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Overgeneralizing Divorce

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Chili posted 4/2/2018 23:36 PM

In BS to BS postings, this always seems to be the topic that gets over-generalized (and projected onto others) the most. I think people on either side of the R or D coin who have had some time and space away from their pain would agree to something resembling:

Every situation is different, only those people involved in the marriage can ultimately decide what is the best course of action for their own well-being and future.

I am so relieved that I got out of my situation legally at light speed, immersed myself in real healing and jumpstarted my new beginnings almost immediately. Dday to signed papers = 4 months. Serious rapid extraction. My life is so so much better for it.

But, I remain proud of myself for offering him a window (albeit brief) to R. I was probably not in any real position of him accepting it (he never came clean and took the affair(s) underground), but it was there. Of course, I don't know for sure if I would have been able to do it and maybe it was a deal-breaker after all. But, it was offered up. At the time, I remembered that once or twice in my past, I was thrown a life-line, so I decided to throw one out myself.

And mostly it's because I didn't want to have any regrets.

But I caught a marginal amount of crap for it here from certain posters. I felt like a fool for even entertaining an idea that didn't involve scorching the earth and sky with self-righteous fire balls of hate. I was still confused, tender and kind of sad. Hearing that kind of stung at the time. (I was in too fragile an emotional state to always just take what I needed and leave the rest).

Here lately, I've occasionally been seeing that marginal crap I received multiplied by a thousand and dumped right in the lap of new posters in JFO. Ouch. I actually wince for them.

I mean we've all wanted to reach through the screen and give someone a wake-up call - but I don't think our most valuable role on this board is to beat someone upside the head with advice. I think it's to offer words of healing and hope and community. And maybe sometimes - to help people get unstuck.

I don't really have any good or new words of wisdom on a subject that I know has been batted about a fair amount. I just wanted to share a little bit about my pathway here - and to encourage everyone who stays to be examples of healing for others.

SisterMilkshake posted 4/3/2018 01:00 AM

Amen, Chili! Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Every situation is different, only those people involved in the marriage can ultimately decide what is the best course of action for their own well-being and future.
I couldn't agree more.

silverhopes posted 4/3/2018 01:40 AM

I don't think our most valuable role on this board is to beat someone upside the head with advice. I think it's to offer words of healing and hope and community. And maybe sometimes - to help people get unstuck.

You are so right, Chili. Everyone's journey is different, and also each person will come to decisions at a different pace. To be in such a raw space, already confused and hurting, and then to receive harsh words... It can make the trauma worse.

Making mistakes is part of the journey. No one gets the path perfect; we all look back and wish we had done parts of it differently. And that's OK! That's part of growing, part of processing. That's human. So if someone decides to try something different from the advice - don't beat them up for it, even if it winds up being wrong for them. Express concern, not condemnation.

The most precious thing SI has to offer its members, is the affirmation that they're not alone. Especially for new posters.

ohforanewme posted 4/3/2018 02:32 AM

Hi Chill

Your post just emphasises how, for each of us, personal perspective makes the reality that we see, so different to how another might see it.

I gave R a shot for nearly a year before announcing my decision to D. But when I came on SI, I felt that some posters were still pressuring me to try harder at R. I have seen what I see as relentless pressure being placed to R on posters, constantly, for weeks, even months, after they have shared their decision to D.

I have tried to learn from that. I try to frame my posts so that they neither advise D or R but rather Just share experience, in the hope that my experience might be of some help.

ff4152 posted 4/3/2018 04:45 AM

Agreed. Both WS and BS can be so entrenched in their narrative that there is no room for any sort of compromise or alternate path. As I’ve witnessed recently, there can be unintended and tragic consequences of pushing their points of view.

[This message edited by ff4152 at 5:07 AM, April 3rd (Tuesday)]

The1stWife posted 4/3/2018 05:04 AM

I am glad you found what worked for you. It is not an easy decision to make. I applaud your attempt to R even if your spouse did not take advantage of the opportunity. You can look back at your M and know that you have done your best.

Some people are very harsh in their position. I agree. It is not always a good thing in JFO to be harsh and critical given the situation and timing. JFO posters are reeling. They need more love and support and not a bashing.

I have come to the defense of a few posters in JFO who were rude and name calling the poster. It was out of Line and their words were hurtful. I take that as they are just mean angry people. Maybe from being cheated on. Maybe more than that.

I had one person on another infidelity blog insult a new poster. The poster stood up for herself. As did I. The mean angry poster bashed us both and told me words to the effect “you do you and I’ll do me blah blah blah crap”. The original poster left and never returned. Just unacceptable.

I just think some are bitter and angry.

There are times where I make a point how the cheater may not be worthy of R. But I never say D or R (except in a few cases of abuse) and even then I say “leave”. Not D or R. I have said “run far away” in cases with no children and abusive relationships. I have pointed out the cheater is not R material because of various reasons. But that does not mean D.

I agree - I wish people were kinder. And used less foul language at times when posting - the name calling to other posters is rude.

seekers posted 4/3/2018 05:22 AM

Excellent post Chili, I agree.

seekers posted 4/3/2018 05:26 AM

You are so right, Chili. Everyone's journey is different, and also each person will come to decisions at a different pace.


