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Reconciliation
User Topic: What is the new narrative after the A?
NoGoodUsername
Member
Member # 40181
Default  Posted: 12:40 PM, July 1st (Tuesday)

After infidelity, everyone's life is turned upside down and everything is called into doubt, for Betrayed and Wayward alike. The story of our lives is not what we ever thought it would be and the expectations of a lifetime are gone. What comes next, what do we get to be?

We Waywards get to try and participate in the idea of redemption and have a role 'redeemed sinner'. There is a socially acceptable label and idea for that. What about the Betrayed? Who do they get to be? What socially supported identity do they get?
The person who took the loser back?
The lonely, embittered divorcee?
Those are some great options that we have left for our spouses.

I'm completely serious in asking, who do Betrayed people get to be in our society after infidelity?


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: 245 | Registered: Aug 2013
karmahappens
Member
Member # 35846
Default  Posted: 12:45 PM, July 1st (Tuesday)

Society doesn't get to define me.

I do that on my own.

I am a strong independent woman who chose a path of healing, forgiveness, strength and love.


“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom”
Anaïs Nin
Me: 45
Him: 47
Dday 8/2007
We have R'd

Posts: 3822 | Registered: Jun 2012 | From: Massachusetts
bionicgal
Member
Member # 39803
Default  Posted: 12:47 PM, July 1st (Tuesday)

The person who fought for their marriage/family;
The person who showed strength in a crisis;
The person who embodied/demonstrated the true spirit of love when attempting to reconcile;
The person who upheld the wedding vow, "for better or for worse";
The person who saw past the terrible actions of the wayward, and saw the person inside, instead;
The person who didn't let ego dictate their actions, but let love preside instead;
The person who acted with integrity;
The person who, even when tremendously hurt, was a loyal friend and partner.

I could go on.


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: 2007 | Registered: Jul 2013 | From: USA
Lark
Member
Member # 43773
Default  Posted: 12:52 PM, July 1st (Tuesday)

I'm still working on who I am...

I think even the definitions of the WS depend on who you're talking to. It could easily be "the cheater who got away with it" alongside the BS as the "spouse who was stupid enough to stay with them"

It really just depends.
Right now, from the people who do know of the A - they view my husband as someone who has lost his path and is essentially a lost soul right now trying to figure out who he's become, working on it, and trying to find himself again.

I do not know their perception of me. I have found out that several people had been told before I knew - and in his 'confessional" moments to those people, he put the blame at my feet. So right now I'm in somewhat defensive damage control mode as I discover who those people are and want to scream at them that his entire perspective of what was happened was completely F*d up and want to share *my* perspective to finally give myself a voice in all of this nightmare.


“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” - Dumbledore

Posts: 586 | Registered: Jun 2014 | From: California
jo2love
Moderator
Member # 31528
Default  Posted: 1:12 PM, July 1st (Tuesday)

What about the Betrayed? Who do they get to be? What socially supported identity do they get?

I get to be jo2love. His A doesn't define me. It is part of my journey in life, but not the whole picture.

[This message edited by SI Staff at 1:14 PM, July 1st (Tuesday)]


Posts: 35418 | Registered: Mar 2011
bionicgal
Member
Member # 39803
Default  Posted: 1:34 PM, July 1st (Tuesday)

jo2 - That is lovely.

God forbid my life be defined by my husband's mistake. And I hope, eventually, his life won't be defined by it either. (Or our marriage. I really feel like we are making progress in getting there.)

[This message edited by bionicgal at 1:35 PM, July 1st (Tuesday)]


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: 2007 | Registered: Jul 2013 | From: USA
wert
Member
Member # 34478
Default  Posted: 1:42 PM, July 1st (Tuesday)

The good person who is centered, didn't loose his cool and accepted his W as a failed human being. Not to mention the kick ass guy I always have been who never lost his moral compass.

I find it curious that you are interested in a "socially support identity." Validation comes from myself and those who I know and value. Not from society. It is an interesting question, but perhaps as a WS you should ask yourself why you look for validation in the society?

take care...



Posts: 1428 | Registered: Jan 2012
Lark
Member
Member # 43773
Default  Posted: 1:48 PM, July 1st (Tuesday)

Maybe I misunderstood the original question - is this a question about how society understands the WS and BS, or is it about how we understand ourselves?


“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” - Dumbledore

Posts: 586 | Registered: Jun 2014 | From: California
seethelight
Member
Member # 43513
Default  Posted: 2:04 PM, July 1st (Tuesday)

The person who took the loser back?
The lonely, embittered divorcee?
Those are some great options that we have left for our spouses.

Well, the OW sent me emails, claiming I did not take care of my husband properly and provided him with what he needed at that is why he cheated.

It doesn't matter that my husband dropped her like a doggie bag filled with dog doo, on dday.

She insists, he loved her more.

Anyway, IMO, the BS is not viewed by society at large very well.

Yes, she is pitied as the chump who stayed with a low life cheater.

At least, that was the way I heard the gossip going when I heard of other women being cheated on. That's before I was cheated on.

So, I do think the gossips who don't know the betrayed might judge the betrayed spouse, man or women harshly.

Gossips usually say the a betrayed wife, wasn't giving the man what he needed.

And, a betrayed man is typically seen as henpecked.

Of course people who know me think differently, and blame my wayward, but the general society is different, IMO.


“If two people truly have feelings for one another then they don’t have an affair. They get a divorce and they sort out their feelings. You are accountable for the people you hold hostage in a marriage when your mind and heart refuse to fully commit

Posts: 1238 | Registered: May 2014
Mac4
Member
Member # 43122
Default  Posted: 2:12 PM, July 1st (Tuesday)

bionicgal nailed it! and wert is spot on!

The ability to continue to love and forgive in the face of infidelity is a refelection of strength not weakness for those who chose that path.


