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Newest Member: May28

Reconciliation :
Help with BS Friends who Don't Approve R

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 fortunate2behere (original poster new member #78848) posted at 3:48 PM on Tuesday, May 25th, 2021

Hi everyone, long time reader, first time poster. Grateful for all the vulnerability and contribution here.

I am the WS and SA. S from BS for almost a year since D-day.

I am grateful that we may be heading towards R but as soon as some of her friends caught wind that may be happening, the voiced strong disapproval and have told her they would lose respect for her and may have to end their relationship. Many of her friends know about my SA and it understandably scares and they feel a responsibility to keep me away from their families.

Whether or not you have experience with SA, I could use some advice as the WS and how to approach my BS's friends and how best to be welcomed back into the social circle.

I could also use some advice on how best to support my BS as she defends our marriage and our R.

posts: 2   ·   registered: May. 24th, 2021
id 8662493
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stubbornft ( member #49614) posted at 4:10 PM on Tuesday, May 25th, 2021

My WS is SA. We aren't as far along as you are but are attempting to work things out. You have put your wife in a horrible position. I am sorry that she has to deal with this on top of your cheating. I have only told a few people and they have tried to stay neutral but I can tell they think I should run away as fast as I can. And actually a couple have said so.

It is hard to find support, but she does need it. Her friends love her. She needs them.

You might not be welcomed back quickly. It takes time.

How is your recovery going?

Are you attending meetings and therapy?

Are you sober?

When did you last act out?

What are you offering your wife for safety?

Me: BS 40 Him: WS 51 He cheated with massage parlor sex workersDday 01/19/2021
Kicked him out in 2021 - life is better on the other side. Moved on with the help of a wonderful therapist.

posts: 852   ·   registered: Sep. 14th, 2015   ·   location: TX
id 8662501
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JBWD ( member #70276) posted at 4:11 PM on Tuesday, May 25th, 2021

Between this

...they voiced strong disapproval and have told her they would lose respect for her and may have to end their relationship.

and this

how to approach my BS's friends and how best to be welcomed back into the social circle.

I’d posit that you may not grasp the gravity of what’s happening here. It doesn’t sound like you will be welcomed back. I don’t know the details on how a yearlong S becomes an attempt at R, but like everything else here the only answer is consistent change to better yourself.

Approaching her friends- Maybe don’t. Unsure if that’s an option, lots of variables there, but most importantly they’re HER friends. Let her manage them, avoid the tendency I’m sensing here to make this about you.

I think the best way to support her is to bear in mind how much more she now risks by potentially sacrificing friendships to R, and show her a corresponding level of gratitude.

Me: WH (Multiple OEA/PA, culminating in 4 month EA/PA. D-Day 20 Oct 2018 41 y/o)Married 14 years Her: BS 37 y/o at D-Day13 y/o son, 10 y/o daughter6 months HB, broken NC, TT Divorced

posts: 917   ·   registered: Apr. 11th, 2019   ·   location: SoCal
id 8662502
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BraveSirRobin ( member #69242) posted at 4:24 PM on Tuesday, May 25th, 2021

I think you need to allow actions to speak for you. On paper, your BW's friends are right to worry that you are deceiving her, yourself, or both. Sex addiction is hard to overcome, and like any addiction, it destroys trust. Have they supported her through multiple D-Days? If so, that makes an even steeper hill to climb.

IMO, any directed effort to get welcomed back into the circle will raise concerns of manipulation. The best course of action is to allow them their doubts and keep working to show you're a safe and reliable partner. The best way to support your BW is to reiterate to her that you understand why they feel protective. The sad truth is that she may lose some friends if they feel that supporting your reconcilation is enabling further abuse. Shame is one of the many prices that we WS force our BS to pay.

Express gratitude to your BW for giving you one last chance. Emphasize that you know it's your last chance. Do everything in your power to internalize that is your last chance. I suspect that's scary AF and makes you want to run to self-soothe with your addiction. That's what her friends are expecting, but you can prove them wrong.

