BS Questions in I Can Relate
This is one of my periodic plugs for the "BS Questions for WS" thread in the I Can Relate forum. Under the guidelines, BS can only pose questions to us in that thread. This restriction is in place both to make it easy for BS to find responses and to keep this forum dedicated to our own work.
We hear often that the BS Questions thread is one of SI's most appreciated assets. Many betrayed spouses, especially those who are considering reconciliation, need insight into the wayward mindset that their spouse may be unwilling or unable to provide. Some of those WS may be deeply in avoidant mode, while others may be willing to express what they were thinking but not have the language to describe it. Either way, a WS resource on SI who is willing to answer questions can help the BS along on the road to understanding and help them make informed decisions about their own path.
Despite the commonalities of the infamous "cheater's handbook," WS are not a monolithic group. Our affairs may have been PAs, EAs, long term, serial, years ago, before marriage, exit affairs, cake eating, and a host of other variations. Understandably, some BS are most interested in hearing from WS who are the same gender as their own wayward spouse. The more participants we have on that thread, the more useful our feedback can be.
I hope you'll consider stopping by to see if you have insights to contribute.
21 comments posted: Saturday, April 22nd, 2023
Taking some time off
Life is getting busy (in a good way), and so I'm going to take a break from SI for a while. It's possible that I'll check in from time to time, but I definitely won't be here enough to continue as a Guide. Mostly, I'm mentioning it because I don't want anyone to worry that something happened to me if they notice I've been off the grid.
SI has played such an important role in my life for the last three years that it feels like I'm graduating and heading off to college, leaving the familiarity of home behind. That's a sign of healing for me. I'm so grateful to everyone who helped me get this far.
9 comments posted: Thursday, March 24th, 2022
The Beer Thread!
I have a basic understanding of wines and a growing knowledge of spirits, but when it comes to interesting beers... help!
In your opinion, what's a good mix of craft beers to get for:
1. A holiday cocktail party
2. A summer party like a graduation or engagement
3. A family crowd, e.g. Thanksgiving
4. Bringing a few six packs to a beer fan's house, where you know nothing about beer and want to surprise them with something interesting
3 comments posted: Tuesday, February 22nd, 2022
What sports are y'all enjoying?
I've been a figure skating fan ever since I learned at age 4 on the pond behind my parents' house, and I'm blown away by the new Russian star, Kamila Valieva. At age 15, she's already being called the best figure skater of all time. The NBC commentators, both of whom are retired Olympians, are a combination of giddy and flabbergasted as they try to explain just how phenomenal she is. Spoiler alert -- last night, she was the first woman in history to land a quad jump in Olympic competition. In fact, she landed two, one of them in combination with a difficult triple. On the third quad, she fell, for the first time in any competition this season -- and still ended up 15 points ahead of the next highest women's score.
Other than skating, I enjoy watching short track, the luge, the bobsled, and snowboarding. Though I suspect my fondness for bobsled is rooted less in the sport itself and more in the movie "Cool Runnings."
21 comments posted: Monday, February 7th, 2022
Tim Minchin and "future regrets"
I've been putting some thought into what kind of topics we can introduce here that create a safe space for WS to talk about coping with dangerous impulses. I'm leaving the stop sign on because I imagine that it will cause some triggery feelings in betrayed spouses, but I think it's important to crack open the door in case any lurking WS is looking for that opportunity.
I recently made a reference in another thread to Tim Minchin, a singer/composer/comedian who wrote a tongue-in-cheek song about soulmates. It's a fun tune, but Minchin has also written some more serious songs about struggling with infidelity. As he alludes in "If I Didn't Have You," he met his wife as a teenager and lost his virginity to her. They were together for ten years before getting married. At the time, he never imagined the kind of success he would have on the world stage or the sexual/romantic opportunities that life on the road would throw his way. He wrestles with the forbidden experiences he would now be free to engage in if they hadn't met so young.
And yet, he loves his wife, and they've built a history and a family together that he wants to protect. I surmise they must have a pretty strong relationship, because she consented to him publishing songs that lay those details bare to the scrutiny of the world. In "The Absence of You," which is largely a love song about how much he misses her when they're apart, he confesses to getting as far as kissing another woman in a hotel room before coming to his senses. And in "I'll Take Lonely Tonight," he explains to a very tempting girl who is hitting on him that he does worry about letting opportunity pass him by and regretting it someday when it's too late to be wild. But as he tells her, "there's a girl has my heart in a house half a planet away, and I'd rather murder than hurt her," and so he turns her down. The end of that song depicts the strange combination of triumph and dejection he feels after making the right choice.
I'll take lonely tonight
In my three-point-five star
Where I will spend 25 bucks
On minibar snacks
And pass out on my phone
And wake in four hours or so
Soaked in relief to find
I am alone
With only the wrappers
Of Pringles and Snickers
For which to atone
Minchin said in an interview that "the release you are driven towards when you are wanting to fuck someone is fucking. But the song, slightly ironically, drives towards a release of relief, the bliss, the almost-ecstatic orgasmic bliss of having not fucked up."
I'm curious if anyone here has experienced that and needs a place to share it.
3 comments posted: Monday, December 20th, 2021
As a former WW, I feel like I have a deep responsibility to new WS here. I know what it's like to be an entitled, foggy, selfish compartmentalizer. I know that my saving grace was other WS who fought through that and taught me compassionately how to pull my head out of my ass. I want to help rebuild community. I want to foster a space where waywards can admit their worst impulses and ask sincerely for help. Part of that is making room for failure, because not everyone is going to overcome toxic thought patterns and behaviors on their first go.
