Hello SI family! It has been a long time since I posted. I see that my last entry was August, a couple days after the antiversary. It’s funny how that works… I needed this group regularly, until all of the sudden… I needed to step away. It seems from other posts I’ve seen that this is a common pattern. I’m grateful to all the moderators and active members who stick around – whether it’s consciously to help, or because it continues to be therapeutic, or both.
We are doing really, really well. The 3-yr "antiversary" was early August (date of affair). We were out of town doing something super fun that day, by coincidence, and that really helped. Then the 2-yr DDay was early October. We did something social really fun with favorite friends that day (again, the opportunity timing was a coincidence that I seized very consciously). FWH seems to have turned a corner in how he speaks to and relates to me and my painful moments. He is way less defensive. The painful moments are much fewer and further between. I still need him to be a little more proactive more often, but as I’ve healed I’ve also come to accept that him not being bringing it up often is his coping and healing approach, and it’s not necessarily "wrong." As he has gotten better at coming out of his "shame shell" to support me, I’ve gotten better at not always taking it so personally when he doesn’t do or say exactly the right thing. I guess we are both coping better. I guess that’s how this works under the best of circumstances. I hit a horrible trigger the other day (get this shit… my neurofeedback/EMDR therapist just moved into a new office… above the bar where the first affair initiated. I followed my GPS to the address, and it didn’t click until I pulled in. So yeah, I had a panic attack when I realized that and I have to evaluate continuing to go there. She was apologetic but of course it’s not her fault! I might need EMDR just to handle going there, LOL!). But, he handled it really really well when I got home. Scooped me up and commented how much that double whammy gut punch must have sucked. Let me cry. Apologized.
We have some exciting new partnership ventures in the works. We’ve had a couple small business ideas brewing and we are moving ahead with one of them. If it works out, he will be able to retire earlier than he would have originally – which will be good for his physical and mental health, as his occupation is very stressful. This has been a good distraction and a good chance to bond. When I told my therapist about it she was excited for us and thought it was good. I was worried she would be worried that we weren’t in a strong enough place to tackle something as stressful as a new business. I was actually happy, relieved even, that her assessment was a positive one!
So there we have it. Two years to reach some pretty solid healing. That seems to be what "they" say is normal, on average, and I guess I believe it. I have been on the verge of checking in here so many times in recent months. I kept thinking "I need to update, I need to check in on others…" But emotionally I resisted, and I followed that instinct. As I continue to heal I will be back. Stories from the trenches are so important. I think since I’ve really just climbed out, I’m too close to the edge to risk falling back in. Thank you all SO much. I intend to pop in a little more often as I get stronger.
2 comments posted: Monday, November 29th, 2021
Wild ride of triggers, but I’m ok!
How’s this for a tidal wave of trigger potential? It’s so convoluted it’s comical. It’s so specific that I feel like if anyone in here happened to know me in real life they would figure out who I am (hey if you do, drop me a private message! Lol!).
One of the AP’s was a very close friend. We will call her P. Neighbors. Our husbands worked together. Kids all friends. Etc.
She had a close friend from high school we will call G.
I met G through P and we became friends as well. Those two had tiffs here and there over the years but overall they were tight besties and their families knew each other well as a result.
After DDay (which was over a year after the As) I asked P (the AP - since she was a BFF who confessed there was a lot of communication at first) if she had told G, because I wanted to know who knew my business. She said yes, but only recently. So I reached out to G and basically said “look I know you know my current struggle and I’m hoping you’ll keep that to yourself.” She said she was so horrified at it all she was no longer friends with P.
I didn’t figure that would last. So I kept in touch with G who was being very kind to me (it felt good to be checked on by a friend who knew what was up, she was supportive of us as a couple trying to R… and since she knew my biggest secret I didn’t want to alienate her as a friend even though we weren’t super close and it was kind of triggery). But I kept her at arms length overall. I didn’t want to open up to her and confide very much and then have her and P become close friends again. Too risky.
And then they did reconnect when P’s dad was sick. But something happened and that didn’t last long. I never asked. And then the pandemic. It became clear through social media they had no contact. Wow.
Fast forward… pandemic is lifting, G and I still chat. Nothing is ever said about P at all. We make plans to have lunch. Again I was feeling cautious but grateful for her overall.