BS me 41
WW 42
Married 11 years
R for now I guess
DD 9 & DS 8
DDay 2 (PA) - March 3rd, 2014
DDay 1 (EA) - July 2nd, 2011

Posts: 94 | Registered: Apr 2014 | From: Midwest
NoGoodUsername
Member
Member # 40181
Default  Posted: 4:43 PM, July 1st (Tuesday)

Thank you for taking the time to reply. I posted at lunch and have been working all afternoon. I'm not going to respond to everyone to avoid derailing my own thread.


Wert asked:

I find it curious that you are interested in a "socially support identity." Validation comes from myself and those who I know and value. Not from society. It is an interesting question, but perhaps as a WS you should ask yourself why you look for validation in the society?

We don't exist in a vacuum. Our identity is affected by what goes on around us. We are social creatures and what we believe others think of us matters. I'll be the first to agree that overvaluing what other people think is extremely unhealthy. Seeking cheap validation is at the core of my personal sins, but that's not what I am talking about here. Regardless, the lens other people view us through shapes how they treat us and, like it or not, that affects our feelings, our relationships and our self-image. What label other people apply to us does matter. It's not the whole story, but it matters.

Lark said:

Maybe I misunderstood the original question - is this a question about how society understands the WS and BS, or is it about how we understand ourselves?

Lark, you really hit upon the important piece here, it's some of each. These things influence each other. The words we use, the archetypes that we share, the way we see and treat each other help shape our understanding. This drives the vocabulary of our thoughts and the options available to us in our lives. George Orwell illustrates this principle in 1984 in regard to Newspeak being a language whose vocabulary shrinks every year, removing words that might leave people the language to even conceive of unorthodox thoughts. By extension, I am seeing the same problem here. What shared image do we have of Betrayed spouses to help envision a way forward? What archetype can they use to embody their humanity and worthiness after the people they trusted most in the world made ripped everything away?
When we are in crisis, it helps to have clear paths, shortcuts and trained reactions to dealing with hard problems while we are in the middle of being traumatized. These social labels are bundles of characteristics that we use as shortcuts instead of having to think through every painful piece of who we are. We use them on ourselves and other people use them on us. I want to know what the helpful image is for the person who got cheated on. I'm not seeing one and it's not right.

This is not just what other people think of us. It is the shared stories in our culture that help us find our way. Where are the stories for the Betrayed that tell of a successful life?


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: 245 | Registered: Aug 2013
rachelc
Member
Member # 30314
Default  Posted: 4:55 PM, July 1st (Tuesday)

The ability to continue to love and forgive in the face of infidelity is a refelection of strength not weakness for those who chose that path.

I haven't forgiven yet. But I don't consider myself weak. I don't consider those who've chosen the D path weak either. It's all a struggle, for sure.


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


Posts: 5071 | Registered: Dec 2010
painfulpast
Member
Member # 41038
Default  Posted: 5:09 PM, July 1st (Tuesday)

We Waywards get to try and participate in the idea of redemption and have a role 'redeemed sinner'. There is a socially acceptable label and idea for that.

Very, very gently - this is your opinion of what a WS 'gets to be'. It's based on what you hear, read, see as a WS.

Just as an alcoholic may feel that there is a societal redemption for those that stop drinking, others will always look at that person as 'a drunk'. Sure, they know the person stopped, and good for them, but just look at what they did.

Again - no offense, but you're looking at this from one perspective. You seem to believe there are no good outcomes for the BS. I think we are viewed as compassionate, strong, pretty smart in the aftermath with all the lessons we've learned, and other than loving someone that cheated, we really don't have any dirt to brush off.

This is me, looking at this from MY perspective. You're right - we don't live in a vacuum, but we also don't live for the world, we live for ourselves and our families. How we see ourselves, and how we interact with our families, is the only label that matters.

Where are the stories for the Betrayed that tell of a successful life?

Honestly, I don't even know how to respond to this, it's so demeaning.

I'm going to make a suggestion. Read SI. ALL OF IT. Read a lot in Reconciliation. Read in General. Even read JFO and see the strength, compassion, and self assuredness of those posting and responding.


The stones from my enemies, these wounds will mend
but I cannot survive the roses from my friends

Posts: 1893 | Registered: Oct 2013 | From: East Coast
wincing_at_light
Member
Member # 14393
Default  Posted: 5:19 PM, July 1st (Tuesday)

Actually, every narrative for the BS is a successful one.

If you stay, you're the awesome spouse who was willing to give their spouse a second chance -- the one who modeled forgiveness and strength while everything around them was trying to destroy their family and their children.

If you divorce, you're the spouse who knew when it was time to stop putting up with shit and take charge of your life.

Doesn't matter which way the BS goes, there's a narrative that fits like a badass glove of awesome.

Even if you try to R and get cheated on again or whatever, you're still the person who gave their spouse every chance to turn things around for the sake of their children (or dogs or whatever).

There is no lose, at least not in decent society, for the BS. Anyone who tends to argue the other way is usually a not-so-former WS or someone for whom infidelity remains an open option.


Machiavellian idiot savant

Posts: 6747 | Registered: Apr 2007 | From: Indiana
sisoon
Member
Member # 31240
Default  Posted: 5:34 PM, July 1st (Tuesday)

I see a lot of congruence between kh, jo2love, & w_a_l.

I'm not all that impressed with reformed sinners. They need careful monitoring, IMO, which makes them higher maintenance than ideal.


fBH (me) - 70 (22 in my head), fWW (plainsong) - 65+, Married 45+, together since 1965
DDay - 12/2010
Recovered, not yet fully R'ed
I share my own experience because it's the only experience I know, not because I'm a good model.

