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User Topic: WS: "you can't understand what justified the affair..."
JohnBR
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Member # 27076
Question  Posted: 6:22 PM, October 29th (Tuesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

My wife and I have been in MT over the last 3 years since shortly after DD in 1/2010 for a 6 year LTA. We have been with our current MT for 1 year and have hit a cross roads and I'm hoping for some feedback because I feel lost.

We have made steady but hard fought progress towards R but still have a ways to go. During our last MT session our therapist told me that I will continue to be angry and bitter of my WW until I can have some compassion for why she had the affair and am able to not be so defensive about my part of the marital problems that lead my wife to have the affair. Not that the problems in the marriage in any way justified the affair, but I need to find a way not to be so defensive about dealing with the problems that were in the marriage at the time that the affair started, so we can heal.

The issue was also discussed in MT that since my parents were married for 50+ years with no known affairs it's not part of my character to forgive my wife's affair. My wife's father cheated repeatedly on her mother which was one of the reasons she was (wrongly) able to somehow justify her affair at the time.

My wife is very remorseful. I want to get over this and be happy. I really want to find compassion but am very confused. Any thoughts? Does this make sense? Ughhhh...

[This message edited by JohnBR at 6:26 PM, October 29th (Tuesday)]


Me: BH (50 yo)
Her: WS (49 yo)
LTA: 6 years. DD: 1/2010
2 kids: 14 yo boy & 17 yo young lady

Posts: 33 | Registered: Jan 2010 | From: JohnBR
Jrazz
♀ Guide
Member # 31349
Default  Posted: 6:28 PM, October 29th (Tuesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Well, NOTHING justifies an affair.

The thing is, there's a brokenness inside the WS that allowed the affair to happen. Whether it's FOO issues, substance abuse, or personality disorder etc, SOMETHING allowed them to behave in a contemptible manner.

The WS that is able to face that and feel true remorse is a person in need of deep compassion, if we have the energy to give it. Think about the worst thing you've ever done. Forgiving yourself and gaining the forgiveness of others is a scary, sometimes painful journey.

As crazy as this sounds, try to remove yourself from the Affair for a moment and examine how low your W had to feel to do this. Keeping in mind that it was in no way your fault, looking at the reasons why she allowed herself to do this may foster feelings of compassion, since she is remorseful as you say.

(((JohnBR)))

[This message edited by Jrazz at 6:28 PM, October 29th (Tuesday)]


For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning. - T.S. Eliot

Posts: 14709 | Registered: Feb 2011 | From: California
20WrongsVs1
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Member # 39000
Default  Posted: 6:38 PM, October 29th (Tuesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

For starters, what is the "why" you're supposed to have compassion for? If the why is, her FOO was a total nightmare, and when she experienced high stress she fell back on modeling her mother, as a maladaptive coping mechanism...I can see having compassion for your W. So long as she's deeply remorseful and in no way justifying or excusing her LTA.

If the "why" is, there were marital problems that you, perhaps, don't necessarily agree were any part your fault...then I can see why you're resistant to having compassion for that.


^^Everything I write, IMHO & YMMV.^^
fWW: 42, amazing H and two elementary-age kids.
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing & rightdoing there is a field. I'll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about.

Posts: 775 | Registered: Apr 2013 | From: Redneck land
BeyondBreaking
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Member # 38020
Default  Posted: 6:45 PM, October 29th (Tuesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I can have some compassion for why she had the affair and am able to not be so defensive about my part of the marital problems that lead my wife to have the affair. Not that the problems in the marriage in any way justified the affair, but I need to find a way not to be so defensive about dealing with the problems that were in the marriage at the time that the affair started, so we can heal

I completely disagree with your MT.

1) Nothing you did caused your wife to have an affair. She made that choice on her own without your consent. She owns 100% of that decision.

2) No, the marriage probably was not perfect before the affair. Those problems DO need to be addressed and worked on, but that is seperate from the affair and healing from THAT.

3) Has she accepted responsibility for her part of the marriage problems before the affair? I often find that this conversation goes as such, "Our marriage was crap before the affair because YOU did such and such. That is why I had the affair." She needs to recognize that YOU were a part of the same marriage and she probably made her share of mistakes...and you didn't choose to cheat. She did.


I have been cheated on by 3 different men, and I have more DDays than anyone ever should. I am here, just trying to pickup the pieces.

At least the current man "only" cyber-cheated.

"Love means never having to say you're sorry."


