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Rug Sweeping

pocari posted 9/28/2020 21:10 PM

Hi all. First post here. I don't have my story up yet, but to paraphrase:


I found out my fiance and best friend were having an affair in March of this year. It had been a PA on his end and an EA/PA on hers. They were together for roughly one month before he ended things with me. He continued to see her until I messaged him to talk things out. I found out from a mutual friend that he was doing pretty badly, was no longer interested in the AP and felt guilty for what he had done to me.

After much talking later I decided we could be friends which later turned into me allowing us to get back together. We are now in what I thought was R(the more I read the more I am not sure).


Anyway, this may be dumb but I wanted to know what some examples of rug sweeping may be. I have a lot of anxiety on whether we are doing R correctly and I've got it in my mind I may be rug sweeping a little bit. I really don't want to be, but how can I be sure?

Thanks for any input.

BraveSirRobin posted 9/28/2020 22:02 PM

I'm the WS. After about six months of tears, and what felt like endless circular discussions, BBF and I decided that we couldn't take processing the affair anymore, so we went looking for a magical solution that would allow us to get "back to normal." We discussed options, we settled on an ego-restoring ONS for him, and ten days after he did that, we got engaged. We were 20 years old, and we were idiots.

Fast forward almost thirty (!) years, and I'm here to tell you, that pain never went away for him. There were too many unanswered questions, too many things that didn't add up, too much that neither of us understood about why I had made the decision to cheat. I never did it again (which seriously bucked the odds, btw), but I was nonetheless not a safe and healthy partner. I was so invested in pretending I wasn't the person who betrayed him that I never did the work to actually become a different person. I lied, I minimized, I was conflict avoidant. Worst of all, I romanticized the OM and the A, and I drew on the memory of it as a source of ego kibbles. I never saw how broken and manipulative both the OM and I were, or how he didn't know me remotely well enough to feel the devotion he professed. We were just two insecure people collecting false validation from each other. Rugsweeping meant I never had to admit that, or figure out why I risked so much for so little.

Meanwhile, my BBF (now BH) hid his ongoing pain from me. He was stuck in a perpetual pick-me dance, because I was the one who had said that if we were making each other so miserable, maybe it was time to move on. He should have called my bluff; instead, he was afraid to lose me, and so he didn't tell me that the mind movies never stopped. He blamed himself for his inability to heal, when it made perfect sense that he couldn't, because my story was full of holes. At times, I would sense that something was wrong, even badly wrong, but I didn't know what. And if the topic of the A came up, I ran from it, because I had those lies to protect. Over time, I actually started to persuade myself that if I forgot what I had done, it was like I had never done it. I wouldn't have to hurt my BH again, or face any consequences, because the unexamined parts of the A would have ceased to exist.

If you still have questions, if you feel like you can't ask them, if he's given you simple answers about why he did it, if he blamed you or your relationship for his choice to cheat, if either of you is characterizing the affair as a "mistake," and above all if you are being told you don't have a right to your feelings, then you're rugsweeping. Avoid it at all costs. The bill just rolls up interest until it finally comes due.

sisoon posted 9/29/2020 19:31 PM

One big way to rugsweep is to forgive before the WS has done the work necessary to change from cheater to good partner.

Another is to stuff the feelings that come with being betrayed - not process the anger, grief, fear, and shame that come with being betrayed.

What makes you think you are or are not in R?

[This message edited by sisoon at 7:40 PM, September 29th (Tuesday)]

pocari posted 9/29/2020 20:58 PM

Well, I feel better after reading your replies. I'm specifically trying to make sure those things don't happen, but maybe I have forgiven way too early. It's a process, though, and will take time for me to fully forgive him for what he's done. I think I might be entering the anger phase a little bit, I'm not sure.

What makes you think you are or are not in R?

1. I feel like we are in the R aspect in regards to working toward becoming better people in this relationship.

2. I have full access to his phone and we use a tracker app.

However,

1. He won't go to IC until "he's ready". Nor will he join the recovery program offered to him (he's a recovering opiate and heroin addict).

2. He has severe adhd and will only read snippets of information I feed him about infidelity and healing but not whole articles. Nor will he look for information himself.

3. I feel like he's not trying to fully understand the severety of what he's done by cheating. He understands it was a bad thing he did, but not to the degree the hurt he caused.

HouseOfPlane posted 9/29/2020 22:23 PM

Sounds like he's just trying to return to the status quo, along with feeling bad. Stuffing that genie back in the bottle.

