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Lost My Best Friend

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Neanderthal posted 1/16/2020 09:51 AM

numb&dumb, I followed back and realized you bowed out of my thread months ago.

Now I'm just confused about your requote. Was it supposed to be a reminder that I push another Guide away? or a suggestion to others? I was never good a reading between the lines.

Lieswearmedown posted 1/16/2020 10:20 AM

Iím going to flub explaining this, but Iím still going to try:

My opinion of forgiveness in the context of infidelity:

As folks generally define it, itís unnecessary and sometimes unhealthy for the person who offers the forgiveness. It seems like this touchy feeley nebulous action that is essentially an announcement with no teeth behind it lots of times.

I prefer to think of it as capacity. We are each hindered by our own specific and personal-to-us character flaws. Some are worse than others. Some of us have the capacity to do horrible damage to people we love either through selfishness, impulsivity, lack of empathy, mental health issues, trauma, and learned behaviors and thoughts (FOO).

As the Betrayed Spouse, I had to figure out if my husbandís capacity (or lack thereof) is something I can live with and something he can learn and correct. I donít believe (in my case) he had the capacity to deal honestly with me, state his needs, etc. I also think he didnít have the capacity to wade in beside me when life gets tough and help me carry the load. He never learned how. He always got a pass for that before I came along. I of course didnít see this aspect of him when we got married because everything was new and shiny. We werenít dealing with aging and dying parents, financial stressors, being overworked, and all the myriad issues married couples have to deal with in real life. I had no way of knowing his unhealthy solution to not wanting to adult with me was to go find a relationship where he wouldnít have to. Fuck that.

I didnít need to forgive him for it. He betrayed me. No amount of offering what to me sounded like a platitude was going to change the fact that he betrayed me. I just needed to recognize his lack of capacity and then figure out whether or not his horrible destructive actions were based in malice or based in his inability to exist in a healthy and honest relationship. Effectively it comes down to whether or not, given his character flaws, he was capable of and willing to put in the effort to give me what I needed.

I determined it wasnít malice. It was lack of ability, lack of know-how, weakness of character. His father used to say three of the worst things you could call a man is cheap, weak, and a liar. He was all three (note that by cheap, I donít mean spending habits- he managed to cheapen our relationship). Once he realized he had managed to achieve the trifecta there, it shook him to his knees. He didnít want to be that douchenozzle.

The next thing I had to determine was whether or not he was willing to and had the capacity to go all in with me. It took some time, but when he realized how abjectly wrong his actions and thinking were, he worked HARD to make himself a safe partner. I know there is a chance he could do it again. After all, the capacity is there. That said, reconciliation is ALWAYS a gamble and itís up to each of us individually to decide just how much risk is worth the reward.

So, forgiveness.... I donít need to and I donít. I just need to understand him and what heís capable of. Heís human, horribly flawed, excessively lovable, and very sorry and ashamed of himself.

Thatís how I made my peace and that is how we carry on. Iím happy now. I love him. Iím proud of him. I understand him. I donít have to forgive him and I donít.

Incidentally, I understand youíre having trouble reconciling your own culpability here. You donít have to forgive yourself either. You just need to do the work to understand yourself and acknowledge the ugliness that exists (there is ugliness in every single one of us because we canít police our own thoughts and feelings). Donít lie to you. It was horrific behavior. Resolve to understand why you did it and donít. do. it. again.

I know no one who has gotten this far in life without some horrible stuff ďon their permanent recordĒ.

landclark posted 1/16/2020 10:23 AM

In your mind as a BH, is your degree of trauma exactly the same?

There are actions that can be forgiven and actions that end the marriage. The fact is that there are degrees of infidelity.

The thing is, it's different for everybody. For some people, a kiss is a dealbreaker. For some it's not. For some people, an emotional affair with exchanges of love and such is worse than sex. For some it's not.

Everybody gets to decide that for themselves, and everybody gets to feel what they feel about cheating. You may think one thing is not as bad as another, but then aren't you minimizing what somebody is feeling when you say things like the above quotes? I mean, would you really tell somebody who is here and hurting that "hey, that kiss isn't so bad. It could always be worse. It's low on the degrees of cheating."? Probably not.

If a EA, or a kiss, or whatever, is causing somebody hurt, and it's something they can't get past, then it is what it is. It's still at the end of the day all betrayal, and all cheating, even if we individually believe certain actions are worse than others. It's not a competition to see who was cheated on worse.

