ChamomileTea ( Moderator #53574) posted at 11:02 PM on Tuesday, July 4th, 2023
He told me yesterday after the session that I never forgave him for cheating, held a grudge that he cheated, and that "your entitlement to feel resentment is your problem." Um, hello? I am entitled to feel resentful that you crushed my heart (now twice), and the reason I was resentful was 100% because of his cheating.
You were demonstrably RIGHT to feel the way you did though because clearly he had NOT made the internal changes necessary to prevent further cheating. If this guy's values had been what he claimed them to be, he couldn't have made those choices again. His core value of Fidelity had a "but..." in it. ie. "He believes in fidelity, but... not if his wife has feelings about his previous cheating." A core tenet is meaningless if it hat an "out" clause.
There's this giant blame-shift, and I'll be honest with you.. there's quite a lot of societal pressure which makes us feel like we are supposed to be providing all this emotional and sexual validation to our partner. Here's the thing though, we're talking about another grown ass ADULT with a mouth and a responsibility to himself for negotiating to get his needs met in an honorable way. You see here by his actions, the bullshit in his excuses because his ACTIONS do not in any way correlate to the problems he's claiming. IOW, he says "the problem was your resentments". Well, how did his choice to have an affair fix that particular problem? It didn't. Because the REAL problem was his entitlement issues whereby he felt like he had an absolute right to have a woman giving him flattery and sex on demand. And even that might not be the full explanation, because even in marriages where the WS has no leg to stand on in terms of complaints, sometimes the cheating is simply about conquest and variety. It's impossible to know the real truth because we can't crank this guy's head open and root around until we find it under whatever rock he's hiding it under.
Long post made shorter, sometimes every cell in our body cries out to make sense out of nonsense, but nonsense by definition is irrational and stupid. His insipid blameshifts are irrational and stupid. What you're feeling is NORMAL though. It's also temporary and finite. There's going to come a time where you no longer care what that guy thinks.
BW: 2004(online EAs), 2014 (multiple PAs)
Married 40 years; in R with fWH for 8
Fold123 (original poster member #83366) posted at 4:30 PM on Wednesday, July 5th, 2023
Thank you, Chamomile, for your thoughtful and helpful message.
I know that I felt resentment during our marriage due to his original infidelity. My resentment (pain, anxiety, incomplete trust of him) was 100% caused by his infidelity. And while we were able to grow and build a life together, I never forgot or forgave him for what he did. Did we have a miserable life together? No. Did we have struggles at times? Yes.
I think he is, subconsciously if he so adamantly denies it, shifting blame, saying he was unhappy and that I did XYZ to make him unhappy, to justify why he cheated. It is more of the poor me thing. My wife was not romantic, my wife made me unhappy with criticism and not expressing nonstop love, my wife never got over me cheating on her....and that is why my marriage had been unhappy, that is why I cheated, that is why I deserved to find comfort in somebody else, that is why the marriage is ending. Not that HE cheated, broke our vows, or caused my resentment, but that I did everything wrong to "drive" him to infidelity and divorce. It hurts that he did all of these things to me and it hurts he is rewriting the story to make him look and feel more justified or more of a victim.
I know that I just will not get anywhere by talking to him more about anything. I have had my heart crushed, my life ruined, and my confidence and sense of worth completely obliterated. He doesn't want to take ownership of what he has done, doesn't want to hear my pain or confusion or anger. I know he simply doesn't care about me or my feelings or how I will have to live the rest of my life in the aftermath of what he has done to me and our family. My heart just hasn't caught up with my head, and I keep thinking I am must be wrong. That he isn't this cold and callous and dismissive. But he is just showing me that he is. And I continue to feel blindsided and abandoned, and in grief over what I have lost and am losing. There are lots of emotions swirling around and I am sucked back into wishing I could change it all.
I just want my old life, the life I had 7 weeks ago. The life with an intact family and good finances and a happy home and vacation plans and future plans that were only positive. I want the mundane trip to Costco and the inside jokes and nicknames and the back and forth texting about the funny things the kids did and the standing takeout order on Friday night. It has all been obliterated, like it never existed. That life was pulled put from under me. It is not there any more and I don't get to have it back or ever again.
twicefooled ( member #42976) posted at 4:41 PM on Wednesday, July 5th, 2023
Fold, I'm so sorry you have found yourself in this situation.
I've read the entire thread and everyone has such amazing things to say and think about (the very reason I'm still on these boards after so many years).
