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User Topic: Some hope, but why don't I feel better?
nightmarelife
♀ New Member
Member # 42884
Default  Posted: 9:10 AM, May 27th (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

This past weekend was BH's birthday. Per tradition he wanted to spend it at his parent's house - socializing, eating dinner, and playing games. SIL/OBS and her "family" were invited but I wasn't sure if she would show up. I saw her name and picture pop up on BH's phone when she called the day before and I do what I usually do - panic. My first thoughts when she calls are "what did I do wrong now" or that she's not coming to whichever family event is coming up and the shame and the guilt I will feel because of it. But she was calling to ask BH if he was okay if AP/BIL came. To BH's birthday party. I was a little surprised at the question and that AP would even consider coming whether SIL wanted him there or not. But BH said it was ok. This, too, surprised me.

Well the party came and went and everything was for lack of a better word, okay. SIL and AP showed up with their family and we mostly avoided being near each other. It was easy to stay in different rooms and keep track of where we were in relation to each other. There were awkward moments where walking by each other was unavoidable or when we all gathered in the same room to sing "Happy Birthday" but other than that it was fine. As fine as trying not to think about the A and how drastically different these events and our relationship with AP and SIL are now and being very aware of AP and SIL's position the entire time and avoiding looking at or making eye contact with two people for two hours can be. But it was an awkward, painful step in the right direction and I think I feel better having done it than not. The big question in my mind though is why I don't feel better than I do? After SIL and AP finally left it was like this release of anxiety hit me. I immediately wanted to retreat to the privacy of my home, where I would be free to feel sad or cry and not hold my emotions back any longer. But BH seemd happy and wanted to stay and I made it through another few hours pretending to feel happy and normal and look like I wasn't thinking about what just happened.

I'm still working through this but right now I'm confused and a bit disgusted with myself for the weird dissatisfaction I'm feeling. BH and everyone around me says I should feel only happiness for this baby step. But why don't I? Why can't I feel that us all being together was good enough when I've dreamed about it since Dday?

[This message edited by nightmarelife at 9:12 AM, May 27th (Tuesday)]


Posts: 42 | Registered: Mar 2014
tfkeel
♂ Member
Member # 19517
Default  Posted: 11:12 AM, May 27th (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Why can't I feel that us all being together was good enough when I've dreamed about it since Dday?

I think, because it is all just a farce. Because you say:

I made it through another few hours pretending to feel happy and normal and look like I wasn't thinking about what just happened.


But, the underlying truth is, you WERE thinking about what just happened.

As fine as trying not to think about the A and how drastically different these events and our relationship with AP and SIL are now and being very aware of AP and SIL's position the entire time and avoiding looking at or making eye contact with two people for two hours can be. But it was an awkward, painful step

Despite being in the "right direction", the operative words here are "awkward" and "painful".

It takes years, and decades, before healing from an affair comes.


Posts: 435 | Registered: May 2008 | From: Pennsylvania
Owl6118
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Member # 42806
Default  Posted: 8:04 AM, May 28th (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

But it was an awkward, painful step in the right direction and I think I feel better having done it than not. The big question in my mind though is why I don't feel better than I do? After SIL and AP finally left it was like this release of anxiety hit me. I immediately wanted to retreat to the privacy of my home, where I would be free to feel sad or cry and not hold my emotions back any longer.

All these seem like sane and appropriate reactions to an excruciating situation. Frankly I would be concerned if you did feel "better"--the response you actually had seems to be an entirely appropriate type and range of feeling to feel in this situation. If you felt anything much "better" I would suspect you had gone into compartmentalization/denial.

I imagine it will take cautious repetition of the four of you being together socially over months and even years for it to feel neutral to you, much less good.


Posts: 62 | Registered: Mar 2014
sunnyrain
♀ Member
Member # 30164
Default  Posted: 8:49 AM, May 28th (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I'm so sad for you and your situation. Do you think it's possible, with your H's cooperation, to avoid similar situations in the future? Surely he does not want you to suffer, right?

[This message edited by sunnyrain at 12:43 PM, July 1st (Tuesday)]


"I'm not much into health food, I am into champagne."