WW/BW

posts: 3628   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8662512
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landclark ( member #70659) posted at 4:51 PM on Tuesday, May 25th, 2021

Why do they feel you are you not safe around their families? What was the nature of your SA? I would think that would be extremely difficult to overcome. If your SA involved teenagers, child pornography, etc., you're going to find that a lot of people will never be welcoming again.

In general, you can't control how other people feel. People often don't understand the desire or the reasons for staying. You even see it here on SI. There is a lot of judgement against those who stay, regardless of their reasons.

The best thing that you can do to help your BS defend her choice is to get help for your SA, deal with the issues that you lead to cheating, not doing it again, being a stand up person, etc., etc.

Me: BW Him: WH (GuiltAndShame) Dday 05/19/19 TT through August
One child together, 3 stepchildrenTogether 13.5 years, married 12.5

First EA 4 months into marriage. Last ended 05/19/19. *ETA, contd an ea after dday for 2 yrs.

posts: 2055   ·   registered: May. 29th, 2019
id 8662520
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 fortunate2behere (original poster new member #78848) posted at 6:39 PM on Tuesday, May 25th, 2021

Thanks everyone for your responses. Replying here to your questions:

Yes, I am sober. I have a very active program with several meetings per week, 12 step work with a sponsor, weekly individual therapy, daily meditation, and more than a year since acting out. Reading books on childhood trauma, character defects, betrayal and SA related topics.

My SA doesn't include any child or underage related acting out. It was online and transactional stuff. But i think it may be my narcissism and manipulation and general creation of a nightmare and traumatizing environment as much as the prostitution. It's all off it, don't get me wrong. They probably see me as a monster and I have been a monster.

I do my best to conscious of what my BS needs. She is on a roller coaster whereas I am climbing up hill. Some days are great but the next day can be horrible for her. I need to create space for however she is feeling on a given day or in a given moment.

For JBWD, I should have added that my BS wants me to talk to her friends. I expect many of them to resist a conversation but they'll likely talk to me at some point. We grew up together so many of her friends i have known for 20 years, long before we dated.

I know actions are the ultimate solution. I just wish I could take her pain away. She never deserved any of this.

posts: 2   ·   registered: May. 24th, 2021
id 8662560
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stubbornft ( member #49614) posted at 6:50 PM on Tuesday, May 25th, 2021

It sounds like you are on the right track. Yes, actions are so important, keep reminding yourself of that.

When your wife seems better and when she is telling the people close to her that you are busting your ass and they see her smile return I am sure they will be more open to believing in you.

Yes, she is on a roller coaster. Hang in there with her and support her. Be safe for her and show her that you are safe. Check in with her on how she is doing, etc.

Staying in recovery is great, keep working hard on yourself while helping her heal as much as you possibly can.

I really do think that when the people that love her see her happier, see her light return, they will be more open.

Me: BS 40 Him: WS 51 He cheated with massage parlor sex workersDday 01/19/2021
Kicked him out in 2021 - life is better on the other side. Moved on with the help of a wonderful therapist.

posts: 852   ·   registered: Sep. 14th, 2015   ·   location: TX
id 8662566
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BluerThanBlue ( member #74855) posted at 1:54 AM on Wednesday, May 26th, 2021

First and foremost, you and your wife both need to understand that these friends aren’t going to cut ties to punish either of you or to teach you a lesson... it’s for their own emotional health and well-being. It is painful and emotionally exhausting to continually provide support to someone who repeatedly makes bad decisions. These friends have probably spent countless hours consoling your wife, giving her advice, picking her up off the floor again and again. It’s no different than if your wife was addicted to heroin or if you were violent.

Also, if any of these people were mutual friends, if your affair partners were in this social circle or were spouses of other friends, or if you routinely lied to and manipulated them as well, then they probably feel their own sense of betrayal and anger at your behavior.

I suppose you could talk to them, but I don’t really think that’s going to be effective because they have no reason to believe a habitual liar and manipulator. The only way you can rebuild trust— your wife’s and anyone else’s— is through consistent action over time.

As for how to help your wife handle the situation with her friends, I think you should let your wife know that you don’t expect to be included in social events with these people and that she’s welcome to keep these friendships separate from your marriage. It might be awkward for her to go barbecues and birthday parties without her husband, but at least she won’t have to deal with the humiliation and rejection of constantly feeling excluded. After everything you have done, this is a comparatively small sacrifice.