Go ask your wife if she would have preferred that you only sent dick pictures instead of fucking another woman multiple times.

I'm guessing she would say she would have preferred he not do any of it.

numb&dumb posted 1/16/2020 10:54 AM

OK. I'll bite.

Honestly my first thought when I saw you posting in the way was that you might have fallen off of the wagon. I think you already understand just how unhelpful that would be so I won't go there.

You pattern has been to blow up and then retreat. I am just pointing out it is a pattern on SI and likely IRL too. You want to lose your mind and keep that anger as a shield be my guest. BTDT. It is damaging to you to carry that shit around. Anger is strong, right ? It helps you feel in control? When we lose control what are we usually feeling ? Anger.

In all my years in dealing with infidelity I have found one real ugly truth. There is no way around this and you either deal with it or it deals with you.

The posters introducing things from your Ws thread are not helpful to you. I get that. Which is why I refrain from posting or getting involved with your Ws threads. Ignore those if you want to. I do.

Lashing out at people that are trying to help isn't helping you either.

You can be pissed at me and everyone else on this site, fine. We all got thick skin. You fail to see that all of us are in the same boat as your are and we mean no harm. BTW when you react like that it tells me the words hit too close for comfort. Obviously something to look at in IC.

You gotta pull yourself out of this. How ? I have no idea. It is something you have to want to do and figure out what resources you have at your disposal to get there. Then use them.

We are all the sum of our experiences. Good, bad, trauma, joy, hate, etc. Right now you are letting your past define your future. It doesn't have to be this way. You don't have to hate your W and your M to move on. It is 100% your choice and you don't need to give any reason at all. Ms end all of the time with less damaging circumstances that you've experienced. No reason to make a case either way. It comes to what do you want ? I get that you aren't sure, but that is beauty of it. You can try both on and see how they feel. Change as appropriate.

We've all fucked up. We are all messed up in the head. We all struggle with what we have done and what has been done to us. That is part of life. The real trick is not letting it define us. I could give more motivational bullshit, but I know that isn't your style so I will refrain.

Also I know this comes across as confrontational, and in a sense, it is. I am just not sure how else to get through to you.

I've got no skin in the game here. I've taken a special interest in you because you remind me of me several years ago. I get the appeal of the anger. I also know the cost of that anger. It doesn't bring you anywhere positive and certainly isn't healthy for you mentally or physically. Don't make it permanent.

The thing that most people miss when someone is so angry is the amount of anger directed at themselves. Only when it is maxed out internally does it leak out in other ways. You are angry with yourself and since you don't have the support you need those angry messages play over and over in your head chipping away at what is left of your will to move on. No wonder you have no idea what you want. That confusion and the anger are 100% normal. No one can change that but you.

I think you have an IC, but maybe that resource isn't working for you. Find another one, educate yourself.

I get you are falling apart and you have every right to be. Just try to be kind to yourself and stop the self flagellation. If you really want your M back? Fine. If you want a D? Fine. Only you have to live with the consequences and only you can make the choices that get you towards either option.

Neanderthal posted 1/16/2020 11:08 AM

Lieswearmedown, Your explanation makes a lot of sense. It also sounds exhausting. Since I don't forgive myself, I know how exhausting that's been.

By not forgiving, are you not carrying that burden around for life? Does he always think he's less than you? I bet he would give anything for you to forgive him. Are you holding that over him as a measure of control?

You may not need to forgive, but would you be better for it if you did?

[This message edited by Neanderthal at 11:11 AM, January 16th (Thursday)]

Neanderthal posted 1/16/2020 11:10 AM

I'm guessing she would say she would have preferred he not do any of it.
To me that's just the simple easy answer.

The child who steals a lollipop from a classmate, is he just as bad as the man who steals your mini-van? I bet the child who lost his candy would be just as upset as you about losing your car. Does that mean they are equal in damage?

landclark posted 1/16/2020 11:18 AM

To me that's just the simple easy answer.

It's how I would answer, and is an honest answer. I would rather somebody not cheat then to have to decide which level of cheating I can maybe live with.

The child who steals a lollipop from a classmate, is he just as bad as the man who steals your mini-van? I bet the child who lost his candy would be just as upset as you about losing your car. Does that mean they are equal in damage?

I would argue that stealing from a friend is worse. Also, stealing is stealing. What difference does the value of what was stolen make? You still shouldn't steal.

Look at it another way. A guy rapes a woman. Then two guys rape a woman. Are you going to tell the first woman that the second woman has it worse?

