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Feeling Stuck in Anger/Plain of Lethal Flatness Phase

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Thumos posted 8/15/2019 15:13 PM

Whatever you want to call it, I feel completely stuck in it. Limbo. Anger phase. Deep ambivalence. Symptoms of anxiety/panic attacks I had during her affair. Flat emotionally. I go long stretches where I think I’m okay (though not an hour goes by that I don’t think about the adultery at some point). Then something will trigger a flood and I feel like I start all over again.

Approaching three year mark. I’m staying right now because I don’t want to be a part-time parent. I “love” her, but I’m not in love with her (that’s pretty ironic to hear from a betrayed spouse, but there it is).

Short version of my story: Married for 23 years, dated for three years exclusively (I hope? I think?) before our marriage. So we’ve been together for more than 25 years. I’ve never been unfaithful or strayed in any way. Just her.

Almost three years ago, my wife had a three-month EA and PA with a married friend of ours, a father of another child at our youngest child’s school (my wife at first tried to minimize this as a 6-week affair, but the text and phone call records indicate it was a 3-month affair).

They had sex in our home when I was out of town for a business trip. I increasingly believe it was in our bed, but she insists it wasn’t. She also insists this was the one and only time and that she never provided him with oral or anything else — don’t they all say this sh*t?

It came out because I VAR’d and confronted, not voluntarily. She trickle truthed, minimized, blameshifted. I did everything wrong in response. She went NC immediately at my insistence and begged me to stay.

She refused to let me see the texts between them. There was lots of heavy petting, deep kissing, and secret meet ups in cars, at her work and elsewhere. “Dates” involving our kids.

I still have to see the POSOM several times a month (sometimes several times in a week).

Lots of triggering. Lots of feeling PTSD traumatized. Lots of feeling beaten down and empty. Gaslighting, trickle truth, love bombing, hysterical bonding, blameshifting have all been part of the package.

As I said, I remain very angry and very ambivalent. I sometimes wear my wedding ring for appearances but not often. We did MC right away (mistake) and aren’t doing that now.

I’m very confused all the time, and not sure if what we’re doing is what you folks here on SI would call reconciliation. If we didn’t have a younger child, I’d be out right away.

[This message edited by Thumos at 3:48 PM, August 15th (Thursday)]

Thumos posted 8/15/2019 15:15 PM

Also I’ve been lurking around here since before I confronted three years ago, even when I was just trying to get my head straight around her cruel gaslighting during the affair. Just recently started posting.

northeasternarea posted 8/15/2019 15:28 PM

Have either of you done IC?

Thumos posted 8/15/2019 15:39 PM

If you asked her, I’m sure she’d say we’ve weathered the worst of the storm and we’re going to make it. I don’t feel that way. I feel guilty for posting here, guilty for feeling this way, guilty that I’m on-again/off-again thinking about leaving her. She insists she’s told me everything but I simply don’t believe it.

My mistakes:
-I agreed to marital counseling right away - big mistake. It completely confused me and made me feel worse. The therapist minimized my emasculation and helped create an unhealthy dynamic where we don’t talk about the affair anymore. We’re no longer in MC.
-I agreed not to tell the OBS - huge mistake. I only contacted the OBS more than a year later. She was not responsive to my questions about details and just wanted to move on.
-I agreed to reconcile right away - big mistake
-I “forgave” her right away - but it was forced and fake and that completely backfired.
-I agreed to stay and we started HB right away - big mistake
-I’ve allowed my thinking to be heavily influenced by friends telling me to stay (devout Christians). I’m not saying they are wrong. I’m saying they have no grid for understanding the trauma I’ve experienced.
-I’m still monitoring. Still doing drive-by check-ins. Still snooping on her phone. Still looking for a burner phone (which OM had and he was going to provide her with one at one point).

Her mistakes:
* She never scheduled IC for herself (I had no idea MC was the wrong thing to do after infidelity and only started noticing that as a theme in SI posts much later).
* She never got an STD panel to see if she’d exposed us both to disease. Yes, they had unprotected sex in our home. She was upset and embarrassed about having to reveal this to me, and got angry and shouted “That’s what adults do!” (After I grew upset that they’d had unprotected sex).
* She never wrote out a detailed timeline
* She told me “I don’t remember” and “I don’t know” and even “that’s private” to many of my questions. (My head is so muddled now I can’t even track which questions I’ve asked and can’t even remember her responses or when she said these things. I just know she did).
* I never scheduled a polygraph. I mentioned it. She thought it was a ridiculous idea and was angry and hurt about it.
* She never let me see the texts. They’re long gone now - she has a new phone.
* She read McDonald’s book but told me it was heavy-handed and that she felt she was already doing it. She hasn’t read much else (unless you count Esther Perel) but finds time for pleasurable novel reading every single night.
* I don’t believe she told me the full truth (every. Single. WW. Says “no oral” “only one time” “not in our bed but in another room” “I didn’t enjoy it; didn’t orgasm”)
* She never got rid of a key memento/gift from OM from the affair that was given to her the day they had sex and then was "sold" to me as a gift to both of us; It was left to me to do that. She simply told me I could get rid of it if I wanted to. Several months later, I dragged it to a dumpster and threw it in.
* She deliberately put herself in a situation where sex was not only possible but guaranteed to happen. She planned it. She won’t cop to this and keeps insisting "it just happened."
* She delivered many usual/cliched lines “it was meaningless sex” “I didn’t mean to hurt you” “It wasn’t about you” “I thought you wouldn’t care” “It was just a fling” - these things and more have eaten away at me and eroded my affection.
* She has grown increasingly suspicious that I am going to cheat. I have not. I’m not interested in an RA. I will say that if I meet the right woman and I want that, I will definitely consider separating and then pursuing another relationship. That hasn’t happened.
* She tore down my character to the OM and I got to hear that. I got to hear them joking and laughing about me and the OBS. At one point they both commiserated about "why are we married to such assholes?"
* I got to hear her tell OM “I don’t care” about me.
* I got to hear her use little mannerisms and verbal affection cues I thought were exclusive for me.
* She’s told me my attitude toward sex is “immature” because: 1. I’ve only been intimate my entire life with one woman, her. Implying I lack experience to understand mature sex. 2. Because I can’t understand that the “one time” she had sex with OM was just “meaningless” and she didn’t enjoy it anyway.

