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Madhatters Only Thread

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918Mama posted 10/1/2013 17:00 PM

TG -

You may have just saved me some work in therapy with this one sentence:

He gave away what I wanted.

Yes. We've been together since I was 16. He is my first and only. I wanted to be the last woman he ever had that "first kiss" with. The last woman he was ever intimate with. I wanted a relationship that had the security of knowing we were in it only for each other. I wanted to break the cycle for our kids. And so much more that he just gave away.

I think I need to sit quietly with this for a while. Thank you TG.

[This message edited by 918Mama at 5:01 PM, October 1st (Tuesday)]

rachelc posted 10/1/2013 17:28 PM

TG's comment has hit home for me too..
I withheld sex from my husband at various times - felt it was the only power I had in the marriage - yet I gave it to my AP. willingly! the only thing my husband ever asked me for I gave it away.
And all I ever asked him for is his time, to be his priority. which he gave away. Could give a shit that he kissed these two women...

the good thing - we both know this.

silverhopes posted 10/1/2013 18:36 PM

This is why we can't compare, what hurts us, is not what hurts our partner. Our pain is our pain, and it is ok, and we don't have to justify, and our partners should accept and be ok with it. If they are not then there is work there to do. But we can accept that our pain is ok and justified.

So very true.

While a lot of times, the hard work comes wearing the WS hat, we must be careful not to invalidate our own pain. Not to think: "I don't have a right to be upset, I did xyz." Then the pain festers. It's unexpressed and it doesn't leave. We can't heal what we won't feel.

tired girl posted 10/2/2013 00:39 AM

I am glad that something that I have said has resonated with you ladies. I feel that being in this situation of being madhatters is unique and difficult. Offering each other support as we navigate our way through this can help us all. We each bring something special to the table, a unique perspective to this all.

How is everyone doing?

918Mama posted 10/2/2013 01:58 AM

We had a pretty tense conversation tonight with a lot of tears and a solid realization that we really need to uphold the separation...

And then...you know...well...you know.

Ugh.

If we could just keep our clothes on, this would be so much easier!!

And TG...you always say things that resonate with me. Even if I don't want to hear them!

Unagie posted 10/2/2013 05:12 AM

I personally feel like crap. My debt is mounting and I am constantly unhappy. Moving to my family seems to be the only choice I have left. Which means leaving my friends, the city I love and all I know behind. Maybe its for the best.

LosferWords posted 10/2/2013 09:31 AM

I am glad that something that I have said has resonated with you ladies.

*ahem* Dude, here, hello!

Your comment about the "mirroring" resonated with me a lot, Tired Girl. That's something that I do with Amerasia a lot, but then I'm starting to notice she does that with me, too. Sometimes the comments on this web site that resonate with me take a few extra days to sink in, and for me to process. Part of that is my scientific mind wanting to go back and observe my relationship with my wife for a bit, and also ponder our interactions in the past 18 years or so.

Also, the whole "comparison" thing would seem like a no-brainer, but it's so damn hard when you're living it, as all of us in this forum know. I've been trying so hard to cast comparisons aside... whether it is me comparing my poor choices to what my wife has done, or vice-versa. Being in a madhatter situation is definitely a special sort of challenge.

I think the best thing we can do is to own our own respective actions in life, and be conscientious about each others feelings and hurts at the same time. There's a lot to be said about living in the moment, feeling our own feelings, and allowing our spouses to feel theirs.

Unagie - Is moving back with your family something that you might need right now, or do you think that would drag your mood down further? It's perfectly okay to rely on family from time to time. If you are wanting to continue your independence though, there are other options. Is there a nearby city that you could move to that has a lower cost of living? Someplace you could afford to live, and yet be able to visit the city you love whenever you want? What is it you want in the short term and long term? Despite all of these logistical issues, are you feeling pretty good about yourself when you look in the mirror? I hope so. You've done a lot of work and have come a long way.

[This message edited by LosferWords at 9:32 AM, October 2nd (Wednesday)]

tired girl posted 10/2/2013 16:01 PM

ahem* Dude, here, hello!

