What made you a villain?
As we all know, most cheaters compartmentalize or vilify their spouse to justify the betrayal. My husband mostly did the latter. He was in negative sentiment override, he was rewriting our history, he was making negative comparisons, and so on. He overblew every little thing, and when there was nothing to overblow, he made it up. It is truly shocking to learn how low he thought of me during the betrayal. It is especially painful because 99% of that was complete nonsense. I’m no angel for sure (who is?), but most of the stuff he told me left me completely baffled. Just recently he told me the craziest of all the crazy thoughts he had.
One day he was having lunch with the OW during work break. She suggested to take something from the Asian street food place. He had a thought how nice and simple that was, to get something to eat with her. And how complicated it is with me. I’m a vegetarian, and I don’t really like Asian food. So, it is true I sometimes cannot just go to any place and grab anything from the menu (but usually there's always at least something I can eat). However, 1. I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 16 years old, and that was 5 years before we even met! He knew very well I only eat at places that offer at least something vegetarian. 2. We were ~10 years together at that time. One would think he would have similar thoughts long before he started to hang out with her, if it was such a problem. I can’t believe his rationality didn’t kick in to question why that is suddenly a problem. 3. Why was it even a problem when during the betrayal he would rarely take me out to eat? 4. I’ve never had a problem with him eating meat, and I regularly made meat dishes for him. I could go on, but really, this is some absurd tragicomedy.
I’m starting this thread in the hope others will share some stuff that made them a villain in their WS’s eyes. It is not my intention to shame the WSs, I just want to feel less alone.
P.S. I used to say he made me a monster in his head, but I think I’ll go with the Villainess from now on. Sounds badass.
73 comments posted: Monday, January 30th, 2023
What to do with sadness?
My DDay was in early 2017, but I did not get the full story back then. During the following years we had quite a lot of heavy discussions, but WS kept insisting on his original very minimized story. I didn’t have proof that there was more to the story, only indications and a gut feeling. Only in January this year, 5 years later, he started to offer more honest explanations. Unfortunately, those were only half-truths, and the trickle-truth continued throughout the year. There is no way for me to know whether I have the full story now (by "full story" I mean honest answers to my questions). The only proof is in his head, and all I have are his words. After all the lies he said during and after betrayal, I feel I can’t believe anything he says that sounds too good to be true or anything that seems implausible.
The information I got this year completely devasted me and rewrote my/our past. I’m talking about the past 8-9 years during which I made important decisions based on premises that I now know were false. This is especially painful for stuff that happened after DDay. I did not make an informed decision about reconciliation. I was trying to be realistic about reconciliation efforts, but since my reality was false, I now know I asked for too little. I married him not knowing what I know today. I don’t know whether I’d go for reconciliation and whether I’d say "yes" to him if I had known the truth. Nevertheless, the past cannot be changed, so now I’m just trying to play the hand I’m dealt.
People say with every new information, the healing and reconciliation process restart. That is so true. I’ve re-experienced all the feelings people go through after DDay. Behind those feelings is just deep sadness. I’m so sad for everything that happened and I’m so sad that it did happen. I’m sad for every instance of the betrayal, for everything he felt during that time. I’m sad he chose to lie after DDay, to drag us through 5 years of false reconciliation, and through plain torture. We missed out on so much during the years of betrayal, but we missed out on even more during the years of false reconciliation. I’m sad he wasn’t honest with me before he proposed to me. He knew what marriage means to me, and he managed to ruin the most basic ideas and dreams I have about marriage, love, family.
The sadness is preventing me from moving on, and I’m determined to get rid of it. I had enough. Lately I read so many posts here from betrayed spouses who re-experienced betrayal trauma or who regretted their decision to reconcile, years and years later. I don’t want that to happen to me. Betrayal sadness needs to go, and it needs to go for good. Of course, I’m realistic and I know it will never completely disappear. And that is fine as long as it is no longer a dominant emotion in my life.