Posts: 378 | Registered: Nov 2010
bionicgal
♀ Member
Member # 39803
Default  Posted: 8:56 AM, May 28th (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Your feelings are just what they should have been - how could you not have felt that way?

And yes, theoretically it is a step in the right direction. It is cumulative though -- kind of like a serious of vaccinations. It will take a bunch of them, and really just time, before you start to feel better about it.

Hang in there & keep the faith.


me - BS (40s)
DDay - June 2013, A was 2+ months, EA then PA
In MC & Reconciling
An affair is more like a mental break than a relationship.

I edit, therefore I am.


Posts: 1949 | Registered: Jul 2013 | From: USA
sunnyrain
♀ Member
Member # 30164
Default  Posted: 9:17 AM, May 28th (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I guess I don't understand how this is a step in the right direction? I read over and over how NC FOR LIFE is the way to go. Now, granted your situation makes that very difficult, but I still think you should have had a choice in the matter. And I definitely think BH should have discussed the matter with you before deciding it was OK for the two of you.

[This message edited by sunnyrain at 12:44 PM, July 1st (Tuesday)]


"I'm not much into health food, I am into champagne."

Posts: 378 | Registered: Nov 2010
somethingremorse
♂ Member
Member # 42047
Default  Posted: 9:33 AM, May 28th (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I understand. For my BW, having something resembling a normal family relationship is an enormous goal for her. NC would be a huge defeat, and would cause lots of pain. I understand that the best outcome for your BH is to continue to go through this.

bionicgal is right on the mark. You are probably always going to feel awkward and guilty. Just like our BS will always remember our As. Given time and practice, you'll learn to "paint over" those feelings with something else -- appreciation of being with family, love for your BH, things like that. Isn't that what we all are trying to learn to do -- learn a process to deal with triggers. This is how it goes.

I cannot imagine that you could feel any differently than you did. Heck, I feel like that just reading your post and picturing myself in the same spot (two family weddings in a three week span in August).

Dissatisfaction sounds accurate. I hope that I'll not want to vomit the entire event, that I can hold my BW's hand and feel grateful for the day. I am willing to bet that I fall well short of those goals. Every time you get through it, you learn how to replace those thoughts with something positive.

You shouldn't feel disgusted with yourself for feeling like that. It's best to be mindful of those feelings and work from there. That's the best tool for moving forward.

hang in there.


Me: WH (42)
DDay 11/03/13
In MC and IC

Posts: 538 | Registered: Jan 2014 | From: Pennsylvania
Lovedyoumore
♀ Member
Member # 35593
Default  Posted: 10:16 AM, May 28th (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I assume this was your BH's first birthday post DDay. Your AP or your SIL put your BH in the role of peacemaker/gatekeeper in this situation and that is wrong. He should not have to be the one with this burden. Your AP should have been man enough to excuse himself this time. You get to be there because you are his spouse, otherwise, you should take some time to let the extended family heal if the situation was reversed.

This sounds like the AP may still be competitive where your H is concerned. Your AP put your BH into a situation to back down by accepting his presence. The AP showed a huge disrespect to your BH by getting the psychological upper hand on this. Your BH may try to blow this off, but inside, he is churning. You can desire this to go back to a normal family dynamic, but I highly doubt the outcome. The 4 of you need to go to joint counseling for several sessions before trying to gut out the big happy family scenario.


Me 52
WH 52
Married 30+ years
Together trying to R

I tell people I am tired but really my heart is broken and I am sad.


Posts: 1468 | Registered: May 2012 | From: Southern, bless your heart
somethingremorse
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Member # 42047
Default  Posted: 10:48 AM, May 28th (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Your AP put your BH into a situation to back down by accepting his presence. The AP showed a huge disrespect to your BH by getting the psychological upper hand on this. Your BH may try to blow this off, but inside, he is churning.

Respectfully, I do not think this is necessarily true. It may be, but it is possible that BH was more comfortable with AP being there, in a corner, instead of having his sister make excuses for why she was alone. Or maybe the BH thought is would be more of a punishment for his sister than having her there would be. From my perspective, I don't know that there is a clear answer.

I'd love to have a joint counseling session before meeting in public. That requires all four people to be in somewhat the same place. Failing that, nightmarelife (and me) needs to press ahead to meet her family's needs, and hope that the other family catches up.