However, I know that she was wearing sexy panties for this and fully expected it to happen. I also know that he ejaculated inside of her (sorry for the graphic details).

EDIT: Warning, sordid detail here but something I've pieced together recently. I know about the panties because I found them and they had, ahem, a residue. After D-Day I showed them to her (I was keeping them in a sandwich baggie). A few weeks later, she discovered where I was hiding them and took them back. I had planned on testing them to see if it was my DNA or someone else's. She took them back and washed them. ("Those are mine. Those belong to me. You're not allowed to have those.") It only occurred to me very recently that definitively these must have been the panties she was wearing the day that they had sex. And that she must have bought them at Victoria's Secret FOR HIM (I now know this because before confronting I'd found a Victoria's Secret sack with new bras and panties tucked away in our closet). It took me three years to finally piece all this together, and I feel like such a sadsack idiot it took me so long. In any case, knowing that she planned the day, the location, the timing, and the attire contradicts her entire line which has been, "it just happened, he approached me in the house, it was awkward, I didn't enjoy it, I didn't orgasm, I don't know if he ejaculated or not."


[This message edited by Thumos at 6:01 PM, December 17th (Tuesday)]

Thumos posted 8/15/2019 15:39 PM

Neither of us have done IC. My health plan at the time was terrible when it came to counseling bills. So we racked up some debt with the marital counseling before finally stopping that.

20yrsagoBS posted 8/15/2019 15:43 PM

Please don’t feel guilty for posting here!

That’s a sign of strength, reaching out for help.

You and I are similar in our drive for clarity.

How do you recover from something if you don’t know what it is that delivered the trauma?

Thumos posted 8/15/2019 15:51 PM

The guilt is a very complex emotion with lots of layers. One of those layers is that my wife has been very upset whenever I’m looking at SI forums and she has gotten angry or frustrated saying that what she did doesn’t rise to the level of the sh*tstorms and behavior of other WW’s on here, the serial cheats or LTA’s.

She says she is remorseful and I ought to be able to work with that, whereas she says reading SI just makes me depressed and compares our situation to worse situations. She says I need to stop allowing anonymous Internet threads determine my attitude toward all of this.

I admit she has a point: When I go to SI or Tapatalk or even Reddit’s SI forum, I do get triggered pretty hard.

[This message edited by Thumos at 3:55 PM, August 15th (Thursday)]

Thumos posted 8/15/2019 16:01 PM

Another factor here is that the gaslighting was incredibly hard-edged and cruel. At one point during the affair she had me completely 100 percent convinced that I’d falsely accused her. She separated from me at that point (in-home separation) and was trying very hard to convince me to seek professional help and get on an SSRI (something I didn’t need and still don’t need). The fact that she was willing to see me medicated for my normal and rational suspicions has been very very hard to get past.

Oldwounds posted 8/15/2019 16:05 PM

She read McDonald’s book but told me it was heavy-handed and that she felt she was already doing it.

It's pretty light stuff -- and if she wasn't able to gain any empathy for you while reading it, maybe she needs to read it again.

It sounds like she set the parameters for the current relationship.

I'm not understanding "that's private" as any kind of response regarding the A. No....it's kind of not private. In order to stay, I needed all of the time stolen from our marriage and from me to be accounted for.

Any infidelity is a shit show, even if it was supposedly (right?) ONE act. All of the other playdates and meetups are still just as horrible.

So, yeah, she's downplaying your pain. Ask her why she's doing that. That ain't no way to heal. No wonder you're stuck. But that's because you're not getting any help from her to put the relationship back together.

My R didn't start until my wife said, "I broke it, I need to be the one to fix it."

And even then, it takes a helluva long time to repair with a WS who cares about your pain.

Thumos posted 8/15/2019 16:07 PM

Things she has done right:

* There was never a pick-me dance, unless the affair itself counts.

