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The Turing Test

Topic is Sleeping.
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 InkHulk (original poster member #80400) posted at 8:50 AM on Friday, September 22nd, 2023

mean that you guys are talking about things at home now as it comes up naturally? Has an end been put to the "questions are for therapy only" rule?

It’s complicated wink laugh I can’t say that our norm is that I can bring up any and every A topic at any time and expect an immediate answer. What we have in place right now is a long walk and talk once a week. And I feel free to bring up thoughts and feelings in real time, but I’m not expecting her to delve into in those times. Given the realities of our life, this is a useful approach for us. One, we have four kids and the idea of launching into A topics at any time is just not practical. Second, her shame reactions are still notable. She would not do well at all with me questioning her at random times every day. So our situation that I’ve described is a compromise that I can tolerate.

People are more important than the relationships they are in.

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 InkHulk (original poster member #80400) posted at 9:03 AM on Friday, September 22nd, 2023

So, what specifically has changed in your WW's efforts since DDay-2?

If you are asking this question, you are both not listening to me and missing the point. A step change has happened since D-Day 2 in empathy and openness. But more so, imagine that a year ago I told you that a baby was born. And imagine that you asked me a year later "what specifically has changed" in your baby in the last two months? You don’t know how to answer that often times because the growth is both slow and far too fast at the same time.

and not someone like @HellFire

Hellfire is no pariah to me, but a brave and tough advisor. Lots of perspectives here, I’ve gleaned value from so many of, few more than her.

I'm not asking to "make anyone wrong"--of course you don't have to answer here and I get improvement is nonlinear. I do think it is helpful to be specific on how things are going.

People are more important than the relationships they are in.

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 InkHulk (original poster member #80400) posted at 9:05 AM on Friday, September 22nd, 2023

MCC, I don’t know quite what to pull and quote from what you wrote because I appreciated it all. Sorry to hear about how your story unfolded and all your pain. I’d be honored to swap insights on this healing journey. Probably gonna pass on the book writing suggestion, though smile

[This message edited by InkHulk at 9:18 AM, Friday, September 22nd]

People are more important than the relationships they are in.

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HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 3:39 PM on Friday, September 22nd, 2023

and not someone like @HellFire

Someone like me? Is that a jab? Regardless, I'm glad IH finds value in my comments.

I will be everywhere you look,but nowhere to be found. And that will be my revenge.

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WontBeFooledAgai ( member #72671) posted at 5:22 PM on Friday, September 22nd, 2023

No @HellFire, I meant it as a compliment....I think your perspective is very insightful and valuable--my point is that you are often one who asks the harder questions when it comes to R (as do I but you do it better), and it was one of those who come across to me as more supportive of R, asking the question. I apologize if it came across as a dig, it was more the opposite.

[This message edited by WontBeFooledAgai at 7:00 PM, Friday, September 22nd]

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WontBeFooledAgai ( member #72671) posted at 5:34 PM on Friday, September 22nd, 2023

You DO want more than "empathy" from your WW though, right @InkHulk? How about deep and profound **gratitude** expressed to you for staying and giving her another chance? And...I mean gratitude to YOU personally, not just The Grace Of God and/or her Journey Out Of Sin or whatever.

My overall concern has been whether your WW's efforts are really overall FAR better than they were this past spring, when she was stonewalling you. That there is genuine improvement, instead of you merely reframing your WW's efforts as better. I may not be doing such a good job expressing this concern in my posts on this thread. (ETA: I realize you already addressed this, I apologize for the redundancy here.)

And...I must admit: To those of us on the outside, relationships post-infidelity seem pretty unhealthful and gloomy, at least for the first couple of years (too long IMO). You are trying to make it work with someone who at least at the moment, can hardly support you emotionally and who showed a capacity for serious serious betrayal for you. It is going to take YEARS of effort from both of you and then after a while the sunk costs can just bind you in. It really just seems to myself at least like the harder more self-destructive path.

[This message edited by WontBeFooledAgai at 10:11 PM, Friday, September 22nd]

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WalkinOnEggshelz ( Administrator #29447) posted at 5:44 PM on Friday, September 22nd, 2023

What we have in place right now is a long walk and talk once a week. And I feel free to bring up thoughts and feelings in real time, but I’m not expecting her to delve into in those times.

