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Posted By: may22 Still taking it a day at a time - 11/13/20 04:02 AM
Last thread: A day at a time

Recap: Very briefly, H had a two year long distance affair, came clean in January but very ambivalent, she might be the love of his life, blah blah blah. We're now a couple months into reconciliation attempt #3 (maybe 2.5, since I don't know if we should really count the trip we took in August when he was NC with AP as a reconciliation attempt-- more like a break from hostilities).

This time around does feel different in many ways. We got to the very edge of S/D. He found an apartment he really liked. We agreed in principle to the financial splits and custody (which he has still agreed to memorialize in a post-nup, but we haven't done yet). We were working on what to tell the children (D8 and D10, who have absolutely zero idea anything is wrong). Then, H said he got to the very precipice of D, needing to pull the trigger on the apartment, and realized he can't do it, he doesn't want to D.

He came clean with a number of final lies about their relationship, including the fact that he'd kept a box of memorabilia which he threw in the garbage in front of me. He said things I'd been waiting to hear for the past year, that he was choosing our M, he was making this decision of his own free will (said in the past he felt coerced as there had been some ultimatum-ish deadlines I'd laid out), he was going to actively work on getting over AP, could envision M2.0 with me, was going to show me by being loving, etc. He said he finally realized that his fantasy D situation (where we'd all be best friends) was never on offer, from either me or AP. It only existed in his head. He had a conversation with AP and is now NC and transparent (I have his passwords, etc.), and it has been that way for two months now. I do trust that he hasn't been in touch with her at all.

After that, he went through some big swings. He got a little manic and wanted to make some big purchases which I'm not comfortable with given where we are, though we did start a renovation of our MBR which he seems to think is symbolic of us restarting together. Then he reverted to a total a-hole, alien, angry and depressed version of himself for few weeks. He came out of that and started to really amp up the non-sexual PT (his LL) and acts of service (mine) which is weirding me out.

We don't talk about the R very much and I haven't been really interested in doing it or starting MC until I feel he's completely over the AP-- a boundary for me has been hearing anything about how he feels/felt about her as it makes me feel completely bonkers. This bothers him as he thinks I don't "see" him and understand what he was/is going through. (I feel like I don't need to hear anymore how hard it is for him. too bad, so sad it is hard for you to break up with your GD sidepiece.) I have learned through all of this that we have horrible to nonexistent boundaries between the two of us and he really needs/wants to dump all of his emotional processing onto me, which I'm not OK with any more. I also tend to let my anger and frustration out on him, which I'm trying to no longer do, but he is very sensitive to me even being quiet or withdrawn-- that seems to freak him out. We have talked recently about either carving out time each week to talk about the MR and where we are, or going back to MC. No actual decision on any of this yet.

Right now, he's frustrated that I can't tell him I trust him and believe him 100%. While he's made some progress in taking responsibility for his actions-- he no longer immediately leans on the SSM if it comes up, and if you ask him, he SAYS he's taking responsibility for what he did and is sorry-- but to me it seems shallow and not really enough. He has twisted himself into knots around what it means that he did this and if it was wholly bad then doesn't that mean he is just a bad person and unworthy of forgiveness, either forgiving himself or me forgiving him-- so keeps trying to justify his behavior in his head, mostly around the idea that I was the first one to mentally check out of the M through the SSM. I also have heard so much stuff from him about how much he loooooooved AP, plus the fact that we tried this before in the spring and after 3.5 months she called him up and he reverted immediately to wanting to leave again, that I'm not really feeling able quite yet to let my guard down and believe that she is really gone for good.

As for me, I have an enormous amount of anger, frustration, and sadness to process (which makes him feel uncomfortable). I have a ton of rage towards AP which I'm trying to let go of as I'd prefer not to let her take up any of my precious headspace. I also have a huge amount of anger towards H that I'm trying to process without letting it overwhelm me. Easier said than done, but where I am right now.

Why didn't I kick him to the curb when the PA came to light, or when he relapsed in the past, you might ask? To date, I have been unable to see myself as the one pulling the trigger on breaking up our marriage, even though I know he's the one who had the affair and I have really done all I could to save the M if it ended tomorrow. Five years from now, I want to know to my bones that I did all I could to save the M and give my children a two-parent household. I feel rage that H even put me in the position of needing to consider not waking up with my kids every morning and what that would be like, let alone actually living it. However, I want to get the post-nup signed and have promised myself that if he gets back in touch with her again, I'll immediately call my mom and my other best friend (one best friend already knows) and tell them what has happened. I feel that will start the momentum going enough to make it possible for me to kick him out, even though I'm absolutely terrified and sick about the effect it will have on the children.

I am scared to lean in and let myself trust that this is real this time, that she's really gone, he's really invested in the MR, and think I will feel this way until at least as much time as passed as did in the spring (3.5 months) before the relapse. He keeps saying that things are different this time-- we have total transparency which we didn't before, 100% NC which we didn't before, he is choosing the MR with his own free will rather than felt coerced as he did before, he looked at the reality of D and decided he doesn't want that rather than imagining how amazing it would be; he has let go of his fantasy D scenario, and finally FWIW he thinks she is also done with him given how long he d!cked her around, and the only chance he'd have with her, if one remained at all, would be he'd need to already be separated from me and in the D process. Personally I think that is a gross thing to tell your W but as those who have been following this thread know he has never minced words to spare my feelings. At least that *is* something I can lean on here.

So there we are. I don't consider us in piecing-- more like working through reconciliation.
Posted By: SamCal Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/13/20 04:41 AM
Q: why have you not signed the postnup yet? (no judgment - just can't tell if it's for a pragmatic reason or an emotional one)
Posted By: may22 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/13/20 08:46 AM
Originally Posted by SamCal
Q: why have you not signed the postnup yet? (no judgment - just can't tell if it's for a pragmatic reason or an emotional one)

Emotional. What I should have done is powered through and gotten it signed in that first week. Since then when we've talked about it he is clearly not excited about it. he's said it feels like we are planning to fail and that it will make to "too easy" to D if we get there. (To which I feel like... yes... that is part of the reason I want it signed so that I don't have to worry about any of the $hit in there. I didn't say that though.)

I'm partially worried that I got this bee in my bonnet about something I want and he doesn't, and that it will be our "transparency conversation" from the spring all over again, when I thought things were going well, pushed the convo, and he called her back three days later. That if I push this he might freak out and call her. And partially laziness, because by the time the kids go to bed and we clean up dinner etc the idea of sitting down and doing something heavy and difficult is not attractive to me. And, I wrote it, so there are definitely bargaining points in there he may push back on. IDK. It just isn't something I'm looking forward to doing, but I also feel like it is something I need signed for my own comfort. As much as I feel like we're not in piecing yet, negotiating a post-nup does very much feel like the opposite direction.
Posted By: may22 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/13/20 09:26 AM
Originally Posted by AlisonUK
But if we both told our stories about that time, they'd be different. H would use words like 'unfair' and 'not having my needs met' and those are true stories for him. And I'd use stories like 'feeding your ego' and 'you had other options' and 'you felt comfortably lying to me' and those are true stories for me. I don't think our stories will ever totally match, and I am not sure that is necessary for healing. He knows how much it hurt and why it hurt, and I think I do understand a bit of what was happening for him at the time and why it was linked to how he was experiencing our marriage at the time.

Well. This is super interesting and I've been chewing on it all day long. I would say we both understand each other's positions here just like you and your H...and now I'm wondering why I feel so strongly that he needs to be sorrier and stop the justification game. is it OK that we have different stories for what happened? I guess in my perfect world he would be able to say and own that his behavior was wholly unacceptable, full stop. it was wrong and cruel and he regrets it completely. Full stop. He can say this, but always tinged with the justification in the background.

And I'm not trying to minimize the effect of the SSM on him. Much of what he says is true about me withdrawing my love and affection for him in many ways. I understand why he was open to starting the A. I still don't think that makes it OK. It makes me think he was sad and lonely and totally ripe for the picking with a young and ego-feeding AP. But that still doesn't excuse it. I just don't understand why he thinks it does. Maybe I'm being too dogmatic on this one, though.

Originally Posted by AlisonUK
I wonder, May, if you need to accept that there are aspects of your experience - as a woman, as a mother, as a friend, in your professional and creative and spiritual life, and in your healing from this terrible wound - that he isn't going to understand because he isn't you. There's always a kind of existential privacy inside marriage, and I can't help but wonder if you are stuck because you are expecting him to understand your pain and anger in a way that just isn't possible. Maybe instead of asking him to get up close to it and really see it, your job is to get up close and see it very closely for yourself?

I think I push wanting him to understand what I've been through less for him to understand my experience and more for him to understand the gravity of what he's done. I feel like he keeps minimizing it, because it was a positive experience in some ways for him, it's over now, and it is deeply uncomfortable for him to feel that he did something to hurt me so traumatically. I feel like if he'd spend some time trying to sit in my shoes, maybe that is what it would take to get the breast-beating clothes-rending sorrow I'm waiting for? IDK. Other than that, I'm OK with him not fully understanding my experience-- as you say, he isn't me. Just as I honestly don't want to fully live in his brain and feel how he felt during his A. I think you're right in that my job now is to really look up close at my pain and anger and understand it for myself, regardless of how or whether H spends much time thinking about it at all or not.

Another thought I just had... I wonder if I think that if he moved on to thinking about how badly he hurt me, that would say something about him having gotten over thinking about her?

The ritual thing... I like that idea, a lot. I have been noodling a lot about not having had a real separation. I need to think about what that might look like for me, though. At the moment I'm working on some ritual to exorcise AP from my headspace. I really want to stop thinking about her at all.

I started a little ritual for myself but one that will take me a loooong time to get through. Maybe a year ago or so, we started playing the NYT crossword puzzle together online-- previously we were doing the Sunday paper version. And maybe in the spring we started doing every day in a compettion against each other (we still sometimes do Friday and Saturdays together, but we race the other days). I went back to when he met AP and started doing back puzzles from back then. I think I'm going to go through all the Mondays up until H and I started doing them together. And then Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, up until I've done every puzzle during their A. It feels like reclaiming those weeks, for me. When I open it up and see February 2018, and remember what we were doing then, and reconcile the fact that H was having an affair while I blithely went about my life... somehow I'm taking that week back, one day at a time.

Originally Posted by wooba
I have to say though, when I read the part were your H said "If you don't trust me, then ask me to leave" and "I'm not actively in love with her anymore".....I really just want to punch him in the face. what kinds of sh*t is that??

The man still wants a cookie, I think. UGH.

He says he understands why I don't trust him and it is fair given what he did... but then a few moments later he launches back into if I can't trust him then what are we doing? I have told him I need time, please chill out.

Originally Posted by AlisonUK
I think it is entirely understandable that you can't trust him right now. It is a sane decision. It doesn't seem to me that you are trying to manipulate, punish or control him. But you are accepting very clearly the fact he lied to you for an extended period of time, and after you found out about that, he decided to carry on lying to you for some more time. And as a result, you are unable to trust him.

He might have all kinds of feelings about that, but none of those are your problem.

You're right. NOT MY PROBLEM. I feel kind of like it is. But it really, truly, is all his work.

Originally Posted by AlisonUK
I think here the problem might be that he thinks you're in piecing or marriage 2.0 and is confused or annoyed that you are saying you want that, but acting otherwise. Is it that you're still waiting for something from him?

I think you may be right on this. But I don't feel like we're in piecing until I feel 100% secure that AP is out of the picture and his head, he's 100% committed to the MR and making it work, takes full responsibility without making justifications and is truly remorseful, like "I made a horrible mistake" kind of remorseful.

These may be totally unrealistic and unnecessary hoops. But, it is how I feel right now. Maybe I'll feel differently once I process my anger. I'm sure there is some level of anger seeping out in all of this. So I don't really feel ready to piece, quite yet. I've told him that, but he gets frustrated in that I'm "telling him how to feel" because I don't want to start working on M2.0 until he can tell me unequivocally he's over AP (and normally I can't resist throwing in some choice words about her, which I know doesn't help anything). I think I need to just lay off on that part. I don't think I need him to be embarrassed about her, just over her.

I need to think about IHS vs an extended reconciliation period and what that looks and feels like, different from what we have right now. I think it could be helpful to be more explicit about the rules of interaction, for now.
Posted By: Ginger1 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/13/20 12:17 PM
Originally Posted by may22
Originally Posted by SamCal
Q: why have you not signed the postnup yet? (no judgment - just can't tell if it's for a pragmatic reason or an emotional one)

Emotional. What I should have done is powered through and gotten it signed in that first week. Since then when we've talked about it he is clearly not excited about it. he's said it feels like we are planning to fail and that it will make to "too easy" to D if we get there. (To which I feel like... yes... that is part of the reason I want it signed so that I don't have to worry about any of the $hit in there. I didn't say that though.)

I'm partially worried that I got this bee in my bonnet about something I want and he doesn't, and that it will be our "transparency conversation" from the spring all over again, when I thought things were going well, pushed the convo, and he called her back three days later. That if I push this he might freak out and call her. And partially laziness, because by the time the kids go to bed and we clean up dinner etc the idea of sitting down and doing something heavy and difficult is not attractive to me. And, I wrote it, so there are definitely bargaining points in there he may push back on. IDK. It just isn't something I'm looking forward to doing, but I also feel like it is something I need signed for my own comfort. As much as I feel like we're not in piecing yet, negotiating a post-nup does very much feel like the opposite direction.