* My gut tells me we are “out of the danger zone” with her, but one can never tell, and I don’t trust my gut like I used to (trust but verify). Unfortunately I’m still somewhat suspicious and do drive bys and other monitoring behaviors that have made me feel like I simply can’t live like this long-term.

* She has tried to make amends in many ways. She tells me all the time she wants to be with me and grow old together.

* She does a lot to make me feel she’s accountable. Aside from refusing to let me see the old texts, she now lets me have unfettered access to her phone (although I realize this could simply be stagecraft for my benefit).

*She provides me with access to her work calendar. She tells me where she is going all the time. Sometimes I like this. Sometimes it makes me uncomfortable as her “hall monitor.” And sometimes I am suspicious that I simply gave away all of my tricks (like a VAR) and that she’s continuing some kind of behavior unbenknowst by me.

* She showers me with gifts and sex. This could be interpreted as both good and bad (love bombing). Lately the sex has been much more ho-hum. I’ve found I’m having to “power through” it because of the mind movies that simply won’t go away.

* She tries much harder to be an affectionate and good wife now and do acts of service, but I harbor some resentment about this because I deserved to have this before — and now feel I’m only getting it now when she’s in damage control mode.

* She is a good mother (except for dragging our kids into her affair), a good household manager, a good planner.

* We’ve had a flurry of trips and activities (concerts, day trips, going out with each other more, etc.) that we never had before. Things I always wanted to do before that she wouldn’t do.

Thumos posted 8/15/2019 16:13 PM

.

[This message edited by Thumos at 10:46 AM, August 26th (Monday)]

Oldwounds posted 8/15/2019 16:22 PM

It's tough to "love bomb" for more than a few months, much less 2-3 years. I'm guessing that effort is fairly real then.

What has she done to be a safer partner? Why did she need that validation beyond your marriage? How does she have any certainty that your take on sex is...immature?

Counseling is expensive, but it sounds like they missed some key questions that need to be addressed for you to have any chance to feel better about the future.

Ultimately, after any infidelity, I think if anyone is done, they're done.

No explanation needed.

It kind of comes down to what you want for you, in the long term.

If you think you have someone who can continue to work to be a better person, and a better partner and you want to stay, you'll eventually find a way off the fence.

If not, don't find reasons to stay if it makes you miserable.

Thumos posted 8/15/2019 16:25 PM

It feels cathartic to really write all of this out. But it is also triggering and makes me feel nauseated. My heart rate is up, BP is up, breathing raggedly just typing it all out. My wife has lurked on SI before too; I’m sure she will read this at some point. Still, I want to get this out of my system.

Oldwounds posted 8/15/2019 16:28 PM

She can read all she wants.

If it isn't appealing to read about the pain she caused, well, consequences and such.

crazyblindsided posted 8/15/2019 16:37 PM

Has she acknowledged her A as being her fault 100% or does she still try to put Pre-M issues into her reasoning?

Does she express remorse to you?

Do her actions match what she is saying?


I'm stuck in limbo too. My WS did not show remorse until way too late if it even was remorse and put me through False R.

Sometimes the A is just a dealbreaker too and we do the best we can.

Have you seen an IC? It would really help with processing the pain and anger.

nekonamida posted 8/15/2019 19:29 PM

There's a poster named waitedwaytoolong who is you but a few years in to the future. His story is similar. His XWW did exactly as yours is doing now even down to lying about sex with OM in their bed. Even down to insisting they would get through this and begging him not to leave. At the 5 year mark, she finally admitted to it. And by year 6, he divorced her after an honest attempt at R because those 5 years were too much. Look up his story if you're not already familiar with it.

If not cheating was all it took to R then there would no such thing as rugsweeping and no BS would struggle to heal in their marriages. But that's not reality. The reality is that "How to Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair" is a roadmap to R that your WW decided she didn't need and is too good for. Yes, she's not a serial cheater but some of those serial cheaters are getting therapy and doing everything they can to heal their spouse instead of angrily policing them and sabotaging them making her even worse than they are.

This isn't a situation that will improve if you sit back and do nothing. Your best shot at this is to make a list of everything you need to see from her to R. For starters:

- A detailed timeline
- A passed polygraph based on said timeline
- IC for her
- Not shutting down the conversation about the A
- Compassion to your needs meaning no more anger or defensiveness over you reaching out for help and support
- Whatever else you need

Sit her down and be radically honest with her. She needs to know that you will leave her without at minimum a base level of truth that you can live with and a sincere effort from her for R. She needs to know that you have fallen out of love for her because of her actions and think about leaving her frequently as is. It only takes one person to want D so she needs to comply if she wants your marriage to survive.

Thumps, YOU are the prize. YOU do not deserve any blame or guilt if this marriage fails. SHE has been given a golden opportunity to R with you for 3 years and she spat on it and said it wasn't good enough. NO ONE can R with that. NO ONE can even stay happily married to that. If the marriage fails, she carries 100% of that responsibility for breaking the marriage and refusing to fix it. And by the way, that woman who would be worth it all if you did D is out there but she will never give you the time of day while you are married to her because she has too much self respect and morality to mess with a married man. You deserve better and you can do better so D is not the worst outcome.

nekonamida posted 8/15/2019 19:36 PM

This post was written by Bigger for a couple of other posters who feel stuck much like you:

First some statements, some ground-rules or fundamental issues. Some of them might sound harsh, but to me they are about as close to absolute truths as you can find when dealing with infidelity.
Nothing justifies infidelity. Nothing at all. Neither of you can ever start a sentence with “I/she cheated, but…” followed by some reasoning to explain or minimize the decision to have an affair.
The WS needs to own the decision to have cheated. And yes – it is a decision. If you allow any minimization or try to avoid the total responsibility for deciding to have an affair… well… then there isn’t really any way to prevent it from happening again.