The question I have is how to kill the sadness efficiently? What worked for you? The things I read are mostly focusing on some variation of personal happiness plan – basically, do the things that make you happy. There are plenty of things that make me happy, and I’ve been doing them for years. That didn’t really help. The thing is, that happiness is a very shallow one. Something that makes me smile, something that makes me feel good temporarily, something that does not have a long-term effect on me. It’s like taking a painkiller instead of treating the cause of the pain.
This is truly a year of hell for me. I’d appreciate any insight, advice, comment, book recommendation, support, anything...
11 comments posted: Thursday, November 17th, 2022
Update / DDay4 / vent
My original thread / story is here https://www.survivinginfidelity.com/topics/656136/new-info-5-years-after-dday-completely-broke-me/
A quick recap: Before we got married, husband had a one-sided EA with a cow. He minimized the shit out of it for 5 years post DDay1. I wanted to believe him, but his story didn’t make sense, and it couldn’t quite explain some facts. So, I couldn’t move on, and I kept pushing for the truth. At the beginning of this year, he finally started to offer more truthful answers. Those answers + the fact that he lied to me for 5 years devastated me and that’s when I wrote my thread here.
In the following months we’ve had many discussions. I was not ready to divorce him, so I’ve tried to make my peace with the new info and give it a shot. After kinda disappointing vacation I’ve started to doubt whether we can make it at all. I’ve started to seriously think about the divorce. I went back to his story from the beginning of this year and refreshed my feelings that I don’t have the full story. We have spent the past 4 weeks talking, arguing, opening old wounds. I have asked him to move out and presented divorce as the only option for me to move on and heal. What happened next is a no surprise to me – I had a DDay4 confirming that he only told me half-truths at the beginning of this year.
1. That night when he sent her the message that looked like he wanted to hook up with her (described under DDAY2 in my original thread) he would most likely cheat on me. Before they even went out, he gave himself permission to cheat. He basically told himself if an opportunity arises with the cow, he will go for it. So, there it is – I got a clear confirmation of my thoughts / fear – he didn’t physically cheat only because, as it turned out later, she wasn’t interested in him. To be fair, he claims he cannot tell with 100% certainty what would happen if she had replied to that message, maybe he would come to his senses. But it doesn’t really matter, does it?
2. Around that time he wanted to break up with me, he just didn’t know how. In other words, he was a chickenshit. He felt some kind of obligation towards me (we were in a 10+ year relationship at that time), and he didn’t want to hurt me. But he also didn’t want to be with me. He wanted to be single again, so that he can do whatever he wants, so that he can go out and play the field, flirt, hook up with someone, whatever. However, as he claims, there were days where he knew that’s stupid and that he loves me and wants to be with me. There were days when he thought our relationship doesn’t have a future, there were days when he thought this is just a bad phase and it will get better.
3. The purpose of the chat he had with her in the late 2016 (DDAY3 in my original thread), when he told her he is unhappy in our relationship, was to find out what she thinks of him. He thought that he can trick her into admitting her feelings for him if he starts a conversation like that. (What a dumbass, she had no feelings to admit). According to him, the reason why he so much wanted to find out what she thinks of him was because he got tired of everything. Around that time, we have moved in together and he has started to regain positive feelings about me, and he wanted to clear up what was going on between them.
4. Everything he did for her (like buying those stupid gifts or giving compliments) was not because she was a good friend, it was not because he wanted her to reciprocate and boost his ego, but rather it was because he wanted to make himself look good so that she sees him as a potential mate. However, according to him, it wasn’t because he wanted to be with her, but because he wanted to see whether he still "got it". And she was some kind of a proxy for other females.
5. He still claims he never wanted a relationship with her. He still claims that he didn’t find her physically attractive (however, he didn’t think she’s repulsive), he still claims that he did not have feelings for her – except that one passing thought I wrote about under DDAY3 in my original thread – he didn’t feel butterflies, he didn’t daydream about her, or feel anything that would be a clear sign to him that he’s catching feelings. In his words, he doesn’t remember ever feeling that way about her. He thinks everything that happened was a product of a fucked-up state of mind he was in (low self-esteem, hopelessness, dissatisfaction with life) and his resentment towards me. And she was just there, giving him some attention that he has overblown in his head. He saw something where there was nothing.
