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Divorce/Separation
User Topic: Is change possible?
la433
Member
Member # 38835
Default  Posted: 6:58 AM, May 8th (Wednesday)

Are WS's able to change?

My take is that they are not, at least not of their own accord. It will take something extreme to change them.

As a man who's xWW is divorcing him, I can definitely say she is not only incapable of change, she thinks she is "changing" into who she was/wants to be.

Now that she is on this path where she has lied about me to everyone we knew, meanwhile herself committing adultery, there is no turning back for her. There is no way she will ever be able to look people in the eye and tell them the truth. She can't even tell herself the truth.

To have change, you'd have to embrace a truth, not a lie. While I can change because I'm embracing certain truths about our past relationship, she cannot change until she embraces the truths of her relationships.

As I told a mutual friend one day, she is going on a path on which I cannot, will not follow.

Can she change? I suppose I'll give it 1 chance out of 1000. But she won't do it of her own accord.

How many of you BS's WSes truly changed after "going to the dark side"?


"Arise and be all that you dreamed." ~Flyleaf

Posts: 136 | Registered: Mar 2013
ShockedAndHurt
Member
Member # 36657
Default  Posted: 7:13 AM, May 8th (Wednesday)

I thought my WH had probably changed. He had IC for three months after dd1 and it seemed he had worked hard on himself. But it turned out he lied to his counsellor, he maintained the same story he had told me, which turned out not to be everything. Dd2 I pointed out that his therapy was wasted as he wasn't honest there either. I don't know if he will ever change.


Me: BW, 30
Him: WH, 33, EA summer 2008, multiple cyber affairs, 3PA summer 2011-summer 2012
Together since 1999, married in 2004
2 Children
DD1: 9th Aug 2012
DD2: 6th March 2013 end of reconciliation and start of separation
DD3: 29th June 2013

Posts: 110 | Registered: Aug 2012 | From: UK
phmh
Member
Member # 34146
Default  Posted: 7:19 AM, May 8th (Wednesday)

I think genetics has a lot more to do with our core personality than most people believe.

I believe that most people are incapable of true and lasting change. Just look at how few people follow through on their New Year's Resolutions.

In my particular case, I met XWH in college. I'd heard stories of how he was in high school, and I used to joke that it's a good thing I didn't know him then since he was an asshole and I never would have gotten together with him. I thought he'd changed. Turns out, he'd only put on a mask and the change was impermanent; he wound up reverting to his core personality.

From my experience and reading here, most cheaters have other personality traits that make them undesirable partners. Even if they never cheat again, that's not someone I'd want to be with.

I know that watching my siblings grow up (they are much younger than me) the personality traits they exhibit in their 20s are very similar to those they exhibited before they were a year old.

I guess I believe it is possible, but not likely or common at all. Similar to your 1 in 1000 comment. Just like it's possible to win the lottery, but that shouldn't be your retirement strategy :)


Me: BW, divorced, now fabulous and happy!

Married: 11 years, no kids

The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark. -Michelangelo


Posts: 3354 | Registered: Dec 2011
MovingUpward
Guide
Member # 14866
Default  Posted: 7:20 AM, May 8th (Wednesday)

I do believe that all people have it within them the power to change, but it takes a conscious effort to actually change. Most people require reaching "rock bottom" before the change directions. And everyone's rock bottom is different.

It sounds like your xWW and my xWW are similar in the lying, blame shifting and going down the road to "the dark side". My only advice on that is to stay your course and live by truth. In time people see through the lies.

Luckily I've also had the opportunity to meet some very wonderful members here on SI that made the choice to not go any further to "the dark side" and to work daily to amend the damage that their choice has made. Many have been able to change and save their marriages and many more are on that path.


AKA Moo

Think of the haters in your life as sandpaper; they’ll scratch you up time and time again but in the end you’re polished, smooth, and spotless..while they end up useless

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.


Posts: 52148 | Registered: Jun 2007 | From: Big Blue Nation
SBB
Member
Member # 35229
Default  Posted: 8:03 AM, May 8th (Wednesday)

Turns out, he'd only put on a mask and the change was impermanent; he wound up reverting to his core personality.

Amen sister.

I always wondered why the sad clown loathed himself so very much. I never understood it. I sure as hell do now.

At their core they know they are unlovable. They are so broken dismantling their brokeness scares the shit out of them - they don't think they'll survive it.

So, they pretend to be someone loveable.

I didn't know him at all so I did not really love him. Boy did I love the way he loved me though. So all encompassing, he needed me, he ached for me, he couldn't get enough of me. He kept it up for almost 3 years. I spent the next 7 waiting for that guy to come back - little glimpses kept me stuck.

I don't believe most are capable of change. It is so ingrained in them they cannot even fathom a different way to live. They can't stand the thought of anyone knowing the real them.

