One of the phrases I end up using with WH is "Where angels fear to tread." If there is a sensitive spot, WH has a knack for homing in on it and treating it with complete irreverence. The word disrespect works, too, for the non-spiritual connotation. In many interactions, WH thinks it's entertaining to get people upset: religion, politics, personal anecdotes, you name it. If he doesn't like a reaction after he's played with the situation he'll just "blow it off" as he calls it. The destruction this leaves in the wake is pretty easy to imagine.
I've said multiple times that it's like nothing is sacred to him.
I don't think it's any coincidence that because he doesn't hold anything as having intrinsic value, he treated our marriage the same way - if it wasn't "fun" or "entertaining" there wasn't any problem with finding amusement elsewhere.
When we met, who he presented himself as was someone who loved family, loved community, and was a fierce defender of justice. As we go on, the more I realize the strength I saw was very often a bravado act.
He's said bluntly that he wasn't fully committed to the marriage before this last DD. His choices would indicate he still is ambivalent.
I have wondered what the purpose of marriage is if my H could just ignore it all when someone offered themselves to him. I have asked divorced and married friends and colleagues about their thoughts on marriage. Surprisingly, the divorced people had more belief in marriage than I ever expected. One colleague said a resounding YES, that he absolutely believes in marriage as long as BOTH people are 'plugged in' (his words). That helped me to realize that I was not 'plugged in' for much of our marriage. I found ways to cope with my intimacy issues that did not involve telling my H exactly what had happened to me (I only told him it was my brother after the discovery of the affair). Neither of us knew what to do. Our 'belief' in marriage meant that we held convictions about staying married no matter what (he always told the OW that he would never leave me, as if that's a comfort to me somehow), but we had no idea how to communicate openly or of it's importance.
I think it doesn't matter what I believe about marriage. I think this time of recovery involves my belief in MY marriage?
So on the car ride home, I say to WS, so what about marriage vows? For Better or for Worse? How can you say those things, in church, in front of God...but now say "well if it gets too bad, I'm gone"?? How can you do that?
And I also asked him what about our kids? What if they get difficult? Do you just bail? He looks at me like I've lost my marbles and says "the kids are different, I would never leave them" Well, how do you know? How can you say that with 100% accuracy if you can't say that to me AFTER PROMISING ME THAT? Why are the kids different than YOUR WIFE?? I always operated under the belief that while your kids SAFETY AND WELL BEING has to be your top priority, your husband/wife is the *FIRST* person in your life. You are a team.
So this just shakes up my whole belief system and all the reasons why I believed in marriage to begin with. Why even HAVE marriage vows if you aren't going to abide by them when the going gets tough???
I don't even know what I want to do or where to go with this info. I almost want to 180 for a bit to get my barings, because this has shaken me up so much.
I have emotional health, self-awareness, and self-worth. I can recognize my mistakes, and I'm good at reaching out for help and support.
fWH had emotional damage, unhealthy coping mechanisms and low self-esteem. He was too insecure to admit his weaknesses and seek help.
When fWH said his vows, he meant them and fully intended to keep them. But, saying vows doesn't magically erase emotional damage or give you self-worth.
The vows of broken people are easily broken.
The vows of whole people remain whole.
I know that's a simplification, but it's the way I see my situation. Now that fWH is reaching out for help, healing himself and being honest with himself, his vows are worth a lot more than they were pre-A.
I know that's a simplification
"Oh, why do my actions have consequences?" ~ Homer Simpson
"She knew my one weakness: That I'm weak!" ~ Homer Simpson
When my W and I were getting M'd we talked about the insanity of the promise. I mean its really big. Anything could happen. Well, anything did happen along with a whole punch of other stuff. In my estimation, because she stopped being an ass and started treating herself and me with respect again I am calling this a bad time and granting her grace. She doesn't deserve it, but she gets it because she M'd a great guy and after she chose the wrong path she owned it and has made the appropriate adjustments.
Love should have a short term memory. Forgiveness is not a grand event but instead happens over time and is earned. I love my W, in the entire life time/commitment sense and she has earned forgiveness by owning her actions, becoming vigilant of her own behaviors (so I don't have to) and by giving me more of what I want in our relationship.
She in turn get an awesome husband, father and partner.
Its a pretty good deal.
...and what Wert stated about love having a short term memory and forgiveness being slowly earned over time is worth recognizing as wisdom as well!
I feel I am ready to say I forgive my wife now...12 months after DD.
I think I am at forgiveness with her because I no longer have the extreme rage when I see her or think of her affair. I have a new sense of compassion and saddness revolving around the whole event. One thing I read recently is that you know when you have arrived at forgiveness when you see the offending person (WS) and your reaction is one of compassion and pity.
