Newest Member: Definedbygrace


5 years of hard work

Fierce Self-Compasion

I am reading Fierce Self Compassion by Kristen Neff. There are some passages that challenge some of my beliefs about self compassion, and I thought I would share what I am connecting with.

As WS, I think we often have unhealthy relationships with ourselves and that is rooted in shame. The sources of that for me date back to childhood. Sexual abuse, verbal and emotional abuse, the ways that made me a weird kid that never self like I fit in, etc are mine. To me I think that always made me feel insecure, inferior, and like a bad person.

I can trace about all of it by now to becoming a perfectionist, over-doing for people so that they will love me, not leave me, hiding a lot of my internal world and genuinely ignoring it myself and not giving myself a voice. Just bury it and smile. A lot of Brene Brown’s book rising strong made me aware of my shame and how it was sabotaging my life.

These days I keep stumbling onto what I think of as branches of the tree that those shame roots grew. They are thoughts and behaviors that serve no purpose and are limiting. For me this is now more like a little pruning. But I find new little things regularly: this was one of the things that has kept me on this site because there is a lot here to "try on" and then either find it doesn’t fit, something I like, or something to work on.

So, I started reading this book after hearing it in some other sources of self help that I follow. Mostly because self compassion is the hardest thing to hold for me. I have to be kind of vigilant about it - I have a favorIte go to move to try and deal with lack of kindness towards myself. I will bring myself into the present moment and soothe that thought and reframe how I am narrating.

So for example when something brings up the memory of my cheating or watching my husband be destroyed in the aftermath - I might say to myself that I am no longer cheating, that I am not the same person anymore. And that I can’t change the past, I just have to keep moving towards the future. But I still have loathing for that person (not disassociating from being that same person, just hating that version) I am kind of simplifying it a bit so it gets to the point with the book.

In this book she suggests that we sometimes hate ourselves in the process of trying to convince ourselves that we are a good person. And in the process it’s keeping us from truly having self compassion, instead it’s another way of beating ourselves up endlessly.

I think everyone struggles with self compassion, but obviously in the wake of realizing the damage we cause, the bad decisions we have made, etc. it’s very hard to get your head above water. Do we just feel better by saying how horrible we were so we can convince ourselves that we are now good people? I think so, it’s very illuminating. Hopefully someone else can benefit, if nothing else it’s a thought provoking book. I am still working on figuring out how this fits with what I should do or think differently (or not) moving forward.

I also thought that I am not a judgmental person, but I have discovered in some ways I am and how that has limited some of my relationships. I read this is a product of an unresolved superiority complex. I could find myself relating to that as well. Now I look for that filter and how its effecting how I am presenting something to others. I have caught it now a few times.

For so long I was afraid to put away the self punishment for fear of what that meant. However I have found as I have made honest efforts to do that that the fear was unwarranted, it actually made me less fragile and more sturdy. Less defensive and more open minded to feed back.

I am not sure that I am really looking for any thing specific here but would welcome some other things you have learned about self compassion. How is your relationship with yourself evolving as time moves forward? Reading this has really made me curious to what else I have backwards?

11 comments posted: Tuesday, March 1st, 2022


I never know where to post these things any more, but this seems like the right fit.

We bought an RV a couple of months before I found out about his affair. I saw it almost like a vow renewal because that was a big purchase with the intentions of traveling together for several years. It was to me a huge leap of faith for him not just to agree to but to be so excited and want so much.

Now, I find myself on the other end of this leap of faith. Right now we are in the throws of:

-Me leaving my job. It's a very high paying job and one I have done for a very long time.

-selling most of our things

-selling our house

-leaving our friends and family

All of these things are coming to a head right now. I am almost finished with the job, we are getting ready to list our house in a week, and most of our things we aren't using have already been sold, given away, thrown away, etc.

Now, suddenly I feel like I am on the edge of a cliff. I probably would have felt that way anyway. But, I realize we will be constantly together. At one point that seemed appealing to me? I mean, with caveats - we do have a few separate interests we can continue even on the road.

Lately everything he does gets on my nerves. That has never been the case our entire marriage. I hope that is just a phase, but it's concerning that I can't seem to control that feeling or do anything to divert it. I am really not sure what to even do with it.

I plan to talk to him about all of it over the weekend and sometimes people say things here that helps me jar things loose. I feel that always leads us to have better discussions.