Posts: 10167 | Registered: Feb 2011 | From: Chicago area
wincing_at_light
Member
Member # 14393
Default  Posted: 5:48 PM, July 1st (Tuesday)

NGU,

As an aside, it seems to me that the fact that you *can't* see any good narratives for the BS is something you ought to look into (likely from the perspective of power dynamics).

Narratives all start as empathy -- what you can imagine a life of dignity would look like if you were in those shoes. (Everything else is just caricature and plot, not really "narrative" in a mature emotional sense.)

The fact that you can only imagine negative social outcomes for your wife is a bit troubling -- but, then again, I tend to believe that Grace is the whole reason we exist, so I'm biased toward redemption and the power inherent in helping the fallen become redeemed.

ETA: Or it could also be related to the idea that betrayal, in the early stages, is often described in terms of loss -- which is a faulty comparison. At eight years out, I can tell you that I loss nothing inherent to me as a betrayed spouse. I didn't have to rebuild myself from a faulty foundation. All I "lost" were some illusions based on lies I was being told by someone who chose to be untrustworthy.

Their untrustworthiness (and my ability to trust) didn't say anything about me. Their behavior didn't erode anything from me or steal anything sacred from inside me.

Betrayal presented, instead, an opportunity to evaluate where I wanted to go from there: what commitments I wanted to confirm, what rules I wanted to change, what I wanted to write on the clean slate of a life that was suddenly relieved of all the social obligations assumed as part of marriage in the 21st century.

From my perspective, the power dynamics had all shifted to my side, because I'd already paid the bill. There were no changes required of me to keep moving and living my life except those that I deemed valuable to me (because, honestly, if my wife didn't like it, what would it have cost me? A marriage to a cheating wife? Wow.) What my future would hold was completely in my hands instead of our "collective" hands as a married couple.

It's a pretty intoxicating existence to find yourself suddenly, with reason, and with adequate social justification, completely free of obligation. You can, literally, do whatever you want and know you've made the right choice -- and you can do it in the open, in front of God and everyone, without any fear of social consequences or disapprobation.

Sort of like all the grand parts of an affair without the D-Day.

[This message edited by wincing_at_light at 5:58 PM, July 1st (Tuesday)]


Machiavellian idiot savant

Posts: 6747 | Registered: Apr 2007 | From: Indiana
NoGoodUsername
Member
Member # 40181
Default  Posted: 7:28 PM, July 1st (Tuesday)

Painfulpast:
No offense taken. I knew that I was stepping into dangerous space when I posted. I felt it was important enough to go ahead anyway. You'll notice this isn't in General. I wanted to have a conversation about something hard with a larger group and there are risks that come with that.
Regarding your quote from me, I didn't say we get to be, I said that we get to try and there is a big difference between the two. Your following points are well taken and you are right, what I can see is defined by my perspective and others may not share the vision of where I think I could go with enough work. No dispute there at all. I think that you missed my point that there is a social narrative for Waywards that accepts the possibility of redemption in addition to the more negative labels. My point is that the wrongdoers get the chance at an potentially respectable ending, but it seems to be hard to find big stories where the people we wronged end up doing well.
In regard to you feeling demeaned, I apologize. That was in no way my intent and I am sorry that I hurt your feelings by expressing myself so poorly that my intent failed to be clear.
My goal here is to have a conversation about what the identity of a Betrayed spouse becomes. I'm looking for answers to these questions, I want to know the stories. Outside of SI, I don't see a large, shared vision for Betrayed partners. I think it sucks and it's not fair. I sometimes see unfair labels applied to you that victimize you all over again and I am sick to death of it.

I'm going to accept your urging for me to read all of SI with the assumption of good intent, because that is where you have a habit of coming from. I do read SI. Every day. I see many, many people posting with strength and bravery despite their hurts.
(edited to finish my post)

[This message edited by NoGoodUsername at 8:28 PM, July 1st (Tuesday)]


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: 245 | Registered: Aug 2013
NoGoodUsername
Member
Member # 40181
Default  Posted: 7:34 PM, July 1st (Tuesday)

I beg your pardon, I am on my kindle and it isn't good for long entries.
I am reading and considering your replies. Responding with good answers for each of you is hard right now.


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: 245 | Registered: Aug 2013
NoGoodUsername
Member
Member # 40181
Default  Posted: 9:14 PM, July 1st (Tuesday)

Wincing_at_light

Thank you for your replies and your investment in the conversation.

You wrote:

There is no lose, at least not in decent society, for the BS.

Perhaps there is the line that separates us. I'm not convinced that we live in a decent society.

Maybe I'm so jaded by the badness that I see in myself and others that I don't have much expectation of other people treating people who have been victimized well. Maybe it's more than just being jaded, we do a lot of victim blaming in this culture. I really wish what you said there was true, it would mean there really was some justice in the world.

You also say:

...it seems to me that the fact that you *can't* see any good narratives for the BS is something you ought to look into (likely from the perspective of power dynamics).

I can't see any good narratives that are shared on a societal level for Betrayed partners. If you have any to share, I'm all ears. I've been asking for it all along. Hell, man, I'm desperate to hear something substantive.
For power dynamics, it's a tangent, but worth talking about. I think about that subject a lot and there has been a profound and deliberate shift in power to my BW in order to try and restore a sense of safety and control in her life. Committing infidelity steals huge power from the Betrayed and I sincerely believe that Waywards need to get as much power back into the hands of their spouse a possible for a variety of reasons.
There is a lot more that could be said here, but I'll stop jacking my own thread now.

You say:

Narratives all start as empathy -- what you can imagine a life of dignity would look like if you were in those shoes.

A worthy point to raise.

You go on to say many things about the freedom of choice and power that comes from bringing this out in the open. What happens when that isn't how the Betrayed spouse feels? 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?

You have my appreciation, for taking an honest dive into the conversation.


