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WS still doesnít grasp the damage

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Tanner posted 9/24/2020 16:54 PM

We have been out of infidelity for a year, but she still doesnít grasp the damage she caused. We were watching wheel of fortune last night and the guy won a beach trip and W says ďletís go there on our next anniversaryĒ. Anniversary? Really? I just looked at her and didnít respond, kids were in the room. Iím thinking Iíve told her that we wonít acknowledge the anniversary until Iím ready and itís gonna be a while. Hell, I would rather celebrate Dday 2 and the end of TT over some bullshit vows. Maybe I could just save the money and join her in La La Land.

[This message edited by Tanner at 4:55 PM, September 24th (Thursday)]

gmc94 posted 9/24/2020 18:10 PM

Yeah, happened to me too. Didn't get it at a year.... didn't get it at 18months when we S... and he still doesn't "get it" today.

TBH, I think the shame kind of acts as a blocker (or super compartmentalizer) for them to either never register, or simply push aside when we say things like "we won't be celebrating any anniversaries soon". WH did the EXACT same stuff.... like he simply could not understand that the day was NOTHING for me to celebrate, or that I felt like a complete fool for celebrating it during his LTA

Only advice I have is to focus on yourself. This year I actually completely forgot my wedding anniversary!

NotMyFirstRodeo posted 9/24/2020 18:16 PM

"Getting it" is a real downer for many WS's. Why "get it" when one can just move on??

OwningItNow posted 9/24/2020 18:25 PM

It's your pain, not her pain. No matter how badly we feel for other people, it is their pain. Sure, the wayward causes the pain. Your pain.

The other thing is doing 'this' to their spouse is who they are. I don't mean permanently who they are (although that is highly likely), I mean when the cheating happened, recently, that was your spouse who did that, who could do that, to you. That was this person, this master compartmentalizer, denier, and avoider. And unless major consequences, major IC, a major shift takes place inside of them, they remain that person.

If you are asking me (you didn't), she may never 'get it' to the level you deserve. Then what?

For me, my reconciliation looked like this. For a year, two years, six months. I'm honestly not sure how long I felt...tolerated, accommodated. It wasn't until I made some huge goodbye moves and really cut the whole R off that my H dropped his "just trying to stay out of the doghouse" mentally about fixing our M. But it was me. I finally had enough and waved the white flag, told him I wanted a D. Until then he believed that the issue was my unreasonable expectations. He doesn't think that anymore.

[This message edited by OwningItNow at 6:27 PM, September 24th (Thursday)]

Mick2007 posted 9/25/2020 00:48 AM

I agree, it's our pain, not theirs. No matter how much time passes they never felt or understood the pain. In my case, only the backlash from getting caught...

ramius posted 9/25/2020 00:54 AM

Cheaters, in general, have a below average ability to empathize.

Their solipsistic nature prevents them from being able to relate to anything outside of their own personal experience.

sillyoldsod posted 9/25/2020 03:45 AM

Until my XWW cheated on me I'm ashamed to admit I wouldn't have been able to grasp the deep and underlying damage infidelity causes because I'd had no personal experience of it and I was the BS!

How can anyone imagine a depth of pain and loss that I suspect in most cases they don't even realise exists?

To expect someone other than yourself to understand this, particularly a WS, is to expect the impossible imo.

LadyG posted 9/25/2020 03:50 AM

When the ĎAnniversaryí your WS wishes to acknowledge and even celebrate, donít acknowledge it.

Like you said you will not be acknowledging IT until you are ready.

If you never feel that you can acknowledge IT then maybe she may eventually Get It.

Right now if La La Land was available, Iíd be there.

TwoDozen posted 9/25/2020 04:42 AM

As SillyOldSod has already said. Before I was betrayed I had zero absolutely zero idea of the pain caused by infidelity even when you consider my father cheated on my mother dozens of timeís and eventually left for his AP when I was around 16

Iím ashamed to admit that itís only now that I know what she went through.