What you should ask for (demand?) is that he use this as a learning moment, to look inside his heart and see what it is that would let him do what he did. And how to not to it again. Otherwise he's learned nothing. No growth.

Stevesn posted 9/29/2020 22:55 PM

You are giving the gift of reconciliation before he has done any of the real work of figuring out why he did what he did, what it means to his betrayed partner and how to help her heal.

Reconciliation and the ability to give it can ONLY truly be decided AFTER that work is done.

If it were me, I would say to him that Iím not interested in the same old broken person. Iíd tell him the steps I expect him to take to fix his issues and become someone worthy of my love and affection.

Then Iíd tell him that I am moving on until he shows me the things I am looking for (hint it all starts in IC and an appropriate 12 step program and reading, even if itís via audio books).

But thatís just me. You have to find your path.

HardKnocks posted 9/30/2020 07:55 AM

Rug sweeping is not insisting on IC.

The1stWife posted 9/30/2020 11:34 AM

3. I feel like he's not trying to fully understand the severety of what he's done by cheating. He understands it was a bad thing he did, but not to the degree the hurt he caused.

Classic case of avoidance a/k/a rugsweeping.

crazyblindsided posted 9/30/2020 11:43 AM

He won't go to IC until "he's ready". Nor will he join the recovery program offered to him (he's a recovering opiate and heroin addict).

I would be really concerned with this. An addict is very selfish and cheating comes with that territory. I would be hesitant to R if I were you.

Chaos posted 9/30/2020 11:53 AM

You aren't his mother. You can't spoonfeed him into wanting to do the work. You can't love him into wanting to do the work. You can't guilt him into wanting to do the work. You can't say the right word to make him want to do the work. You can't make a chore chart into making him want to do the work. And you can't pretend him not doing the work is going to work.

You can accept the fact that he doesn't want to do the work.

gmc94 posted 9/30/2020 12:47 PM

What chaos and others said all resonate with me.

a few reading suggestions:

1. How to help your spouse heal from your affair by Linda MacDonald. I'm told you can find it for free online. This is a short read for BOTH of you. It will help guide what R looks like (MacDonald calls it "successful rebuilders" ). This is pretty standard early reading from the SI community.

2. Out of the Doghouse by Robert Weiss. I got this from my library (I'm what kind folks call "frugal" - lol). This is more for him than you (tho I read it when my WH's CSAT recommended it).. Now, I had some big issues with some of the advice in the book (you can get other opinions by heading to the thread on this book in "the Book Club" forum on SI). But overall, it is a pretty simplistically written book aimed directly at wayward HUSBANDS. The author hs talked about his goal being to help husbands understanding that cheating is super traumatic and changes the landscape of the M. Dr. Rob also does a lot of online stuff for free - tho I've not personally participated. My beef with his book was primarily about 2 things: saying it was wrong for the BS to expose the A (which not only contradicts what I'd call the collective SI wisdom, but plain old common sense) and not disclosing details of the A even if the BS wants them (which I find super patronizing and condescending to a BS). Again, more full opinions on the thread in the Book Club forum on SI.
And I hesitate a bit about this on the heels of Chaos' post which I agree with. So, I guess I'd call this one an exception on the "spoon feeding the WS" front. But Chaos is absolutely correct - the BS cannot spoon feed the WS on how to fix their crap & figure out how the WS was able to pretzel logic their way into thinking it was OK to cheat. It can be really hard to not drive HIS bus and focus on our own (took me over a year to just leave the keys in the ignition and walk away from HIS bus and into MY bus to healing).

3. "How Can I Forgive You" (may have that title wrong) by Janis Spring. Spring also wrote a book on infidelity (called "After the Affair" ) that I HATED, found to be chock full of outright and subliminal blaming of the BS and would never recommend (tho others on SI enjoyed it). However, I really connected with and enjoyed the forgiveness book - not only WRT my WH's As, but in my broader life too. Some folks can take issue with the language / semantics, but I appreciated her distinguishing between "cheap" forgiveness and "EARNED" forgiveness. It sounds like you may have embarked on the "cheap" forgivenesss route. I did the same thing after my WH's 1st A (that I know of), so I can relate here (and I was about your age at the time too).