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: 245 | Registered: Aug 2013
painfulpast
Member
Member # 41038
Default  Posted: 9:36 PM, July 1st (Tuesday)

I sometimes see unfair labels applied to you that victimize you all over again and I am sick to death of it.

And I often see WSs labeled 'cheater' despite years of non-wayward behavior. I'm sure you've heard the phrase "Once a cheater, always a cheater"? This is a fairly common social phrase. Hell, I've even heard it on 'Friends'. THIS is how a great many in society views a WS.

There are no winners in this infidelity game. No one comes out 'redeemed', and no one comes out a saint.

I still think you're viewing this through your eyes, and with rose colored glasses. If that's how you see things, then that's how you see things.


The stones from my enemies, these wounds will mend
but I cannot survive the roses from my friends

Posts: 1893 | Registered: Oct 2013 | From: East Coast
wincing_at_light
Member
Member # 14393
Default  Posted: 10:36 PM, July 1st (Tuesday)

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: 6747 | Registered: Apr 2007 | From: Indiana
wincing_at_light
Member
Member # 14393
Default  Posted: 10:49 PM, July 1st (Tuesday)

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: 6747 | Registered: Apr 2007 | From: Indiana
bionicgal
Member
Member # 39803
Default  Posted: 10:55 PM, July 1st (Tuesday)

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 more like a mental break than a relationship.

I edit, therefore I am.


Posts: 2007 | Registered: Jul 2013 | From: USA
Rebreather
Member
Member # 30817
Default  Posted: 10:56 PM, July 1st (Tuesday)

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: 6499 | Registered: Jan 2011
wincing_at_light
Member
Member # 14393
Default  Posted: 11:01 PM, July 1st (Tuesday)

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


Machiavellian idiot savant

Posts: 6747 | Registered: Apr 2007 | From: Indiana
wincing_at_light
Member
Member # 14393
Default  Posted: 11:02 PM, July 1st (Tuesday)

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: 6747 | Registered: Apr 2007 | From: Indiana
Rebreather
Member
Member # 30817
Default  Posted: 11:02 PM, July 1st (Tuesday)

*slowly cranks up middle finger*


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

Posts: 6499 | Registered: Jan 2011
Rebreather
Member
Member # 30817
Default  Posted: 11:03 PM, July 1st (Tuesday)

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: 6499 | Registered: Jan 2011
mike7
Member
Member # 38603
Default  Posted: 11:06 PM, July 1st (Tuesday)

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)

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


Machiavellian idiot savant

Posts: 6747 | Registered: Apr 2007 | From: Indiana
wincing_at_light
Member
Member # 14393
Default  Posted: 11:10 PM, July 1st (Tuesday)

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: 6747 | Registered: Apr 2007 | From: Indiana
5454real
Member
Member # 37455
Default  Posted: 11:11 PM, July 1st (Tuesday)

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: 2873 | Registered: Nov 2012 | From: midwest
Rebreather
Member
Member # 30817
Default  Posted: 11:17 PM, July 1st (Tuesday)

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: 6499 | Registered: Jan 2011
Want2babettrme
New Member
Member # 43291
Default  Posted: 11:41 PM, July 1st (Tuesday)

Bionicgal,

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


Posts: 23 | Registered: Apr 2014 | From: The Sunny South
mike7
Member
Member # 38603
Default  Posted: 12:13 AM, July 2nd (Wednesday)

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)

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: 752 | Registered: Dec 2010 | From: Ches
rachelc
Member
Member # 30314
Default  Posted: 6:42 AM, July 2nd (Wednesday)

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


Posts: 5071 | Registered: Dec 2010
bionicgal
Member
Member # 39803
Default  Posted: 7:02 AM, July 2nd (Wednesday)

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 more like a mental break than a relationship.

I edit, therefore I am.


Posts: 2007 | Registered: Jul 2013 | From: USA
NoGoodUsername
Member
Member # 40181
Default  Posted: 7:30 AM, July 2nd (Wednesday)

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: 245 | Registered: Aug 2013
NoGoodUsername
Member
Member # 40181
Default  Posted: 7:44 AM, July 2nd (Wednesday)

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: 245 | Registered: Aug 2013
Zengirl
Member
Member # 42195
Default  Posted: 8:03 AM, July 2nd (Wednesday)

Love this thread - great stuff to mull over for awhile. But thanks especially to wal for this little nugget of brilliance to keep me smiling today.

Doesn't matter which way the BS goes, there's a narrative that fits like a badass glove of awesome.


Me (BW): 40
Married: 15 years
3 kids
D-Day: 10/13

Posts: 152 | Registered: Jan 2014
mbbd
Member
Member # 41828
Default  Posted: 8:16 AM, July 2nd (Wednesday)

This thread is stirring up a memory of a counseling session gone haywire/ Our MC stated in a session in the first year that he thought that it was evident that I am on a pedestal being catered to and a marriage should be equal... not one person above the other. He felt that my H would do anything and everything I wanted... and that I should not take advantage of the position. Did any of you feel the earthquake I unleashed on him? In the past two years, my H and I have worked so hard at communication... some things successfully, some not. The guilt and remorse stop the narrative on my H's part from being as nourishing as it should be. My anger stops my communication from being as cognoscente to his pain as I could be.

Posts: 71 | Registered: Dec 2013
rachelc
Member
Member # 30314
Default  Posted: 8:19 AM, July 2nd (Wednesday)

he guilt and remorse stop the narrative on my H's part from being as nourishing as it should be. My anger stops my communication from being as cognoscente to his pain as I could be.

and this is why recovering from this is so very difficult. Typical marriages without infidelity have trouble with communication. Throw in a nuclear bomb and consider how that impacts communication.


