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Saving Yourself

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SpeedBump posted 10/26/2019 03:51 AM

Disclaimer: currently in the midst of first A season and separated. D likely but not yet filed. So there's that.

I've been ruminating alot. Tossing and turning in bed. Thinking almost as much about many things I read here on SI as I do about the traumatic A. I do read a lot here but still feel what I have to say is of little value (so take this all with a grain of salt.) I also internalize a lot of what is said and often times it can become an unnecessary burden when I have enough on my plate atm.

One thing I do read time and time again is a justification to "do all possible to save the marriage", as in, someone doesn't want to look back one day and think they didn't do everything they should have or could have done to save the marriage. I can't help but feel this is being used as just an excuse to stay and stick it out. Then my thoughts turn to what I think is the better question one should be asking and that's, "Did I do all I could to save myself?" Isn't that the better question to ask oneself one day down the road? Is the marriage more important than the person? Shouldn't we be promising to love and treat ourselves with the most respect above all?

Is the possibility of "regretting not doing everything I could to save a bad marriage" really an excuse to stay and if so, why? I mean, will you really have regrets over this that you might not get over? Really?

Lastly, why is it a BS's burden to "do everything in their power" to fix what they didn't break? Is it a burden that is self imposed or has society inflicted that upon us?

I just can't see why this would ever be a reason to justify staying. I guess I just don't get it.

So many questions and clearly too much time to ruminate on them.

Wintergarden posted 10/26/2019 04:10 AM

I agree that fixing yourself is the most important thing to focus on and it was the advice I received time and time again. That is the advice I have followed. IMO it really is the only thing you have full control over the rest may or may not be fixable and time will tell.

SpeedBump posted 10/26/2019 04:21 AM

Wintergarden - I think "saving" and "fixing" are 2 very different things. I didn't even know I needed fixing until my WH did this horrible thing to me. Then it wasn't about his A so much as it was, why couldn't I stick up for myself when I found out? So yes, I need fixing and I'm working on that but why do I have to fight to save the marriage?

For even more disclosure, yes I am heading to D and so yes and now question if something is wrong with me because I don't feel this need to do everything first to try to save the marriage. I can't help but wonder if something is wrong with me that I lack that "urge", "need", "benevolence?"

3rdstrike posted 10/26/2019 04:37 AM

Speedbump, Taking care of you and doing everything you can to save yourself IS the one and only thing that you can really do to save your marriage. Saving yourself and doing right by you is the only thing you have control over. The burden for us BS's isn't to fix the broken marriage, it's to fix our broken selves. We become so broken, so unraveled, distraught and emotionally ruined by the WS's actions, why would they want such a pathetic version of us. The burden we carry is to rebuild ourselves without the help of the one person we should be able to but can no longer depend on. The burden is for us to become so strong and sure of ourselves that we can turn to look at how broken the WS is and have the clarity of mind to decide whether or not they have done enough work to earn our trust again. The Burden is for us to decide if we are strong enough and willing to expose ourselves to the risk of taking them back. We have to become strong enough to forgive them. Our forgiveness isn't to relieve the WS of the burden of their atrocities, our forgiveness is to relieve ourselves of the burden of their atrocities. Forgiveness is not telling them what they did is ok, it is us having the courage to not carry their burden so we can think and breathe like normal people do. We have to decide if they are worthy of our love. Our burdens are great and many...but they are all geared towards saving ourselves first.
I hope this makes sense. It was a total brain dump of my interpretation on how this is stuff works. Be strong and keep fighting your good fight!

Wintergarden posted 10/26/2019 04:38 AM

Yes you are right they are too different things and we did not need fixing until they broke us, that is where the shock came in. I never want to go back to those early months where you have no control of feelings or emotions, when you can't eat, can't exercise and just can't focus. It was the worst experience of my life. The fixing takes time and is another journey we had not expected to take.
I don't know about the marriage whether it is fixable or savable, I guess I can answer that in 5 years time when I'm fixed!

hopefullife posted 10/26/2019 06:35 AM

When I shared my situation with a colleague, I told him I felt stupid for even believing a cheater could ever change. How stupid I was to swallow my dignity that I will NEVER tolerate and stay with a cheater. Yet I stayed. He told me at least I tried and did everything to save my marriage. It was unfortunate that I tried and he cheated again but I was thankful it did not take me years discover. For me it's not an excuse to stick it out. It's reasonable. You invested 100% of life into this person that you can't just let it go that easy. You want to at least try to rebuild what you lost.

