I think I was the most blamshifty wayward alive so if I can change, it's got to be possible for him, right?
He has been trying in recent weeks but that happened after I started detaching and stepped out of our co-D dynamic. But last night revealed that he was probably just hoovering.
I'm so conflicted right now!
Chin up. Unwavering. Fight. I can do this.
I think I was the most blamshifty wayward alive so if I can change, it's got to be possible for him, right?
Absolutely. I think just about anybody can change if they are willing to take ownership and put in the hard work.
The whole blame shifting thing needs to stop. I think you might have to be firm with him on this one. You cannot take ownership of any of his choices or actions, past, present, and future. He is his own living, breathing, autonomous human being with a free will of his own. Yes, he was gravely hurt by your actions. How he chose to deal with that is his choice. I'm willing to bet drugs were a coping mechanism long before infidelity was an issue? Maybe before you two even met?
Let him know you are there to support him, but you can't take on ownership of what he decides to do. If you had that kind of power over him, I bet you would choose for him not to take that coke or be anywhere near it in the first place.
Hang in there, and keep talking with him.
Are you still having some good moments as a couple, too? I think it is important to take some time out and enjoy a nice walk or a nice meal together, too. I'm still rooting for you two.
We are still having some nice moments. He came round earlier and needed a cuddle, then he cooked me dinner. I did bring up the blameshifting thing, he didn't say much.
He's scared. Scared of my feelings, scared of his own feelings. He's scared to start healing so he denies that he needs to.
if I hadn't had one then he wouldn't have either
I get this too. Although not recently. It's a very convenient way of letting themselves off the hook.
So here's what we worked out.
We are six months and two days out from Dday. H isn't in IC. He's not reading at all and he's not talking about anything unless I initiate the conversation and even then he doesn't say much.
BUT he's here at the house every day. He comes round, give the kids dinner, plays with them, gives them a bath, reads bed time stories and puts them to bed. Then he stays and has dinner with me and hangs out for a bit.
He doesn't want to be in this house. If I was him I probably wouldn't come within 100 yards of it. He can't live here but he wants to be with his family and the effort it takes to come here every day to do that is HUGE.
His anxiety was so severe in March that he had a panic attack resulting in convulsions while out with his friends. He has come up with his own coping strategies for that. He can talk himself down when he's feeling anxious and his anxiety in general is massively improved.
He has dealt with the mind movies using the CBT techniques he learned in the few MC sessions we attended immediately after Dday (we abandoned them because it was far too soon, MC then became my IC)
He used to get mind movies and flash backs hundreds of times a day, now he says he rarely gets them and he can make them stop when they do happen.
He IS healing. He's just doing it in his own way. It's not the SI way, in some ways it doesn't even look particularly healthy. But it works for him and that's what matters right?
He is depressed. He admits that but says he's not at a point where he feels he can do anything about it yet. It's not my job to fix it for him, at some point he will reach rock bottom and then the only way is up. All I can do is be patient and supportive.
My C said she was really impressed with how well I'm doing at working on my Co-D. It was a good session :)
H and I talked about the blameshifting again last night. He apologised and said he knows deep down his actions are not my fault. He said he goes into self preservation mode and gets defensive when those topics come up. He says it's magnified at the moment because he's so hurt and feels vulnerable.
I told him my feelings weren't going anywhere (like under a rug!) I really need to be heard and have some support with the triggers but I understand that it can take awhile to over come the defensiveness (it took me awhile too and I had SI to help!) so we'll try to work on it together.
H's birthday is coming up. H's step dad passed away the day before his birthday six years ago so it's always been a difficult day. Add in the fact H hasn't been at home on his birthday for four years (always been away with work) so he's never actually heard his kids wish him a happy birthday before. And then I rubbed salt in an already painful wound... A season starts three days after his birthday. It's going to be a difficult time.
We talked yesterday about how to handle it all. We discussed 'reclaiming' but H said he wants as much normality as possible. He doesn't want an actual celebration, he said just time with me and the boys is enough.
I have got him some amazing presents and the kids have made cards and we'll bake a cake the day before. Hopefully he'll like that.
I think we're both feeling calmer and better about things this week. It's been a good week so far.