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


Posts: 5071 | Registered: Dec 2010
sisoon
Member
Member # 31240
Default  Posted: 9:24 AM, July 2nd (Wednesday)

Infidelity is apparently a primal fear shared by human beings all over.

Before we experience it, and if we don't experience it, we create stories in the hope of understanding it - stories like cold W, boring H, irresistible man or woman, weak, immoral woman, 2 people getting drunk and making a mistake, 2 people finding true love with someone other than their spouses, etc., etc., etc., etc..

The stories we learn about infidelity say absolutely nothing about the reality of d-day and recovery for the BS - gut-wrenching grief, anger, and fear (- or for the WS).

That's why the BSes who heal (whether they D, R, or stay in a less than ideal M) probably ignore 'society'. Society knows nothing about our experience. The critical things society says to and about people experiencing infidelity are best ignored.


fBH (me) - 70 (22 in my head), fWW (plainsong) - 65+, Married 45+, together since 1965
DDay - 12/2010
Recovered, not yet fully R'ed
I share my own experience because it's the only experience I know, not because I'm a good model.

Posts: 10167 | Registered: Feb 2011 | From: Chicago area
bionicgal
Member
Member # 39803
Default  Posted: 9:37 AM, July 2nd (Wednesday)

I've been thinking about this, Jesus jokes aside. (I probably could've made it Harry Potter as well, but I digress...)

Here's the thing...cultural stereotypes are just that...shorthand ways to communicate. They aren't necessarily reflective of reality, and you can find many that contradict each other. (I.e."once a cheater always a cheater" & "the redeemed wayward".) They reflect nothing but underlying cultural assumptions, but are not Truths with a capital "T."

What seems like capital -T truth to me, is Plato's assertion that we should be kind to each other, as we are all fighting a hard battle. And, as David Foster Wallace said in his commencement speech at Kenyon College, we all get to choose how we interpret things. . .life, and the things that happen to us.

So, I am not so concerned about the cultural narrative.


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: 2007 | Registered: Jul 2013 | From: USA
bionicgal
Member
Member # 39803
Default  Posted: 9:37 AM, July 2nd (Wednesday)

dup post

[This message edited by bionicgal at 3:51 PM, July 2nd (Wednesday)]


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: 2007 | Registered: Jul 2013 | From: USA
seethelight
Member
Member # 43513
Default  Posted: 9:49 AM, July 2nd (Wednesday)

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.

I agree that most BH's are seen as a cuckhold by the gossips of the world and people who have never been cheated on.

I don't see it that way, as a Betrayed wife.

As for the Betrayed wife, I think they are also held responsible for the husband's cheating. I have heard the gossip, many times before being cheated on.

The gossip among women was always about the husband ran on the wife because she let herself go, or she was not sexy enough or she was not treating him well enough, or she withheld sex.

I think people who have never been betrayed do this out of fear and as a way to give themselves the allusion of control and the ability to stop their own spouse from having an affair.

In their minds, if the BS did something to CAUSE THE WAYWARD TO CHEAT, then, the people think they can prevent their spouse from cheating.

I think they misjudge the BS as a defense mechanism for themselves.


“If two people truly have feelings for one another then they don’t have an affair. They get a divorce and they sort out their feelings. You are accountable for the people you hold hostage in a marriage when your mind and heart refuse to fully commit

Posts: 1238 | Registered: May 2014
sudra
Member
Member # 30143
Default  Posted: 10:00 AM, July 2nd (Wednesday)

See, it took it that NGU was trying to understand what a BS goes though after Dday in a more global sense - not how s/he feels from the cheating itself but how s/he perceives the world and how s/he is treated. Perhaps I misread.

And yes, I define me. But I live in society. I have friends and family.

My very best friend in the world, upon hearing that my husband wanted a divorce (before I knew he was cheating), asked me how out sex life was. First thing out of her mouth. Well, it sucked. He had not touched me in months (since he fell in love with OW). So she and I explored my fault in my husband wanting a D. It had to be my fault.

She has pointedly made comments, since learning that my husband cheated, about keeping the man happy in bed and has even gone so far as to get us a romantic music CD and candles. Like if I'd had those before, he wouldn't have cheated. She's said time and again, if the sex isn't there, men will look elsewhere. She's never forgotten that I said we weren't having sex, even though I told her later that we WERE having sex when the A started. The lack of sex came later, and was because HE didn't want it because HE was cheating. She simply cannot imagine that it wasn't something I did (or didn't do).

Another very good friend, who husband regularly cheats with other men, told me, after Dday, she could never stay if her husband was in love with another woman.

My third very good friend, who left her first husband after he confessed an affair, was totally supportive. She said, again and again, that I shouldn't blame myself, it wasn't my fault.

My DStepD, once commented that women surely must know when their husband cheat and just ignore it.

Everywhere we look, the woman is blamed for not keeping her man satisfied. Talk shows, conversation, television, everywhere, even self-help books on cheating. "If a partner cheats, we must look at the marriage to see what s/he wasn't getting that made them stray."

Ugh! Yes, I know that I am still with my husband because he is remorseful, is trying to change, sorta, and because I am strong and willing to take the risk. I know I rock!

But I hear otherwise all over the place. So, NGU, thanks for asking. Society's acceptance has made this so much harder than it should have to be. Society should treat infidelity as the scourge to society that it is.


Me (BW) (55), Him(SAWH) (58)
Married 22 years, 1 son (19), 1 stepdaughter (27)
DDay #1 January 2004
DDay #2 7-27-2010 7 month EA/PA (became "engaged" to OW before he told me he wanted a divorce)
Working on R

Posts: 1480 | Registered: Nov 2010
Crushed15Feb13
Member
Member # 38846
Default  Posted: 10:25 AM, July 2nd (Wednesday)

Actually, every narrative for the BS is a successful one.
If you stay, you're the awesome spouse who was willing to give their spouse a second chance -- the one who modeled forgiveness and strength while everything around them was trying to destroy their family and their children.