Just days before our lunch, G’s mom died unexpectedly! So sad for her. So I went to the visitation and funeral.
Which… was held as it turns out on a big birthday for P! One we would have all no doubt been celebrating together if she and my FWH had not made an epically stupid decision one night. I said nothing of this as I hugged G tight. I was really expecting to see evidence they had patched up. I wouldn’t have blamed her for reconnecting with a longtime friend who knew her mom. No sign of that at all! And I didn’t ask, despite that my first time seeing G in person in over a year was on P’s big birthday. But I’m sure it was in her mind too. Whew. Survived that.
Oh and also!! The same day of the service happened to be the anniversary of two close friends, a wedding I attended… attended with P and her husband (long before the ONS), while it doubled as a celebration of her birthday. Except that couple is now separating because, among other things, she cheated. We were together that evening for unrelated reasons, just after the funeral. So all this is on my mind as I comfort her. I think she knows I know she cheated. She knows it has been rumored and she admits she messed up. I don’t know if she knows about hubby and me! She might because there are mutual friends in the loop. But we never shared. So I’m angry with her but I can’t say fully how angry. I’m sad for her because I do love her as a friend and she’s hurting. I’m empathizing with her husband who I love like a brother, but I can’t say that to him. But if I knew for sure he knew my business already I would say.
It’s a mess.
To his credit hubby asked me right away after the funeral if there were any hiccups. I knew what he meant. Triggers or unexpected AP sightings. Although it had been hard it was ok. He treated me really well all day. He was patient when I pointed out the added irony of the birthday and the anniversary of our friends who are now dealing with this same mess. He did good. Oddly, comforting G felt like the right thing to do for lots of reasons. In a symbolic way even. And we will get that lunch when she’s ready.
Thank you for following my crazy weekend journey!
4 comments posted: Monday, July 12th, 2021
Wedding anniversary ahead…
I’ve been a bit MIA, but for good or neutral reasons. It’s just a very busy time of the year for me. I think it must also say something about my mindset and recovery that I’m not desperate to get on here more often. But I do think often of everyone here and wish I had more time! Eventually I will!
Our anniversary is this week. It’s a milestone one, although as I discussed with my therapist today it seems like a silly social construct that we place more emphasis on the length of time when it’s divisible by 5 or 10! Last year was the first one post DDay (but one had passed post-A when I was clueless.) Last year I said I needed patience and a surprise. He came through well! This year is shaping up similarly. He took some initiative in planning. We have a nice date planned. I still make mixed feelings about celebrating vows that aren’t intact. But I’m a sentimental fool so it still feels more right than wrong to celebrate.
But tonight I insisted we work through another chapter in the book Not Just Friends we’ve been listening to as home “therapy”. He was annoyed I requested we spend some time on it so close to the anniversary. For him that ruins the mood. He went to bed cranky. But I had felt the need brewing and I knew ignoring that would have bigger consequences. I would be distracted and angsty. And as far as I’m concerned what I need is still way more important than what he needs.
Here’s hoping we can enjoy our big day! I hope you are all doing well!
9 comments posted: Wednesday, June 30th, 2021
I bit the bullet and read Cheating in a Nutshell. Yeah that was damn depressing! Lol! But I agree that it’s an important read for anyone to make a fully informed plan (that word works better than “decision” since even the most well-intentioned of us can’t guarantee the decision to R will result in the outcome of R).
I highlighted some areas I intend to share with FWH. Some painful points were made and he should hear them. But as someone who is still working toward R and who frankly has a hard time envisioning anything else, this is one part that stuck with me - though maybe not for the reasons they intended it.
“... consider the opportunity cost. If you choose to stay, you are excluding all the benefits you might receive from a different course of action.”
They say nothing of the very real fact that if you choose to leave, you are excluding the benefits you might receive from staying. Those benefits are numerous and I enjoy them now, even in between the moments and days of deep struggle.
I get their point that, from a deeply ingrained and evolutionarily protective place, it’s not logical to stay with a cheater. But the benefits of staying *can* have deeply ingrained value and even evolutionary advantage too, if the elements of R fall into place.
