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Missing AP

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MrCleanSlate posted 11/11/2019 14:20 PM

B4G,

I was over my affair before D-Day, so when my AP went nuclear on my BW it was a different situation. NC was no problem for me.

I can see how you are struggling because your affair was still ongoing. I can see how you will have feelings.

After going through IC/MC and R with my BW one thing that hit me was how little I actually cared about my AP. I looked past so many things about my AP because it was never about her. I was all about getting my ego stroked.

I joined Space Camp and had a great time. It wasn't real life though. Some day hopefully you'll see that too.

I had close friends of ours where she left her BH for her AP (they got married later) It was an exit affair, but it cost her a relationship with her kids and extended family. So she went off and left wreckage behind for her XBH to deal with...

Broken4good posted 11/11/2019 17:50 PM

Thank you BraveSirRobin, it seems like I am ahead and then I log off and my brain tells me this is all nonsense and I know what we had was real. I feel like I am on this confusing roller coaster and I am just trying to get off of it in one piece.

Broken4good posted 11/11/2019 17:54 PM

Heartbreaker it does put in into perspective, and if I think "if it wasn't me it would have been someone else" I break down instantly, but I know it's likely true. It just feels like the whole truth I've known for so long wasn't real and I don't know how to come to terms with that. It somehow seems to be getting harder everyday, but no matter what it's nice to have somewhere to read or discuss similar stories. It makes me feel less alone.

Broken4good posted 11/11/2019 17:59 PM

MrCleanSlate I hope to get where you are, but it felt like real life, it almost felt like the most real thing I've ever done. I am trying to remind myself daily what you all are telling me though. I wish I could fast forward through this part.

MrCleanSlate posted 11/12/2019 15:42 PM

B4G,

Everything is real life.

The problem with affairs is that we escape our commitments and responsibilities.

In a demented way I was looking for help with my marriage by having an affair, because I was a coward and didn't want to have the hard conversations with my wife. My AP was more than happy to listen to me and offer advice about how I deserved better. That is a whole other topic though. The point is that I used my AP to get my ego stroked.

In the end your AP chose his wife. Why? Because you were his side piece of action and he decided you were not as important in his life. He lied to you the way I lied to my AP.

I'm not trying to hurt you. Just trying to open your eyes a bit. It's OK to say you have feelings for you AP. Own it, admit it, but more importantly analyze it.

Now if you are staying with your BS as a fall back position then no good will come of it. You either want to fix things or move on.

MrCleanSlate posted 11/12/2019 16:26 PM

Had to add this part:

After D-Day my BW and I had a lot of Q&A sessions. One day my BW said to me that "your AP seems so far removed from someone I can see you getting along with". My unguarded response "well, I didn't really care about her, so..." What a lightning bolt.

BraveSirRobin posted 11/12/2019 17:17 PM

It somehow seems to be getting harder everyday
This is cognitive dissonance. It's the mental anguish that results from holding two conflicting sets of beliefs simultaneously. Counterintuitively, a person in the throes of cognitive dissonance sometimes doubles down on a belief when faced with proof that it is logically flawed or factually inaccurate.

I can't post links, but for some good articles on the phenomenon, Google "Scientific American How to Convince Someone When Facts Fail" and "New York Times Why It's So Hard to Admit That You're Wrong."

[This message edited by BraveSirRobin at 7:31 PM, November 12th (Tuesday)]

Pippin posted 11/13/2019 15:57 PM

I wish I could fast forward through this part

I completely relate to that feeling. I read something on limerance early after NC and I thought well OK, the intrusive thoughts and incomprehensible feelings are chemical, I just need to run down the shot clock. That didn't work for me, although I know for some people time itself does help.

Can I help reframe a bit, as someone who also suffered and is almost a year out of it? I see now that it was a liminal period. It's an interesting anthropology concept that describes the state of being not in one time of life and not yet being in another. You don't know what you are becoming but you can't go back to the old way, and there is no clear path. It's a disoriented time. (Liminal is an uncommon word but easy and useful concept - look it up on wikipedia. As a side note if you know a high school senior applying to college, or a college grad who hasn't found a job, a "Liminal State" sweatshirt is a funny gift. But I digress.)

