So when everyone is telling you that the 180 is for you, believe it. Do for yourself. Conversation is matter of fact, only about finances or children. Make it be known that you do not need him to make it through your life. And the biggest thing that needs to happen is 100% NO CONTACT between him and his AP! That is completely non-negotiable! I really don't talk this way in my day-to-day life, I promise I don't, but here is what I had to tell myself in order to break my own sick mind and stop blaming myself for HIS A...He CANNOT invest himself in your marriage or work on fixing a damn thing until he gets his head OUT of her crotch! As long as he is obsessed with carrying on with her, he is disrespecting you by coming home to you still thinking about her. No phone calls, no text messages, no facebook messages, no emails, NO CONTACT. EVER. And if it's broken there needs to be consequences. Don't do for him what he won't do for you in return...things are better at my house but you still won't catch me groveling at his feet because I never got anything like that for allowing him to stay in the lives of me and his (now four) children. He has to know that you're willing to move on without him if he doesn't get rid of her. He doesn't get to make that choice. YOU do. He got to call the shots in choosing to have an A...you get to make the terms for you staying in your M.
And if you haven't done so already, if you're still having sex with him, PLEASE get STD tested! Want to know how I found out I was being cheated on? Try having a standard STD test at your 6-month prenatal checkup come back positive for genital herpes...the gift that keeps giving. Yes, I thank my H daily since he is the only person I have ever had sex with in my life, and he gave me an incurable STD. Stellar.
I didn't do it, I just have to get through it.
This is not me criticizing the 180 because I do believe it's crucial and I WANT to do it, but it feels impossible right now. I think I already ruined everything by being too needy and making too many concessions. I told him it was ok if he kept talking to her, so long as he didn't leave. I'm not proud of that now, but I can't un-say it. I feel like even a strict 180 won't undo the damage I've already done by being too weak.
If he says "I love you," am I just supposed to not respond? I don't know if I can. It feels like such a horrifically hostile thing to do, and I realize that's a stupid thing to say because what HE did was so much worse. But in the moment, it's going to feel so horrible.
"Are you hurting the one you love?
You said you got to heaven, but it wasn't enough."
Sorry I did not respond back quickly...I have not had the chance to read up on the other responses yet...
can you clarify again your situation? IS your WH still in contact with his AP? IS he fully transparent, giving you access to his phone, emails, etc.? And answering all your questions without getting angry?
What you posted above about 'being attractive' is true - but it is best to think about being attractive FOR YOU. People will often treat you as you treat yourself. Anyways, have you read the book "Love Must be Tough"? I haven't, but many women here at SI have recommended it.
I also had completely distanced myself from my WW over the years. (read my bio). I originally blamed myself as a result for the M problems and the subsequent A. Over the months, I have now learned that my distancing behavior was in fact my way of protecting myself and coping with my WW's tremendous anxiety and external blaming. I was just as much reacting as I was acting. Thus, affirming the shared responsibility of the M problems theory.
My WW was all in for R. Complete NC, fully transparent, etc. So I did not need to 180 to protect myself. She was active in helping me heal to the degree she could. A false R and rugsweeping is emotionally damaging and thus warrants looking at the 180.
My 3 cents...
I hear you. I really do. I know how you feel about the 180 and what it might do to your marriage. You said that your WH is in contact with ow. Is this true? Is this a relationship that he is still in. If so when he put his arms around you and says he loves you it is simply a way to cake eat. He wants you and her. You should find the strength to not return that affection or he will never be completely yours no matter how hard you try to be emotionally available. He has absolutely nothing to lose right now. You are there, she is there and he is getting this emotional compatibility with both of you. I had to come to terms with if I was willing to allow that to go on. You do too. I wish you so much luck. ((((Hugs))))
My feelings for him are just too strong and I don't know how to act like they're not. When he puts his arm around me, I melt.
If he says "I love you," am I just supposed to not respond? I don't know if I can. It feels like such a horrifically hostile thing to do,
Honestly? These are NOT the feelings of an emotionally detached wife.
I think you are accepting too much responsibility for his poor behavior.
he didn't bother to try and pursue me or improve our relationship, so why would he now?
Basically, he is making me feel like I cannot make any demands, because he has one foot out the door. He loves her more than he loves me. I know I should just tell him what's what, and if he doesn't like it, he can walk out. But I'm afraid he won't come back. Realistically I know that shouldn't scare me, because I can live without him. But I'm afraid. Of what, I don't know. I just am.
