I was the blindsided type in all of this. I was blissfully happy, loved him to pieces, thought we were a perfect match. We'd been apart for business for a lot of this year and I was about to move back home because I got a job where he worked. He told me what he had been up to in my absence (OW is a coworker) about a week before I was coming back.
NC has been an extremely interesting experience. Of course there's the fact that we have both maintained it without any slip ups. For me that was about No New Hurt. The remorseless WS who thinks that he is now being "honest" with you after 10 years can be pretty scary and hurtful-- and he was really showing no empathy for me.
To be completely honest, I thought 180ing his butt would help him to realize he missed me and was making a mistake. For those first couple of weeks, I was still going to bed obsessively checking my phone for a call or a text. I expected him to realize he didn't want to live this new life he had chosen for himself without me. Or, at least, I thought once I had removed myself as a topic of convo between him and OW (who is going through a divorce), he might come out of the "fog".
Instead it seems like NC is just what he wanted. I didn't unfriend him from FB and, particularly in the beginning, he was posting everyday with stuff that was either just random memes, or with status messages that communicated that life was moving forward as usual and was just fine ("Best thing about Sunday morning is listening to x podcast over breakfast!"). I watched as he subtly removed references to me and our dog in his "About me" section. About 6 weeks into NC he finally took down his relationship status (he didn't put single or whatever, he just removed it fully).
A girlfriend told me that he had texted her and said that things between us "hadn't been great for awhile". I posted a thread a few days ago reflecting on that and how I was upset to hear it because I was the LAST person he let know that he was unhappy. Between the maintained NC, the A and his lack of remorse, I've finally started to accept that he is done with me. I don't know if OW is the reason or if she is just a symptom, but I think he was telling me the truth when I got the "you lost me before I even met her" line in our last convo. But I lost him because he chose not to communicate with me. To avoid conflict. And to cake eat. And because I didn't see it because I never really pushed him to open up to me. I always just let things go.
I'm seeing now that he built up a ton of resentments and acted out his frustrations, in part, with the A. He told me that they described their A to each other as "mutually using" because they were in pain in their relationships and it was an escape for both of them. She became his confidant about me. In fact, when I was trying to work things out with him after DDay #1 and he had initiated NC with her, he would get frustrated and cry and tell me he wanted to talk to her about it all, not me: "*She* thinks I deserve to be happy!". No big surprise he broke NC and took the A underground.
For me, NC and IC has forced me to now look back at this relationship I thought I was 100% happy in and seriously question my whole reality, really. In many ways it has been totally traumatic. Had this A never come to light, I would have moved out there to life the rest of my life with him thinking that the relationship as it stood prior to DDay was great and fulfilling, etc. But NC and forcing myself to detach emotionally is slowly showing me that maybe I wasn't truly happy or fulfilled and I just didn't know it. In fact, the more time goes on, I look back at the last 10 years and I see them in a totally different light. I'm starting to see patterns of his selfishness and avoidance. His emotional unavailability. His ability to compartmentalize. How he rarely finishes anything. And I'm even starting to see some of his co-dependency and how I may have both consciously and unconsciously taken advantage of that (he often just went along with my ideas and I could be dismissive if he raised objections).
I'm now starting to think, yeah, you know what, things hadn't been great for awhile.
The downside to this is that I can't talk to him to about it now! He has shown that he's unwilling or incapable of talking to me about the R in a serious way anyway. So I'm left holding the bag.
But over the last couple of days, instead of agonizing over whether he'll call after the NC term I set up is over (and what I would do), whether he misses me, whether he's with the OW, why he didn't tell me he was unhappy, etc etc etc... I'm thinking things like "you mean some people actually TALK to each other at night-- about feelings no less!-- and don't just sit in front of the TV buried in their laptops?" That some couples actually talk through their doubts and needs openly and honestly and aren't just dismissed as being "irrational"? I could go on.
There is a part of me that still thinks: we could have "fixed" this. I look back and realize that for the last 2 years we pretty much just talked about work or his diet/exercise routine. We had some common interests, too... But I can remember talking to him in January about how we had realized we hadn't had a fight in over three years. In fact, I remember the two of us saying that we couldn't even imagine something we would fight about. I thought that was a good sign! It was just the opposite. He started the PA (which was probably already an EA) a couple of weeks later.
His rejection has been really hard for me to take.... his unwillingness to try R, and his desire, it seems, to just erase our relationship and start over with his new job and new city (I quit the job in his office and didn't go out there). He's just done.
But now I think I'm starting to join him. Until this week, deep down I wanted R. I still miss him like crazy. But now I'm starting to think that we are irrevocably broken. Maybe I don't really know who he is. Maybe we were never really that deep. In some ways our relationship is starting to look more and more to me like a couple of really good friends/roommates who had okay sex and a dog. It was comfortable. But was it enough?