Sure, I can’t imagine that he did what he did to me. It’s unfathomable. It is even to him, and I can see that he means that. But what’s done is done. Being away from him won’t unring that bell.
And I can’t imagine... not having laughs together as a family, not being intimate with the man that knows every button and still turns me on after almost 20 years, not sharing the animated yet mundane stories of our day, not traveling together, not supporting our kids as a team in all they do and all they will face, not enjoying hikes in the woods together, not growing old together.
And so on. And so on.
The amount of pain I would experience in giving up all of that represents an opportunity cost of another sort, with no guarantee I can fulfill those benefits elsewhere as well, if at all. And that’s a cost that feels instinctively way, way too high. It’s interesting to me that it gets no consideration at all in the book. It still infuriates me that there’s no chance to avoid this dilemma.
Just a late night ramble.
31 comments posted: Monday, April 12th, 2021
Gut Punch Trigger
Things have been good. I posted a few weeks ago about struggling. I’m not sure if many saw my last update and it’s on page 2 now. I’m not sure what we will do for MC now and we honestly haven’t had a chance to really read (or listen) to a book together yet. But overall things have been really good. I have not let go of the needs and expectations I last described to FWH. That ball is in his court and I don’t intend to remind or wait. His actions will continue to speak for themselves.
But today... a gut punch trigger. Over the past year I have pretty much scrubbed my social media of any memories that would be hurtful. But now and then a memory pops up where nobody was tagged and I failed to catch it last year. Or where I was tagged in someone else’s pic. And today there it was. All the horror in one photo. A photo of a woman and a man enjoying an evening out that included me and FWH. The woman was the first AP, the one that marked the end of my wedding vows. And man was her friend, also the ex-husband of the second AP, also a former family friend, a guy my FWH even worked with closely. A man he hurt almost as deeply as he hurt me. I remember that night. We all had fun. It was just a few months before his divorce from my best friend was final. Mere months before FWH’s whirlwind of a short A with the woman in the photo and the drunken ONS with the barely-ex-wife of the man in the photo, my former BFF. I was gutted to see that unexpectedly. I couldn’t help but share a screen shot with hubby and tell him lunch break was rough. I described the photo as his two favorite people. Maybe that was a low blow but when you are collapsed on the ground all the blows are low. Then I untagged myself and deleted the screenshot pic. Scrubbed. Gone. But burned in my mind.
I don’t know yet how he will handle it. He knows what to do and say and what not to do and say. Will he? I don’t know and I’m not sure I’ll even go home tonight after work. I may need the evening to myself.
[This message edited by GTeamReboot at 1:24 PM, March 31st, 2021 (Wednesday)]
12 comments posted: Wednesday, March 31st, 2021
Struggling. Feeling sad and numb despite R.
I’m long overdue for a check in. I’ve wanted to but I wasn’t sure where to start. I feel like there have been so many ups and downs I’m not sure what part to share.
Yay happy update!
OMG I’m falling apart.
Yay we are doing great.
This trauma is too much.
It makes me feel almost paralyzed. Now that the typing fingers are working, this will be long and rambling. TIA to anyone who gets through it.
It’s not that FWH hasn’t done a lot of work to earn my trust and show his commitment. He has, truly. But he undoes some of it by refusing to do some of what I asked and expressing how he just doesn’t understand what we get out of it or why it matters or why I can’t see and appreciate his efforts done “his way.” He can’t see how that mentality further minimizes how I feel. How it makes me second guess my worth and my right to want what I want and feel what I feel.
Intellectually I see it one way. In my brain I believe I should be doing better because the A’s were short lived and over on their own. He never wavered at all in wanting to stay and earn the marriage back. And all the pieces and the tools to heal and R are there or within reach. But I feel so traumatized deep in my bones and my soul. More than seems appropriate. I think it’s because it was a triple betrayal and everything I believed about myself... that I had value to him, that I had value to close friends, that I had value to my larger circle of acquaintances. All. Lies. All. Wrong.
So I’ve been on a definite downward slide lately. It’s bad. I’m going to get in with EMDR again next week. One aspect that I focused on the last couple sessions has eased in my mind. So it seems to have helped. But it’s as if another aspect just magnified in its place. So that’s next week. I hope it helps. It has to.