Do you and your wife have something in place for when triggers happen? Walks are great. My husband and I took many! We did our IC appointments around the same time and then would go out for pie to discuss our thoughts and feelings about our sessions. As you know, triggers happen at inconvenient times, as well. I hope she recognizes this and helps you through them.

I also had some difficulty with shame and being able to articulate my feelings well in real time. I had a longish commute and found it helpful to organize my thoughts while I drive and then would send my husband a text before starting my day of work.

I know some couples have used a communication notebook. I do think it’s important to discuss triggers as they happen. It is what helped me understand the rawness of them and helped me develop true remorse. I don’t think it’s something to protect your wife from.

If you keep asking people to give you the benefit of the doubt, they will eventually start to doubt your benefit.

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MintChocChip ( member #83762) posted at 6:15 PM on Friday, September 22nd, 2023

I think different people have different capacities. IH have you looked into whether your wife is either on the autism spectrum or if she has avoidance attachment?

For some people they get emotionally overloaded or overwhelmed and you mentioned cPTSD which can also cause that, then frankly they just dont have capacity for meeting emotional needs on demand.

A weekly walk and talk sounds good actually and you can write down things through the week that you want to discuss?

People are giving you a hard time here but to me you WW list sounded pretty okay and it sounds like there's an upwards trajectory.

We are all different people. If someone wanted to have deep, therapy style emotional talks with me all day long for a month I'd be okay with that. I might even enjoy it. For my exWS that would be extremely hard and would make him feel really overloaded.

D Day: September 2020Currently separated

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MintChocChip ( member #83762) posted at 6:17 PM on Friday, September 22nd, 2023

Can I add an exception to this is managing triggers. I really can't see how a BS can gave a trigger and wait till Saturday to get comfort. But managing a trigger doesn't need to be a big emotional talk!

D Day: September 2020Currently separated

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emergent8 ( Guide #58189) posted at 7:39 PM on Friday, September 22nd, 2023

It was Emergent (and not someone like @HellFire) who pointed out that before, your WW would not allow questions except in MC sessions.

To be clear, I wasn't asking as some sort of gotcha or to prove any point. I was asking because the red tape around affair-related communication had previously stood out to me to be a big red flag in terms of honesty, transparency, communication, and openness - all of which were vital to my process of reconciliation.

InkHulk, it sounds like there has been some progress in that arena and I think that is what you should be looking for. Most tigers are not capable of changing their stripes overnight. I do hope a goal for you both is getting to a point where you can talk about the A, and your feelings surrounding it, in a way that is not so emotionally loaded. This was a real game changer in my household. Happy for you both.

Me: BS. Him: WS. Together 16 years.
D-Day: Feb 2017 (8 m PA with married COW).
6+ years (and two kids) into R. Happy.

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straightup ( member #78778) posted at 7:42 PM on Friday, September 22nd, 2023

The talk about complex PTSD and fawning got me thinking. Because complex PTSD is a bit of a late arrival to the DSM, and so is the fawning addition to the trad fight/flight (later freeze) idea, I had not thought of my experience in these terms.

I experienced some rough times growing up, which has caused some damage to me and my two older siblings. I bore the worst of my Mum’s alcoholism for some years, and didn’t wholly cut her off like my sister did.

I think I probably would be diagnosed with something in the mild CPTSD realm and if I had to choose a habitual response, it would be to freeze.

Luckily, there were a few things growing up which probably saved us. I won’t go into those, but am grateful for them.

InkHulk might relate - he has spoken of a close relationship with his brother.

I had grandmothers and some friends, so always had some healthy attachments which showed me light at the end of the tunnel.

In adult professional life, that trauma has been crafted into patience, tolerance for stress, calm. The other day, reading a thread here, I remembered that civil war line ‘don’t shoot till you see the white’s of their eyes’’. Sometimes my patience is kindness, sometimes it’s hard as nails.

Somewhat typical of my programming, in response to my wife’s betrayal, I - got calm, waited, watched (and hurt), hid a little. Then reconciled…predictably.

