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Reconciliation :
My BH’s revenge affair.

Topic is Sleeping.
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 LostAndHoping (original poster new member #80549) posted at 7:36 PM on Friday, March 31st, 2023

I have been trying to collect my thoughts about everything that has gone on in my life since my father passed away. It has been a whirlwind of emotions and I feel like I’m stressed out over everything. But things have been better between my BH and I.

First off he was amazingly supportive during the weeks immediately after my father died. He held me when I needed it. He was there for me and my family and he mourned with us. He once told me he loved my father more than he loved his own father.

He and I I believe had a period of delayed hysterical bonding in the two weeks after the funeral. I will post more about that later this weekend. That post is going to be much longer.

This post though I want to just get my thoughts about his revenge affair down and hopefully get some feedback.

He’s been totally open with me about the situation and I have read texts between him and the woman. Some of it was hard for me to read as she talked about how much she enjoyed doing things with him that I also enjoyed. But, part of me realizes that I am the one who brought another person into our relationship first.

I know I may be foolish but I believe that had I not cheated he would never have done it either. I asked him to be honest and tell me why he did it. I can understand that part of him wanted to reclaim some of his confidence and masculinity I guess I could say? But he also said yes he did it to hurt me. As they say hurt people hurt people.

I know that when I moved out there was no definite answer as to whether or not our marriage was over. We were in a grey area and he was hurting, he wanted to lash out and he also felt emasculated by what I had done.

He swears to me he hasn’t had any contact with this woman since last year around Christmas when he was feeling depressed and alone. I believe him. Maybe I’m naive but I saw in his eyes and I believe him.

I feel like part of me deserves the pain of knowing he was with someone else but it still hurts. He also said he’s sorry he hurt me, he shouldn’t have done it but he’s been in such bad pain since he found out about my affair that he hasn’t even been thinking right half the time.

I finally got him to see that therapy is his best bet. First off I don’t believe our reconciliation can work if he’s not in therapy. He told me there are still times when he has mind movies about me and my AP and he gets depressed or angry all over again. I told him therapy has helped me so much. And I want him to not feel this pain anymore! Even if he discovers that the only way to move on is to not be with me, I really just want him to be happy.

So he’s starting therapy next week. He also hasn’t had a drink since Christmas which to me is wonderful news. I am going to make a longer post about our situation around the time of my dad passing away and how we both decided to try to reconcile, I’ve also realized I have other relationships to try to repair that were collateral damage.

posts: 28   ·   registered: Aug. 13th, 2022   ·   location: NE Ohio
id 8785165
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annb ( member #22386) posted at 9:49 PM on Friday, March 31st, 2023

Therapy should definitely help him, but....

H

e told me there are still times when he has mind movies about me and my AP and he gets depressed or angry all over again

^^Understand it's going to take YEARS for the mind movies and anger to subside.

I'm sorry both of you are dealing with this pain, he didn't deserve what you did, and he should not have used someone else to ease his pain.

I agree about his whys, he was hurting and wanted to retaliate and hurt you. However, his actions are not justifiable bc he was still married to you.

posts: 12178   ·   registered: Jan. 10th, 2009   ·   location: Northeast
id 8785200
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ChamomileTea ( Moderator #53574) posted at 11:36 PM on Friday, March 31st, 2023

He told me there are still times when he has mind movies about me and my AP and he gets depressed or angry all over again

I'll be honest with you... I have a lot of sympathy for BS's who imagine what it would be like to revenge cheat, but I have very little understanding for the ones who do. I was so gutted when my fWH cheated. I can't imagine KNOWING what that feels like and then wishing it on someone I purported to care about.

Setting that aside for a moment, the bigger problem for me is that I honestly do believe that cheating is about the cheater. If you're the kind of person who can find a way to rationalize choosing adultery as a response to whatever is happening in your life, your core value of fidelity has a "but..." in it. ie. "I believe in fidelity, but... not if I'm getting even with my spouse." For me, our values are our truest beliefs, and they don't have escape clauses. This is what I needed my fWH to fix. I needed him to develop better integrity, so that the values he claimed to espouse in front of other people actually reflected his beliefs and actions in every situation, no exceptions.

I don't know how I could go forward with someone who wasn't willing to fix that. It's my belief that there's never a good enough excuse for adultery. I couldn't have gone forward in R with someone who believed otherwise.