One thing that helped me when my ex would start the Blame Game (if only I did this more, if only I did that less) was to remind myself that we were in the same marriage. Whether we saw it differently or not, my ex was not a good partner at all and I didn't cheat. I never cheated. I can hold my head high that no matter what he thinks I sucked at, that I was a good partner by not cheating. Then I could tune out his blame because I knew it wasn't true. Took me years to feel what I thought, but you will get there.
One day in the near future, you are going to sigh relief. The mental energy and gymnastics that you have to dedicate to this situation right now will go away, leaving you with oodles of mental and physical energy. Then you will reclaim yourself. I promise you, that will happen.
May 29 2021 ***reclaimed myself and decided to delete my story with my ex because I'm now 7 years free from him and mentally healthier than I've been in years.
*********When you know better, you can do better*************
Fold123 (original poster member #83366) posted at 8:23 PM on Wednesday, July 5th, 2023
Thank you Twice. I appreciate your perspective. I am so very sorry you found yourself on these boards in the first place but glad that you have moved on well from the pain you experienced. Your advice means a lot to me.
I know that I was faithful and a good wife, that I upheld our vows, that I supported him in numerous ways. He wasn't a terrible husband in a lot of ways, other than being unfaithful, mostly selfish, and now with the blame shifting. Your words struck a chord and you said it better than I could in my emotional rambling here... that we were in the same marriage. And regardless of how he is choosing to reflect on it now, I know and he knows that there was a lot of good there. He has been contradicting himself a lot the last few times we have talked. He will say I was a great wife, a great military spouse, and a great mom, and gave him loads of support. And then in the next breath he will enumerate all of my faults, all the reasons our marriage was not good for him. It is mixed messages because I think (or am choosing to think maybe) that he knows we had a lot of good together, and he doesn't completely have himself convinced that I was the downfall for his claims of happiness. He can choose to tell his friends, his family, his therapist and even himself that he was unhappy because of me. But I think/hope deep inside he knows it was all because of his decisions.
The1stWife ( Guide #58832) posted at 3:01 PM on Saturday, July 8th, 2023
A sign of immaturity (IMO) is blaming others for your mistakes or bad choices.
I would venture to say many many cheaters blame their spouse or partner for the affair. I certainly was blamed for my H’s "unhappiness".
Funny thing is I learned I was never responsible for his happiness. I can certainly add to it. But it’s not my job as his wife to "make him happy".
I think so many betrayeds are pretty sure they do things to make their spouse happy. I was one of them.
Funny how the ripple effect of an affair touched in so many aspects of your marriage.
Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled. 10 years out from Dday. Reconciliation takes two committed people to be successful.
Fold123 (original poster member #83366) posted at 3:38 PM on Saturday, July 8th, 2023
Thanks for your note, 1st.
I agree that only we are responsible for our own happiness. But, when one person betrays the other and it sets a bad tone for the marriage then I do feel that the person who did wrong is at least partially responsible for the betrayer’s unhappiness. Neither of us were miserable, but his original infidelity negatively impacted how our marriage worked. And then his second infidelity of course has obliterated the marriage entirely.
Despite all of the things I apparently did that made him unhappy, he has continued to contradict himself saying I was supportive, attentive, and a good spouse. And believe me, I did a lot to support him, at work and at home, and much of the time I put him before myself. But it wasn’t worthwhile to him.
I’ve had a really rough few days. I am completely stressed about finding work. I’ll spend an hour tailoring my resume and cover letter, submit it, and then get a stock reply that they have too many applicants or the job has been filled. I feel simultaneously over and under qualified for most of what I am seeing. I can’t be picky because I need flexibility as I will be in a new city establishing our new life with the kids with me 99% of the time. And of course I am stressed about packing for the move, flying solo with kids and pets when we move, unpacking from the move, getting everything set up in the new city, finding friends. And stressed about finalizing the divorce, getting everything done before we move, managing the costs, having no income, watching my savings be cut in third or half by the end of this process.
And then the realities of this new life I have been forced to have creep in. That I will be alone with the kids all of the time. That I won’t be able to just go for a walk alone after they are in bed or meet a friend for a drink without spending $100 on a babysitter. That I will be in charge of their every need, every wake up and bedtime routine, every meal, every bath, every middle of the night puke. And that I have to manage all of this by myself — working, kids, paying bills — while being deeply hurt, likely depressed.