InkHulk has spoken of the point he let his father go.

I think I would have let my wife go if she had continued her affair for more than a few days after d day, but short of that, I was able to put up with a lot.

My wife has her own, real, but different to mine, FOO traumas, which would have caused anyone to struggle with self worth.

My brother, sister and I all coupled by our mid 20’s and have been faithful, I’m pretty sure. So our brand of trauma seems to have been more of an inoculation, even if we have our internal demons, so to speak.

Does anyone have insight into what takes the traumatic background into an adult need for external validation, with a sexual acting out edge?

Somehow, when life has thrown ethical problems at me, and it happens pretty often on my line of work, I was able to pause (now I’m thinking that may be just a bit informed by FOO trauma), and then rely briefly on an ethical default framework, until I could find an even better response which felt right emotionally.

Honestly, without trauma, I think I would have been an okay (and simpler) person, but probably with a mix of mild narcissistic and people-pleasing tendencies. I’m not much like that now and haven’t been since my teens. I think I closed that off from anger as much as anything else.

I think my wife did not do the same things. I think fear of social judgment and failure stopped her committing to be ‘just her’. She had every reason to comprehend there was a chink in her armour and she left it there, for fear of closing off possibilities.

I think trauma made me settle with being just me, and letting go of superfluous things, but at some cost.

InkHulk - any thoughts on why your traumas led one way and your wife’s another?

[This message edited by straightup at 7:48 PM, Friday, September 22nd]

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
Mother Teresa

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 InkHulk (original poster member #80400) posted at 8:47 PM on Friday, September 22nd, 2023

Message heard from everyone on trigger management. My triggered states are getting less frequent with my healing, but sex is definitely still a minefield. And that shit is as complicated as it gets.

I totally agree that a trigger is a trigger. It’s like an emotional episode of diarrhea, there is no putting it off even if you want to. I’m not positive how to answer this one right now, but it’s a good point and I’ll keep it in mind.

People are more important than the relationships they are in.

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 InkHulk (original poster member #80400) posted at 9:11 PM on Friday, September 22nd, 2023

The talk about complex PTSD and fawning got me thinking. Because complex PTSD is a bit of a late arrival to the DSM, and so is the fawning addition to the trad fight/flight (later freeze) idea, I had not thought of my experience in these terms.

Same, I thought knowing of "freeze" put me ahead of the game, but not so much. Fawn is a really interesting one. Kind of like freeze, but more willing to actively undermine your own self even for people that don’t matter at all in one’s life, that’s how I understand it. I have wanted to teach my kids to respect authority but also question who rightfully has it. Fawning is the opposite of that I think.

I think I probably would be diagnosed with something in the mild CPTSD realm and if I had to choose a habitual response, it would be to freeze.

Don’t know that I would be officially diagnosed, haven’t yet been anyway. But reading about it, I seem like a mix of fight and freeze.

Luckily, there were a few things growing up which probably saved us. I won’t go into those, but am grateful for them.

InkHulk might relate - he has spoken of a close relationship with his brother.

I had grandmothers and some friends, so always had some healthy attachments which showed me light at the end of the tunnel.

In many ways, I had a "good enough" childhood. My father messed up his life terribly and impacted me with the shrapnel, but he was also loving and proud of me, I know that. It took a great deal of self destruction for me to cut him out of my life. This experience has changed the way I look at my mother, she was dealing with an addict husband with multiple affairs and she was a SAHM with four kids in the nest. She had a terrible deal. But she also did the things that you can’t do, and in taking her emotional problems to me as a young teenager, it was deeply damaging. I vividly remember the time I disassociated from my feelings. It lasted for years and almost certainly caused my depression. Coming out of the depression put me back in touch with my feelings. She scarred me, there is no question.

But I did have a close brother, and grandparents that brought love and stability to my life. It could have been much worse.

In adult professional life, that trauma has been crafted into patience, tolerance for stress, calm. The other day, reading a thread here, I remembered that civil war line ‘don’t shoot till you see the white’s of their eyes’’. Sometimes my patience is kindness, sometimes it’s hard as nails.