... He made it clear that he's connecting with OW emotionally and sexually in ways that he never did with me. Doesn't he deserve that? Don't we both? I wish he had given me the chance. At the same time, maybe we just weren't totally compatible in those departments. We had 10 years to work on it but work, life, moves, etc always took priority. Yes, he was obligated, because of our commitment to each other, to reach out before having an A. But he didn't. And that should tell me a lot about how strong the foundation of our relationship really was.
It's really sad, and I'm jealous that it was so easy to share that side of him with someone else.... But I also think I know when to admit defeat.
True growth for you will come when you won't even give him a thought. You will truly realize that you were not happy and you gave away an awful lot of your life to someone who just does not want to do the work to be with you.
Sometimes we BS's tend to hang onto the "what if's" and the "could have beens" jsut to hang onto a relationship that is all one sided.
Once you release that rope I promise you there is a whole wide world out there.
First, please read this article: http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200910/beyond-betrayal-life-after-infidelity especially the part subtitled "Romantic Infidelity". When you are done, re-read it.
I also felt that our relationship was solid ~ it had its ups and downs but what marriage doesn't. Had my stbx not had cheated, life would have continued on subpar as yours would have, right?
The affair forces us to take off our rose-colored glasses and see our spouse for who he truly it. Now it is clearer to you that he was selfish, used avoidance as a coping skill, passive, etc during the marriage but because you took your vows seriously ~ you would have stuck it out.
Of course the marriage could have been fixed but a marriage needs TWO people committed to it.
You shouldn't give a shit if he is connecting with OW emotionally and sexually! Are you kidding me? I don't even know how you got that information but if it's from him, then he is incredibly delusional, infantile and self-absorbed POS!! He is trying to blame you for the demise of the relationship!! Do you have stupid on your forehead? Of course NOT!! He just doesn't want to take accountability for his actions.
Of course you miss him and of course the rejection is hard. You are still so close from dday so your feelings will be all over the place. Everything is still so damn raw for you. But please ... please ... focus on YOU. YOUR healing and rebuilding YOUR life. This part of the journey is rough ... I ain't gonna lie ... but you will get through this and your life will be AMAZING!!
Your last line really made me sad. I also initially felt jealous that my stbx's girlfriend would get the "new and improved" stbx. I don't know at what point in my journey that it happened but I just stopped caring. I knew he wouldn't change but I sure did. I am evolving into an amazing person who is moving forward in her life!
I don't know why your last word "defeat" really tugged at my heart. Maybe it's because I interpreted that word as you lost? If thats what you meant, you didn't lose. Well, you did lose that huge tumor (WS)! You actually won! YOU are not an unhealthy relationship! YOU are not with someone who has the coping skills of a dead stick! YOU are free! YOU can live an authentic life!
Continue to work on healing YOU! Over time, he will occupy less head and heart space. It takes time. Please post and read often. We are here to support you!! Hugs, hugs, hugs and support, dmari
The thing that bothers me most about what you post (and I did it, too) is that you are taking way too much blame for what happened.
You know that the type of person he is is incapable of connecting with anyone emotionally, right? He's fooling her and wearing a mask, but in time she'll see what you saw.
You are definitely the winner in this. You'll see it in time. Be glad you got out now, while you were relatively young and with no permanent ties (i.e. kids) to him. The life you'll lead in a year will be so amazing. I hope you stick around NB to share it with us :)
Married: 11 years, no kids
The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark. -Michelangelo
I too could have written your post myself. I have experienced the same feelings.
You are a smart cookie so I'm sure you have been reading just as much as I have and you know that your WS experience in la la land makes his every day ordinary life in a long term marriage seem worse than it ever was. I've done the same retrospective thinking and analyzing and there were times where I was very lonely in my marriage, but I chalked it up to being married. Does that mean that if we started over with someone new that we wouldn't feel the same ways? No, because if you are in a long term relationship, even if you check in everyday, make exciting dates, and are hyper aware of your partner's needs and your needs, that doesn't mean that you won't feel the same way you felt in this marriage. Every single marriage has its challenges. Every single one. It was how your WS coped with the challenges that made this situation what it was.
I think it is good that you are analyzing your marriage and not seeing it as the perfect ideal relationship that you thought it was. I did the same exact thing. I was SO blindsided that I glossed over so many bad times that we had together. My mom and BF had to remind me that I had legitimate complaints prior to DDay and prior to his distant/cold behavior during his A.