All JMO, of course. Your response is food for thought, though. I will definitely need to consider that if and when I am faced with the same decision.


Me: WH (42)
DDay 11/03/13
In MC and IC

Posts: 538 | Registered: Jan 2014 | From: Pennsylvania
Tren0R201
♂ Member
Member # 39633
Default  Posted: 1:32 PM, May 28th (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Respectfully, this all sounds as comfortable as having a party in a room full of attack dogs.

I don't know how many times you've all gone out together, I don't know whether you were the one who had to go to show with your BH, AP and SIL, and you both got up at the same time to go somewhere, a coincidence that looked like something it wasn't that all parties went uncomfortably through.

Forgive me if I'm out of line. It seems to me (only my opinion), this let's all get along and go out together/party together is a show of strength between your BH and his sister whilst simultaneously making both you an the AP as uncomfortable as heck.

If you're uncomfortable and don't want to go, why not just say no? It's your right. I really don't think anyone is truly healing. It's almost like let's put them in a room together and see how they act..and you know what I mean. You both probably dare not look in each others direction and probably do your utmost to avoid coming into contact with each other. Seems a bit macabre.

Again if I'm out of line then forgive me. Just my two cents.


Posts: 146 | Registered: Jun 2013
nightmarelife
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Member # 42884
Default  Posted: 1:30 AM, May 29th (Thursday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

@Sunnyrain, yes, I shared my feelings with BH afterwards. It wasn't as if every minute was excruciating. I was able to become distracted for minutes at a time and just enjoy myself without thinking about SIL or AP.

I agree that NC for life is the best policy but it simply isn't possible or desired. My inlaws basically all live in the same town and are very close. They spend almost every holiday and important event together. It will hurt everyone else and actually be worse for BH and SIL in the long run to go NC.

I didn't mean to imply that BH and I hadn't discussed all four of us being together beforehand. We've had countless tear-filled discussions about our hopes WRT to the family dynamic since Dday. BH already knew very well that one of my biggest regrets from the A was breaking up his family. Regardless of my own feelings I want more than anything for no one to be excluded from family events going forward. As sick as it may sound, I wanted this, and he did too, and we know that SIL did as well. I'm not sure about AP - TBH he's not close to our inlaws and wouldn't care if he ever saw them again - but he wants to support his BS and his children.

In that sense finally having all four of us together for BH's birthday was a step in the right direction. That's why I wish I felt happier at least in the accomplishment, since it's something we've wanted for several months now. On one hand it took the guilt of excluding anyone or being excluded myself away but on the other it added stress, anxiety and (always) guilt to an event I should've enjoyed. Was the trade off worth it? Sometimes I'm not sure.

I imagine it will take cautious repetition of the four of you being together socially over months and even years for it to feel neutral to you, much less good.

It is cumulative though -- kind of like a serious of vaccinations. It will take a bunch of them, and really just time, before you start to feel better about it.

I believe Owl6118 and bionicgal are right, otherwise we wouldn't be torturing ourselves now.

As for my relationship with AP/BIL pre-A, we were not close. We were like acquaintances but ones who had shared lots of holidays, special events and vacations together over the years and could connect mostly by our shared inlaws and family memories. I think our personalities are very compatible but otherwise we were not good friends until the brief EA/PA.

I do agree that some of the anxiety was due to it being the first real family event we agreed to spend together post-A. I had a similar experience earlier this month with my SIL. I felt horrible being around her for the first time in months but the next time I saw her a few days later we exchanged a few words and it wasn't nearly as awful. I'm crossing my fingers that the next time will at least be slightly better.

Me: WW (32)
Him: BH (37)
1 DS, 1 DD, and 1 DD on the way
Married 13 years
Dday: 10/26/13
In IC and MC

[This message edited by nightmarelife at 1:50 AM, May 29th (Thursday)]


Posts: 42 | Registered: Mar 2014
nightmarelife
♀ New Member
Member # 42884
Default  Posted: 1:48 AM, May 29th (Thursday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

@somethingremorse, thank you, thank you. I think you might be the only person in the whole world who understands.
NC would be a huge defeat, and would cause lots of pain. I understand that the best outcome for your BH is to continue to go through this.