100% relate. It’s like I have a different sense of time than most. I’m willing to wait out many "problems" that others panic over. It’s very useful in a technical career, makes me more Spock like than the average engineer.

Somewhat typical of my programming, in response to my wife’s betrayal, I - got calm, waited, watched (and hurt), hid a little. Then reconciled…predictably.

So far, yup, me too. Took me a little while to get calm, but I know that at least one of us needs to be for R to have a chance. If we are both emotional volcanoes, I can’t imagine staying together for even a month. This is one of my greatest gifts to her, I feel.

InkHulk has spoken of the point he let his father go.

I think I would have let my wife go if she had continued her affair for more than a few days after d day, but short of that, I was able to put up with a lot.

Again, totally relate. I think I just fully believed the awfulness I was seeing did not align with the person I believed my wife to be, even with the A just coming to light. So I was determined to give her the time to show me who she really is. Today, I am glad I have.

Does anyone have insight into what takes the traumatic background into an adult need for external validation, with a sexual acting out edge?

I second the question.

Somehow, when life has thrown ethical problems at me, and it happens pretty often on my line of work, I was able to pause (now I’m thinking that may be just a bit informed by FOO trauma), and then rely briefly on an ethical default framework, until I could find an even better response which felt right emotionally.

Honestly, without trauma, I think I would have been an okay (and simpler) person, but probably with a mix of mild narcissistic and people-pleasing tendencies. I’m not much like that now and haven’t been since my teens. I think I closed that off from anger as much as anything else.

I think my wife did not do the same things. I think fear of social judgment and failure stopped her committing to be ‘just her’. She had every reason to comprehend there was a chink in her armour and she left it there, for fear of closing off possibilities.

I think trauma made me settle with being just me, and letting go of superfluous things, but at some cost.

Thanks for sharing all that, that is insightful and vulnerable.

InkHulk - any thoughts on why your traumas led one way and your wife’s another?

I think the easiest answer for why my wife may have "the edge" for sexually acting out is an extensive history of sexual trauma, including being raised by a mother incestuously abused as a child. It would seem to me to be silly for me to guess at other more subtle things in the case of my wife when there is an elephant in the room. But always interested to hear feedback from this group.

[This message edited by InkHulk at 9:23 PM, Friday, September 22nd]

People are more important than the relationships they are in.

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 InkHulk (original poster member #80400) posted at 9:21 PM on Friday, September 22nd, 2023

I think different people have different capacities. IH have you looked into whether your wife is either on the autism spectrum or if she has avoidance attachment?

Not on the spectrum. Definitely avoidant attachment, probably disordered.

For some people they get emotionally overloaded or overwhelmed and you mentioned cPTSD which can also cause that, then frankly they just dont have capacity for meeting emotional needs on demand.

A weekly walk and talk sounds good actually and you can write down things through the week that you want to discuss?

Agreed. This isn’t a matter of her being able and unwilling when she gets shame flooded. She is of a similar frame of emotional state as me in a betrayal trigger. Both of us need to learn to manage that stuff. She is coming along. I’m trying too, and we’re getting much faster at recovering after an "incident" from either side. And yes, I just write down what is on my mind. Writing it down with the confidence that it will be talked about allows it to come out of my conscious attention.

Like I just said to StraightUp, I’m more than willing to "wait her out". And if she someday says she flat out won’t answer questions anymore, well, then we’re back to the situation of where I walked from my father.

People are giving you a hard time here but to me you WW list sounded pretty okay and it sounds like there's an upwards trajectory.


Indeed, there is

People are more important than the relationships they are in.

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emergent8 ( Guide #58189) posted at 9:26 PM on Friday, September 22nd, 2023

I totally agree that a trigger is a trigger. It’s like an emotional episode of diarrhea, there is no putting it off even if you want to.

Poetry. grin

Me: BS. Him: WS. Together 16 years.
D-Day: Feb 2017 (8 m PA with married COW).
6+ years (and two kids) into R. Happy.

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 InkHulk (original poster member #80400) posted at 9:34 PM on Friday, September 22nd, 2023

Poetry.

Anyone unclear about what I’m saying? I didn’t think so.

People are more important than the relationships they are in.