Posts: 811 | Registered: Jan 2013
Tred
♂ Member
Member # 34086
Default  Posted: 7:03 PM, October 29th (Tuesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I can have some compassion for why she had the affair and am able to not be so defensive about my part of the marital problems that lead my wife to have the affair

You need a better counselor. Compassion for her having an affair because of the your responsibility in the marital problems that led to the affair? Bullshit. There are options to marital problems - counseling, divorce, separation, anything honest that is communicated. A 6 year affair that you were not aware of is not your responsibility. That's all on her. If your wife had turned to drugs, alcohol, or any other self destructive behavior, would it be your fault? No. That's all on the person who chooses to behave that way. You aren't healed because your wife isn't owning the affair. You say your wife is remorseful - I disagree. Sounds more like she regrets it, but true remorse means owning it. All of it.


Married: 16 years (14 @JFO)
D-Day: 11/09/11
"Ohhhhh...shut up Tred!" - NOT the official SI motto (DS)

Posts: 3303 | Registered: Dec 2011
JohnBR
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Member # 27076
Default  Posted: 7:05 PM, October 29th (Tuesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

For starters, what is the "why" you're supposed to have compassion for?

Her FOO was nothing extraordinary other than her father cheating for years and then divorcing her mother after an LTA. He has been married to OW for like 20 years now (poor guy!). The compassion is for the things she was not getting (at the time) from the marriage and as a working mother. Feeling desirable, sexy, important etc. The main allure of the AP was that he was her boss and "chose her." She felt special. Something that she lacked from within and said she was not getting from me or the marriage.

Keeping in mind that it was in no way your fault, looking at the reasons why she allowed herself to do this may foster feelings of compassion, since she is remorseful as you say.

It's really hard to find the compassion because it went on for 6 years. A PA and very much EA. It's really hard to find the compassion for the repeated decisions she made to cheat on me and our family. It's very painful to think about and I have read many others on these forums grappling with the same pain. It almost feels like I'm giving in to something by feeling compassion. Very hard!! But I don't think we can continue in the marriage without me finding some kind of compassion for what she was struggling with. Not necessarily forgiveness.

3) Has she accepted responsibility for her part of the marriage problems before the affair? I often find that this conversation goes as such, "Our marriage was crap before the affair because YOU did such and such. That is why I had the affair." She needs to recognize that YOU were a part of the same marriage and she probably made her share of mistakes...and you didn't choose to cheat. She did.

BINGO!! What led up to this issue in MT is that the MT said the marriage was broken before the affair. I got really angry and said the marriage was not broken!! That we were having a hard time balancing work, young kids, marriage, etc. I felt normal stuff. No good reason to have an affair (like there is a good reason). My wife says she was unhappy, and was "chicken sh*#t" and had the affair instead of talking to me about being unhappy. But I'm not really convinced she was so unhappy! She says "this is not true." I say "you are just justifying the affair." She says "you don't want to understand me." Same sh@#t for almost 4 years. We are both tired and I don't know how to get out of this repeated conversation!!

[This message edited by JohnBR at 7:17 PM, October 29th (Tuesday)]


Me: BH (50 yo)
Her: WS (49 yo)
LTA: 6 years. DD: 1/2010
2 kids: 14 yo boy & 17 yo young lady

Posts: 33 | Registered: Jan 2010 | From: JohnBR
20WrongsVs1
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Member # 39000
Default  Posted: 9:21 PM, October 29th (Tuesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

The compassion is for the things she was not getting (at the time) from the marriage and as a working mother. Feeling desirable, sexy, important etc. The main allure of the AP was that he was her boss and "chose her." She felt special. Something that she lacked from within and said she was not getting from me or the marriage.

No wonder you're confused. Your MT is asking you to have compassion for your WW feeling that way? FTN. That crap is straight from the WW playbook, "blameshifting" chapter. You're confused because your gut is telling you it sorta feels like you're being blamed for the A, by the MT and your WW. Trust your gut. Hopefully some more BHs will be along to help you.


^^Everything I write, IMHO & YMMV.^^
fWW: 42, amazing H and two elementary-age kids.
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing & rightdoing there is a field. I'll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about.

Posts: 775 | Registered: Apr 2013 | From: Redneck land
MC_Jack
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Member # 35016
Default  Posted: 9:47 PM, October 29th (Tuesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I'll come back with more tomorrow. It is hard to tell if your MC is off track...remember that MCs see their client as 'the marriage' not you or your WW as individuals...so I think some MCs see blaming the M as an expedient way to 'save' the M.

YOU need to reframe the discussion without getting angry; whether with this MC or another one.

You need to make it clear that you were in the same M and did not cheat. That your list of 'grievances' related to the M is just as long as your WW's, and would like to sort those out as well.