I would not welcome going back to that time of life. Some days were a bit better, others were worse, and some were nearly unbearable. But the desperation of the worst days forced me to explore things that new. Poetry, reading the Bible, going to church every day, making a friend I would not have otherwise made, coming to depend on and trust my husband. None of those things was a magic fix (although when I finally opened up to my husband and learned I could trust him, that was close to a magic fix and marked the beginning of the end), but all of them had a place in helping me through that time.

I don't know what you will find to hang on to during your time. Maybe you will travel, work in a soup kitchen, listen to different kinds of music, exercise, renew or deepen a relationship with a friend or family member, meditation practice, eat for health, get into nature and try birding. You might try a bunch of stuff that doesn't work, or works some days but not others, and you might be rejected when you reach out to people. The search is poignant and important. If I had any advice I'd say to look for beauty. Beauty is healing.

You also can't expect it to just happen. Some days there was relief but other days I had to experience the misery to prompt looking. Expect and accept that it won't be solved easily or quickly.

You should take care with things that are destructive. Excessive drinking, drugs, excessive unhealthy eating, opening up to untrustworthy people (another AP), those are all things you don't want to turn to. I exercised to excess because intense exercise bordering on painful reliably cleared my mind. I ended up with a nasty injury that is taking a long while to heal. That's not the worst thing in the world - just be careful with what you turn to.

Now, almost a year later, the feelings are totally gone, I don't have intrusive thoughts, and I have a good understanding of what happened and why. And I still have - poetry, the Bible, church, my friend, (and the injury!) Most importantly for me, relying on and trusting my husband. When I read the first line of the beatitudes I feel deep gratitude for the suffering I experienced, and for coming out of it. I never understood the beatitudes before. All those things I wouldn't have without the misery.

I hope that helps. I feel for you in your anguish. I hope you find a way through it that is healthy and not destructive.

[This message edited by Pippin at 4:24 PM, November 13th (Wednesday)]

hikingout posted 11/13/2019 16:30 PM

Pippin,

Excellent post. This was exactly my experience as well, but with some perspectives that I couldnít quite articulate as well. Especially that transitional state- not knowing how to move forward, flailing, trial and error, etc. that journey for me was something I too have come to appreciate still, like you would not want to repeat for anything. I think you should save this post for future people who are in this part of their journey. Itís such a terribly painful and lonely time, having this as a perspective may help people to see they are not alone.

Pippin posted 11/13/2019 16:31 PM

Broken4Good, I hope this makes you laugh. Or at least smile.

I looked up my old poetry list from last year and sheesh this one is so bad! It's embarrassing how bad it is! At the time, I knew it was sophomoric but I had it memorized and used to recite it to myself when I needed something to focus on.

The Rainy Day (Longfellow)

The day is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the mouldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
And the day is dark and dreary.

My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
My thoughts still cling to the mouldering Past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast,
And the days are dark and dreary.

Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.

Broken4good posted 11/13/2019 18:45 PM

Thank you Pippin! I love your post and it gives me hope. I have no idea what I can possibly find, I already exercise at a competitive level and read and write, but you have inspired me to do more of each and possibly hunt out new things. Also, I love the poem! I just submitted one I wrote to a contest actually! It wonít win of course but felt good to put it out there.

Itís 2 weeks today since Dday and Friday will be 2 weeks NC,
Messaging him seems all I can think about at times and the need to try to fall back on one of the unhealthy options is overwhelming as well. It is indeed the loneliest of times especially, when you have to suffer alone, but I am getting through it, day by day..... sometimes minute by minute.

BraveSirRobin posted 11/13/2019 21:15 PM

Broken, do you have a plan for when and how to disclose to your BH? Are you setting up IC to work on your whys?