Maybe it's just me, but I am simply not a fan of this "It could always be worse" way of thinking. It doesn't change anything. People still feel what they feel. The cheating is still cheating.

Neanderthal posted 1/16/2020 11:39 AM

numb&dumb, thank you for responding.

I am still sober. I haven't drank since my first DDay. Honestly it hasn't really crossed my mind since my moms funeral and then the polygraph day.

Some of what Sisoon did hit a mark. The whining implication set me off. If I whined about anything as a child I took a beating. Now I have a 5 year old that whines constantly because she's spoiled. I don't beat her BTW. So in my mind an asswhooping was coming and/or I'm spoiled. Either way I was triggered by it.

Over 40 pages worth of responses. A lot of 2x4's have come my way. Overall I don't think I've blown up that much. For thick skin, a lot bothers people around here. I challenge people without nicing it up first. At least that's how I view it.

IRL I don't blow up very often either. Again I've only raised my voice to my wife a couple times in the last 6 months and hardly ever in all the years before.

I also believe some people here do very much wish me harm. One of them recently showed herself.

I do not hate my wife. Maybe what our marriage became, but never her.

Everyone keeps saying I'm angry. Maybe that's just lost in translation through text, or I am just completely blind to my own anger. I was angry as Sisoon. I wasn't before that, or now.

If you really want your M back? Fine. If you want a D? Fine. Only you have to live with the consequences
I think after rereading this sentence you would want to take it back. If it was just me affected by this, the decision would be made already.

I was pushing myself to divorce. Not because I wanted it, but because I thought it was the right thing to do for all parties involved. In my mind, she deserves a second chance with a good man. I get punished for my prior behavior. Our daughter gets two Christmases. It would be a win/win for everyone. This is logical me thinking.

Emotional me is saying I love her very much, but also. How could she do this to me? You cant trust her. Guard yourself, from her, from everyone.

I have thought about switching IC's. I do like her, and she has been helpful. But she isn't challenging me anymore.

Neanderthal posted 1/16/2020 11:43 AM

Landclark, I appreciate your honest approach. I also agree the harmed person only knows the pain they are dealing with. I have to decide what to do based on my wife's actions. She also has to decide what's best for her based on my infidelity.

I am not trying to compare them, minimize them, or keep a moral high ground anymore. If I wanted or needed that, I wouldn't have confessed.

Lieswearmedown posted 1/16/2020 12:02 PM

Lieswearmedown, Your explanation makes a lot of sense. It also sounds exhausting. Since I don't forgive myself, I know how exhausting that's been.
By not forgiving, are you not carrying that burden around for life? Does he always think he's less than you? I bet he would give anything for you to forgive him. Are you holding that over him as a measure of control?

You may not need to forgive, but would you be better for it if you did?

Nope. Iím not carrying around anything but the truth, which is sometimes painful, sometimes ugly, and sometimes, absolutely astonishingly marvelous.

He knows heís not less than me because he isnít. I have plenty of marks on my permanent record too. They just arenít the same marks he has. I came to my marriage with shit too. He also agrees that forgiveness is bullshit in the context of our marriage. We agreed not to hide the crazy or the ugly and unflattering. That goes for me too. His cheating doesnít make me superior to him. His cheating doesnít give me a pass to be a shitty partner.

Reconciliation is a contract for us where the bottom line <simplified> principle is ďeach party must contribute to the marriage constructively.Ē Iím a firm believer that if R is your collective choice, keeping your partner in misery for some unspecified time while you continue to punish him until you think itís enough is destructive and destines your marriage to failure. Continuing to castigate him is destructive and doesnít further our aim (to have a healthy, good, deep and honest relationship that is ride or die). If I am not holding my end of the bargain up, then I havenít come to the reconciliation table with everything I agreed to. That would be unacceptable.

If you canít promise the above, then divorce and donít prolong the inevitable. Youíll fail anyway... just 3 to 5 years of abject misery down the road before you wind up in front of a judge.

Anyway, Iím sure other routes work for other people. Forgiveness is just a word to me. Most of the time, itís a solemn pronouncement that actions donít back up. I think learning to understand each other intimately and assessing whether this person has the capacity and willingness to really be with you is the stuff that give marriage longevity and value.

sisoon posted 1/16/2020 12:35 PM

Lostgirl410, thank you for your explanation of his words. I have no idea what his intentions were. Because he can't be bothered to explain.
A few thoughts....

