able to make things comfortable and safe at home by being caretakers. Somewhere or other, things changed and got off track. So there is a memory/compulsion to maintain these roles on one hand, but there is a new acceptance that these roles can be reversed easily, even though marketing and social pressures still push the old views. (for the record, I like that my BW works, that I can put on a great meal, that I iron my own shirts, that my wife cleans the house, that I take care of the yard...I hope my daughter can be strong on her own, and I hope my son can do his own laundry and cook something other than Totino's pizza's in the microwave.)
4. Yep. That pretty much is the lead up to my EA. All those things are what set the stage for me to go down that path. I did have a choice to address those things, see #1 as one small reason as to why I didn't address those things.
5. I agree up to a point. It was the next step toward my EA. The one thing that doesn't fit my situation is that I have always had a difficult time giving myself permission to believe I deserved anything. Yet another tension to deal with as a man.
6. Makes sense, but then throw in an OW who helps provide an alternative (i.e. ego-stroking, external validation source), and that's why we are all here. It's easier to go with the "good" than deal with the "bad" and when we go with that good, we can blame the bad on our spouse.
Few women really understand the inner life of men, just as few men understand what really goes on inside the heart and mind of a woman.
I've stated before that I think the feelings are real. That if they weren't real, maybe we wouldn't all be here. If they weren't real, a WS wouldn't be doing all this crazy shit in the first place. Not everyone agrees with me, so take this for what it's worth.
But I think that there is a separation that needs to be made. There is the A, and there is the AP. The situation of the A and the brain chemistry stuff that happens during an A become imprinted or combined or associated (pick your most relevant term) with the AP. To the WS in an A, it is all the AP, and there is no realization that it could just be the A itself.
The feelings of the A end up being more of a limerance which is associated with the AP. But, as in your case, if the AP is staying with the WS (living together, sex, and all that lurv), there is not going to be much of a reason for the WS to face reality. He is convinced he's right. He is convinced you and the M are wrong.
Not sure what it will take for your WH finally see this. Maybe he never will. The "best" you might be able to hope for is that the OW will realize what she has gotten herself involved with before he finds his next victim, and maybe eventually he will be left with some alone time with noone to blame or to stroke his ego.
When he was talking about it to his friends and family, he may have been trying to find a reason for what he was doing. By talking about it, he may have been trying to make sense of it.
Now that things are destroyed and people are hurt, he can only talk about it from the perspective of being the one who was responsible for it all, as opposed to trying to find a reason which would justify everything.
It is difficult for anyone to really step up and take responsibility for the horrible things they have done. It isn't something that is encouraged in today's society. The fact that he talks about it at all is great. Hopefully he will come to realize how important it is to you that he makes this effort for you. Hopefully he will see that it is necessary for himself and that it can become a step toward healing.
There is enough detail in his explanation that makes it sound like he isn't sugar-coating it. As mentioned above, using a word like "awkward" or a phrase like "not good" doesn't have as much impact as saying something was a disaster. But, he told you that the OW asked what she could do to help. To me, that sounds like some honesty on his part.
Therefore, it would seem to be a good thing that it was so awkward. At the same time, he kept going back. I would bet that he worked himself up into believing it would be better the next time. The scenario in his mind probably had him playing the part of Adonis. Reality is tough to face once he got face to face.
Men aren't that complicated down there. A slight breeze can have us hiding behind a countertop or require us to remain seated until it is passed. We all look totally incredible when we get out of the shower and look in the mirror, as long as the door is closed and we are by ourselves. Turns out, we are just as insecure about our bodies as women seem to be about theirs.
Of course, Donald Sutherland's character in Space Cowboys is something every man wishes he could aspire to...
Maybe he is trying to convince you he told the truth? I don't know, but I agree it is not productive.
Suckstobeme- again, guessing but I would say "shame.". The OM I got involved with was such a nothing compared to my BH that if circumstances had arisin under which I had to actually be with him(can't imagine any situation where I would, but anyway) I would live in constant shame. I would most like "present like a puppy " to my BH in hopes of someday seeing a tiny softening, friendliness or compassion to make myself feel less like pond scum.