Thanks familyfirst and slowuptake for your perspectives too!
How does it make you feel coming home not knowing what kind of mood your BS may be in?
It makes me feel very insecure and scared. I suspect a little like what I made my wife feel like by having an affair.
I can relate to what your husband said about still getting to come home to one's wife. Still, it's very frightening not knowing what one day to the next will bring. Keeping it firmly in mind that I caused the problems helped a lot when we went through this. It did scare the hell out of me, though.
My experience does not exactly parallel that of your WS, but my perspective might still be of use to you. I was one that, on D-day, sincerely believed that I loved two men. That AP was a good person. That we were just people who fell in love at the wrong time and place. Star-crossed, soulmates, you get the idea. I seriously believed that I would be forever devastated if I had to say goodbye to AP or my BS. I refused to make an immediate choice, stayed on the fence for six months and took another couple months to craft and send a NC letter that BS and I could both agree on.
The things I thought then are cringe-inducing to me now. I never broke NC physically but I did not, in the early days, see anything wrong with writing to AP in my journal. I was being honest with my BS that I was ambivalent. I did not understand at the time that there is a difference between being honest and acting with integrity. I did not understand the nature of infidelity and how lying to everyone, including myself, had really changed my brain. So I was able to write things like "I am so afraid to want to want to stop loving you." and "I don't know how I can handle never seeing you again." and (cringing now) "we will meet again across time and space". Those aren't exact quotes but sum up the kinds of things I was writing and actually believing at the time I wrote them.
I guess I am telling you this to let you know that even though I meant those things at the time that I wrote them, I can see now that I had a very limited ability for evaluating the basis of my feelings and deciding if they were reasonable or valid. I conflated the intensity of my feelings and their validity. I really was terrified of losing one of my sources of good feelings. But it did not have anything to do with genuine, adult love for AP.
Now. Did I love my BS during the time I was writing those things? Did I love my BS at all during the time I was imposing a blatant EA on our lives (4 years) and then a hidden PA (3.5 years)? You know, as I have come to understand what it actually means to love someone in an adult way, no. I did not. I loved him the way a child loves. I saw him as a source of stability and security and a way to help get my basic emotional and physical needs met. I felt genuine affection for him but ultimately, when it came down to it, I was willing to get my needs met at his very great expense. As a child, it is normal to expect that from the people who love us. That is the natural order of things. As an adult, we have to be willing for things to go in the other direction. That is the piece I lacked, and have had to develop.
So could your husband have really loved you during the time he wrote those things? I guess it depends on what your definition of love is. It is absolutely possible that he was trying to keep everything from blowing up. It's also possible he meant those things at the time he said them. I think the really important thing is whether he is willing to 1) be honest about what he was actually thinking and feeling during that time, even if it risks his chance of reconciliation to do so and 2) identify and fix the thought processes that resulted in his integrity train jumping the track so that he doesn't ever do this again to you or to anyone else.
I am so sorry that you have been put through this. May you find peace and healing.
Digging our way through.
WTF was his motivation for telling me he still wants to make it work, just to do a 180 hours later?! And should I be prepared in case he tries to come back and tries to pull the R card again? I feel I will be stronger if he does, but I want to be ready. Or is he tired of 'playing the game' and I can move forward without worrying he is going to try to swoop in again?
How does it make you feel coming home not knowing what kind of mood your BS may be in?
As someone who formerly viewed relationships as sources of feelings more than anything else, it was at first very hard for me to adjust to the variability of the outward signs of his injury. Some days just terribly sad and sobbing. Some days angry and spitting fire. Some days just flat.
IC helped me a lot because I have learned to view people as people instead of just sources of feelings for me. I can separate the feelings from the person if that makes any sense. The other thing that has helped has been to learn some techniques for dealing with difficult feelings in the moment they are happening. Meditation type stuff.
You are kind to be thinking of the stress your WS might be experiencing because of your mood swings. In my experience even just acknowledging it might help mitigate some of the damage and help your WS be more patient with them. I know the times my BS has said to me that he knows he's all over the place and thanked me for handling it without melting down, I have very much appreciated it. I guess because it acknowledges that as sucky as I was, my need for a secure emotional environment is legitimate too. That doesn't mean he is going to be meeting it at his own expense, or rather I would prefer that he doesn't. But it does help to have it acknowledged as a legitimate need.
May you find peace and healing.
I understand that is now part of our new normal, and we're both grasping with that. No running to the door with kisses and affection when he returns home - at least for the time being. I feel like I can only begin to forgive him if I can humanize him, feel empathy, recognize his hurt and pain through all of this too. But he has read "How to Help Your Spouse Heal..." and I think he's afraid to show me too much so as not to take the healing process away from me. If that makes any sense. Again, thank you for your kind words and sharing your experiences.
When I come home from work, I offer my BW a kiss regardless of what her outward mood might be. I do not assume that because she has a mad face that she doesn't want me. I made her an angry mess, so it's unfair for me to dodge her when she is angry. By offering, I've given her the opportunity to say "Yes" rather than assume she will say "No." This is important because it shouldn't be up to my BW to initiate physical affection. I should be the one reaching out and taking the risk of rejection. By that one simple act of offering her a kiss, it shows that I love her and want her regardless of her mood, and it just might help change her mood.