That in spite of being in the same M you did not cheat, and that you would like to discover those person-specific reasons behind that difference BEFORE moving on the yours and her grievances.

You want to ask why the A was an option over other more honest choices. You want to ask why the A was a coping mechanism, and for what exactly.

Finally, and I would like for you to report back, ask why, if your WW wanted an open marriage, why she did not give you (and the other BS) a memo alerting you and her (or whoever) that you could have your own screw-fest. Meaning, if it was OK for her, why was it not for you? And if it was not OK for her at the time, why did she continue for so long. Hint: addiction and low self esteem.

You answered your own why questions in you post: chicken shit plus feeling special from an external source. Why the need for external validation? Why the fear of confrontation?

Also go to the LTA thread for more input.

Plus, at 4 years out, you should be more healed IMO. What are your demons deep down that the A has unearthed?


I am not a marriage counselor. I chose "MC Jack" in the spirit of a handle like "MC Hammer" or Young MC"...there is a lot of 'rapping' here, no? At the time I did not know what MC stood for on this site. Duh.

Posts: 792 | Registered: Mar 2012 | From: West Coast of Hopa-hopa-land
standinghere
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Member # 34689
Default  Posted: 2:54 AM, October 30th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

My wife's father cheated repeatedly on her mother which was one of the reasons she was (wrongly) able to somehow justify her affair at the time.

Which justification is that she probably figured that you were doing it as well.

A lot of the problems in your marriage probably arose from the fact that your wife doesn't trust men, and learned it from the best teachers, her father and mother. You can have compassion for that, and how it fucks up the way a person relates to others in marital relationships.

marital problems that lead my wife to have the affair

I don't know if this is a misquote from the counselor or not, but MARITAL PROBLEMS do not lead people to have affairs. INTERNAL INDIVIDUAL PROBLEMS do.

That is why IC is for the person's issues that led them to have an affair.

MC is for the marital problems that arise from the interaction of the two people in the marriage and arise out of their personal issues.

Compassion is good.

Never, ever, accept any blame for the affair. The affair is all on the person who had it.

Hell, if anyone ever had a reason to have an affair, I did. But I didn't...and I didn't have a reason.


BH - Me - Late 30's (now late 40's)
WW - Her - Late 30's (now late 40's)
4 Children
Her - Love of my life...still is.
Reconciled - Partly...she can't get over it.
Her - Thunderstruck by what she did.

Posts: 894 | Registered: Jan 2012 | From: USA
BeyondBreaking
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Member # 38020
Default  Posted: 10:55 AM, October 30th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Her FOO was nothing extraordinary other than her father cheating for years and then divorcing her mother after an LTA. He has been married to OW for like 20 years now

Okay, that is fine. Sorry that happened in her childhood.
She, however, is an adult and is responsible for her own actions. Even adults who have had hard childhoods- I can have compassion for someone who had a rough childhood. But that person still owns their choices.

The compassion is for the things she was not getting (at the time) from the marriage and as a working mother. Feeling desirable, sexy, important etc.

This kind of stuff, I feel, cannot be worked out in hindsight. She can probably quote dozens of things you did wrong as a husband years ago that made her feel undesireable, and I bet you can probably quote dozens of times you went out of your way to make her feel the opposite.

Usually, I find that wish this excuse, the problem wasn't even so much the BS and anything the BS was doing wrong- and more that the WS had self esteem issues. Basically, if you were to go back in time, you could have probably done a zillion things that made her feel sexy but she still would not have felt that way because SHE didn't feel sexy about herself.

It is not your fault she didn't have self esteem at the time and not your responsibility.

She felt special. Something that she lacked from within and said she was not getting from me or the marriage.

SHE LACKED FROM WITHIN.

I have the hardest time reading about WS and your MT because she is giving all the answers and the TWO OF THEM are not getting it.

She lacked something from within and found it in an affair.

She needs to do some internal soul searching to fix whatever was broken inside of her. This is not your fault or your responsibility to accept fault for.

Your MT is full of balogna.


I have been cheated on by 3 different men, and I have more DDays than anyone ever should. I am here, just trying to pickup the pieces.

At least the current man "only" cyber-cheated.

"Love means never having to say you're sorry."


Posts: 811 | Registered: Jan 2013
sisoon
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Member # 31240
Default  Posted: 11:42 AM, October 30th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I have compassion for my W, but I still can't understand why she had her A. I know what she says, and it makes intellectual sense, but I just don't get it, and I don't think I ever will. And although I very rarely generalize from one data point (at least consciously), I don't think any BS will ever understand why the WS didn't just say 'No' at one of the many decision points before actually cheating.