Itís not pushing anything. Itís enforcing your boundaries. You canít have jello boundaries based upon fear of how heís going to react to them. Then you have no boundaries or conditions upon his return to this marriage. He still rules, basically. He still calls the shots. You basically are just trying to keep him there. And what for if thatís the man heís going to be? And if he does contact OW?? Then he has answered a lot of questions of how committed he really is. If he is still the guy who is going to run to another woman or his affair partner when something comes up he doesnít like, is that the man you really want to be with?? How could you go on in a relationship afraid to be strong in your boundaries with the fear he might run to another woman when he doesnít get what he doesnít want or doesnít like something ?

This might come out kind of harsh, but the real strength is t in just letting him be there. Itís by letting him be there while not being so fearful of the outcome of honoring your boundaries and needs. Otherwise, will you really get to marriage 2.0?
Posted By: Ginger1 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/13/20 12:33 PM
I tried to edit to add.... I understand that fear. I enforced zero boundaries before I was married and when I was married to my ex. I was in my 20ís and fearful of him leaving. So I had no boundaries afraid he would go. And he did! With another woman! He did it without the boundaries getting everything he wanted and how he wanted it. He would have done it with the boundaries too, but I could have held on to my self respect. Held on to my value. Now that Iím 40, honoring myself, my respect, my values regardless of someone else might react is very important to me.

After getting cheated on the way I did, people are surprised I am not surprised of the same in my relationships. To me, if they are going to cheat if I donít donít try to control the situation that they donít the. I know they arenít the person for me and I do not want to be with that person. Iíd rather remain single than to compromise any of that anymore
Posted By: AlisonUK Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/13/20 12:35 PM
I agree with Ginger.

I think there's been a pattern for a long time of you doing things that you don't really feel that great about, or not doing things that are important to you, because either he pushes back at you and wears you down, or because you're afraid that if you stand your ground he will run back to OW.

If you have to make yourself small, dishonest and resentful in order to keep him, it isn't a marriage.

I also want to push back on you not being able to piece until and unless you know, 100% he is over AP. That isn't possible. You are never going to know that. You can look at his behaviour and his words (and like you, I wouldn't be happy with what I was hearing right now) and you can look inside and see if you can trust him or not. But it will always be an act of trust. You can ask for concrete actions - like transparency with his devices, and signing the post-nup - and his eager acceptance of that will go a long way to help, but it won't do the job. You will never ever get past this without having to trust his heart, and I understand why that isn't possible for you right now.

Have you told him that you will live with him and do some friendly co-parenting with the kids, but you are not yet ready to reconcile as his wife because you need more time? I think he thinks you're in piecing. There's so much murkiness here. And I also think you're afraid to be straight with him because if you said, 'I am not ready to work on a reconciliation with you because I don't trust you enough yet' then you think he's going to stop trying and run back to AP.

Maybe it would help to separate the two tasks ahead of you. One is your own healing and recovery and moving past his OW. That you have to do for your own sanity and health and happiness - and it might include forgiveness - whether you stay married or not. You don't need anything from him - he could go off and get married to OW and it is still possible and essential that you do this work.

The other task is your marriage. You have a right there to set boundaries and ask for some non-negotiables from him. But I don't think anything he does or doesn't do in your marriage is going to help you heal.

My IC explained it to me like this - there's you, who needs healing, there's him, that needs healing. You aren't his job, and he's not your job. Then there's the third thing, the marriage, and that needs enthusiastic work from two healthy (or reasonably healthy but also human!) people who agree most of the time on what the work should be and what the marriage is going to look like.

I think he's expecting you to do his work and you're still expecting him to do your work and you're nowhere near working on the marriage yet, but there's no clarity on that between you because you're still very emeshed and too afraid to let go of the dead broken marriage, be single (even if you live together) for a while and work on yourselves.
Posted By: Kind18 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/13/20 01:16 PM
I agree with Allison.

Thereís a disconnect in your positions here. He thinks youíre both piecing, but you arenít ready for that and have a lot of unresolved stuff to work through.

I think the kindest thing here is to be honest. While youíre in different head spaces there are different expectations, and when expectations arenít met - it leads to disagreements, arguing, resentment - and ultimately further breaks the marriage.

I donít know HOW you should go about this (perhaps ask some of the more experienced members on the board) but I think someone needs to flag that you are in different positions and have different expectations.

It will be a hard conversation, but it needs to happen. You canít keep responding from a place of fear.
Posted By: LH19 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/13/20 02:03 PM
May,

I am hesitant to post because I don't think you take kindly to my advice.

You have been since day one and continue to operate out of fear and that is not the place you want to operate from ever. I think you really need to dig deep and figure out why are holding on so tight to this man and this marriage. It's ok to say because your afraid to be alone and start all over with two young kids. Just be honest with yourself. Stop the narratives. You once tried to convince us affairs where good for the marriage. "I want to say I tried everything to keep my family together". That's a narrative that is not true. You haven't tried letting go. You haven't tried separating so you can both figure out what you want. You are so afraid to lose him to the OW that unfortunately that is what is probably going to happen. If not her then someone else because the precedent has been set. I am not even sure that your number one motive isn't you winning and he's the so called prize.

For him to be in a two year secret affair where he was madly in love and kept a love box, he has to either be a sociopath or had some extreme anger towards you. Then you guys want cohabitate during a pandemic allowing him to grieve his relationship while trying to rekindle things with you that have been gone for years??? Sounds impossible right? Because it is almost impossible. You need time and space to CHOOSE each other. Not for the kids, not so the OW doesn't get him but because you genuinely miss and want to be with one another. It's the only way it works out long term.

If you are going to continue to live together then just live. Take a break from books and IC. One thing you talk about is true he will eventually show his intentions with actions. Right now you are clinging to his words which you are smart enough to know mean jack $hit right now. You guys are in for a rough ride and I do not envy you. Trying to put things together in the middle of a pandemic, in your early 40s with winter and lockdowns on the horizon. Best of luck.
Posted By: may22 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/13/20 08:18 PM
GInger, Alison, Kind-- I don't know why I'm so reluctant to push the post-nup. I 100% agree it needs to happen, though for me it is dealing with the fear of him staying, not leaving-- that I missed an opportunity to get a favorable arrangement that won't be there in the future. That fear has abated somewhat in that he's still willing to sign it.

If I really think about it, and thinking about Scout's recent situation with Christmas, I think it is that some of the things I'm asking for and to which he has agreed, in principle, maybe are too slanted towards me. I think that the custody split is okay, even though I would get the children 6 nights out of 7, but I'm asking for a 50/50 lifetime split of his pension, which I wouldn't be entitled to under my state's laws absent a separate agreement. I spoke to two Ls about it. If we went to court, perhaps I could get 25%. We weren't married for the entirety of his time in the military, but we were dating when he was injured, he moved in with me afterwards, and I spent four years nursing him through all his surgeries. Anyway. Since the actual marriage certificate means so little to him, and if we were married on paper through all of that I would be entitled to more, I asked for half. We talked about it and he agreed. So maybe some of my reluctance is stemming from a feeling that I'm not being totally fair on this.... but then of course I'm not the one who cheated and lied and put us into a position of me wanting a postnup or needing to think about retiring with less assets or splitting custody of our children.

In any event, the three people IRL who know about this whole sad situation-- one of my best friends, my IC, and my executive coach-- are all very very set on me getting this done. So I just need to put on my big girl panties and do it. I'm thinking I might want to approach it less as a done deal that needs his signature and more as something we talk through together, even though we already did talk through most of it. His memory from that time is p!ss-poor and I wouldn't be surprised if he can't remember details.

And Ginger, thinking of it as a boundary-- something I need to protect myself-- helps me be more confident in making it happen. Thank you for this.

Originally Posted by AlisonUK
Have you told him that you will live with him and do some friendly co-parenting with the kids, but you are not yet ready to reconcile as his wife because you need more time? I think he thinks you're in piecing. There's so much murkiness here. And I also think you're afraid to be straight with him because if you said, 'I am not ready to work on a reconciliation with you because I don't trust you enough yet' then you think he's going to stop trying and run back to AP.

He doesn't have the language for the difference between piecing and where we are right now. I have told him explicitly I'm not ready to work on our M, whether it be MC or relaxing into happily planning for the future, trips next summer and new cars or whatever, until I feel secure that AP is out of the picture. He says she is. I say I don't believe that, at least not in his head. That is where we get stuck. I'm either dictating how he should feel or not trusting him and he doesn't like feeling that way. (And yes, I hear you that I'll never know 100%. I need to sit with that. It may be that not knowing 100% will not be enough for me and I'll need to be done. IDK at this point, I just know I'm not comfortable today, not being at 100%.)

here's where I am on it at the moment. I'm sorry he doesn't like feeling untrusted, and that I'm not all sunshine and rainbows. I think he would be perfectly happy to friendly co-parent with me. His idea is that we work on our relationship and our friendship and let the romance bloom from there. I'm not bought into this right now, because (a) I'm afraid to let myself get too comfortable with him in that role and (b) I absolutely refuse to sweep this all under the rug, and I don't see where in his timeline we deal with the hard stuff. Which he know we have to do.

Originally Posted by AlisonUK
My IC explained it to me like this - there's you, who needs healing, there's him, that needs healing. You aren't his job, and he's not your job. Then there's the third thing, the marriage, and that needs enthusiastic work from two healthy (or reasonably healthy but also human!) people who agree most of the time on what the work should be and what the marriage is going to look like.

My IC said the exact same thing. That right now he's processing his grief over ending the R with AP and wrestling with his identity and what it means that he cheated. I'm wrestling with my own grief and anger and loss. These are parallel processes that we really can't help each other out with. He can't get involved with mine because it is too difficult for him right now to see and support, because doing so means he needs to accept responsibility and it makes him feel too badly about himself to do that right now. I can't get involved in his grief processing because to me it is illegitimate and the fact that it exists feels like a dagger to me. (Yes, I know he has a right to this grief and all that. I just am not FEELING that right now.)

Maybe I share too much about the circles going on inside my head here. I'm questioning a lot. And my focus on the negative probably overshadows the day-to-day. In general, we are being friendly co-parents. We have stopped sleeping together, per my request, and he has respected that. (He told me one night he wanted to, and thought about initiating, then decided that was disrespectful and so did not.) We haven't fought since I posted last about it. The anger has subsided somewhat, but I know it lurks there and I need to keep processing it and doing so without letting it overwhelm me and take it out on him.

Ginger, LH-- I truly don't think I'm generally operating from a place of fear any more. I absolutely was, for a long time. This board helped me enormously through all of this, to let go of that fear little by little. When we returned from our trip and he said he wanted a D, that was truly it for me. I let go and was totally ready for him to be gone. I wanted him out.

I still am questioning whether or not I want him here. Little things come up that make me wistful, thinking of the life I had imagined on my own. While I was afraid before of being on my own, I'm not any more. I'm completely confident I would do just fine on my own navigating parenting, life, new loves, work-- whatever life throws at me. I'm a beautiful, Ivy-league-educated, successful, fun and funny person. I have great friends who care about me. I have a strong family network, even if they're far away, who will be there for me no matter what. My H is a ding-dong. AP might be 11 years younger than me but she's a shadow in every respect. She looks like a paler, plainer, dumber, washed-out version of me. She kissed his @ss all day long, and I don't and I won't.

In M2.0 (with H or someone else) I don't want to be a control freak anymore so that is something that I know I need to work on. Maybe a lot of what reads as me letting myself being walked over is me letting go and giving my H space to be a full partner, if he wants to and is able to function in that way. I don't know. But I have come to realize that while he's not totally correct that I ruled every aspect of our lives for most of our M, I did dictate much more than 50%. I think this contributed somewhat to the SSM also, in that I kind of viewed him as another person to manage rather than a partner. It is really uncomfortable for me to let go of control, and maybe I'm swinging too far in the other direction and getting pushed into things I don't want to do. I'm not sure.

I do love him, he is/was my best friend, but that doesn't mean I have to live my life with him or that I couldn't get over him. Ginger, you asked me if I'd have left him if it wasn't for the kids and the answer remains of course I would have left him. I could fall in love again. I just want to give my children the chance to have that person be their father.

LH, I did let go. He just didn't leave. I'm sorry if you don't believe me but I'm comfortable that there was a sea change in me, letting go, and that the fear left. My IC and I have talked a lot about it. The fear has been replaced by anger, now, which feels even more uncomfortable to me than fear. At this point, I kind of WANT him to leave if that is what is going to happen. I actually think some of my acting out in anger is partially to see if he will do it.

You are not wrong about me wanting to win. This is also something I've been working with my IC on. I have been very fortunate in my life and this whole thing hit me like a ton of bricks. I'm sure that a big chunk of my motivation for standing at first was drawn from that place. I'm exploring whether my animosity towards AP is rooted partially here. At this point, if he ran off with her, f him and it wouldn't bother me all that much. But the idea of her ever meeting my children still makes me want to poke her eyes out with a fork. So... not sure what that all means.