Living this way 'works' for them. They get new love every few years. A clean slate. A bandaid. New eyes. Someone who temporarily fills that big gaping hole in them.

Pretty damn irresistible if you think about it. If you're someone completely devoid of the ability to love truly what is the next best thing? False love.

You don't have a heart to break. You don't have a soul to ache. But you do have a hole to fill and its so easy to find someone to fill it temporarily.

When you are empty even crumbs can satisfy the burning hunger.

I'm not empty. Crumbs are not enough to satisfy anything in me.


I may have reached a point where I'd piss on him if he was on fire.... eventually!!

Posts: 5556 | Registered: Apr 2012 | From: Australia
la433
Member
Member # 38835
Default  Posted: 11:09 AM, May 8th (Wednesday)

The atty I talked to said that falling in love provides them a rush, kind of like a crack addict gets a high.

Yea, now that my xWW is tired of OM now, she's waiting for the next man to come along.

So sad. The reality is that all of this goes back to her deep-seated father issues. But at some point, they are no longer father issues, but her issues.

But yes, crumbs, especially bread crumbs, are good like on a salad. :)


"Arise and be all that you dreamed." ~Flyleaf

Posts: 136 | Registered: Mar 2013
SeanFLA
Member
Member # 32380
Default  Posted: 12:27 PM, May 8th (Wednesday)

Now that she is on this path where she has lied about me to everyone we knew, meanwhile herself committing adultery, there is no turning back for her. There is no way she will ever be able to look people in the eye and tell them the truth. She can't even tell herself the truth.

I could have written this myself. I know mine never even told her own parents the truth. Just blame shifted everything on me when she realized her parents would side with her. I doubt she could tell them her AP's wife was going into labor when she knowingly slept with him. I wonder how many other affairs she had on business trips but never revealed to anyone. i think to myself, what are the odds I found out about only this one? There had to be others I didn't know about.

She hasn't changed but has become even more selfish in my opinion. As long as she has her money to support her she is fine. In mediation my attorney told me not to expect her to ever change. She's too far gone. She's been gone a while but felt she didn't need to share that with you. She is no longer the girl you married. She has a heart of ice now. It will only take a major life event to possibly break that ice now. Even then don't hold your breath. I think that's the hardest part for me to deal with....saying good bye to the girl I loved and gave up everything for but took advantage of me and is now gone.


BS(me) 48
WW 46
1 son 14 yrs old
Married 18 yrs, together 21 yrs

"You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have." ~ Bob Marley


Posts: 1466 | Registered: Jun 2011 | From: Zombie Land
Dadtryingtocope
Member
Member # 36726
Default  Posted: 2:53 PM, May 8th (Wednesday)

She hasn't changed but has become even more selfish in my opinion. As long as she has her money to support her she is fine. In mediation my attorney told me not to expect her to ever change. She's too far gone. She's been gone a while but felt she didn't need to share that with you. She is no longer the girl you married. She has a heart of ice now. It will only take a major life event to possibly break that ice now. Even then don't hold your breath. I think that's the hardest part for me to deal with....saying good bye to the girl I loved and gave up everything for but took advantage of me and is now gone.

And then I could of written this one also. My WW also is too far gone. Now with our D final, it is really over. I just asked one of my SI friends today, how can they go so far down this road? Hurt so many people? Truly become a person they despised when they were married (at least that's what mine always said)? I don't understand it.

I pulled the whole plug on my WW. I told all the families right before I filed. I didn't want anyone get blindsided by her lies. I had plenty of proof and she admitted to everything. That has not prevented her from trying to blame shift to me. But I call her out on it every time. I won't let her off the hook for this ever. I told her with 10 years to go dealing with our kids, you can expect me to hold my position for most of those years.

No they can't change without serious help. Especially if they are already strong willed. I'm curious how long they can hold together. Do the WW's get dumped by the OM's eventually? Will they get married? Mine will need him to survive, I'm convinced of it. He's a cheater too so maybe it will work out. But just maybe it will all fall apart. And maybe that is the extreme change that is needed.

[This message edited by Dadtryingtocope at 2:55 PM, May 8th (Wednesday)]


BH me 46
WW her 38
DDay 8-17-12
2 kids (12, 9)
Filed for D 9/14/12
Divorced 4/17/13
She - engaged 5/13 married 9/13

Posts: 518 | Registered: Sep 2012 | From: PA
roughroadahead
Member
Member # 36060
Default  Posted: 3:02 PM, May 8th (Wednesday)

I think people can change under the right circumstances. Honestly, SBB, you may even be an example of that. Sure, sad clown won't change, but you have. Will you ever be the person you were when you met and married him? It may have been change brought about by trauma, but it seems most fundamental changes are.

