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Reconciliation Post Reply     Print Topic    
User Topic: What is the new narrative after the A?
wincing_at_light
♂ Member
Member # 14393
Default  Posted: 10:36 PM, July 1st (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

How does the Betrayed spouse get from the place where the entire world is hostile and untrustworthy to taking power and believing all of their choices are going to be good ones when all of the evidence in front of them says otherwise? When the societal memes tend to offer condemnation rather than a good vision for life?

That's where you're missing it, man. The entire world isn't a hostile and untrustworthy place -- just the marriage. Just one-half of the marriage.

And that's dirt that doesn't stick.

Yes, the initial discovery of an affair is shattering, but it's a shattering of illusion, of a worldview and a fantasy future that's based on lies and projections of who one's partner is (I think you're like me; I think you have my best interest at heart just as I have yours.) That's not true. It's never been true, but marriages untouched by infidelity live inside that dream without any bumps because the illusion holds. Infidelity wakes you up, reminds you that you are your own agent, responsible for your own well-being and care.

Everyone's got an agenda. Even your spouse. Especially your spouse, because their agenda is the one that's going to come into conflict with yours the most often.

Once you know that, then you're free to engage in relationships founded on something solid, not on adolescent wet dreams of what growing old with somebody is supposed to look like.

That's part of the win, because once you understand your own agency, you stop letting circumstances interrupt the business of living. You stop putting yourself on hold while you wait for your partner to catch up, to see eye to eye, for your stars to align...because you understand that you've only got the narrative you write, and it's your story, not someone else's in which you play a bit part.

See, my wife's infidelity isn't the story of my life. It's flavor. It's backfill that makes me a complex and interesting character who can be empathized with. Shit, it doesn't even come close to be a core component of the narrative. It's got all the weight and value of an ex-wife joke.

And in the same way, it doesn't even inform my character or my future because it's not me. It's not my story. It's just somebody else's story that I read once upon a time.

You know that most people who know me are aware of my wife's affair. No one laid their pity on me, or their judgement. Their take on my story was "your wife is a fucking idiot". No one asked me what I'd done to drive her to it. Never have...and let me tell you, the stink of her behaviors didn't stick to me. That's part of her story, not mine. I'm not the one who flinches away from affair stories on the television almost a decade later.

I didn't need a redemption narrative, because I had nothing to be saved from, and the truth is, betrayed wives need it even less, because philandering husband is the only meme out there that tops ungrateful bitch on the popularity charts. (But that's okay. Memes aren't truth. They're expressions of our most base fears. They're Morality Tales in 140 characters or less. They're Reefer Madness with a raptor photoshopped in the background.)

Again, don't get me wrong: there's a ton of self-involved carping and agonizing by betrayed spouses in the wake of discovery. It's just a phase while the worldview is reassembled to include the new specks of truth. Most BS's emerge from this process unscathed long, long, long before their WS has even started up the hill toward Calvary.

SI is triage, not recovery. Not reality. It's a fantastic place for hearing the one important thing people need to put themselves back together: what you're feeling is normal. Once you get the hang of that, the rest of it's just a glide path to whatever new normal you invoke.

The people who struggle the most are those who get stuck trying to refute the narrative that's been written for them (I have to be Grace. Or I have to be Forgiveness. Or I have to be the Sacrificial Mother. Or I have to be the Bitter Divorcee.) Because they've become convinced they're an actor rather than an agent; a supporting role instead of the protagonist of their own story.

There is no objective evidence that says the world is hostile and untrustworthy. That's just meaningless emotion. It's sound and fury. It's the same bizarre awakening a newly expecting couple has to the sense that "everyone on television is having babies; all the shows are about maternity". It's selective perception.

It's bending the facts to fit the narrative they've been handed.

You get over it, because once you start opening up to others (that is, the 75% of the world whose marriages will also be touched by infidelity), you find yourself inundated with kindness, understanding, and peace. You prove out the trust of those who never broke it in the first place and remember that trust is real, that the war isn't universal, but localized to one or two aggressors (depending on how heavily you want to count the OP). A great many BS's struggle with this because (again) it's often the narrative their WS has been foisting off on them in the self-justification lead up to the affair, and then in the deflections of the immediate aftermath. (I wouldn't have cheated if you'd done x, y, or z. You're the cause of it. Here's some blameshift. Oh, and you've been a shitty spouse to me for years. If you'd just listened better, taken out the trash when I asked, sucked my dick more. This is all about you. It defines you. You're the root cause of it.)

