Brokensmile322...I see you struggling like I am. We want some assurance that the person who hurt us more deeply then we thought we could stand and still live through that it won't happen again.
The fact is....it could happen again.
I see you searching for all of the clues you missed in your pre-A M....clues that would have protected you from this pain had you "just seen them". I see you finding some clues....some of which directly tie back to YOUR CHOICES on how to do M. We are similar in this regard....and think it a pretty common occurrence for most BS 2 years out. You might even be tempted to D and find another "clean slate" to "do M right" with knowing what you NOW know about how to choose healthier. I am right there with you.
Just tripple check the process by which you evaluate your choices.
to that end...I want to address head on Dr. Phils quote...and challenge something that is assumed to be a healthy way to live.
Dr. Phil rightly says "the most accurate predictor of a person's future behavior is their relevant past behavior".
I disagree with this concept.
If you applied this to every one on SI....D would be chosen by many BS's because the relevant past behavior would indicate that "my spouse is a cheater!!!". The relevant behavior of my wife during the summer and fall of 2012 would have almost exclusively my wife selfishly choosing her A over just about everything else....her job, her M, her kids, her friendships. 5 months of affair-driven choices. So when does "relevant past" start? After DD, how many WS continue to choose wayward actions....white knuckle rather than dig deeper? Retrouvaille weekend presenters each talked about the process the wayward had to go through to move away from being able to choose adultery to process life. At what point in time do you say "starting now"? When does a WS start the clock on the BS with regards to the BS's "relevant behavior"?
Dr. Phils theory is also to close to a self-fullfilling destructive pattern....self-limiting. It subscribes to the theory I am who my past says I am.
You have been on this journey long enough to know it is a process....change can occur. You are no where close to the person you were 6 months ago....way different than you were 2 years ago. How long where you the person you were in your pre-A M? For me, I was a similar person for most of my married life....its just been since DD that I actually started to heal and mature parts of me I need to heal and mature....so chronological time has little to do with change.
Your masks have been destroyed and you are revealing your authentic self more and more. Mr. brokensmile322 may try to reach for his masks now and again...but you have seen the person under those masks. Your "relevant past behavior" is constantly in flux since DD....don't use that as a "predicting model" lest you are happy and content with who you are NOW.
The issue I take with Dr. Phil is who defines "relevant past behavior"?
If it is left up to the BS....ANY behavior in their spouse that smells of wayward behavior will influence the BS to move towards the "once a cheater always a cheater" thought.
If it is left up to the WS....ANY of their behavior that is indicitive of being vulnerable and open and turning towards their BS will influence the WS to declare victory! MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.
In those sitches....when the BS gets just a wiff of a wayward action in their spouse a BS would use Dr. Phil suggestion and pounce on the wayward, the wayward feels double condemned (because they KNOW they just screwed up) and ....resentment in the WS is the result.
On the flip side, when the wayward DOES become more vulnerable and open and turns towards their spouse but declares MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! A wayward would use Dr. Phils suggestion is that they all fixed...but the painful consequences of the affair is still within the BS....resentment in the BS is the result because, while they recognize the WS is doing better, the pain of what they did do is still alive.
"Predictions" don't sit well with me to begin with. I work in "predictive models" every day at work. Marriage is not strictly a physical, scientific model we are working with. Marriages are not a work plan that has easily defined return on investments...there are emotional and spiritual battles going on. These elude Dr. Phils simplisitic theory.
The present is the healthiest way to guage what your next step is....not what the future at large is....just the next step.
My wife chose to lurk OM FB page. My next step was to inform her that caused me renewed pain. She then had to use that expression from me to her to choose her next step.
As a BS I am tempted to keep track of all of the pain my wife causes me...and forget the comforting "chocolate covered pretzels she made for me when I had a tough day at work" times.
I get that Dr. Phil thinks we should be very analytical about this...that I should be able to keep track of the factual good "chocolate pretzel" choices as easily as I do of the "lurking OM" choices.....but the emotional and spiritual pain of adultery limits this effectiveness. I, for one, can not be objective in the midst of the pain this journey causes me.
NOTE: This is why relationship friendly fellowship is so important. Lord help me if my go-to guys would rally behind every selfish feeling I express to them! I need them to help me stay grounded when my emotions run high.
MC help in this....but they are only present for 1 hour a week.
I am doing better with God's help...but I am not in a lab working with chemicals. This is real life with real pain and real emotions.
I know this is a soap box but this idea of using your past as a "predicitive model" for your future behavior is not correct. I used this in my pre-A M and it hurt way more than it helped.
Our past does not define us. It forms us and molds us and offers us wisdom if we choose to accept it....but we have today to USE that wisdome from our past experiences to make new choices TODAY. To become the person we want to become and NOT be defined by the person we were yesterday.
When a group of guys told me that "blakesteele, you are the life of this party....this race weekend wouldn't be the same without your enthusiasm!" I took it as a compliment mostly....but there was a part of me that got programmed to think "Well, I AM the life of the party....I better BE the life of the party". It caused me to move away from being authentic and to grab yet another mask to wear.
Just be very cautious about what you project and predict. Assumptions are always a part of models because in models there are usually gaps-in-data (facts). Never more so then in relationship modeling, where feelings F with facts constantly.
I was guilty of using feelings as facts in my pre-A M.
My wife absolutely used feelings as facts to choose adultery.
Feelings are indicators...not dictators.
Right now you are feeling strong feelings. The strength of a feeling does not changee the fact that they are NOT FACTS.
I have 30 years of destructive patterns.
"predictively" I am who I am.
This is a very limiting way of living.
You owe it to yourself, brokensmile322, to be your authentic self. Your husband needs to find the courage to do the same thing. This is God's directive for us too.....so this is not a "its all about me" moment. It is bigger than that....far less selfish.
It is less selfish because as you find the courage to be authentic, you will become vulnerable. You will feel more pain...and not just pain from your husband. You will feel pain from your own choices.
I know.....I have that pain today.
God is with us all.