Your comment about the "mirroring" resonated with me a lot, Tired Girl. That's something that I do with Amerasia a lot, but then I'm starting to notice she does that with me, too. Sometimes the comments on this web site that resonate with me take a few extra days to sink in, and for me to process. Part of that is my scientific mind wanting to go back and observe my relationship with my wife for a bit, and also ponder our interactions in the past 18 years or so.

Also, the whole "comparison" thing would seem like a no-brainer, but it's so damn hard when you're living it, as all of us in this forum know. I've been trying so hard to cast comparisons aside... whether it is me comparing my poor choices to what my wife has done, or vice-versa. Being in a madhatter situation is definitely a special sort of challenge

Sorry losfer, I will pay better attention next time,lol.

In regards to the mirroring thing, what gets me with this, is I want to be able to have my own moods and have them in no way affect where he is at. I know that is a bit difficult as we have been together so long, and he is going to sympathize with me to some level, but he needs to go about his day even if I am struggling a bit. Support me if I need it, but don't climb down in the pit with me. Does that make any sense?

What do you find to be the hardest thing about keeping the affairs separate losfer?

drich3569 posted 10/2/2013 17:40 PM

I am so happy to have been directed to this thread.... I am new to these forums.

My story is.....

I had an affair with a co-worker two and a half years ago... never thought I would become that person but sadly I did. Biggest mistake of my life. My husband found out... we went to MC for a bit as we had some real issues that needed to be addressed.. fast forward 18 very difficult months and I catch my husband in an affair with a co-worker of his.
it has been 10 months since then and things are not getting any better. There is so much hatred and anger on both sides. I don't know if it's possible to get over two affairs... has anyone?

Thanks in advance.

rachelc posted 10/2/2013 17:43 PM

drich - welcome...
each wayward must own the choices he made, irrespective of his spouse's affair.
there will be a lot of justification that occurs. There always is in affairs and perhaps more so in the MH situation...
Fact is, you didn't cause each other's affairs. You each chose that for yourself. Can you both own that?

I'm sure others will chime in!
Welcome to this forum!

[This message edited by rachelc at 5:44 PM, October 2nd (Wednesday)]

LosferWords posted 10/2/2013 23:13 PM

Hello, and welcome, drich3569!

I do think it is possible to heal a relationship that betrayal has occurred on between both partners. There's a lot of us here who are working through it. This particular thread is a really good sounding board for those of us dealing with the nuances of being in a madhatter relationship. That being said, I think the other forums on this web site are equally important. Each of us here in this thread has a wayward side to us, and there is a lot to be learned by studying the Wayward forum. Those that are trying to reconcile find a lot of good advice from the Reconciliation forum. We also have to deal with our betrayed side as well. We can do that by reading/posting in General, or reading in JFO (none of us are allowed in JFO, because of our wayward side). There are also other forums that deal with Divorce/Separation, and New Beginnings for those of us whose relationships does not work out. This site runs pretty much all gamuts!

Anyway... sorry for the circumstances that brought you here, but I am glad you found us!

TG -

In regards to the mirroring thing, what gets me with this, is I want to be able to have my own moods and have them in no way affect where he is at. I know that is a bit difficult as we have been together so long, and he is going to sympathize with me to some level, but he needs to go about his day even if I am struggling a bit. Support me if I need it, but don't climb down in the pit with me. Does that make any sense?

This makes total sense. I was pondering this pretty hard today as I was working on the fence in our back yard. I really need to go back and look at all of my notes in Beatty's Codependency No More book. I think it's important for each of us to be allowed to have our own moods. The thing that Amerasia and I have to be careful of is either of us being the "barometer" of the relationship. Up until d-day, she was the primary barometer. If she was happy, I was happy, if she was sad, I was sad, etc., etc. A lot of that turned around after the d-days, just because my moods became more extreme than they ever were before. We're getting better at allowing each other our own moods and feelings, yet at the same time I am thinking that it is okay to ride off of each others' happiness. But yeah, I totally see your frustration with HL. I know I do the same thing to my wife. Working on it...