The cycle seems to be... I hit a trigger or just a rough thought chain that drums up horrible vivid mind movies and feelings of helplessness and worthlessness and physical trauma. (Y’all my blood pressure is through the roof in a sustained way, and I’m on three BP meds!). And he Just. Doesn’t. Get. It. And his lack of deep empathy and clear sense of impatience and frustration he portrays at times just crush me. (And I didn’t need help there, see above regarding my worth and value). I feel so defeated. And I keep thinking if I can just explain it better he’ll get it. He is remorseful. He is trying. He just lacks the emotional intelligence, I guess. Lacks empathy. (Actually gets annoyed when I say that, when I use the word, like I’m trying to psychobabble him into feeling bad). And he doesn’t think he needs any help. He willingly goes to MC and participates and works hard for that hour. But he hasn’t done any IC since a few failed sessions early on. He is adamant he can’t simply open up to someone and doesn’t see what he would get out of it. And he hasn’t read books and articles on trauma that I know of. And he just doesn’t seem to understand that the triple betrayal I experienced was immensely traumatizing. In a very clinical sense. Even I am only just coming to terms with that. I’m listening to The Body Keeps The Score. I was afraid to. I was afraid it would hit me so raw. I am not comfortable with the notion that what I’ve experienced is trauma in the same way people experience truly horrifying things. But the body doesn’t know the difference. Trauma is trauma. I’m finally accepting that. It is both reassuring (this is real, it’s physiological, you aren’t imagining it) and terrifying (this is real, and it will require a ton or work to overcome... with or without him).
I’m truly afraid I’ll never recover. I feel like I’m back to the beginning. I don’t understand why. And I keep thinking “if I can’t get through this with a remorseful, even if imperfect FWS, and talk therapy and neurofeedback and EMDR and marriage counseling... what is there left to try? How will I ever heal?”
(Never mind the immense resentment that builds as I spend the time and money and energy on all those things!)
We both want to R. We are both trying. I’m so painfully stuck and I am sick to death of feeling physically ill and thinking about him with them every damn day. It feels really hopeless. I feel so defeated. And I think he does too. In his mind he’s doing hard work and a lot of right things. (Not entirely untrue at all!). But I have a deep headache I’m trying to address, and he’s handing me cough drops and feeling frustrated that they aren’t helping.
I’m just in such a sad dark place. And I had to share with the only people who truly get it.
[This message edited by GTeamReboot at 10:52 PM, March 8th, 2021 (Monday)]
25 comments posted: Monday, March 8th, 2021
Triggered, he handled it, what a relief
This evening I noticed someone with an unfamiliar Facebook name liked my Christmas post where FWH was tagged. Hmmmm, who is this? So I click on the name and see pretty profile pics – somewhat familiar looking, but I was pretty sure it wasn’t a real last name. I looked at our mutual friends, expecting to see FWH (post was not public, so there’s no other way) and two people are listed but he’s not. Red flag! I’m thinking he must have seen her like the post and quickly unfriended her, but why!? We’ve had a good week and I’m seeing lots of the right meaningful effort lately. Still bumpy, after some tough months around A season and first Dday antiversary… but I’m feeling good about R. I wasn’t panicked but definitely wanted this to be explained. I made sure he wasn’t busy at work and called, and asked who she was. He immediately told me. Oh, OK, her. Yeah, I can see that it’s her… and she clearly likes the nice filters for her profile pics! Haha! She’s harmless. So I asked if he had just unfriended her. He was sort of confused, said no he didn’t think so. He was not defensive, other than the way you get defensive when you genuinely don’t have an answer that makes sense but you are telling the truth. He didn’t give me a hard time for being triggered and we ended the call.