I KNOW how crazy this sounds. Kick him out on his ass, right? But all of this coming without context of our relationship prior to this, of course it seems that way - I just can't forget how loving and wonderful and supportive he's been, up until the very moment I first confronted him. I know I need to accept what he did, but I guess I can't. I guess I'm in denial, still trying to tell myself it's "not really him" and "he'll change" or whatever. Earlier, I remembered a box full of old love letters that I have from him, and I almost lost it sitting in the car with him and his mom. (She doesn't know about any of this. I don't feel I can tell her, because she is already worried sick about WH's sister and her personal problems, the last thing she needs is to be devastated about us too.) I wondered if I brought out those letters now, would it trigger anything in his mind? Would it force him to remember how he used to feel about me? Would it matter? But I know I'm supposed to pretend like I don't care anymore. Earlier I was going through my wallet and I found a note he wrote to me in the hotel where we first met up in person (we were internet friends first), telling me that he loved me. I've been carrying it with me everywhere for seven years. How am I supposed to act now that I know he's not that person anymore?
ladies_first I never claimed to be emotionally detached in any way. I know I am unhealthily enmeshed with him right now but I do not know how to find the strength to detach. I'm trying to feel out how others have done this, because I honestly have no idea how. Am I not allowed to say "I love you too?" Am I not allowed to have sex with him? I don't know what I'm doing.
Edited to add: And thanks everyone for your posts here, I think I am realizing a mistake I made early on. I have been assuming that it's either decide to divorce immediately or start reconciling immediately. I didn't know I could take my time to figure out what the hell was going on first. I don't know why I assumed we had to split up immediately if R wasn't working perfectly, I guess because he started pushing the idea of separation/divorce as soon as I found out.
[This message edited by embee at 8:57 PM, November 11th (Monday)]
That being said, the only other possible outcome I see based on experience and the thousands of hours I've spent on SI reading is that at some point, you will reach your breaking point and decide you've had enough of his shit, whether that be one week, one month, one year, or one decade from now. What the other posters and I are trying to do is to prevent you from not only hurting yourself further, but also aid you in beginning your healing process. That will not happen until true R begins when your WH is genuinely remorseful or until you walk away. The longer you compromise yourself, the more pain you will endure and the longer the healing process.
It seems like a minority of the people here have WSes who are immediately remorseful where the fog is lifted right after DDay, where the spouses immediately do everything necessary and right thereafter. Those are the few "lucky" people, if R is the goal, who can begin the healing process immediately. In my umpteen hours of lurking on SI, I have yet to come across anyone who has been successful bargaining with and "nicing" the WS back.
On the contrary, people who are usually in that situation either leave and come back, or they're stuck in perpetual and never ending pain.
I guess I'm in denial, still trying to tell myself it's "not really him" and "he'll change" or whatever.
That may not be who he was, but it's who he is now. He hasn't done anything to indicate otherwise.
After one week of NC he was a complete emotional wreck, unable to function, saying he felt like someone had died etc.
Have you thought about how he would be if you went NC with him for one week? Would he be just as distraught? And I mean real NC where there is zero correspondence between the two of you.
I wish you no harm. In hindsight, I realized that being in limbo and false R was WAY worse to me and inflicted WAY more pain than the actual act of cheating. I truly hope you can come to terms with whatever it is you decide whenever that is, whether it's to 180 or to share your WH with another woman -- hopefully you choose 180.
Here is a thread I think you and your WH should read, although I'm not sure either of you are necessarily ready for it. If you are, I hope it helps, if not, perhaps you can revisit the thread at a later time. It is a thread that has been posted in the WS forum, and it pertains to things every WS needs to know.
"Have you thought about how he would be if you went NC with him for one week? Would he be just as distraught?"
He has implied that he would be. I think it's possible. I think it might actually be a GOOD thing to do right now, if it were practical, but it's simply not. I wish I could afford to put him up in a hotel for a week, far away from me, so he could think about what it would really mean if he left. Wish I'd never planned that extravagant weekend anniversary hotel stay (non-refundable), it could have paid for a week at a fleabag motel for him to think on his sins.
(I've already told him that we can't be "just friends." So he knows that if it's over between us, IT'S OVER. I will go through the divorce process amicably, but friends? No way in hell. I think that is difficult or impossible for him to accept, but I also think part of him believes I wouldn't be strong enough to carry on NC. He has no idea.)
I am feeling a lot of ambivalence and denial from him. Up until VERY recently, the remorse seemed inwardly-focused, if that makes sense. He seemed to hate himself for the pain he was causing HIMSELF, not me. More recently he is finally starting to show some compassion, but I still feel that his heart has hardened towards me. He's had to consciously ignore my feelings for a long time in order to feel okay about this A and his overall relationship/conduct with OW, and he is still stuck in that fog.