However, I do agree saving yourself comes first. You prioritize yourself. You fix yourself. It's the responsibility of your partner to fix himself/herself too.

steadychevy posted 10/26/2019 07:29 AM

In my situation, SpeedBump, what I wanted was to see my WW do everything possible to save our marriage. I wanted to see her effort to determine if I wanted to try R. Not guarantee R but to try and see if R was possible. It might never have been no matter what she did but I won't ever know. From my perspective she did virtually nothing.

What bothers me is how many times I informed her about what I needed from her which dragged things out. Desperation, maybe, that she didn't seem to value the marriage enough to put in any genuine effort.

To be honest, as my requests were ignored I demanded more which caused less compliance. I also demanded more as I learned more and discovered she wasn't a victim of a player but an active participant and director.

Sorry, that got to be a tangent.

My point was that I wanted the effort from her to see if trying to R was even worth it. Never got that far so it wasn't worth trying. I wanted to see if she would do everything in her power to fix what she broke. She wouldn't. That isn't on me.

fareast posted 10/26/2019 07:50 AM


Please donít feel like there is anything wrong with you. We are all different in our responses to the trauma of infidelity. For some, the discovery of the A and the aftermath is a dealbreaker. It is for you. You have no need to justify why that is so. Your WH broke your M with his A, and in doing so, he took the risk that this would be a dealbreaker for you. It doesnít matter if he is now totally remorseful and desperate to save the M. You are under no obligation to him to still try to fight for your M. Always be true to your own feelings. If this was a dealbreaker for you, so be it. It is for many. I do wish you luck.

cocoplus5nuts posted 10/26/2019 08:20 AM

why do I have to fight to save the marriage?

You, absolutely, do NOT have to do this. Always save yourself first. You can't save anyone or anything else until you've saved yourself.

I don't understand why people say we have to do this, either. We are under no obligation to stay with someone who has abused us. That's just ridiculous! (Wow! I'm getting kind of pissed here.)

I think some people who say that see M as a religious covenant the breaking of which would be going against their god. Some people think they owe it to their children to save the M. I'm sure some people do use it as an excuse for their fear of being alone.

You don't have to live your life according to anyone else's standards. There is nothing wrong with you for wanting to D. Your CH destroyed the M, bot you. You are saving yourself!

bella444 posted 10/26/2019 08:31 AM

speedbump - don't be so hard on yourself. You can't fix the other person. I understand trying to do everything to save your marriage. In my case it feels like I'm the only one trying, & that hurts immensly. Take things day by day.

3rdstrike - wow.... Very powerfully written. You've given me hope that I can fix ME.

realitybites posted 10/26/2019 08:35 AM

Is the possibility of "regretting not doing everything I could to save a bad marriage" really an excuse to stay and if so, why? I mean, will you really have regrets over this that you might not get over? Really?

I would say I agree with you, sometimes there is a BS who will know in their head that the A is not their fault, but still internalize it and let it simmer and stew and add into that the trauma of it all, loss of self esteem in many cases, depression.... you name it, and they will start to think they can somehow "fix it". OR they could be in a situation where they do not have the funds or capacity to plan a decision to leave, so they will take on part of that burden. It truly is a mind fu** what happens to a BS when an A happens, and every persons situation is their own.

Lastly, why is it a BS's burden to "do everything in their power" to fix what they didn't break? Is it a burden that is self imposed or has society inflicted that upon us?

It does become a burden, one that was not put upon ourselves, one that was thrust upon us by a cheating spouse, some are very sure that it was a deal breaker and can walk and others are just not so sure. I do think society tends to many times lay "half" the burden on the BS, but it is usually those who have not yet gone thru infidelity in their life.

I do think there are some who very happily finally walk away, have made that choice, or it just took a few months or maybe another DDay and it all became quite clear to them. They are able to walk away with some bumps and bruises but are very clear that they don't want anything to do with their WS anymore.

We all have to remember that an A from the person who we trusted the most is a horrible traumatic experience, especially with your story. It is abuse. Many BS's suffer from PTSD for quite awhile afterwards.