I know that it's still white knuckle time, but you need to get that process started. Weeks can turn into months as you put off dealing with it. "Later," you think, "when things are less stressful, and I have myself under control." And then if things do get better, you decide that it's not absolutely necessary to tell. You sell yourself on the idea that it's too late, you're healing, and honesty would just get in the way.

Your H deserves better than that, and there is also a BW out there who may act on her timetable rather than your own. I'm afraid your grief for AP is not the only unpleasant reality you need to face.

EvolvingSoul posted 11/13/2019 22:08 PM

Hey there Broken4good,

Disclosing the affair to your BS will help you reorient your feelings towards AP.

Right now, you're carrying on acting to your BS I'm sure as if everything is normal, and it's decidedly not normal. You're in withdrawal. And as long as you're hiding the truth, the negatives of the relationship with AP can be mentally minimized. You can relate to AP as a lost love relationship, the chance untaken, the star-crossed lover, etc. instead of what he actually is: an enemy of your integrity, an enemy of your BS, and an enemy of your marriage.

Once you bring your BS into the loop, AP can begin to take his rightful place in your mind. It is not an instantaneous transition. I had a very long affair. I talked to AP every day for SEVEN years. Seven. I thought I loved two men, that I was just special and needed two relationships to be happy. I was sure that my feelings for AP would never change, not in a million years. And when D-day came and I was forced to choose, when BS said he was not going to share me for another minute, I was wrecked. For years I had been using my interactions with AP as a way to deal with the crummy feelings I had about myself and my situation in life. When that supply was cut off, I didn't really have any healthy self-soothing tools to help me deal with not only those feelings but all the pain my BS was in as well. It sucked.

I went NC with AP but spent months on the fence about what to do. I pined. I made long sad journal entries. I cried in private. I agonized. I drank a lot of vodka. I started therapy. And finally I started to take some steps to disengage. I started applying the mental NC techniques described on this board. I got rid of momentos, even the ones that were not obvious that BS would not have known were reminders. I burned, I buried, I gave away, I threw away. I went to more therapy. I read here on SI the many, many accounts of infidelity and as I progressed I could see the accounts of the people who were just arriving and see how much they sounded like I did just a little while ago. I read books like Not Just Friends and got educated about how infidelity actually happens and how it affects the people involved. And more. Mindfulness and meditation. Non-violent communication. Shame and Vulnerability. Facing sexual abuse and other trauma from decades earlier. Day by week by month digging. And lo, slowly, my feelings did change.

Today I don't think about AP with longing. I think about him with a sort of mental cringe. Did I really feel that way about him? Did I really do that? Did I really say those things? Yes. I did. And I know how and why I was able to. I figured out where I was broken and did the work to rewire my brain. It's not perfect. The old destructive coping mechanisms still come up sometimes, but I'm aware of them. I see them and I can make a choice to employ a more wholesome strategy. It takes many repetitions, but that's how real change is made: one choice at at time, again and again, to do something different.

So. If you want it to change, then you are going to have to do something different. Find your integrity. Gather your courage. And give your BS the truth. All hell will break loose. It will be very difficult. But it will be a step in the direction of actual healing instead of white-knuckling.

The healing path is right in front of you. Will you step on?

Proceed with conviction and valor.

Strength to you from a fellow EvolvingSoul.

MrsWalloped posted 11/14/2019 07:50 AM

Hi Broken4good.

I agree with everything EvolvingSoul said. My affair was an EA before it turned physical and I thought I loved him. At the time of my A, I did love him. It wasnít quite like where I thought I needed 2 men, but I had my love for the AP in a nice box labeled ďAĒ and then my love for my BH, which was labeled ďlife.Ē Even after DDay I still loved the AP. I even and broke NC to say goodbye and I told him I loved him and how special he was to me and a whole bunch of other similar type things. Like EvolvingSoul said, it was totally cringe-worthy. Thankfully, a couple of things happened that affected my feelings for him pretty quickly. I do know that if it wasnít for my BH those feelings would have persisted for a lot longer and maybe they never would have fully gone away, like I might have thought about him fondly or something even if it wasnít loving feelings. I donít, not at all, but I think I was lucky.