I am still doing IC, but I have dropped to monthly. It's kind of expensive for us both to do at once, and while that's not usually a huge concern, I am trying to be more conservative now that I won't have a job. I also don't have a ton of time with everything we have going on. I think some of my fears are I just put myself in a position that now I am relying on him financially and I have never relied on anyone in that way after leaving home at 19.

At the same time, logic can kick in and I know I could get a different position, and if we are being even more honest, this actually puts us in a better place if we do decide to divorce later. All the assets are then pretty much paper shuffling rather than dealing with 20 years worth of stuff to divide and conquer.

I am not really sure what it is I am looking for, but this is a very rough time for us in a time that it should be pure happiness. I have been trying to focus on the happiness, after all what we are getting ready to do is something we have dreamed about together for a long time. I think there will be either an opportunity for some big reconnections or it's going to illuminate why there never will be.

I can even see what I am typing that I am probably putting maybe more pressure around it than I should. But, this is a major life revision. I don't want to not do it, but at the same time the closer it gets the more trepidation I have.

On the other hand (the logical one) I am ready for new career challenges, I can buy another house if I want to. I am in a good position. Why this is so emotionally scary is not a mystery.

Maybe I am just overwhelmed but I have to also think, there are a lot of phases to recovery, reconciliation. Do I want to be doing POLF in an RV on our own? At the same time I realize this could be the best thing to happen for us.

Anyway, thanks for listening to this disjointed post. I need to unwind this a bit and try and hone in on some thoughts that I want to share with him. I am a logical person who wants to move forward with the plans, but my emotions are getting out of sorts the closer it gets.

76 comments posted: Wednesday, May 12th, 2021

Mods Please

Thank you!

1 comment posted: Thursday, May 6th, 2021

The Weaponization of Sex

Hello All. So very glad to see Friday is here. I am in the midst of hiring a replacement for my retirement and I have the adult version of senioritis. I am ready to be done.

Anyway, I have been thinking about this post for a little while now. I am not really asking for advice, it's one of those things that is just going to require time, patience, generosity, communication, etc. I think it's more I want to share a perspective/cautionary tale.

After my affair, of course sex changed. There were times of mind blowing HB, and then other times when it was pretty obvious I was getting (excuse the term) grudge fucked. I had read from many a BS, both male and female, that after DDAY they made sex all about them because it was the only way through it. So, I saw it as normal and figured it would run it's course as we worked through the non-bedroom stuff.

I did the things I thought would be best - try and initiate often, be creative, put effort and energy in that department and all the others. I have shared before that we had a great sex life prior, and that's the truth. I missed that a lot, but I did see it as the natural consequences of my actions and just assumed the balance would return at some point. I had bigger things to worry about.

Right before my husband's dday, things were getting back to normal. However, he still would often bring out porn to watch during. I didn't mind at first, again I had read so much here, I just figured that he needed some time to readjust and sometimes it was probably difficult for him to focus on me.

After his dday, I find I resent a lot of this and it's really turned me off. I feel like a masturbatory tool and it's unacceptable to me now. We have had a few times where I just stopped and left. In fact, I did so last night. I was *down there* and he pulls out his tablet and I literally can't even see his face around it. I tried to ignore it for a few minutes but then I just got so pissed he is lucky I didn't bite him. (I honestly had to resist the urge)

So now, he feels like I am trying to weaponize sex. Not because of the periods of abstinence, he gets that. But, I believe he feels I start stuff and run off on purpose to punish him for his affair. (I had initiated last night) On the other hand, he does say I am putting too much pressure on myself about this (and he is right that is my tendency). I plan to talk to him more about this over the weekend. We were able to say a few things to each other this morning that smoothed things out, but I had to go to work.

At some point, WW or not, long term there is only so much that can happen without resentments setting in. I have learned to air my resentments and not ignore them and that's a newer dynamic in our marriage as well. It's been part of my work. But, resentments about sex and sex do not coexist together very well.

I realized after having been accused of the weaponizing, I feel like he has weaponized sex also and I have allowed it in my shame and guilt. This part is more my issue than his, my boundaries need a readjustment. I think because his affair was so sexual and so often, that when he then brings in porn all the time, it feels like it's not me he's with. That he doesn't want to be with me, he just wants to get his rocks off. It's causing me to really loathe it, and I am seeing him in a very sinister way that's not helping at all.

