So tonight, he is out with a friend who I wouldn't call a friend of the marriage (a term I got from the book Not Just Friends). My BS has said for many years that he thought this friend regularly cheated on his wife while he was away on travel. Since I've told BS about the A, he's repeatedly said that he deeply regrets not cheating on me when he's had opportunities over the years and that right now he just wants to go out and hook up with whoever he wants. I know he's hurting right now and try not to take anything he says too personally. Now that he's out with someone who I have no doubt would encourage him to go ahead and make himself feel better with a one night stand, I find myself totally freaking out. If he were to cheat right now, could I really fault him? Could I say to him, if you cheat on me this will not work after all I've done to him? I'm asking him to forgive me, if he has an A now, don't I have to forgive him? Does my A give him a free pass to do whatever he wants? I feel like I can't even voice these concerns to him because really? I've hurt him in the worst possible way, how can I ask him not to do what he wants? He did ask if I minded if he went out with this friend and I said no. I did say that I would be more comfortable with him hanging out with other friends who I knew would support him while giving him good advice but in the end, I said I didn't mind him going out. In reality, I don't mind him going out. He needs friends and support right now and I respect that.
I guess my question, am I allowed to set any ground rules or really ask for anything from my BS right now? Has anyone's BS had a retaliatory A and had the marriage still work out? The saddest part to me is that I know if he were to do that, he would just feel worse and probably blame me for making him do that in the first place. (We've been together since HS and were each others' first.) I just don't know at this point what to say or if I just have to sit back and watch and hope for the best. For the record we did go to MC on Monday but it was too soon for him and just made it worse.
I guess this is what I deserve right now for all I've done. Even knowing that, it still hurts.
Could I say to him, if you cheat on me this will not work after all I've done to him? I'm asking him to forgive me, if he has an A now, don't I have to forgive him? Does my A give him a free pass to do whatever he wants?
It is the WS decision to cheat. It is the BS decision to forgive. Remember forgiveness does not mean R. Some couples do R with the BS stipulating that forgiveness is a process that takes time. Some BS forgive but cannot "forget" in the sense that forgiveness does not mean they can live with it.
And for the record if he does have an A then he will be a WH himself and you will be the BW in that circumstance. It's up to him if he wants to live with that but answering hurt with more hurt, and the added guilt/shame, isn't going to help him heal.
Does he want to R? If he does then having an A will not help. There is a thread in the I Can Relate forum for Madhatters (when both spouses have had A's) if you want to read up more on the problems it causes.
If he is unsure whether he wants to R then he should not do anything that could damage the possibility.
If he wants to D, which is a big decision that should not be made impulsively, then it would be better to be single.
There is no fair, no balancing of the scales in doing what he is talking about doing. It is just more hurt. More bad choices.
R takes two. It takes healing (imho) and healing is not achieved by inflicting more hurt.
She never did any of this, though. The idea disgusted her and the culture of infidelity disgusted her. She gradually worked past it. (The idea of a revenge affair, that is, not the disgust.)
My H has always turned to flirting and boosting his self esteem when things have gotten rough in our relationship. He's had EA's and PA's (no intercourse, but touching and kissing involved) throughout our 22 yrs together and I used a lot of that to justify my own PA 12 yrs ago. Then a few yrs ago he had two EA's within a couple yrs and now completely justifies all of his by saying they were the result of my A 12 yrs ago, which DID involve sex and thus makes it "worse" than any of his...you see how mad hatters like to trump? Yeah, it sucks and it spirals and it doesn't end well.
My H is also dealing with the total revelation of my PA by going out with a friend who would likely also be encouraging him to flirt and make himself feel better. He's texting constantly and I know a few of these are girls. He says we are separated.
So I say this, if he is considering you separated then be very clear with him about what that means and what it means to you. I've told my H that if he decides to sleep with someone in retaliation that I will consider it an A, cheating, etc. just because he wants to say we are S, we are still married and even living in the same house.
I'm sorry you are experiencing the paranoia...I know how that feels. And they do too! That's part of the pain as well and then the guilt as well. We don't want to feel like this, hate that we ever made them feel like this, don't feel that we have the right to say anything bc of our guilt.
Hang in there and try talking to him calmly about the subject as you can. It's gonna be an emotional roller coaster, so buckle up. But take care of yourself too. We are all here for you.
What he may not understand about A is that very few are premeditated. Rarely does a person say "I'm gonna go out and hurt my spouse in the worst possible way". Rather it is a function of vulnerability and opportunity colliding in the perfect storm in which the WS is swept away. I am not excusing the choice they made or the resulting pain they cause I am merely suggesting that in most cases they did not intend to have an affair and cause their spouse and family such devastation and pain.
A revenge affair is not so. They don't cancel each other out. A revenge affair is truly premeditated. Going into it they know fully the pain they will cause, the havoc their actions will release and they choose to do it anyway. IMHO there are no free passes, never, for any reason. There is always a price, the more you know the higher the price.
As BS most of us have toyed with the idea at one time or another, thankfully reason and common sense won out. I hope and pray that will be the case with your BS.