To answer your other question... I don't think our biggest struggle is keeping our affairs separate. I think our biggest current struggle is subtle ways of still comparing and generalizing. One thing that sent me into a tailspin was when we were talking about my wife's affair, and my wife said, "You did the same thing." That really got to me. In a way, I saw it as a comparison. I did not do the same thing. I betrayed my wife in my own method and manner, and I had my own reasons why. These were different than my wife's method, manner, and reasoning. Just as they are different than the 40K+ other stories and experiences from all of the members on this site, betrayed and/or wayward. Each one is individual and different.

So I guess what I am getting at is that our most recent struggle was comparison via over-generalization, if that makes any sense at all.

I mean... don't get me wrong. If the "why" part of our waywardness was all the same, that would be so much easier to deal with. There would be one thread in the Wayward forum, titled, "This Is Why You Did It", and we'd all find our answer there. Know what I mean?

[This message edited by LosferWords at 12:44 AM, October 3rd (Thursday)]

tired girl posted 10/3/2013 08:47 AM

drich,

Welcome,

What have you guys been doing to try to work through this so far since discovering his A? To answer your question, yes I think it can be worked through, but I think there are nuances and things that have to be done differently due to being a madhatter.

Losfer,

Totally get what you mean. It almost sounds like she was deflecting, like what you did was as bad as what I did. Did you call her on it?

LosferWords posted 10/3/2013 09:14 AM

TG - Yes, I did call her out on it, and she said what she meant to say was, "You cheated, too." I can absolutely accept that, if that was what was said. I think syntax can be a real pain in the ass sometimes. Could have been deflecting, could have been a miscommunication. I think we've gotten past it at this point, though.

tired girl posted 10/3/2013 09:16 AM

Losfer,

Glad to hear you guys are doing so well.

LosferWords posted 10/3/2013 09:22 AM

Thanks, TG. We're hanging in. Still a day to day process. Almost three years out, and we are still in the mosh pit of reconciliation.

Hope you and HL are doing good as well.

drich3569 posted 10/3/2013 12:40 PM

Thanks everyone.

What I struggle with most is that he has never shown remorse or regret for his affair. In the year and a half after my affair and before I caught him he treated me like I was the scum of the earth. Called me horrible things.. told me he could never forgive me and that he hated me. While he was doing the EXACT same things.

He has no sensitivity to why I may still be suspicious (ap still works with him) And when discussing his affair becomes angry and says things like 'I can't believe were still discussing this". There are days where I think we can get through it then when he acts this way I feel I can't be with someone who has done those things and feels no regret because I did it first.

It's like once his affair was out he was ready to move on and forget about both affairs and I should have been ready to overlook what he did.

Because I had mine first... should I be able to???

LosferWords posted 10/3/2013 19:39 PM

It's like once his affair was out he was ready to move on and forget about both affairs and I should have been ready to overlook what he did.

It definitely does not work like this, drich. You both have your own actions to equally own. One spouse having an affair does not excuse the other spouse from having an affair.

At the same time, you are completely allowed to have feelings of hurt and betrayal about what he did. It's important that you process these feelings instead of just brushing them to the side and ignoring them, because they won't go away.

Him not having remorse is a big issue, IMO. If he's not remorseful, what is preventing him from repeating his poor choices? Has he done any work on himself to figure out why he allowed himself to make those choices? And no... your affair is not a valid reason. There was already something in him to be vulnerable to having an affair. Your affair was just an excuse to let it happen.

silverhopes posted 10/5/2013 23:48 PM

I second what Losfer said, drich. That one person has an affair doesn't cancel out the other person's and vice versa. Your H might want to feel that you "don't have to talk about them" anymore, but that's a way to try to see them as "even" in his mind and avoid doing the work himself or feeling the guilt. It doesn't work that way.