He has his own share of issues due to my affair that also need worked through, and I recognize that now my lack of desire is triggering him too.

I will ask for what I want. I will ask him what he wants. We will work on it. But, I think it's something we try and express here sometimes but it gets so convoluted that it loses it's meaning.

I believe that maybe the weaponizing of the sex happens at the point of the affair because the cheating party causes the other person to see their sexuality as a negative/sinister thing. After all it's part of the weapon of mass destruction that set off the bomb in the marriage.

I realize it's not the only one, it's more what is between the WS's ears t most of the time, but this is much harder to navigate obviously from the BS side than the WS side. And it's severely hard as MH because now we both have these issues surrounding sex that are at odds with each other.

Quite a mess.

[This message edited by hikingout at 8:37 AM, March 12th (Friday)]

132 comments posted: Friday, March 12th, 2021

Mods Please

Comesinwaves would like to add a stop sign to his post. Thank you!

2 comments posted: Tuesday, January 26th, 2021

Shock, or Okay? (Madhatter Question)

I guess the answer to this question will present itself to me in time, but I wondered if anyone had a similar experience. (I am not sure but maybe this is not unique in Madhatter situations?)

Many people know me and my story, but quick recap if you don't. I cheated on my husband in the spring of 2017 in a 2 month long distance affair. Went to IC immediately, worked on myself, on our marriage, got to the point I thought we were really reconciling and getting through it. Found out about 3 years into this H had been having his own affair for 18 months (started 18 months after mine, and then lasted for 18 months). His affair was less emotional, more physical. The last 4-5 months of it there wasn't any more physical contact, mostly because of COVID lockdown/work arrangements but I also do genuinely get the sense he was done with it and was distancing himself as well.

Since then, he dropped this person immediately and has been in IC. I do see he is remorseful and getting a lot out of his therapy. I was devastated initially, and felt duped as I thought we were both giving it all we had.

We are just a little over 3 months out from the discovery, and while I am not ready to say "let sleeping dogs lie", I am overall doing okay.

We have been talking non-stop, and I don't really have any questions left. I feel like I understand what and how and why, and I feel like I am ready to move forward. I find I still trust him on most things. I still don't really think that he's healed as a BS and the extensions of that are really the only area that I feel need to be addressed so I can feel more sure of his actions and his feelings lining up with one another. So, I am self protective to a certain degree, but I feel I believe him. If I am ever proven otherwise, then I will be okay to file as well, but it's just not what I want at this time.

I maybe still haven't gotten past shock and that's why. Maybe this is just a stage. But really it just feels like to me I am ready to move forward. I am thinking as the second in the relationship to be betrayed I just do not have the shock and awe that a new BS who has just been blindsided feels. Yes, I felt blindsided, but I just do not feel this was about me or about her.

Also, I worked so hard to save our marriage after I cheated, that it's hard to lose that surety and clarity over what I want moving forward. It's just unshakeable to me right now, and maybe that's just me not moving off of the trajectory we were at before discovering his affair.

I am not saying that he doesn't still have work to do, or that we don't have a lot of work to do. I just think I am okay with letting him know I want to reconcile, and then moving forward in a way that focuses more on him working on himself/healing, and us just continuing to improve our connection.

I am particularly interested in hearing from MH who were the second BS in the relationship. I know we have a fair number of MH's around, I am just not sure how many were the WS first. Maybe I am just in a stage, but I feel like I can move forward with him, I would dare say I have accepted what he's done but wouldn't go as far as to say all is forgiven.

28 comments posted: Tuesday, January 5th, 2021

I don’t know where to put this.

I have been gone for a week, and here all day today. I can’t pretend things are normal right now. H is having an inappropriate relationship. I don’t have the energy to get into everything at the moment. I have told no one. And I didn’t even want to tell you all. I didn’t want to tarnish him to you all. How fucked up is that? I feel maybe more embarrassed saying this shit than anything I have ever posted as a wayward.

I had just posted something earlier where I think my resentment was showing. And I thought to myself - I should not talk about him this way. Then I got mad maybe more at myself and so now I am saying it. I have asked him not to come on for a while until I can sort myself out more. I am hitting submit before I can change my mind.

427 comments posted: Friday, October 16th, 2020

Song on the way in this morning...

