Newest Member: SoBeyondLost17

HowCouldSheDoIt

Me: BH Early 50's Her: WW Early 50's D-Day Nov 2020 Married 21 years before D-Day 3 children Working toward reconciling. The most difficult thing I've had to do in my life.

A brief response from a psychiatrist

I have another place where I write and vent (I love you SI, but I never promised to be exclusive...)

Today I got a reply from a psychiatrist, I did a web search and they're the real deal. I'm going to post the reply below so you can see it.

When I read it I wasn't offended, but it brought back memories of that MC that I visited. I wanted to share it here because it is unusual to hear from a therapist (at least unusual to me) in a discussion forum.

My post was long so I won't copy it here but it is the same type of venting I do that you've read here before. This is what the psychiatrist responded:

I was very reluctant to write my response here, but I feel it might help, although you may not like it.
It seems to me that you over-identified with the role of a betrayed spouse. People do it often because, paradoxically, being a victim of a transgression gives their lives meaning, which was otherwise lacking.
Sexual betrayal can be extremely painful, eviscerating, and I feel for you! On another hand (there is always another hand, isn’t it?) it may be a catalyst for growth - yours, your wive’s, and you as a couple. To begin with, your therapist should help you to cultivate an attitude of curiosity rather than blame.
I highly recommend Esther Perrel books "The state of affairs" and "Mating in captivity", as well as her Ted Talk "Rethinking infidelity".

My gut feel is that they have never been cheated on, but of course that's just speculation...

Anyway, happy Saturday!

32 comments posted: Saturday, October 9th, 2021

Could use some encouragement, I screwed up

Long story short, WW has been coming around and overall am feeling good about R. This is coming after 9 months of difficulty, and since ultimately I wanted R it has been encouraging.

Last night I screwed up. We were watching a TV show where the guy cheated on his wife with his lover. WW asked me "You doing OK?" and I said "Yeah, but these scenes stir up a lot of bad feelings, I mean the guy on TV is not principled, and your OM wasn't principled I mean he knew you were married and still pursued you, and the difficulty thinking of you as unprincipled to go for it."

As soon as I said it she scooted away from me and sat straight up. I regretted it immediately "I'm sorry, I don't know why I said it, I got carried away, I don't mean to say you are unprincipled in general, I didn't mean it, I hope you can forgive me" and she talked a little how it hurts her feelings, and she's insulted (Usually she doesn't talk or say anything). I told her again I was sorry. It was bedtime so we dropped it.

Now this morning and just now, she's not exactly back to her old self, but she's withdrawn and closed-off. This morning's and this afternoon's kiss was tight-lipped.

Just a bit ago she asked how I was doing:

Me: "I'm angry with myself with my comment last night. I didn't mean to sound criticizing and I appreciate how you've been making an effort, I acknowledge how you've been working and I'm upset with myself because I don't want us to lose the momentum, I don't want you giving up."

WW: "Thank you" <then silence>

Me: <silence>

WW: "Ok, well I need to go run my errands, be back in a bit"

She's not as cold as she used to be, but she's clearly pissed off and her WW ways are coming out again. So I'm really angry at myself because now things have set back and I don't want to "chase her" but I grow so tired of this dance and I thought we were moving past it.

Damn.

403 comments posted: Saturday, July 10th, 2021

Interesting Development

Long story short:

DD says she's moving out of state in a few weeks. She announced it suddenly, and WW and I have what I imagine are the same emotions any parent has when children leave home.

In the meantime I've just given up, figured the M is done, and just stay in limbo waiting to see if anything pushes it to R or D. I really did not care one way or the other.

The other day I walk by WW who is alone, going through stuff for DD to pack. I notice her teary eyes and ask "Are you OK?" She says "no" and then releases with a gush of tears and jagging cries. She hugs me, tells me how she screwed up this family, bawling. In all my years I have never seen WW this way.

I'm very moved and said something probably not helpful but I was feeling empowered "You've been a good mom and wife for many years. I'm disappointed you're not willing to resolve the A, but I'm very happy with how you always have been with the kids." That comment started a discussion that has been very different up till now. She told me she wants to resolve the A and reconcile. I told her "I do too but I don't want to have another discussion where we talk about what I need, you say 'OK' and then nothing happens" and she replied "I know. I want to talk."

We haven't had any huge discussions yet but I did lay out a few expectations about us learning how to resolve conflict, and reminded her again how hurt I was that she has energy and time for everything else, but not for two hours to read "How to help your spouse heal." She said she wants to read it now. This morning she reminded me again, "Where is that book?" So I gave it to her this morning.

So I'm feeling different about everything, and I'm seeing a side to her I have never seen before. Seeing her in tears feeling bad about things felt very validating. I'm pretty sure that DD moving away because of the drama probably pushed things over the edge for her. Maybe it got her to think that she might be alone. Maybe the weight of the whole family put things into perspective for her. But in the small discussions we've had she's behaved like I would have expected her to, with a non-defensive and apologetic demeanor. So about 9 months later, I'm thinking she's now ready to pursue R.

