cantgetworse - Welcome to this forum. Getting back to what hardlessons said, I would like to further expand on it, in my own syntax a bit. The circumstances surrounding your A's are different than your wife's A. Needless to say, the ultimate "why" probably isn't that much different.
If you look at my profile, you can see that the circumstances surrounding my A was quite a bit different than the circumstances surrounding my wife's A. The funny thing is, when we both got down to digging into ourselves, the reasons why we each had our own A was really not rooted too differently. There were a lot of similarities.
Getting back to consequences. This tends to deal with the viewpoint of the BS a bit more than the WS. As madhatters, we end up taking on the work of two roles: the WS and the BS. There's a helluva lot of work for each role, and different types of healing that need to take place. Like hardlessons said, it may or may not be a dealbreaker for one or the other. There may be other circumstances involved, like STD's, double betrayals, an OC, affairs at the workplace, all of them having their own set of consequences.
So, I guess in a roundabout way, I am saying you need to give both your wife and yourself room and time to work on both roles for each of you. It is going to take a lot of work and dedication, but it can be done.
Hardlessons and Tired Girl (and badchoice, too!) - thanks so much for your help yesterday. I was in a pretty bad spot. Things are working out quite a bit better for Amerasia and myself. I think last night we talked through a lot of things and came to some conclusions. One of those conclusions was that we were both being a-holes to each other. Yet another commonality that my wife and I have as madhatters.
I think we'll probably make it through this after all.
ETA: Corrected to fix gender-specific faux paus on behalf of myself.
ETA2: Reversed the corrections when I realized I was right in the first place. Made the mistake when I went back and saw part of your post was a quote from your wife, cantgetworse. Sorry about that.
[This message edited by LosferWords at 7:58 PM, December 14th (Friday)]
My A started as an EA then resulted in one PA in early 2012. She found out right after as I'm bad at the cheating thing. At the time, we were separated, but living in the same house. Her disdain for me was well expressed - some legit, some not. We had tried MC prior to this, but she pretty much shut down there, and everything was my fault, according to her. I kept going to the MC sessions solo, which were of limited use for obvious reasons.
She brought up reconciliation a few months after my A, but I
did not want to return to the status quo of walking on eggshells.
Fast forward to Thanksgiving - I frequently travel for work for extended periods - multiple weeks. I was home for Thanksgiving for around 2 weeks, and things could not have been more pleasant between us. I realized I still loved this person and there was something worth saving, and that was why we got married. My shame at my betrayal was bottomless, and I didn't know how to bring up the subject(s) around reconciling, without it turning into a finger-pointing session.
Right before I had to leave again for work a few weeks ago, she left her phone, unlocked, and as I was sitting there, these texts from some person (guy?) started rolling in. Clearly there was a PA going on between them.
I gotta guess she knew I saw the texts, because she stayed scarce the next 2 days. As in gone before I woke up, and arrived home after I went to bed. I did not confront her until I was out of state for work again, but I wasn't nasty - in fact I told her I wanted to reconcile, and that I understood her A.
She basically dodged, blamed me for lowering her self-esteem, which is why she sought an A to feel better about herself.
So now - Christmas. I'm home in a few days. She keeps asking me my plans, and I frankly have none. I told her I don't I don't want to get the way of her love life, and don't go (home) where I'm an impediment to her dating. She dodges all my questions about her A and our relationship, and only asks for my flight info so she can pick me up.
We have kids, which complicates my decision-making, because obviously I want to see them. She said she's held off on a tree etc until I got home.
So, in a nutshell, wtf do I do? She's bad at expressing emotions that leave her vulnerable.I totally f*cked up with my dearest friend.
You can't make her get back into this relationship.... You can't threaten her into it or nice her into it either. If she avoids conversations about A's, can you write her a letter? If you like, being it here and we can help check over it before you share it with her. I think that she'll read it out of curiosity if nothing else.
You could have her get you from the airport, give her your letter, and take your kids out Christmas shopping for an hour or two. That gives her time to read it and hopefully decide to talk about it with you.
Best of luck to you, and way to keep up the IC.
But I like the letter idea. I had a similar thought - just a simple few sentences, without excuses or qualifications. I love you. I screwed up. I want to make this work.
Instead, she launches into accusations of an affair she thinks I had years ago, which NEVER happened. Then tells me hows shes been sleeping with her man friend in our house while I was gone. Said man friend appreciates her, whereas I don't. My response is - well, duh, you get dressed up all nice for him. I see you unshowered in the same clothes for days. WTF?
I feel like I can't win in trying to make things right. My A was inexusable, and I've said as much to her as recently as today. But the consequences seem more like revenge, and in fact she has wanted a new relationship from me, and my A in early 2012 was a convenient excuse to push me away. No matter what I say or do, there's another obstacle thats all my fault in her mind, some justified, some not .
I can't sleep, and scared what awaits later today. I just want to set things right.