Nobody “wins” infidelity. There are only losers from infidelity. That applies both to the WS and the BS. In my black-and-white world there are only two good ways to get out of infidelity and they are reconciliation or divorce.

Nobody “wins” divorce, the Big D is like an amputation – it’s a change that’s made to live on, to make the best of what is. You don’t divorce for spite or revenge, just like you don’t cut off your foot to spite someone. You divorce to get out of the situation of infidelity and a tainted marriage you (or the spouse) don’t think is worth keeping. What you do with your life after D defines if you win or not.

Reconciliation is comparable. If you manage to R and do so properly you two both “win” per se. Do it properly and you should have the groundwork for a wonderful marriage. But you will soon realize that the work of R could have been done without ever having had to deal with infidelity. You don’t “win” with R because of the infidelity, but rather you could “win” despite the infidelity. But only if done properly.

You can’t punish for infidelity as if that punishment wipes the slate clean. Like we do with criminals: we send someone to jail for 3 years for stealing a car, and once he’s out we claim he’s paid his debt to society and deserves a chance to start fresh. Not the same with an affair. We can’t have WS do push-ups or sleep on the floor or use public shaming. We can’t punish for infidelity.
This is not the same as condoning infidelity. Far from it. But if you want to D then don’t do it to punish the WS, but rather because YOU want to. If you want to R, then don’t make your WS tell everyone in person about the affair unless it has a clear purpose for reconciliation. You can’t punish enough for what happened, so don’t even try because it won’t bring any benefit.

NOTHING – NOTHING – NOTHING is forcing either of you to remain in this marriage.
No – not the kids. NOTHING.
Most research shows that kids are happier when they have two loving parents in a stable, loving environment. The key-factors in that statement is not necessarily the number of loving parents, but rather the environment. This is supported in research that shows that income and education of parent has more weight on child-happiness than the number of parents. Either of you two as good, cooperating co-parents would probably be better for your kids than as husband and wife in a tense, dysfunctional, depressed and unloving environment.
Can’t afford to divorce? Bull…
Don’t want to lose half of yours? More bull…
It’s all excuses. It’s all justification for not doing anything IMHO.

The ONLY reason you should remain married is because you WANT TO, not because you need to or can’t do anything else.


OK – To summarize:

Nothing justifies infidelity.
The WS needs to own the decision to have cheated.
Nobody wins infidelity.
You can R or you can D.
The BS can’t punish the WS successfully, nor can the WS use self-punishment as a means to make things right.
It’s only your will and your choice that keeps you in the marriage.


OK – so with that short intro then let’s get into what I suggest you two do:
Like I stated in my first line I’m posting this on both threads:

Sit down for a minute and think: Do I want this marriage?
I’m not asking if the BS can forgive the affair or not, because that’s not really the goal. The affair will probably never be “forgiven” as most of us understand that word. But… does the BS want to reach a place with the WS where the affair has a lesser role in their relationship?
If no – divorce. Don’t need WS approval to do that. Just go for it.
If yes… Well… Sit down again and think: What sort of marriage do I want?

If the WS wants a shot at being offered reconciliation they need to give the BS the total, unabridged truth… This should be done without having to request it. WS – based on your posts you want to reconcile so go do this irrespective of what your BS wants:
This can be done verbally or in written form. The WS needs to answer questions and be willing to go through the pain with the BS. The WS needs to understand that this is an opportunity to show the BS the honesty and openness and trust so much required for reconciliation. Learning NOW that the WS and the AP had sexed a gazillion times will cause less damage than learning of a kiss 5-6 months into R.

The BS needs to hear the truth and digest it. It might lead to a situation where the BS refuses to reconcile, but without the truth R isn’t possible anyways. The BS needs to understand when the major truths are in the open and realize that some details might be left out because they are non-important. Like did WS have lasagna or ravioli when she ate dinner with OM might not register as relevant in the WS listing of the affair. The BS needs to decide at some point that they have enough “truth” to move on. Be it R or D. This is not the same as deciding not to ask again or for more detail, that can happen at any time. But the BS needs to feel assured he has…97-99% of what he needs.

This can be supported with a poly. If the WS fails a poly after sharing the truth… the BS can assume there are more holes in the story and the trust isn’t there. R isn’t possible. But if the WS passes the poly… you have a good base to work from.

I think it can be beneficial to use good business practices in parts of one’s personal life.
Two entrepreneurs would never simply decide to open a business and then wait for results. You need a direction, a plan, milestones and measuring-blocks. You need to know what you are headed for and have some idea how to get there.