CharliB posted 4/3/2018 07:09 AM

I gave my XWH many chances before I filed. Almost 2 years since I separated and I gave him 5 months before I separated. I didn't want to have any regrets but I do. Wish i had gotten the ball rolling a lot sooner. I could have avoided so much pain. I had to deal with a lot of trickle truth and gaslighting that made me so confused about what I was doing. I guess all of us have our reasons for what we do based on our situations. Turns out that No Contact was the single best thing for helping me move on.

Honestgirl posted 4/3/2018 07:37 AM

Sometimes we need that cold glass of water. But rarely. And not when we are newly hurting. I agree.

I also agree that a chance at R is only fair. There comes a time when you have to pull the plug on charity and move on to self preservation. Well said on all points, Chili.

Iwantmyglasses posted 4/3/2018 07:51 AM

This is a tough one. The emotions are so raw in JFO. I know for me, it can trigger me.

People need to make their own decisions to R or D. It’s easy to stand on sidelines and get wrapped in the raw emotions. At the end of the day, I am not living in anyone’s house and it’s wrong to push an agenda either way.

I think people just want their pain to be validated and they don’t want to feel so alone.

I’ve am trying not to be such a hard ass on JFO.

Bigger posted 4/3/2018 08:10 AM

Good post Chili, and one that raises a few points and questions.

For the record: I was decisive on my d-day. I left the apartment we rented together and never entered it again. We had been together for close-to 5 years, engaged for 3 and to be married just under 5 weeks from d-day. My decision was heavily aided by witnessing her and OM having sex, but was mainly based on me realizing that for ME – at that time – she wasn’t capable of the marriage I craved. Having not formalized the relationship, few joint financial commitments and no kids made the process (but not the decision) easier.

There are a couple of generally accepted factors here on SI that we tend to agree on.

One is that each case is different, is unique.
Although I totally agree that each case is unique then if a new poster focuses on his/her case being unique then the general knowledge and experience here on SI won’t apply. After all – if I as a new poster think MY case is unique then my unique wayward spouse will be that unicorn that ends the affair, tells the total truth and commits totally to NC right away on D-day…

The “uniqueness” IMHO is that it’s happening to YOU. The accumulated knowledge and experience here has a high probability of still applying to YOUR case, despite it being “unique”.

The issue IMHO is to understand probability. Like in the above statement about MY unique WS being the unicorn… The key factor is to understand that the collective wisdom strongly indicates that the odds of the affair being over on d-day is possibly 2/5. The odds of true and total NC possibly 1/5. The odds of knowing the truth to the level you need to help you move on maybe 1/10. Getting all these factors to your benefit… that’s like winning the lottery. Basing your marital future on winning the lottery is about as sensible as basing your financial future on winning the lottery.

There are certain actions or steps that can increase your odds on each factor or step. Expose to the OP spouse and the odds of the affair being over on d-day probably goes from 2/5 to 4/5. If posters focus on their situation being unique they will probably think the advice doesn’t apply to them and thereby miss out on the advice offered here.

So yes – your situation is unique. But commonly accepted behaviors and expectations apply even to your unique case.


Another piece of advice often misused IMHO is the “you don’t need to decide anything right away”.

Frankly then simply by posting on SI a new betrayed spouse has decided to do SOMETHING. The spouse has decided that the newly discovered infidelity is impacting his/her marriage.
I think it can be imperative for the newly betrayed spouse to reach a decision. That decision really isn’t if they want to reconcile or divorce. It’s simply do they want to accept being in infidelity or not.

The answer isn’t really 100% obvious: There are very many cases where a BS has turned a blind eye to his/her spouse’s infidelities. Call it an open marriage, a quiet agreement or maybe even an open ongoing regular argument about it but with no actions to change. But even THAT is a decision. We have posters here that are sharing their spouse’s nth affair since joining SI. Those posters have IMHO accepted that their WS will cheat, the poster will blow-up for a month or so, somebody sleeps on the couch and everybody gets the silent-treatment before some normalcy is reestablished. Until the next time. I don’t think posting virtual hugs or suggesting diet-supplements will change that.

I think one of the roles we have; as people that pretend to have a role in helping others; is to get the BS to decide if they want to remain in infidelity or if they want out of infidelity.

What I do NOT think is within our role is to force R or D down the new BS throat. Help them decide to get out of infidelity, and then outline the two reasonable paths. But let’s not immediately limit the BS options right from day 1.


Then there is the scorched earth policy…

I think too many posters put too much emphasis on revenge and payback.
To them it’s more like a game or competition that someone “wins”.
I think – irrespective of R or D – that there are short-term losers all around.
With R then – if done successfully – there are long-term winners. With D – if done correctly – the BS ends up as a long-term winner. What the WS ends up as doesn’t matter.

If you decide to divorce then that’s perfectly fine. It’s a good and valid path out of an infidelity-relationship. But it can be done with the end-goal in mind and with dignity and grace. Any fleeting satisfaction from shaming the WS now will feel empty 2 years from now.