This song was very popular at the start of year 2 for me. I heard it this morning on my way to work, and it hit me in the feels.

"Better Boat"

(Kenny Chesney, feat. Mindy Smith)

I ain't lonely, but I spend a lot of time alone

More than I'd like to, but I'm okay with staying home

My how the last few months have changed

I'm smilin' more despite the pain

I breathe in, I breathe out

Got friends to call who let me talk about

What ain't working, what's still hurtin'

All the things I feel like cussing out

Now and then I let it go

I ride the waves I can't control

I'm learning how to build a better boat

I hate waiting, ain't no patience in these hands

I'm not complaining, sometimes it's hard to change a man

I think I'm stronger than I was

I'll let God do what He does

I breathe in, I breathe out

Got friends to call who let me talk about

What ain't working, what's still hurtin'

All the things I feel like cussing out

Now and then I let it go

I ride the waves I can't control

I'm learning how to build a better boat

I breathe in, I breathe out

Got friends to call who let me talk about

What ain't working, what's still hurtin'

All the things I feel like cussing out

Now and then I let it go

I ride the waves I can't control

If it's working I don't know

When I get done, the thing may not float

But I'm learning how to build a better boat

3 comments posted: Friday, October 2nd, 2020

3 years

So, I hadn't planned to make a post about anything today (today is 3 years post DDAY) but H inspired me. If you are a new WS here and you hope to reconcile is what I learned in the past 3 years:

-Work on healing yourself. This is the number one thing you can do. Hand wringing, shame, all of these things are holding you back from being your best self. This also holds you back from being the best husband or wife that you can be.

-Read how to help your spouse heal from an affair,and read other things - listen to podcasts. Read about trauma. Make a mindful practice to help your spouse and your relationship every single day. Become curious about them and their needs. Be aware they may not know what it is they want or need right now and that they will sometimes lash out as a result. Keep trying, pursue them, be consistent and relentless. I feel as if the how to help your spouse heal is important while you are working on yourself - but the goal is to BECOME that person rather than just doing things that others have suggested. The work a WS does in becoming whole, healed, with new skills will make them a better spouse. But, some of those suggestions are more from a fake it until you make it perspective. It's every bit as important to prioritize your spouse, but I say that the WS working on themselves supercedes everything or you will never be a safe partner. You may save your marriage but I feel without the work on yourself it's a temporary save.

-Don't lie. You build trust from day 1. It's tempting because you are afraid. You don't want a divorce. It's counterintuitive to you to give them all the info all at once. You want to still seem redeemable. But, you are most redeemable when you are truthful and I think eventually the BS's truth/BS meter tells them. If you haven't been truthful no trust can be built therefore no R can be gained. Also, by practicing integrity, self respect can start to build. You will feel more solid.

-Bring up the affair. Do not leave it to them. They will try and carry the burden on their own and will resent when they have to bring it up. Making it an open topic at any time will be the best path forward. Getting acclimated to having it as a never ending conversation will serve both of you well.

- Figure out your whys - the whys are your motivation. Then figure out your hows - the hows are your background (like FOO) that enable you to be comfortable with it. Any counselor will steer you in that direction anyway. The reason you cheated and how you were able to do it are internal to you. Do not blameshift.

-Get in IC first, MC comes second.

-Self care: Get enough sleep (Melatonin helped me), avoid alcohol (it's a depressant), exercise (important for mental toughness and happy chemicals, combats depression), take vitamins, eat well. If you want to be able to be your spouses rock, then you need to establish these things so that you are prepared. It takes a lot of mental stamina and resilience to not only get through it but to do the growing you need to do. Self care is also an act of self love. WS are notorious for not having self-love, self-worth, self-respect.

-It feels better to live a wholesome life than whatever it is you have been doing to avoid that. Align your thoughts and actions with that and appreciate when you exhibit those changes. Notice how you feel versus when you use your old patterns.

-Meditation was helpful to me, as was the book "The Power of Now". Our thoughts are not truths, and we base so much on our thoughts. Learn to be a conscious objective observer of your thoughts.

-Work towards the traditional steps of self-actualization. This one is longer term, but it helps to develop other healthy relationships over time. The first year you may not have time for this. It helps to develop hobbies and interests. Bored people are boring, and I think sometimes this is a contributing factor of an affair. A well rounded, self-actualized person is far less likely to cheat because you have learned to fulfill yourself.