I want to be clear also that i was never trying to convince anyone that an affair makes a relationship stronger. That is garbage. H said that to me-- the A may be what saves our M- and that made me furious. However. That being said, I do believe in the power of post-traumatic growth. I also believe that perhaps it took something this big to shake me out of my SSM stage. You can't change the past. If we end up together and happy, was the A a necessary part of the path it took for us to get there? Could it have been handled differently? will it matter? it won't change what happened, and it won't change the fact that he was the kind of person who dealt with his unhappiness and anger by cheating. I believe that people can change for the better, and I believe in forgiveness. If I didn't think it was possible for us to build a better M out of the ashes of this one, I wouldn't still be here. And I know it is a long shot, given everything. But to me it is worth the try. For my kids if nothing else.

But I do take your advice-- and I think Alison's is on the same track-- try to work on my own stuff and just live. Zoom back up to the 30,000 foot view, relax, and stop trying to push the timeline faster than it needs to go. His process is out of my control anyway. All I can do is manage my own. And to the degree that i need to communicate that to him, like you say, Kind, maybe we do still need to set some regular opportunities to talk honestly about what is going on, whether modulated by an MC or on our own for now. But I do feel there is enough on my plate right now that I can just worry about me, and my biggest challenge will be doing that without being awful to H while I'm doing it.

And get that dang post-nup signed. smile
Posted By: LH19 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/13/20 08:34 PM
Ok May I will specifically ask the question. Why donít you temporarily separate right now to give each other space to process your emotions and heal?
Posted By: may22 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/13/20 10:18 PM
Originally Posted by LH19
Ok May I will specifically ask the question. Why donít you temporarily separate right now to give each other space to process your emotions and heal?

I can't see doing that to the kids. It feels selfish and throws a whole additional set of issues and difficulties into the pot, both for them and for me as a parent. I feel like I have enough to manage with my own feelings plus COVID. The kids are having a tough time with COVID related things right now (not being able to see friends/family) and honestly to add the fear of their parents separating and what that means feels overwhelming to me as a parent. Doable if necessary. Not worthwhile if not necessary.

It isn't like we are at each others' throats or weeping in the corners or anything. We mostly are fine. We do our own things during the day (WFH), he usually makes me breakfast and/or lunch, we sometimes eat together or sometimes I have to eat while still on a call or working. We make dinner together or trade off dinner and dishes. He makes us cocktails at 5. We trade off driving the kids to and from school. We work on the MBR renovation plans, picking tile and paint colors and all the rest. Some nights we watch TV together or some nights he watches TV and I read (or journal if I'm in an angry place). We talk about COVID and work and politics. We have gotten into some arguments late at night, average I'd say twice a week the last couple weeks, usually driven by something rude he says and I blow up because my anger is just beneath the surface. I'm getting a punching bag to put in the basement which I think will help me. H goes surfing every morning which gives him time to process and think on his own (and time for me on my own as well). He is encouraging me to find a similar outlet. It used to be yoga for me, but not being able to go to the studio-- it just isn't the same thing when I do it at home. So I'm thinking on this one.

We did talk in the beginning about possibly having H sleep in the basement. We decided not to pursue that for the same reason (not bringing up unnecessary fears for the kids-- my IC suggested telling them that it was because of H's snoring but folks here rightly said not to lie) but we always could do that if we decided it would be better. We also always could separate if we decide that is the right move. Nothing is off the table. But to the extent I can handle this without getting the children involved, I will.

And I know you are going to say they see more than you think, this is damaging for them to have two parents who aren't in love or whatever. I hear you, I am monitoring this very closely, and I feel quite confident that they are better off where they are right now than they would be if we separated. I am extremely confident in my parenting abilities and my knowledge of my own children. We have a very close relationship and I'm not worried about what they're seeing or hearing right now doing any damage to them.
Posted By: Ginger1 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/13/20 10:29 PM
I think the point is if you want a happy healthy 2 parent home in the long run, the very best chance you have of that is separating while you both heal. In the end, what will be better for them? Not right in this moment.
The end game is the most important.

From here, honestly, it looks like at best you can achieve a compare ting relationship under the same roof. Healing, regaining trust, understanding yourselves and healing from the pain trying to be done under the same roof whiling ďhiding itĒ from your kids,what percentage of that working towards a solid end game do you think there really is?

I honestly think you guys will keep playing the same game under the same roof and the outcome is almost inevitable. Iím sorry to be so honest.
Posted By: may22 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/13/20 10:58 PM
Ginger, I take your point. If it weren't for COVID, maybe I'd be leaning towards that too. Maybe we limp through the next year or two and then split up then-- but at least then I'll have all the regular outlets that simply aren't available to me right now. And the children will as well.

You may be absolutely right that I'm making this choice to live together right now based on short-term rather than long-term factors, but right now, I can't see adding the short-term stress of S to the COVID stress mix for any of us. I don't see the harm, though, to anything but our future MR in making that choice. And if that ends up being what happens, so be it. I don't think I'll regret my choice to live together for the reasons I'm making it down the line. Maybe I'm weak for not being able to combine parenting through S and COVID because it is the best chance my M has. I think I'm being realistic. But I will talk it over with my IC.

Also, yes, while we are avoiding having difficult conversations in front of the children and there are times when I am angry and need to go vent it off when they're awake and around, I'm not faking anything. When we're together as a family, we're happy. I'm happy. Kids are happy. H looks and acts happy. I can focus wholly on them and being a family and not think at all about all the other $hit. If feeling $hitty about H and our MR pervaded my entire life and I thought about it all day long-- wow, then absolutely, I would be gagging for some sort of S. It isn't like that. At least not right now.
Posted By: LH19 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/14/20 12:17 AM
Fair enough May tough times for sure even in the best marriages. So you know my thoughts on a reconciliation requirements. Based on your comments heís definitely not there right now. Like you say only time will tell what his true attentions are moving forward.
Posted By: Sage4 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/14/20 01:50 AM
Hi sweet May,

Again, your thread is chock full of so much wisdom and advice, it is really interesting and valuable to read.

I totally get the reasons why a S doesn't work for you right now. I personally believe it might be the easier path to M 2.0, but I understand that it is not the better choice for you as a family at the moment. It may be the more difficult path, but you strike me as a person who is not afraid of hard work, so I completely trust in your ability to navigate this. My point of view is preempted on you healing this M while living under the same roof.

To expand on some of the earlier advice, what would it look like if you made a spreadsheet of 'issues I have control over (ie me), issues I don't (ie H) and where we meet (the M)'. Compartmentalizing has been a huge help in detachment for me. It is a daily reminder of what I can control and what I can't. You have a lot of blurry lines right now, and I think if you were really honest with yourself (through a list like this), you will find those arenas where you are able to detach. I won't go into a list of what I see in your posts, other posters have pointed them out, but it might be a helpful exercise.

Something happened recently in my situation where I was confronted with an interaction with H that I was able to do a complete 180. (Thanks to detachment). I was a fly on the wall observing the interaction between us, while still being a participant in the interaction. I will go into more detail on my own thread, but the end result was an awareness of how my previous responses, though intended as being helpful, loving and supportive, were actually truncating H's ability to feel the whole spectrum of his own emotions (most of them bad) and therefore not allowing him to acknowledge, learn and heal himself.

Allowing a person to experience the full gamut of their emotions, their experience and their narrative, with little influence from yours is really the swiftest path to healing. And regardless of how much H has f*cked up, he still deserves to have his own feelings, his own process in all of this, separate from you and yours.

You are telling H how he should feel right now. Whether covertly (silently upset, angry), or overtly ('May won't be invested in M 2.0 until he feels differently about AP'). So his feelings are dominated by you. Which to his credit, amputates his ability to feel all the emotions within himself, learn from them and move on to the place he really wants to be (which I truly believe for him is M 2.0). You are unhappy with an inauthentic response from him, but at the same time you are setting him up for failure because deep down, his authentic response is antithesis to your needs. His authentic responses, feelings, growth are superseded by his desire to keep you happy, to keep you present and working on M 2.0.

This is why S work in these scenarios. But in the absence of a S, you are going to have to do the doubly-hard job of separated YOUR feelings from your desires of H's feelings that trend in your favor.

Which brings us back to the list. What can you control? What can't you control?

(((May)))
Posted By: may22 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/14/20 03:15 AM
Oh, Sage. How did you know I love spreadsheets and lists so much??? Now if I do this, can I assign probabilities and make a formula that will promise me this will all work out in the end? jk smile

Originally Posted by Sage
You have a lot of blurry lines right now, and I think if you were really honest with yourself (through a list like this), you will find those arenas where you are able to detach. I won't go into a list of what I see in your posts, other posters have pointed them out, but it might be a helpful exercise.

OK so to be sure I'm getting this right... I obviously need to detach in all the areas where I have no control. Stop wasting energy on that which is outside of my control?

I know I'm not detached. I can say that and *also* know I'd be OK if we split... but that doesn't stop me from feeling enraged and hurt and having a pit in my stomach when I think about my H and all the things he's done and said, to me and to her. And what he was ready to unleash on our children. Just... a lot of anger there, for something that is hard to grasp right now, since he actually is physically here and no longer in touch with her. How can I have this much anger and betrayal for something that isn't actually happening anymore? I guess that is why I'm focusing so much on what is in his heart. Because-- LH, you're right on-- he *isn't* ready to piece, even if he thinks he is.

Originally Posted by Sage
You are telling H how he should feel right now. Whether covertly (silently upset, angry), or overtly ('May won't be invested in M 2.0 until he feels differently about AP'). So his feelings are dominated by you. Which to his credit, amputates his ability to feel all the emotions within himself, learn from them and move on to the place he really wants to be (which I truly believe for him is M 2.0). You are unhappy with an inauthentic response from him, but at the same time you are setting him up for failure because deep down, his authentic response is antithesis to your needs. His authentic responses, feelings, growth are superseded by his desire to keep you happy, to keep you present and working on M 2.0.

Mmmmm. Truth. Yikes.

So now I'm getting back to the whole... keep DBing. Be Wayfarer. Detach and PMA and GAL so he can do his thing without being shackled by me. And find my own outlets for my rage and sadness. Like an IHS without the label? Which feels depressing at the moment. I feel like when I spend too much time thinking on all of this, where we are, where we aren't, the requirements to reconcile and not being there yet, his inadequate remorse, the ghost of AP who I still want to stab in the eyeballs, I get more and more angry and frustrated. Less zen. (so from a feelings perspective, this is when I let myself feel the feelings and be okay with that, not shove them down?)

H went to pick up the kids and they're getting dinner to bring home, and he keeps texting me cute photos of them. This is all so. GD. difficult.

xoxo I will work on that spreadsheet. Now I'm going to go indulge my rage while he's not here.
Posted By: Sage4 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/14/20 05:24 AM
Originally Posted by may22
OK so to be sure I'm getting this right... I obviously need to detach in all the areas where I have no control. Stop wasting energy on that which is outside of my control?


You got it, girl.

Originally Posted by may22
I know I'm not detached. I can say that and *also* know I'd be OK if we split...


I am not sure that these are mutually exclusive. I feel pretty clearly detached from H right now, but I am not sure I am completely OK with our situation or forever ending our M. Detachment for me has been categorizing what is in my control and what isn't and not overthinking, overanalyzing or internalizing those things which are out of my control. This has been a really, really hard process for me (scientist, type A, goal-achiever). But I feel more love and compassion for H than I have in a year, and yet I am the least attached I have been in year. I am still learning the words to describe what detachment means to me and I am sure it is different for everyone.

Originally Posted by may22
but that doesn't stop me from feeling enraged and hurt and having a pit in my stomach when I think about my H and all the things he's done and said, to me and to her. And what he was ready to unleash on our children. Just... a lot of anger there, for something that is hard to grasp right now, since he actually is physically here and no longer in touch with her. How can I have this much anger and betrayal for something that isn't actually happening anymore?


All totally normal and totally OK feelings. You are allowed to feel these things. You are justified to feel these things. These feelings are under your control.

I know earlier on in your sitch, people were worried about where in the world was The Angry May. That you didn't seem to have enough anger fueling you. We all have different arcs in the Kubler Ross grief process, so the fact that this anger is erupting now is just part of your path. Don't shove it down, ignore it or treat your anger as something to be avoided. Until you fully embrace that anger and sit with her awhile, listen to her narrative, really hear her out, she will have a lot of control. But you get to decide when you're ready to have a good old session with your girl Anger. Right now she may have a purpose and you may not be ready to sit with her. That's OK. Just make sure she stays in the right spreadsheet column.

Originally Posted by may22
So now I'm getting back to the whole... keep DBing. Be Wayfarer. Detach and PMA and GAL so he can do his thing without being shackled by me. And find my own outlets for my rage and sadness. Like an IHS without the label?


Hmm. This feels more of the same May to me. That you have to somehow subjugate your feelings or actions for him. What if you were to allow yourself to feel everything? Do whatever you GD please? Feel sh*tty one day and super happy the next? Practice being really authentic to yourself? Just while doing all this, take notice of what you can control and what you can't, and make sure your expectations stay in the correct column of the spreadsheet.

Alison is really inspirational with this kind of stuff right now. Her last post where H snapped at her trying to help him and how she recognized that she did what she could and wasn't going to take ownership of his negative headspace. She just shrugged and went to bed. Alison's H had his feelings, she had hers, they didn't match, meh, oh well. Everything stayed in the correct column.