I think you are doing an amazing job with your progress and recognizing the co dependent issues. The fact that you guys were able to talk about the upcoming birthday and come up with some sort of plan sounds like progress for the two of you. That is awesome!!! How are you feeling about that?
I definitely feel more separate from him. My mood doesn't mirror his mood but I'm still able to empathise and offer comfort and support, more so than before really. It does still feel strange, like I'm fighting an instinct, but I can see how much healthier it is.
The first two involved some wayward friends of ours.
The first is a guy I have been friends with for eleven years. After Dday I started work on my boundaries and realised my friendship with this guy had blurry boundaries. Nothing like an EA but he would call me 'hun' or 'babe' or 'gorgeous', he was quite flirty and I allowed him to be. MrBBT had always said he didn't like this friend, not because he thought anything would happen because he could see I didn't reciprocate but just because he felt the guy didn't know where the line was and I wasn't prepared to put him in his place.
After Dday, I enforced the boundaries and the friend has so far respected them. Until yesterday! He called me for a catch up and told me about an EA/sexting relationship he'd been having with another woman. This guy is engaged, getting married next year!
Immediately a big red flag went up for me. The friend told me he had broken off the EA but had no plans to confess to his fiancÚ. I told him I didn't want wayward behaviour in my life in any way, shape or form. I said I was very uncomfortable in being made part of the lie. I told him not to contact me again and then blocked his number from my phone.
As soon as MrBBT came to the house I told him what had happened. He was annoyed at the behaviour, said it was awful but he was surprised at my reaction, said going NC seemed a little extreme. I explained it wasn't, this was a boundary breech for me and I won't tolerate it. I also understood how this would make MrBBT feel about the friendship with this guy and I wasn't about to disregard his feelings. MrBBT just smiled, gave me a cuddle and a big kiss.
Second is a mutual friend of ours. We'll call her M.
M was part of a group of our friends but then she moved out of the area. Recently a guy from this group of friends, we'll call him J, told MrBBT that M had been sending him explicit photos of herself on snapchat. M is married. J has a long term girlfriend who he lives with, he never responded to the photos that M sent him but he also hasn't told his girlfriend about it.
Following so far?!
MrBBT and I were discussing how to handle the situation because M is still pursuing a friendship with me and I wanted to talk about going NC. We agreed that NC with M was a good idea for both of us seeing as MrBBT is also friends with her. MrBBT decided he would have a chat with J about the importance of telling his girlfriend, boundaries etc but ultimately because J hadn't been unfaithful, he had only been presented with the opportunity to be and turned it down, it wasn't our place to tell J's girlfriend. We don't know M's husband so there's nothing we can do about that. We discussed everything, made a plan of action that protected our M and our personal boundaries
Third one was about this upcoming week. MrBBT is going away today with work until Friday. Not long but it will be the first time he's been away since Dday and my A happened while he was away last year. So last night I talked about what I could do this week to help him feel safer, give him peace of mind. His response was 'nothing that you aren't already doing. Just be as you are.'
It feels good to be on the same page about things.
Our next step is for me and the kids to move away from the army base. We're only be going a half hour drive but not being in this house will make so much difference. MrBBT will live in the single accommodation during the week and come to the new house at weekends and during leave. He is signing off from the army and will come to live with us permanently once his year's notice is up.
So next weekend we will be doing something for MrBBT's birthday (we're having a date night on Friday!) and then we'll be going to view houses!
I'm enjoying this 'up'.
[This message edited by BrokenButTrying at 9:11 AM, June 29th (Sunday)]
Yeah the boundary thing feels great. I don't get out much (I really don't!) So it was felt good for me to put my work on boundaries into practice and realise I am capable and it was great to demonstrate to H how far I've come.
Does anyone else ever feel really upset when someone says something nice about them? Ever want to scream: "Just hate me, give me instructions on how to not be a hurtful person, but don't compliment me! Compliments are standards I'll never be able to live up to!"
If you can relate, any insights on what it's about? Are we just so afraid of failing at higher standards that we keep our standards low for ourselves? Just the basic minimum: try not to hurt anyone else.