BW: 2004(online EAs), 2014 (multiple PAs)
Married 40 years; in R with fWH for 8

posts: 7061   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8785218
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Dude67 ( member #75700) posted at 4:21 PM on Saturday, April 1st, 2023

I would tackle this issue from a factual and logical standpoint. First, your husband’s RA was right on the heels of your D day. Is this too much of a coincidence, making you wonder whether he would have had an A at this very moment absent your A? I would apply logic to this answer.

Second, you mentioned in prior posts how you always respected your husband as a man of principles and character. What does your gut tell you about whether this man would have had an A absent your A?

Lastly, your husband gave you his truth. He felt emasculated by your A and wanted to regain his sense of manhood. He also told you that his A was to get revenge snd to hurt you. Do you think that he’s being honest with you about this or is he making excuses dnd covering for an A he would have had absent your A?

These are questions only you can answer. However, if you believe he’s being honest with you, snd you are being forthright with him about your A, then you both have the truth, which is the basis to attempt R.

Love is simply not enough to successfully R - you must have the truth as the basis for R

posts: 785   ·   registered: Oct. 21st, 2020
id 8785298
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Talisman ( member #75398) posted at 5:42 PM on Saturday, April 1st, 2023

I agree with whoever said he should not have used someone else to ease his pain - but I say this out of sympathy for the someone else - not you. As you have been told its going to take years for him to come to terms with how to deal with the mind movies and anger - therapy or no therapy.

You are over analysing it - there is not much you can do about it.

Also I do not see it as an affair at all. He dated and had sex with an available adult while he was himself available.

[This message edited by Talisman at 5:44 PM, Saturday, April 1st]

posts: 104   ·   registered: Sep. 11th, 2020   ·   location: UK
id 8785305
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Bor9455 ( member #72628) posted at 9:43 PM on Wednesday, April 5th, 2023

I guess I must've missed that you and your BH are actually now part of an even cruddier club, the Madhatter club. My wife and I are members as well, it's not a club any of us wanted to join.

I'm glad to hear that he was supportive of you and your family during your recent loss in the family. He is sticking by you at your lowest moment, that speaks highly of the kind of character he has. That being said, the sequence of events is relevant to the two of you and putting events into context, but part of being a MH is recognizing that you are both dealing with broken parts of yourselves as waywards. Just as he didn't excuse your infidelity, neither should you excuse his and to be clear I don't believe that you are. I don't mean to even seem harsh, but allowing him to frame his decision to cheat based off your decision to cheat is letting him off the hook. It's a bit of an extreme example of a person's fidelity being dependent on the actions of their spouse, i.e. you didn't wash the dishes last night so I (the wayward) am now justified to go sleep with someone else...except in this case you were not faithful to him and so he decided he didn't need to do so either. Still, at a fundamental level, his fidelity was dependent on your actions, which is a character flaw. I understand the argument that he wouldn't have been likely to cheat on you if not for your cheating, but at the end it's not much different than the dishes analogy.

Myself - BH & WH - Born 1985 Her - BW & WW - Born 1986

D-Day for WW's EA - October 2017D-Day no it turned PA - February 01, 2020

posts: 669   ·   registered: Jan. 21st, 2020   ·   location: Miami
id 8785832
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 5:06 PM on Thursday, April 6th, 2023

I agree with Bor9455.

Further, you now have to go through the healing process for both WSes and BSes. If you don't feel the grief, anger, fear, and shame of being betrayed, you're not letting yourself heal. Being betrayed is traumatic no matter what context the betrayal occurs in.

Your H cheated using your A as his enabler. I agree that he probably wouldn't have done so if you hadn't cheated - but most BSes do not cheat. Your H needs to change from betrayer to good partner, just as you do.

Your H has made R more difficult, but it's still eminently doable.

fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.

posts: 30045   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8785942
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Bor9455 ( member #72628) posted at 8:55 PM on Thursday, April 6th, 2023

Further, you now have to go through the healing process for both WSes and BSes. If you don't feel the grief, anger, fear, and shame of being betrayed, you're not letting yourself heal. Being betrayed is traumatic no matter what context the betrayal occurs in.

Your H cheated using your A as his enabler. I agree that he probably wouldn't have done so if you hadn't cheated - but most BSes do not cheat. Your H needs to change from betrayer to good partner, just as you do.

Your H has made R more difficult, but it's still eminently doable.

