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BSó struggling with shame

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Flnightmare posted 12/14/2019 09:51 AM

I am really struggling with the shame I feel for not ending this marriage. We are nowhere near R, but we are still working towards it.

I feel a ton of shame over not immediately calling it quits. I always said I would, society makes me feel as if I should, etc...

Do any other BSís struggle with shame?

layla1234 posted 12/14/2019 09:58 AM

I justified the shame I felt with the actions that I thought showed he was trying to be a better person. I really tried to focus on the new man he was becoming. That all came crumbling down when I realized he was lying for a year and a half. I just had a nagging feeling when we weren't really progressing in R.

If he's doing all the right things and proving he is a different spouse, I think it's possible the shame will go away.

landclark posted 12/14/2019 10:00 AM

Honestly, no. I donít let society or any divorce at all cost posters here determine how I feel about choosing to stay. I donít feel like I need to justify my choice to stay to anybody. People have asked. I tell them itís just not as easy to leave as I thought it would be. They accept that. The only places Iíve felt judged for staying are this site and a Facebook group I posted in before coming here (most commenters hadnít actually gone through infidelity). Otherwise I feel like the majority of people Iíve told, even if theyíve not gone through it, respect that itís complicated.

Thereís a lot of strength in staying. Itís not for the faint of heart at all. Thereís absolutely no shame in it. Those who leave arenít the only ones who get to hold their head up high over their choice.

HouseOfPlane posted 12/14/2019 10:07 AM

I always said I would, society makes me feel as if I should, etc...

The outside pressures on our lives, and the imperative to comply with societyís norms, can be tremendous. You see it in a million different ways. Dress codes, speech, looking the other way at behavior, going along to get along, etc.

At some point, where what you believe conflicts with the rest of society, you just have to say ďfuckíemĒ and do what you believe is the right thing. It takes real courage to go against the tide, though.

Iíll note that in other groups the pressure is to stay together. Again, seek your own moral compass, and if that says split up, then do that.

Best of luck, shipmate!

Chrysalis123 posted 12/14/2019 10:13 AM

Do any other BSís struggle with shame?

I did feel great shame in the beginning. I was a hot mess, actually, and needed to do a lot of work to find my center again.

Once I started to do that, I found out I was extremely codependent and married to a man that was taking advantage of that, as well as abusing me emotionally...and he had addiction issues.

I tried to reconcile. But during my healing I realized I had to save myself and get out. I felt a lot of shame for staying so long too.

But you know what? I learned that is it no one else's business what I did or did not do. I learned I was minding the other side of the street and forgetting about my side of the street. I was confused and did not know I could not control what others thought of me, and actually their opinion of me was not my business.

That was a big revelation to me.

You need to do what you need to do. Examine your shame. Find your why.....really find it.

cocoplus5nuts posted 12/14/2019 10:21 AM

I was ashamed for staying in the beginning. I had always said cheating was a dealbreaker. I'd be put the door so fast your head would spin. Then, I didn't do that. I stayed for reasons other than love and wanting to save my M, but I stayed, nonetheless. I don't think mine was shame from outside pressure. I think it was all internal for me. I wasn't living by my principles.

I can't say when the shame went away, but it did. I think it happened when I realized I was staying for me, not him. We are reconciled. However, I'm still not 100% committed to staying.

SisterMilkshake posted 12/14/2019 10:30 AM

Yes, I understand. I do feel like I had that struggle at times. Especially if you watch some tv programs that show people leaving immediately and most "people" would say "I'ld leave if my spouse cheated on me!". I know because I was one of those people who thought they would leave if cheated upon. I broke up with boyfriends that did that, why wouldn't I with a spouse? Because real life is way more complicated than a 2 hour made for tv movie or hour long soap opera/drama tv show.

Hold your head high. Do what you feel is the right choice for you. Because you are giving your WS a chance doesn't mean you can't change your mind down the road, either.

As landclark pointed out, unfortunately some here at SI and adherents to a certain lady's blog (who used to be a member here) feel that we are chumps to give our WS's a chance. They are the ones that help reinforce society's general attitude and try to shame us. It is of course disguised as caring for us, but it is more a projection of them wanting their own choices validated, imo.

Look, I feel the natural consequence to a cheating spouse is divorce. Those who make that choice have a right and reason to make that choice. I also feel it is a valid choice to try to heal and reconcile a marriage after infidelity, and we have every right and reason to do so.

Try to get the narrative out of your head. Realize that when you said you would leave if your spouse cheated you weren't actually in those shoes. When you are actually in those shoes the view is totally different and complex. It really isn't that simple.

Wishing you peace on your healing journey, Flnightmare.

LLXC posted 12/14/2019 10:41 AM

society makes me feel as if I should, etc...