First, I'm a guide. I spend several hours a day on SI, but not every minute. With rare exceptions, I'm in a thread once a day at most.

Second, you didn't ask me what I meant. You triggered. You jumped to your conclusions. You posted in anger. That's almost definitely not the best way to use SI.

Lostgirl pretty much nailed what I meant. I think she understood because she focused first on the literal meaning of what I wrote, and only after taking that in did she think about the implications.

He said forgiveness isn't needed to R. I certainly believe it is.
Your beliefs are part of what got you into this. Your beliefs probably contribute to keeping yourself in pain. Why defend them? Questioning your beliefs may get you out of pain.

In fact, I'd bet changing some of your beliefs will be necessary for you to heal, both as a WS and as a BS. I just don't know which beliefs are the critical ones.

The rest of his message he implied its just that easy.
If you don't want to R, acknowledge it, and act accordingly.
I don't see how my comments had any implications about the degree of difficulty or speed of getting anyplace. You imputed ease and speed to my words, and then triggered on the basis of what you brought to my words.

That's how communication works, of course. The receiver of a communication decides what it means - but it's useful for all of us to differentiate between what a communication says literally and how we interpret them.

I read you post to say you're keeping yourself stuck. If that's accurate (and I really mean 'if'), you're the only one who can get you unstuck, and you do that by making new decisions.

Whether you're stuck or not, you're in a very painful place. You're the only one who can get you out of pain. I hope you choose to heal.

I know the prospect of doing the work necessary to heal is daunting. You're a human being, though, so you can do it.

numb&dumb posted 1/16/2020 13:18 PM

Yes the decision impacts only you right now and it needs to be made in that context. Everything else will fall into place. I get that you want everyone to be happy. Sure. All you can see is pain for someone no matter what direction you go. Is that really the case ? You've come back from worse before, right ? Why is time any different ?

You are still mourning lots of different things all at once. I think it is too soon for you to make any permanent decisions. You've done the separation. Why did you like about that ? What did you not like ? Could you tip toe in other direction ? Maybe start with coffee with your W? Not saying you should act all married again, but this is someone you will have to deal with for the rest of your life even if you decide to D. Talking to her doesn't mean anything except you are willing to talk. If you decide to do that go slow and take your time. No expectations or agendas. It doesn't have to mean anything until you say that it does.

As far as other posters. . .yeah some of them really do take sides and/or go out of their way to get under your skin. By now you know who has good advice and who doesn't. Pick and choose your reads.

You don't know what you want right and that is ok. I think changing ICs might be a good idea. As much as we hate it, challenging us is a worthwhile endeavor. It can really suck but allows for growth and healing too.

The conflict has to be tearing you apart and your past pain (FOO issues) are compounding that. The only thing that ever helped me was really working with a "good" IC. I let myself fall apart so I could put myself back together again. Sometimes that is the only way. Your IC may be the nicest person on the planet, but if she doesn't help you move forward why spend the money ? I think looking for a different IC trained in trauma might be more helpful to you at present.

I too grew up with abuse. I've never so much as spanked my kids or ever raised a hand towards my wife. I take great pride in ending that cycle. My kids don't jump when someone pats them on the back. I still do that.

You've broken that cycle too. It is something that should make you very proud. You are so much stronger than you give yourself credit for. That negative self talk ? Whose voice is that really ? Yours? Or someone that abused you in the past ? Think about that for a minute. Whose voice do you hear when you get down on yourself ? If you really listen it isn't yours. It was put there by someone else. Your mind keep playing it because it is trying to make sense of something that will never make sense.
Because of that past we retreat and take defensive positions when attacked. I could go on, but I won't. Again, good IC discussion point.

I will never forget it. It is trauma and we never tend to forget trauma. We can incorporate it into the rest of out past that doesn't hurt as much and we can make our peace with our past so it doesn't impact our future.

Whatever doesn't seem to be working right now? Change it.

Neanderthal posted 1/16/2020 13:30 PM

Sisoon, thank you for clarifying. Can you see how short answer posts can leave a lot open to interpretation?
Lostgirl410 and I interpreted your words differently. Either way it doesn't matter. I reacted badly.

Grow a pair of balls and shit or get off the pot is what Sisoon is telling you.
Hell, even Mrcleanslate interpreted your words as I did. So I'm not completely out on a limb here.

I explained earlier how triggering the whining comment was to me. You didn't explain why you think I'm whining. Just claimed that I was.

Lets talk about my beliefs. What beliefs do I need to change?