I continued to make love with my BW during my affair, but it was very infrequent. I wasn't putting in the effort to make my BW want me. After a while, I just stopped initiating sex with my BW because I was tired of the rejection. Of course she rejected me because I didn't do the work. Duh!
About STD's... sometimes I really worried about that to the point of depression. I got tested a couple of times over the years, but not as frequently as I should have. And I didn't consistently practic safe sex. I look back on that now, I'm just sick thinking about how I risked my BW's life and health. I was fortunate that I never brought home an STD, but that was dumb luck. Big emphasis on dumb.
[This message edited by ThatGuyNoMore at 11:13 AM, August 22nd (Friday)]
Boundaries and accountability are important methods for your WS to re-establish trust.
Some basic boundaries that I observe:
1. NC with AP.
2. No "unhealthy" friendships, like those with guys that encourage A's, or with women who have known boundary issues as well, or with women I feel I may develop a boundary issue with.
3. Avoid one-on-one situations with women. That includes private messages, emails, and texts.
4. No flirtatious comments directed at anyone but my BW.
5. No lying, no half-truths, no omissions.
6. Also being accountable for my time is a form of boundary setting. I send selfies showing I am where I'm supposed to be if I'm running errands, attending civic meetings, or going to the gym. I call home from a land line before I leave work. If for some reason I'm going to be late, I call and send a selfie to prove my whereabouts.
I'll do anything I can to help my BW feel safe.
Don't beat yourself up over not seeing the signs. You believed that your WS was a good and honest person, and never had any inkling he would stray.
I feel awful when I remember the lies that I told my BW, and how much she trusted me to believe them. I know that she feels shaken looking back, too. It's just a measure of how far from that wayward thinking you were. That is a good thing.
I don't know if we officially set boundaries. I tried to do what BW asked, and only do things that make her feel safe. ThatGuyNoMore got them right. NC is non-negotiable. Being transparent, and always accounting for time and location are too. No flirting or personal contact with women, no spending nights out with guys unless they are truly friends of the marriage.
I wanted to add that for most of us truly remorseful waywards, these are not punishment. My boundaries are ones that I have mostly set myself. I don't want to do any of those old things. I know that they have this possibility down the road to lead to a point where I could put myself in a position to go to the place I was during my A. Even if don't stray, I know that I used to be really unhappy during my A's. I don't want to do anything that could lead me to becoming that unhappy again. It's kind f like knowing a food will make you sick. Sure, one taste may not make you full on sick, but why tempt yourself?
I just made love to my spouse so it didn't seem suspicious. I decreased the frequency as much as I could and I wasn't as "into it" as I used to be, but at the time there were no suspicions that it was due to an A. It did cause problems, but not raise suspicions. I just did it - sometimes I wanted to and enjoyed it, sometimes I just faked it, whatever it took. I know that sounds harsh but it's true.
As for the STD question, my AP was certain he had none and I believed him. I didn't worry about bringing home and STD because of this. Looking back he could have been lying through his teeth but at the time I didn't even consider that possibility. I did get tested at my next pap after the A and was clean so I lucked out.
I have mixed feelings about this. I'm still in the "fog" a little bit so that might be why. I don't think it was beautiful or positive. The sex was very good and we connected on an intimate level, as much as I don't want to admit it, yet I feel it was a dirty, shameful act so that pretty much takes away from all the "good" I could see from it.
To be honest I will admit that I am not yet a truly remorseful WW though I'm trying my hardest to be. Because of that, my honest answer is it's terrible. I hate going home because I don't know what kind of mood I'm going to get. As it gets closer to the end of the work day I actually get anxiety about going home because of it. I don't expect anyone to feel sorry for me - I know the RIGHT answer is what your husband said and I bet most remorseful waywards really do feel that way so I don't doubt what you were told, just for me - someone who isn't yet really remorseful, it's not a good feeling.
If you are or think you are in love with your affair partner, how do you still make love to your wife or husband. Do you just do it so that it doesn't seem suspicious? Do you ever think about giving your spouse an STD?
About STDs..., I worried a lot about getting pregnant, but never about STDs. AP assured me he had never strayed before and I had blinding faith in whatever he said. I went in for my annual OB exam and my dr asked me if I had any new partners. If this is a common question to married people I'll never know. I told her the truth and she insisted I get tested for everything. I told her it was unnecessary because I knew my AP was safe. She then told me even if that was true, I didn't know if his spouse was safe or who she might have been/is currently with. I remember being completely confused. She almost had to draw it out on paper like you would for a 7th grader. I don't know if it's because I was so far removed from dating and sleeping with other people or so completely detached from reality that this really never occurred to me. Suddenly I was overwhelmed with guilt. Never in a million years did I think I could harm my H in this way. Thankfully all tests were negative. In all the ways I harmed H, in my mind this is the worst and most unforgiveable. I've read on SI before that "the WS cared more about their pleasure than the BS's health". For me that's not true, I just didn't think. period.
For quite a while my sex drive was on high and I was very happy to be with both men.
This was very true for me as well at some points of my A.
ETA: my OB/GYN always asks if I've had any new sexual partners at each visit so it's normal for at least some docs.
[This message edited by StartingFreshNow at 2:53 PM, August 20th (Wednesday)]