I feel like people feel shame either way - because there is also the societal pressure to make the marriage work, that divorce is the easy way out. Sooo, you "win" either way.

Look. No one knows your marriage like you and your husband. You are doing what you feel is best for yourself. It sounds like you will leave if he proves unsafe, so you are being very wise.

I think once you become confident in your decision you will not feel shame and if someone tries to shame you, fuck them.

gmc94 posted 12/14/2019 10:57 AM

I struggle with BS shame, but in my case, I don't think it's external/because of society. I told my family, but not our social circle other than two of WH's friends whom I told after his suicide attempt and was advised there was a good chance he would not make it (he did survive), so I don't believe my feelings stem from others' views of infidelity bc others don't know about it.

For me, I think it's more about not putting myself first in ALL things post dday.... being ashamed of whatever it is in me that continues to be M to a WH who has repeatedly demonstrated that he is not "R material" and if he is digging deep into his whys, trying to change, etc. he sure as h*ll is not sharing any of that work with me. And half-truths are still all too often the norm for him.

It's being ashamed of the amount of hopium i've been smoking since dday.

my CSAT (certified sex addiction therapist) recently said in IC that I must forgive myself. She's right. I can count off the myriad practical reasons I have not filed for D, but knowing that in my head is not the same as absorbing it into my heart & soul. They are all "good reasons" but they still have a way of getting under my skin as not being "good enough" for my own sense of dignity.

I think we BS need to find ways to be compassionate to ourselves. Sometimes easier said than done.

EllieKMAS posted 12/14/2019 11:31 AM

I felt it too. But I do think it is important for you to figure out why you are feeling that. Is it because of family/social pressure? Or something else?

And TBH, I was one of those people who always said I'd be done immediately. But I learned the very hard way that it is way more complicated than that. So nowadays, if I have anyone telling me that "I wouldn't deal with it", I just tell myself that they've never been there so they have no idea what they're talking about.

And whether you R or D, it is a very personal decision that you don't owe anyone an explanation about.

20yrsagoBS posted 12/14/2019 12:06 PM


The first time he showed me who he was, I should have RUN

skeetermooch posted 12/14/2019 13:59 PM


It goes against everything I thought I was and would accept. I'm mortified to have entertained R for this long. My close friends are being kind but it's not hard to read between the lines - they don't understand why I still have any contact with him.

He has clearly not stopped lying. It's pretending a whole bunch, begging to come home, raging etc etc - but he has not made a genuine shift.

I'm going to do this in the time it takes. I would have suffered more if I abruptly ended it on DDAY. I would've second-guessed myself from here to kingdom come. And the pain of severing ties to the person I was closest to for the last few years would have been unbearable.

I'm weaning myself and it seems to be working. I'm slowly feeling less wretched, even good sometimes, and more and more clear.

Ending a marriage is a huge decision that you have to live with, so take the time you need to explore the options.

sisoon posted 12/14/2019 15:03 PM

I can't remember ever being ashamed of staying, but I certainly felt shame for being betrayed.

I believe that comes more from messages that I generate myself. IOW, it's not that society says something is wrong with the BS, because if the BS was OK, no one would cheat him. Rather, it's that I accept that judgment.

I think you're more attuned to the 'D now!' messgaes than to society's 'You must forgive' messages, but both are in the air, all the time.

IMO, the antidote is to focus on figuring out what you want and using the messages that support that choice - and ignoring the messages that tell you to do what you don't want to do, up to a point.

That point is if you want R, but your WS won't do the necessary work.

If you want R, you need a remorseful WS. If your WS isn't remorseful, your best bet is probably to choose D, even though you want R....

Bottom line, though, is that society's conventional wisdom is set up to turn you into a loser no matter what you do. I urge you to figure out what you want and to go for that, using conventional wisdom to support your choice.

gmc94 posted 12/14/2019 16:53 PM

society's conventional wisdom is set up to turn you into a loser no matter what you do.
I completely agree. I think the BS receives societal blame for the A itself and, GENERALLY speaking, conventional wisdom 'reasons' if it's a WH, it's bc the BW didn't have enough sex if it's a WW, bc the BH was emotionally unavailable. There have been a bunch of threads about it being better or worse for men vs women. Personally, I don't think it makes a damn bit of difference. If folks can "blame" the BS, then they can somehow convince themselves that it can never happen to them (eg I'm a good spouse, therefore my spouse has no reason to cheat).

Unfortunately, we all know that is a bunch of malarkey.

So, no matter R or D, there are many in this world that will immediately think the A(s) was your fault. Until it happened to me, I am sad to say that I was one of them.

The1stWife posted 12/15/2019 04:55 AM

You should not let others influence how you feel about your choices. People will judge you for everything if you let them.