Anyway, while I think it's good that you are analyzing this, I think you should be careful not to over analyze too much to where you are now starting to agree with his warped thinking about things that were wrong with your marriage that might have led to his A. I know that there are things I could have done differently or things I was putting up with that I should have spoken up about, but I was under the false impression that we were in this until Death..do us part. Know what I mean? So don't get too down on yourself about the status of your M before the A. Show me someone in a relationship for longer than 2-3 years and I bet that person has a lot of instances where they felt the same way you and I felt or even or Waywards.
Now, about him not contacting you exactly on the day or during the time of NC. Don't let it get you down. First of all, your M was not a Mirage...not a figment of your imagination. You can't wipe away all of the stuff that you two have been through with a magic wand. If you think he doesn't think about you every single day then you are wrong. One of the "mistakes" I think I've made in this is that I underestimated my worth and I showed that to my WS by trying to remind him that we were happy, we did have good times, our M meant something. I know he knows that, but my needing him to validate it for me just left me vulnerable and weak in his eyes (I'm assuming).
I've wished many times that I went NC like you did. Everything you have thought, I have thought too. I think you need to just sit back and ride out the bad feelings. He will contact you. But the stuff he has told your friend, that is what he needs to say so he doesn't feel like the giant douchebag that hurt the one person who loved him the most.
I would say keep going with the NC and let him come to you. He will. He has had this time to sort things out and I bet his life with the OW isn't all rainbows and butterflies. You think it must be because he isn't pounding down the door, but don't be fooled. You are underestimating your own worth and value. Don't do that. Even if he has forgotten about your relationship, that just means he is sick.
Just keep doing what you are doing and ride out the bad feelings and the bad days.
You are so strong... much stronger than him or his nasty OW. I bet he is somewhere thinking that he must have been insignificant for you to have gone this long without contact.
Anyway... if you ever need someone to reach out to or to talk, you can always PM me. Many times I read your words and it is eerie how much of our experiences are shared. Nothing is worse than the blindside coupled with unanswered questions and lack of remorse. It's like no closure times 3.
But somehow we have to give the closure to ourselves. We have to be the ones leading our healing.
I had my WS read How to Help Your Spouse Heal from Your Affair...I maybe he just doesn't have the skill set to be apologetic properly...nope..he read it and he found it to be "incredibly biased." This book actually sheds a positive light on the WS, but my WS had to something to say about it. I feel robbed, not just at the chance of R, but also for the closure/healing I need to come out of this like a normal human being.
I think the best way for me to describe it is that I feel like a used up tissue that has been crumpled up and thrown in the trash. The joke is on him tho, I'm not a used up tissue, I'm a freaking wining lottery ticket to the Mega Jackpot...and so are you. They are idiots!!!!
Keep your cards close to your chest. Don't waiver. You are doing great.
I think I used "defeat" because I wanted to fight for our relationship and he doesn't. To me, 180/NC was a loving thing to do for both of us... And I felt certain that it would wake him up. It just hasn't. And as more time goes on, I'm forced to look back and admit I may have been alone in this for awhile.
SI has helped me so much more than I could have imagined. It has really helped me get perspective to ask these questions and hear from people who have been there, know the thought processes and emotions I'm talking about. I just hope I'll be able to pay people back for their help in the future as I pull myself out of this!
I think my thought processes along these lines stem from worrying about missed signs for the future. If I didn't see this coming 10 years in, how will I see it coming with someone else? It also stems from the hurt that he isn't banging down my door. Because I do think I am wonderful. And our dog is stinking cute. And we were a loving couple that still walked around holding hands and cuddling with our dog in a puppy pile. Who trades the puppy pile for being the affair guy?
And, Yes, our situations are eerily similar! :)
Dmari: I just read the article and you are spot on. This was a cross country move for him to a new high stress job. The job proved to be a bad fit right away. In the last year his secretary quit, his colleague in the office began to refuse to work with him and another secretary reported him to HR as being difficult. These are not qualities one usually associates with him at all. To top it off, he is finishing a doctorate and has been too slow, so his school has started pressuring him. The cost of living there turned out to be more than he expected and he had to take out yet another loan. Then I leave for work and he's alone out there. All of our family lives on the opposite coast. The OW was one of the only people in the office he didn't have friction with. I actually encouraged their friendship because I was just glad he had someone else to talk to.
I was coming back out there with two short term jobs in his office, but nothing concrete for the period after that. He started to fear we we going to be going into too much debt. Buying all new furniture, etc for our new place (his choice, though!) added to that overwhelmed feeling. He began to really hate our place because it represented all of this money stress for him. To see each other we had to buy plane tickets that set us back 100s, so after a few months it became unaffordable to see one another as much as we said we would.
So major transition period for him.