The fact is, she has an overly-friendly personality, probably because of her own insecurities and unhealthy need to be liked by everyone. To put it bluntly, she’s an attention-seeking whore. And she was like that towards everyone, but somehow he did not recognize that, and he thought she’s into him.
Nevertheless, he claims he cannot give me clarity and understanding of what was going on, as it is not clear to him either.
Anyway, as you can assume, my current state of mind, after all these years of lying and trickle-truths is such that I cannot believe this is now the full truth. There is such a mess in my head that I even considered he might admit to things that did not happen, just to give me an answer that I think is true. As if somehow that would make me feel better. It doesn’t help that the explanations he gave are basically the same that I thought were true all these years of "reconciliation". In the past he denied them all and told me they are just my fears. Except they weren’t, I was right, my intuition was right, my common sense was right. However, I find no satisfaction in being right now, I’m just tired of everything.
We have spent lots of time together since DDay1. I am certain he will never betray me again. He is certain he will never again feel resentment towards me. We function well together, we can have fun and deal with everyday stuff. There is love, there is attraction. We did improve a lot of things in our relationship. There are some things that still need improvement. It seems that the precondition for those improvements to happen is to finally leave this shit behind us. I’m afraid that too much damage has been done. They say the reconciliation cannot begin until the last lie has been told. That would mean that we’ve never really started the reconciliation. Is it too late to start now? I don’t know. I don’t even know whether there are still lies being told.
What I do know is that I’m tired of everything, and lately I’m just getting more and more annoyed. We had a lovely vacation in August. Nevertheless, everything just didn’t feel right. I had fun, but I didn’t feel intimacy, closeness, affection, that warm feeling when you look at someone you love – things that matter to me the most. Things that I felt when I was with him before the betrayal. It was disappointing. If the situation continues as it is, I know it will get worse. I gave him until the end of this year to come clean about everything, and to show me it is worth it to stay together. I don’t want to divorce, but I also can’t continue like this, it is killing me. Divorce seems like a less painful option.
Thank you for letting me vent, I’m sorry that I don’t have a happy update like others do.
4 comments posted: Thursday, September 29th, 2022
Surviving the Affair by Fred McAllen
I found this book on Google Books and I'd like to read it / buy it. The problem is, I can't find it anywhere. It looks like a self-published book that used to be available on Amazon or something, but it's no longer there.
I'd appreciate an info about where to get that book, if anyone here is familiar with it
6 comments posted: Thursday, April 14th, 2022
New info 5 years after DDay completely broke me
Hello everyone, first time posting here, and I’d appreciate any advice, insight, and support from anyone who is willing to read this.
F(38), M(37), together for 16 years, married for 3. DDay1 was 5 years ago. My husband (then boyfriend) had an inappropriate friendship with a coworker (F32) that lasted ~2 years (2015-early 2017, until DDay1). He claimed there were no romantic feelings. I’ve recently found out there were feelings and now I’m devastated and don’t know how to proceed.
SHORT STORY, DDAY1 & RECONCILIATION
All the stuff typical for an emotional infidelity happened: frequent contact (tons of messages and spending time together during and outside of work hours), conversations about personal stuff, he helped her with not work-related stuff, he was giving her compliments and validation, there was some mild flirting, he comforted her when she was sad /distressed and bought her some small gifts to make her feel better and so on. I was not aware of any of that, I didn’t even know she exists. He hid everything from me and lied.
During that time and some time prior to that we were not in a good place in our relationship. I believed our problems are mostly due to the external factors that negatively affected our life. On the other hand, he held a lot of resentment towards me and was in a negative sentiment override but did not communicate that to me. In his mind, he was blaming me for all the bad stuff that’s happening to him, saw me / what I do and our relationship in a negative light. He was comparing me to her and our relationship to theirs (since he was in a negative sentiment override, in his mind she easily won in those comparisons). I only found out about all of that in the years after DDay1.