I think you may be missing your MT's point - she's really connecting your continued anger over he A with your defensiveness about re-A issues. (That's a description, not a criticism.)

It sounds like you still have lots of feelings about being betrayed. Are you in IC? If you are, I urge you to tell the C that you're still riled up and ask him/her to help you feel those feelings and let them go. If you're not in IC, start - I don't think you've got anything to lose, at this point, as long as the C you choose is competent - not that finding a competent C is always easy.

Self-talk could help with the defensiveness. I'll list some messages that may help later, but IC would probably help here, too. If you're in IC, again, I urge you to tell our IC what your goals are ('change self-talk' might be a good goal) and see if your C provides help. If so stick with this C; if not, get a new one.

Self-talk for pre-A issues could include (off the top of my head - you can probably come up with more and better self-talk than this list):

My behavior is OK. It's just that she's asking me to act differently.

I can choose to change or not.

If I feel she's attacking me, I'll clarify. If she is really attacking me and won't stop. I'll end the conversation.

Beating myself up always wastes energy and slows down solving the problem, so I'm not going to beat myself up.

I can solve these problems, and if I can't, we can work together to solve them.

Oh, goody. I can raise my issues now, too.

My issues are as important as my W's, and we'll have time and energy to resolve both of our issues.

Blame doesn't solve problems, and if I feel myself wanting to blame someone, I'm going to stop and focus back on solutions, not blame.

We're in this together. It doesn't matter who caused this issue. What matters is resolving it together.

I'm not perfect. I can't stop making mistakes completely, but I can clean up after them.

I'm glad she raised this issue - now we can solve it.

I have the power to choose my response to issues. If I'm asked to change something, I'm free to change or not change. (Note this is very true, although you might not like the consequences of not changing. If you like the consequences of changing even less, though, don't change.)

I'm not going to beat myself up. I'll listen, understand, and work with my W to resolve these issue, but I'm not going to beat myself - or her - up over this.

Etc., etc., etc.

[This message edited by sisoon at 12:02 PM, October 30th (Wednesday)]


FBH (me) - 65+, FWW (her) - 65+, Married 45+, together almost 49 (as of January, 2014)
DDay - 12/2010
Almost Recovered
I share my own experience not because I'm a good model but because it's the only experience I know.

Posts: 8917 | Registered: Feb 2011 | From: Chicago area
ladies_first
♀ Member
Member # 24643
Default  Posted: 2:45 PM, October 30th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

But I don't think we can continue in the marriage without me finding some kind of compassion for what she was struggling with. Not necessarily forgiveness.

There's something between compassion and forgiveness -- ACCEPTANCE -- which is beautifully explained in the book "ďHow Can I Forgive You?: The Courage to Forgive, the Freedom Not ToĒ by Janis A. Spring.

There are detailed steps for both BS and WS.

ETA: It helped me to have compassion for the person, not necessarily his/her actions. "Forgive the sinner, but not the sin."

[This message edited by ladies_first at 2:48 PM, October 30th (Wednesday)]


"We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us." ~J. Campbell
"In the final analysis, it is your own attitude that will make or break you, not what has happened to you." ~D. Galloway

Posts: 2113 | Registered: Jun 2009
topperoff22
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Member # 40762
Default  Posted: 3:49 PM, October 30th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I have a hard time because I always feel like I'm being blamed for the affair during MC. I always feel like the counselor is telling to me to hurry my ass up and get over this shit and fast. *sigh* I mean..I don't think that is how she means it but it sure feels that way. I would just like to go through one day without feeling this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach and feeling like i'm just going through the motions and faking it all the time.


BS - Me 36
WS - Him 35 (almost 36)
Child: son, 6; just learned one on way
DDAY - July 24, 2013 (thousands spent on ex girlfriend)
DDAY2 -Aug. 3, 2013 (proof he slept with her)
R is slow going after TT for 1 month

Posts: 316 | Registered: Sep 2013 | From: US
MI54
♀ New Member
Member # 41161
Default  Posted: 4:49 PM, October 30th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

mine tryed to blame me for all of it after working on this he is now starting to feel some remorse, I have told him no way was it my fault he fell into her arms I did not push him. Now lets see if I can live with what he did or not, he has a lot of work ahead of him

Posts: 1 | Registered: Oct 2013 | From: United States
Razor
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Member # 16345
Default  Posted: 5:58 PM, October 30th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

My personal belief based on my own experience (that many disagree with) is that the WHY issues belong to the WS.

Any WHY that my WW might give probably wouldnt make any sense to me. The WHY is all about twists and turns within the mind of the WS. IMO that way leads to madness. Its Alice's rabbit hole. IMO WHY is for the WS to work out. I really dont much give a sh!t what the why is as long as she handles it.