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MintChocChip ( member #83762) posted at 10:11 PM on Friday, September 22nd, 2023

Dismissive / avoidant or disorganised attachment would make this work very hard for your wife. The healing work of R can actually benefit that in ways, but also the shame flooding will have her running for the hills. It'll create an extreme anxiety response from her.


That attachment pattern can also cause the A in the first place. Infidelity is a great way to put an obstacle of distance between you and your spouse.

Are you a secure attacher IH? Or an anxious?

We did a test together about a year before the A and my WS came back as dismissive avoidant and I was secure.

After the A and all the mess following, we both became disorganised (fearful avoidant).

Similarly to you, but maybe more exaggerated, my exWS would definitely experience more trauma and flooding than I did. That makes it really tough.

Are you feeling resentment? At the end of the day her issues don't negate yours and of course the A is all about them so I felt resentment that even the R had to be limited by his issues.

You sound like a calm and reasonable guy!

D Day: September 2020Currently separated

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This0is0Fine ( member #72277) posted at 4:46 AM on Saturday, September 23rd, 2023

Just a reminder this is an Internet message board. You don't have to prove anything to us InkHulk. Your real life relationship with your wife, however you want to work on it is more important that showing she is doing enough to us. It sounds like if you are unhappy you'll tell her she isn't doing enough for you. That's what matters. It seems like you've made a lot of progress to me.

Love is not a measure of capacity for pain you are willing to endure for your partner.

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Tanner ( Guide #72235) posted at 5:19 AM on Saturday, September 23rd, 2023

Your real life relationship with your wife, however you want to work on it is more important that showing she is doing enough to us.

When my W gave me an accurate timeline, I saw her eyes return. I knew I had the truth. I didn’t dare post that I believed her because I saw her eyes. My WW was a terrible liar and once I knew what I was dealing with it her eyes was all I needed.

After she laid it all on the table my gut settled, true R began.

Dday Sept 7 2019 doing well in R BH M 32 years

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 InkHulk (original poster member #80400) posted at 11:22 AM on Saturday, September 23rd, 2023

Dismissive / avoidant or disorganised attachment would make this work very hard for your wife. The healing work of R can actually benefit that in ways, but also the shame flooding will have her running for the hills. It'll create an extreme anxiety response from her.

Yeah, you know of what you speak.

That attachment pattern can also cause the A in the first place. Infidelity is a great way to put an obstacle of distance between you and your spouse.

A stronger statement than I would make, but I hear you.

Are you a secure attacher IH? Or an anxious?

I’ve only done some simple quizzes to evaluate this, but they seem decent enough. Looking an an NPR linked self assessment, I score more anxious than secure. I also could tell that I was answering questions differently than I would have pre-A that would have tilted me more into the anxious bucket, but you know, can you blame me? But I also have to own the foundation of it. I was a pretty self conscious, insecure kid, definitely looking for love and acceptance. I expected a lot out of my marriage, it was supposed to redeem my childhood somehow. I can see now that is faulty thinking and unfair to my wife.

Similarly to you, but maybe more exaggerated, my exWS would definitely experience more trauma and flooding than I did. That makes it really tough.

Yeah, it’s awful. We came damn close to ending it months ago when she succumbed to a shame cycle during a round of questions. I had done everything right, been calm and collected, and she did not tolerate it and started acting like the victim. I was ready to divorce her, she made a huge gesture and we kept going. She is getting better, but this is the worst part of being in a relationship with her, even pre D-Day. She just can’t accept responsibility for things she’s done, even trivial things, it gets deflected back to me. Our new MC said some things that give me hope about this being addressed, and at least he believed me and had reasonable feedback.

Are you feeling resentment? At the end of the day her issues don't negate yours and of course the A is all about them so I felt resentment that even the R had to be limited by his issues.

Honestly, no. I feel something far closer to pity. She is who she is, no point in raging against that. She is seeing it and acknowledging it for the first time now. If the A and the work of R is what it takes for her to pursue healing, then so be it. I think she could be an absolutely spectacular partner without all that baggage. And I love her, warts and all.

[This message edited by InkHulk at 11:25 AM, Saturday, September 23rd]

People are more important than the relationships they are in.

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Topic is Sleeping.
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