If you divorce, you're the spouse who knew when it was time to stop putting up with shit and take charge of your life.

Doesn't matter which way the BS goes, there's a narrative that fits like a badass glove of awesome.

Even if you try to R and get cheated on again or whatever, you're still the person who gave their spouse every chance to turn things around for the sake of their children (or dogs or whatever).

There is no lose, at least not in decent society, for the BS. Anyone who tends to argue the other way is usually a not-so-former WS or someone for whom infidelity remains an open option.

Honestly, this makes my heart sick to read. I'm sure I have a long way to go in my journey of trying to heal, but this treads so lightly on a terribly painful subject and with such upbeat confidence that it is beyond my understanding right now; it just hurts without relent. It seems to me like there has been plenty of "lose". And I am not a WS, nor do I feel infidelity is an open option for me.

It hurts the same way the book title "My Husband's Affair Became the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me" hurts.


Me: BH, 54
Her: WW, 54 4 yr LTA
Married 31 yrs, 2 college age boys
DDay #1: 15Feb13 - LTA 2008-2013
DDay #2: 27Jan14 - ONS, same AP 2007 - turns out it was a 5 yr LTA
Trying to understand

Posts: 247 | Registered: Mar 2013
wincing_at_light
Member
Member # 14393
Default  Posted: 10:51 AM, July 2nd (Wednesday)

Crushed,

Once upon a time, I wanted to punch everybody in the face who suggested (even faintly) that there was light at the end of the tunnel of my pain.

It felt like some kind of disgustingly irrational and myopic joy. Worse, it felt like being patted on the head and being told that what I was experiencing was no big deal in the grand scheme of things.

I needed to hold onto my agony and honor it with the gravity it deserved.

So, I feel you. You're in a completely normal headspace.


Machiavellian idiot savant

Posts: 6747 | Registered: Apr 2007 | From: Indiana
NoGoodUsername
Member
Member # 40181
Default  Posted: 10:55 AM, July 2nd (Wednesday)

seethelight, Sudra, crushed15: your responses are definitely in the spaces that I wanted to explore with this thread.

from Sudra:

But I hear otherwise all over the place. ...Society's acceptance has made this so much harder than it should have to be. Society should treat infidelity as the scourge to society that it is.

Yes, this. Infidelity isn't funny. It's not just something that happens in life and you move on and it's not the fault of the betrayed partner. So why are so many of the questions in the world about what the Betrayed did wrong? It's just more self-protective victim blaming to prop up the myth of a fundamentally just world.


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: 245 | Registered: Aug 2013
KatieG
Member
Member # 41222
Default  Posted: 11:06 AM, July 2nd (Wednesday)

So why are so many of the questions in the world about what the Betrayed did wrong?

Really? Is this still the case, I think with more awareness of mental illness and SA we are all opening our eyes. Its very old fashioned thinking that the BS did wrong and "drove" the WS to it.


DD#1 - 6th Oct 13 - TT
DD#2 - 9th Nov 13 - Full disclosure
DD#3 - 12th May 14 - FOG lifted and in R
7 week A, 2 weeks together, rest phone and email - PA and EA

Posts: 449 | Registered: Nov 2013
Ascendant
Member
Member # 38303
Default  Posted: 11:19 AM, July 2nd (Wednesday)

Sudra-

I get what you're saying, and I've struggled with it a little myself, but at the end of the day....why be friends with those people?

The one and only good thing to come out of this awful fucking mess (and even then, I already knew it before) is that I am burning daylight with every breath and every minute I waste on, or with, people who don't add any joy to my life is a minute I've flushed down the toilet. I owe a lot of that to WAL and his posts. I'm sure that's no shock.

Someday I will die.

I'll be damned if I spend even 5 minutes on my deathbed thinking about all the shit I *wished* I'd done.

I'm trying as best as possible to live the life I want to live. I love my wife, and I love my kids, but at the end of the day they do not define who I am...I stay true to my promises to them, but I am *finished* constraining and contorting myself to what society's (or my wife's, or my parents' or my peers') role for a loving husband and father is.

Everyone's different, though. My give-a-fuck-o-matic shattered on DDAY2, it just took a while for my brain to catch up. As a BS, though, the sooner that you start slowly cranking up that middle finger A LA Rebreather to everyone's expectations of you, the better.


I refuse to let a wound ruin me.
**Guts over fear.**

Posts: 2117 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Illinois
bionicgal
Member
Member # 39803
Default  Posted: 2:04 PM, July 2nd (Wednesday)

So why are so many of the questions in the world about what the Betrayed did wrong?

I must live in an alternate universe. I haven't heard this once from the people I've told, nor have I heard it in relationship to the OBS -- not one, single time. So for those of you who feel it is the "cultural conversation," I would wholeheartedly challenge that. I might also look at who you have chosen to tell, or who you hang around with that might say or even imply such things!

[This message edited by bionicgal at 2:05 PM, July 2nd (Wednesday)]


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: 2007 | Registered: Jul 2013 | From: USA
StillGoing
Member
Member # 28571
Default  Posted: 2:32 PM, July 2nd (Wednesday)

We don't exist in a vacuum. Our identity is affected by what goes on around us. We are social creatures and what we believe others think of us matters. I'll be the first to agree that overvaluing what other people think is extremely unhealthy. Seeking cheap validation is at the core of my personal sins, but that's not what I am talking about here. Regardless, the lens other people view us through shapes how they treat us and, like it or not, that affects our feelings, our relationships and our self-image. What label other people apply to us does matter. It's not the whole story, but it matters.

It really only matters as much as you want it to matter.