Tell your BH. God, so scary. I get it. But he deserves to know. I wouldnít have gotten over the AP if it werenít for my BHís strength and holding me accountable for my actions. I donít think your feelings will go away soon without telling him.

ff4152 posted 11/14/2019 08:09 AM

Broken

I would like to relate my experience in the hopes that it might help you through this time.

Like you, I thought my AP was my soulmate. As far as I was concerned, the sun rose and set on this woman. Yeah I was married and my wife was a great gal and all that, but my AP was a goddess. Sexually adventurous, younger, big boobs and most of all, told me what a great, wonderful sexy guy I was. How could my wife even compete?

Well my AP and I got into a fight around Feb 2016 and didnít talk for quite a while. I was missing her something fierce but I was mad too and wasnít gonna be the one to cave. I was the prize donít forget.

My conscious was also nagging at me a big louder during that hiatus. I started reading about infidelity and happened upon SI. I spent a lot of time in JFO and it really shattered the Holllywood illusion of what infidelity really is.

Well my AP reaches out to me in Oct 2016 and wanted to see me. She missed me and had to get together. On the one hand, I was over the moon. On the other, I was hugely conflicted. My child tried to take their own life a couple of weeks before. My wife and I were dealing with the fallout. I had the words of the anguished in JFO ringing in my ears. I knew I couldnít start all this crap up with my AP again. So the day we were supposed to get together, I officially ended it with her.

She was very calm and understanding. No histrionics or crying. I was glad but also a little surprised. I mean, here is Mr Wonderful, her soulmate, giving her the boot. Why wasnít she more upset?

Well I stayed no contact for a couple of months. No emails, texts, no trolling her FB but missing her and mourning ďthe one that got awayĒ. I finally looked at her FB page and guess what? There she was, gushing over her new soulmate on a beach in PR. It was as if someone punched me in the stomach.

The reaction wasnít one of jealousy or longing. It was the sudden realization of what I had done and everything I risked. She wasnít my soulmate, she was just some person, as broken and morally bankrupt as I. Because letís be honest, anyone who willingly sleeps with someone who is married isnít a pillar of the community.

If there is one thing I urge you to do above everything else, is to take off the rose colored glasses and see the AP for who he really is. Here is a guy who didnít give a crap about your marriage vows. He didnít give a shit about your H or what this could do to him or your family. He was only interested in getting what he wanted. A real man would have respected your situation and your marriage.

I also ask you to look at your role in this. What nonsense did you tell yourself that allowed you to cheat? My complaint was my wife wasnít affectionate enough, ergo she must not really love me. Well she wasnít the problem, I was. I turned my back on my marriage. I had the same type of mentality in my marriage as I did in my A, I was the prize and my wife better work damn hard to keep me. Well it doesnít work like that. My wife has just as much value as I do and deserves the same kind of effort that she gives me. Now that Iím actually engaged in my marriage, Iím getting all the affection I can handle.

hikingout posted 11/14/2019 08:16 AM

I didn't realize that you hadn't told him, I am sorry I didn't follow this thread as closely as I should have. So, the dday you reference is his dday? She knows?

So, in my situation - same thing happened. He was caught and went NC immediately. I came here and went to IC within the first week. It took me a couple of months to decide to tell him, but it was something I wish I had done earlier. The BW never contacted him, it was long distance and I actually don't think there was any way he would have found out otherwise, but I don't regret that for a second. I had hope that I could rebuild with him, and I knew if there was any chance of that a process needed to start in which I worked on myself, and there could be no lies between us.

I have to say it was terrifying to get started. But, I told everything in one sitting, no lies. If you even think you might want your marriage, please do not minimize and own everything. Don't string him along trying to protect him because that is the opposite of protecting him. Many WS have either significantly delayed or ruined chances of R by doing this.