But let's play this out in your situation.
Hypothetically, you wake up and H does something really nice for you.
But then, unbeknownst to H, you are triggered and you feel like you want to rage.
You were triggered.
You have a right to feel rage.
But H doesn't necessarily deserve your rage in that moment.
In his eyes, he was adding something to the M column.
He can't control that you were triggered in that very moment (your column).
He did do something very, very bad that is the root cause of the trigger (his column).
But you have decided that you want to try and stick this out and make this work (your column)
So you are going to go downstairs and punch your new bag for a few minutes until the endorphins kick in and you feel able to face the world again.

This will repeat and replay as long as it needs to. There is no timeline, there is no formula. One day you will wake up with less rage. One day you will notice that you laughed more in the past week than you did all year. One day you will truly feel deep in your soul that H's actions and emotions don't have the same power over you they once did.

Originally Posted by may22
Which feels depressing at the moment. I feel like when I spend too much time thinking on all of this, where we are, where we aren't, the requirements to reconcile and not being there yet, his inadequate remorse, the ghost of AP who I still want to stab in the eyeballs, I get more and more angry and frustrated. Less zen. (so from a feelings perspective, this is when I let myself feel the feelings and be okay with that, not shove them down?)


Take stock of how you label emotions. Like zen is good and depression is bad. That you are not further along in your process = bad and reconciling under certain conditions = good. What if you just took a huge deep breath and said to yourself 'bring it on' and let everything little thought and emotion come to you authentically.

(And then furiously write them down in their correct column)

You are on the precipice of some hard, amazing, soul-changing work, darling May. You are going to come out of this process an even more amazing person than you already are, if that is even possible.

(((May)))
Posted By: LH19 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/14/20 08:39 AM
May,

I think part of the problem is the person who cares the least about the relationship in in control of the relationship and you are having a hard to accepting that after everything he has done to you that he is the the one in control. I think that makes you really angry. Your H is detached right now either because he can take or leave the marriage or because he has zero fear of you ending it. Thatís the problem with ďreconciliationĒ without remorse. Right now he has zero incentive to put any effort into this marriage. That may change in the future but the real question will be what is the driving force behind the change?
Posted By: AlisonUK Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/14/20 09:27 AM
I think that is very very true. It also plays out in a sexual relationship - where the partner who has least interest in or desire for sex controls how much of it there is, when and of what type. As the HD partner, I know how much rage it is possible to feel about that (and under that rage, fear and helplessness).

But in some ways, I think your H, May is wanting you to feel all kinds of things you aren't feeling, and is unable to love you as you are - angry, untrusting, hurt, needing space for those feelings. He can't do it. And you can't love him as he is - selfish, arrogant, flawed, too fragile of ego to be able to countenance, truly, the hurt he's done, and still missing the times when he had someone in his life who admired him and didn't seem to see all those flaws. And instead of acceptance, he's working on you to get you to be in a state where he can feel like he can love you, and you're doing just the same to him, and it's still not a marriage - it's really no different to the ways you were working on each other over this trip away - you holding it over his head for good behaviour, and him working and working at working at you, always with the unspoken threat there was another woman in his life who'd behave nicely and tell him how constantly flawless he was if you couldn't or wouldn't.

It may be peaceful day to day, but it is incredibly toxic and while your kids may not know that now (and I doubt that, to be honest) then they will surely know it as they grow and this toxic dynamic continues, or it blows up in all of your faces some point this year or next, when you're not able to provide the ego stroking he still needs, or he's not able to provide the contrition you need.

Can you emotionally separate, if you are unwilling to physically separate? Can you just decide - in your head - he is not your husband any more? That he stopped being your husband the second he was unfaithful to you, and as yet, you have not reconciled or begun a new marriage? Can you accept that if he is not your husband he owes you no more fidelity or care taking or contrition than a civil stranger? I do think someone up thread said that all of this is based in expectations, and if you could just emotionally separate (better physically, but I accept that is something you are unwilling to try) and get rid of the expectations then I think you'd both have a bit more peace to go through your processes.
Posted By: Ginger1 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/14/20 11:23 AM
When I asked you a little over a week ago if you are really in love with him I asked because I figured if it was more about the kids , you can just agree on a coparenting relationship for now. Not working on your romantic relationship and have any expectations of eachother.

After reading alisons post, if you donít physically separate, separating mentally as husband and wife might be your best option. You both have expectations of eachother that none of you are even close to meeting. Neither are in a place to meet them. What he needs from you, you are not in a place to give and what you need from him, he is not in a place to give. I just erased my personal opinion on trusting your ex, itís pretty harsh, but I will tell you, I see why you donít trust him. Or are even close to trusting him.

Emotional separation sounds like the next best thing from physical separation. An agreement on peace in the home, no relationship talks, no expectations. Do your family thing. But as far as the two of you go? Emotional separation rather than the pressure of wanting what neither of you are even close to giving, could take some great pressure off and get rid of the rage. Keep your peace in your home, ( because as much as you think you hide it, if you are full of rage and anger towards your H, the kids feel it. They will remember it growing up. ) my dad tried to hide a lot from me in my home thinking I wouldnít see it . Well, I may have not so much in the time, but when I grew up, it all came back to me as I understood adult emotions. And it was damaging. Still is a bit damaging, quite honestly. But I know my dad was doing what he felt was right and best at the time .

Maybe give you and your H 3 months of peace. No R talks. No expectations. No anger. Just peace
Posted By: Mumin Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/14/20 05:13 PM
Great posts here.
Have you considered getting a shared apartment?
You could seperate physically all of the time or part of the time.
You wouldnít move the wardrobe and you wouldnít tell the kids.
ďTraveling for workĒ or whatever
Posted By: may22 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/14/20 06:45 PM
Hi all,

Thinking a lot and I do think that emotionally detaching is the way to go.

Originally Posted by LH19
Your H is detached right now either because he can take or leave the marriage or because he has zero fear of you ending it.

He has no fear of me ending it. That has been an issue all along. Before I found DB I made it crystal clear that breaking up the family was my bright white line, something I would never forgive him for and something I would obviously never do myself. I remember thinking once I started implementing DB strategies that this was going to be a pretty major challenge for me. Also, because I believe it-- it wasn't a strategy to keep him reeled in or anything. I was raised to think that divorce was not an option. FWIW, my H as well. Marriage is one thing but raising children is another, and to me, I made an unbreakable, sacred vow to my children when I had them, and giving them a two parent household has always been a part of that.

Over the last year, I've come to believe a few things about D that I didn't ever think I would -- one, that if that choice is taken away from me by my H leaving, I would handle and the kids would handle. We would all be okay. (Furious, maybe, but okay.) Two, that there are circumstances under which I could conceivably be the one to pull the trigger on S/D, if I believed it was in the best interests of my children to do so. This is why I've been monitoring their mental health and the family environment so heavily, because the moment I believe it to be toxic for them, I will pull that trigger. The anger I felt during this last cycle when my H finally said he wanted out and looked for an apartment was nearly overwhelming to me, and I wanted him OUT because I knew it wasn't good for the children for us to be under one roof. Anyway, I hear your concerns about the children. I'm very conscious of this and you guys are going to have to trust me on this one.

LH, not that it matters, but I do believe he wants the M. He has been very consistent on saying this since we started this last R attempt (unlike before), and points to his actions-- he's here, he never left, he is choosing this. I'm not worried that I've trapped him or the cage door is closed or anything like that, anymore. He can get up and go tomorrow, if that is what he wants. In a whole lot of ways that would make things easier for me.

Originally Posted by Alison
But in some ways, I think your H, May is wanting you to feel all kinds of things you aren't feeling, and is unable to love you as you are - angry, untrusting, hurt, needing space for those feelings. He can't do it. And you can't love him as he is - selfish, arrogant, flawed, too fragile of ego to be able to countenance, truly, the hurt he's done, and still missing the times when he had someone in his life who admired him and didn't seem to see all those flaws. And instead of acceptance, he's working on you to get you to be in a state where he can feel like he can love you, and you're doing just the same to him, and it's still not a marriage - it's really no different to the ways you were working on each other over this trip away - you holding it over his head for good behaviour, and him working and working at working at you, always with the unspoken threat there was another woman in his life who'd behave nicely and tell him how constantly flawless he was if you couldn't or wouldn't.

Truth.

Originally Posted by Alison
Can you emotionally separate, if you are unwilling to physically separate? Can you just decide - in your head - he is not your husband any more? That he stopped being your husband the second he was unfaithful to you, and as yet, you have not reconciled or begun a new marriage?

I think I can do this. I did this already in my head when we came back from the trip. When he went through that box of notes and mementos and threw them all away in front of me, I had this total eye-opening realization that our M *was* over and had been over since the A started. I just didn't know it. I looked at him and he was no longer my H but someone I'd been married to and someone who had had a full-fledged R with another person. In that moment I just felt acceptance and empathy, even, for both of them. (Maybe this is why that exercise stuck with me so much.)

In the months since then, I have gotten pretty angry (as you all know) about the fact that he did this thing and broke our M without even having the courtesy to tell me about it. But that feeling of our M being over does remain, the feeling that we are in the in-between. Me taking my ring off was a part of that, though I ended up putting it back on a month ago because of the workmen in our house. I do think back to that ritual idea of closure to our M is a good one, something though that is just between H and me, without AP in the picture. (I don't know that he needs to know about it necessarily-- it was just that the ritual we had was all about their R, making it real and then throwing it away, and I think I need something to exorcise her ghost from my brain, and to put our first M away.)

Originally Posted by Alison
Can you accept that if he is not your husband he owes you no more fidelity or care taking or contrition than a civil stranger?

Well, this one is harder. Not sure why. Think it must be part of still living under the same roof and no-one knowing about the situation. I'm not sure I can do this. No matter how much I try to pretend, he's not a civil stranger or a roommate. He's the father of my children and someone I've lived with for 16 years. This one might be outside my ability. Do you think this is a necessary part of emotional separation? Or are there degrees and still OK if I get three stars instead of four?

Originally Posted by Ginger
After reading alisons post, if you donít physically separate, separating mentally as husband and wife might be your best option. You both have expectations of each other that none of you are even close to meeting. Neither are in a place to meet them. What he needs from you, you are not in a place to give and what you need from him, he is not in a place to give.

This expectations part is very helpful. I have had this hesitancy around really embracing the anger, I think because it makes me look at him and not even like him. And then I feel like I have this window right now where my heart is bare and if only he would do XYZ, I could love him again and forgive him. But as time wears on and I work on processing these feelings alone, without him truly remorseful and supportive of my process, I will turn that off. I'll start walling off my heart again and stop caring that we have no emotional or physical intimacy. I was fine with that for seven years and I'm scared I'll be fine with that again.

How do I differentiate between dropping expectations and detaching and letting myself slide back into M1.0? Because as I think I've said before, if I was still M1.0 May, I'd have been delighted with my MR in the spring and probably now-- H doing all kinds of acts of service and not expecting anything of me physically, no PT, no uncomfortable displays of affection. I don't want to be satisfied with that any more, but I feel like that is what I'm signing up for if I detach completely.

And then my head goes to well, I can do this till D8 is 18 and then go live my life.... but I think the real solution is to stop having any expectations one way or the other, stop planning out all the future possible paths, and just be in the moment. Right?

The truth is, this is basically what H has asked for-- just being a family for awhile and letting things happen naturally between us. I've been very hesitant to do this, because I am gun shy about what happened in the spring, and I don't want to relax and let my guard down only to be burnt again. As long as I can hold onto my anger, I have the threads of my escape chute still ready to go. But something these posts has made me realize is that in the spring, I *did* have expectations. If I can manage to drop my expectations and detach my emotional state from whatever may or may not be happening inside his head, then I'll be fine no matter what.

Sage, writing it all out like you suggest will be very helpful for me and I appreciate the extra explanations.

Originally Posted by Sage
Hmm. This feels more of the same May to me. That you have to somehow subjugate your feelings or actions for him. What if you were to allow yourself to feel everything? Do whatever you GD please? Feel sh*tty one day and super happy the next? Practice being really authentic to yourself? Just while doing all this, take notice of what you can control and what you can't, and make sure your expectations stay in the correct column of the spreadsheet.

Yes, you're right, and even in typing it I felt defeated. I have spent some weeks throughout all this rigamarole in the doing and feeling whatever I GD please, and it felt good. That has somehow drifted away as I got more and more focused on my anger and how to channel it appropriately. I think anger is such a difficult emotion for me to handle it has kind of taken over all my bandwidth such that I'm now seeing it as a binary state, angry/not angry, even when the not angry feelings are positive and varied, they're all being lumped into the 'not angry' bucket (and somehow also make me feel like I'm not doing the work I need to do since I need to be angry, GD it, to process this baby and get through to the next step!!)

Originally Posted by Sage
Take stock of how you label emotions. Like zen is good and depression is bad. That you are not further along in your process = bad and reconciling under certain conditions = good. What if you just took a huge deep breath and said to yourself 'bring it on' and let everything little thought and emotion come to you authentically.

Hmmm. you're absolutely right that I do this. Dang, girl, you're breaking me down to the bare-bones framework of how I see and interact with the world. (And maybe my H has a point that I do see the world in black-and-white terms, at least in this arena-- I've never had trouble with all the shades of behavior in a work environment, never taken it personally, just dealt with what came at me and how to best manage various personalities up or down-- but somehow none of that applies in this realm.) Will need to spend some more time here.

I'm feeling much more comfortable that I have a direction to go, and work to do. Easier said than done, to be sure, but I've been able to make progress in the past around slippery boundaries and tiny control behaviors of my own towards my H simply by recognizing they exist and looking for them, so maybe I can now do the same thing around expectations and no longer expending emotional energy on that which I cannot control.