My narrative is all about me wrestling fire elementals with my bare hands, while riding a giant chicken named Sir Whuffles IV. It's read by Kenneth Branagh.

I honestly don't care what society defines my narrative as. Society raised up Justin Beiber as whatever he is. It's way below my reading level.


“Fate is a fickle bitch who dotes on irony.”

Posts: 7456 | Registered: May 2010 | From: USA
wert
Member
Member # 34478
Default  Posted: 2:49 PM, July 2nd (Wednesday)

We don't exist in a vacuum. Our identity is affected by what goes on around us. We are social creatures and what we believe others think of us matters. I'll be the first to agree that overvaluing what other people think is extremely unhealthy. Seeking cheap validation is at the core of my personal sins, but that's not what I am talking about here. Regardless, the lens other people view us through shapes how they treat us and, like it or not, that affects our feelings, our relationships and our self-image. What label other people apply to us does matter. It's not the whole story, but it matters.

Agreed that what we believe others think of us does matter. But I get to decide who's "beliefs" I value. I don't value a newspapers or huffy puffy post. Post A, as a BS, I really filter out the crap and frankly that is what most opinion is, crap. I know who my friends are and the rest can take a hike.

I would add that I am unclear who society is. That seems to be a varied and broad concept at best. I get what you are driving at in so much that society has various opinions about things. Certain narratives are held by various sects of society about infidelity in general and about BS's and WS's extra. Moreover, those tend to vary on male or female status. I get that, but I firmly reject that notion that it shapes me. I am the hero of my own story. Why would I want anyone else to be? Much of my meditation practice focuses identifying false beliefs, often imposed by "society" and redefining them myself. I think it central to be a fully self actualized person. It's a journey and it's messy at times but it's mine.

That's why the BSes who heal (whether they D, R, or stay in a less than ideal M) probably ignore 'society'. Society knows nothing about our experience.
Bingo.

I have consistently said the first thing a BS should do is stick their middle finger up to just about everybody in view. It's gut check time. I time to get to know you time. It's fierce independence time. Once you get centered, you start listening to people who are kind, make sense and matter to you.

I go back to my original statement to you. Take a long look at why you are asking the questions you are. While they are interesting from a sociological stand point, I think they hold little value in healing - unless it forces individuals to reject the very notion of societies viewpoint. Notice I did not say the conversation was not worth while I just think at the end of the day as with most generalize thoughts and pondering's, it doesn't help people much.

Take care...

[This message edited by wert at 3:02 PM, July 2nd (Wednesday)]



Posts: 1428 | Registered: Jan 2012
painfulpast
Member
Member # 41038
Default  Posted: 3:16 PM, July 2nd (Wednesday)

My very best friend in the world, upon hearing that my husband wanted a divorce (before I knew he was cheating), asked me how out sex life was. First thing out of her mouth. Well, it sucked. He had not touched me in months (since he fell in love with OW). So she and I explored my fault in my husband wanting a D. It had to be my fault.

She has pointedly made comments, since learning that my husband cheated, about keeping the man happy in bed and has even gone so far as to get us a romantic music CD and candles. Like if I'd had those before, he wouldn't have cheated. She's said time and again, if the sex isn't there, men will look elsewhere. She's never forgotten that I said we weren't having sex, even though I told her later that we WERE having sex when the A started. The lack of sex came later, and was because HE didn't want it because HE was cheating. She simply cannot imagine that it wasn't something I did (or didn't do).

Wow. No offense, but how do you call a woman that has been blaming you for your WH's actions for so long "my very best friend". That sounds more like a selfish, close-minded know it all. I"m sure you've provided fact after fact that a WS cheats because of the WS, not the BS, and yet she continues to vocalize her belief that you caused his cheating. To me, that's not a friend at all.

She sounds extremely toxic. How do you remain friends with someone that blames you for what may very well be the worst experience of your life?

[This message edited by painfulpast at 3:16 PM, July 2nd (Wednesday)]


The stones from my enemies, these wounds will mend
but I cannot survive the roses from my friends

Posts: 1893 | Registered: Oct 2013 | From: East Coast
painfulpast
Member
Member # 41038
Default  Posted: 3:19 PM, July 2nd (Wednesday)

your responses are definitely in the spaces that I wanted to explore with this thread.

OK - but I have to ask, if you wanted comments regarding the stupid, uniformed comments regarding the BS being 'at fault', why not just ask "How do the BSs here feel about society's tendency to blame them for the A?" Instead of "I get to be redeemed, and society loves that, but where are the successful BSs?"

These are two very different questions.

[This message edited by painfulpast at 3:20 PM, July 2nd (Wednesday)]


The stones from my enemies, these wounds will mend
but I cannot survive the roses from my friends

Posts: 1893 | Registered: Oct 2013 | From: East Coast
NoGoodUsername
Member
Member # 40181
Default  Posted: 5:24 PM, July 2nd (Wednesday)

Responding to painfulpast

OK - but I have to ask, if you wanted comments regarding the stupid, uniformed comments regarding the BS being 'at fault', why not just ask "How do the BSs here feel about society's tendency to blame them for the A?" Instead of "I get to be redeemed, and society loves that, but where are the successful BSs?"

These are two very different questions.

I strongly feel that mischaracterizes what I have been talking about. This site is full of successful BSs and there are, hopefully, thousands of them that have moved on from here and don't post any more. There are many, many BSs on this site that are great models, including right here in this thread. Also, there was no self-congratulatory declaration "I get to be redeemed". I was presenting the most positive vision I know of from the Wayward perspective as a means of illustration.