I don't think that's a dumb question at all. Very thought provoking, actually.
What types of compliments draw these reactions from you? (You don't have to answer this specifically or at all, because that is a hard one for me to answer myself.)
I don't have the exact same types of reactions that you have, but I honestly don't have the best history of processing compliments very well. For me, it is more just feeling nervous, uncomfortable, and awkward towards certain types of compliments or praise. I think for me that has a lot to do with an unfair and low self image of myself that probably borders on dysfunctional. It's like I get a compliment, and I externally and gratefully accept it with the person giving it to me, but then there is an internal self-bashing that goes on inside my head.
As far as not wanting to "hurt anyone else" is concerned, I can see that. I am horrified at hurting anyone else, to the point where I would rather self-sacrifice. Maybe that is where some of this reluctance to accept compliments comes from? I don't know. Great question. I'd like to hear some feedback from others as well.
It's like I get a compliment, and I externally and gratefully accept it with the person giving it to me, but then there is an internal self-bashing that goes on inside my head.
I am horrified at hurting anyone else, to the point where I would rather self-sacrifice.
What types of compliments draw these reactions from you?
All of them. Another thought just came to mind: maybe it's paranoia about external validation and wanting to avoid it at all costs. But thenů when we're trying to support someone, be it a family member or friend, then don't we usually give compliments? Some sort of acknowledgement to that person for everything they do? And why wouldn't they try to give acknowledgement to others as well (sometimes that means us)? But it's all screwed up! It's external validation! It's the precise thing we're NOT supposed to be looking for, as waywards who are trying to change for better!
Feel like I don't take enough responsibility sometimes for the pain I caused others. Like I deserve more consequences, more punishment. But when punishment happens, it tends to be the people I love who suffer. So I'm afraid of consequences because it means pain for them. I need consequences that only hurt me and no one else.
[This message edited by silverhopes at 2:48 AM, July 4th (Friday)]
Do either of you still see yourselves as people that would hurt others willingly NOW?
If not, then you need to work on acceptance of the person that you are now, and understand that you are no longer the person that you were then. You have changed.
Compliments can still sometimes be difficult for me, especially ones based on my looks. I have poor self body image. Ones based on who I am are getting easier, because I am really accepting the person that I am NOW. I have worked hard to be where I am now. I don't see it as external validation but as a compliment.
My counselor has worked hard with me on this. I think this is where an IC comes in real handy. Writing down the things you like about yourself and then things you want to work towards can help.
Hope that helps guys, and hope you both had a great holiday!
Do either of you still see yourselves as people that would hurt others willingly NOW?
Oh, absolutely not. That's where some of this stems from. When I cheated 18 years ago, I was young and full of myself, even though I didn't see that about myself back then. Now I really do care about my treatment of others. I just need to make sure I am taking care of myself, too.
You have changed.
Thank you! I absolutely have changed, especially in the last few years since joining this site and going to counseling and doing some deep digging.
My holiday yesterday was nice and peaceful. We all had a great day here in the Losfer household. Hope you and HL had a great day, too!!
My story is a long, winding road filled with all kinds of angst, but true love does exist here... it's just covered in all kinds of shitty past behaviors.
We met within the first few weeks of college, doing a musical together... yes, we're actors - there's your first clue to the drama that will ensue. :-)
I was a wide-eyed Christian boy, who'd never really had a real relationship, other than dating a few girls in high school for a few weeks max, never amounting to more than making out: no oral sex - not even heavy petting. I was still a virgin at 19... both proud and embarrassed by this fact, knowing I was coming out of a private school situation and going into the "lion's den" of public institution higher ed. I was nervous about this, knowing I'd been very cautious around women all my life, mostly because I was scared shitless of what sex would really be like, but wanting it SO badly at the same time. I'd been masturbating like mad since puberty, also believing this was "sinful" behavior for much of that time. My "ideal" first time, I thought, would be to find another virgin so that there would be no comparisons, and that it would be an exploratory experience and new discoveries for us both. So... plenty of self-generated and church-generated angst "going in" to my first experience.
