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How APs think

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M1965 posted 12/18/2019 18:53 PM

How can you R with the scum of the earth? Some of where you are may be due to that apparent contradiction.

Good question. It is my belief that people can change.

I may well be wrong, but it seems to me that a big part of all this has been a quest by 36 to rid himself of negative thinking/feelings. In many ways I think he has achieved this.

However, there is a big difference between thinking someone is the scum of the earth and thinking they are a wonderful and trustworthy person to be married to.

It is not a binary thing (scumbag or angel), but linear, and all the grey stuff that lies between the two extremes at either end of that line.

It is abundantly evident that 36 is no dummy, nor likely to kid himself into believing any delusions. So if he feels like reconciliation of some sort is possible, then he obviously does not feel his WW is a lost cause, or irredeemably 'bad'.

And yet...He finds himself spinning his wheels. Which brings me to this:

It is my belief that people can change.

36, from what I have picked up from the narrative, your wife has taken some actions like signing over various financial/business elements of your relationship with her over to you. However, what I have not picked up is any real indication that she has done any work on herself, and changed in any discernible way at all from how she was when she had her affair.

You are no fool. You see that lack of change, and for you, "I am not cheating at the moment, and I signed the assets over to you" is not enough to convince you that you would be safe to think a repeat performance will not occur.

It is not down to you to convince yourself of that; it is up to your wife to do that. And it seems like she is not doing that.

I may be way off base here, but I get the feeling that your wife has never questioned herself very much, or ever identified elements of herself that she could improve (or even wanted to improve). Instead, it seems like she believes she has an absolute right to do whatever she likes, and then she relies on gestures to mollify the people she has hurt, rather than making changes to herself.

And because you are not easily taken in, gestures like the one she suggested about gathering the family together so that she could stage a confession in front of the masses are meaningless, because what you are looking for is evidence of change, not public broadcasts about past transgressions that do nothing to suggest they will not be repeated.

36, this is not about you being in limbo, having anxiety, etc. It is about your wife, and her lack of insight into herself, and the consequence of that, which is a lack of change and progress.

The point is, your WW does not have to be the most wicked 'scum of the earth' person for you not to trust her; she can be an ordinary, fallible person who simply lacks the insight into herself to make herself trustworthy enough for you to recommit to her.

And if that is the case, please do not beat yourself up for perceiving it. It is what it is.

I guess my question to you would be this: why are you pressuring yourself to return to being a person who trusts her 100% and is a happy and contented husband when she seems incapable of achieving any meaningful change?

You seem to be expecting a lot of compromising from yourself and your intelligence and core values to enable you to climb back into marriage with someone who has changed nothing about themselves.

I think the world of you, and I honestly think that you may need to adjust your target in all of this from a return to being 'man and wife' to becoming 'friends who get on and have a long shared history that was rocked on occasion by a difference in core values and beliefs'.

I believe that the latter may be eminently more achievable than the former. And that you may be happier in a dynamic like that than pushing yourself into a role requiring more trust/dependence.

I may be off base in all of this, but I felt it was worth saying.

Like a lot of people here, I have followed your story, and I want the best outcome for you.

36yearsgone posted 12/19/2019 09:59 AM

Thanks, M1965.

Catwoman posted 12/19/2019 10:14 AM

I may be way off base here, but I get the feeling that your wife has never questioned herself very much, or ever identified elements of herself that she could improve (or even wanted to improve). Instead, it seems like she believes she has an absolute right to do whatever she likes, and then she relies on gestures to mollify the people she has hurt, rather than making changes to herself.

This.

It is very painful to look at oneself in this way. Probably a lot more painful for those who have made decisions that cause deliberate hurt to those they profess to love. Therefore, their "go-to" seems to be what I call the "grand gesture." The "grand gesture" is generally something that, while on the outside seems generous and loving, is something that is done without emotion with the expectation that said gesture will smooth over any hurts and bring the BS to a place where they feel they should no longer challenge WS thinking, or question the relationship at all. Basically, it's the lollipop offered after surgery with no anesthesia.

I once believed the "grand gesture." I don't fall for it any longer.

Obviously, this is trying to put wallpaper over mold. It might look good short term. It might even feel good short term. But it's not appropriate for the LONG TERM, which is what marriages are all about.

In order to create a healthy marriage after an affair, the WS needs to do a lot of work on themselves, much of which is painful to them. Since many affairs are those of avoiding responsibility/papering over mold (so to speak), this is a big challenge and very difficult for them.

I, too, believe people can change, but I also realize change is a very tough thing for anyone. It is particularly tough for those with poor and ingrained coping mechanisms.

I, too, agree with '65 in that you may be asking too much of yourself to place your trust in someone who has yet to earn it back.

Personally, I feel making the bar high is not a bad thing--it is a good thing. It shows how much you not only value YOURSELF, but value the sanctity of a healthy relationship.

Swallowing your goals and ideals of what a healthy relationship should be (provided they are achievable and reasonable, which I have no reason to believe they are not) for the sake of having "a relationship" vs. "the relationship" ultimately hurts you more deeply.

Like a lot of people here, I have followed your story, and I want the best outcome for you.

Yep.

Cat

36yearsgone posted 12/19/2019 14:27 PM

Thank you, Cat.

DoinBettr posted 12/19/2019 15:00 PM

See, you need to find yourself some slight small ways to slight him.
Revenge doesn't have to be a lightning bolt from heaven. Sometimes it is just a continual stream of dog poo in his yard, when he doesn't have a dog.
Little things that just ruffle someone's feathers. Then you sit back and laugh.
When he goes to the store, leave a short nail in his tire. He won't know where he got it. Just watch out for cameras.
The art of being annoying but not enough to be illegal. Sign up his phone number for telemarketers. Put political stakes in his yard for unliked politicians. Things like that.
Revenge is best served, ... petty.

36yearsgone posted 12/24/2019 12:00 PM

See, you need to find yourself some slight small ways to slight him.
Revenge doesn't have to be a lightning bolt from heaven. Sometimes it is just a continual stream of dog poo in his yard, when he doesn't have a dog.
Little things that just ruffle someone's feathers. Then you sit back and laugh.
When he goes to the store, leave a short nail in his tire. He won't know where he got it. Just watch out for cameras.
The art of being annoying but not enough to be illegal. Sign up his phone number for telemarketers. Put political stakes in his yard for unliked politicians. Things like that.
Revenge is best served, ... petty.

He seems to be in hiding now; that leaves me with few quick options available. But, hopefully, I'll see him in jail soon.

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