It is not surprising that a forum where most of the waywards are unremorseful, there would be a strong never change sentiment. Still, I think the mods and guides on this site who are former waywards are examples of cases where it has happened. It's possible that the aftermath of an A isn't enough motivation to change all people, but that doesn't mean it applies to no one.


BS-Me 30s
WS-Him 30s
D-Day 4/2012 (Insisted EA only)
D-Day 5/2012 (Did I say EA? Ummm..)
Numerous other TT/broken NC d-days until S 1/2013. D settled 11/2013
MOW-coworker, 40s.
2 DS and DD all w/autism

Posts: 737 | Registered: Jul 2012 | From: USA
SBB
Member
Member # 35229
Default  Posted: 4:48 PM, May 8th (Wednesday)

RRA, You are absolutely right.

I do believe people can change. Out of all of this I have changed in ways that were essential. I'm still changing.

I've posted before that all of my comments about WS here relate to those devoid of even a shred of remorse - those who have changed nothing in their lives but the players. This thread included.

Some of the most inspirational threads I have read have been in the Wayward forum. I have found a lot of healing in there - for them and for me.

I remember one thread discussing whether anyone would date them once they knew they were a FWS. One reply said they would rather date a healthy FWS than an unhealthy FBS - because they would be safer. It was like a smack in the face. One that I needed right at that very moment.

The other one was the "Dry Drunk" thread.

I do not believe an unremorseful WS can change. There may be a story or three where they have but that doesn't change my view. A vast majority simply cannot, will not.


I may have reached a point where I'd piss on him if he was on fire.... eventually!!

Posts: 5556 | Registered: Apr 2012 | From: Australia
KeepOnMovin
Member
Member # 38245
Default  Posted: 5:09 PM, May 8th (Wednesday)

Now that she is on this path where she has lied about me to everyone we knew, meanwhile herself committing adultery, there is no turning back for her. There is no way she will ever be able to look people in the eye and tell them the truth. She can't even tell herself the truth.

So true. Your post hit so close to home, i had to check the author to make sure it wasn't me!

The atty I talked to said that falling in love provides them a rush, kind of like a crack addict gets a high.

One of my best friends is a 25 year recovering alcoholic. What i've learned from him over the past few years is that he does, in fact, have an illness. It's not a 'weakness'.

He is one of the strongest, most admirable people i know, with integrity and morality. He's tougher than a boot. However, I can have one ounce of scotch and be done. For him, even a taste would turn into finishing the entire bottle.

So, how does he remain sober for 25 years? He attends AA twice per week (for 25 years!) He sponsors others in the program (much like some of the former WS's on this board), and he prays a lot.

However, above all things, he recognizes his weakness. He doesn't get into a situation where he might be tempted to have a drink. He doesn't go to a bar to socialize even with the intent to drink water or pop. He doesn't allow any alcohol or drugs in his house or on his property (for social gatherings). And when the urge strikes him, he lives one minute to the next. meaning, he thinks, "all i have to do is make it one more minutes." And soon the minutes turn to hours, and the hours to days, etc.

Watch the movie "Flight" with Denzel Washington. It is eerily similar to what i believe a chronic WS must go through. The largest hurdle for him was to stop lying to others and himself, and admit he has an illness. (Being neither a WS or an alcoholic, i can only assume, however, based on what i've learned from my friend and observed with my WW's behavior.)

Many, many people recover from alcohol and other drug addiction, so it is possible for a WS to 'recover' as well. But, it takes more than just 'wanting to'. It requires a whole hearted effort to change your lifestyle and commit to doing the work for the remainder of your life.

The first step for the alcoholic is to refuse a drink when things get tough. I'm thinking the first step for the WS, is NC with the AP (or AP's) If they fail at NC, recovery or reconciliation won't happen, IMHO.

k


Me: BH
Her: who cares?
Married: 22 years
2 sons at home
1 son in college
Divorced on 9/4/14!
Often it's the deepest pain which empowers you to grow into your highest self.

Posts: 299 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Midwest
la433
Member
Member # 38835
Default  Posted: 9:18 PM, May 8th (Wednesday)

I think people can change under the right circumstances.

Let's think about this for a moment. Prerequisites for change:

(1) Everyone around them [families, friends, coworkers, etc] needs to know the truth, and not the filtered crap the WS gives.
(2) They will have to completely accept responsibility, without saying the words "but", "however", "except", etc.
(3) They will have to willingly and completely give over every aspect of their lives to a person or persons of accountability (BS/pastor)
(4) They will have want to change.
(5) You know how we have the 180 NC rule, they would have to have a 180 lifestyle change.

I'm sure there are more people can add.

Now even when people meet these requirements, most people just don't have the patience required for the process. [think lifetime] When you see those on here talking about R successes and how the WSes have changed, that's great, but be thankful, because it's rare. And how much of that "change" is pretend. Don't know if there's ever been a study on FWSes but I wouldn't doubt if it took you meeting 1000 before you met only 1 capable of true lasting change.

