One thing I used to do when my W would play little power games is to just refuse to play (I know the guys commenting have a handle on it, just in case someone reading can benefit).
It is like in that movie "War Games," from the 80s. The only way to win is to not play.
WWs in that frame of mind are highly reactive. If you don't give them anything to react to, they don't know how to handle it. They keep trying and trying. I know it is hard when you live in the same house, share domestic responsibilities, etc. You just don't play. Acknowledge them in a minimal way, but don't react
Just get by with as little as possible. When they react with "Are you ignoring me know ?" A simple nod usually does the trick or "hmph," just short dead end answers. It is expected that you will say something for them to latch onto and keep in their precious bag of perceived hurts for use later on.
Only interact when there is something in it for you. Protecting yourself can be by definition, selfish. Don't worry about being selfish. As are above and beyond many more magnitudes of selfish.
When they finally pop, simply state, when you are behaving like that I have learned the only way to I can successfully deal with you is to not play your games.
That usually results in tantrum #2 or tantrum #3.
When tantrum # X stops (if anger does not work, tears is usually tier 2 or tier 3 response), ask them if they are done and resume not playing the game. Let them cry. Resist the urge to comfort them. This forces them to begin learning to self soothe. Again, resume not playing.
Cruel ? Probably, but isn't it cruel to cheat on your spouse and expect them to win you back by manipulating them ? It was effective for me. YMMV. You are taking away "the given," rule of their game, that it is assumed you will always play the game (You did before what changed ? . . The A). It makes them wonder if you ever really are "always" going to be there to put up with their antics. Plant the seeds of doubt which leads to an eventual realization that you are going to dump them. If they beat you to the punch, you are going to live a happier life in the long run. Most often they won't. When they are pretending you need them, they are projecting onto you their neediness in a desperate, sick and codependent way. This is the only way they know how. Show them it doesn't work on you anymore. Hell let them get a little desperate. Let the fear and dysfunction work to your advantage once. Just stay steady, stoic and calm. Focus on something else even if your mind is stuck in A land. Just don't be present.
As many have said before, loving a WW back into a M isn't going to work until they get to remorse and are taking responsibility for their choices (all the time, not just once and awhile). Any state the M was in before was trumped by their A. Chances are, reality was far off from the story manufactured in their mind. They just latch onto a few useful examples and forget all the ones that disprove their point. Call it selective/manipulative memory. Better yet call it keeping score in a game where there are no set point amounts. (FWIW- If it were a game, being cheated on scores you infinity points until you agree to call it a draw anyway, or in other words, R).
We don't need to play these games. People who play these games need someone to play them with. So just simply, don't play. Force them to find an alternative. Books, IC, SI, D, whatever. It is the only way to "win."
I got a lot of comebacks I have used, but not engaging or "not playing," seemed to be the most effective.
FWIW- My W is much better now. This was from a time when she wasn't.
DS 1, DD 6
Dday 8/31/11. ONS that occurred 3 years earlier. Lied to for 3 years.
The sad reality is that these are some fucked up people, or else we would not be here. They did not have the character to refrain from committing adultery, I don't know why we should be surprised they don't have the character to step up now.
I'm here to tell you it is a lot tougher than starting over.
After I filed and went for custody, XW went on a rampage. I refused to move out. She filed false DV charges. Went on *dates* every weekend including the OM. I'm deliberately calling him that rather than POSER cause I'd shake his hand today and thank him. Deliberate innuendos, teasing for over a year while custody was decided. Told what a great fuck the other guy's were.
I couldn't confront, couldn't act if I wanted a shot at custody. Needed her to continue the behaviors and get them documented for the trial. Had her followed and set up her pattern. The affair was of no consequence to the court, the behavior with the children was. I was trying for custody of my son, but she had a D from her first M and was positive she couldn't lose. The court never splits kids right? Anyway, she took that as free reign to do as she wished.
It took a year of living with that before we went to trial. I won, she appealed. I won again, she took it to the supreme court. Won again, finally could get away. Total, One year 6 months and about 14 days. (Not that I was counting )
That was easier than R.
It took 8 months for current FWW to finally *get it* and start doing the actual work. Things have been looking up since. Hope yours does/is doing the same.
Quick thing to consider.
I now realize that it is not about me, never was, period.
Nope, but you did pick her. In fact, we both managed to do it 5 times. Hell, I even picked one that taught ethics this last time in order to try to avoid the 5 for 5 title! I bring it up cause I do see something in me that needs to be looked at. How do I always find the broken ones? I've come to the conclusion that I'm definitely a KISA.
That brings me to my *solution*.
An authentic life is the only thing I will tolerate.
That applies to me as well. I can't fix someone else's problems.
I've gotta be me!
Alright, who let all of the Mike's in here. This is getting a little confusing.
Alright, who let all of the Mike's in here. This is getting a little confusing.
If you're not confused, your not paying attention...
Nope, but you did pick her. In fact, we both managed to do it 5 times.
With our track record, maybe we should let somebody else pick.
