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I Can Relate :
BS Questions for WS - Part 15

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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 8:08 AM on Saturday, June 17th, 2023

Hi broken,

For me, not at all. I could never do it again. People have said to me that I can’t know that, but I do, without a shadow of a doubt.

But the answers of that for all ws will be different. It depends on capacity for empathy, accountability, becoming introspective, and being active in recovery. It’s obvious to me that your wh is at square none of the above.

I feel my affair was addictive in nature but addictions aren’t healthy. They start off as a way to self medicate, and end up creating enormous damage, causing you to have to climb out of a deeper hole.

But I also think not all ws recover, rock bottom to some teaches nothing. And some rock bottom is the foundation they begin to build on.

I am sorry, I can feel your pain through your post. I wish I had a crystal ball.

7 years of hard work - WS and BS - Reconciled

posts: 7126   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8795719
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fhtshop ( new member #83337) posted at 7:14 PM on Saturday, June 17th, 2023

Hikingout

Yes it was rugswept I wish I had never let her back in so easily if I had only known what I know now after reading a lot of posts here I done everything wrong the pick me dance let her blame me for the affair and actually believing it to some extent let her come in and out of the house whenever she wanted( she was living with her sister when she left me and my two oldest boys 11 and 13 at the time for her AP).
I know when she came back, she was full of shame and embarrassment after the way her AP treated her. Her father and mother were deeply ashamed of her and told her so one of her brothers wouldn't even talk to her so at least I had their support to help me and my boys.
I went so many years when it would only pop into my head briefly with a small trigger. What is really eating me now is how proud she is of us making it to our 40th anniversary. For me the marriage stopped and restarted when she left to screw another man. She did some very bad things to me during the time she was with him one time she brought him over with her one weekend to pick up the boys left him in the car in my driveway then rang the police on me because I was going out to confront him what did she expect me to do go out and shake his hand?
Another thing that is concerning me and why I asked the question whether any WS have been sucked into another PA after being hurt by the first one in the first place is because she is constantly talking about a CW at school that she works closely with (in the same teaching hub) she likes him a lot and talks about him often more than her other CW’s I am sure nothing is going on at the moment but there are lots of little things she mentions that don't fit with a professional working relationship, Here's one example she tells me his wife is extremely fat and that he is embarrassed to go out with his wife why would he need to tell my wife this is he trying to start something? Seems to me like he could be.
There's so much I just can't remember now and a lot I would like to know I am even considering talking to my oldest son to find out more information about the affair he and my other boy spent weekends with her. Do you think this would be a good idea? Or should I leave the kids out of it.

posts: 34   ·   registered: May. 12th, 2023   ·   location: New Zealand
id 8795756
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JasonCh ( member #80102) posted at 3:08 AM on Sunday, June 18th, 2023

Was lying an overall pattern in your life or was it laser focused on and around the affair?

posts: 462   ·   registered: Mar. 18th, 2022
id 8795789
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BraveSirRobin ( member #69242) posted at 4:21 AM on Sunday, June 18th, 2023

Was lying an overall pattern in your life or was it laser focused on and around the affair?

Until I arrived here, I had no idea how much I lied in my day-to-day life. I believed I was an ethical person. I would never have stolen anything, or plagiarized, or put false credentials a resume, or done anything illegal beyond breaking the speed limit. I had confessed my affair proactively and admitted the sex the first time my BH asked me. In my mind, my deception about "minor details" was an anomaly meant to save further hurt.

Once I had been doing the work for a few months, I realized that I lied all the time. I lied about why work didn't get done, about missing deadlines, about how long I spent on tasks. I lied about dumb shit that didn't even matter. Anytime I fell short of the mark, I had a lie ready to paint myself as a victim of circumstance, gamely trying to overcome outside obstacles. I was utterly terrified of inadequacy.