So I'm feeling optimistic about things. This feels like a real R desire and so I'm going to pursue it. I wanted to share that update with the group, this has been a very supportive experience.

32 comments posted: Wednesday, June 30th, 2021

I could use a hand refining these requirements for R

I have a wife who is about to leave for 6 weeks in August. Post D-Day has just been one big floundering as she makes very little effort to rebuild the M. We have had several mini-discussions but I have never sat down with her and laid things out like what I would like to do, give it one last shot before she leaves for 6 weeks (which I feel will kill whatever is left.)

The situation is WW is ignorant about post-adultery care. She won't know what I mean by Reconcile.

For anyone who has done it this way with their WS, ie sit down formally with a list of requirements, I could use a hand and suggestions. I have a rough outline / list below. I'm not sure how much detail it needs.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

After the adultery, we have three choices

(1) Divorce

(2) Stay Married – Don’t address anything, old issues will fester as we try to just move on.

(3) Reconcile – The adultery is addressed and forgiven. We agree to move on from the past hurts. New beginnings

First, I thank you deeply for avoiding triggers and putting away reminders. I'm also grateful as I feel you moving emotionally closer to me.

Option (2) Stay Married – I will not do this. I’m OK with being in limbo for a while, like we have been (ie I know you said your heart isn't ready). But ultimately I can’t do this option. This is killing me, it literally is.

I want to Reconcile. To Reconcile I need the following from you.

--Commit to the process. My fear is you will make assumptions about what I want and what I need. That you will reject something without asking what I mean, without talking about it.

--Make amends for the adultery. Currently I feel abandoned in this way. Meet me in an informed place, no defensiveness, meet my needs for sharing, support me in my grief.

--Work with me to learn how to conflict such that it brings us closer

--Commit to finding more common interests

--Commit to working on some interpersonal issues we’ve had for many years (harshness of words, not sharing)

--Tell me what you need to move forward to a newer, better place.

13 comments posted: Monday, June 21st, 2021

Continuing Saga

I wanted to create another post to continue my saga rather than thread-jack. I know many here think me a fool but this is a very helpful conversation regardless.

you are paralyzed by not wanting to see reality, thus you warp it into something you have done and therefore can fix.

Avoidant would be a better word. Trying to keep a future where I'm happily married and can retire in a few years. If I D then I can't retire early which I admit is a shitty reason to stay M, and it isn't the only reason, but it is a factor. Better I think to say it is a reason to give things time to wait and see.

I expect you're a pretty damned great guy.

I am. Probably a bit of a pushover these days but I do have some boundaries.

Not that it changes anyone's advice here, but I have set the $$ amount I am willing to do for this move. We live somewhere nice, I'm willing to move somewhere nice. Not extravagant, not over-the-top, just nice. We have a mortgage payment here, we'll have a mortgage payment there. This isn't a lifestyle upgrade, it is a lateral move. Yes there is a cost but it isn't significant to my situation. This will be the 5th house we've bought; it is a pain in the ass to move but it isn't a big deal. Looking ahead the near future whether we D or R, this move is not a financial factor that plays into anything.

The difference here is that she's having to do all the work by herself. When I say I'm not willing to help lead any efforts or fully participate and that is going to kill it, what I mean is that it will kill the buy-another-house effort. We very likely will not be moving anywhere for a while. I'll admit to being a passive-aggressive prick but I was very honest that my emotional baggage is getting in the way of me being a true partner here, and I would like to address the baggage and resolve it. As always, that's where the conversation stops.

Bottom line, she thinks you're in R because you're not stopping any of this.

No, she doesn't think we're in R because she doesn't know what that is. She knows nothing of the process or the trauma or the emotions. She won't tell me everything she's feeling (she told me she doesn't trust me with her feelings) but I generally know her resentment toward me over the past few years is preventing her from going all-in. I think maybe four times in the past 7 months, during a tender moment she has said "I'm sorry I hurt you" which means a lot to me. When I get emotional she will hug me but she will not say anything. My IC had assigned an exercise for me to increase my vulnerability to her, this was week before last and I haven't worked on it because I don't feel ready; it feels too one-sided. Other than the very occasional moments, she has offered nothing by way of addressing the A or healing the M. She attends IC but never talks about it.

So to me limbo means she's not willing to commit to full R, and so it is a waiting game to see if trust develops to the level that the stalemate can be broken.

She always did want to stay M. What I have told her is that I'm committed to not giving up yet. I said the process is long, like 2-5 years long and at some point in that process we'll know if it is going to work or not, but until that time I'm not giving up. She told me recently for the first time that she is committed to not giving up either. So that is some progress.

a new home you didn't really want, a happy but detached and avoidant WW, and a belly full of bitterness and resentment.