Hey, do you have that 800 number for the Russian Brides....maybe they have a website. I'll Google it.
Off to the pool with DS 8. Then to the gym. Then grillin! Having trouble with the mental imagery right now. Keep seeing myself as Al Bundy with my *No MA'AM* grilling smock!
ETA Nope on the Russian MO brides, but I do have google!
Maybe if it doesn't pan out this time we put it up to our brothers here? I'm thinkin jjct might have one or two to spare!
Just gotta add that during the D process I found out that XW's nick name in HS was Skippy...... Yep, she spread so easily!
Good weekend for us all brother!
[This message edited by 5454real at 2:32 PM, June 28th (Friday)]
My reply to her post this morning was:
I'm glad you can tell me how you are feeling. This is something we should take time to talk about tonight.
Her response has been crickets all day and I haven't broken down to 'check in and let her know I'm thinking about her'. The last thing she wants is to talk about this. She just wants me to comply. I'm just not feeling it anymore.
[This message edited by thinkingclear at 2:41 PM, June 28th (Friday)]
Any state the M was in before was trumped by their A. Chances are, reality was far off from the story manufactured in their mind.
well said. question though for you fine gentlemen, what if the majority of your M was THAT ^^^. i.e. my W had her A(s) ...(will never know for sure how many) a year and half into our M... 7-8 years on, I was none the wiser... and then she has a few more... then DDay. she'd been building up her narrative, nurturing it, busy justifying (she claims the A's had ended in the interim between '06 and '09)... so, as far as I'm concerned - we barely ever had a "pre-A" M, and any M we had is completely overshadowed by a WW who not only had multiple As but had 1 or 2 LTAs thrown in as well for the entirety of our M - one wonders where the real relationship was. What was the reality all along? What state was the M, with all that deception and gaslighting? I couldve been the worst prick on earth (barring physical abuse) and nothing I did could be entirely "50/50 problems in the M" because one of us had declared and continued a secret war while the other was entirely clueless (we had 2 more kids during that time for gods sake!!!).
Other than that; I can totally relate with the push/pull dynamic and lack of remorse/playing goody housewife etc.. etc.. and all those fucking games I so easily played into (less now). I guess I should finish coda no more... kept putting it off, but I am probably the poster boy for the coda/KISA man.
what if the majority of your M was THAT ^^^.
My entire M was that, even though we had been dating for years before the first physical betrayal that I know about (and I'm sure there are plenty that I don't) occurred My ex told me a few weeks after Dday that she had a ONS with someone shortly after we were engaged. Of course, I didn't know about this at all. I do remember her crying after sex every time for a few weeks and holding me extra close, so I would only assume that she was feeling guilty for fucking another dude.
I'll freely admit that I was not the perfect husband. I helped around the house but probably could have done more. I procrastinated on major projects. Sometimes I spent too much time tinkering with my motorcycle or fixing her car. All of that was tiny compared to the toxic reality of her carrying that (and probably other) secrets around with her for all of those years. As imperfect as I was, I believe she rationalized her behavior by focusing on my shortcomings. Eventually, she completely dehumanized me and it was easy for her to cheat, leave and throw me out like a watermelon rind.
I know it is hard, but you have to take the time to not fall for the trap.
You messaged her back that is fine. Next time stop yourself.
If she wants to have a honest adult convo, then fine go with it. As soon as she starts pulling out the WW bag of tricks, cut the convo short. Go off the radar. Do something else to occupy your mind.
In all honesty she probably knows you will respond (because you have in past, I did too. KISA issues myself). It takes some patience and will to sweat it out, but it gets easier.
Just try to keep interactions to a minimum. Sure she will love it at first, assuming you will crack first. Just keep it up. Trust me she will crack. She is expecting you to be the same. Be different, throw her off her game.
Keep interactions to a minimum. Only engage if there is something in it for you. She is already blaming you and messing with your head. What do you have to lose ?
She gets a sick thrill of being in control. Take that away from her. Don't comfort her, don't talk to her about her day or don't fall for those high school manipulation tactics.
Just tell yourself. I am not going to play a game where the outcome of me losing has already been determined. Acknowledge her, fine, but do not engage unless necessary. Kids, finances, domestic chores, etc. No romance, no relationshipy stuff.
Trust me I know saying this is one thing and doing it is another matter entirely. Practice makes perfect. Do not get down on yourself if you slip up. It took me many, many tries before I could use this with any effect.
If there is one thing you do have is time. If she gets impatient, that is her problem not yours. You are dealing with the most traumatic thing a married man can suffer. Start taking your power back from her. It does wonders to fix a broken ego.
Take care and wish you the best. Either way YOU are going to good again. It is hard to see, but it does happen. Be selfish, don't engage unless neccessary and start doing some things to make you happy. Sports, hobbies, TV, video games, whatever. Do them for you, after what you have been through you owe it to yourself.
That usually results in tantrum #2 or tantrum #3.
crickets all day
one wonders where the real relationship was
Mister rabbit says, "A moment of realization is worth a thousand prayers."