Being that most WSes actually never seek change, that number is probably lower. Sounds more like the chances of winning the lottery than anything else.

But we all like to play don't we?

I think my xWW divorcing me has opened my eyes to the dark reality of life. Not like I was a pocketful of sunshine before, but damn it, if someone who knew the pain of being cheated on herself can cause that pain to someone else, it really makes me wonder how many people out there can truly look at temptation/seduction straight in the eye and tell it to go FUCK OFF?


"Arise and be all that you dreamed." ~Flyleaf

Posts: 136 | Registered: Mar 2013
phmh
Member
Member # 34146
Default  Posted: 7:07 AM, May 9th (Thursday)

I should have been more clear in my original post. I think it also depends on how you define change and what you're asking will change -- behavior? personality? character?

I was answering not from a WS perspective, but from a general perspective.

I definitely think that there are WS who will not cheat again, but scientific studies show that character and personality really don't change, so the baseline personality that the WS has that allowed them to think cheating was an acceptable option in the first place is still there; probably manifesting itself in other ways.

In my particular case, I felt fairly confident that XWH wouldn't cheat again. However, this episode allowed me to take off my rose-colored glasses and realize that, even without the cheating, he wasn't a good partner (i.e. sociopath, NPD, etc.) and that is something that couldn't change.

I also think that people can appear to change (as my XWH did when I first met him and as I did when I was married to him) but that eventually they revert back to their core personality. You can only pretend for so long. XWH pretended and put on his mask to snare me; I pretended and put on my mask to keep the peace in the marriage.


Me: BW, divorced, now fabulous and happy!

Married: 11 years, no kids

The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark. -Michelangelo


Posts: 3354 | Registered: Dec 2011
KeepOnMovin
Member
Member # 38245
Default  Posted: 9:56 AM, May 9th (Thursday)

character and personality really don't change, so the baseline personality that the WS has that allowed them to think cheating was an acceptable option in the first place is still there; probably manifesting itself in other ways.

This is the point I was trying to make in my post, using the alcohol analogy. No you can't change that fundamental characteristic; that addictive personality trait. But I think, like the recovering alcoholic, you can make changes to your lifestyle that will make falling off the wagon very unlikely.

Or maybe I'm making excuses for my STBXWW's behavior by likening it to an illness?


Me: BH
Her: who cares?
Married: 22 years
2 sons at home
1 son in college
Divorced on 9/4/14!
Often it's the deepest pain which empowers you to grow into your highest self.

Posts: 299 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Midwest
la433
Member
Member # 38835
Default  Posted: 12:29 PM, May 9th (Thursday)

But I think, like the recovering alcoholic, you can make changes to your lifestyle that will make falling off the wagon very unlikely.

Behavior modification and environment control and accountability. Far different than completely getting rid of that desire. But I get what you're saying. Yes, it works on the outside.

The biggest difference between alcohol and adultery is that no one needs alcohol to survive. But you can't separate yourself from society, well not usually. You'll run into other men/women. We all need love and attention. Granted we don't need sex to survive, but you see where I'm going with it.

I'm not convinced WSes are able to change. Neither am I convinced that there aren't any who can change.

I am merely trying to separate what I want to believe from what is true. Very difficult to realize that some people are evil, or that will just never be content with their spouse, and there is nothing we as people can do about it.

Not trying to be argumentative, but it's a struggle for me to undersand if my xWW could even change if she wanted. I want to believe she can if she wants to. But deep down inside, I just don't know if that's really true.


"Arise and be all that you dreamed." ~Flyleaf

Posts: 136 | Registered: Mar 2013
KeepOnMovin
Member
Member # 38245
Default  Posted: 12:59 PM, May 9th (Thursday)

it's a struggle for me to undersand if my xWW could even change if she wanted. I want to believe she can if she wants to. But deep down inside, I just don't know if that's really true.

I have the same struggle. Sometimes, I think my STBXWW knows she can't change, and therefore knows she needs to divorce to spare me from additional pain. But, that's me trying to rationalize her irrational behavior.

Deep down she knows its too painful to look inward and attempt to repair herself. Easier to shift the blame onto me and walk away.

But...It doesn't matter. Wasting energy wondering WTF is wrong with her doesn't help me move forward.


Me: BH
Her: who cares?
Married: 22 years
2 sons at home
1 son in college
Divorced on 9/4/14!
Often it's the deepest pain which empowers you to grow into your highest self.

Posts: 299 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Midwest
la433
Member
Member # 38835
Default  Posted: 1:05 PM, May 9th (Thursday)

Wasting energy wondering WTF is wrong with her doesn't help me move forward.

Good point.


"Arise and be all that you dreamed." ~Flyleaf

Posts: 136 | Registered: Mar 2013
Topic Posts: 17