Funny, up until me actually feeling like that...I kinda thought forgiving my wife would be this triumphant victory.....
....for me, forgiveness came in as quietly as someone taking their last breath.
God be with us all.
So I have seen what a long term dedicated marriage can look like. It is not all a bed of roses. Things change. Love wavers. I think there were times my parents barely spoke but they worked through it because that's what marriage is. It is a commitment. It isn't about always being happy. it isn't about seeking your pleasure. It is about being partners in life, supporting, caring and committing yourself to each other. Or at least that is what I thought.
But now, I don't know. Obviously WH didn't feel the same. Maybe his parent's marriage was different. Maybe I was wrong and that marriage should be about seeking your passion and when your partner doesn't suit you, you should just chuck it and start over.
Because after the affair, I don't know if I have that commitment anymore. The contract was broken. I have an out. WH is going to have to do a lot of convincing in order for me to believe in the kind of marriage I used to believe in.
I can just imagine how NOT fun that anniversary gathering was for you.
Thanksgiving and Christmas of last year was so very painful and awkward for me...sleeping in a sleeping bag on the floor of my sister in laws home....ugh.
What I wonder...and it is only a wonder because both of our parents divorced after about the same length of marriage and when wife and I were about the same age....is those couples like your parents, what trials did they work through?
If statistics are close to correct....odds are many couples experience infidelity. And this is such a painful experience that many folks keep it from being public knowledge. If you divorce it is easy enough o discern. But if you stick together it is likely no one outside of the marriage will really know the trials you went through.
Since my wifes affair I have viewed this long standing married couples differently. I have always respected them, but my level of respect has deepened substantially as I take time to realize that it was most likely NOT all fun and roses...and that real trials are a part of their union.
For the record I don't think chucking it and seeking your passion is the key to healthy, deep intimacy...I say that based on two actual experiences of mine. First my wifes adultery...her passion was her AP for a short time...look how that worked out for her. Second, I DID that in my dating single life...starting in high school. When another girl caught my eye I would leave my current GF for the other girl...didn't work out either.
I have asked myself...out of all the sin that can affect my marriage, why did it have to be adultery? The one and only sin in the bible that allows D and the breaking of the marriage union to take place. So spiritually we have the way out of our marriage if we so seek it.
Any chance you can tap into your parents and get some of their wisdom so as to avoid the painful way of actual experiencing something to gain that same wisdom?
God be with you.
I asked him what he was thinking on that day and he says that the fact that he had cheated never even crossed his mind and it didn't bother him in the very slightest while standing under the altar. No guilt, no shame, not even sadness or fear, nothing but happy wedding feelings. Honesly...that scares me more than him saying that the whole day he felt like shit on the inside.
I feel like I was conned. I had a counterfit marriage from the start. My entire marriage started off with this big secret lurking in the background. I didn't marry the person that I thought I was marrying that day. I now feel like I might as well have been standing beside a stranger that day. Sure, I had seen some of the red flags, and the fact that I was so young is probably why I didn't realize that they were red flags flapping in my face, but I thought I had "one of the good ones" and he would never do such a thing.
Honestly, if I had a time machine, I would go back and make myself not marry him at the very least. The only thing that makes me hesitate to say that is my daughter.
I know i'm not a few months from the last dday, but I feel like I signed myself up for a gym membership without checking the place out. Then, for the first four years everything appeared to be very orderly and I was proud to be a member of this gym...but then someone ripped off my very dark sunglasses, and for the first time, I got a look at the scene around me. Floor boards missing, lights flickering on and off, half of the equipment is broken, trash hidden in place, and all of the personal trainers are all of the APs.
ETA: To address the "be together for better or for worse part"...
Putting aside any of the physical parts of the As, I feel like there was quite a while where I was actually alone in the M. My WH bought OW an engagement ring and made a child with her...then when I found out and said that I was not sharing, he decided to "leave" while I was 7 months pregnant. Of course, since he was overseas and we were long distance anyways, it really amounted to him change his relationship status on his FB and me throwng out things like "oh your fiancee doesn't want you to talk to me anymore? Then you should listen to your fiancee who is carrying your child instead of your wife who is carrying your child". This 'separation' lasted just a little over a month, then he decided that he wanted back in the M (of course he just took the A underground but that's besides the point). If you can picture the 'for better or worse' part as handcuffs, he already took his off and left me standing there staring while still deparately trying to find someway to hold on to the cuffs. Even though now he is trying to duct tape the cuffs back around his wrist, the fact that it came undone in the first place still remains.
[This message edited by Tired05 at 6:32 PM, September 7th (Saturday)]