Mumin-- thanks for popping in! My kids are 8 and 10 and that would never work (plus D10 is completely freaked out by COVID and if either of us said we were traveling for anything she would have a total fit).

Thanks, everyone. xx
Posted By: LH19 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/14/20 08:12 PM
May,

Your beliefs put you in a tough spot because IMO for to people to be happy that have to have it out once in awhile and the other has to know that if you can not come to an acceptable agreement that you will walk and never look back. This is why IMO so many people are unhappy in their marriage. So based on your beliefs what stops him from cheating again?

Also, him being in the house is not an action. Itís convenient, we are in a pandemic and he could walk out tomorrow. Iím not saying he will I just think you might be grasping at straws. Again, time will tell.
Posted By: scout12 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/14/20 10:38 PM
Hi May. Been reading along.

Itís uncomfortable to think of myself as a victim of anything. I'm an oldest child, and if you believe in that stuff, oldest children are frequently the take charge type. We get stuff done, but we often don't know how to step back. I had to allow myself some compassion and let myself have an "I don't actually got this" moment. It's difficult for me to accept things being out of my control and messy. But it felt good to set Xís issues down and focus on cutting myself some slack for his poor choices. I mastered the art of the self hug; I deserved it.

But X tends to always think of himself as the victim. He's a youngest child, again, if you think that has any bearing on your tendencies. He's all chill, all the time. "Things happen. Not my fault." If I had a dollar for every time X said something was not his fault, well, I'd have stacks and stacks of cash. His fall back is that something is "not gonna work, not his fault, or not a problem." He resists taking any responsibility for his actions because he did not grow up seeing himself in any kind of control. Everyone did everything for him, and if life didn't work out, it became an easy story to tell himself. "Not my fault!"

A good MC will probably say (remembering that a MC wants to help fix your M, not heal infidelity or other blame games), "You need to let your H have a little control over the R by drawing more boundaries around what you will not tolerate rather than giving him a pass or doing everything yourself and being resentful. You need to be firm with your consequences when things are unacceptable. H, you need to actually step forward when she communicates her needs, step up and take charge. Or those consequences are going to sting."

This relates to infidelity in that if this is a problematic dynamic in the M, then it very likely continued during the cheating. The one partner (you) continues to step up. "I will not be a victim!" And tries to control the healing and the outcome. You go into fix it mode, even though you were the one abused! The other partner (H) resists seeing themselves as anything but the victim. "It was not my fault!" He takes the victim role, even though he hurt you with his actions! Those must be worn out roles at your house. Even after the cheating.

Now, if it's necessary, give yourself permission to take your own side, the side of "I am more important than this R, his happiness, and what other people think." If youíre hurt, put your consequences in place, and that is that. This means that you need to acknowledge that youíve been harmed, even victimized, so take care of yourself, first and foremost, and let other things go. Prioritise your needs--journal, sleep, do nothing, pamper yourself, stay quiet, do not instigate deep conversations, do not fix, hang out alone--and allow your H to figure out how to step up. He is capable. If he wants to fix something he breaks, it's on him. You must no longer worry about the outcome of your M. Be the person who cares the least.

If this is abuse (it is, in my mind) then what will you do? If you resist seeing yourself as a victim, you probably want to take charge and fix it. But you can't. You didn't break it. You'll most likely need to learn to step back and let yourself be sad, let yourself feel unlovable or whatever hurtful feelings you are trying to avoid with the fixing, correcting, and leading of your spouse. You need to learn to instead just watch your Hís reaction to your stepping back and nurture your own self. Then prepare your consequences if he does not do what it takes. That's all you have, your ability to pull back from an R as a consequence. You cannot make this right again by taking charge over it.

If you feel you deserve to think of yourself as a victim (because you are, by definition, as uncomfortable as that might make you feel), you probably feel powerless to change things and want validation and compassion. That may or may not come, and you can end up waiting a lifetime. Instead, you have to stop waiting for this recognition of the pain, stop waiting for someone to validate your feelings. You need to take your power back by validating your own worth and healing yourself. Your H cannot take what you won't give away. You cannot make things right by waiting for others to make it right. It is only what you believe about your own self that matters, and you have the power.

When we struggle after this abuse, what is our struggle? We realise that we can't fix this, control this, or guide the R. It just doesn't work. We have to love ourselves and do nothing but watch the other person. If they don't step up, we need to enact consequences that protect us. That's how we heal, by staying away from those who hurt us. We cannot seek validation and healing from the ones who hurt us because it will likely never come. We need to step up and love ourselves in the way we deserve by embracing power over our own thoughts and feelings.

I think Iíve recommended it before, but please check out the book 'Cheating in a Nutshell: What Adultery Does to the VictimĎ. Itís a good take.
Posted By: scout12 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/14/20 11:02 PM
Adding that I think I would benefit your H to reframe his adultery as abusive, as well, as uncomfortable as that would make him feel.
Posted By: may22 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/15/20 06:23 AM
Hi Scout,

Very interesting and thought-provoking.

I am also the eldest child (two younger brothers). I can completely identify with the need to take charge and fix things. This whole situation is the first in my life where I've felt at a real loss and had to accept that things are in fact out of my control. (Though I still struggle with this. It isn't like a one and done for me.)

It makes sense to me that your ex is a youngest child, too. Fits with his slick shedding of responsibility. But my H is also the eldest of three. Our middle siblings are both the responsible peacemakers and the youngest the spoiled babies. We have both always been the responsible, take charge ones. In fact, we've talked about it (prior to all this) being a source of strife in our M, both used to being in charge. Both of us have always been in charge outside of the sibling relationships too-- at work, on sports teams, etc. I think part of our competitive struggle dynamic in the M was due to this. H was the first BF I had who really challenged me.

Now... in our dynamic, it is less that he refuses to accept responsibility. He understands he made the choices he did and owns them. He just thinks he had really good reasons to do so and is not really willing to accept the fact that maybe those reasons weren't good enough to wreak the damage that he did. That maybe nothing could excuse his behavior-- not the SSM, not twu wuv. Nothing.

God, I have the hardest time seeing myself as a victim. Though yes, I am the victim of abuse. I'm especially angry about the times I didn't even realize what was happening. The times we were in MC and read the 5LL and me telling H, I get it now! I'm so sorry! And him saying... you don't get it, too little too late... and me not realizing that he was in a full-fledged A with another woman. There are thousands of those episodes and each time I revisit one, it stings. More than stings. F-ing hurts.

I have said to him his behavior was abusive, emotional abuse. He was VERY uncomfortable with this-- very quickly went to me being the emotionally abusive one by withdrawing my affection for seven years during the SSM. But I've said it enough that it is there. That an affair is by definition abusive. That the betrayer is by definition indulging in narcissistic behaviors. That the lying and breaking of the marital contract are wrong, wrong, wrong. He likes to dart into this "well, you're judging by your own moral standards.." and I won't have any of that. I don't give a F what anyone else thinks about M. We made an agreement, together. His moral code and mine were the same, when we married. He broke it. No one else's opinion matters.

(As an aside, I think part of his struggle is that he's thinking maybe to justify his behavior he needs to throw that whole moral code away and find a new one that fits with his behavior and no longer makes it wrong. That people weren't meant to be married for life. That he isn't the person he was when we met and neither am I. That marriage is a 20th century construction. It is actually kind of sad to watch him go through these mental gyrations.)

I'm having a hard time letting go, inhabiting the victim role, understanding that this was not under my control and neither is what happens next, on his side.

How can I be the person that cares the least? I can be the person who doesn't give a $hit about him. But I can't not care about my kids. But I so so so am not okay with waking up in the morning with my children spending the night elsewhere. God. You wrote how you dropped to your knees and begged your H not to take your son away. I did the same thing. The thought of losing them, once I finally understood (even before I knew about the A, just knew he was thinking about D) nearly broke me. I thought I would die.

What you say has a lot of power and truth to me. The other side of stopping caring about where H's head is-- detachment-- is pouring that energy into myself. I'm so not used to that. I've been getting there, little by little, I think. But still a ways to go.

Thanks, Scout. xx M
Posted By: Mumin Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/15/20 07:35 AM
May are you in IC?
Posted By: scout12 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/15/20 08:37 AM
I get it, May. When you look at it as a nebulous concept, losing time with your children feels absolutely impossible. But then you define it, and you start to rationalise how to live with it. And looking at it rationallyó would I wring my hands if my son had a weekly sleepover with his grandparents? Or with friends? Or even with his father if we were all under the one roof? Honestly, I wouldnít, and neither would you with your girls.

That being said, Iíd struggle with a 50/50 arrangement. My parallel parenting situation and my personal beliefs about early child development do not align with the concept of equal shared custody. Iím fortunate that I still get to see my kid every day, even if he doesnít sleep at home with me. But if I didnít, it would still be okay. I would make it okay so that he never had to feel any guilt or discomfort or responsibility for wanting to spend time with his dad.

Maybe it would alleviate some of your fears to play around with some custody calculators/calendars online and visualise potential schedules. A lot of them have examples of standard schedules for 80/20, 70/30, 60/40 etc share time. I found that plotting out some different options helped me put things in perspective. You can figure out what your comfort levels are with various arrangements and what you might be able to do with your free time.

A year ago, Iíd have cried at the thought of a 70/30 schedule, but now Iím the one suggesting it. 30% is considered substantial and significant time for a three-year old by the court, and he deserves to have that time with his dad, regardless of the circumstances of our divorce. Youíve said all along that your girls have a caring and involved father. When you put your feelings aside, I know youíd do it for them, because they deserve it.

Doesnít mean it wouldnít be terribly, terribly hard. (((May)))
Posted By: may22 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/15/20 08:44 PM
Originally Posted by Mumin
May are you in IC?

Yes.

Scout, I don't know that I want to go down that route right now. If you remember, I did that in June/July and it completely took the wind out of my sails and broke me. Confronting just how much I do not want any sort of shared custody scenario, as important as I know that would be for the girls, makes me feel physically sick. When I spent time here in the summer, the result was that I went back to feeling defeated and powerless. I'd rather cross this bridge when/if I need to deal with it, so that I can hang onto that tiny shred of belief that I could walk out of the M and trigger these things if I needed to. If I need to live with it, I can figure out how. Right now, I think spending too much time there doesn't help me see it will be okay. It actually does the opposite for me. It drains me of my power.

I bought and am reading the book you recommended. It is not making me feel hopeful at all.

After a day of thinking of all these things and trying to just focus on that which I can control, I ended up blowing up at H last night after the children went to bed and asking him to leave. He refused. He's here, the affair is in the past, he wants to make this work between us.

I don't know. I'm hoping that was my last need to pour out these feelings onto him. I've said everything I want to say to him. Anything else would just be a repeat. Hoping that now I can buckle down and work on detaching and focusing on what I need.
Posted By: scout12 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/15/20 10:04 PM
Oh no, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to set you on a negative path.

Have you thought further about pulling the trigger on the post-nup, then, as a way to take the pressure off? You havenít missed the boat on that opportunity yet, but I worry that H has less to fear as time goes on, and more time to think about what he wants and how to get it. If he is truly remorseful, he will understand that is an exercise in building trust, not a threat.

Just gently, asking H to leave won't work because you cannot control that outcome. He's made it clear he won't leave. Therefore if you truly desire a physical separation, as much as you don't want to own that responsibility, you will have to be the one to leave. Not sure if you were just venting at H or if it was a serious demand, though (one that you have every right to make).

Have you put up your Christmas tree yet? That could be a fun distraction. Never fails to lift my spirits.

(((May)))
Posted By: LH19 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/15/20 10:31 PM
May,

Breathe.

Try to just live and enjoy the holidays. You have to have infinite patience in this rat race.
Posted By: may22 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/15/20 10:32 PM
Originally Posted by scout12
Oh no, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to set you on a negative path.

Just gently, asking H to leave won't work because you cannot control that outcome. He's made it clear he won't leave. Therefore if you truly desire a physical separation, as much as you don't want to own that responsibility, you will have to be the one to leave. Not sure if you were just venting at H or if it was a serious demand, though (one that you have every right to make).

Have you put up your Christmas tree yet? That could be a fun distraction. Never fails to lift my spirits.

(((May)))

Oh no, it's okay. For whatever reason the kid part is the one thing I can't handle. What you suggest has actually worked for me in every other aspect of S/D-- talking to Ls, thinking about what I'd say to my parents and friends, figuring out the finances, being okay with being single again, being okay with living on my own and how I'd handle the dumb stuff he usually does-- I went through a similar practice with all of those aspects, and it ended up dispelling the fear and was empowering. in fact, I have started to do more and more of the things I would have previously asked him to do around the house because... f it, who needs him? Every time I haul out the garbage or just take care of something myself, I feel a tiny bit stronger. It is just that this doesn't work for me in thinking about the children and I think at this point better to wait until I decide it needs to happen or he leaves on his own than let the thought of it potentially happening crush me.

You're right about asking him to leave. It was really probably more venting than anything else, and also trying to make it clear to him and maybe a bit to myself that I'm not holding him here. He's here because he chooses to be here. As am I. I just need to stop thinking that there is anything I can do to fast-forward myself through all the garbage in front of me, H or no H, and that M2.0 is, right now, just a mirage in the distance and getting there is not up to me alone.