She was a non-Christian girl, who acted more Christian than most believers. She was (and is) a gorgeous, tall, long-haired beauty, who treated everyone with respect, had a great sense of humor and was very disarming. She had that same look of wide-eyed innocence I did, and I fell hard. It took a while for me to work up the courage to actually make a move. We "hung out" a lot with others, as I watched to try to be sure she would respond in kind... I was very cautious with my heart. But she was exactly what I was looking for - that "ideal" virginal woman with whom I could discover our first time together.
We started dating, and moving very slowly toward getting more and more intimate together. At the time I had thought this cautiousness was two-way - that she was also nervous about her first time. A few months in, she reveals to me that she is not a virgin. My heart sank. How could I have been so wrong? I know it's ridiculous thinking now, but I truly felt I'd been cheated on. If I had waited for the ideal mate, why hadn't she? I was in emotional agony at this revelation, because she still was, in every other way, the "ideal" girl I was looking for. The closest person to me at the time was my mother and I confided in her my angst over this situation. She basically said "honey, at your age, you're not necessarily going to find your "ideal virgin" out there. If you truly love this girl and she loves you, should it really matter?" At first my na´ve response to this was "YES! It matters!" but I wrestled in earnest with these thoughts for several weeks. It didn't help that I was seriously embarrassed to talk to my girlfriend (future wife) about any of these feelings, because I had felt so na´ve originally having thought we were "the same" and had basically "equal experience" sexually. The thought that she would know exactly what we were in for during my first experience and could *compare* me to someone else, killed me, but I loved her and knew I had to get over it.
It also didn't help that in the next couple of weeks I very timidly asked her questions about her experience, and it came out that not only did he have a "very big" penis, but that she really did genuinely love him. It wasn't just a typical "god, I was so stupid" first time high school experience. It was a long-term, loving relationship. In hindsight, I'm not sure ANY story would have made me feel much better about it, but those facts were hard to swallow, knowing that was what she'd be comparing me against. I was an emotional mess, but with the help of my family's advice, I eventually pulled myself together and decided she was more than worth the silly angst I was putting myself through. I "forgave" her earlier "transgressions" with this other boy, who I had now villainized. Yes, it was that messed up in my head.
So after my few weeks of emotional thrashing and finally giving up on my perfect dream of how I'd lose my virginity, we did end up having sex. It was magical for me. I felt like a new man. Like there was "virgin me" of the past, and "post-virgin me", and I felt more confident, more like a real man. My ego had exploded. Yes, I had built it up that much in my wee 19 years of Christian anti-premarital sex angst. And, of course, there was inevitable the years of church-induced guilt that comes along with that.
This started a new emotional roller coaster in our relationship, of me wanting more and more sex and her trying to put on the brakes and approach it a bit more rationally rather than hormonally. I understood, of course, particularly since my guilt agreed with her requests, but the torrent of "more, more, more!" in my 19 year old hormonal overdrive kept me a strong nuisance, and she often gave in to keep the peace.
And then there's the level of commitment imbalance between us. For me, I understood this to be my "first real relationship" - a learning experience, which was not likely to continue on to marriage, but it might... someday... WAY into the future. For her, it was absolutely the path to marriage, and as soon as she could convince me to agree to it. This was mostly unspoken between us, but it was obvious from our behaviors and our conflicts. Sadly, this approach continued into our marriage, but that's further along. I'll get back to that.
Several big events occurred at about the 11-month mark of our relationship: she told me she had agreed to go out with her ex boyfriend - yes, *that* boyfriend - canceling a dinner date with my family. When I objected, she didn't understand. She went out with him anyway. This confused and hurt me deeply, and she never understood why, even when I tried to explain it. Then she told me she wanted me to buy her a ring for Christmas. Not a wedding ring, mind you, but she wanted that token of romantic appreciation. I bought it for her. We started arguing around this time, much of it centered around the topic of commitment. It was not fun, and felt like it could be over soon.
Then the biggest event that occurred is that we went on a foreign exchange program to London. We went with very different agendas: I went in wanting to explore a new world and experience freedom from the parental units, being with a bunch of friends there on the same program. She saw it as a romantic getaway, and reminded me at every step how I wasn't being romantic, especially if I wanted to go be with my friends instead of her. I felt trapped and did not appreciate this nagging one bit on this trip. She felt snubbed and gilted, understandably. It was a toxic environment. We broke up and got back together several times, the first time being when she handed me the ring back saying "I don't know what this means to you". It simply meant I bought you a ring she asked for! She needed it to mean something more, and it simply didn't at that stage in my life.