If he pursues IC like he said he would, I am hoping it will help him wake up to the reality of our situation. My therapist feels I shouldn't bring up IC again or push him to it, but let him take responsibility for it himself.
I want to be clear that I am NOT trying to argue against the 180, I just genuinely don't understand all the practical applications and am hoping for advice on how to actually make it happen. I understand the concept and have read it over many many times. I just don't know how to execute. Each small action is going to feel like scaling Everest.
Classic blameshifting..."You made me stop talking to her, now I'm a complete and total mess." Baloney.
Very gently...this is normally what the betrayed feels like, and a WS who is beginning to come out of the fog. He couldn't deal with it, so as soon as you gave him the nod to speak to her again, he went with bells ringing. Right now he has his cake and eating it too, because he's getting to talk to her and come back to you, and he knows you're not going anywhere so he has zero incentive to change. It will only change when you get fed up and tell him you won't tolerate any more...and mean it. If he's speaking to her, soon he will be having sex with her, if he isn't already.
Showing him love letters from the past will only do one thing, and that is reinforce in his mind that you are not the same person he was writing those letters to, and give him another reason to justify what he's doing. There is no reasoning with a cheater who, by nature, is automatically going to do and tell himself ANYTHING in order to justify his actions, and those things are usually absolutely untrue. Whatever keeps the fantasy alive in his mind, and whatever makes you look bad to him, he will say and do. Showing him the letters will allow him to tell himself that you are weak and pathetic...and that is NEVER attractive.
I am totally with NoReGrets here: would he be begging, wallowing on the floor and unable to function if you cut off all contact with him and left the house? I'm willing to bet that the answer is no. Just a gut instinct.
No contact with her = they're not able to spew their sweet nothings at each other, talk trash about SO's (does she have one?), and ramble on about how their lives would be just perfect if only they could be together forever...not getting that emotional high they get when they're together. So yeah, he feels like he's dying emotionally because he's not getting his ego stroked and sweet lies told to him and to be blunt, getting his ass kissed. That is the fog, all rolled up in his sick mind. And until you clear that fog for him, all this bullshit be believes to be true will never go away.
No contact with you = he won't feel nearly as bad about that as he does about not being in contact with his AP. He might be upset, but not the heart-rending, writhing on the floor, my-fairy-tale-is-ending kind of misery he's displaying for HER, the one who is not married to him!
Right now, you're in denial. That's normal. You're not ready to give in to the kind of anger that it takes to stand up and demand that you be treated right. It will be up to you to say, "I deserve for you to love me, desire me, feel for me, and treat me...the way you treat HER. You are married to me, and I am not willing to be second best in my husband's heart." That's about respecting yourself and standing up for yourself and your marriage. And sometimes that means you have to be willing to let your marriage go to make your WH see that you mean what you say. You'll have to get to the point where you tell him that if he won't choose you, then you have to choose yourself, and move on.
Ask yourself: Are you content being a willing participant in an open relationship? Because as soon as you gave him permission to break NC with her, that's exactly what you became. I'm not trying to be harsh. Believe me, I spent an entire year trying to rationalize how my H's A was my fault. I lied to myself 258 ways to the sun. I was such an idiot. I even asked my doctor if I could have gotten herpes off a toilet seat. He just hugged me, and told me that I would have to come to grips with it, and he was there for me with answers to any medical questions I might have. That is why it sounds like I seem like I'm coming down on you. You sound just. like. me. You don't want to believe that this awesome guy could do something so unbelievably wrong to you. You want to believe that guy is still in there somewhere. He might very well be, but you've got to get him completely away from her before you can even TRY to get that guy back! He won't even be able to find that guy in himself as long as his AP is in the picture. Right now, he's too busy being HER dream guy.
Does that make more sense? To us old-timers at SI, when we see you asking if you're not supposed to tell him "I love you" back, the answer is, no, not as long as he's still seeing his AP. When he says that to you, he's trying to trap you and making sure you will say it back so then he knows you're still firmly in your M with him and he can go right on and have her too, knowing that you'll still be there no matter what dispicable thing he does.
One last thing, something else you said struck out at me...
I told him it was ok if he kept talking to her, so long as he didn't leave. I'm not proud of that now, but I can't un-say it.
Yes, you can! You can sit down, make him a list of conditions for him in order to stay M, and tell him that after careful consideration you cannot allow contact between the two of them to continue. If she has a SO, now would also be the time to tell him that if he doesn't stop seeing her, her SO will be finding out. Do you happen to have copies of those facebook chats?