I read you post to say you're keeping yourself stuck. If that's accurate (and I really mean 'if'), you're the only one who can get you unstuck, and you do that by making new decisions.
I agree. I am stuck. I don't know how to unstick myself. I was having a lot of trouble early on doing anything, so I tried to follow the advice here. 180, poly, separation, etc. Now I've done all those things and I feel worse. Partially because it gave me time to see who I was. What new decisions should I be making?

Neanderthal posted 1/16/2020 13:38 PM

Lieswearmedown, Wow great explanation. You may not call it forgiveness, but its a great way to look at things and live life.

If you canít promise the above, then divorce and donít prolong the inevitable
I cant promise that yet...I think it's part of the reason I cant move forward yet. I don't want to hurt her, push her down, rub her nose in it, etc. I'm not sure I can do that. I want her to be happy without feeling subservient. I'm not saying I would purposely do that. But I can see her bending over backwards to appease me, which in the long run is a bad idea.

hikingout posted 1/16/2020 13:44 PM

I have only loosely followed your thread. I try and support one or the other, and I mostly try and follow your wife and provide feedback because I feel for the most part that's where I am best suited.

However, I think that I see what a lot of posters here are seeing, Hellfire said it point blank.

The truth is I don't think most people who choose to try and R have forgiven yet. My H chose R when he said "let's work on it and see where it goes" That was at almost a year in when he was recovered and healed enough to start even looking at it. Trying has never meant to me that there was a promise involved, or that he couldn't still choose D at any given time. I don't know that he would still use the word forgiven today. And I don't know if I will forgive myself. Instead, I think we choose to be at peace with where we are, and not try to force those feelings that it has to happen a certain way.

Given your drinking and some of the things that you need to heal, I think Dumb and Numb has offered a lot of good insight.

But, it's obvious to me as Helfire said you love your wife. The separation was a good decision I feel like because I think your wife is coming to terms with things she would not have otherwise. I hope you will also consider IC and working on you. Even if you two never get back together you will both lead a better life for having done this work. It also may allow you to lead a better life together. It's okay to entertain all those things as possible.

ibonnie posted 1/16/2020 13:50 PM

Our daughter gets two Christmases. It would be a win/win for everyone.

Do you really believe your daughter would prefer two, separate, Christmases, over having her parents together/family intact?

Neanderthal posted 1/16/2020 13:52 PM

You've come back from worse before, right ? Why is time any different ?

This is by far the worst thing I've experienced in my life.
Because my family fell apart so badly when I was a child, it's affecting my decision making now.

I broke the cycle of physical abuse. I am proud of that. But my daughter still may end up coming from a broken home. To me that is a failure, I could have prevented before she was even born. That's hard to come to terms with.

Talking to her doesn't mean anything except you are willing to talk.
We are starting to talk again. Maybe meet up this weekend to talk more. After I confessed to her on Saturday, we talked for a while. Then kissed and more. I felt guilty for that too. I just nuked her with a dday, and all she wanted to do was kiss me.

I feel very guilty about my past infidelities and recent actions of lying. That's why I continued to talk to someone in a PM that had no intention of being helpful. I wanted to help her some way, or at least take her anger. I felt I deserved her anger. I'll do my best to avoid that in the future.

What voice is in my head?...... in all seriousness, all I hear is the 10 year old me. I've got a deep grown ass man voice, but I still hear a little kid. I know you were implying maybe I hear an abusive parent or something, but I don't. Maybe because I don't even remember what they sounded like.

Lieswearmedown posted 1/16/2020 13:56 PM

Just a quick note and maybe I misinterpreted it, but I believe N was using the two Christmases thought to differentiate between logic- and emotion-based thoughts with the two christmases in the emotional category. I thought he was trying to demonstrate that he is still struggling in his head with what is a healthy response and implying that those emotional ones arenít exactly productive.

Did I get that wrong?

Neanderthal posted 1/16/2020 13:59 PM

The truth is I don't think most people who choose to try and R have forgiven yet.
I'm sorry. I didn't mean to imply that forgiveness was a requirement to begin R. More that its a requirement to complete R. Does that make more sense?

Do you really believe your daughter would prefer two, separate, Christmases, over having her parents together/family intact?
It was a joke. My sense of humor doesn't always match the room.

Neanderthal posted 1/16/2020 14:02 PM

Did I get that wrong?
see how easy it is to misinterpret things? lol No, I was just attempting a terribly timed joke in a awkward spot. my bad.

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