Thank you sisoon, you captured what i was trying to say better than I wrote it. Lots of BS come here to SI in the most dire of straights but many of them will tell you that cheating or a revenge affair never even crosses their mind, or if it does, it is a passing thought a best because it is just not who they are. Believe me, as a MH I totally get it, in fact, this is going to sound really strange, but stick with me. I am the first to cheat in the relationship with my wife. When we were dating and within a few weeks after our engagement in 2009, I had a ONS with someone. I was about to say proudly...but I'm not sure I would say proudly for something that is a "duh" moment, but I can say that while we have been married I have never been physically with another woman. That doesn't mean much because I had a couple of emotional affairs, one in 2013-2015 (at the time neither my wife or I would classify this as an EA but she wouldn't have called it okay either) and most certainly one from 2017-2019. So again, I threw the first three rocks (I'm including the prior to marriage infidelity) at our relationship. I knew she was having an inappropriate relationship at some point in parallel to my 2017-2019 time frame, at the time I didn't have this community nor the vocabulary to describe it, but it was an EA. In December 2019, after going through a monthly dance where she said she wanted a divorce and I kept pushing for more counseling, more help, etc, after I had been NC for months and I had been working on myself in therapy and trying to be the best husband I could be. None of it made sense. She moved out of our bedroom, into a guest room in the house. She started even telling me that I was free to go be with other women, which I would get in the immediate aftermath or a very bad failed R situation, but no, I had committed to her months prior and had been absolutely NC and was really putting in the work. I had been on here as a lurker before finally getting the stones to signup and post when I did. She had been pushing me and pushing me to sleep with someone else. It was so strange and made no sense.

On Super Bowl Saturday (the night before the game, sorry sports events help me contextualize events around dates) she confessed to me that the EA I thought had stopped...oh no, it never stopped, it went underground and had become physical...and that day in December where she dropped the divorce hammer and moved out of our room...dirtbag had fucked her in our marital bed that afternoon and that was as she says now too far for her. But all along from early December to that early February weekend, she had been pushing me towards having a PA because she wanted things to feel more like an even footing. This is where it finally hit me that I was a BS, while also being a WS. Yeah, like I said, in the timeline of events and incidences of my infidelity, I was a WS long before (about 8 years or so) she had her EA that lasted until NC message sent in February 2020. Of course, my wife had been the BS long before she became a WS, but when she was the WS, she didn't let me know for some time and actually was trying to get out of the marriage without being caught in her EA/PA. Once all of our cards were on the table at that point, it was and has been at times trying, difficult and being a MH means that you are one day identifying more as a BS and the next as a WS. Again, the sort of irony in everything that happened to me is at no time when I was learning of my wife's more extended infidelity did I consider having a RA, despite of course having shown that I was quite capable of betraying her. Now, my wife is right in this, that if international borders and visas weren't an issue, as my AP lived in Mexico, that I would in fact have committed physical acts that put things no a more "even" footing, and I do not dispute that for a second. Here is the thing, nothing ever makes you even, it isn't ever going to be and in order to move past it, both partners have to make peace with that and understand the pain and impacts and work to learn from it as they create a new marriage.

I tend to think of it this way...my wife and started a new marriage in 2020. It was a new relationship in a lot of ways, but instead of all those unknowns and butterflies you got when you first started seeing your spouse, in the way before time, when you barely knew them as a person, maybe hadn't even kissed them yet, well, all that is gone. The relationship we had changed drastically from what we had and I wouldn't go back there for the world. If I had a do-over, we would absolutely not have gotten there through the massive detours of infidelity, but the fucked up situation we had was also the reason we decided to sit down and give it a shot one more time and that one more chance got us to where we are today...so I guess sometimes you really have to take the good with the bad. My advice is to recognize that both you and your MH are going to swing between both identities and that this is an opportunity to communicate and grow your relationship on new grounds.