Stand up for you. You deserve it. And you deserve to not be married to someone who will continue to do this to you. You're a better person than that.
I'm not allowed to cry either
When he puts his arm around me, I melt. How do you find the strength?
I'm not proud of that now, but I can't un-say it
what HE did was so much worse
If he says "I love you," am I just supposed to not respond? I don't know if I can. It feels like such a horrifically hostile thing to do
But I'm afraid he won't come back
Am I not allowed to have sex with him?
Stop playing the *pick me* game, Em.
won't undo the damage I've already done by being too weak.
Something that you mentioned earlier has *tweaked* me....and I can't find your reference right now....but does your WH have a job? Are you the main breadwinner in the household?
In my effort to be *concise*, I often come off as blunt and harsh. Sorry, don't mean to be offensive.
You should tell your in laws. Disclosure pops these fantasy bubbles. Your not letting them know is another attempt at 'nicing' your H back into the marriage...notgoingtowork.com
go get Love Must Be Tough. Even the Christian author guy would advise you to kick your H out for being in contact with OW.
"Not allowed to cry" was a reference to the 180. If I can't cry in front of him, I can't cry. He is ALWAYS HERE and I can't hide it from him. I'd literally have to lock myself in the bathroom, and even then, he'd know when he saw me with red eyes later.
No he does not have a job. I am the sole breadwinner. I know I have the power to kick him out, but that's a small consolation right now. Every time we have a conversation where I try to tell him I can't live like this, he threatens to leave.
The concept of open relationships/"sharing" has come up a few times, so I'll mention something I wasn't even going to. We've had a open relationship before. That's probably one of the reasons why I keep deluding myself into thinking I can make something work with all three of us in the picture, even though I know this is different. This is something he did in secret, lying to me, because he (in his words) "liked living a double life." He knew he had the option of being up front about it from the beginning and negotiating something I could deal with, but he decided to go underground with it instead. In a way, it's a double betrayal.
Even if we WERE going to do the open thing, which I think is realistically off the table now, I'd still need to be his first priority, and I'm not. He's not even denying that.
I know this is not sustainable, I know I'm not even suffering through anything that's terribly new. I just feel so lost right now.
You're the breadwinner? Kudos to you! You hold all the cards! Next time he tries to pull a guilt trip and threatens to leave, call his bluff. Tell him you'll help him pack. He can try to move in with his AP's parents, but I'm willing to bet that even if they put up with that for a short time, it won't last. Especially if they know he's already married! They won't want that stigma thrown on them. He's not working either? No way for him to pay them for letting him stay in their home? He'll be crawling back before you know it.
This is the textbook reason why open relationships almost never work. It's too easy to become attached to someone else, and disregard whatever boundaries were agreed upon. Cheating and open relationships are NOT the same. My H decided to introduce us into swinging 10 or 11 years ago, and I never could get into it. We only attended a few parties (nothing ever happened) before I called it off. I have never felt so uncomfortable in my life. I couldn't think about being with someone else...behind his back OR in front of his face. Things were rocky for a few years as he resented my decision. I had 2 babies when he first decided to cheat. I got pregnant with my third while he was still twisted up in his A. I didn't find out about the A until the baby was a month old.
Are you still OK with the idea of open marriage, or do you want to stop and be monogamous? I am NOT condoning his relationship with this woman, because she was completely extramarital and you were not consulted, so this is FIRMLY CHEATING. I mean otherwise, what are your feelings about it now?
*Edited because I am a grammar nazi*
[This message edited by BrokenAngelWings at 3:43 PM, November 12th (Tuesday)]
Thinking about it, I can see the value of people knowing, to throw some cold water on it. But his mom was already in tears this morning over other family problems, and I just can't bring myself to burden her further. And as for OW's parents, I really have no idea how to get in touch with them. She doesn't really have any friends besides him, which is a big part of the problem.
I don't consider his cheating to have anything to do with our open relationship, because it was completely outside of that and utterly unsanctioned in any way. Not a case of "slipping boundaries" or anything like that. As far as I knew, their relationship was "JUST FRIENDS" and I wouldn't have objected to it even if were HADN'T had an open relationship in the past. It wasn't "supposed" to be sexual/romantic. I don't know how I feel about the open relationship issue anymore. Looking back, it was all aboveboard and respectful and I don't have any regrets about that. This, with OW, was completely different and 100% cheating. Just knowing what I know about him now, though, not sure I could ever go back to it. It was my idea in the first place, but I've never been with anyone but him.
I am saying this out of love, but, do you honestly want to be the other woman for the rest of your life ? Because right now she is his focus. You need to shift the tides. It won't be long before their together again if you don't. I am sorry.