But there's a catch. Now that I've gotten down on the floor with my BH, and faced and absorbed the destruction that I wreaked on him, I am protective of betrayed spouses, and especially of BS members on SI. When one appears in JFO shocked and devastated by false R, it is a gut punch. I mean, I seriously and physically have to catch my breath, because it calls up memories of the work my BH did to allow himself to be vulnerable again. I feel this surge of disbelief and rage that anyone can betray such trust and grace. And as much as I have argued for sending WS here to learn from us, I think it would be very hard for me to treat that WS kindly if they showed up here. Honestly, it would be hard to be civil.
Now, if I were a triggered BS, the answer would be fairly straightforward: stay the hell away from the Wayward Forum. There's no point in putting yourself in a situation that's likely to get you banned. But remorseful WS are thin on the ground here, and as I said above, a big part of why I've stuck around is that I want to pay it forward. I know we need greeters at these particular gates of hell.
I'm curious to hear from other WS: do you struggle with an identity crisis when you read posts about recidivist waywards? Does it trigger you? It occurs to me that I might be reacting this way because I'm a madhatter, but I honestly don't think so. I'm not having visions of my BH's infidelity. I'm seeing him in my head, shaking from the pain of what I did, and feeling this compulsion to throttle anyone who could see the same thing and then have another affair. I'm practically in "burn the witch" mode, where mild hints about offering a third chance feel like a travesty.
Have you been in this boat? Any tips for how to keep paddling?
(Edited to add: this is me grappling with a reaction that I've experienced several times during my years here. It's not an invitation to discuss anyone's specific thread, which would be a guideline violation.)
32 comments posted: Friday, December 3rd, 2021
It's coming up on Thanksgiving for those of us in the US, and the annual negotiation of Thanksgiving menus is upon us. What are you all looking forward to having, and what has been dropped from the list that would still be on there if you were solely in charge? What travesties will appear on the table that your misinformed host thinks are a good idea?
My MIL is an amazing cook, and I'm looking forward to her puddings (corn at Thanksgiving, Yorkshire at Christmas). However, she's a cornbread-and-cranberry stuffing fan, so I'm dreaming of white bread stuffing with turkey sausage that will not be on my plate. (Yes, I can make it myself, but it tastes better if it was cooked in the bird!)
Feel free to venture dishes from other cultural holidays and opinions on specific recipes. A few years ago, there was a sweet potato debate here that almost came to blows.
13 comments posted: Sunday, November 7th, 2021
Question alert for WHs
If any WHs have the time, there's a post in BS Questions for WS that is specifically hoping for male input.
0 comment posted: Friday, October 29th, 2021
Plug for BS Questions
If any WS have availability, there are a few recent posts languishing unanswered on the BS Questions for WS thread. I've done what I can, but some are outside my wheelhouse.
2 comments posted: Thursday, April 22nd, 2021
The tipping point
We often advise new arrivals that in the aftermath of the affair, marital problems are secondary. A WS who had issues within their marriage had many alternatives to cheating, including a demand for marital counseling, an ultimatum, or a divorce. By choosing to go outside the marriage, the WS loses any high ground they may have held, and the focus shifts to repairing wayward brokenness and rebuilding trust. Pre-A marital issues are tabled until after the BS and WS have time to heal.
This is solid advice, and it carries the caveat that either party may opt for divorce if they don't want to work to reconcile. But how does a wayward identify "after?" At what point is it once again reasonable for a WS to express unhappiness with the marital dynamic and/or the actions of the BS?
As I said on another thread, waywards are great at rewriting narratives to shift blame away from ourselves. We arrive here full of grievances, some of which may be greatly exaggerated or even products of our own imagination. If our judgment could be trusted, we wouldn't have cheated. The work illuminates the flaws in our thinking, and done properly, it kicks our feet out from under us. But how do we know when we've hauled ourselves upright, possibly for the first time in our lives? How do we trust ourselves when we definitively proved we're untrustworthy?
I'm not suggesting that there's a universal answer. No checklist or time frame can apply to everyone, and I imagine that in many cases, there's a gradual overlap where issues are negotiated while trust is still being rebuilt. But it's a question I once struggled to answer for myself as a WS, because the destination of healthy self-advocacy is not marked with a signpost.
Have you worked your way back to where you feel you have a right to advocate for yourself in your marriage? If so, how did you know you'd gotten there? Did you and your BS agree that the time had come? If you aren't there yet, what do you imagine that moment will look like?
69 comments posted: Tuesday, March 16th, 2021
It's just occurred to me to wonder if the projected postal service chaos will have an impact on the SI Christmas Card Exchange. Not to mention the potential coronavirus implications for elves gathering at the North Pole. 😳
Are we doing it this year? If so, will the deadlines be earlier?
7 comments posted: Tuesday, August 18th, 2020
Regional foodies, what do you miss?
I grew up in New England but moved away almost 30 years ago. Recently I went home, and now man oh man, I'm missing the foods that only they know how to cook properly. Your average roadside clam shack in Massachusetts does seafood as well as (often better than) the best seafood restaurants in my current city. Going back was just a reminder of how wide the gap is!
Tonight, I want clam chowder and properly fried scallops. If you're a transplant from your home territory, what foods do you miss?
45 comments posted: Wednesday, September 11th, 2019