There are no guarantees, you can try your hardest but the damage is already there. These are things I think have helped us make it to year three. This and what my BS has worked on combined.

You have to look at this time as bottom, but you CAN go up from here. And, even if you are not going for R, many of these things still apply. You still need to do the heavy lifting because your future still depends on it.

Now, we are off to make a memory.

[This message edited by hikingout at 12:50 PM, September 1st (Tuesday)]

23 comments posted: Tuesday, September 1st, 2020


Hey guys - I was thinking about you this morning and wondered if you have had your newest addition yet? Or if anyone else had heard any news as I am not sure how much either of them are here?

6 comments posted: Monday, July 20th, 2020

Thoughts on love

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately and decided to come on and share some of these thoughts in the case they are helpful at all to fellow ws.

For most of my life I think I would classify myself as a bit of a romantic. I had years when I was more pragmatic than that but for certain I bought into the imagery of love as depicted in movies and in books. Love was affectionate feelings, passionate sex, all the whimsical things we believe in our youth.

Honestly for most of the years we have been married that image still fit for me. My h is very pragmatic but the ways in which I focused on his positive attributes and the effort I put in to pleasing him, and the easiness of our compatibility seemed to always give me those “in love” feelings.

But it’s always just been about feelings. As I have reflected about the past three years (it’s almost the end of affair season). I learned all the other glue. The sweat and tears that can go into commitment and have reflected a lot on why this particular commitment is important to me, and really to him. I put us in a place where we had to go through a lot of pain and hell, and that was really something we never seemed to go through before. We had businesses fail at the beginning of our marriage. I had a difficult pregnancy in which I almost lost our baby several times and then was deadly sick in the middle and prone to preterm labor and hospital stays at the end. We had major fiascos and major times of rebuilding before.

Nothing like the aftermath of infidelity. The first time it wasn’t us against whatever it was, at least not at first. The first time it ever felt like we wouldn’t make it through or see it through together. During any other period of turmoil the surest thing was always us. And you kind of wonder what creates that when one of us really didn’t understand the love part was in the getting through, the doing for each other, the looking after each other. I could only see feelings. The feelings were really just created by the way I looked at the marriage.

Until one day I decided to change the narrative. Weighing our story and what we had against some dream version to where I looked at the marriage differently. I didn’t value it - it was disposable. It’s hard to really look back and understand how flippantly that happened. I find myself now three years later after fighting our way back to wondering what wasn’t good enough about our story? Why did I stop seeing the romance in the way we loved each other? I mean I know my answers to where I was in my life, the how’s and why’s it all developed. A lot of it was pure mentality.

I say all this because so many of us arrive at this site. We think we are in love with someone else. We have gotten so deep in our narrative that we fully believe that up is down and fools gold is more valuable than the real thing. Love is worth fighting for but it takes a great deal of work to get it back, to get back all the ingredients of a healthy marriage for both people.

My husband looks after me in so many little ways. Today he wanted to make sure I had on my sunscreen. It’s an absolute miracle when we can find people who stand by us through all the good and the bad. And it’s truly up to us to inspect every nook and cranny about what we believe we are doing here - with them. With their hearts and their time. To honor such a miracle of someone who sees enough value left to rebuild and to wait for us to be worthy.

I would tell any newbie to really spend time analyzing what you believe love is. What commitment is. What it means to be a family. What it means to honor ourselves and our spouse. I don’t have nearly the answers I would like to have on the topic. But I do know the person who you have been sneaking around with doesn’t love you. They wouldn’t have pursued you so selfishly and brought this world of pain to you. And the same is true in reverse. There is nothing special about them or your narrative of them - because nothing beautiful comes from all the ugliness and disgusting ways the two of you behaved. An affair is two selfish people who only care about what it is they want at that moment. Look at the contrast of that and the marriage. Look at the ways you contributed negatively to your life and to your relationships. So many people end up taking steps based on those high feelings and truly there is never more quicksand you can stick your foot in.

I am not sure I am really illustrating al the thoughts I had that led me to this post, but generally speaking I think it was me reflecting on what a fool I was. And truly wanting the way Inlook at these things to continue to evolve and be healthy. To be vigilant of my thoughts and what can lead me astray. Maybe someone else can wrap a bow around it.

44 comments posted: Monday, May 25th, 2020

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