But it was still bugging me. It just didn’t make sense! One of us had to be her friend when she saw and liked the post, and it’s not me, and now he’s not listed as a mutual friend. So I texted “I realize I may have caught you off guard, I appreciate you didn’t get defensive…. But are you sure you didn’t unfriend her just this evening?” He sent me a screenshot showing they are still friends. He wasn’t hiding anything. Why didn’t he show as a mutual friend when I look at her page? So weird. And… then google explained. For some reason, because neither of them have their full friends list visible to non-friends, he doesn’t show as mutual when I look at her page (his list is hidden but available for my review anytime I want). I don’t know why that is, but I trust google and that explains it. This could have easily made him much more impatient and defensive, given that I was “wrongfully accusing” him of something, and it didn’t. He rolled with it. There was a time it would have annoyed him, which would have been hurtful. Also, he did the sweetest gift for me, pouring time and energy into fixing a family heirloom as a surprise. It’s his love language, and I’m learning to hear it when he uses it. And, he knows his night shift work can be triggery for me. He doesn’t understand why (no direct tie to the A) and in the past would express this confusion, not always patiently. I think he finally set aside the not understanding and realizes he just needs to acknowledge and support. This week he has left a couple surprise notes where he knew I would find them. All good things, all good things…
3 comments posted: Sunday, December 27th, 2020
I picked a fight
I picked a big fight with FWH today and I don’t even know why. The morning trigger was minor. It shouldn’t have been such a big obstacle. But I am sick of him saying I need to avoid FB memories. Both APs were friends so they pop up now and then, especially the ONS AP who was my closest friend. I immediately delete. At this point most should he gone. Although the trigger wasn’t to do with them. His solution... Avoid avoid avoid. That’s what got us here to begin with. He avoided hard conversations with me, made assumptions, then felt entitled to act on those assumptions to fulfill whatever the hell felt like it was missing. To make matters worse the mind movies have been horrendous lately and I don’t know why. I was really not nice to him even if some of the things I was saying had some merit. It felt like I couldn’t even stop if I wanted to. (Because I did want to). Then we had his parents over and he hasn’t really spoken to me since they left. Even when I said first that I was sorry we had a bad day, then said I was sorry I had a bad day. I was going to elaborate to acknowledge where I was at fault but he just said “I’m not saying anything!” and kinda cut me off. He’s protecting himself from a flare-up. I get that. But being dissed and dismissed feels really demoralizing. I can’t win either way.
I hate all of this so so much. It’s so epically unfair that the person who hurt me can have any legitimate claim to pain.
I don’t even know what to think or do. I just needed to vent.
[This message edited by GTeamReboot at 12:10 AM, November 27th, 2020 (Friday)]
9 comments posted: Friday, November 27th, 2020
1 year since DDay
And what a week it has been. Some of what is making this week hard has nothing to do with the A, which in a way is a good thing. A distraction. A chance for FWH to support me emotionally in trouble that has nothing to do with him.
A year ago right this moment, I had just learned the night before of his drunken ONS with my BFF... but she tipped me off that there was more to know, and I spent today looking through phone records (nothing to see there as it turned out), getting whatever info she had (the other AP was a mutual friend... the whole f'ed situation is in my Bio). What I learned later is that FWH spent that day at work struggling to accept that his M was probably over and knowing he would have to come clean. That night... a year ago tonight... I simply said "start talking" and he did. He confirmed what I had heard, he told me things I didn't already know, he promised a more detailed timeline once he could write it (that came within a day or so). There was no TT, for that I'm grateful.
Our R journey has been a bumpy curvy road slowly headed in the right direction, even if not getting there as efficiently as it should or could. Oh, if only a few things were different (such as availability to IC, his hard as a rock shame shell, his communication skills...). But, I remain optimstic. Sadly at times I feel I'm carrying the optimism on my own, which is exhausting.
Two other things have made this week messy...
I posted in the General forum (not much feedback) about friend drama that is super super triggering for me, since my experience was a double betrayal. In a totally unrelated situation, a friend (former friend I guess) has treated me like crap over something petty (well, I have to assume the reasons, she has ghosted me when I asked). Being crapped on by women I thought cared about me is a HUGE trigger. He has been supportive through this, giving me deeply philosophical advice such as "screw her, she's being ridiculous" and "put on your I-Don't-Care hat." But he's trying.
And then... my annual mammogram early in the week didn't go well, so I spent DDay getting a follow-up ultrasound. The results are not too concerning, but given other factors and family history... and honestly my general feeling of "I don't need more uncertainty on my mental plate right now!"... my doc is likely to suggest a biopsy. I'll talk to her today. She knows all about this situation, so that's helpful.