If he insists on not doing the work on himself, you might have some tough decisions to make. But no matter what, keep looking at your own choices and changes. Keep figuring out how you can be the healthiest drich you can be. If you can, keep including him on your own journey of healing, and keep acknowledging and validating his own pain over your affair.

Don't let him invalidate your feelings. He cheated, and it HURT. That doesn't go away whether you cheated or not. Hopefully he can be on your team to help you heal from his affair. If he's not interested in being a teammate with you, then it sounds like he's still being selfish.

silverhopes posted 10/6/2013 00:05 AM

In my own journey, we're about to hit round two in the science museum saga. Tomorrow is the last free day for our zip code, and I'm planning to go with our son. I invited Mr Silver, my mother, and my godmother as a family outing. Mr Silver had already declined last weekend when plans feel through (posted about that earlier). Well, my mother and godmother initially said yes but have both declined now as well. So Mr Silver says he might go with us because he feels badly for me going alone. Or he might stay home and play GTA 5. Either way, I hope that tomorrow might give us another chance to reclaim.

I've realized another thing holding me back. It's this idea I keep hearing about, in books and in others' stories, where after an A, the effort both partners put into their Ms make it "the best M we've had in a long time" and imply that before the A, things maybe weren't going so well. For me, there was no "before the A". My H had wayward tendencies from the very beginning. On the one hand I can know that it had nothing to do with me, truly. But on the other hand, there's this feeling I've identified, something like: "My very best self (the "fresh new face" you are at the beginning of your relationship) wasn't enough to turn him on/interest him/attract him/etc., so what can I possibly do now? It didn't work before..." This was the time when I was trying to look my best, cook these great meals, be interesting and cheerful (genuinely felt that way), and he was busy comparing me directly to and playing single with OWs. Still can't get out of my head that I'm not "his best". So of course, now's the time to relearn how to do that stuff for myself, not for anyone else... But it's hard to break the habit of wanting to impress your spouse. More unhealthy external validation.

LosferWords posted 10/6/2013 17:25 PM

Did you make it to the museum, Silver? If so, did your husband go with you? How'd it go?

For me, there was no "before the A".

I can totally identify with that. My wife's A started five months before she met me, and continued for 15 years. I honestly don't think she did a lot of comparison between myself and the OM. Seriously, if she had, she would have really questioned what she was doing with this guy. He really didn't have much going for him when it comes to looks, intelligence, money, kindness, etc. I guess part of that is a comfort, yet at the same time I have questioned, "why was *I* not enough?". Know what I mean? The thing is, the A was never about me to begin with. I didn't even know her when her A started. I'm guessing your husband's wayward behavior had nothing to do with you, either.

On the other hand, I think it's okay to want to impress our spouses, as long as we aren't solely dependent upon their validation. Maybe I look at things a bit differently... I view two people in a marriage as being a single unit. Two separate entities, tied together in the middle, kind of like a Venn diagram. If we get validation from within that marriage, where the two circles intersect, I think that's healthy. It's when the two circles completely overlap each other that things can really get out of hand.

silverhopes posted 10/6/2013 19:56 PM

I view two people in a marriage as being a single unit. Two separate entities, tied together in the middle, kind of like a Venn diagram. If we get validation from within that marriage, where the two circles intersect, I think that's healthy. It's when the two circles completely overlap each other that things can really get out of hand.

That is such a good metaphor. It captures the idea of balance and moderation. No interlap at all, and the "circles" or people have nothing in common. Too much, and it's codependency. So it's about finding the balance and what things should be within the overlap and what things are independent. And what things overlap with other people's circles and whether that's appropriate or not. Great metaphor!