THIS.

Every time you get through it, you learn how to replace those thoughts with something positive.

And this.
Isn't that what we all are trying to learn to do -- learn a process to deal with triggers. This is how it goes.

Sigh. Yes. Learning how to deal with our worst triggers of all - each other.

@Lovedyoumore, both AP and I have excluded ourselves from different events in the last several months.

Your AP put your BH into a situation to back down by accepting his presence. The AP showed a huge disrespect to your BH by getting the psychological upper hand on this. Your BH may try to blow this off, but inside, he is churning.

I don't think this is true, but it's an interesting thought. I think AP had no desire to attend and only did so at his BS's insistence. BH knows that his sister needs AP's support at family events for their R.

A single therapy session and especially multiple sessions would certainly help IMO, but BH and especially SIL are not comfortable with the idea at this point. Perhaps one day.

Me: WW (32)
Him: BH (37)
1 DS, 1 DD, and 1 DD on the way
Married 13 years
Dday: 10/26/13
In IC and MC

[This message edited by nightmarelife at 1:50 AM, May 29th (Thursday)]


Posts: 42 | Registered: Mar 2014
Schadenfreude
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Member # 43075
Default  Posted: 7:00 AM, May 29th (Thursday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Hmmmm..... Might this forced familial contact be a way for SIL to get back at you and her H? Sure, it violates NC, but on her terms. A "share the pain" type of situation? And for your H to agree with his sister that could attend sure put yo in a painful position.

Unless this is group,rug sweeping, I'd have a discussion with BH about these family parties. There were two large elephants in the room at the party .


Posts: 892 | Registered: Apr 2014 | From: Midwest
somethingremorse
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Member # 42047
Default  Posted: 8:40 AM, May 29th (Thursday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

As sick as it may sound, I wanted this, and he did too, and we know that SIL did as well. I'm not sure about AP - TBH he's not close to our inlaws and wouldn't care if he ever saw them again

Wow. Exact same situation here. BIL and AP are moving this week, so they will be about 2 1/2 hours away. It means less contact. But fewer opportunities for healing.

multiple sessions would certainly help IMO, but BH and especially SIL are not comfortable with the idea at this point. Perhaps one day.

Same here, again.

Going through your experiences, I don't quite know how much of trying to have a "normal" family get together is trying to help the BS's (on both sides) to heal, and how much of it is you trying to help yourself.

I know that my BW needs some sort of family interaction to feel better. So I'm going to do anything to help her heal. At the same time, I care about my family, and I want them to feel better, too.

At the end of the day, it probably doesn't make a difference. The two motivations aren't in conflict, and probably too close to untangle.


Me: WH (42)
DDay 11/03/13
In MC and IC

Posts: 538 | Registered: Jan 2014 | From: Pennsylvania
nightmarelife
♀ New Member
Member # 42884
Default  Posted: 4:42 PM, May 29th (Thursday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Might this forced familial contact be a way for SIL to get back at you and her H?

@Schadenfreude, I don't think so. It would be way out of character for SIL to do this and from what I hear about BH's conversations with her she no longer has hateful or vindictive feelings for me.
I don't quite know how much of trying to have a "normal" family get together is trying to help the BS's (on both sides) to heal, and how much of it is you trying to help yourself.

@somethingremorse, there is definitely my part in this, and maybe I need to be more careful.

I'm close to my inlaws and have always loved being a part of their family, which makes this so much worse of a betrayal on my part. But amazingly enough, everyone has forgiven me and want both me and AP around, even if he cares less about repairing his relationship with them than I do. Of course if BH and I weren't on the same page I wouldn't encourage attempting normal family get togethers at all.

But there are my own selfish motivations and I didn't mean to be unclear about them. Achieving whatever normalcy possible helps me heal I think and relieves a bit of the guilt of being responsible for breaking their family dynamic. I'll always feel guilty for that, as I should, so I'd like to repair the damage where possible. Of course I can work on swallowing the bitter pill of knowing that ultimately it's not ever going to work and I drastically altered their family get togethers for life. But we're not quite there yet.

[This message edited by nightmarelife at 4:48 PM, May 29th (Thursday)]


Posts: 42 | Registered: Mar 2014
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