I think that if the BS wants to reconcile he should be upfront about it. An honest, upfront answer could be:
“I want to reconcile, but I’m not clear on if we can. Let’s try and see what we can do”.

There. Now you know what you are headed for. But it’s only a goal, a mission-statement.

If you reach this stage, you two can start talking about what needs to be done. That could be defined partially by what I asked you to think about: What sort of marriage do I want?
Talk about this: A year, 5 years, 10 years from now… what sort of marriage do you want to have? Can you reach a joint goal? A combined vision?

The WS needs to dig deep into the why. This is done with IC and should be rather limited between the IC and the WS. The BS can be informed of progress but should really not meddle in on this. WS can share, but on own accord. This is why they are called INDUVIDUAL counselors.

Youi two need to find ways to interact without the awkwardness and … well…. HATE and sorrow that infidelity brings.
You won’t solve the infidelity issues in a week or even in a month. You need TIME, so there isn’t any benefit or reason to talk A issues all the time every day. Find time to talk, preferably both rested and private. In between find a combination of alone time, together time and family time.

READ on marriage, communications, marital finances… Find combined activities. Heck… take daily 40-minute walks together. No need to talk, just walk side-by-side. Be open to ANY and ALL ideas. Marriage weekend? Go for it. Online courses? Go for it.

Find a good MC. When you phone for an appointment then ask about their experience with infidelity. Ask specifically if they think infidelity is a sign of a bad marriage or can be caused by the BS. If they say “yes” then find another one. These MC’s – using the same logic – probably think rape is due to the victim wearing a short skirt.

At least once a week sit down individually and think: Did we make progress this week? Did I make progress? Sit together and go over the week, the improvements and the down-sides. Be very emotionally clear and open to each other. Ask each other: Are we any closer to our goal?

It’s a long tough road, but it’s made easier if you are both walking together side-by-side. Right now, it does sound like that’s what you want, but it also sounds like you aren’t necessarily headed the same way. Too much push and shove and not enough support.

Hope this helps.

Butforthegrace posted 8/15/2019 21:08 PM

Your pain is palpable. It leaps off the page. Like Nekonamida, I would commend you to read Waitewaytoolong’s threads. I also think you should move this thread to General. You'll get a lot more advice there.

At the outset, I would remind you:

(a) It is never too late to divorce. Every day, you have that choice. Further, even if you start divorce, you can always dismiss it. Further, there are intermediate steps, like separation.

(b) You don’t need to prove any specific threshold point to divorce. Your wife did not consult you when she decided to fuck the AP. She just did it, and she was quite cruel to you in the process, and she did it after years of you being a loyal, faithful, supportive, hard-working husband. She never, ever, “earns” a right be safe that you will not divorce her today. A lifetime of being the best spouse in the world would not “earn” that right for her.

There is a lot in your posts. I will try to address some of the points:

I don’t believe she told me the full truth (every. Single. WW. Says “no oral” “only one time” “not in our bed but in another room” “I didn’t enjoy it; didn’t orgasm”)

She delivered many usual/cliched lines “it was meaningless sex” “I didn’t mean to hurt you” “It wasn’t about you” “I thought you wouldn’t care” “It was just a fling” - these things and more have eaten away at me and eroded my affection.

Because I can’t understand that the “one time” she had sex with OM was just “meaningless” and she didn’t enjoy it anyway. However, I know that she was wearing sexy panties for this and fully expected it to happen. I also know that he ejaculated inside of her (sorry for the graphic details).

There are a lot of threads discussing the gulf of male/female communication on this issue. WWs almost always say stuff like “It wasn’t a big deal” or “It was meaningless”. They say this in part because this is a woman’s view of the right thing to say to make you feel better. There are many threads here involving betrayed wives where the BW mentions her pain over details such as the WH’s AP was younger, more beautiful, bigger boobs, more sexually aggressive. The sum of these posts is that what causes the BW pain is the idea that her WH had reason to enjoy sex more with his AP.

In contrast, BH’s, when talking about the sex between their WW and her AP, focus on sex stuff she did for the AP. The sum of the posts is that what causes the BH pain is the idea that his WW gave sex to the AP that the AP was able to enjoy.

In other words, telling you it wasn't a big deal is rubbing salt in his wound. For a BH, it’s not a question whether the sex was incredible for your WWW. It’s the fact that she put on sexy panties and invited him over for the specific purpose of giving the AP sex that was good for him. Regardless whether she felt the sex was "good" or "a big deal", the effort she invested in providing it, and the degree of sex she provided, that is what causes you pain. In light of the cruel manner in which she was gaslighting you at the time, telling you that giving this sexual experience to AP was not a big deal, is tantamount to telling you that you are even less of a deal.

By the way, have you ever simply straight-up told her bluntly that you don't believe she has given you the full truth? Has she offered to do anything on that point? Like write out the timeline?

One of the theoretical bases for full unvarnished disclosure is because infidelity creates an "intimacy hole" in the fabric of the marriage. Your WW share intimacy with another man that, in her wedding vows, she promised to share only with you. In your case, she shared a lot over the course of her LTA, and as you note, it included things like talking bad about you, to him. In fact, she was more intimate with him than she was with you. She was sneaking and lying to you. With him, she was open and honest. He knew and enjoyed the truth of her.