And then you wake up from that shattered dream and realize, "Oh, that's all bullshit. And my spouse believes it because they need someone else to be culpable. They need to drag me down so they're not looking up at me out of the hole they dug for themselves. It's not me who is being defined, because it's not my narrative. It's theirs. They're projecting their definition onto me, because everyone hates to be alone and guilty."

Pay attention to the folks around here (BS's) who have been at it for a couple of years. Notice how little of their time they spend talking about their own emotional upheavals (in the absence of things like re-offending spouses or drawn out divorces) and how much time they offer giving comfort and perspective to new members.

Then I'd invite you to take a tour around the interwebs and read some of the other sites that have Wayward forums. It's interesting. Two years is just beginning to scratch the surface. It's still all about triggers, about learning to be safe, about confronting FOO and other lifelong dysfunctional patterns, coping behaviors, and things that have never been adequately addressed.

When our pastor offhandedly mentions infidelity on a Sunday morning, I reach out and take my wife's hand, because her reaction is visceral. I do that not because I feel any hurt, but to comfort the hurt I know she feels. I don't have an emotional stake in it, because there weren't any lessons for me to learn in it.

So, you tell me: which narrative would you rather be living a decade out? The one that's endlessly grasping after redemption (and all the great self-knowledge that comes along with it), or the one that never needed to in the first place?


Machiavellian idiot savant

Posts: 6750 | Registered: Apr 2007 | From: Indiana
wincing_at_light
♂ Member
Member # 14393
Default  Posted: 10:49 PM, July 1st (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

By the way: I see in your tagline that you're coming up on a year since D-Day. I'd imagine your wife is probably a pretty big mess right now. It's a neural pathways thing: 30 days, 90 days, 180 days, and a year are big biological timetables for neural re-mapping.

Just goes to prove that no matter how hard we try, our brains are hardwired for the gutters.

Anyway, you've got my sympathy in advance. Hold on tight, man. You'll make it through this.


Machiavellian idiot savant

Posts: 6750 | Registered: Apr 2007 | From: Indiana
bionicgal
♀ Member
Member # 39803
Default  Posted: 10:55 PM, July 1st (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

but it seems to be hard to find big stories where the people we wronged end up doing well.

Hmm.. . Let me think. There was this one story about a guy who was terribly betrayed, by a friend.. . .and it led to his death, even. And yet, the story of his life, and death, is a symbol of redemption and forgiveness. . the power of good over evil. If I could just remember who it was. . . . .


me - BS (40s)
DDay - June 2013, A was 2+ months, EA then PA
In MC & Reconciling
An affair is a personal crisis, not a relationship.

I edit, therefore I am.


Posts: 2065 | Registered: Jul 2013 | From: USA
Rebreather
♀ Member
Member # 30817
Default  Posted: 10:56 PM, July 1st (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I hate following WAL, but NGU, I say, with respect, fuck society. I don't give a shit what anyone says is my narrative. I write my own story.

Give up giving a shit. Find a new path.


Me BS
Him WH
2 ddays in '07
Recovering.
"The cure for the pain, is the pain." -Rumi

Posts: 6549 | Registered: Jan 2011
wincing_at_light
♂ Member
Member # 14393
Default  Posted: 11:01 PM, July 1st (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

(I love following Rebreather. She makes me look like a smarticle.)


Machiavellian idiot savant

Posts: 6750 | Registered: Apr 2007 | From: Indiana
wincing_at_light
♂ Member
Member # 14393
Default  Posted: 11:02 PM, July 1st (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

That could be completely be taken the wrong way.

Assume I meant it the right way.

And that I'm not wearing any pants.