And finally, it MAY be helpful to learn about codependence. NOT saying you "are" CoD. It's a sticky wicket on this front bc many BS will have a "trauma response" that manifests / looks like a lot CoD, but does NOT mean the betrayed IS CoD other than having a trauma response (and then telling a BS they "are" CoD is re-traumatizing and pathologizes someone already hurting along with the idea that the BS may internalize it as thinking their trauma response is their "fault" ). I wish I could explain it better or find a good analogy.... I guess I could liken it to a cold vs flu. You could have flu-like symptoms but it could also be a bad cold. At the end of the day, the way the symptoms are treated would be pretty much the same: rest, fluids, etc. Same principle here. So - NOT saying you are CoD, but I AM saying that the principles of managing CoD can be equally helpful in managing a BS' post dday trauma response (clear as mud- right? Sorry about that).

One more thing - I (and a lot of BS) think that directing our WS to SI will help them "get it". In retrospect, I think it's best to keep SI to yourself until there is progress and the BS & WS can find some ground rules about reading each others' posts, etc. Just another $0.02.

[This message edited by gmc94 at 12:56 PM, September 30th, 2020 (Wednesday)]

lordhasaplan? posted 9/30/2020 13:24 PM

pocari,
There is a lot of great info here. you have not responded in a while. when I read

However,

1. He won't go to IC until "he's ready". Nor will he join the recovery program offered to him (he's a recovering opiate and heroin addict).

2. He has severe adhd and will only read snippets of information I feed him about infidelity and healing but not whole articles. Nor will he look for information himself.

3. I feel like he's not trying to fully understand the severety of what he's done by cheating. He understands it was a bad thing he did, but not to the degree the hurt he caused.

This screams that he wants to rugsweep and just move on. R comes on the terms you dictate. It took me a long time to realize if I needed something from my WW I needed to speak to her and make my demands known. If she wasn't willing to do those things I had a decision to make. Stay in a relationship that is not serving my needs or go find a spouse I deserve. This is not to say there is no compromise in a marriage. But there are things after D-Day that are non-negotiables and I and my FWW treat them as such.
You need to think about what those are for you. If its IC and he isn't willing to do that, he doesn't value you or your marriage.

sisoon posted 9/30/2020 13:31 PM

1. He won't go to IC until "he's ready". Nor will he join the recovery program offered to him (he's a recovering opiate and heroin addict).
Well, IC will work only if he's committed to changing.

Is he using? If so, I wouldn't hold onto much hope. Addiction is a far bigger problem than cheating, and it's harder to solve.

I strongly recommend making IC a requirement for R. That sounds controlling, but it's not - by making it a requirement, you're giving him a free choice between ending the relationship and changing. He gets to choose.

2. He has severe adhd and will only read snippets of information I feed him about infidelity and healing but not whole articles. Nor will he look for information himself.
That sounds like 'severe untreated ADHD.'

Again, I'd require him to get treated and to keep experimenting until he finds an effective treatment. That means a good psychiatrist. I say that as an ADDer myself. I can be a PITA to live with because of my ADD. My brother is ADHD, and he was a super PITA to live with.

Ordinarily - I guess it's true now, too - you get to choose to accept your WS's ADHD or not. The reason that I lean towards requiring treatment is that I believe the ADHD feeds into his addictions, and vice versa. IOW, treating the ADHD is likely to help with his addiction.

It's said that stimulants are not addictive for AD(H)Ders. I took Adderall XR (long-acting) for several years, and the way I realized I skipped a dose was that I'd be ravenous around 2-3 PM. When I had to stop, the extra appetite subsided in a couple of days.

With the opioid addiction, I imagine a doc might be reluctant to try a stimulant. My doc prescribes amantadine which deals with the some of the same brain chemistry that stimulants do without the side effects of the stimulant high.

3. I feel like he's not trying to fully understand the severety of what he's done by cheating. He understands it was a bad thing he did, but not to the degree the hurt he caused.
Gently, your pain is yours to deal with. He can't - all he can do is learn/change to minimize any additional pain he may cause.

IMO, cheating hurts the cheater, and it's up to the cheater to deal with that pain. It's in him, due to his own internal issues. His cheating is all about him, not about you.

That means R works best when the WS focuses on healing the WS. For r to be successful, the WS needs to change from betrayer to good partner for the WS's sake.

In R, BS heals BS. WS heals WS. Together they heal/build/rebuild the M.

That may sound cold, but it's actually empowering. You can heal whether your WS does or not and whether you R or not. Your WS can heal whether you do or not.

*****

In your case, a way to rugsweep would be to not hold your WS or yourself to account for your healing or to not accept that you can't R with an addict who is actively in the addiction - either by using or by white-knuckling (depending on will power alone to keep from using).

*****

Looking into co-dependence and the Drama Triangle may give you insight into your behavior vis a vis your WS.

[This message edited by sisoon at 1:39 PM, September 30th (Wednesday)]

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