I have just a few weeks left that I can say I am married, that I am a wife, that I have a husband, that I can say "we." I already miss it, already stumble saying "soon to be ex." I want to either rush to the future far away or escape to the past. I would give anything to go back 2 months and just say "don’t do it! Don’t sleep with her!" and could go back to the life I wanted and miss and am losing.
FunHouseMirror ( member #80992) posted at 5:10 PM on Saturday, July 8th, 2023
I am so sorry.
You don't want the life you had seven weeks ago. You want the illusion of the life you had seven weeks ago to have been reality, and for all of this to never have happened. It's understandable. But I doubt you would want to live in happy ignorance.
You will find your place, and you will be happy there. It's just the in between that sucks so hard. ***hugs***
Abalone123 ( member #82896) posted at 5:13 PM on Saturday, July 8th, 2023
The job market isn’t too great right now, so hang in there. One thing at a time though, start with your move, building a support system first. Ask your WH to pitch in financially a bit more till you are settled down with a job. It’s only fair that he helps you more initially. That’s the least he can do.
Once you feel a bit settled then focus on the job search. While you are waiting to apply for jobs, make sure your resume/ linked in profiles etc are all polished. Have someone go through it. Also, Don’t hesitate to reach out to people for jobs, recommendations, suggestions. Don’t overwhelm yourself. You have to tackle all of this while you are not at your best emotionally. So take a deep breath and plan one thing at a time.
I will keep my fingers crossed for you. Keep writing here. We cannot help you in person but hopefully give you some strength emotionally. Take care.
Fold123 (original poster member #83366) posted at 8:04 PM on Saturday, July 8th, 2023
FunHouse: I appreciate your message. I know that going back in time would still put me in a marriage that wasn't extremely healthy; it already had issues from the initial infidelity. But as desperate as it sounds, I would give anything, I really would, to be in a state of ignorant bliss right now because everything has come crashing down and I feel so despondent about my life and future. I keep thinking "what if he had not been caught and I just did not know?" and it sounds so weak but I wish that was case so badly. Because I would still have my home, my marriage, my partner, an intact family, a social group, an identity I was proud of, a good financial situation, and all the things we had been working for. What I am left with is being alone, depressed, lacking confidence, potentially being by myself forever, and suddenly saddled with the urgency to find any type of job and juggle doing it with kids without support from their dad will is not going to be seeing them that often. I know it is low and weak but it is where I am now. A really sad and desperate emotional place.
Fold123 (original poster member #83366) posted at 8:15 PM on Saturday, July 8th, 2023
Thank you, Abalone for your encouragement.
The job market is very depressing to me. I have an uphill battle being out of the workforce for so long and suddenly having an urgent need for employment, and job searching in a time zone I am not even living in yet. I am doing all the things I'd advise someone in my shoes to do: had resume professionally reworked, was placed with a career mentor, networking, reaching out to prior colleagues. I have joined a dozen professional groups online and submitted profiles for every work from home aggregator I can find. I am trying and there are no bites. I know it will take time but I feel panicked that I have to nail this down so fast.
Financially, I will get alimony/child support once the decree is finalized and it will cover most of my rent and utilities. But I will be using savings to pay for what is not covered and everything else -- child care when needed, groceries, kid activities, and of course I have to start paying for my own health insurance in a month when I get removed from my current plan. And that comes after the who-knows-how-much-total legal fees and spending a trillion dollars in the past 30 days to secure housing and movers in two different states and for two different properties. I won't be the on the street, but in a month's time I will see my savings down by a third or a half, and I need to hustle to earn money and get my neglected 401k supported because I have nothing and nobody to fall back on any more. I haven't contributed to my retirement plan for the last 7 years as I have not been working, and I never thought I would need to invest much when I did return to work because we had planned on my husband's retirement, pension, disability pay, and the fact each of us would be working, to boost our financial footing and provide the life we had been working towards. Now that that has all gone down to the tubes I am feeling frantic about my financial future. And super discouraged by the job market.
I know I am just whining, and others have it worse off in a lot of ways, but I am so incredibly stressed from all of this -- the divorce, the betrayal, the move, the logistics, the need to get work as fast as I can. It seems completely insurmountable and bleak.
Beachgirl73 ( member #74764) posted at 7:36 PM on Sunday, July 9th, 2023
Oh, Fold. It’s all so, so unfair isn’t it? You certainly didn’t deserve any of this and in this case I can see why the "ignorance is bliss" adage can be true… I’m so sorry for what you are going through.