Most BH's feel that the benefit from getting the brutal, honest truth from the WW outweighs the pain of hearing the details. The restoration of intimacy is critical. In your case, even if she said "that's private" one time, that's 100% unacceptable. That is her preserving intimacy with another man over your healing. Protecting the A over the marriage. This, I think, is the root of your issue.

This also goes to the second point that I wish to make, which is that your WW sounds like a person who lacks empathy. If she had empathy, she would have by now figured out that these kinds of minimizing statements don't make a man feel better (she lurks here in SI, ferchrissakes). Yet she makes them. She makes them because she still views this from her selfish perspective. She's like the rude American in a foreign nation who tries to make the locals understand his English by speaking very loudly.

For R to work, it must come from a place of empathy. She lacks empathy. R cannot work.

She never got an STD panel to see if she’d exposed us both to disease.

She never wrote out a detailed timeline

She never let me see the texts.

She told me “I don’t remember” and “I don’t know” and even “that’s private” to many of my questions.

She read McDonald’s book but told me it was heavy-handed and that she felt she was already doing it

She never got rid of a key memento/gift from OM from the affair; It was left to me to do that. She simply told me I could get rid of it if I wanted to.

she has gotten angry or frustrated saying that what she did doesn’t rise to the level of the sh*tstorms and behavior of other WW’s on here, the serial cheats or LTA’s.

That is quite a list of pretty simple things she could do to help you heal, but refuses to do. Also, what I don’t hear you say is that one of the things she has done proactively is to ask you what she can do to help you heal. Has she ever asked you that?

Life is short. You’re 50. By all odds, you've used up more than half your trips around the sun. At the same time, at 50 you still have some good fuckin’ years in you.

Without empathy, you will never really R. In fact, what she really wants is for you to rug-sweep and STFU:

I agreed to reconcile right away - big mistake

I “forgave” her right away - but it was forced and fake and that completely backfired.

She never scheduled IC for herself

She hasn’t read much else (unless you count Esther Perel) (e.g. – The Queen of Rug-Sweeping)

One of those layers is that my wife has been very upset whenever I’m looking at SI forums and she has gotten angry or frustrated saying that what she did doesn’t rise to the level of the sh*tstorms and behavior of other WW’s on here, the serial cheats or LTA’s.

She says she is remorseful and I ought to be able to work with that, whereas she says reading SI just makes me depressed and compares our situation to worse situations.

So, to recap, she’s not showing you much empathy. She continues (even now, years later) to try to minimize. She pressures you subtly (or not so subtly) to rug-sweep. Again, this is not R you’re in, my friend, it’s limbo. I’d bet $100 she has used the term “mistake” at least once in her effort to minimize and bully you into rug-sweeping.

Referring back to Waitedwaytoolong’s thread, details of infidelity matter. Infidelity causes trauma. It wounds the BH. Some wounds are too deep to heal in the presence of the person who caused them. Let’s be clear on one thing: your WW’s A was a LTA, and it was a particularly cruel one:

the gaslighting was incredibly hard-edged and cruel. At one point during the affair she had me completely 100 percent convinced that I’d falsely accused her. She separated from me at that point (in-home separation) and was trying very hard to convince me to seek professional help and get on an SSRI (something I didn’t need and still don’t need). The fact that she was willing to see me medicated for my normal and rational suspicions has been very very hard to get past.

They had sex in our home when I was out of town for a business trip. I increasingly believe it was in our bed, but she insists it wasn’t. She also insists this was the one and only time and that she never provided him with oral or anything else — don’t they all say this sh*t?

It came out because I VAR’d and confronted, not voluntarily. She trickle truthed, minimized, blameshifted.

She refused to let me see the texts between them.

I still have to see the POSOM several times a month (sometimes several times in a week).

She deliberately put herself in a situation where sex was not only possible but guaranteed to happen. She planned it. She won’t cop to this.

However, I know that she was wearing sexy panties for this and fully expected it to happen. I also know that he ejaculated inside of her (sorry for the graphic details).

Not only was it a LTA, but she injected a high degree of sexual injury toward you into the A. You’re eating a giant shit sandwich, and she’s not offering up much by way of water or other libation to help you wash it down. By the way, have you ever spoken to the POSOM about the A? Has he ever apologized?

To heal and R successfully, she has to do two things:

1. She needs to figure out her whys. What was fucked up and broken inside of her that would lead her to do this, and what steps can she take to fix herself so that she becomes a safe person, a new person different than she was before, one you would choose to marry if you met now.

I’m not hearing that she has done any of this. In fact, she sounds like a classic narcissist. This one quote jumped out at me:

She’s told me my attitude toward sex is “immature” because: 1. I’ve only been intimate my entire life with one woman, her. Implying I lack experience to understand mature sex.

What the absolute fuck? This is one of the most bullshit things I’ve heard from the mouth of a WW on SI. She is totally not fixing herself. In fact, she is telling you that you’re the broken one. Look, I had sex with around 20 or so women before meeting and marrying my wife. If my wife did what yours did, and continued acting the way yours is after the A, I’d probably be either (a) feeling exactly like you feel now, or (b) divorced already.