WW/BW

posts: 3627   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8795798
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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 2:21 PM on Sunday, June 18th, 2023

Fhtstop:

I agree with you, it’s a little strange that he is saying that about his wife, and strange she is repeating it to you. It’s not a smoking gun, but I maybe wouldn’t dismiss it easily either.

The anniversary thing I could understand how you feel that 40 years isn’t truly represented and how her giving so much credit that you guys made it seems almost like she is cheating on that.

Jasonch-

Was lying an overall pattern in your life or was it laser focused on and around the affair?

When I was young, I lied a lot. I was needy of attention from peers. And in terms of my parents my mother gave me no privacy and raised us to fear her so I tried to get away with things that should have just been normal for a young person to do. I had grown mostly out of this by the time I met my husband.

I lied to my husband exactly once before we were married. It was actually before we were even in a committed relationship. His disappointment and my need to be what he wanted squelched it. I was an honest person for our entire marriage, never lied to him about anything. Or anyone else. Outside of an occasional calling in sick when I was just exhausted, or something along those lines. Still not great, but not exactly a red flag either.

At the time of my affair it was as if I reverted to when I was young. I fell right back into these needy behaviors and propped myself up on lies with myself, my husband, the Ap, and really others around me. I think it wasn’t just hiding the affair driving that-I recognize that it was an old coping mechanism back at a time of chaos. I was lying to myself too and chasing this person like I would back then with other people I was obsessed with. Unhealthy infatuation and unrequited love were all themes of my youth.

It was like all my personal growth had just fallen away, and I became the shameful person I always knew lurked underneath.

[This message edited by hikingout at 2:23 PM, Sunday, June 18th]

7 years of hard work - WS and BS - Reconciled

posts: 7126   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8795816
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SkipThumelue ( member #82934) posted at 5:45 PM on Tuesday, June 20th, 2023

JasonCh - Much like BraveSirRobin, I was unaware until starting IC how much I lied during a given day. And how I was using my lying to protect myself from appearing less than, inadequate, etc. And those feelings of inadequacy go way back to childhood. Lying to fit in with whatever group I was hanging out with at the time. Lying to stay out of trouble. Etc. and so on.

WH

DD: 5/2019

Reconciling and extremely grateful.

I do not accept PMs.

"The truth is like a lion. You don't have to defend it. Let it loose. It will defend itself." - St. Augustine

posts: 129   ·   registered: Feb. 24th, 2023
id 8796125
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Squish ( member #79546) posted at 2:47 PM on Thursday, June 22nd, 2023

Hi. My wh had an lta and I have always wondered how he treated the ap. They did a lot of things together. Things he told me people do when they first start going out. There were a lot of arguments because she wanted him to leave me. Sooo I wonder, was it as wonderful as I’m
Imagining? Was it just fun and love? With some guilt mixed in later.

Secondly when you told your bs that you loved them did you mean it or was it just habit to just say those things.

I am so grateful for all the ws who reply with your thoughts. It helps me so much to get a better understanding.

posts: 123   ·   registered: Nov. 1st, 2021
id 8796423
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SkipThumelue ( member #82934) posted at 9:14 PM on Thursday, June 22nd, 2023

Squish,

I had an LTA with a married (later widowed) co-worker. We were "work spouses" before I had ever heard of the term. Shared a lot of lunches together, talked kids, spouses, politics, etc. For most of that time, I saw her as a friend. There were never any ILYs exchanged, even later after she took early retirement and it briefly became physical.

Of the 3 APs I had PAs with, ILY was never part of the equation. I can't speak for them and of course we were all lying to each other, but I was in it for validation with sex. Period. Total cake-eater who wanted his fun on the side.

Saying ILY to my BW while actively cheating? I certainly meant it at the time and was a master compartmentalizer for quite a while. But eventually that "stone" facade (that was actually made out of playing cards and balsa wood) began to collapse. The moments of clarity, the WTF-am-I doings, started hitting me more frequently and my mental state began to deteriorate rapidly. The hypocrisy became too much and I entered IC while still in an active A.