DDay1 was 5 years ago. I found out by seeing a photo of them on a night out in a group setting (that night he lied to me that he has to work late). He came clean in general, but at first he minimized their relationship a lot. He accepted my terms (#1 was to cut contact with her and communicate with her only if it is unavoidable for work-related stuff) and we’ve decided to try to fix things. These past 5 years we’ve spent hundreds of hours talking, we read and discussed many books, articles, posts on infidelity forums and so on. We’ve been through a lot – crying, fighting, hysterical bonding, trickle-truths, mental tortures… We moved to another country several months after DDay1, things in our relationship improved. We even got married and that day was probably the happiest day in my life.
What kept me going was that he claimed he had absolutely no romantic feelings for her, he claimed he did not want to be with her and that he only did all of the stuff because he considered her a good and close friend. He did say he cared about her, but only in the way that someone would care about a good friend. He claimed he was hiding that friendship from me because he thought I would not approve it and he thought he's not doing anything wrong. However, after DDay1 he admitted that the relationship was inappropriate, that he crossed boundaries and that his behavior was a huge betrayal, if nothing else then because of all the lies to me and the way that he treated me during that time.
Nevertheless, one thing kept bugging me. One time (mid 2016) when he was out with his work colleagues (she was also there), they were drinking and he sent her a message that, from an outside perspective, looked like he wanted to hook up with her. He lied to me about that for years, that is, gave explanations that made no sense to me. And then two months ago he told me that around that time he thought she is sending him mixed signals and with that message he wanted to see whether he has a shot with her. She didn’t reply (it was early morning, and she had already left the place). He said he doesn’t know what would happen if she had replied, but he believes he wouldn’t do anything as that would be crossing of his boundary (physical cheating) and it would become "too real" (whatever that means). He claimed he only wanted to see whether he still "got it" as around that time he was depressed, lacked self-confidence, felt unattractive and so on. He claimed he only wanted to see whether some other woman besides me finds him attractive and she was the only one that was giving him attention.
He also revealed some other stuff (like buying her gifts to make her feel better, spending time with her doing a certain activity that was not just occasional outside-of-work coffee / drink, doing some personal favors for her…)
Those revelations were a complete shock to me, like DDay1 all over again. That casted a new light on everything he has done, and I’ve started to seriously question his motives with her and explanations he gave me so far. Don’t get me wrong, the doubt was always there but I really wanted to believe him when he said he had no romantic feelings for her and all these years I tried hard to convince myself that those doubts are only my fears. But things just didn’t add up. So, I kept pushing for the real truth and understanding.
And then around 2 weeks ago he said that yes, it looks like he had a crush on her. Specifically, he said that during that time (early 2016) he was thinking a lot about her and about the time they spend together and one day a thought that he is crushing on her popped into his head. He claims he dismissed that thought. However, he didn’t do anything to stop those feelings and the crush continued for months after that. He told me he was thinking of her and he wanted to spend more time with her, but that except for that one message, there was nothing that would clearly indicate to her that he has more than friendly feelings toward her.
He said the only time when he "opened up" to her was in late 2016 when he told her he is unhappy in our relationship, that he feels stuck, and that the relationship is not progressing. He claims he only wanted someone to tell him he’s stupid for thinking like that, that we are good together and that we can work it out. He claims she was the only friend he had that he felt like he could talk to about that, that’s why he went to her and not to someone else. He said that she didn’t show interest in what he is saying and that she only told him that he should talk to me about that. He told me this is when his crush was gone as he was disappointed that she couldn’t spare 5 minutes to talk about his problems while he was listening to her whine about her relationships and other personal problems for a year. Nevertheless, again, he did nothing to stop all of that and all the inappropriate behaviors continued until DDay1 in early 2017 (messages, spending time together, mild flirting, compliments, hiding all from me, lying to me to go out with her…)
So, here I am, 5 years after DDay1 and I am completely devastated and don’t know how to proceed. He said he didn’t tell me earlier because he was trying to protect me from further pain. He made it clear with himself that something like that will never happen again and that he would never go back to that way of thinking (negative sentiment override) and that he is completely committed to me. He wanted to save our relationship and he thought I could not handle the truth.