Machiavellian idiot savant

Posts: 6750 | Registered: Apr 2007 | From: Indiana
Rebreather
♀ Member
Member # 30817
Default  Posted: 11:02 PM, July 1st (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

*slowly cranks up middle finger*


Me BS
Him WH
2 ddays in '07
Recovering.
"The cure for the pain, is the pain." -Rumi

Posts: 6549 | Registered: Jan 2011
Rebreather
♀ Member
Member # 30817
Default  Posted: 11:03 PM, July 1st (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Hmm.. . Let me think. There was this one story about a guy who was terribly betrayed, by a friend.. . .and it led to his death, even. And yet, the story of his life, and death, is a symbol of redemption and forgiveness. . the power of good over evil. If I could just remember who it was. . . . .

ET?


Me BS
Him WH
2 ddays in '07
Recovering.
"The cure for the pain, is the pain." -Rumi

Posts: 6549 | Registered: Jan 2011
mike7
♂ Member
Member # 38603
Default  Posted: 11:06 PM, July 1st (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

not saying I disagree with what you wrote WAL, because I understand it, but also because disagreeing with you tends to make someone look stupid. however, I think our society treats a BH differently from a BW. You see it in movies and culture all the time. A BH is somehow lacking because his WW felt the need to cheat. She wasn't fulfilled. She fell out of love from a loser. We even have a derogatory name for a BH, a "cuckhold." Do we have a similar name for a BW? Maybe, I can't think of it at the moment. In general, I think the narrative for a BW is that she is long suffering, godlike in her forgiveness, do the best she can with a cad for a husband. The BH is always portrayed as a loser. Not something I particularly enjoy.


BH 53
WW 52
Two kids 21, 18

DDay 1/15/2013


Posts: 542 | Registered: Mar 2013
wincing_at_light
♂ Member
Member # 14393
Default  Posted: 11:07 PM, July 1st (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

How can you say that when we've got Richard Gere on our team?


Machiavellian idiot savant

Posts: 6750 | Registered: Apr 2007 | From: Indiana
wincing_at_light
♂ Member
Member # 14393
Default  Posted: 11:10 PM, July 1st (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

True Story: During my wife's A, the OM gave me a copy of Unfaithful (Diane Lane) because it was, to sum up, "one of the most awesome movies ever".

I don't think that movie means what he thinks it means.

Still, RICHARD GERE!


Machiavellian idiot savant

Posts: 6750 | Registered: Apr 2007 | From: Indiana
5454real
♂ Member
Member # 37455
Default  Posted: 11:11 PM, July 1st (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

who do Betrayed people get to be in our society after infidelity

Honestly, Me! Fuck society. At one time slavery was legal.

I define me, no one else. Yes, there can and will be repercussions.

*slowly cranks up middle finger*

I am me.

ETA.....
Whole point of the 180, not?

[This message edited by 5454real at 11:15 PM, July 1st (Tuesday)]


BH 51, WW 42
DS 23(Mine),SD 21,SS 20(Hers),DS 9 Ours, DGS 3, DGD 1 mo
D=Day #1 5/04EA (Rugswept)
D-Day #2 3/10/12, TT til 3/13/12
Married 10yrs
“I have no love for a friend who loves in words alone.”
― Sophocles, Antigone

Posts: 2999 | Registered: Nov 2012 | From: midwest
Rebreather
♀ Member
Member # 30817
Default  Posted: 11:17 PM, July 1st (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

But Mike, we BW's are fat, ugly, frigid, and can't keep our men happy atr home.

You know, it's not been very long that BW's have real options to leave cheating, abusive relationships. Maybe that's where the softer narrative comes from. Someone just dressed up our socioeconomic realities.


Me BS
Him WH
2 ddays in '07
Recovering.
"The cure for the pain, is the pain." -Rumi

Posts: 6549 | Registered: Jan 2011
Want2babettrme
♂ New Member
Member # 43291
Default  Posted: 11:41 PM, July 1st (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Bionicgal,

I think I read the same story. He was a carpenter, right?