My husband had two affairs after mine, he doesnt' refer to them as RA because he didn't set out to hurt me or have affairs but once the vows were broken I guess he gave himself permission.... it has nearly destroyed us. There is no "now we're even" thing. It's just more pain added on top of pain.
There is a thread I think in Reconciliation where Aubrie explains that a RA would be a dealbreaker for her. If a BS knows the pain it would cause but does it anyway?
4 kiddos in lower 20's
“He has no idea how beautiful the ordinary becomes once it disappears."
As far as the premeditation, I agree with that as the WS, however, my BS wouldn't. My A carried on for 4 months and we met in hotels twice during that time. MY BS said he could understand a one time thing, drinking too much and getting caught up in the moment, that it would be hard but he could forgive it. It's the rest. The lying and seeing the AP after that. I see what he's saying, the initial crossing the line wasn't premeditated but the rest of the meetings were. But I guess the difference is that I wasn't thinking about my BS at all (I'm not sure if that makes it better or worse.) I was so caught up in the A and so "in love," really just so incredibly selfish and self-centered that nothing else mattered at that time. I wasn't thinking about my BS and how much this would hurt him, I was only thinking about me and how good I felt when I was with the AP. Obviously, I see that as a big distinction if he were to go out and do something now just to get back at me, but I'm not sure it matters what the reasons are when an A happens. There are no reasons that make it okay, I guess all I can do is pray he decides he wants to R and makes choices now that support that decision later.
[This message edited by CantBeUndone at 7:51 AM, January 26th (Sunday)]
[This message edited by Monsterslayer at 11:44 AM, January 26th (Sunday)]
"A lesson is learned. Life is. Simply. There is no Death. There is no Before. There is no After. All is in Flux. Simply."
The knowledge is fresh in his mind. A RA is not abnormal for a BS to feel at this point. If he does choose it, he will have to do everything you are doing right now. It would be an asinine move IMO. Simply tell him of your concerns and see how things go. You cannot control him, you will have to keep working on yourself.
Just as entering an A is a choice (a VERY bad one) how the BS, OBS, AP & WS act after DDay is also a choice.
If the A is outed, then the consequences that follow are because of the outing, not the A.
If an RA is CHOSEN by the BS the the consequences of that action are on them.
Each action has a consequence, they can't all be blamed on the A, otherwise, how would the cycle ever stop?
My husband started cheating as soon as he knew I was, about two months before d-day (or c-day, as I call it). He didn't go looking, but he also had a conversation with himself in which he gave himself permission to do it, was open to it, and knew he ran the risk of me leaving him if he did it. He says now that he believed our relationship was over. He regrets it, less for what it's done to me and more because he knows better than that.
It does nothing to "even the playing field." To be honest, his cheating is still very much back-burner, meaning my infidelity is what we talk about, the center of our issues, and will be the reason we split if we do. He's had no consequences at all for his A's, and the few times I've tried to impose any, I've caved because that's just not who I am. Because I did it first, I did it worst, basically.
It also brings a whole new level to any conversations surrounding infidelity, and there will be many in the months and years to come if you two decide to give it the old college try. The most difficult thing I've had to learn is not to answer a concern my husband voices with, "Well, you did the same thing. Answer it for yourself!" Nope, doesn't work that way.
My infidelity may have been what he used to give himself permission to cheat, but ultimately, neither side has anything to do with the other. Keeping them separate is insanely, maddeningly challenging.
If your husband does decide to act on his voiced regrets (hopefully he won't), he's going to call you a hypocrite for being upset, hurt, angry, etc. Don't let him. You're going to want to turn every name he calls you right back around on him. Don't let yourself. And don't, under any circumstances, think being madhatters allows either of you to sweep your issues under the rug. It makes things worse when just one spouse cheats; imagine now massive that mountain would be if both of you did.
Hopefully that last paragraph won't be necessary, but one never knows in the aftermath of such utter distruction. All you can do is work on yourself and decide what you can and can't live with. If, after seeing the pain your infidelity caused your husband, you can't live through that same pain if he chooses to subject you to it, you're well within your rights to make that call. You're also well within your rights to voice your concerns about his friend not being a friend to the marriage, which is exactly what both of you need right now. Just because you strayed, that doesn't negate your needs and your right to voice them within your own marriage. Waywards can have dealbreakers too.
I can relate to your WH. I have those same feelings, but unfortunately 20 months pas dday. For me they just came on over the last month. I did not have them at first. It is an internal struggle. As I have not cheated yet, I hope that my better self prevails as I hope your H's does at well.
I also get how dontcare5 feels. Yep it's a bad time for me. I agree, 'no free pass' is the right answer, but I am still wrapping my head around how it is so easily said now by the WS: where was that voice pre-A? Bummer.
Maybe if you can get your H into IC where he can get the right pro-M message from a 3rd party.
oh, and congrats to you on confessing. Shows a lot of courage and integrity.
[This message edited by MC_Jack at 6:52 PM, January 26th (Sunday)]
There is already enough hurt, I don't need any more. Neither does anyone else.