[This message edited by BluerThanBlue at 7:57 PM, May 25th (Tuesday)]

BW, 40s

Divorced WH in 2015; now happily remarried

I edit my comments a lot for spelling, grammar, typos, etc.

posts: 1950   ·   registered: Jul. 13th, 2020
id 8662678
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aprilfool1985 ( member #56750) posted at 3:33 AM on Wednesday, May 26th, 2021

You might want to listen to the podcast Helping Couples Heal, particularly the episodes with Omar Minwalla. He discusses in detail how infidelity is not just about the sexual acting out, but is also an abuse of ethics.

Me: BS, of a certain age Him: WS, of a certain age +3 events in question around 1985, M 1988, several adult children

posts: 113   ·   registered: Jan. 8th, 2017   ·   location: United States
id 8662685
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Tentwinkletoes ( member #58850) posted at 5:06 AM on Wednesday, May 26th, 2021

So BS in my opinion may need to set a boundary. I love you (friends) I understand your concern and support but degrading me is not supportive or loving. What they think is not her concern and would rather they keep those opinions to themselves.

I told all my friends and they showed their disdain but were supportive of me. They also openly said they wouldn't be around him. Well 2 did. Over the next 4 years he's had to be patient. Make an effort. But keep a respectful distance. I won't like their opinions and dislike does hurt me and R at times. But it has got easier and I care less for what they really think. It's annoying as I see faults in their marriages but it's never fair game to criticise or openly show a dislike for it. But because I was open about his A I'm fair game. I'd definitely be careful about being so open again in future.

But end of the day she can't be taking punches for her friends personal opinions and that has to be made clear. The judgements have to stop

Nobody is the villain in their own story. But if a stranger read your book would they agree?

posts: 770   ·   registered: May. 21st, 2017   ·   location: UK
id 8662696
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PricklePatch ( member #34041) posted at 8:34 AM on Wednesday, May 26th, 2021

We did lose quiet a few people from our friend circle. My family was not supportive initially of reconciliation. I explained why I made the choice and then went with my gut. He did apologize to my family and my BFF.

My BFF and her family cut us out of their live. It hurt me a lot. It was more the way it was done. We spend holidays together.

Honestly, I didn’t marry them. I married him. While I listened to their opinions, I had to make the choice that was for my happiness and ultimately my husband’s.

I can say you find out who are true friends and who are not. That’s from a BS’s perspective.

BS Fwh

posts: 3267   ·   registered: Nov. 28th, 2011
id 8662710
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PricklePatch ( member #34041) posted at 8:34 AM on Wednesday, May 26th, 2021

Dupe

[This message edited by PricklePatch at 12:40 AM, May 28th (Friday)]

BS Fwh

posts: 3267   ·   registered: Nov. 28th, 2011
id 8662711
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DevastatedDee ( member #59873) posted at 2:21 AM on Thursday, May 27th, 2021

I'm not saying any of this to pile on or cause you shame. I just want to offer some perspective. I was also married to a sex addict. When I kicked him out, his brother came and changed the locks on the house. His best friend offered to help me move when I started packing my things. It's easy to lose perspective on how actually shocking it is to people when they find out the extent of what a sex addict will do to a spouse.

What you did to her was actually so bad and outrageous that her friends are being supportive by not supporting her in R with you. The gift and opportunity she is giving you is tremendous. It's beyond anything you could ever deserve. It's such a big deal. I don't think that you could have recovered enough to be a safe partner for anyone in only a year. I think you probably have a lot more work to do and if she's willing to be in a home with you while you do that work, my lord man. Don't trifle with any of her feelings in any way. Don't gaslight her about so much as the setting on the thermostat. Don't lie once for any reason. Don't skip a meeting. Don't fuck this up. Understand the gravity of this. Understand that her friends are not wrong about the risk she's taking. Prove them wrong if you can, but they aren't the bad guys here.

DDay: 06/07/2017
MH - RA on DDay.
Divorced a serial cheater (prostitutes and lord only knows who and what else).

posts: 5083   ·   registered: Jul. 27th, 2017
id 8662937
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