Even though you are getting a D and moving forward with that, I would just ask, are you feeling somehow that YOU should have offered to do more? Even though you know you are getting a D? It is not unusual to know you have to pull the plug on something but just sit and wonder how the heck this all happened and why am I in this position?

May I ask, are you and your STBX still talking or engaging? Because this can be a heavy burden on a BS who wants to D, you don't have to express it if you don't want to.... but all of this is still really new to you, I hope all is going well with you and your work and your life. Kudos to you.

[This message edited by realitybites at 8:46 AM, October 26th (Saturday)]

crazyblindsided posted 10/26/2019 09:10 AM

Well I definitely helped ruin myself by trying to save the M. I know better now, not every M can be saved. I'm not even sure what I saw worth saving. My fear drove me for along time and the trauma bond still needs to break. This has been such a traumatic process but I'm finally getting to the root of it all and hope that I can heal my inner wounds from childhood and other traumas I experienced before this. These same childhood wounds set me up and kept me bound to STBX for too long. It's like I had to break to see it for myself. What a crazy process.

sickofsurviving posted 10/26/2019 09:56 AM

I did so much more damage to myself trying to "save my marriage". Not only did he show me I wasn't valuable, I treated myself that way, too.

I have some seriously crazy FOO stuff. I touch on it some, but never told the whole ugly story. Suffice it to say, my biggest issue is abandonment. That's what happens when you have been on your own since 14.

I did the work. For years. 20 of them. Then I met my cheater. What I didnt expect is that on dday, and the months following, every fucking thing I had worked on for years would be wiped out.

So here I am. Again, trying to save me. Sometimes it just doesn't seem worth it.

hardtomove posted 10/26/2019 10:05 AM

As a BS it is your responsibility to fix/heal yourself. No matter what was going on in your marriage the wayward spouse chose to cheat. They and only they are responsible for blowing your life up. As a BS everything you thought to be true is not. That is a lot to deal with. If your WS does not do/try to do everything in their power to fix/repair start anew then R is not possible

crazyblindsided posted 10/26/2019 10:06 AM

I did the work. For years. 20 of them. Then I met my cheater. What I didnt expect is that on dday, and the months following, every fucking thing I had worked on for years would be wiped out.

(((sickofsurviving))) it's crazy right? I was in therapy for YEARS for my childhood sexual abuse, then again after being physically abused by my ex-bf and now yet again because of my STBX. The damage is extensive and I fear getting into any new relationship. I have not had a healthy relationship EVER and my parents never modeled one for me. Now I have done the same thing to my kids (as far as modeling a bad M) but they were never abused so I am hoping by finally saving myself that they see this.

Carissima posted 10/26/2019 10:13 AM

Is this a general observation? I'm just asking because I remember your thread, although not every detail, and thought the vast majority of the advice was for you to run and never look back.

Is this advice you've been getting in real life?

sickofsurviving posted 10/26/2019 10:20 AM

(((Crazyblindsided))) right back at ya.

My parents told me no one would ever love me, my first sexual experience was rape, my first x molested my kids, but I found out post separation (caught him in bed with his sister), new x in prison for trying to kill me, so much DV, I could go on and on.

So I did the work. I got healthy. My kids encouraged me to date. We picked my cheater together. Now i just, hell i don't know what i just.

I do know this isn't how I want to live. It's taking me a little longer to pick up the pieces this time. It's so much easier to be able to light that match, throw it at the bridge, and walk into the sunset.

josiep posted 10/26/2019 10:32 AM

SpeedBump, I am much like you with the continual ruminating and trying to figure these things out. Trying to find that little nugget of logic that seems to keep slipping past my ability to grasp it. And once we get that "nugget," so many things fall into place and it's like a lightbulb going off in my head.

So I really, really appreciate you sharing this because it does make so much sense and I hope lots and lots of people read it.

I love these philosophical discussions and sometimes think the pain in our hearts keeps us from using our brains as well as we need to.

Sunshine184 posted 10/27/2019 20:21 PM

Omg I just wrote you a book and just lost it with one tap

Babette2008 posted 10/28/2019 01:16 AM

[This message edited by Babette2008 at 1:20 AM, October 28th (Monday)]

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