I really need to sit down and focus on being okay with controlling only what I can control. I started Sage's spreadsheet and while I know there's a point in the future where I'll feel empowered by focusing on me, right now it just feels defeating to accept that there is absolutely nothing I can do about what a f-er my H is. That I chose to marry and have children with a person who is a liar and a cheater. In the book you recommended, it talks about people who say infidelity is wrong being branded as the moral police or too "black and white", both of which I've gotten from my H-- but that cheating is morally wrong in every philosophical line of thinking. I read an article even about utilitarianism that breaks it down and cheating is only okay in the rarest of circumstances. Esther Perel even says that infidelity is the only sin bad enough to make it into two commandments, not just one. And yet it happens all the time. Are all these cheaters sociopaths? narcissists? What is wrong with people? What was wrong with me that I chose someone capable of this to father my children?

Anyway. A long time ago you recommended I get a punching bag. It came last night and I set it up and punched the cr@p out of it today. Super fun and felt great, kids had a ball with it too. There is something supremely satisfying about the physicality of it-- it feels more relieving than journaling, which so far has more like fanned the flames rather than get me to any relief. So thank you for that smile
Posted By: may22 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/15/20 10:33 PM
Originally Posted by LH19
May,

Breathe.

Try to just live and enjoy the holidays. You have to have infinite patience in this rat race.

Thanks, LH. Patience is not my strong suit but I guess one silver lining to all of this is that I'm getting better at it by necessity smile
Posted By: AlisonUK Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/16/20 11:17 AM
Quote
And yet it happens all the time. Are all these cheaters sociopaths? narcissists? What is wrong with people? What was wrong with me that I chose someone capable of this to father my children?


This is the heart of it, isn't it May? I am sure sociopaths and narcissists exist, and I am also sure that many normal people - including you and me - have various personality traits that fall on this spectrum. You chose a human capable of human things to father your children. Someone as imperfect as you. And you don't have to accept those imperfections, and you don't have to stay married to him. But I do think you need to accept that you have no control over him, his healing process, or the past. He will always have done this. That's the work, and it totally stinks and you didn't choose to have to do it. And that stinks too.

Perhaps accepting that will make you feel defeated. Perhaps after a while it will also release you from all the efforts you are making, still, to control or fix or heal your husband or make the past better than it was, or protect your children from having normal humans as parents and perhaps being in the huge number of children who have human divorced parents and who thrive.

I hope this is taken in the right way, but nobody wants to bring their children up in the context of infidelity and divorce but lots of people do and those children are okay. Unless your husband really is a sociopath - and if you think he is, then you're wrong to be in the house with him and your children so I don't believe you really think that - nobody goes into marriage planning to cheat, or planning a SMM, or planning any of the other things that go wrong for all of us. And yet this is what happens. It is common - really common. Why shouldn't it happen to you and your husband when marriage breakdowns happen to half of people who get married?

When you talk about a sacred vow to your children, sometimes it really does come across that you can give your children the happy home you were hoping for by sheer willpower. You can't possibly make a vow that involves the freedom of someone else. You vow to be there for them and to do what is right for them, and you hope your H will do the same. That's all. When you insist you see no signs of your children being affected by what is happening in your household - well - I am sorry to say this and I know it might sound hard (and I mean it in the spirit of wanting to help, not hurt) - but you saw no signs of your husband being in love with someone else for two years either.

I don't think you need to be super human, perfect, or fix this. I do think if you can get past the idea that to accept the reality of the situation is to be defeated, you will stop working on the things that you can't control, and have loads and loads more energy to either work on your marriage, or a happy single life. Maybe if you thought about what you can control, and put all your energies into that, then the defeated feeling will go away?
Posted By: may22 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/16/20 06:24 PM
Hi Alison,

I know I'm such a slow learner on the dropping of control thing. I am trying to figure out if in previous iterations I did actually accept zero control and then it snuck back in? Or if it was all just an illusion?

I think, putting myself in my shoes from back in September, that I did really have that flash of understanding, the A made real, him walking out was actually happening, and none of it was up to me. It was freeing, really, to have this glimpse at the life in front of me, on my own, not needing to deal with H's BS anymore. And the rage that must have been there all along just roared into life and has been simmering ever since.

I think if he had left, the control part, continuing to let go, would have been much easier. He threw me off when he decided to stay.

Originally Posted by AlisonUK
This is the heart of it, isn't it May? I am sure sociopaths and narcissists exist, and I am also sure that many normal people - including you and me - have various personality traits that fall on this spectrum. You chose a human capable of human things to father your children. Someone as imperfect as you. And you don't have to accept those imperfections, and you don't have to stay married to him. But I do think you need to accept that you have no control over him, his healing process, or the past. He will always have done this. That's the work, and it totally stinks and you didn't choose to have to do it. And that stinks too.


I don't think he is a sociopath (though reading Scout's post-affair book has me thinking that all cheaters are sociopathic narcissists, incapable of being in a healthy relationship). I think I'm just finally working through a lot of stuff about myself and my expectations for my life. I don't think I'll feel defeated for too long... at least I hope not.

As an aside, in retrospect, I totally saw signs of my H being in love with another woman. He turned into a resentful alien @ss and did everything he could to push me to ditch him. It was just that cheating was so outside of my worldview that it never occurred to me that could really be what was happening. I actually asked him a whole bunch of times if there was another woman and he always said no. (With a good dose of gaslighting for sport.) I read enough about ILYB to learn that 99 percent of the time, there is another person involved, especially if the WS is a man. For a while I actually toyed with the idea that he was gay/in the closet and was having a long-distance affair with a gay friend who he was working on a project with and talking to a LOT. (I told him this when he finally told me of the existence of AP but in the mildest of terms and he took that as "this is how little you know me," but I had been so focused on seeing him as an honest person that it was the only thing I could think of that he'd lie about.) Anyway, I felt so vindicated through all the lies and gaslighting I honestly think the very first words out of my mouth weren't I hate you or how could you-- it was "I *knew* it!!!"

And one enormous benefit to DB for me has been learning to practice validation on my kids. I have a way closer and more intimate relationship with them now then I have in the past. I feel like they're getting to know me as May, not just Mommy, in these conversations, and I'm learning so much more about their inner worlds. I have read a ton about child psychology and communication and D. So hopefully I'm more prepared in supporting my kids through all of this and observing their psychological states than I was with my H.

Originally Posted by AlisonUK
I do think if you can get past the idea that to accept the reality of the situation is to be defeated, you will stop working on the things that you can't control, and have loads and loads more energy to either work on your marriage, or a happy single life. Maybe if you thought about what you can control, and put all your energies into that, then the defeated feeling will go away?

Yes, I think I'm on the path to that place. Not trying to force anything. I think sitting in the defeated feeling isn't a bad thing for me-- it helps cement the letting go of control. I feel like if I immediately launch into my next set of projects, it perpetuates the illusion of control... and, I think, I still need practice in identifying that which is outside of my control. I'm OK to be here for a bit. I feel rather peaceful about it today.

Yesterday, H went on a hike in the morning and I hung out with the children. They made a restaurant for me with menus and place settings and cooked me my lunch to order. We set up the punching bag and had a ball. I left with the kids right around the time H was returning from his hike and took the kids to meet up with a friend and her children at the beach (H I could tell was a bit disappointed not to be invited, but we said "girls only" and he went home and mowed the lawn, so we all won).

I was quiet and tired when we got home, and let H make dinner, clean up, watched a TV show I liked and then got a full eight hours' of sleep-- this morning H closed the bedroom door to let me sleep in and got the children ready for school, breakfast and lunches made. (I normally take care of this.) I do think having a good nights' sleep helps a lot of things.

But in any case... thank you, I think I'm moving in the right direction. I don't know that I would call it defeated how I feel this morning, maybe just that it is okay to let go, okay to be sad. Just okay.
Posted By: AlisonUK Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/16/20 06:44 PM
I'm so glad you aren't feeling defeated any more. I think us control freaks (well, I think I'm probably a lot worse than you in that direction!) have to hit that kind of despairing rock bottom before we just quit. And I don't know if I've ever learned to surrender, I just have to work on letting go of what is not mine and start from scratch every morning.
Posted By: Eagle3 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/17/20 12:39 PM
Hi May22,

FYI, I just read your story, not completely yet, only this last thread and I'm a bit shaken up. So strange to read this.
BD was the same month as mine, the things you mentioned in your recap part, so recognizable.

Think this is the story most comparable to mine currently.

Will soon make more time to read your entire story.
Posted By: may22 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/17/20 11:30 PM
Originally Posted by scout12
Have you put up your Christmas tree yet? That could be a fun distraction. Never fails to lift my spirits.

Just today I realized that Thanksgiving is actually next week and Christmas is right around the corner. (When you wrote this I was thinking it was too early to think about this yet and now I'm realizing it isn't.)

The Christmas tree... last year I boxed up all of H's family ornaments separately and put a letter inside to him, basically saying... I don't remember what exactly, but that I was sorry things had happened the way they did and I'd always care about him. I remember choosing not to use the word "love". I really thought that one way or another things would be settled by this time... either we'd be S (and who knows if he'd set up a tree or not, but if he did, the letter would be out of my hands and in his) or we'd be together and the letter would be meaningless. I don't really recall if I had any expectations around what would happen if we were still together. I think at that point I didn't imagine that as a scenario, really, except that the letter wouldn't be needed. Writing it gave me a bit of closure. (Hey, see how these little rituals work for me?) I guess I imagined either I'd pull it and trash it or we'd look at it together and be glad for what didn't happen.

Now it feels a bit like a ticking time bomb. I think I should pull it before he sees it. Its existence, and the very fact that his stuff is boxed separately, is making me feel vaguely depressed about decorating for Christmas-- mostly because I feel like the smart thing to do is box his stuff up separately again at the end of this season, and then how long am I going to feel the need to do that?

I know. Thinking too far ahead again. At least all of this is wholly under my control-- when I decide I want to pull out the decorations, whether or not I pull the letter, whether or not he even clues into the fact his stuff is in a separate box, how I choose to box stuff up afterwards. And, nothing needs to be decided today.

He's been kind and solicitous the last couple of days. Back to more PT (which I still don't really know how to process so don't really respond, but I don't pull away either) and acts of service. Today he made me lunch, we ate together and in conversation a past trip to my hometown came up. We were trying to figure out when it was, me trying to place it in the timeline of the A (because I remember him being a jerk). Turns out summer 2018, full-on A, me knowing nothing but the fact that he had turned into a total @ss.

I didn't say anything about it but I know I got quiet. He hugged me and said, I wish when this comes up that you could think of the good parts of that trip, not the other stuff. I said, something that has really stuck with me that you told me was that she really hated it when we went on these family trips. It bothers me that she thought she had the right to feel that way and that it mattered to you.

He said, it didn't matter enough for me not to go. And, we did have fun on those trips. Her existence doesn't negate all the positive things between you and I during that time. And, I can't do anything about it. It is in the past. I said, I know. I get it. This is just a process for me. Also, you were a jerk on that trip. He said okay, he was sorry, then when I got up to do the lunch dishes he hugged me and took them away and said he'd take care of them. (Also he folded all the kid laundry which is my least favorite chore and his too. I'm going to take a page from Sage's thread and wooba and WF's advice there and move this particular task on to the children. They are absolutely old enough to fold their own laundry!!)

He's still minimizing, but whatever. For me, I'm glad that I was able to control my own emotions, talk calmly, tell him something that mattered to me rather than keep it inside, and walk away feeling a bit sad but not overwhelmed. I can only control me, and I think I did okay.

Eagle-- I know I read your thread previously, I'll re-read it. Hugs to you!
Posted By: LH19 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/18/20 01:59 PM
Originally Posted by may22
As always, thank you for sharing where you are and how you're feeling. I always feel calmer and more centered with I read your updates.

So I brought this quote that you posted on IWs thread to yours to comment on.

So I think you feel calmer when your reading IWs thread because he is not trying to control the outcome. He is living his life and letting the chips fall where they lie. You don't see him having angry outbursts with his wife asking her to leave. Is he hurting and scared? Absolutely! But he understands he can't control the situation.

IMO that's where you need to be in order to reconcile or be in in house separation with an unremorseful spouse. This is where you struggle May because you want reality to be different that it is right now. For beautiful, Ivy League educated May who is use to being in control it is a bitter pill to swallow. You have to eat $hit sandwiches for breakfast lunch and dinner. Let's face it no one wants to eat $hit sandwiches especially after the h&ll he has put you and your family through.

If you do not have forgiveness and lots of it you are best off cutting your losses now while you are still young. I have a friend whose W cheated 17 years ago and he still hasn't gotten over it and is planning on leaving. He says the biggest mistake he ever made was taking her back. She continues to lie and probably cheat on him. He said she never showed remorse and he was unable to forgive.

Lastly May I think you are a lot like me and another area I think you will struggle with is even if you reconcile is that your husband will never catch up. You have done tons of work on growth, understanding relationships etc. that you are not going to want to be with someone so far behind you. I have dated many women since my D looking for my equal. My ex is dating the first guy interested in her after D who has zero substance and appears to be her handy man.

