I just woke up today feeling heavy about something. The loss of that feeling of being "the prize".
I realised my entire life I'd felt like that, and doubly so with my WS. He used to always say he was punching above his weight.
I realise how sad it feels not to feel that way. That there was (albeit a brief) time where he wanted something else.
I think that what you are feeling is normal but as a former ws, I don't think any of it had to do with you at all. I definitely thought I married up, and that he was better than me in so many ways. People liked him more, he came from a better family, he was older too which made it seem like he was more of an authority due to having more experience.
But, those things were never about him. Those thoughts were indicators of my relationship with myself. My lack of worth had always been there. I think sometimes when we get in the mud with the AP, it's more about being able to pretend to be someone else. Someone stronger, cooler, younger, sexier, whatever it is that we don't feel we are.
In all reality a healthy relationship is a yin and yang, not one person feeling the other is superior. There were tons of things I was the better authority on, better at, etc. We tend to prop ourselves up by believing the AP sees us the way we wish we could be seen. None of this really has anything to do with the BS.
And to me the BS is the prize to be won in reconciliation. This is honestly the only time the relationship should be out of balance. They were more faithful, they are the injured party. It's our job to figure out why we weren't faithful (and the correct answers to this is always internal to ourselves, not things to pin on another person), to provide the best environment in order to heal.
WS often do not understand love as more than how someone else makes them feel. But, in reality most of what we feel is really just a projection of what others think of us.
Worst of all, despite being completely sure it was me he wanted after Dday, he definitely missed her after the A stopped.
He likely didn't miss her, he missed how she made him feel about himself. And that probably wasn’t even real- I find it more of a projection of what we want them )or anyone to make us feel. It's not people's jobs to make you feel better about yourself. That lack of self love is driving us to seek adoration even through u reliable means. I am pretty sure the AP showed me in most ways how little I mattered to him, yet I didn’t accept that as truth. I saw what I wanted to see.
I guess I just feel like I wasnt the prize, and because he never put 100% into R - I don't think I ever regained that feeling.
This is about your relationship with yourself. He has damaged your picture of yourself. But, being the prize doesn't need to be in someone else's eyes. Obviously, you were a loving, dedicated, faithful spouse, his lack of appreciation over that doesn't make that worth less. This is exactly what it was like "grieving" the AP to me. If he didn't see my value it no longer existed because I gave him that power. Yet, he was an incredibly crappy person.
I just feel like my sense of who I am is a bit lost now. I still feel stuck on why he acted after the A ended like he was addicted and coming off heroin.
Yes, it was for me too. Think about people who have gambling or shopping addiction. They aren't addicted to the act, they are addicted to the dopamine in their brain flooding. They escape their life and pain by artificially causing those highs. Affairs are often like that. I perceived it as love, but it was actually sick and nothing like what love should be or is. I didn't truly care about the AP or tearing his life and marriage up, I cared that he kept showing up so I could continue to avoid and escape.
Yes, I've read everywhere - affairs feel like addictions, but I don't really get it. It sounds to me like they just fell in love.
Affairs arne't love. Love isn't hurting everyone else in your life and helping someone else do the same. Love isn't hiding and sneaking and acting like you are 15. Love isn't even just feelings, it's actions and truly caring about someone else's well being the same as your own. A WS doesn't understand love, they understand whatever makes them feel good. Whatever outlet they can use to escape.
[This message edited by hikingout at 5:47 AM, Monday, September 25th]