WH

DD: 5/2019

Reconciling and extremely grateful.

I do not accept PMs.

"The truth is like a lion. You don't have to defend it. Let it loose. It will defend itself." - St. Augustine

posts: 129   ·   registered: Feb. 24th, 2023
id 8796473
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Chaos ( member #61031) posted at 11:15 PM on Tuesday, June 27th, 2023

My WH had a LTA. One that went underground after DDay1. One that had repeat DDays until I finally told OBS. One that years later we had to have a Cease & Desist sent because she kept cyberstalking and trying to communicate via fake profiles.

Keep in mind - my DDay1 was in 2017, DDays 2/3 in 2018 and the C&D sent in 2021. I've had a lot of time to process, learn and heal.

Squish, I can only give you answers that he's given me, combined w/my own [extensive] research and lots of IC.

Sooo I wonder, was it as wonderful as I’m

Imagining?

I'm sure the thrill of it all was super exciting but the reality of it was exhausting. Imagine you are a teenager and you sneak out of the house to go to joy riding with your friends at 11pm on a school night. All you did was ride around squeezed into your buddy's car with too many of his buddies and one has bad gas. You finally just arrived at 7-11 and bought a Coke which got spilled before you had your 3rd sip. Now, you tired, wet, sticky, and pile back in to the car w/the dude that has gas that could kill an army. Yet...you act like you are having the time of your life, smiling from ear to ear. Going to get a coke at 7-11 isn't fun. Squeezing into a vehicle with some dude w/death gas isn't fun. None of it is - and if someone invited you to do this "hey let's all 8 of pile in Joey's 3rd hand Camaro and drive to 7-11 to get a soda, and BTW Anthony has gas" you'd say not just no but Hell Fucking No and look at them like WTF. BUT...when you sneak around to do it, breaking all kinds of rules, knowing your freedom as you know it is on the line - somehow that makes it irisitable. My understanding is it kinda like that.

Was it just fun and love?

It was a cheap thrill. Nothing more, nothing less. It was probably romanticized in their heads to justify the actions [pause as I threw up a little in my mouth]. And in my WH case w/the LTA I'd be lying [and I'm crying a little here] if I didn't say some feelings got caught on some level. I don't think it was the love of a long term partnership. I will say it more like a trauma bond. 2 broken ass people holding onto the fantasy of escapism with some cheap thrills sprinkled in punctuated with the quick dopamine hit of each txt/call/thought/message/hook up/etc. But hey - LOVE sounds like a better justification.

With some guilt mixed in later.

Yes, some guilt. In my WH case he was a master compartmentalizer. And when the guilt crept in, that was when the re-writing of marital history came in to play. Just keep re-writing things in your mind until you didn't feel so bad. Lying to oneself is a great defense mechanism. Because if you believe your own lies - you can sell just about anything to anyone.

I am told that the first 6-8 months of the LTA were "good" and after that turned toxic. He claims to have pulled his head out of his ass but was then "addicted to the toxicity of it all". They allegedly spent a lot of time in-between hook ups just arguing. I've seen dozens of screenshots of their conversations, etc. I actually had them [along with other messages, photos, etc.] analyzed by someone who specialized in body language. I spoke every DDay at length with OBS [who calls his own spouse a "bitch and a bully"]. Many of those messages, screenshots, etc. I saw were him "breaking up" with her - what a mindfuck that was. I read many of them spanning years. Yet somehow she kept coming back and he kept willingly opening the door.

FWIW I believe my WH when he hold me he loved me during the LTA. It was himself that he didn't love. It took me a long time to realize this and a mega shit ton of hard work [that I try hard not to resent]. But I do believe him.

Sorry - I started rambling. All that to say it is a major colossal mind-fuck. After typing that I need a glass of wine, some dark chocolate and a good workout. I have time for all three in a while.

