And on a tangent can we call your STBXH Scooby-Dum
Yassss! Chaos for the win
Scooby, Speed, JS, welcome to our little corner!
I haven't posted here in a bit, but I read every single one
There's a lot to respond to since I last wrote, so here it goes.
Re: divorce being just as bad, I concur with SMS, Fuck. That. Shit.
re: thinking about whacking our WSs, I'm no longer with psycho meth head XH, but I did have a dream the other night where I basically relived DDay except instead of being the calm rational one in front of the kids, I lost it and beat him up with my lacrosse stick. I'm not even with him anymore and I still had that dream. Applause for those in R for not actually losing it on your WS every day, your self control is awesome.
Re: Wayward forum. I agree with you JS, too many AYFKM moments so I only venture in there once every few days or so, typically if the subject of a post that pops up there is intriguing.
Good on you Scooby for your solo trip! I had been contemplating one to Hawaii - a place XH and I have been several times - as a way of reclaiming it. I'm thinking it would be better to go somewhere we've never been before so I don't trigger super hard. I have a few places on my bucket list: Italy, for museums/culture and PASTA! Africa for a safari and then to swing up to Egypt for the pyramids. Bali because, well, Bali. But I feel like I don't want to experience those things alone, if I'm going to get out of my introvert bubble, I really prefer experiencing things with others who I care about. Maybe we need a Betrayed Womenz trip??
Tallgirl, you're always out doing so many fun things. As a card carrying member of Introverts Anonymous, I need to force myself to get out more. I will think of you as my inspiration.
TX, I hope that neurofeedback helps you. This all just sucks so much.
Ok, the main thing I've been wanting to respond to for a few days but haven't because I wanted to gather my thoughts - the need to give positive reinforcement to the WS.
I have a really hard time with the praise-giving too. In re: all of his compulsive masturbation issues, I could tell XH wanted it (the praise for not doing it) and so eventually after I passed my bitter phase, I started to give it. But ultimately I think it's what doomed us in the long run, because he never learned how to self regulate.
I have to concur with Coco, I don't know if you can truly have R if the BS is putting in the work by giving them praise for showing common decency. Aren't those the ego kibbles that they were seeking with their A? Isn't the point of the work for them to figure out how to get self esteem from within themselves? Of course it's better for them to seek it from within the marriage than to seek it elsewhere, but ultimately they're still not learning how to self soothe, which means they're still acting in ways that are antithetical to true healing.
Here's how I view it, I wish I could draw it out, but I'll type it
Above and Beyond Acts
- things done for other people that are above their basic level of responsibility
- basic responsibilities that all adults should know how to do for themselves, without hurting others, or without impeding others' abilities to help themselves
Everything Else That Doesn't Meet The Above Standards
- literally, EVERYTHING.
I think we can all agree there is a basic level of competency at "adulting" that we should be able to expect from our spouses. Paying your bills, knowing how to get yourself from point A to point B, holding down a job (SAHP if this is agreed upon as well), basic hygiene, knowing how to prepare a meal for yourself (doesn't have to be a five star meal, it can be microwaved, or even ordered in), understanding the concepts of personal property, privacy, consent, etc. Then once kids are involved, we should be allowed to expect that our spouse will do everything in their power to care for and protect those children. But the gist is, that this person should know how to function as an adult human being, and be able to take on those responsibilities without interfering in or negatively affecting the lives of other human beings, especially their spouses and children.
Now, I think many of us were misguided in assuming that our WSs had all of these adult characteristics when they obviously didn't. One of those very important characteristics in a monogamous couple is not putting their genitals (or in cases of EA, their emotions) where they don't belong, and obviously that's the reason why we're all here. But the fact of the matter is, they absolutely SHOULD have these adult capabilities. So it's not our fault when they don't, and it's not our responsibility to get them up to speed.
Each person's basic responsibility is to take care of themselves. Anything they do for another adult person, should be out of the goodness of their hearts, and if it is truly selfless, these acts don't require any kind of praise. But if you're a good person on the receiving end, more then likely you will feel that since they went above and beyond, no matter how small, that deserves praise/compliments. I am perfectly capable of making my own dinner, so when he cooked for me, he got a kiss and a thank you. Or bought me a candy bar when he stopped at the pharmacy on the way home. Or filled up my gas tank so I didn't have to.