I get the saving the family for the kids thing I really do and understand why you are doing it. Just think of IW and accept where you are at right now, understand you have no control right now and find the secret sauce that makes the $hit sandwiches tolerable. Like IW's story yours will eventually play out too. You have chosen the road less traveled so do your best to enjoy the journey.
Posted By: may22 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/18/20 07:17 PM
LH, I know you are right. Knowing and doing are a bit different, though, but I'm trying.

Now I see why it is easier if you're S and I know it would have been easier if he had left. But I chose this path and you're correct. The sooner I can let go, the better for me and my kids.

Here are some things that are helping me right now on this path:
- the punching bag. I'm really sore smile (thanks Scout!) I also have a few little physical rituals I do if I feel the anger cropping up in me towards AP, which I'd really like to jettison because I don't think she's worth the headspace she's been occupying, including taking a deep breath and blowing her away. I know that sounds weird but it helps.

- i am going to step up my workout routine and dedicate some time to this, and yoga again. I feel very fortunate that I have the ability to do this right now and that my children are in in-person school (sorry, Sage... I am feeling so deeply for you, and decided that it was wrong of me to have this situation right now and not be grateful for it), so want to take advantage of this opportunity to get back on track.

- for whatever reason, the "you only control how you play" Stoic video speaks to me in a way that nothing else has. I get it. Somehow the sports lens helps me. I am repeating this to myself every day.

- Alison saying that she has to work on letting go of what is not hers from scratch every morning, and IW saying he makes the decision to stand anew every day... wow. Reading both of those statements and letting them sink in over time has started to really transform how I look at myself, this challenge to let go, how hard it is, my imperfect abilities, the scratching/clawing control freak inside of me wanting to take charge and move past all this nonsense... that is all okay. I don't have to be perfect at letting go. It doesn't need to be total enlightenment or bust. And I will probably be someone who also has to wake up every morning and reset. That's okay.

Wayfarer's inspiring example and her hard truths from the other side and all the things inside my H I wish were different and simply aren't mine to worry about... Alison's help with boundaries and pushing me to see where I still am trying for control... Sage's spreadsheets and gentle 2x4s about not naming feelings as bad or good... leaving my old roadmap behind and drawing a new one (thanks Sage and SamCal) and Yail consistently reminding me to take the 30,000 foot view... all these things have helped me and continue to help me on this path. Blu's truly sanity-saving posts to me from the very beginning. And so many others who have posted on my thread, helped me and made me think (wooba, Pommy, LH, Steve, CW, Ginger, Scout, IW, unchien, Kristin, so many other kind and generous souls...) thank you. I think I'm moving forward and letting go.

The anger is still there but much less acute when it flares up, and within my control. I feel calmer. Not defeated. Just calm.

Forgiveness-- do I have it in me to forgive? I believe I do, but I don't really want to focus on that right now. I'll get there when I get there.

Thanks, everyone. I know it has been a painful process watching me, and I know it isn't over... but I am sensing a sea change inside of me. It is freeing. I physically feel less tension in my body. Here's to doing this again tomorrow morning, and the next morning, and the next.

xx M
Posted By: AlisonUK Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/18/20 08:02 PM
Sometimes, I can't even do it for a whole day, so I just work on it in ten minute chunks. And when I mess it up, each minute is a new start.
Posted By: LH19 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/19/20 07:20 PM
Originally Posted by may22
I guess it is a moral thing for me. Again, I'm not religious, but I had never seen divorce as an option and have only slowly come around to it from constant pressure on this board, which is weird as a "divorce busting" board but that is neither here nor there. I feel strongly about giving children, if you choose to have them, the best possible environment and for me, that would mean parents who are married to each other, to the extent that is under your control. I know plenty of people who have kids together and aren't married. That is their choice and I don't judge. It just isn't what I had always imagined for my own life.


I brought this over to your thread as to not hijack Wolf's. Who is pressure you to divorce? I am not sure I read anyone tell you to divorce your H. I suggested a separation to give yourself space from one another to process your emotions. I have also suggested to you that you guys agree to stay together for the kids and not pressure yourself into a relationship I don't think either of you want right now. Lastly, I don't think any of us imagined being on this site and or being divorced. Sometimes things don't work out like you plan.
Posted By: may22 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/19/20 08:43 PM
Hi LH,

I don't feel like anyone is pressuring me to D right now. Earlier on in my sitch I did feel this way, like in January and June.

Also, to me-- less now, but especially back then-- I didn't see a difference in S and D, particularly in its impact on the children and on our lives. The marriage certificate is just a piece of paper (though financially it is probably better for me to stay M on paper if we were to split.) It is how we live our lives that matters. Obviously, my H has violated this in an extreme way. I was, and am, still not prepared to do it.

It's okay though-- I think it has been helpful for me to stretch my own beliefs, and let go of that which is outside of my control. I definitely feel far more empowered now to be on my own if it comes to that than I did before I came to this board, and less frightened of what D would mean for the kids. All good things for me. I'm grateful for all the different perspectives.

I spoke with my IC yesterday, it was a good session. The one thing she said she's concerned about is me normalizing the A. I told her I'm not worried about that-- it will never, ever be okay with me, even as I watch my H tie himself in knots to justify it. What this means going forward, if he never becomes truly remorseful? IDK. Doesn't matter right now. Just trying to focus on me and that which is within my control.

Alison, ten minute chunks I can probably do. smile
Posted By: may22 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/20/20 01:19 AM
Journal (I know I post too much, sorry... )

I wanted to share how true some recent observations have proven.

For the many of you who have counseled dropping of expectations, just focusing on co-parenting and directing my anger elsewhere-- today H shared a little with me about how his IC session went today. He said it went well and because our R has been calm this past week, he didn't have to waste any time talking with her about our interactions. He was able to dive deeper into issues surrounding his identity and why he did what he did. He said he was very, very sorry for the hurt he had caused me and for the lying. Anyway, it really brought home the value of the emotional space-- when it isn't all taken up by him feeling the need to fend off my anger, it gives him the ability to start processing the real stuff. (Maybe.)

Sage, when you said he is still ruled by my emotional state, even my silence... after he shared this with me, I got very quiet. (Thinking about what he was saying, and also trying to not emotionally react to both what he was saying and what he wasn't saying.) That clearly unnerved him and he said, let's not talk about this anymore. I said OK, went to the basement to work. Later he came down and said that it is hard for him to see me unhappy. (Quiet = unhappy, I guess.) He doesn't know what to do about it. It frustrates him. He feels like he's come a long ways from where he was but he isn't all the way to where I want him to be and I am not recognizing any of the progress he has made. I validated. I said I was glad he hadn't run off to live with AP, but that I was still sad that he had wanted to for so long. He validated me in return and said he was sorry for that.

Anyway, just thought I'd share how on-target both of these observations were.
Posted By: scout12 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/20/20 02:16 AM
Quote
Later he came down and said that it is hard for him to see me unhappy. (Quiet = unhappy, I guess.) He doesn't know what to do about it. It frustrates him. He feels like he's come a long ways from where he was but he isn't all the way to where I want him to be and I am not recognizing any of the progress he has made.


"Please do my emotional labour so I can feel better. And give me a cookie while you're at it."

Alternatively,

"Me, me, me, me, me, me."

Be careful with his sense of entitlement, May. He is not entitled to your validation or forgiveness or reconciliation. It is a gift you choose to give him. And I don't know if he realises that.
Posted By: may22 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/20/20 03:36 AM
Originally Posted by scout12
Quote
Later he came down and said that it is hard for him to see me unhappy. (Quiet = unhappy, I guess.) He doesn't know what to do about it. It frustrates him. He feels like he's come a long ways from where he was but he isn't all the way to where I want him to be and I am not recognizing any of the progress he has made.


"Please do my emotional labour so I can feel better. And give me a cookie while you're at it."

Alternatively,

"Me, me, me, me, me, me."

Be careful with his sense of entitlement, May. He is not entitled to your validation or forgiveness or reconciliation. It is a gift you choose to give him. And I don't know if he realises that.

Oh, his entitlement is so obvious it is blinding me. I really wanted to ask him if he wanted a cookie but I refrained. (What I did say though in addition to what I typed above, before I said the part about being glad he hadn't left, was that it was kind of like congratulating someone for not committing murder. Like, good job? I left that part out... not sure why. Felt like i was showing my non-detachment and am trying so hard to be detached so forgave myself that little slip.)

Anyway, yes. I agree with you one thousand percent. Trying not to let it bother me, though-- not in my control. I think engaging with him right now in conversations like this is not really productive from my perspective.

But the main reason I shared it was because Sage had just commented about it, and then it happened in such an obvious way.
Posted By: Sage4 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/20/20 05:13 PM
Hi May,

I loved your update with the list of things that are helping you in this process right now. It inspired me to write a list of what is working (or not working) in my own life at the moment.

Originally Posted by may22
For the many of you who have counseled dropping of expectations, just focusing on co-parenting and directing my anger elsewhere-- today H shared a little with me about how his IC session went today. He said it went well and because our R has been calm this past week, he didn't have to waste any time talking with her about our interactions. He was able to dive deeper into issues surrounding his identity and why he did what he did. He said he was very, very sorry for the hurt he had caused me and for the lying. Anyway, it really brought home the value of the emotional space-- when it isn't all taken up by him feeling the need to fend off my anger, it gives him the ability to start processing the real stuff. (Maybe.)


There is nothing more validating than experiencing something working. The more that the focus comes off of you and the MR, the more that H is going to do the work he needs to do on himself. I envisioned it as being on a pathway and stepping onto my own path when H comes along. I am still there, I am still me walking my path, but I am not going to get in the way of his journey. He can stop and talk to me, or not, but he can't blame me for obstructing his path. This is part of removing the walls and detaching.

Originally Posted by may22
Sage, when you said he is still ruled by my emotional state, even my silence... after he shared this with me, I got very quiet. (Thinking about what he was saying, and also trying to not emotionally react to both what he was saying and what he wasn't saying.) That clearly unnerved him and he said, let's not talk about this anymore. I said OK, went to the basement to work. Later he came down and said that it is hard for him to see me unhappy. (Quiet = unhappy, I guess.) He doesn't know what to do about it. It frustrates him. He feels like he's come a long ways from where he was but he isn't all the way to where I want him to be and I am not recognizing any of the progress he has made. I validated. I said I was glad he hadn't run off to live with AP, but that I was still sad that he had wanted to for so long. He validated me in return and said he was sorry for that.


I am going to suggest something that may be unpopular, so take it or leave it. What would have happened if you said to H (maybe while giving him a hug or some gentle PT reassurance such as a hand on his arm): thank you for sharing, I need to process all of this. I am going to go down to the basement and work and sit with my thoughts for a while. My silence is not a reflection of my feelings, it is simply a byproduct of my own processing. I can assure you that you don't need to take my silence personally. Or whatever words allow you to be both authentic to yourself and reassure H. In a physical S, you wouldn't be witnessing each other's process. I think that minimizing assumptions and projections is going to be helpful in healing while living under the same roof.

Originally Posted by may22
Originally Posted by scout12
Quote
Later he came down and said that it is hard for him to see me unhappy. (Quiet = unhappy, I guess.) He doesn't know what to do about it. It frustrates him. He feels like he's come a long ways from where he was but he isn't all the way to where I want him to be and I am not recognizing any of the progress he has made.


"Please do my emotional labour so I can feel better. And give me a cookie while you're at it."

Alternatively,

"Me, me, me, me, me, me."

Be careful with his sense of entitlement, May. He is not entitled to your validation or forgiveness or reconciliation. It is a gift you choose to give him. And I don't know if he realises that.


Oh, his entitlement is so obvious it is blinding me. I really wanted to ask him if he wanted a cookie but I refrained. (What I did say though in addition to what I typed above, before I said the part about being glad he hadn't left, was that it was kind of like congratulating someone for not committing murder. Like, good job? I left that part out... not sure why. Felt like i was showing my non-detachment and am trying so hard to be detached so forgave myself that little slip.)


So, a gentle 2x4 here: I don't think your R has any room for being snarky and I am going to be that friend that asks you to be the highest, most evolved May you can be. You can't both CL and DB this relationship at the same time. Are you allowed to have those thoughts and feelings? Absolutely. But it is your column, not H's to deal with your emotions, witty comebacks and anger surrounding the A. I see you recognizing it here:

Originally Posted by may22
Anyway, yes. I agree with you one thousand percent. Trying not to let it bother me, though-- not in my control. I think engaging with him right now in conversations like this is not really productive from my perspective.


H is going to say a lot of selfish, un-evolved and narcissistic things. But they're his narrative at the moment. That narrative will change over time and you have committed to seeing where things go. So when he says something that triggers you, tap into your reaction and feelings surrounding it and look at it as a growth opportunity for YOU. You don't have to accept it, but you do have to keep it in your column.

You are doing so good May.

xx
Posted By: LH19 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/20/20 05:51 PM
Originally Posted by Sage4
So, a gentle 2x4 here: I don't think your R has any room for being snarky and I am going to be that friend that asks you to be the highest, most evolved May you can be. You can't both CL and DB this relationship at the same time. Are you allowed to have those thoughts and feelings? Absolutely. But it is your column, not H's to deal with your emotions, witty comebacks and anger surrounding the A.

This is what I was talking about earlier and Sage sees it too. This is the path you have chosen. You are going to have to eat these $hit sandwiches right now. Does it $uck? Absolutely! Reconciliation isn't for the weak May. Just keep saying to yourself that you are doing this for your kids when you want to bite his head off.
Posted By: AlisonUK Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/22/20 09:30 AM
I think you've had great advice, May. And it is so, so, so hard.