Getting into the 'two different questions', I submit that they are not.
I've been trying to talk about the shared visions that circulate in our social construct. The big ideas and labels that we make available bear a direct relationship to the "stupid, uninformed comments regarding the BS being 'at fault'". From what I can see, the lack of social archetypes supporting BSs and the individual behavior of people who assume affairs are the fault of the BS are symptoms of the same larger set of problems. They manifest at different scales. i.e. large group, small group, interpersonal and self-identification.
The missing positive imagery and the poor treatment some people receive probably have the same roots and feed into each other. I also argue that we might have better success breaking some of the victim blaming if it is addressed at both larger and smaller scales.

I have to go cook dinner now. I'll be back later.


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: 245 | Registered: Aug 2013
wincing_at_light
Member
Member # 14393
Default  Posted: 6:04 PM, July 2nd (Wednesday)

I'm beginning to think that this has got to be a data issue (i.e., how you feel about this depends on your sources of input.)

I guess I've just spent way too much time in church circles over the years, because, honestly, the idea that you blame anyone except the sinner for their sins is foreign to me.

To me, even most Hollywood representations of infidelity are loaded with metadata -- you know from the moment the A starts that it's going to end badly, or it was initiated by someone with catastrophically dysfunctional coping mechanisms -- that make most of those stories anything *but* celebrations of unfaithfulness. They're expressions of tragic choices with predictably tragic consequences.

At the end of the day, the narratives you have access to are limited by the narratives you encounter. I think some of us are just drawing water from different wells.

(I wonder also if some of it isn't about FOO stuff. For instance, if you have a parent who was betrayed, you learn how one copes with infidelity through their experience -- either as a positive or as a reaction against. My parents didn't give me any lessons to draw from in this regard, so I got to make it up as I went along. With regards to friends giving bad advice, I've also never had any problem identifying stupid and unproductive commentary -- I don't take life advice from people whose lives I don't have any interest in emulating, for example. I don't take marriage advice from people who have been divorced four times. -- without assuming its representative of some legitimate school of thought.)


Machiavellian idiot savant

Posts: 6747 | Registered: Apr 2007 | From: Indiana
Zengirl
Member
Member # 42195
Default  Posted: 7:00 PM, July 2nd (Wednesday)

Immediately after DDay, I told a very small number of friends what had happened. Only one of them responded in a way that could be perceived as blaming me for my H's actions. She actually told me to "go home and put on make up, get dressed up, and win him back." Yep, she actually said that. But she is from a different country and very different culture from my own, and it just struck me as comic relief, even in that moment.

Her response, so natural coming from her background, was so absurd coming from mine, that it seemed more amusing than offensive.

I think it is a fascinating topic to look at how societal expectations and beliefs affect the process of healing from infidelity. This thread is a great reminder that even within my own culture, there seems to be a pretty broad interpretation of how society views infidelity, for either partner. That realization is helpful, because as much as I "know better", I DO struggle with the feeling that I will be seen as weak, or pitiful in some way, for staying married to someone who could betray me. It's a hangup I'm trying to shake, but it's not easy.


Me (BW): 40
Married: 15 years
3 kids
D-Day: 10/13

Posts: 152 | Registered: Jan 2014
NoGoodUsername
Member
Member # 40181
Default  Posted: 7:23 PM, July 2nd (Wednesday)

I probably won't be back on again tonight. My wife just invited me to spend time with her on the couch and have dessert. As good a conversation as this is, the priorities are are pretty easy to figure out!


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: 245 | Registered: Aug 2013
hopefull77
Member
Member # 43221
Default  Posted: 8:06 PM, July 2nd (Wednesday)

Enjoy your dessert.....I have read all the comments here...
I have listened to you all...I can only add that at the end of the day I am the BS choosing to stay with my H ....no one else ...not society...not Hollywood not SI can write this story or how it ends...it is ours to write...
That CARPENTER though ....he's with us on this journey....and has been all along
you guys are all well spoken and well versed...
I'm an Italian I speak with my hands!
The one thing I have learned on this journey is to be a good listener....I hear you all and I appreciate what you have all said!


me-BS
him-WS
3 adult children 1D 2S
married-1977
LTA 09-2010 - 11-2012
D-day - 11-11-2012
status - reconciling and very hopeful
"Let Go of Control; Let God's Life Flow" ...Richard Rohr



Posts: 559 | Registered: Apr 2014 | From: sunny california
notanavrageangel
Member
Member # 44154
Default  Posted: 5:02 PM, August 11th (Monday)

(((bionicgal)))

Thank you so much for what you said. This will stick with me in the times that I have doubts about R.


Me: BW, 28
Him: WH, 28
DDAY 7/4/14 TT till 7/18/14

"Reconciliation means working together to correct the legacy of past injustice." - Nelson Mandela


Posts: 209 | Registered: Jul 2014
bionicgal
Member
Member # 39803
Default  Posted: 6:41 PM, August 11th (Monday)

Glad I revisited this. . . That made me smile! You are welcome.


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: 2007 | Registered: Jul 2013 | From: USA
RidingHealingRd
Member
Member # 33867
Default  Posted: 7:30 PM, August 11th (Monday)

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

Unlike the WS the BS remain "people of Integrity"


ME: 54 BS
HIM: 61 WH
Married: 28 years
D'Day: 10/29/10
in R 3.5 years and it's working but he is putting 200% into it (as he should) to make it right again.

The truth hurts, but I have never seen it cause the pain that lies do.


Posts: 2109 | Registered: Nov 2011
Edie
Member
Member # 26133
Default  Posted: 12:05 PM, August 12th (Tuesday)

Absolutely spot on WAL. (How very nice to see you. :))


Maybe a long walk in the Hindu Kush would do it?
BW (me) 52
FWS 55
Together 29 years; 2 DDs 15 & 12
Dday Dec 08 (confessed) Feb 09 16 other OW confessed. OW17 tried her unedifying hardest until Aug 09. R'd.

Posts: 5120 | Registered: Nov 2009 | From: UK
Topic Posts: 67