Can you get part of his pension? It doesn’t seem as if he’s giving you as much as he should. I was a SAHW when my children were young and it seems we are seriously disadvantaged in a marital breakdown. I now tell my daughters to NEVER give up their careers full time - just in case. You, being an army wife and moving often, are definitely in a hard place RE: employment. That’s why I think you deserve even more.
My thoughts and good wishes are with you. One day you’ll look back at this time and pat yourself on the back knowing you survived (and even thrived) in these terrible circumstances. 🙏🏻
ArkLaMiss ( member #14918) posted at 12:38 AM on Monday, July 10th, 2023
Fold, have you considered being an insurance adjuster? ALL the insurance companies are hiring with entry level at $60,000 and after 2 to 3 years there, you can go somewhere else and make $75. Also, many have remote only positions. Check them out. I know Sedgwick is definitely hiring and a big company.
Just HOW stupid do you think I am, exactly?
Fold123 (original poster member #83366) posted at 1:15 AM on Monday, July 10th, 2023
BeachGirl: Thanks for your support. I know it comes off as very weak, but I just want to return to what I had a short time ago. I don't want the present or future I have been left with. I want what I just had. I know how irrational all of this sounds, and desperate. I feel those ways and more.
I have requested alimony, a dollar value versus a percentage. It doesn't matter to me if it comes from pension or income so long as I receive it. And with his legal situation he may wind up sans pension (and of course income, as his career is absolutely over). Or at the least he will likely receive a lower amount than what he would if he had been retiring in good standing. Regardless, it will be alimony for life unless I remarry. Which I am sure will never happen so there is that.
I agree with you that SAHPs in divorces come out at the bottom. It is a sad reality, isn't it? I had a good career and compensation going into the marriage. But we moved overseas for several years where I could not work on my visa, and became a SAHM because of it. The one helpful thing is that we only shared one bank account that can be considered a marital asset, and it is a low value account we used to pay bills so there is not much to divvy up. So I am able to exit with the savings account I had built up prior to marriage and do not have to split it with him. In turn, his separate savings account has become his legal fund since he has, legitimately, multiple attorneys between his investigation and the divorce, and that will be drained by the time a decision is made in his case. I do have savings I can siphon from until I get a job, or until I get a better paying job than what I am able to initially find. It could be a lot worse and I know it, you just never, at mid-life, foresee your savings being flushed away and scrambling to have to find work on short notice, with a pile of fresh and scary responsibilities, on your own, with kids, pets, and a brand new matching set of mental health baggage. I know this is nothing new -- none of us expected our lives to be destroyed by betrayal from the person who vowed to love, support, respect, and protect us.
Fold123 (original poster member #83366) posted at 1:25 AM on Monday, July 10th, 2023
ArkLaMiss: Thank you for the suggestion. I have looked at claims work at a few different companies as I know they are remote friendly. The barrier is the ones I have seen require local travel to meet clients and survey damage, and I don't think I can make it work until and unless I have the childcare situation sorted when school begins in the fall (on several wait lists and likely wont get off them until 2024-2025 school year). I am also researching intake roles at insurance firms, but fully remote with no travel. Although entry level, some require a few years of customer service experience, but I may be able to sneak in the back door with my prior professional work and degrees. I appreciate you suggesting the field, am definitely looking at it.
I am trying to look at the next year as a "building" year -- just taking a job that I can do for a year, and this time next year, once aftercare is established if I ever got off these dang lists, then I would search for a job that could work longer term (more what I would want to do, better compensated, etc.). I'm just lacking confidence, having imposter syndrome, and not feeling very hopeful about work (amongst everything else in my life right now TBH), but I know I will make something work. Because there is not a plan B.
Beachgirl73 ( member #74764) posted at 2:35 AM on Monday, July 10th, 2023
Fold, please do not apologize. You do not come across as weak AT ALL. In fact, I think you are one of the strongest BWs I’ve read on this board. This is all so new to you still and you’ve moved forward so much in such a short time. Of course you are feeling overwhelmed. Anyone would in your shoes. It will take time and distance for you to finally begin to feel more settled again. Just keep doing what you’ve been doing - putting one foot in front of the other until you make it. You have what it takes. I can tell.
Wishing you have peace soon. 🙏🏻
Fold123 (original poster member #83366) posted at 4:33 PM on Monday, July 10th, 2023
BeachGirl: I so appreciate your vote of confidence. I cannot remember ever feeling so inadequate, ill-prepared, anxious, and scared at any other time in my life. I have no option but to keep moving ahead in all areas, even when I only want to run back to what I used to have and still want. Total cliche, but I keep wishing I could just wake up from this terrible nightmare and everything would be normal and safe and secure again for myself and my kids.