So I am not surprised that my WGF or those in my ďsupport networkĒ donít ďget itĒ

Wintergarden posted 9/25/2020 04:42 AM

We just had an anniversary which was acknowledged but not celebrated. I feel so different this year than I did last year and hopefully next year will be different again. Unfortunately I don't think my H understands the damage he caused. When I told him last night that it eats at me every single day. He didn't realise, I truly think they are on a different planet.

smolderingdark posted 9/25/2020 05:02 AM

We have been out of infidelity for a year, but she still doesnít grasp the damage she caused. We were watching wheel of fortune last night and the guy won a beach trip and W says ďletís go there on our next anniversaryĒ. Anniversary? Really?

Sounds like your wayward would like to have a successful rug sweeping and celebrate it with a beach vacation.

Your wayward will likely never grasp the damage done to you. Possibly because you offered reconciliation and she avoided losing the stability she so easily risked. Cheaters are selfish. Even if you had divorced she probably still would not have appreciated the damage she has done to you because she would be focused on what she had lost - stability and her own misery.

Will she ever grasp how she harmed you with her affair? She might but only if consequences are about to land on her head. OwningItNow provides an excellent example below

It wasn't until I made some huge goodbye moves and really cut the whole R off that my H dropped his "just trying to stay out of the doghouse" mentally about fixing our M. But it was me. I finally had enough and waved the white flag, told him I wanted a D. Until then he believed that the issue was my unreasonable expectations. He doesn't think that anymore.

[This message edited by smolderingdark at 5:07 AM, September 25th (Friday)]

GTeamReboot posted 9/25/2020 06:21 AM

We are at nearly the same timeline. I think itís true they will just never fully get it. I am trying to see my FWHís words and actions more as he intends them. Iím trying to give him the benefit of the doubt. In my world a comment like that would be his way of showing that he is thinking of the future and wants to celebrate us. Even if it seemed tone deaf and was too soon. (Our anniversary was over the summer and I told him I expected it to be hard but I wanted to celebrate and I wanted him to plan it all. I said I want two things - patience and a surprise. He came through in fine style). Have you told her how you feel about her comment? The devil is in the details of how she handles that - humbly and apologetically or impatiently and dismissive?


Iím ashamed to admit that itís only now that I know what she went through.
My dad who I adored and who has passed also cheated before they D when I was about 19. It was kind of common knowledge to me but I couldnít fathom her pain. Now that I can I want to grab her and cry with her and tell her sheís amazing for all she survived while parenting us so well. But she knows nothing of the A and I donít want her to. She adores my H and her adoration helps me remember why he deserves my R effort. I have gained more patience for when she rants about those transgressions all these years later. She deserves that much even if it hurts to hear about my dad. When I pointed out to my H that I could have the same conversation (almost - my dad didnít R and was pretty unremorseful) with our kids, it stings. As it should.

TwoDozen posted 9/25/2020 06:43 AM


Same here I have not told my mother either. She worships my WGF and it would crush her. Like it crushes me now knowing what she went through all those years ago without me having any idea what her pain was like

My father is still with us although a distant parent with limited contact these days I have found myself recently thinking I might cut him and anyone else capable of giving such pain out of my life, but this would include my best friend of over 35 years who has had multiple ONSís whilst with his current wife and has never come clean (for the record he has never explicitly told me or boasted about them to me, he knows how Iíve always felt about this and he has other friends that can pat him on the back for it)

Of course whilst I continue to see where R goes with my WGF that would be rather hypocritical of me.

Tanner posted 9/25/2020 07:59 AM

Tone deaf is exactly what is going on. We did discuss it last night and she went into her shame shell. She said she will do anything to help me heal, again that feels tone deaf.

Unhinged posted 9/25/2020 08:13 AM

The only way a WS will ever grasp the damage is if the BS is willing and able to explain it. Even then, no matter the eloquence or candor, a WS will never be able to fully "get it."

It's much the same with a BS trying to understand an affair, the whys, the feels, and all that jazz. No matter how thoroughly and candidly the WS tries to explain it all, we'll never fully "get it," either.

I see this process as similar to an asymptotic curve; it takes an ever increasing amount of effort to get ever closer to understanding something (or someone) even though we can never fully "get it" because it remains outside the realm of our own experiences.

I'll never understand what it's like to have an affair any more than my FWW will ever understand what it's like to experience the betrayal of infidelity until I become a mad-hatter.

(not gonna happen, btw)

Generally speaking, it's worth the effort.