2. She needs to tend to that ephemeral matter of the heart. She needs to devote herself body and soul to the puzzle of figuring out what she needs to do to show you that her love and desire for you as a man is true, in a way that you can believe at an emotional level.

She has clearly failed at that. You don’t even believe she has been factually honest with you, and you see her love-bombing as counterfeit, a Trojan horse intended to dissuade you from seeing your heart’s truth. I think you know what your heart’s truth is, but it breaks your heart to admit it to yourself. To that end, I’dote that you say she’s a good mother, a good planner, and a good organizer for family stuff. That won’t change if you divorce and co-parent.

[This message edited by Butforthegrace at 9:34 PM, August 15th (Thursday)]

Unhinged posted 8/15/2019 23:52 PM

Limbo.

Thumos, brother, you've got way too much going on in this thread to address it all. Keep letting it all hang out there. Get it out.

Once upon a time, yours truly, being thoroughly un-fucking-hinged, used to start several threads a week asking questions here. I wrote a fucking novel, man. Today, i don't start threads. I don't ask questions. I try my best to encourage other people to ask their own questions and help them to find their own answers. That's what a great many members here did for me. I like returning the favor (by picking up the mantel).

Limbo.

There are few places a BS can land that are worse than limbo. It's rather like a self-imposed prison.

Guilt

The guilt is a very complex emotion with lots of layers. One of those layers is that my wife has been very upset whenever I’m looking at SI forums and she has gotten angry or frustrated saying that what she did doesn’t rise to the level of the sh*tstorms and behavior of other WW’s on here, the serial cheats or LTA’s.
Your WW is very upset that you're seeking out help and guidance? What does that tell you about her?

She get angry because she thinks her affair isn't as bad as other affairs? My FWW did the same shit. Now, if I were to compare my FWW's story to those of other WSs, her ONSish fling is on the very low end of the infidelity scale. That's because I caught her after the first time (I believe). She never had the chance to have another ONS or full blown affair. And yet... for some crazy fucking reason, she unhinged my sorry ass. And lied. And blame-shifted. I went to therapy. I joined a support group, for cryin' out loud!

What does her minimizing tell you about her?

Now, this is just me, because I have always been perfectly capable of being a real asshole at times. I didn't give a fuck whether or not my WW thought her sins were greater or lessor than anyone else's. They were more than enough for me.

Fuck that noise!

Stay on SI. I can tell you from personal experience that the members of SI saved my life, my sanity, and my marriage.

That's not an understatement. That's why I'm still here, after over four years, with thousands of posts, and... well... makes me all teary-eyed, goddamnit.

...guilty that I’m on-again/off-again thinking about leaving her.
Welcome to the greatest club that no one ever wanted to join.

I've felt the same things and I've read from plenty of members who've written the same things. What surprises many of us is that reconciliation wasn't what we'd thought it would be. Or to have taken as long as it did. It's exhausting. It's consuming. I think most of year three for me was right where you are now... getting through the really personal, deep down shit of my own.

Guilt

Where is this coming from, do you think? I mean seriously, your wife had an affair, betrayed you in the worst possible way. And you feel guilty for seeking out help from a group of internet strangers who have BEEN THERE AND FUCKING DONE THAT?! You feel guilt for wondering if you made the right choice when you offered your WW the GIFT of reconciliation?

Brother, in my very humble opinion, you have absolutely nothing to feel guilty about in the circumstance you've described.

Lots of triggering. Lots of feeling PTSD traumatized. Lots of feeling beaten down and empty. Gaslighting, trickle truth, love bombing, hysterical bonding, blameshifting have all been part of the package.
Thumos, I truly wish you had starting posting a long time ago. All of what you've listed is incredibly common. Furthermore, it's a lot to get through in one post. What's clear is that you've taken more than enough hits and you're on the verge of giving up. I wouldn't blame you. Not. One. Bit.

It feels cathartic to really write all of this out. But it is also triggering and makes me feel nauseated. My heart rate is up, BP is up, breathing raggedly just typing it all out. My wife has lurked on SI before too; I’m sure she will read this at some point. Still, I want to get this out of my system.
What's also clear is that you tend to keep shit bottled up inside. When it all comes out, it's overwhelming. I get that. Sounds familiar enough. I've spent most of my life avoiding conflict and building walls. When those walls came crashing down, upon my FWW's head, and I start to relish... oh, yes! relish is the right word... conflict, it was extremely cathartic!

Let it out.

The only way through the shit storm is through it. There are no short cuts, you cannot go around it, under it, or over it... there is only through it.

That means processing all of those thoughts and feelings out of our minds, our bodies and spirits. It's a process that takes a long time, a bit of work, and accepting that we're simply human. Frailty is a part of being human. So, too, is strength.

The best advice I've ever received on SI is to step-back and detach from your WW. Watch and observe what she does with the opportunity you've given her. Focus on you and your healing. Find your own joy in this life; it's the only one we get. Live your life authentically, honestly, openly. If your WW can do the same, then there's a fighting chance at reconciliation. If she cannot, or will not, keep up, then perhaps it's time to divorce.