I did go to the science museum today. Mr Silver decided not to go, so it was just our son and me. Mr Silver asked me to bring him back a scorpion lollipop, which is itself a trigger (about an incident with a different OW and him and the same museum about a month or two before the butterfly exhibit incident*). So we went to the butterfly exhibit first, just to get it out of the way, and that was hard. I kept having questions and images of "did they stand here? Did they do this? Did he flirt with her about xyz?" And it hurt that he would go there with her but not me, chose her over our date. But then we (DS and I) wound up having a good time anyway. I'd forgotten that the last time my son and I went that he was too little to really get it. He went totally nuts over the aquarium. I got H the lollipop anyway, and it was a good thing - realized it was more about feeling good about myself, and knowing that Mr Silver's love language is gifts, I didn't want to be petty over the trigger and not get him something I knew he wanted. So I got it for him and he appreciated it. It felt a little easier to be there this time. I might get a membership there for Christmas so my son and I can go more often. I really want it to be our place.

*ETA: If this is getting confusing, lol... We'll call one girl Cloudy and the other one Pinklace. Cloudy was a chick who lived in his program with him, who was also married, but who insisted on putting her hands in his clothes (according to him because she was trying to get money or smokes, but really?), who started picking flowers for him when he told her he picks flowers for me, who would ask his opinion often and obsessively on how she looked, and who got him to go with her frequently to the corner stores and once, just the two of them, to a Buddhist temple at night without my knowing in advance. When their program went to the science museum, for his first time, instead of spending time with the other guys he spent the whole time with her, and she went around semi-panhandling other patrons until she had enough for a scorpion lollipop. He talked about it for months after and has asked me to bring him one other times, usually accompanied by the story about her. Also he saw her at some undisclosed point after agreeing to tell me all contact, but withheld it until she came up in random conversation later. Not to mention he wouldn't shut up about her eyes and how they were his "same exact shade" for the longest time. That was incident #1. Incident #2 was about a month or two later. He'd said he hadn't been to the butterfly exhibit before, and since I hadn't either, we'd agreed to go on a date together there. We'd also just found out we were pregnant. Imagine my surprise when he called in the middle of a week to say he'd just gone with another girl, Pinklace, and was gushing over how a butterfly had landed on her shoulder. Showed me the video later. I was horrified - "what about our date?" He hemmed and hawed. "Well, I got a chance to see the butterflies, so I took it! Shouldn't you be happy for me?" So we went a few weeks later, and he complained the whole time that he'd already seen everything (except the Planetarium - neither of us have seen it, and that time when we were going to, he had us leave just before the show started claiming vertigo). Then I stupidly bought us a membership to try to compete with the OWs, until he a) blew up at me for "wasting money" since he'd gone on free days with the OWs and b) wanted to throw the penguin mug I'd bought him at the wall because I'd left the gift in a bad place where "someone else could have stolen it!". Whew, I wrote a lot! Feels better to get it all out there. Maybe now I can let it go (one day at a time). Wooosa. WOooosa. That's the past. It's not happening anymore. It's gone. Wooooosa.

I honestly don't think she did a lot of comparison between myself and the OM.

Was she compartmentalizing during this time?

I guess part of that is a comfort, yet at the same time I have questioned, "why was *I* not enough?". Know what I mean? The thing is, the A was never about me to begin with.

I can hear that. It's almost a question of "why was I not enough to have commitment at least in the beginning, to be worth stopping the wayward behaviors?" but then knowing that we had no choice in those decisions. The wayward behaviors were already the established way of life and we were the new addition. It really wasn't anything to do with us.

My own choices wound up being for different reasons than my H. Mine were with the intent of self-destruction. Which proved to me two things: one, that I was hurting others with my bad behavior, and two, that to be honest I probably wasn't healthy enough to be in a relationship at all. Before my betrayal, I had done something else self-destructive and my H rightly said that if I ever tried to harm myself again, he would dump me. Another reason why that venn diagram is such a good metaphor. It's important not to base too much of yourself on a relationship. You have to be healthy enough to stand up on your own. You've got to be OK whether you're alone for ten years or ten minutes.

Maybe that's why it will be such a big step to make the science museum OUR place, a place for my son and I. To go there, not solely for my son, but for US, for our bonding, and to make my own good memories there. Not to define it by what H did there. Today was a good step in that direction.

[This message edited by silverhopes at 8:23 PM, October 6th (Sunday)]

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