[This message edited by Unhinged at 8:17 AM, September 25th (Friday)]

OwningItNow posted 9/25/2020 12:14 PM

So this is a good time to ponder whether her tone deaf attitude reflects her inability to feel your pain or her inability to reflect adequately on her own dysfunctional behavior.

In my opinion, WS will most likely never understand our pain, but if they are truly reflecting on their faults, the damage they did, and working on who they want to be, then we do ultimately feel that our hurts have been acknowledged. My H still doesn't get my pain, but he fully understands the damage that his selfish actions have done to my life and his own. He steps up his game--listening, helping, respecting my boundaries, giving without need of praise--because he knows what not to do, who not to be. He learned that stuff through IC. He gets that the former him caused major problems and hurt people, so he no longer channels those selfish thoughts. He is changing his default settings.

I guess he has learned what he doesn't want, who he doesn't want to be, because those behaviors weren't getting his life where he wanted it to be. And I can live with that type of self-motivation because I just don't believe, as Sillyoldsod said, that most people (especially WS) ever really grasp someone else's pain. I can live with the fact that he wants things--me, our family, our better M, our achievements and goals. I think that all relationships need to be mutually satisfying.

So in my view, Tanner, the concern may not be that she doesn't see your pain so much as she isn't seeing her damage, her faults, her role in the destruction of many people's lives. And shame, as gmc94 said, is an obstacle. Shame makes people do VERY unhealthy things. I mean, how are people supposed to live healthily while hating themselves? The feeling must be conquered in a healthy manner for her to go forward and achieve positive change.

What is she doing to tackle her shame? What is she doing to look at herself honestly? What is she doing to love what she sees and change the things she doesn't love?

I believe she needs to lift herself into the kind of authenticity that accepts what she has done and spends the rest of her life doing better, being better, showing you a changed person. If you witness that, you will feel that your pain was understood and that the value you hold in your WW's mind and heart is obvious.

In my view, she will remain tone deaf until she can look at who she really is and fix her. That will make you feel truly seen.

Tanner posted 9/25/2020 13:36 PM


She has been in weekly IC since Dday 2. A while back I posted about the long term results of the 180. She walks around on eggshells afraid burning dinner will me to the lawyer. After the great advice I got there I started to let her in, Iím afraid she takes that as we are good. Donít get wrong we get along great and have a great surface relationship, courting, getting to know each other phase, but she seems to be like well we made it!!

fooled13years posted 9/25/2020 14:12 PM

I think of two other members, Waitedwaytoolong and Ohforanewme (God rest his soul).

Ohforanewme had a law enforcement officer present his WW the D papers to which she said "after a year of hard work I thought we made it.'

Waitedwaytoolong told his WW that he wanted a D after 5 years. She too thought they had made it.

With both WWs neither fully knew the depth of pain their BHs were dealing with.

Unless the WS really works hard and talks with their BS about the A and how the BS is doing, getting to know body language and tone of voice when they are hurting and recognizing their triggers, resentment can fester and become toxic. It is also the responsibility of the BS to talk to the WS when they are hurting.

To this day I don't think either of their WWs can fully appreciate the pain they caused as they have never experienced it in the same way.

It is for this reason that I read a lot in JFO as we experienced many of the same things.

Even if a WS offers a free pass or encourages their BS to cheat it would never be the same.

thatbpguy posted 9/25/2020 14:27 PM

I've used the example for years here of a driver & their sleeping best friend. The driver gets crazy and wrecks the car. The driver sustains bumps & bruises which soon fade and disappear, but the best friend passenger looses a leg. A permanent physical, emotional and psychological injury. Unless the driver goes thru a situation where someone does that to them, they cannot come remotely close to understanding what the passenger is and will go thru the rest of their life.

Now, some drivers will make an effort to sympathize & empathize. But the majority simply don't They were uninjured and seen enough have gone on with their lives.

It's just a part of the shit sandwich we're fed.

Tanner posted 9/25/2020 14:41 PM

We talk about the A or how Iím feeling every week after her IC appointment. However, if I donít initiate the conversation it wonít happen. I always tell her of my triggers and she goes into a shame shell.
I know that Iím not the same pathetic H I was on Dday, I have plan B and a lawyer, Iím not afraid to walk so Iím pretty vocal about my feelings, and refuse to bottle them up.

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