ETA - I didn't realize that I posted in the BS QUESTIONS FOR WS thread. For some reason I thought I was in the LTA thread. Mods - if my response as a BS is not welcome here, please delete and accept my apology.

[This message edited by Chaos at 11:17 PM, Tuesday, June 27th]

BS-me/WH-4.5yrLTA Married 2+ decades - Children (1 still at home) Multiple DDays w/same AP until I told OBS 2018 Cease & Desist sent spring 2021"Hello–My name is Chaos–You f***ed my husband-Prepare to Die!"

posts: 3797   ·   registered: Oct. 13th, 2017   ·   location: East coast
id 8797148
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Squish ( member #79546) posted at 12:24 AM on Wednesday, June 28th, 2023

I appreciate your thoughts thank you so much Chaos.

posts: 123   ·   registered: Nov. 1st, 2021
id 8797157
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BraveSirRobin ( member #69242) posted at 4:02 AM on Wednesday, June 28th, 2023

ETA - I didn't realize that I posted in the BS QUESTIONS FOR WS thread. For some reason I thought I was in the LTA thread. Mods - if my response as a BS is not welcome here, please delete and accept my apology.

Mistakes happen! I say this as a WS who has twice discovered to my horror that I had inadvertently posted in JFO.

We'll leave it up because it's a heartfelt post that took some energy to create, but Chaos is correct that in accordance with guidelines, only Waywards should respond to questions in this thread.

WW/BW

posts: 3627   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8797181
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DaddyDom ( member #56960) posted at 5:04 AM on Wednesday, June 28th, 2023

Squish,

My A lasted about 5 months total, however it ramped up quickly in the beginning. Similar to your WH, the AP and I exchanged all manner of "lovey-dovey" chat and correspondence throughout the A.

At the time, even though I can tell you that I was very much "not dealing with reality", I also knew that I wasn't "in love" with the AP. So, if that was the case, why all the mushy stuff? Because we both wanted the same thing. We wanted to feel "special". We wanted someone to place us on a pedestal. We wanted someone to make us feel as if we were the air they breathe and all they thought about. We desperately wanted what we had to seem and feel "real" because that made the affair seem justified and valid somehow. Otherwise, if it wasn't real, then we'd just be dirtbags, right? And we wouldn't get what we need. And we'd feel bad. So we do all we can to convince OURSELVES that it's real, even when we are keenly aware that we are simply "faking it" in the hope of "making it".

At the end of the day, it was little more than just "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" kind of situation, but one for our own benefit. For me, it wasn't even about the sex... that wasn't a main goal at all. It was about me feeling absolutely shitty about myself, having no self-love, self-worth, integrity, respect... I hated myself and who I was, and in many ways, I felt as though I needed to make sure that I got the shitty person I deserved to be with. What I needed was someone to do for me what I could not do for myself, which is to see me as wonderful and desirable, someone to be chased after, someone who deserves to be treated with love and desire.

So many BS's on SI talk about all the "lovey-dovey" and get so envious of that "special feeling"... all I can tell you is that the whole damn thing is fucking gross and one big act of desperation and selfishness, and there is nothing sexy, loving, special or beautiful about it. How romantic can it be when your life is a constant nightmare of looking over your shoulder, having to lie and hide constantly, being paranoid about deleting messages, watching every second to see if someone else knows you, lying to your spouse, your kids, hiding money, living the double life of a dirtbag... It's not romantic. It's not sexy. It's not love. It's just an empty person, trying to fill that emptiness with whatever they can.

If you read my posts, I go back to one thing over and over, and that is simply that you cannot love another person if you cannot love yourself first. Self-love is the foundation for loving others, and if you lack it, then you end up deriving your self-worth through others. You become a user. As Brene Brown says, you end up "hustling for your worth". Your spouse did not love you at the time of the affair, because they were not capable of loving you. In that same way, they were not capable of loving the AP(s) either.