The MH situation just cannot be described in English its so jacked up. 1. You never thought you could be hurt so bad 2. You never thought you could hurt your loved one so bad.
First, I think you need to understand that an A is an A period. Are the consequences different? Hell yeah, but for purposes of healing and R they have to be the same. If you can accept that then you have a shot. You can play the she/he did worse all day and it will never get you anywhere.
I dont believe her, dont feel the same about her, its simply different now. Is this normal?I dont know how i should feel
These are tough questions and where I had trouble was not only identifying the feeling but being honest about it with myself let alone my W. You will feel about her exactly what you want to feel about her. If you recognize the good, the helpful, thoughtful person she is trying to be then you will have positive thoughts about her. If all you do is fill your head with the negative... Bottom line, if you are both willing to at times put your pain on a shelf to help the other heal and are honest with and share your feelings the answer is yes, you will see her/him differently.
As far as numb, zest etc, that could be depression and need to work that in IC. You are getting to IC right? A book you need to read Cant is Emotional Infidelity by Gary Neumann, this book opened my eyes like no other. The both of you could read is Act with love by Russ Harris.
Hope this helps
I do try to remember an A is an A. However, I sometimes feel like Losfer that
it's like talking to someone who has a parking ticket, and another person who is a serial pedophile, and telling them "a crime is a crime".
However, in my case it would be more like a serial speeder vs a DUI. Not one of his As, individually, was as involved as mine, however the sheer quantity of them haunts me.
I do truly feel remorse, and I do wish I could wash his pain away. I know he triggers a TON still, and I hate that for him.
However, I am in so much pain as the BSO that it seems to cloud my ability to focus on the work I need to do as the WSO. I expect him at all times to be 150% into this R working hard as the WSO to help me heal from all the damage he caused over the years. (and he does so stunningly...most times) Every once in awhile, he'll snap back, "You're not the only one hurt here!" and that reminds me to be more supportive as the WSO for him.
It is SO fricking hard to balance both our healings and also our healing as a couple. Somedays I feel like I'm looking at two people when I look at him, two people that look and sound and feel exactly alike.
1. The man he is today, caring, kind, considerate, loving, giving, tender, remorseful, that is building our future, helping me heal, and I realize how tremendously I hurt this man, how I broke him, and it crushes me to know I did that. I look deep within myself for answers and work to ensure I never hurt him like that again. I hope for all things good for our future, and I love the sweet nothing else matters moments. He's the sexiest, brightest man on earth to me, and I'm so grateful he's my best friend.
2. The man he was from Oct.'10-Sept.'12, a liar, a serial cheat, a man with an alter life, one that scares the living hell out of me, making me fear for my sanity, the one who got me to believe in his lies sooooo many times, and when I see him as that man, it turns my stomach. The mind movies get going, the questions start reeling, and I just want to puke. If he even jokingly banters about sex I cringe, and it's hard for me to find anything to talk to him about to even keep small talk alive.
It all comes back to that I haven't fully let go of the comparison thing yet. Logically, I accept an A is an A. Emotionally, I'm not there yet, and I really look forward to when I am, because for now, as the one that is so stuck on feelings from ONE side of things, if this R fails, it'd be on me. I need to get to the middle.
I knew always who i loved and where i wanted to be each night and always, and that was with her.
And yet you could have brought home an STD or had another child etc etc. Remember pain is relative to each of us, I understand that you feel your pain is worse and whether it is or isn't then what? You state you want R but seem more intent on proving that your pain is worse. So you will get exactly what you work for.
So, your pain is worse. Now what? Seriously ask yourself that question. What have you gained? In what better position are you? Did you wonder if you weren't spreading love around town all those years maybe she wouldn't have said those things?
That's the problem with comparing, there is an endless ways to color or jade things to our benefit. In general forum and JFO you will find BS's years later, bitter and in pain because they can't heal or move forward and that is sad. I understand your hurting, you just have to decide what is more important: Being right or getting better.
you just have to decide what is more important: Being right or getting better.
I am Hlessons wife. Our situations are reversed, I had the sex only, he had the emotional affair. Hard for me to get over. Especially since I had always told him I could get over a ONS, but if he ever had a relationship outside of our marriage, that would be a deal breaker. And this isn't his first.
So how do you reconcile what your wife did? Because as I see it that is what you are asking. Bottom line is, all affairs take place in fantasy land. Your right, your W had no idea who she thought she was in love with. How could she? She wasn't really living in the real world with him, they were both living in fantasy land where bills don't exist, spouses don't exist, and real life in general doesn't exist. She was allowed to rewrite her marital history and how she felt about you while feeling like that. Now, were there pre A issues that existed? Obviously. But when you exposed who he was and she became honest with what she had been doing, reality invaded her fantasy world and shattered it.