Before I finish, let me give a teensy example of what I'm talking about. A woman I manage, in a casual conversation this week, sort of got onto a topic with me that was absolutely inappropriate. Broad strokes story (I promise my wife knows every little detail), she had to take some time off in Jan of this year and she told me that she was having an operation. I had no reason as her boss to know any details, just that she was out those days and she is a friend she shared that she was having a procedure. I asked her at the time if she was okay or she needed anything, because I care about my people and I have empathy. She told me it wasn't expected to be serious and she was fine. Well, this week, a discussion her and I were having, she had mentioned that she had her tubes tied after the baby she had about 16 months ago and I said, so that is the procedure you had done this year. She corrected me that the procedure she had done this year was quite obvious and was surprised I didn't notice or mention it. I was confused, as this was a MS teams call, not an in person meeting. Apparently, the procedure was for her to remove her breast implants. Now, mind you I don't see her but maybe once a week post pandemic with our hybrid remote/in office work stuff but even when I do see her, it's usually brief and we are very busy. So in this time I hadn't noticed nor have I ever kept tabs on her bust. She seemed surprised that I hadn't, which was genuinely true. I quickly got us off this topic and all I could think about was man, with my position here, this could be a mess and I need to get out of it. I told my wife that night the whole story and we agreed on a path forward. When I saw her yesterday, I had to have a sit down with her and tell her that while I'm friends with my team and I work hard for my people on building rapports where they feel that they can share things, that going forward, I would ask that we not discuss those topics, out of respect for my wife and my marriage. She felt so terrible and a bit embarrassed. Because she wasn't telling that to come onto me or anything like that, it was just her telling me that she removed her implants because it had been causing her other medical issues like headaches, rashes, and her doctor counseled that she rectify a mistake she made in her 20s. Apparently, I'm the most clueless guy in the company for not noticing all this, but it also was a chance for me to be very up front and honest with my wife about the whole situation. My boss, who saw me on Tuesday following that discussion knew something was wrong, as this whole thing upset me as I was uncomfortable and a little worried about how this would be perceived from an HR point of view. When I told him yesterday what happened, after talking with my wife, he was actually relieved, as he was thinking that I'm finding another job and he thought I was struggling with telling him that.

I leave you with that story because it shows that growth is possible. As I'm typing it, I almost cannot believe I did that, because well, I know that old guy I was and frankly, the topic of discussing another woman's breasts would've been something he encouraged/pursued. I just think differently now, I texted my wife right after it happened and I told her we need to talk about something at work, it wasn't bad, but it wasn't exactly good. The old me would've never told her and then she wouldn't be pleased when she learns about in an different way. This way we can talk about it openly, I don't have to keep a secret or worry about what lie I told to one person to keep the story straight. I can just be me and live life.

[This message edited by Bor9455 at 9:16 PM, Thursday, April 6th]

Myself - BH & WH - Born 1985 Her - BW & WW - Born 1986

D-Day for WW's EA - October 2017D-Day no it turned PA - February 01, 2020

posts: 669   ·   registered: Jan. 21st, 2020   ·   location: Miami
id 8785967
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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 8:36 AM on Saturday, April 8th, 2023

I don't know how I could go forward with someone who wasn't willing to fix that. It's my belief that there's never a good enough excuse for adultery. I couldn't have gone forward in R with someone who believed otherwise.

Your scenario and mine are similar. (Though no alcoholism involved.

What CT wrote is the crux of it for me.

Truth is:

1) a cheater is usually unhappy in themselves, and therefore doesn’t have the ability to be happy in the marriage or any relationship as a result.

So every single ws can claim that they just weren’t happy in the marriage for whatever reasons. But without accountability over the other factors they are unsafe to continue to be married to without willingness to accept responsibility.

The entitlement, lack of integrity, lack of healthy coping mechanisms, lack of boundaries, depression, pain, etc are all things that need to be addressed.

2.) I also believe that my husband may not have cheated in a different scenario. Few things would have sent him to a place he was out of his depth to cope.

But, here is the thing, either he believes infidelity is wrong or he doesn’t. It can’t be the right answer for him and not for you. No one has a scale to measure pain and say "well my situation was worse" That’s not going to fix the marriage anyway, wrong is wrong. Period. Unfortunately now he has put himself in a place that he must understand his own actions.

The good news : if he takes that endeavor seriously - by understanding his actions it may help him understand you. Understanding is not the same as excusing a behavior.

Keep the affairs separate and hold each other accountable for acceptable behavior within the marriage by a common standard. Under his mentality of what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, extends also to cleaning up your side of the street when you fuck up so royally.

In other words, any time cheating has occurred for any reason the other person has full rights to react and require whatever they feel appropriate, no matter what.

My husband had to offer transparency, remorse, change, and accountability. Pretty much that was no more or no less of what was required of me. But, my requirements could have been different if I chose. I actually never monitored his phone afterwards, he monitored mine. Neither was right or wrong we just had different philosophies. After my affair it was HB, after his, we stopped sex altogether for a while. Not to punish him but because that was organically my reaction. I couldn’t.