TheEnd ( member #72213) posted at 1:08 PM on Tuesday, July 11th, 2023
Everything your thinking and feeling is so completely normal Fold. You're grieving and the stages include denial/shock, bargaining, etc. The steps aren't linear - you can feel them all at once or bounce back and forth.
The brain craves homeostasis. It's hard wired in us. So again, your desire to turn back time and have what you had is perfectly normal. It sucks beyond compare! But there is nothing, not one thing, wrong with you. You are not weak or crazy or any other negative thing you might think about yourself. Your brain/body/heart are doing their thing and you are sitting in the middle of that emotional hurricane just trying to put one foot in front of the other.
Which is all you can do.
I hope you are continuing to use your support system to express some of your pain and anxiety and get it out of your body. Keep practicing self care like it's your job. Inch by slow, painful inch, the pain will let out of you and you will feel better.
Fold123 (original poster member #83366) posted at 7:09 PM on Wednesday, July 12th, 2023
TheEnd: I so appreciate your encouragement. Thank you very much.
I know it is normal to feel all of these racing, wistful thoughts. We all just want, I am sure in some measure, to return to what we had and the stability, sense of family and home, comfort and security, it brought many of us. It is what I long for and crave. I don't want the new reality that has been forced on me because I cannot see any positives that will come from it. Maybe that will change over time. But I feel like I am being pushed towards this murky future I want to run from. Can't change what has transpired so there is no choice but to face it.
10 more days of being under the same roof. I both want it to be over with already because we are not talking and it is uncomfortable when we are both here, and dread it because it means the kids and I will leave soon and never ever come back, and we will never spend a night in the same home again as a family. The kids will never again experience going to sleep with both of their parents tucking them in and waking up with both of their parents there in the morning.
TheEnd ( member #72213) posted at 10:46 PM on Thursday, July 13th, 2023
Oh Fold, it's all so very devastating. I hear you and I feel you. You have lost so much in such a short time and in one of the worst ways. I don't have magic words for you but I want you to know that you have been heard and you are not alone.
You've been all action and lately your posts show more of your feelings. It's gut wrenching pain and loss. But even in your despair I see your strength. You are feeling it. You are expressing it. You are allowing yourself to mourn real time as this precious life you've built changes forever. It's hard to really feel our feels, but here you are doing just that.
Cry, rage, vent here. Whatever it takes to let out some of that pain. You're doing great.
Fold123 (original poster member #83366) posted at 6:08 PM on Saturday, July 15th, 2023
Kind and gentle advice again, TheEnd. Thank you.
I have leaned in more to the physical and logistical needs stemming from this dumpster fire: moving into a new house sight unseen when we informed we had to vacate the house we were in because of the investigation, and then two weeks later finding another house sight unseen across the country when he told me he didn’t want to try to reconcile. And then all else that needed attention: kids, doctors appointments, lawyer and divorce proceedings, finding new everything in our new city, job searching.
I of course have been emotional and pouring my heart out here, but it somehow just pooled and collected until I had a quiet moment or the kids were asleep when I could let it out. I am still crying daily, usually multiple times and feeling every emotion I can possibly identify.
WH continues the detached approach. He’s gone all day and we barely interact. Text when needed. He takes kids to swim or on errands on weekends so I get space. We try not to be in the house at the same time. Our moving truck comes Monday and he has decided to move into a hotel for next week. "It will be easier" he says, and when I said "Even after packing out there are enough places for all of us to sleep. This is the kids’ last week, don’t you want more time with them?" He just says he will come help put them to bed or take them out to dinner. He leaves in less than a week to drive my car across the country. It takes 4 days but he is taking 10 to stop and see a few people along the way. Again, could have an extra week with kids but nope, not doing it. He has no plans to see them in August and is visiting friends over Labor Day when he could have come see them before school starts. He says he is looking at late September to visit. So right off the bat will go 7-8 weeks without seeing them, by choice, when he is not currently working. Tell me again how good a dad you are?
Continue to somehow be scratching my head about who this person I married actually is. He is this clinical, uncaring, unemotional? He cares so little that he just wants to be away from me and the kids? He is this selfish and self centered to put his needs and wants before anybody else at any time? The disappointment somehow only continues to build.