And he was right, I don’t feel I can handle this. I have always been a very emotional, romantic person, I idealized love. All I ever wanted from life was to find someone who would truly love me and for whom I would be the only one. Now when I know he had more-than-friendly feelings toward her, I just feel utterly sad and disappointed.
I have no evidence of a physical cheating. I believe him when he says that nothing physical happened, however, I cannot help thinking nothing happened only because she was not interested in him (she wasn’t, in fact, after DDay1, when he told her they need to break contact, she told him she had no intentions). He claims he would never physically cheat on me, as that would be crossing of his boundary + he claims he didn’t even find her attractive. He claims he never fantasized about her.
He still claims that, despite his crush, he never wanted to be with her. He admits that he was conflicted about whether he wants to break up with me (not because of her, but because he was unhappy in our relationship), but he insists that, even if we had broken up, he would not pursue her. He claims that, despite everything, he was aware of her flaws and didn’t think they were compatible.
I just don’t know what to believe anymore. I feel like our marriage is a lie and that I was a second choice. I feel that he decided to fix our relationship only because she did not want him. He says that’s not true and that I am the love of his life. He said he was actually relieved when I found out on DDay1 because he wanted to shut that down anyway, he just didn’t know how, and he was too weak to do it. He thought things would naturally die off when she leaves the company (she had plans to do that). He said that he did feel guilty prior to DDay1 and that lying to me was not easy for him.
I don’t just feel betrayed, I feel robbed of all the years when he was in a negative sentiment override that I did not know about (including the infidelity years) and of these 5 years of reconciliation. I feel he treated me very unfairly for the past 10 years. I feel that all the time and attention he gave to her were stolen from me. I feel he misled me and took away my chance to find happiness in life. These past 5 years of reconciliation, my life was a mess, and it very much negatively influenced my professional life as I couldn’t focus on work. 2-3 years ago, we decided we want to have children. But we agreed that we first need to completely fix what was broken. And now, even if we manage to truly reconcile, I feel it will take a long time to do that and by that time it will probably be too late for kids, considering my age. So, I feel he took away from me my chance to find happiness, to have a successful career and to have children.
If he had told me all back then, in the months after DDay1, I believe that by now I would be able to process all of this and heal, as I would approach the whole reconciliation differently. And now it is just too late for some of the things I would have done differently. I also would not spend months contemplating about his explanations which made no sense.
For all of that and more, I now feel that I am the one full of resentment and contempt. This is very hard for me because I am one of those suckers capable of unconditional love. So, despite everything, I still love him and I just want us to be happy. But I feel that’s impossible now. He assures me he is the man that I want. He says he cannot recognize the man who did all the shit, and that he is ashamed and disgusted of that man and mad at himself for turning into that man. He claims that man was a result of his depression and avoidance of communication with me way earlier. He claims this whole experience changed him and all he wants now is to make me happy. But I am stuck with the feeling that it is just too late.
In addition, I don’t feel I can mentally handle another 5(?) years of struggles while attempting to repair the damage caused by things I’ve just found out about (DDay 2 & 3). I am terrified that maybe he is still lying and that there are more things he doesn’t want to admit.
I don’t even know (neither does he) how to repair all of this, where to start. After DDay1 five years ago, we at least had some plan / general idea of what we need to do (for example, cut contact with her, rebuild trust / no more lying, more communication, more affection, dates…) and even though we made mistakes during our reconciliation and there were setbacks (I think that’s completely normal), there was progress. But now I feel all of that was annihilated and we’re back at step 1. Except we have no idea what the next step should be.
He is very apologetic and willing to do all the right things (basically give me everything I want and need) and I’m wondering is that enough? I feel he is promising to do something that he is supposed to be doing in a relationship / marriage by default!
I could go on, there’s a cacophony of feelings in me, but this post is already disrespectfully long. If anyone will read this – thank you very much for your time. If there are any questions, feel free to ask. We both want to fix this, but just don’t know how. I hope someone can help me navigate through any of this or that at least I can get some much-needed support.
21 comments posted: Wednesday, March 23rd, 2022