She says she is remorseful...
Do you feel her remorse? Words are cheap. Anyone can say anything. Actions are by far more important, for they belie a person's true intent. It took about 18 months, but eventually, I began to really feel my wife's remorse. I saw it. I got it. It was as clear as day. In the things she did. In actions she took. I felt it. And I felt empathy for her (not much, to be honest, but some).

From what you've written, it doesn't sound as if you think your WW is remorseful. You might want to believe that she is, but your gut is telling you something very different, and it's breaking your heart all over again. Feel free to let me know if I'm off the mark.

Unfortunately, not every WS is willing or able to do the work the R requires. That leaves a BS in limbo.

Keep on posting, Thumos. Get it all out. Ask questions. Reply to others. Fuck what your WW thinks or says about SI. This is your safe place, brother.

My FWW hated Si in the beginning. She was wise enough to start reading on her own. She learned. Today, I believe, she appreciates the hell out of SI.

[This message edited by Unhinged at 11:56 PM, August 15th (Thursday)]

Butforthegrace posted 8/16/2019 05:40 AM

A few more thoughts.

We read in thread after thread by BH's that the pain and trauma of the A are bad enough, but what really hurts are the other things: the gaslighting, the TT and blameshifting, and in your case the ultimate refusal to be open and honest.

The "infidelity meter reading" of her LTA is relatively high. Even if we accept that she only fucked him once, you have: (a) unusually cruel and aggressive gaslighting toward you, (b) she demeaned you to the AP, turning you into her private joke with the AP, (c) she planned for the initial sex and did in your home, possibly your bed, and (d) she had to be caught.

As to this last point, what has she said about whether and/or how long the A would still be going on if she wasn't caught. It seems like what she was trying to engineer was a circumstance where she could cavort with him almost openly and cudgel you into submission via hyper-aggressive gaslighting, to the point where you were seeking therapy and medicating yourself.

And as to this last, point, I'd like to be frank about the pejorative I'd use to describe your WW, but this is the R thread and I'd get a PM from Da Man telling me I owe a dollar to the naughty word jar. If your WW hasn't sought IC, hasn't figured out what was broken in her to allow her to be so cruel to you, she's not a safe partner. La vida loca.

Post-DD, her "rug-sweeping meter" is also very high. As discussed, she created an alternate intimacy universe with the AP, a place where she could demean you and reduce you to a walking joke with the man she was clearly turning into her sexual Plan A. You got a glimpse of it. When you caught her out, she shut the door and refused to let you see the texts. You know and I know why she refused. It's because the texts would have revealed a depth and profundity of her adultery that is way more profound and painful than the ersatz version she is trying to get you to believe.

Telling you "that's private" is basically telling you "I dont respect you as a man or as my husband." There is no privacy between spouses. The two become one.

She reminds me of Obi-Wan Kenobi, holding up his hand and using his Jedi mind tricks to get the storm troopers to believe an alternate reality: "These aren't the droids you're looking for."

Same with your wife, except she's using her wifely powers to distract you. Sex bombing, playing house, giving you wampum. "This isn't the cheating wife you're trying to understand. Move on."

The trouble with that is your gut. You saw and heard enough to know there is more. She is protecting the intimacy cocoon of the A that she created with her AP, against you and the marriage. She refuses you the simple dignity of blunt honesty.

The reason is that she lacks empathy. The quote I highlight above is just staggering in its selfishness. You lack an understanding of "mature sex"? WTF? Translation: "If you could understand my selfish needs and empathize with them, you would be okay."

Wrong. Empathy is needed from her, toward you. Based on your posts, she has zero. Without empathy, there can be no remorse. Remorse comes from a place of using empathy to understand and even feel your pain.

It's no surprise she loves Esther Perel. Perel is pretty much despised around here, as you probably know. Perel is a charlatan who has made a ton of money off her lunatic gospel, sort of like one of those cockamamie evangelical "preachers" jetting about in his private jet and telling poor souls that if they would only believe hard enough, they too would be rich.

The heart of Perel's schtick is to explain the human reasons behind why people cheat. There is a logic to a lot of cheating, which logic resides in a person's need to feel desired, etc. Perel also says that these feelings are normal, and by saying this she tries to normalize cheating. She has a bit of a Eurotrash accent that makes it sound all mature and French and shit.

The problem with Perel is that, although I understand and agree with much of what she says, she never acknowledge that explaining a thing is not the same as excusing a thing. Waywards love Perel because they hear themselves explained in her words. They feel like they are understood by somebody.

Fine, I get it, everybody wants to be understood. Perel sidesteps the elephant, though, which is that brokenness that causes a wayward to decide that the solution to her subjective feelings of longing is to break the promise she made to her husband and fuck another man. Perel has built a career on the assumption that this is a perfectly okay decision to make, as long as the underlying longing is there.

If your WW is a Perel disciple, there is no way you will ever R. Your wife will continue to deny you the dignity of restoring that gap of intimacy. She will continue to harbor and protect it against you.

What Thumos do you want to wake up and look at in the mirror when you're 60? That, my friend, is the question you need to answer.

[This message edited by Butforthegrace at 7:26 AM, August 16th (Friday)]

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