During this time, she started calling a male friend of hers back home, lamenting about how I was treating her. I also lamented to friends in London. We were not happy together and it was obvious things were very likely to end. She even cruelly jabbed to me that my penis was too small for her during this time... DEEP wound. In the aftermath of that, I did confide in a female friend there in London and we did kiss a couple of times very lightly and quickly stopped ourselves because we were both involved with others, feeling ashamed of what we'd done.
She absolutely flabbergasted me when we got back, the next night after getting back she slept with this guy she'd been calling, and confessed the very next day, still with the full intention of leaving me for him. When she told him she confessed, he basically started back-pedaling, and she figured out then he was only in it for the sex, so she ended it with him.
I was a complete mess, and I didn't understand why - nobody did. I had been talking so long about wanting to end things with her that I couldn't understand why this hurt me so badly and deeply. I think because it was such a big deal for me to entrust her with my virginity, it really, REALLY hurt that she just cavalierly slept with another guy so quickly after he told her all the things she wanted to hear. I thrashed and kicked and screamed (privately, to myself) for months and months. Nobody understood what I was going through, and I had no one to talk to about it. There was no survivinginfidelity site to go to 24 years ago. I also felt I probably deserved it for kissing another girl, even though she never knew about that - it did feel a bit like justice being served, albeit with a big overdose. Needless to say, we broke up after that, but not without the thrashing that goes along with post-affair hysterical bonding, etc. and trying to get as much information out of her as I could about WHY she did it, with no satisfying (is it ever?) reason given.
We did end up getting married 10 years later, with several "interludes" in between where we'd get together for fun no-strings-attached sex over those 10 years. The reason we got married at that 10th year was that she got pregnant, and we decided to do the right thing by the child and provide her with a family. We also did re-discover a love for each other that had never really died even after all that.
In an earnest attempt to resolve my feelings about her cheating, I told her I wanted to talk about everything in our past relationship and that I wanted to do it with a therapist before we get married. I confessed the kiss with another girl (which I had done years before as well, but she had forgotten) and that was it - no remorse when her cheating came up. She did not want to talk about it at all. That ended therapy pretty quickly, but not my intention of marrying the woman carrying my child, who I indeed still loved.
Over the first few years of our marriage I gently brought it up a couple more times saying "I'd really love to be able to talk to you about my feelings over your affair sometime" and was met with "I don't want to talk about that" each time, along with "you were a horrible boyfriend in London". So I gave up, realizing she was never going to want to actually *deal* with what she'd done to me, and that forcing the issue would simply push her to say things under duress. I was on my own again... and it simply festered and built. Every time I thought of the affair it hurt.
Fast forward to the 6th year of our marriage and I discovered what the cuckold world was all about, and it really resonated with me. I can turn my painful memories over her affair into pleasurable ones? Sign me up! I dove in, learning all I could about that world, and found out that many in that world come from past unresolved affairs in their lives. It's a pretty common entry point into cuckoldry. I brought it up with her a few times, letting her know I had these very strange desires, but once again, she wasn't interested in talking about such things - she was okay with me exploring it, but it wasn't something she was willing to entertain or discuss at length. I understood and was on my own again with my festering feelings, but felt much better about them since they were now feelings of immense, but very guilty pleasure that I had to hide from everyone.
We also started having arguments again, very similar to our first relationship, only a lot more intense. The worst was about my mother. She hated her. I loved my mother and felt trapped between two women I loved. My mother was dying of breast cancer at the time, so I obviously felt I needed to be there for her, while at the same time my wife was jealous and bitter about my interactions with her. My old habit of lying to keep the peace went into full force. This did not create a happy or healthy marital environment. When my mother finally passed (March 2013) it flipped a switch in me. I was so angry at my wife for being such an incredible bitch to my mother, and she was angry at me for not being supportive of *her* feelings about my mother, it started a downward spiral for me.