But he is an adult who is capable of filling his own gas tank, getting himself to work on time, providing a home, groceries, clothing for his kids, and - shocker! - not putting his penis in someone else's vagina, so he doesn't get brownie points for doing those things. I mean sometimes I feel like they expect a raunchy Mad Men scene when they come home - home cooked meal on the table, and a wife on her knees at the door, just waiting to give her husband a blow job for being such a great provider. How 'bout, no! I don't get an orgasm every time I remembered to book the girls' dentist appointment or sports physical, nor do I expect one. Because those are part of my responsibilities as a functioning adult who contributes to our PARTNERSHIP.
Let's take Chaos' example of shampooing the carpets. You and your husband both share the home, so it's technically equally each of your responsibility to keep the carpets clean. So when you take the initiative and clean them, that deserves his gratitude, even just a small thank you like you mentioned, because technically it's both of your responsibility to take care of, and you unilaterally handled it. But let's say your XH has a habit of spilling wine on said carpet and not cleaning it up. You get into many arguments over this, and he finally starts cleaning up after himself when he spills. Does he deserve praise for this? IMO, hell no. Because he is basically just rising to the base level standard of common decency. If you make the mess, you clean the mess, plain and simple. I mean this is the type of shit we teach toddlers in pre-school.
I can apply this to much more egregious acts on my XH's part. Does he deserve praise when he goes for a whole two days without screaming at me and his daughters when he can't find his keys? Nope. Does he deserve a gold star for managing not to sneak into my underwear drawer for a whole week? Hell to the Mother. Fucking. No.
I understand the concept of positive reinforcement, I really do. But that's what you do when you are teaching a child how to do something. Or even a pet. It is not our responsibility to teach another adult how to be an adult. It is their responsibility to positively reinforce it FOR THEMSELVES.
If he went a week without touching my underwear, he could go buy himself a new pair of surf trunks. If he went a day without yelling, he should order some guitar stuff on Amazon as a reward. But praise from me? Who am I married to, a grown-ass man? Or a petulant child who has learned he gets a treat every time he acts normally, AFTER he has already thrown a temper tantrum?
Last week IC asked me to make lists of my needs in a relationship vs. my wants, and then we went over them to discuss whether I had adequately expressed those needs and wants in my relationship with XH.
So we're going through the lists, and we get to this need: "I need whoever I'm in a relationship with to NOT masturbate with my underwear." Then the follow up question is, "How did you state that need in your relationship." And we both just burst out laughing, because how in the hell would you even know that is a need you have to express? It's just so far outside the realm of common decency, I never thought I needed to say that! I'm sure Shannan Watts never felt the need to tell her husband to please not murder her and her children. Because these are basic tenets of human decency that normal people should already know!
I think that's where many of us are. We didn't feel like we had to express these needs, because they felt like they should be a given. Well, we're all learning that humans do all sorts of crazy fucked up shit to each other, and apparently nothing is a given.
I laugh when I think about the kinds of conversations I'm going to have to have with future potential partners:
Soooo, you're not going to steal my underwear to masturbate with are you? Oh, and also, just one more thing, you don't hide dildos around your house, do you? Oops I forgot, you don't put on cock rings that are too small and then leave them on for days and refuse to go to the hospital, right? Sorry, last thing I swear, you don't go hunting for the feel-goods by putting your penis in other people's vaginas whenever you have the boo-hoos about how hard and stressful your life is, right?
And yes, I'm going to have to get that specific. Because these are new "needs" that I never knew I had to express.
For those of us BWz who are in R, I hope your spouses truly "get it" and stop needing special treatment for acting like decent fucking human beings. For those of us who have dumped them or been left by them, let's look for partners who are real adults, not children in adult-looking bodies with adult-sized bank accounts. And for all of us, let's work on knowing how awesome we are, so that we never, ever accept this bullshit they fed us ever again.
What TX said. This deserves a mic drop:
I just cannot let WH's affair take the rest of my life away from me. I want and deserve to enjoy my kids, my family, my friends and my life. Whether I am with him or not!