I am just expressing you have the right to ask for whatever you need . Therapy to me is bare minimum but it’s a good start.

Lastly, I did want to say that I don’t think when a bs cheats it’s worse because they know the pain. It’s unhelpful to weigh or compare the behavior just like you should not compare reactions or requirements.

They have convinced themselves of a narrative same as the original ws. They may believe it won’t hurt us as badly because we did it too. We won’t care because we obviously don’t love them.

It’s not hard to believe that a bs might be under the impression the ws is cold hearted. I think all ws, even ones who started as a bs, lie to themselves about what point of impact looks like at discovery.

[This message edited by hikingout at 8:48 AM, Saturday, April 8th]

7 years of hard work - WS and BS - Reconciled

posts: 7301   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8786231
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Justsomeguy ( member #65583) posted at 4:32 PM on Sunday, April 9th, 2023

Hurt people, hurt people. Speaking as a BS, my head was a mess after Dday#2 and I briefly considered a RA as a method of getting some sense of control back in my life and hurting my WW in the process. It really is warped and childish thinking, but I was reacting to a situation that was patently unjust and traumatic.

Now, I'm not of the camp that an A and RA are the same. Some people like to use math to illustrate that two negatives don't make a positive (They do if multiplied).That is over simifying the complex factors in human psychology and behavior. It would be like one person stealing money from a wallet,having the victim find out and then be outraged that they stole it back, because stealing is always wrong.

No,even though my RA was just a thought experiment, I am glad I didn't do it, not because it would have hurt my WW, but because it would have hurt me, and more importantly another person who is innocent. I would have had to completely betray my moral and ethical code in order to do it, and once it was done, it could never be undone. I would have had to go on living with myself knowing I had lowered myself to the level of my WW, and being an honorable man is very important to me.

Are you to blame for your BS seaking out another? No. We all control our own actions. Are you responsible for the mess that created the conditions that led to this complex situation. Most certainly. It is why we have so many nuanced levels of responsibility in our respective legal systems. You've both hurt each other and yourselves in this complex situation, and I hope you both find peace and healing in whatever form it takes.

I'm an oulier in my positions.

Me:55 STBXWW:55 DD#1: false confession of EA Dec. 2016. False R for a year.DD#2: confessed to year long PA Dec. 2 2017 (was about to be outed)Called it off and filed. Denied having an affair in court papers.

Divorced 20

posts: 1835   ·   registered: Jul. 25th, 2018   ·   location: Canada
id 8786358
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rambler ( member #43747) posted at 5:09 AM on Tuesday, April 11th, 2023

This is tuff. Please understand that you did deserve this just like your former BH. You need to move through grief just like any BS does.


Hurt people do hurt people but it is different when they know how much it hurt.

making it through

posts: 1413   ·   registered: Jun. 17th, 2014   ·   location: Chicago
id 8786454
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MIgander ( member #71285) posted at 1:56 PM on Tuesday, April 11th, 2023

Rambler, I think that's a particularly unkind thing to say to L&H. No one deserves to be cheated on.

WW/BW Dday July 2019. BH/WH- multiple EA's. Denial ain't just a river in Egypt.

posts: 1183   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
id 8786472
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BraveSirRobin ( member #69242) posted at 3:13 PM on Tuesday, April 11th, 2023

Rambler, I think that's a particularly unkind thing to say to L&H. No one deserves to be cheated on.

I could be wrong, but I think that rambler meant to say "didn't" rather than "did." The rest of the post makes more sense that way ("Please understand that you didn't deserve this just like your former BH. You need to move through grief just like any BS does.")

WW/BW

posts: 3636   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8786498
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MIgander ( member #71285) posted at 4:14 PM on Tuesday, April 11th, 2023

Thanks for the clarifier BSR!

WW/BW Dday July 2019. BH/WH- multiple EA's. Denial ain't just a river in Egypt.

posts: 1183   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
id 8786505
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rambler ( member #43747) posted at 4:49 AM on Wednesday, April 12th, 2023

BSR,


You are correct. Thanks for fixing my post

making it through

posts: 1413   ·   registered: Jun. 17th, 2014   ·   location: Chicago
id 8786602
Topic is Sleeping.
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