Now, does that mean that she is picking you because you are the runner up? Well, I have certainly had to battle those questions myself. I guess if my H is that unhappy I have certainly not made staying with me the easiest thing since I busted him nine months ago. He would have a much easier time of it divorcing me and going on his merry way and doing what he wanted, and with whom. Do I think she is staying with you just because of finances and stability? No. There are much easier ways of doing this if she is that unhappy.
Affairs destroy our belief in ourselves. And the belief that our partner truly wants to be with us. That has to be rebuilt and that takes time. Are you going to be able to believe your wife's words overnight that you are the one she wants? Probably not. Can that happen over time and with consistent action on her part? Yes.
Don't forget, it is your job to do the same for her. I hope that helps a little.
she was played like so many others.
I'm sure you didn't mean it to, but in a manner of seeking deeply of your authentic feelings, here's a gentle 2x4. Your post has a hint of a condescending nature. Do you feel your wife isn't as bright as you? Do you feel you were "smarter" in your As? Do you feel like her great savior that you saved her from the terrible serial cheating OM?
They wanted me, and desired me....what i did for a living, how i provided for my family, what a nice guy i was, what a good dad/hubby i was....none of that mattered. They simply wanted me physically and sexually.
So you believed. Right? I mean, honestly, you could've been just as duped as your wife was. Women with such high standards as spreading their legs in the air for someone else's husband, they're always totally stable, right? In my partner's case, he had multiple "sex only" As also, and two of them got way out of hand. The first, was my best friend, and it was a 2 minute thing, and it was more like "A Hand That Rocks The Cradle" thing. He thought completely different of it. He thought they just both in the moment screwed up. Not so. All my family, all my friends, all immediately realized the same thing. The 2nd one that comes to mind that got out of hand was a girl that lived hours from here. He saw her once in May, spent the night, didn't see her again until Labor Day, picks her up again, and she's ready to move in! He commonly got the "problem" of girls wanting more, even ONSs.
Yeah, your wife had no idea how many OW her AP was with. She could've easily brought home to you any number of deadly STDs However, if you look at intent, wasn't hers more pure? You admit, she had no idea, yet you were with these women who again were clearly sex-driven and you KNEW these women were promiscuous. You KNEW the risk you were putting your wife in, and you continued over and over and over.
i cheated, in part, because i felt that i wasnt wanted and desired at home. What her A did to me was simply confirm those feelings
First, you didn't cheat because of SHE didn't make you feel wanted and desired. What allowed you to make that decision goes back much deeper. Examine what that is. Go back as far as you need, but you'll find your own underlying issues buried somewhere that existed long before you met her. Your cheating had nothing to do with her. Her cheating had nothing to do with you. If you don't find the real reason you cheated so you can attack the true problem, it can (and most likely will) happen again. You didn't make it abundantly clear how important the need to feel desired was to you. You didn't suggest a sex therapist. You didn't buy books to read together. You didn't buy sex board games for couples and play those together. You simply took the easy way and stepped out on your W over and over. That has nothing to do with her. Likewise, she didn't come to you before her A started, she didn't stop the first encounter, tell you how vulnerable she felt, tell you it scared her, step back, and ask THEN for serious counseling. She went into her A, and only after quite awhile, did she say she wasn't happy. Well, duh! She's been living in fantasy land for so long now. Who could be happy? Again, your choices, nothing to do with her. Her choices, nothing to do with you. Own your own choices.
Finally, absolutely not, no she's not staying with you because of any other reason than she wants to be with YOU. Who in their right mind would stick around for all the intensely hard work that recovery is if they didn't even want their partner? She loves you. She wants you. She may not always feel incredibly sexual around you for quite some time. (go back and read above the two ways I can see my partner. I can bounce back and forth between those two visions of him multiple times in a single day!) There is no quick fix, and you are in for a long time of healing, but you clearly love each other. So there is great promise here. :) Just continue to be fully transparent, fully honest, and that includes going to your partner even when it's not a good thing, when it's you are angry or hurt or disappointed. Share EVERYTHING together. Like the book you're going to read says, reverse the affair time. Have transparent windows between you that allow your wife to see into you and you into her at all times and build walls around you as a couple to keep all else out. You two, together, you two can do this!
That pain is all yours to make of it what you wish, no one else here on SI or IRL can tell you it isn't important or huge. It is important and it sucks and I am sorry it happened to you.
You both took the same road, had similar fucked up boundaries and coping mechanisms that brought you to the same exact place. Did you take different routes? Yes, but at the end of the day you betrayed yourself and your spouse.
Are there different consequences? Sure, intertwined with family friends and shit, yeah that is hard to deal with. You and Want have some tough choices to make. Understand that unhealthy attracts unhealthy, the 2 of you didn't get here by accident, decisions were made. Poor choice after poor choice was made with justification/rationalization/conflict avoidance or whatever mental gymnastics we put ourselves through to make our shitty choice ok.
I say all that to say that if you have someone who is willing to get healthy and dig in the shit to REALLY fix herself and help you heal, that is an amazing person. Speaking from experience.