The HOW is something I would like to know about though. HOW was it she made that decision? HOW was it she kept making it for the 3+ years of her PA?

IMO the HOW is the tipping point. All the WHYs that lead to it are justifications as far as I am concerned.

M problems. Pfft. I was in that same M. And yes it was horrible BECAUSE she was already in her EA with OM and together they were busy making me the villain. I endured years of verbal abuse. I was put down. Yelled at for any slight. She screamed at me for making plans for a European vacation for us. I gave her a 1.2K diamond ring for a anniversary and she was upset because it wasnt what she wanted. All of this I endured. I knew the M was in trouble. But instead of turning away from it as she did I turned toward it and tried to be a better husband.

Any counselor that says M problems led to or caused the A to happen is a damned fool. Sorry. There is NOTHING that justifies a affair. Seems to me you need a new counselor.


Forgive and forget = Relive and regret.


Posts: 3086 | Registered: Sep 2007
JohnBR
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Member # 27076
Default  Posted: 6:15 PM, October 30th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

YOU need to reframe the discussion without getting angry; whether with this MC or another one.
You need to make it clear that you were in the same M and did not cheat. That your list of 'grievances' related to the M is just as long as your WW's, and would like to sort those out as well.
That in spite of being in the same M you did not cheat, and that you would like to discover those person-specific reasons behind that difference BEFORE moving on the yours and her grievances.

The MC makes it clear that we were both in the same marriage and my wife made the "chickenshit" choice to cheat. I'm having a hard time because my wife wants more from me in the marriage. I tend to withdraw and not be effusive with my love. I'm working on this but with the depression, anger and bitterness from the affair I have a doubly hard time expressing love and tenderness to her which stirs a lot up.

I think you may be missing your MT's point - she's really connecting your continued anger over he A with your defensiveness about re-A issues. (That's a description, not a criticism.)
It sounds like you still have lots of feelings about being betrayed. Are you in IC? If you are, I urge you to tell the C that you're still riled up and ask him/her to help you feel those feelings and let them go. If you're not in IC, start - I don't think you've got anything to lose, at this point, as long as the C you choose is competent - not that finding a competent C is always easy.

Sisson I have been in IC for 3 years with 2 different therapists. You are right, I have had a hard time pulling out of the depression, bitterness and mind movies. My wife is growing impatient with me. She wants more from our relationship. She wants to have more fun and not have many of our connections with me be so much about the pain I feel. Like a lot of others here I have not found a way to let it go. I continue to struggle but am slowly having more good days than bad. I have a problem not feeling I can give my wife what she needs which makes me depressed and so I end up withdrawing. Not a good cycle.

[This message edited by JohnBR at 6:19 PM, October 30th (Wednesday)]


Me: BH (50 yo)
Her: WS (49 yo)
LTA: 6 years. DD: 1/2010
2 kids: 14 yo boy & 17 yo young lady

Posts: 33 | Registered: Jan 2010 | From: JohnBR
Bigger
♂ Member
Member # 8354
Default  Posted: 9:06 PM, October 30th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

JohnBR
To me it sounds as if you have a rather competent MC.
See my tagline? I truly believe in that. I truly believe that we can impact and even control how we feel. Have you ever looked at your wife and simply thought why you love her? Do you love her? Do you WANT to be there?
Try to think those thought through preferably without the affair. If you can.
Then remember; if you donít really want to be in the marriage then you are totally free to go. But if you want to be thereÖ Itís your choice. And not making it the best marriage you canÖ thatís your decision. So why would you want to choose to be in a marriage but then choose not to make it the best marriage possible?

Then look at this as a project. Projects are often split into tasks and smaller projects. One project is working out the emotions from the infidelity. You definitely need that one done.
Another project is falling in love with your wife again.
A third project is making her love you.

How you go about on these projects is in your hands, but I warn you that they need thought and a plan. It wonít just happen.

Just like if you were fixing your car Ė You arenít working on the dead battery while mending the dent in the door or changing the tire. You work on one task at a time, but donít finish the project until all are done.

Iím also going to suggest a fourth project. Namely working on you. One of the best things I did to my marriage was creating a life outside it. So I have hobbies and activities that take me away from my wife and family. I make sure they are well balanced and donít take time away from them, but I still go fly-fishing or meet my friends on a regular basis to make sure I have a life outside the family. After all Ė Absence makes the heart grow fonder.


"If, therefore, any be unhappy, let him remember that he is unhappy by reason of himself alone." Epictetus

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