Posts: 25 | Registered: Apr 2014 | From: The Sunny South
mike7
♂ Member
Member # 38603
Default  Posted: 12:13 AM, July 2nd (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

well, first of all, you're preaching to the choir. I agree with all ya'll. I define me. No one else does. But I thought we were talking about what the common societal narrative is. You know, the society that makes tv and movies for people with a third grade education. the society that is "keeping up with the Kardashians." *That* society promulgates rubbish like the book "why women cheat" that essentially blames the BH for not providing *all* of her needs. We're not *making* them happy.

I do believe that emotionally mature adults understand it isn't the fault of the BS.

but really, who gives a shit? I do what i think is right, and don't worry about the rest.


BH 53
WW 52
Two kids 21, 18

DDay 1/15/2013


Posts: 542 | Registered: Mar 2013
still-living
♂ Member
Member # 30434
Default  Posted: 5:11 AM, July 2nd (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

But I thought we were talking about what the common societal narrative is.

I get what you are saying. I can only add that sorting through this sh_t for four years has lifted me to a new level (call it wisdom, grace, worldview, or maybe even anger) that does not cause me to worry so much about what others think is my narrative. I had real issues before the affair so it took time to sort them, but in the end, reaching this point is what I need to survive, to clear my dissonance.

Most people in my daily life do not understand my path because they have not experienced what I have experienced.... this is what I keep telling myself. That's ok. Lucky for them (or maybe not!) In the end, it doesn't matter. In fact, I expect to be out of the normal because of my experiences. I have more confidence in what I believe is right and wrong, so I just keep moving forward regardless of what others think.

[This message edited by still-living at 5:15 AM, July 2nd (Wednesday)]


BH(me)47
WW 47 FOO Issues
DDay 11/09 Coworker
High School Sweethearts
Married 06/91
8 months TT
Sons 19 and 14
Recovery is constructing a pyramid of inference from which to see clearer.
The process involves using the reflexive loop.

Posts: 779 | Registered: Dec 2010 | From: Ches
rachelc
♀ Member
Member # 30314
Default  Posted: 6:42 AM, July 2nd (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I love reading WAL because he makes me feel like I'm not crazy.



his Dday: 2/10 but TT until 7/11
my Ddays: 1/12, 4/12 broken NC 12/12

me (WW/BS): 48
him: (BS/WH)52
4 kiddos in mid 20's

“Follow your intuition. Be smart, be brave. Tell the truth and don’t take any shit.”


Posts: 5286 | Registered: Dec 2010 | From: Midwest
bionicgal
♀ Member
Member # 39803
Default  Posted: 7:02 AM, July 2nd (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I love reading WAL' s writing, but this captures it pretty well for me;

I do believe that emotionally mature adults understand it isn't the fault of the BS.

but really, who gives a shit? I do what i think is right, and don't worry about the rest.

[This message edited by bionicgal at 7:02 AM, July 2nd (Wednesday)]


me - BS (40s)
DDay - June 2013, A was 2+ months, EA then PA
In MC & Reconciling
An affair is a personal crisis, not a relationship.

I edit, therefore I am.


Posts: 2065 | Registered: Jul 2013 | From: USA
NoGoodUsername
♂ Member
Member # 40181
Default  Posted: 7:30 AM, July 2nd (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

bionicgal wrote:

Hmm.. . Let me think. There was this one story about a guy who was terribly betrayed, by a friend.. . .and it led to his death, even. And yet, the story of his life, and death, is a symbol of redemption and forgiveness. . the power of good over evil. If I could just remember who it was. . . . .

Good one.
The sad part is that person still ended up nailed to some lumber. It's not much of a happy ending when you consider where the story ends without divine assistance. Still, good one.



Me: WH
Her: BW
Dday 7/11/13
"May you be protected from hearts that are not humble, tongues that are not wise and eyes that have forgotten how to cry."

Posts: 252 | Registered: Aug 2013
NoGoodUsername
♂ Member
Member # 40181
Default  Posted: 7:44 AM, July 2nd (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

w_a_l -

Those were some thought provoking posts. I'm processing.


Everyone else, thank you for jumping in. If I haven't responded directly, it doesn't mean that I'm not reading and listening.


Me: WH
Her: BW
Dday 7/11/13
"May you be protected from hearts that are not humble, tongues that are not wise and eyes that have forgotten how to cry."

Posts: 252 | Registered: Aug 2013
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