This is true, but moving forces you to get rid of a lot of shit which is good whether we D or R. And a belly full of b&r, yes but not because of the move.

IDK if your W is or is not a good candidate for R, because I don't think you've ever put her to the test. If you have, my guess is that she failed, and you're choosing to stifle yourself instead of dealing with her dishonesty and betrayal.

She has consistently failed to meet me at the table for R. An earlier IC had suggested giving it time because she needs to heal too. This would be fully acceptable to me if she would talk to me and tell me what is going on in a helpful way. After D-Day I did not handle it well so she withdrew emotionally. She established a boundary that she will withdraw when I attempt to share hurt and pain. I felt this was very unfair and wrong, but she wouldn't talk about it. She has only followed up with "I don't trust you with my feelings." My belly is firm-as-a-cantaloupe full of resentment over how she has handled the post-game.

I'm stifling myself to give it time. I'm stifling myself waiting for her to earn a salary and make D (if that's the direction) a softer landing. She knows this isn't going to go away, and I have said "I can't fix the marriage by myself" and I see change, very slow but change.

As always, thank you for the attention and replies. It helps tremendously

119 comments posted: Saturday, June 12th, 2021

Wife moved to D!

I'm re-posting this message here, it is also in the S/D forum but I don't know how to move it.

My story isn't very complicated and some here know it, my WW wasn't really doing much work to help R and so I've been basically battling her to up her game and meet me at the table.

Yesterday I basically told her that if she's not in, and isn't gonna be in, then let's just rip off the band-aid, I'll understand, and I'll be fine. I don't want her to be unhappy.

So today she basically tells me she's done. Wants to move toward D. In house seperation until she can move out next month.

I'm shocked, not terribly surprised as I was thinking it was inevitable (I mean it takes two to make it work!). But I have to process how I feel about it. There's a lot coming at me here.

I really feel like I did all I could. The only thing I couldn't do was rugsweep. It was probably inevitable.

Thank you all for being here. I don't talk much about this to my circle of friends because I feel like a beta male. But I'll get over that now as I start putting something else together.

I'm a bit shocked for now, things will have to sink in here for a bit...

80 comments posted: Sunday, May 23rd, 2021

Wife has moved to D!

My story isn't very complicated and some here know it, my WW wasn't really doing much work to help R and so I've been basically battling her to up her game and meet me at the table.

Yesterday I basically told her that if she's not in, and isn't gonna be in, then let's just rip off the band-aid, I'll understand, and I'll be fine. I don't want her to be unhappy.

So today she basically tells me she's done. Wants to move toward D. In house seperation until she can move out next month.

I'm shocked, not terribly surprised as I was thinking it was inevitable (I mean it takes two to make it work!). But I have to process how I feel about it. There's a lot coming at me here.

I really feel like I did all I could. The only thing I couldn't do was rugsweep. It was probably inevitable.

Thank you all for being here. I don't talk much about this to my circle of friends because I feel like a beta male. But I'll get over that now as I start putting something else together.

I'm a bit shocked for now, things will have to sink in here for a bit...

24 comments posted: Sunday, May 23rd, 2021

Rant - A Typical Day

Two days ago, in the morning Wife and I are in the kitchen. After the how-did-you-sleep routine I said I was on my phone texting and it brought to mind you and AP texting, which reminds me of the romance, and I'm having a difficult morning. The mood changes, she grabs my shoulders in kind of a half-hug, then walks away and avoids me for the rest of the day. Not totally avoids me, but is somewhat short with me, not too many words, she doesn't touch me as we cross paths, etc.

Later that night at the table I tell her about an adultery story I'm reading online, she asks me if I'm looking for an AP I said absolutely not, it helps me to read about it, and I will never go outside the marriage. I followed up with "hopefully you trust me that I won't." She replied "I trust you in that sense, but not in every sense. I don't trust you with my heart."

I felt frustrated and calmly as I could said "What are you doing to move past it? You haven't told me what you need. I don't know what I should be doing to make amends. I feel very abandoned here because I've been very straight with you how I'm feeling and what I need."

Her: <silence>

Me: "I have heard you say let the past be in the past, but this is an example of why I have said I feel like the only one working to save the marriage. I feel you holding back because of your hurt, and that needs to be addressed."

Her: <silence>

Me: <silence>

Her: <silence>

Me: "Well if there is no more on this topic, then I need to go take care of some stuff in the garage"

Her: <nods in agreement>

So I probably missed an opportunity to grow closer with her. I could have been a little harsh in calling her out (although I was as polite and nice as I could be). She might be hurt that I didn't immediately melt with sorrow. I'm sure she sees this exchange as all the more reason not to trust me.