I too thought I wound leave if my H cheated.

His first EA was 4 years long. I stayed. But he never admitted he did anything wrong. Completely rugswept. No consequences. I never gave it a second thought.

Second EA he wanted to D me. I hung in there for six months until I snapped and had enough. I had a plan B (exit strategy) and started executing. I told him I was D him. He begged for another chance.

Maybe b/c I finally asserted myself and stopped being a doormat I donít feel shame or regret for reconciling. My H has changed and we are very happily reconciled.

I donít care what others think. No marriage is perfect. Some people just choose to hide their skeletons in the closet.

Flnightmare posted 12/15/2019 09:04 AM

Thank you for the replies. Lots to think about.

I think for me it is more personal shame of letting myself down. I said I would walk and Iím not. I said I would be strong and Iím not.

Westway posted 12/15/2019 10:37 AM

Don't think that divorcing immediately would have saved you from shame. I divorced very quickly and I am filled with shame every day: the shame of knowing I wasn't the kind of male my WW wanted sexually; knowing that I was duped for most of our marriage; knowing she made a sucker out of me.

Humiliation doesn't go away just because you dump your spouse.

Westway posted 12/15/2019 10:37 AM

Double Post

[This message edited by Westway at 10:38 AM, December 15th (Sunday)]

Dorothy123 posted 12/15/2019 19:24 PM

Raises hand .

I felt shame too.

Hallmack posted 12/15/2019 21:36 PM

The shame is very real for me. I feel ashamed for letting my wife do this to me and staying. I feel weak for loving her. I feel a ton of shame for the reasons she used to justify the affair. That Iím a terrible absent father and husband. Iím 100X the father and partner her AP was but she so easily bought into his bullshit because she hated me so much. My wife created this narrative with her Facebook account that I was a deadbeat dad who did nothing with his wife and children even though my entire life revolved around trying to make my wife happy and making sure my children are taken care of. But because I donít get 6-8 weeks of time off from my job every year and donít chose to run myself ragged going to amusement parks every weekend and have a ton of money for vacations then I just didnít fit into her fantasy of what life should have been for her and her family. She complained about this for 7 years and now Iím supposed to believe her when she says all the old problems donít matter. I want to believe her but I know I canít really trust anything she says.

I feel a lot of shame that I wasnít enough to keep her happy. In her eyes I wasnít man enough to give her what she wanted, wasnít man enough to be a good father even though every decision I make is for my childrenís benefit... like staying with her now after the infidelity. She created this story that I was and am a terrible father and since I have my own father issues itís real easy to believe it. The truth is that she failed our children by betraying her family. By taking our children around this strange alcoholic/drug addict and using them as her cover story for her dates and vacations. The children I love so much were left alone so they could have sex in the bathroom. I feel a massive amount of shame for whatís become of my family, I couldnít protect them, I didnít even know I needed to protect them from their own mother. She didnít think twice about taking them with her to go be with her lover.

I try not to stay stuck in shame. I know Iím a good person and could have been a good partner for anyone who was willing to put any effort into returning the love I gave. I loved her as best I could. I stayed loyal and it wasnít even a option whenever women would flirt with me, I shut it down. I gave to her over and over. Tried to give her what was really impossible to give... happiness. I thought I was earning her loyalty and love and respect. Hell I thought I had it. Couldnít have been further from the truth. She hid who she was to me the entire time. Lied to me. I saw what I wanted to see, I wanted to believe she loved me as much as I loved her. That she thought I was just as special as she was to me. I thought she was the one great love in my life, I thought she knew life wasnít made solely of the snapshots of happiness on Facebook that the plastic assholes love to paint as their entire lives. She didnít. She chose him over me. She made his feelings more important then mine.

I feel a giant amount of shame that she basically told me about the affair when it was happening and then decided to back track and gaslight me into believing her bull crap. I feel shame for being so stupid that I believed her when everything was scream that she was being unfaithful. I feel shame for trusting someone like her.

try to remind myself that Iím the prize and that I shouldnít try to win her affection. The thing that makes me sad is I donít think she sees it that way. I feel like my pain and existence is a nuisance to her. I think she feels like I need to make this up to her. I donít think she thinks Iím worth the effort of making it up to me. I become convinced she still hates me.

I think if she was honest she could list off a enormous amount of resentment and hate she still has for me. The worst part is I think that this is what I deserve. An abusive gaslighting manipulator. I hope and pray she can change but at my lowest I donít think she can or wants to change very much.

I fee shame for feeling this way about someone I love. I hate feeling this way. I hate that this is my life now. I hate the lows where all I can think about is pain.

[This message edited by Hallmack at 9:40 PM, December 15th (Sunday)]

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