I hope this is helpful in some way to you.

Me: WS
BS: ISurvivedSoFar
D-Day Nov '16
Status: Reconciling
"I am floored by the amount of grace and love she has shown me in choosing to stay and fight for our marriage. I took everything from her, and yet she chose to forgive me."

posts: 1435   ·   registered: Jan. 18th, 2017
id 8797188
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Tav3n ( member #83401) posted at 2:54 PM on Wednesday, June 28th, 2023

Hey all, hoping a WS can clarify a confusing concept for me. So, you can read my story more on Just Found Out, but my WW had a sexual online affair with an ex for a year. However when she talks about him she still uses the word "friend" to describe him, such as "when you found out I told him 'I can no longer be your friend' and blocked him." Or, "The only thing I feel about him is sad because I feel like I lost a good friend".

But how can you view an AP as a friend even though you crossed into sexual boundaries? Is that even possible or is it a confusion of the relationship dynamic?

posts: 88   ·   registered: Jun. 1st, 2023
id 8797215
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ff4152 ( member #55404) posted at 11:53 AM on Thursday, June 29th, 2023

Tav3n

If she still views the AP in a positive light, she still doesn’t really believe what she did was really that bad. It certainly doesn’t indicate that she feels real remorse for the damage she’s done. At a minimum she should feel revulsion when the AP is mentioned.

Me -FWS

posts: 2102   ·   registered: Sep. 30th, 2016
id 8797362
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DaddyDom ( member #56960) posted at 3:33 PM on Thursday, June 29th, 2023

@Tav3n,

Using the word "friend" seems like a self-protection mechanism to me. She probably is framing it in her head as "trying to not cause you more pain by talking about it", but at the same time, also trying to avoid feeling any more shame herself.

If I may offer a suggestion... confront her (calmly) about your concern, and you can put down a boundary. Just tell her something such as, "When we're talking about your affair, it bothers me to hear you refer to him as 'a friend'. It feels like you are minimizing what you did. Going forward, please either use his name, or refer to him as 'the AP' or 'my affair partner'." Use whatever terms work for you of course, but you get the idea.

I see you registered really recently. I am 7+ years into R at this point, and I can tell you that, at a month out, we were both a mess. One thing I definitely did not understand (and didn't want to understand) was that talking about the A was HELPING my BS. All I wanted to do was to rug sweep and minimize and try to make it all go away, and in my head, I justified those things because I felt as if talking about it with my BS was "just rubbing salt into the wound". Of course, I also feared for myself, and felt as if discussing those thoughts and feelings I had with my spouse would just make her hate me more, and prove to her that I wasn't worth staying with. I honestly dreaded talking about the A and avoided it at all costs. Sadly, this did a LOT of damage to my BS and our relationship. I wish I had just "owned" what I did and talked about it more right from the start, it could have saved us years of pain and more trauma.

At some point, my wife said to me, "Look, assuming you aren't hiding anything else, there is nothing you can say to me now that will make things worse. I know you cheated. I know how far it went. I know the worst parts. And yes, talking about may hurt me or make me angry in the moment. But the truth is, it actually helps me more than it hurts. It helps me to process my trauma, and it helps me to better understand what you were thinking. It also helps me to trust you more, because opening up to me about things that are tough to talk about is what you DIDN'T do during the affair. So stop convincing yourself that you are doing me or yourself any favors by hiding in shame. You are just making it harder on both of us." Turns out, all of that was completely true.

Look, both of you are still in raw trauma at this point. So give yourself some time and grace to deal with that. If infidelity were a car accident, you guys are still in the ambulance on your way to the hospital. It's too soon to discuss rehab. For now, take care of yourselves. You have a good start by coming to SI. Get some individual therapy, both of you. Know that you don't have to make any big decisions right now. Figure out what you need right now from your WS. A timeline of events and details is often a good place to start and will help you to fill in some of the blanks, or ask more questions. Your WS will probably be avoidant, maybe defensive as well. It's painful as hell but it's typical as well. I can't tell you how to feel about that, just to expect it. My advice is to protect yourself for now. Put down any boundaries you need. Insist on honesty. Work on de-escalation. Ask the BS's about doing a "soft 180" if needed. Sorry you are here. This part is really painful. But this too shall pass.