I don't know if it will help the intrusive thoughts though. I still had another 6 months of dealing it those things after my own DDAY. I didn't want it to be that way, I knew it was wrong. My mind and my feelings were at odds with one another. The thing that saved me from that was I was very cognizant of redirecting my thoughts. When I would go to relive something, I would imagine my H watching that. I would put my H in my role in my head with another woman. I would also really get real about all the things my intuition was telling me about my AP but I was ignoring in order to tell the story I wanted to hear. Do you really want someone with no integrity? I know that's hypocritical when we ourselves cheat, but you have to make other plans here for yourself to become that person who deserves better than that.

Make an IC appointment today. Read how to help your spouse heal from infidelity and not just friends. You are a prisoner of your own re-writing of this story. The AP didn't love you or he would be there, likely if you reach out to him you will get a leave me alone response that is penned by both him and his wife. It's exactly the bear to poke that will bring her to your doorstep. Those are the weaker reasons not to contact him, but they are very real.

I prolonged my own misery, but the programming we gave ourselves is so in-depth. We projected all the good we could think of to the AP. We assigned them traits they don't have. We assign ourselves traits we don't have and perform them for the AP - which in my situation was the most compelling force to continue the affair much more than anything he was saying or doing. You have much more power in this situation than you think in many ways. Use it to better your circumstances.

BraveSirRobin posted 11/18/2019 21:59 PM

How are things going, Broken?

Broken4good posted 11/20/2019 15:07 PM

Hello BraveSirRobin,

Thank you for checking in, the last week has been a blur and it is 3 weeks today. I begun IC and am amazed that I found someone I like right away. In the past I have had bad experiences, I still don't know that I believe it can help me heal but at least there is someone I can try to work with.

I am still of the mindset that I will not tell my BH but told my therapist I would like to discuss and consider all my options over the next few weeks so I can make a decision based on all the information. She agreed we should discuss the pros and cons of each option and make sure I know what my decision means either way and we are going to start there.

I have not reached out to my AP although at moments I am so angry I want to say the meanest things. I get so angry I even want to do ridiculous things, my brain gets out of control at points that I typically distract myself or go to sleep so I can stop thinking about whatever I am obsessing over in the moment.

I will say even though it has not been long I already feel like I am far enough on the journey very small details are starting to look completely different, it's all so confusing.

Broken4good posted 11/20/2019 15:14 PM

Thank you EvolvingSoul,

I am very very slowly taking steps towards healing and understanding what and why I did certain things along the journey of not only my AP but the things that led me to make friends outside my marriage at all. I am still all confused and in some moments I still do think of him with sadness but others anger so I think that's at least a step in the right direction. I also started IC and am hoping she can help me figure some of it out. I have begun making a new me, to sort of disconnect from the me that was with him. I agreed to meet with someone about a job offer that I have been sitting on for far to long, I booked some meets over the next few months so I am working towards them and I also decided to take on a few people to coach for free as I think the distraction and excitement I will get from helping others maybe will fill up some of the time I would have been talking to him or now feeling sad that I no longer have him. I have a few other things I am thinking about starting up but am also scared to jump across too many things so soon and bury myself in obligations, I can't decide if that is a good thing or bad.

Broken4good posted 11/20/2019 15:20 PM

Thank you for sharing your experience FF, I am trying so hard to see it in real light the whole thing. You are right though, my AP didn't once feel bad for my BS he never once even felt bad for his, while I tried over and over to end it over feelings of guilt he expressed his lack of guilt over and over. I know he is hurt now but I still don't think it's guilt it's more so feeling sorry for himself that he is so messed up. The last conversation I had with him was about him, I was in hysterics and he sounded emotionless, it makes me so angry. I am angry that I didn't see his lack of guilt as a character flaw earlier, or at least I pretended not to. I am angry that his wife was pregnant and had a baby and he still didn't feel any concern or guilt for her and rather spent the delivery calling and messaging me, even when I told him to stop and most of all I am just angry I allowed what I did. This whole thing is a roller coaster of emotions and mostly right now I am just so mad.

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