He also has a history of not handling transitions well. He left a fiancé (before meeting me) before moving for school. Never talked to her again. Even if he went home for the holidays and we were a part for a few weeks, his personality would change and he would get a little mean... More or less reflecting the attitudes of his family (who are all sort of grouchy, disordered people, I'm sorry to say). I used to call him the chameleon. He adapted to whatever environment he was in.
Which is why I thought he would totally figure out that he wanted to stay with me. He definitely wasn't hostile-at-work, people reporting him to HR, cheats with coworkers dude when we were together day after day for a decade.
[This message edited by PhantomLimb at 8:15 PM, July 13th (Saturday)]
After a year I can say detaching has helped me come out of the BS fog that I was living in for 37 years. I was blindsided and devastated.
A year later I can say I've made progress in my healing. I find myself happy a lot of the time. It will happen for you as well. Just continue to maintain NC and come here for support.
That must have been hell for you. I'm so sorry.
Yes, the idea of NC also meaning no new hurts was a revelation for me. With him across the country, I'm blessed to not have to watch what he does. I just wish we weren't in the same career field.
And I KNOW I didn't get the real story... But I NCed him so fast there wasn't time to really reflect on that. I do remember thinking to myself early on, though, that things weren't adding up. I think it's possible this affair was going on for nearly the whole year and then just got really serious around the holidays. He says it started in February... but that doesn't seem right to me at all in retrospect. I think it might have started getting really SERIOUS in Feb. Of course I shouldn't speculate too much, but it seems they never tell the truth at first. Talking to him again, I don't want to find out I was betrayed even longer than I thought.
On that note, the colleague that stopped talking to him.... She got him the job. Head hunted him in fact.... They had worked together in the past. They were getting along great (to the point that I was a little worried) until they had to go on a staff orientation trip to train some of their workers. I figured out that they stayed in a cabin together on that trip, and he lied about it. We had a pretty huge discussion about that when he got home. He said he didn't tell me the boss has set it up that way because he thought I would get upset, even though they were in separate rooms in the cabin. It was the first time he had been sneaky about another woman, so i let it pass after voicing my dissatisfaction.
She really stopped talking to me and him shortly after that. And he started this campaign at home that she was mentally unstable and he got REALLY competitive and sort of obsessed with hating her. I would Skype him and he would be yelling -- to himself!-- at her in response to some email she sent. Totally aggressive and bizarre. It was one of the reasons that, at first, I thought he might have "snapped" with the A. Between the bad fit at work, the yelling at imaginary people and an increase in his drinking (enough for me to think I was going to dump out all of his whiskey when I moved back out there), I thought he might have gone the way of his parents and started to develop bipolar or the like.
During our post DDay breakup, I remember at one point he said something about, if the A got out in the office, he was upset it would "prove X was right about me."
Again, I hate to speculate, but I also don't want to find out that he went out there for his first, real big job and turned into a huge a-hole.
I would have never put these things together without NC and distance...
[This message edited by PhantomLimb at 8:39 PM, July 13th (Saturday)]
Absolutely. The only things that clear the BS fog are NC and distance. It is amazing what you see when that fog clears.
((PhantomLimb)) You've so got this friend.
You could have been writing about STBXH, the similarities are appallingly similar.
There is terminology for this behavior that rocked me to my core, so I won't repeat it but suffice to say, led me to tormenting myself by wondering how very long "our" marriage had been a farce-not for me.
Yes, STBXH displays like behavior and it's been really hard, like withdrawal symptoms from an addiction I had. But, he makes so much drama and actually causes me panic attacks, so it leaves me in a pretty bizarre emotional place.
Especially if your WH is still with OW, I vote for continuing NC, even if it's hard at times. For me, as an example, I don't wish for "them" any new ammunition against me or heckling at me and my problems. This really helps me put the electronics down on a hard day.
And showing that you don't care by NC is okay too, it shows strength, in my opinion and that you have your own life to live, too. Mostly, it reduce the importance of him and an OW.
I wish you well and am sorry for your frustrations and difficulty. I hope you can figure out what you need to heal soon and begin the other part of this awful and lonesome journey.
The times, they are'a changin'! -Bob Dylan
When you get stronger, blow it off. You know what? It's a contest. A sheer and horrendous contest of wills, of life and loss and yes, I agree with the posts that talk about him wearing a mask, for STBXH is that same way.
He doesn't care about people, he cares about creating a "good" situation for himself with people he can control and he felt he didn't have that here anymore-he as much said so-so he moved on to OW and anyone else he could boohoo and woo in to the sack.
It's taken me almost two years-wow, long time-to understand that OW is the fool and going to be in the same mess as I am, because she thinks she can "save" him from the "horrible" marriage and life he had here-but it was what he made it, or didn't and neither of them get that.
I hope you will realize it someday and your WH probably will be like STBXH and never realize you can't fix your own problems by changing people you keep around you.