We have some fun family plans today and FWH is off work all weekend. Communication has been... eh... OK. He means well, he's trying, I see it, I know it. He just really really really just wants it all to go away. Wants to live our lives and focus on how far we have come and what's ahead. He is sympathetic to why I am hurting, but doesn't fully "get" why a certain day on the calendar is extra cause for pain. Blah.
But overall... I have done and am feeling better than I expected regarding the DDay.
[This message edited by GTeamReboot at 9:10 AM, October 9th (Friday)]
4 comments posted: Friday, October 9th, 2020
Smashing phones, draft emails, milestones, venting
I survived my first (known) antiversary (the day the vows died) and now A-season is officially over for this year. But DDay is around the corner and I’m increasingly on edge. I just felt the need for a vent and update. It’s a mixed bag, but much of it is good. Maybe too long but here goes…
We still have this cycle of conversations where I explain why I need him to be more proactive, and he doesn’t really understand what I mean by that … “why would you want me to make you sad when you seem happy by bringing it up?” Etc. He still keeps that “shame shell” handy for retreating when it gets hard. The remorse runs deep but it is so coated in shame that he just doesn’t always provide as much support as I need. He still fails to see how much power he has to help me heal faster by increasing his empathy even more.
So, a while back I told him to ask me how I’m doing, ask me if any triggers tripped me up, every single day for a week. I figured I would try being really specific about wanting proactive support, almost to the point of overkill. He did it! He didn’t enjoy it, I could tell there were nights he just didn’t want to go there. Many of the conversations were hard and felt like repeats of past conversations. A couple times I didn’t have anything to say and I was fine with just thanking him for asking and enjoying the evening. He just doesn’t get that if he keeps up a pattern more like that, then over time I will truly have less to say. He slows down my healing through his avoidance. So damn annoying. But he is not entirely lacking in good intentions, effort, empathy, etc. I do try to recognize that he makes the effort in other ways. He does a lot around the house – for me, for the kids, home improvements, etc. He said “that’s me showing you that I am choosing you, every day.” Noted. Appreciated. But also, not my love language.
One of my triggers over the past year has been his phone. He needed a new one for a while, but prided himself on avoiding an upgrade. So although the A phase was two years ago, he had the same phone. I described it as a “weapon of deception” because he used it to exchange messages with the APs. It took a while but it finally got replaced. At first I suggested we repurpose it as a wifi-only phone for our daughter. Then suddenly, when the thought of that had me practically hyperventilating, I realized that wasn’t an option. He said “Ok, we will smash it.” But then it sat in storage. Well recently was the antiversary of the ultimate double betrayal… the drunken ONS with my BFF. That was the very worst offense, but also marked the end of his A phase altogether (he simply kept it a secret for more than a year). He did an OK job that day, checking on me while he was at work. That night I smashed that phone with a hammer and cried.
During the most recent “same conversation, different day” I explained that it hurt when I would send him a message or an email he didn’t reply or acknowledge. He always makes the excuse that he’s not as good with his words as I am and just doesn't know what to say that will help. But all of the sudden, I guess to make up for this and show he had tried, behind the scenes, he sent along to me several draft emails that he had obviously started in response to emails I’ve sent over the past almost a year! Some of them addressed things that have passed. Some of it was hard to read. A lot of it was heartfelt. Ugh! WTF. I told him that was what I needed all along, and I never needed it to be perfect, I just needed it to not be absent! Dingbat.
One thing he said to me in one of those messages was “I’m afraid if I get mushy, you’ll want to talk about it all the time.” (well, frankly if that’s what I need then so be it, but I understood what he meant). I said “well, sometimes I’m afraid if I get strong, you’ll want to talk about it never.” I hope that made sense to him. I asked him to please please keep up the honesty more often. And then I promised him a weekend free of the topic because we had a family getaway planned and he was apprehensive. Frankly, I didn’t mind the break myself. We had a great time, good intimacy, and made nice memories.
But so help me if that makes him think I’m all better!! We will see if he remembers the lessons of “ask me every day” (or at least, pretty often). We will see if he understands that I can’t get too strong if he’s never willing to be “mushy.”
The dance of steps forward and steps backward continues… moving in the right direction, not as fast as we would like, and still So Damn Hard.
[This message edited by GTeamReboot at 10:12 PM, September 28th (Monday)]
13 comments posted: Monday, September 28th, 2020