CharliB posted 4/3/2018 08:19 AM

@ Bigger,
very well said.

steadychevy posted 4/3/2018 08:25 AM

Excellent post, Bigger. Should be kept in circulation on the JFO, IMO.

doigoordoistay posted 4/3/2018 08:37 AM

I think Bigger said it perfectly.

josiep posted 4/3/2018 09:41 AM

I'm not sure I agree with you, chili. When I read the responses to posts, I see a wide variety of ideas, support, advice and opinions.

But the thing in common that I see is each poster tailors their responses to details of the situation. I think the posters here on S.I. give from the heart and display kindness just by offering their support and opinions.

And even when the 2X4's come, they're almost always said with a warning and almost every poster tells the newly betrayed to keep coming back and keep posting. With a big mix of replies, the OP gets a variety of ideas and that will help them begin to see they have a way out of their situation. They might not like their options but they soon realize they will not be in this place of horror forever.

And you're right that no one would disagree with what your wrote

Every situation is different, only those people involved in the marriage can ultimately decide what is the best course of action for their own well-being and future.
but too often, the original decisions are being made by the wayward and sometimes the first step for the BS is to be reminded that they deserve to be in on the decision-making process. I frequently advise them to visit an attorney, not to file for divorce, but to know their rights. That's a HUGE step toward ultimately deciding what's right for their marriage. Our path isn't always linear and we don't all start at Mile Marker 1.

[This message edited by josiep at 9:46 AM, April 3rd (Tuesday)]

OwningItNow posted 4/3/2018 09:55 AM

I just think some are bitter and angry.

There is no doubt that some posters, whether they recognize it in themselves or not, are obviously in a very bad place emotionally or mentally or both. They may stay there forever, who knows. And from what I see, these posters come on hard with the negativity and outright insults if the BS (most often a BH) does not follow their advice. I cannot post in JFO, but my heart hurts for these newly betrayed spouses. While I may have opinions on what they should do, I think it is horrible to attack them for doing whatever it is they feel is right. People should back off and give them space. General is more the place to attack.

I wish that people who were stuck in anger and bitterness would keep a low profile in JFO. Those are practically polar opposite emotional places in the world of infidelity, and open hostility toward R or a WS in general is just not helpful to newbies. I feel terrible for them at times.

SisterMilkshake posted 4/3/2018 10:23 AM

I think the posters here on S.I. give from the heart and display kindness just by offering their support and opinions.
I feel that may be the bigger point of Chili's post. Some do not post with kindness or from the heart. They are posting going for the jugular of the BS. That seems especially true for some BH's to newbie BH. They question his manhood, rub salt in the wound using the vile things the WW has done to them. This is not kindness, this is cruelty. It is unnecessary. You can be a strong advocate of getting out of infidelity without being so ruthless.

Bigger posted 4/3/2018 10:29 AM

Totally agree with SisterMilkshake and hope my post is seen as what it is – support in general to what Chili posted.

Chili posted 4/3/2018 11:08 AM

Bigger - thanks for expounding on this in such a thoughtful way as always.

I think I would amend my italicized phrase to add another common goal around here: "to get people out of infidelity - ASAP." I would venture to say that's a given.

(Oh - and the Generalized advice we give most people when they first arrive is usually 100% spot on - eat, sleep, doctor, IC, lawyer - all that good stuff. That's not what I'm trying to get at here).

Josie: I think we might be more on the same page than you think. I often give advice and opinions or try and show people a specific pathway they might take. I'm not beyond nudging them either. The point I was trying to make (as SMS was alluding to) is this:

each poster tailors their responses to details of the situation. I think the posters here on S.I. give from the heart and display kindness

I wish that were always so in JFO and you kind of hit the nail on the head. This is the stuff that drives me nuts and where I get all twitchy about Generalizations.

When I decide to throw my hat in on a post, I always take the time to look at profiles, read every page, think about their situation and then try and tailor my words directly to them (of course as much as is possible on an internet board).

But waaay too often, I see certain folks jump on those threads and spout off the same 3-4 lines that all seem to have a similar vibe. Examples:

1. You'd be a fool to stay
2. Your only choice is to D
3. Cheaters never change
4. You want to be an idiot for the rest of your life?
5. Stick it to her/him. Blow it all up. Right now. Today.
6. You have a green light to have an anger nutty and take revenge - possibly damaging yourself, your career, or your children.

You all know what I'm talking about.

I don't think these types of statements right out of the gate are helpful and certainly are generalized to the point that they don't speak to the individual.

Everyone here wants to be heard. Especially new members - this may be the only place they have a voice right now. Everyone wants to tell their own story. And if I'm going to insert myself into their journey on the advice side - the least I can do is try and understand where they are.

So that's a little better explanation of what I was trying to get at with "unique." For me, the best support I received was from people who really took the time to invest in my specific story, gave me advice on how to get out of infidelity based on my own situation, and continued to follow me along the journey.

(I mean, one member even wrote me a song - does it get much more individualized than that? )

I, however, will not be writing any songs. Perhaps a sonnet in iambic pentameter but that's as far as I'll go.

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