That was two days ago and things are amicable but distant. This is very typical. She has a boundary where if I share my hurt, she will withdraw.

Oh well. I will share this with my IC this afternoon. It is my second meeting with him.

35 comments posted: Friday, May 21st, 2021

Question for a Mad Hatter: Feelings of Betrayal

I'm sure this is a difficult question to answer, but for a WS who learned of their S's affair, did you have any level of understanding for their situation? Maybe you identified with them somewhat? When you found out was it a shock? What was it like on the road to forgiving them?

It is impossible to do, but as BS I'm wondering about comparing the experience of being betrayed if you were first a WS. One the one hand I can see it as easier (less of a shock, less angry, more understanding, more willing to forgive them) because you can identify somewhat with how your spouse got into an A, but on the other hand maybe it is worse for you, because you are already processing some heavy emotions as a WS.

I would really appreciate hearing from a MH on this topic.

Note: My question has nothing to do with a RA

141 comments posted: Saturday, May 8th, 2021

Figure out what you want and ask for it

I've gotten the advice "tell her want you need" on this site, so consider my situation:

I asked for all matter and details about her ONS. She has done that. She fought me like hell, but told me.
I asked her to avoid triggers and put away reminders. She has done that.
I asked her to let me dig through her phone, facebook, laptop. She has done that.
I asked her to keep me apprised of her whereabouts, at least for a while. She shares the location on her phone.
Generally she is treating me nicer, when grocery shopping buys things I like, makes meals I like, is sexually available.
The common theme is if it is something she can do, she has been agreeable to it.

But consider areas she has not been available:
I told her I need her to emotionally identify with my pain and hurt. I need to talk about the affair and about us. She avoids talking. Says these discussions are negative. Feels ambushed when I bring anything up.

Displaying empathy has been the biggest issue. It is my biggest hurt right now. When I get emotional or triggered, she will touch my arm but won't say much. If she does I'll get something like "Sorry you're hurting."
I told her I want more empathy, I want more understanding, I want more. She asked me "what does that look like?"
I said it could look many different ways, but here are some comments off the top of my head:

"I'm so sorry, please don't give up, I want forgiveness, it was such a mistake, please push past it, please know that it hurts me so much that this has brought you pain."

"I care about your feelings, I want to share the burden, please know that I never meant to hurt you and I feel terrible that I did. I want to help you heal and have us both past this."

"I'm so sorry for the pain this causes you. It was such a mistake and I want to help you heal from it. I want us both to be happy again. I hate the hurt this has caused you. What can I do to help right now?"

She was offended. She said this was me trying to control her. I shouldn't need these words of affirmation (which is part of my love language, that and touch). Why do I need her to speak to me this way? Apparently I need to work this out in therapy.

Since that discussion especially she has been very short and curt. Again, she treats me nicely but is emotionally unavailable.

So that's basically my post, the things I need done, she has done them. The things I need said or listened to, she has resisted. I've only brought it up twice, she won't really tell me what's going on, other than she feels that this is controlling behavior.

I'm hurt that she doesn't make an effort and push through whatever is holding her back, or at least tell me what's holding her back.

Am I asking for anything unreasonable?

62 comments posted: Thursday, April 29th, 2021

Any guidelines about who will cheat again?

Question for the group, here's the assumption:

Wife of 21 years feels neglected, abandoned, and abused.

She falls for the temptation of a guy and has a fling, and it was one time PA.

It's a one and done, they never see each other again, she says she needs to tell me and let the chips fall where they may. She wants to stay married.

So I'm well aware that cheaters lie and you can't be sure of the whole story etc. but if we assume it is true...

21 years before cheating, one night of weakness followed by regret.

I'm looking for anyone with knowledge of a pattern or a "type" or anything that would suggest she likely to, or likely not, to cheat again.

Not to harp on it, but opposed to a cheater who doesn't even make it a year into being married, yeah, they're probably going to cheat again.

But in my case, just looking for opinions.

52 comments posted: Tuesday, April 27th, 2021

Wayward not bothered at all by scenes of adultery

I'm a betrayed, wife had a sexual fling while on vacation about six months ago. Glossing over a lot of details, she confessed and we've been trying to reconcile.

A few days ago we were watching a show when a one night stand / hookup scene came on. I got triggered and very uncomfortable. I didn't fast forward as it was over quickly, but she could tell I didn't like it and she asked "does that scene bother you?" and I said yes, then I asked her "Did it bother you at all?" and she (almost defiantly) answered "No."

So I'm kind of hurt by that, it feels like she obviously doesn't have a deep regret. I would have expected her to have some difficulty with those scenes, at least watching them in front of me.

So I don't know, I guess I'm looking to see if something like that is an indicator of future trouble. I will say that she never was a good listener nor had a good ability to express empathy, so maybe I'm just sensitive to that?

155 comments posted: Tuesday, April 20th, 2021

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