Me: WS
BS: ISurvivedSoFar
D-Day Nov '16
Status: Reconciling
"I am floored by the amount of grace and love she has shown me in choosing to stay and fight for our marriage. I took everything from her, and yet she chose to forgive me."

posts: 1435   ·   registered: Jan. 18th, 2017
id 8797386
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Tav3n ( member #83401) posted at 1:46 AM on Friday, June 30th, 2023

Thanks Dom, really happy you posted. You're advice here has been great so far.

Yes we are still in the early phases,but not typical. We talk openly about the affair and do not get very emotional. To be honest it's like talking about an alternate universe for me at this point

The more typical early stage is when we talk about boundaries, safety, R needs and the paranoia this is still going on (on my end even though I see no proof it is). We are both in MC and IC, and are definitely in a better spot now than 6 weeks ago on DDay, but I still have a lot of doubts

But your advice on how to ask about changing the friend term worked very well. Thank you!

[This message edited by Tav3n at 1:50 AM, Friday, June 30th]

posts: 88   ·   registered: Jun. 1st, 2023
id 8797508
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BraveSirRobin ( member #69242) posted at 6:26 PM on Friday, June 30th, 2023

But how can you view an AP as a friend even though you crossed into sexual boundaries? Is that even possible or is it a confusion of the relationship dynamic?

I was one of the deluded WS who thought I could return to friendship with the OM when the A was over. I didn't want to admit, even to myself, that I was still jonesing off the ego kibble of knowing he wanted to keep seeing me. If his attitude had been, "Yeah, this has pretty much run its course," I would have been less invested in keeping the connection going.

I think it's also significant that your WW's AP was an ex. There was a time in her life when shifting from relationship to friendship with this person would have been perfectly legitimate. If it went well, it makes sense that she would want to replicate that; if badly, she would see it as a second chance. It's a wayward mindset, but it makes sense to me.

WW/BW

posts: 3627   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8797693
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lineagegold ( new member #83494) posted at 6:12 PM on Sunday, July 2nd, 2023

What was the pain/shame you felt subconsciously and consciously throughout your affair? I know compartmentalizing was a big part of it, but deep down, were you interpreting and perceiving the truth at all?

posts: 29   ·   registered: Jun. 18th, 2023
id 8797922
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denwickdroylsden ( member #51744) posted at 11:57 AM on Monday, July 3rd, 2023

What was the pain/shame you felt subconsciously and consciously throughout your affair? I know compartmentalizing was a big part of it, but deep down, were you interpreting and perceiving the truth at all?


Compartmentalizing wasn't just a big part of it. For me it was all of it. I recall feeling no pain/shame at all during the A's. I was getting what I wanted and what I felt I deserved. And I felt clever and smart at pulling it off. Despicable, I know, but there it is.

Now I feel such a deep seated sense of shame, I will never get past it.

Me: WH frequent flyerNow on straight and narrow.
Paragraphing: Try it. You'll like it.

posts: 65   ·   registered: Feb. 9th, 2016
id 8797979
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Confused10 ( new member #83443) posted at 6:28 AM on Tuesday, July 4th, 2023

Question for WS on IC -

My WH attempted IC, but it didn't go as well as planned as the C pretty much just listened and gave no advice. This made him stop. He's now saying he doesn't want to continue because he knows the mistakes he's made and he knows all he wants to do is focus on fixing the marriage. We're having MC together, but I know IC is highly recommended by most on here....

Did any of you manage to get by without IC? If so, how? If not, how did the IC help?

posts: 19   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2023
id 8798055
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