I had now decided I was okay with possibly finding someone else and being open to an affair with them. It was only a matter of time. I had also decided to keep this secret since I did not want to blow up our family life and create huge distress for our daughter. Yes, very wayward thinking. So the affair happened. I picked a despicable woman because I knew I didn't want to fall in love or have any strings, and this woman turned out to be not only despicable but a psychopath. She started threatening all kinds of retaliation and exposure - even played the wayward "I'm pregnant" card, which I believed because I wasn't aware there was a playbook - and I knew at that point I needed to confess before my wife found out any other way.
I fully expected her to pack up and leave since she had said she would do that if I ever cheated. She did not, and we started the process of healing / reconciliation, with the help of this site. When I once again tried bringing in *her* cheating into the mix, she denied that this was a madhatter situation because we weren't married at the time and that it was so long ago. Because she was in so much pain, I agreed to that stipulation, however, it never felt right to me that I had to do all the wayward work that she never had. In fact, she has always been a very UN-remorseful wayward, saying things like "well, you were a lousy boyfriend in London", like that's her justification for fucking someone else.
But the wounding was still there in me and because it had never been dealt with, came back with a vengeance into our reconciliation for this affair.
So that's where we are, and as has been stated many times for madhatters, it is a very difficult and unique journey. She still doesn't want to admit that we are madhatters - she wants to be the betrayed and still have me solely in the role of wayward. But the wounding is fresh again with all that has happened in the aftermath.
So I'm hear to ask your help, other madhatters/waywards. Any advice you can provide is very appreciated. I accept all 2-by-4 and kindly advice. I've been lurking here a while and know how the game works. I'm just lost now as to how to help her through this, and how to ask for what I need as well.
Thanks for reading this epic post!
[This message edited by WaywardInHayward at 2:19 PM, July 7th (Monday)]
Good to see you back here posting, and thanks for sharing the details of your story. That helps a lot for any of us wanting to help you with your specific situation.
You are definitely in a madhatter situation, as defined by the rules of this web site, in that you have both cheated and been betrayed within your current relationship.
Both affairs have to be worked on in order to move forward, IMHO. Rug sweeping does not work, and I think you are finding this out, as the pain from your wife's affair keeps reoccurring, and will continue to do so until it is processed and dealt with.
When I cheated, my wife and I had been dating for maybe six months, tops. We were going through a rocky period in our relationship. In fact my wife (girlfriend at the time), even suggested that maybe we take a break from each other, and that she wasn't sure where she stood in the relationship. That's when I cheated, and slept with my friend's wife two times within a one week period. No, my wife and I weren't married, or even engaged. We were boyfriend/girlfriend, though, with the understanding that we weren't seeing anyone else. What I had was an affair. I cheated. I committed infidelity. No question about it.
When I told her about this 15 years later, it hurt her like hell, even though she had betrayed me so horribly. To give a brief summary of my betrayal, she had a 15 year affair with another married man that started a few months before I met her, and continued through our dating, engagement, and marriage. I then found out that our only child, my son, was not biologically mine, when he was almost seven years of age.
So here's the thing. You can tell that my affair and my wife's affair were different, when it comes to length of time it went on, her bringing the OM into our marital bed, the biological disconnect with my son, etc. We've honestly spent a lot more time healing from that affair versus mine. At the same time, it's really not fair to compare the affairs. My wife still had to go through her pain, anger, resentment, all of those feelings, which were 100% valid. I still had to go through the process of figuring out why I did what I did. I still had to work on myself and fix the things that were wrong with me that caused me to cheat.
So yeah, these are tough waters to navigate. You do need to work on yourself as a wayward, but you do need to also recognize that you have been betrayed. You need to heal from that.
Whatever justifications your wife had for cheating back then don't matter. It was her choice to cheat, and she did cheat on you, whether she admits it or not. How you behaved towards her in London does not excuse or justify her behavior.
Are either of you in counseling? MC is great, but my wife and I benefited most from our own IC, or individual counseling.
Best of luck. Keep posting here. We're here to support both you and your wife through this. Overall, you sound like a good couple, and I hope that you all can work through this together.