*No MA'AM* grilling smock!
[This message edited by DefiledRage at 4:49 PM, June 28th (Friday)]
it appears that the sum total advice boils down to three pillars, in order to R: WS MUST fix * themselves*, BS MUST detach, and time must past
For R to work, detachment alone is insufficient. We probably do have to detach from the outcome - we have to risk the M to save it, and we may have to do it again and again.
But above all, we have to heal ourselves. We have to acknowledge the pain and let it go. We have to be honest with ourselves and with our WSes. We have to accept the insult and damage to our pride. We have to see ourselves as men, even while we've been cuckolded. (I guess the way to do that is to realize the WS's A isn't about the BS at all). We have to deal with our own internal dysfunctions, and after the A is dealt with, we have to resolve general M issues, if any remain.
If you carry the pain around instead of processing it and letting it go, I just don't see how R can work - the pain causes resentment, and that'll ruin any M - and any life.
Besides, a healed BS doesn't need R. a healed WS has himself, which is enough, no matter what happens with one's WS....
Three healings for R: 1) BS, 2) WS, and 3) the M.
[This message edited by sisoon at 5:26 PM, June 28th (Friday)]
in order to R: WS MUST fix * themselves*, BS MUST detach, and time must past
I'll simplify it further
in order to R: BS MUST detach
The comment also about the WW engaging in a secret war is right on. Mine did. Telling anyone who would listen what a bad guy I was. Like she was setting it all up. I mean if she got caught cheating who could blame her then? Fortunately those very same people told me about it when she went bat shit crazy.
Which makes me wonder... How many affairs did she have? Ill never know. She never volunteered Any information about anything. Just things I knew. Two men within a month. Very sloppy. Very brazen. If you cross the line that quick it Always makes me wonder about how many she got away with and for how long. I don't know if you decide to go on a fuck streak that quickly. That bothers me naturally.
[This message edited by Betrayed444 at 6:35 PM, June 28th (Friday)]
A change of heart.
It reminds me of pre-Dday, I tried my best to figure out what I could do to get the M back on track. I read good books, had discussions with other men, including on the internet, tried all the various things you are supposed to try.
With respect to the marriage, at best I got fleeting positive results. (All of that work did help me though).
Once my wife saw her AP for what he is (but before I confronted her), she had a change of heart. For whatever reason, she started treating me very much the way a wife should treat her husband. If it was not for the A, she is giving me what she should of been giving me all along.
This just goes to show, it wasn't me. She needed a change of heart. And she was more than capable of doing it - she just did not want to.
Looking back on it, I simply should not have taken it. I should have laid down what I expected and said get to work or I am declaring the M dead.
Now we are in a similar boat, she just does not want to do what is needed for reconciliation. And she is fighting it, gaslighting just as before.
Which brings me to a bit of an epiphany. I should apply the lesson I learned from before. Call an end to the BS. She can either have a change or heart or not. I can't make her do what is necessary to R anymore than I could make her be a good wife before.
It's entirely up to her to have a change of heart.
The one HUGE difference now is that I don't know whether I can overcome the A even if she has the change of heart. But, IMO, she is the one who has to assume that risk.
I know there will be work for me too so she is not responsible for all the work, but the change of heart is entirely up to her.
She can either decide to "get it" and start the work, or she can be stubborn and insist on doing it her way.
If she chooses that latter, then I am not going to put myself through that because I know the chances of success do not warrant putting myself through it.
That's a long winded way of saying I appreciate what seems to be the theme of the day, "in order to save the marriage you must be willing to risk losing it."
[This message edited by Later at 7:59 PM, June 28th (Friday)]
But above all, we have to heal ourselves. We have to acknowledge the pain and let it go.
This, good god a million times this.
I think for me, filing last week has been the final crack that broke the damn of my ability to detach and begin healing myself. I can now see my future without my WW and her bullshit. As I was telling one of my buddies from way back, all I feel now is sad. I'm not all wound up with anger or hurt or confusion, just sad. Sad that she's so fucked up that having an A is what she felt she needed to be happy. I do believe that she wasn't happy, but not as a result of anything that I did, or anything in our marriage, I've come to the conclusion, with some help from a good IC/MC, that given her FOO and CSA, she's probably never been happy in her life, and this is her escape. It won't make her happy either.
I finally picked up on a pattern she has, trying to figure it out. We met at our place of employment. She was actually my boss for a time, we ended up hooking up when she was separated from her first husband...I wasn't the OM, at least as far as I know, she had already physically separated, but not yet filed for D (which I helpfully help pay for). She pursued me, I was flattered, slightly older good looking woman, putting out, willing to do crazy shit in the sack.
Anyway, I found her texting with a male colleague at her next job and lying to me about it. Big fight, lot's of unhappiness etc. Her AP was from her next job after than, now she's texing ANOTHER guy, from her latest job...Does she need constant attention? Maybe. All I know is that I'm not going to be the guy that tries to give it to her anymore. I'm done. I want off this ride, and I'm taking my kids with me.