I think in a normal, functioning marriage (or even friendship) there's a lot of STFU going on. I do know that my H has always been a bit moany and critical and, at times, self righteous - he's not a perfect man and he doesn't need to be. In good times, I was able to roll my eyes and let him get on with it, and even felt affectionate about his old-before-his-time ways and he was even able to accept a little bit of good natured teasing about it now and again. But that was when there was a foundation of love and trust between us.

When that was gone - and it wasn't just because of his infidelity that it went (the SSM drained the tank for me long, LONG before that) then I had no tolerance for listening to his little moans and groans and would often come back with sarcastic, cutting or argumentative remarks. On paper, I had a perfect right to push back when he was being petty and unreasonable, but all me doing that achieved was to drain the love tank even further. After his EA, it was just not possible for me to listen to his self justifying entitled blame-shifting pathetic nonsense (it makes me mad just THINKING of some of the rubbish he came out with in those times) without responding in a way that made it worse.

I did try the validation, but all that did was give him little rewards for his blaming - little cookies of attention every single time he shoved the blame for his actions onto me. I tried to logic him out of it, and all it caused was arguments that escalated in terrible, damaging ways. I am still a little scared of how he can be when he feels the need to defend himself by lashing out. He has a really nasty side I don't see very often at all any more, but it is there and I really struggle with that. So that didn't work either.

Separation was the best thing, and the second best thing - which I still need to work on - is leaving him in a room on his own to blame and resent rather than provide an audience for it. He doesn't like it. I do think me withdrawing that attention panics him and upsets him. I also think in the short term, it makes him blame me more. But here is where detachment comes in: I really don't care whatever bile is in his head in this moments, so long as he treats me with respect and communicates like an adult the nonsense is his burden to bear and his work to deal with. It is VERY VERY hard but I do think refusing to be around for the pity and blame and 'give me a cookie for not cheating on you today' parties is essential.

It has helped in a way that validating his self-pity and entitlement (which is the DB way, I think) actually made things much worse. It has also helped my development, in that when I noticed that no matter how unpleasant and upsetting it was for me, I really struggled to leave him alone in these moments. I signed up willingly for a lot of his rubbish. And it was because I thought by interacting with him - one way or another - I could get him to process it more quickly, or come to the conclusions I wanted him to, or taking responsibility in a way that felt good to me. It was still control. And that was disrespectful of me towards him, in many ways.
Posted By: wayfarer Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/23/20 10:54 PM
I'm chiming in with just a few things to let you know I'm here I'm reading but your thread moves so quickly I can't always keep up.

- As to 'unfair' as discussed in reaction to my last post, I get unfair all the time. That was unfair of me. That was unfair to you. That wasn't fair. Does fair even begin to scratch the surface of what he did to me? Nope. But it's the best way he can articulate it right now. Every day he gets a little closer to articulating it in a more meaningful way. Recently he admitted that he had a conversation with his aunt who took her H back after an A 20ish years ago. She looked him dead in the eye and said "You'll never understand the amount of pain you put her through. You'll never understand what she's overcoming to let you back in." He had a really hard time saying that to me. He couldn't look me in the face. All I said was, "She's not wrong. I hope you understand that." He said "I'm starting to." H loves me. H wants this to work. H is remorseful, but his understanding of my pain is going to be a long, long road that I have to accept he will always be 20 paces behind me on. They have to heal themselves, forgive themselves, and then attempt to empathize with what they did to you. That's a lot. It's a burden. One they deserve and gave to themselves but it's still a heavy load to bare. That in and of itself deserves patience.

- Which brings me to LH19's sh!t sandwiches. Girl, if you want the MR you're going to have to eat more than your fair share until H is ready to eat his fair share. I learned to eat sh!t sandwiches to survive my home as a kid, so this is easy work for me. For someone like you, this is probably going to be one of the hardest things you'll ever do. For you I'm sure it feels like giving someone something they don't deserve. Or like swallowing things you yourself are subjected to on the other end. For me it was a simple switch of keeping my mouth shut and staying light to keep me safe in childhood to doing the same to keep H from running like a scared cat and to keep myself protected. Perhaps you can look at it this way. H is not prepared to deal with your emotions as well as his. Don't give your inner most self to some one who can't or won't understand or empathize. It isn't protecting him. It's saving yourself from an interaction that won't prove to be fruitful or give you any sense of relief.

-And then that brings me to Sage's point. Your silence. You know it cuts him. He processes everything verbally. When he hears silence he hears what it would mean if he were to be the one being silent. I know you know he's going to react to you being silent. Instead of processing in front of H the way he processes in front of you, because we know that's not your jam or most humans, perhaps you can, like Sage offered, explain your process instead of the actual thoughts in your head. You don't want to share it, and he can't digest them right now anyway. Explaining how your process is different than his will probably go along way in bridging the communication gap you guys have. It will also feed his need to talk literally everything through without you having to actually talk it out.

I know this mostly in but somewhat still out stuff is rough. But you're smart, you're strong. You've come this far. You can do this. Even when it seems too hard.
Posted By: may22 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/24/20 03:40 AM
Thanks Sage, LH, Alison, WF.

Sh!t sandwiches. I get it that they'll be on the menu for a looooong time. Yes, it is not easy for me to do this. Yes, when I think of CL saying a tiny bit of $hit in a sandwich is still a $hit sandwich even if the rest of the sandwich is wagyu beef, I want to spit out the d@mn sandwich and tell the person serving it to me to F off.

So yes, LH and WF. You guys are right. This is one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. It was easier earlier in my sitch. I svcked it up because that is what I needed to do in the moment to move towards my ultimate goal. I think I thought once he decided to stay and R for real that he'd get to start loving the sweet, sweet taste of $hit for awhile (or at least crow). And now I'm seeing that nope, even though some things have changed, as long as I want to walk this path, they'll be on the menu for me for a good while longer. I get it. I can still zoom up to the 30,000 foot level and feel that I can keep going in service to the end goal.

I do think, to all of your points, that letting go of caring so much where H's head is, letting go of wanting/needing him to understand the full gravity of what he's done, detaching and stopping the flow of my energy into H's headspace really is helping. I've found that just sitting with whatever impulse I have at any given moment to say something to H about the A or react in a certain way can help me let it go without doing anything about it. Maybe I do still need to reset every morning or every 10 minutes, but I feel progress here and it feels good.

And again... all things I was able to in the depths of my sitch. I think all the posting and work over the past couple of weeks has really helped me to kind of reset where I am, what I am and am not okay with, and this time with a keen awareness of the anger and sadness that I'd been kicking down the road to deal with later.

Originally Posted by Sage
So, a gentle 2x4 here: I don't think your R has any room for being snarky and I am going to be that friend that asks you to be the highest, most evolved May you can be. You can't both CL and DB this relationship at the same time. Are you allowed to have those thoughts and feelings? Absolutely. But it is your column, not H's to deal with your emotions, witty comebacks and anger surrounding the A.

This is sticking with me, Sage, particularly the part about not being able to both CL and DB at the same time. I think I hold onto CL in case he leaves again. I'm getting less and less worried about that, though I'm not sure how much of that is me detaching from the possible outcomes or his behaviors/words. But point taken, anyway.

I am feeling less snarky, generally, since my last post. Letting go both reduces the impulse to go to the snark and I find I'm taking things less personally. WIP though still for sure. Also, the punching bag helps.

(Note: I got one that isn't a heavy hang-from-the-ceiling kind, but has a base you fill with water and then a small bag on a pole, on Amazon for only $55. It also comes with gloves. I so so so recommend this for anyone who doesn't want to spend a ton of money or has a ton of space but just wants to punch something when the mood arises. The bag itself is helpfully about the same size and shape of a head, so quite easy to imagine someone's mug on it. smile )

Originally Posted by wayfarer
They have to heal themselves, forgive themselves, and then attempt to empathize with what they did to you. That's a lot. It's a burden. One they deserve and gave to themselves but it's still a heavy load to bare. That in and of itself deserves patience.

Wow, the visual of your H not even being able to look you in the eyes was powerful. I know this is very much the case with my H. He told me on the weekend something he's said before but with a lot more detail and depth, about him working with his IC on why he did what he did and his inability to believe that what he did was fully wrong, because if he did, it would crush his soul and he wouldn't be able to live with himself, doesn't think he'd be able to function in life as a husband and a father. I listened to this, it makes sense to me that he feels this way, knowing him. At the same time, feeling like this process will be important, acknowledging the truth even if it is really hurtful and not simply spackling on justifications. Again, his work to do (or not to do) and I think that this is an area where I need to stay out of his column and his way. my interference will only hinder this process.

I did try the "hey, I need to process some stuff, please don't take it personally" with mixed results, though repetition might help. I had a rough workday on Friday and he pulled out all the stops that night, went and picked up dinner and good beers and dessert with the kids for me, let mommy choose the movie, cleaned up everything, and then proceeded to basically do the same thing all day Saturday and Sunday. He then gets frustrated that I'm not Susie Sunshine (also, noting how much easier it was for him to pull out all the stops when I was in a bad mood about work and not about him). He said again how hard it is for him to see me sad and doing everything he can to make me feel better but it isn't working and he can't erase the past. I said, you just gotta let me work through some of this stuff. Just like you can't snap your fingers and get over AP, I can't snap mine and get over it either. It's a process, and it's normal. So I'm doing the best I can, I think, to help him not to freak out when I'm not being all happy, while also not reinforcing his (still very) selfish view of the world with a lot of reassurances or validation.

Without any set agreement we've basically been confining these conversations to once a week (thanks WF). I am able to have them with close to zero spew, so that's a plus. He takes a tiny bit more responsibility and is able to convey a tiny bit more remorse each time, though I only can see that when I dial back up to 30,000 feet and recall our conversations from before. He says things that feel more like he's in this for the long haul. I think detaching-- even in bits and pieces-- helps here too.

WF, I think you're right in the saving myself from an interaction that is draining and provides no relief is right on. I kept banging my head against the wall of thinking if only I explained it this way to him, he'd get it. And then went through cycles of anger/sadness/frustration plus a fear that if we don't deal with this we'll just fall back into the same M1.0 patterns and never really heal... but then again, once I can release control over outcome on this, I can let things unfold as they will and know that as long as I'm protecting my own boundaries and checking in frequently with myself and on the kids, we'll deal with what comes when it comes. I can leave. I can stay. I can make the most of what I do have in my life, today. All the possibilities are out there and it's okay to relax and let go.

Alison, I recognize so much of our M1.0 interactions in your description of the dysfunction between you and your H. It makes me stop and think about the SSM and how this may have impacted things between us. I agree that validation is generally the DB way but... and a big but... DBing is also about seeing what works and changing things up that don't, so in a lot of ways I think you're still DBing.

Originally Posted by AlisonUK
And it was because I thought by interacting with him - one way or another - I could get him to process it more quickly, or come to the conclusions I wanted him to, or taking responsibility in a way that felt good to me. It was still control. And that was disrespectful of me towards him, in many ways.

This very much holds true for me as well. He is an adult human being who made his own choices and needs to process his feelings and actions and what he wants out of life on his own. I need to step out of the way-- it is a mechanism of perceived control for me in these moments, whether wanting him to understand how I feel or simply being quiet, knowing how that impacts him.

I think I'm starting to get it. Very much a WIP. But I feel progress, I do.

I am very thankful for you guys and this entire community. smile xx M
Posted By: scout12 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 11/26/20 12:34 AM
Sometimes in my internet travels I read things that make me think "May will like this!" and this is one of them.

Keeping in mind that forgiveness is unnecessary to the repair of a damaged relationship, the intentional act of forgiveness has two primary functions:

1. Religious or spiritual
2. Relationship detachment

There are ancient religious and spiritual components to forgiveness as a ďsoul-cleansingĒ process. It is beyond the purview of psychology to go into that element of forgiveness, except to say this: If your personal religious or spiritual beliefs demand forgiveness, it will be to your psychological advantage to consider it carefully since any violation of a deeply personal value brings guilt, shame, and anxiety. But the more slowly you forgive, the more likely it is to last. If attempted with open wounds, the common coping mechanisms after betrayal ó distrust, anger, and resentment ó will undermine even the most sincere attempts to forgive and forget.

Donít get me wrong: I believe in the psychological reality of ďsoul-cleansing.Ē But itís the betrayer who needs to cleanse the soul through consistent reparative and compassionate behavior. The betrayed needs to heal, grow, learn, and develop more viable defenses.

The other primary function of forgiveness is relationship detachment. Detachment from an emotional bond occurs at the point when you become able to think about your betrayer without significant positive or negative emotion. In other words, youíre ďover it.Ē That kind of forgiveness is described as bringing ďpeace.Ē Unfortunately, detachment through forgiveness is rare.

Intimate relationships typically break up with at least one of the partners feeling dumped or wronged, if not betrayed. Detachment, under those circumstances, comes at the end of a very long period of resentment. Over time, resentment turns into contempt, and contempt eventually turns into the final pre-detachment emotion of disgust. The literal meaning of disgust is to throw up an ingested substance, which the body experiences as harmful. And that is a good metaphor for attachment that goes bad. We get the former beloved ďout of us,Ē like milk that has gone sour, through disgust.

You may recall this common detachment process in an earlier relationship, particularly a youthful one, for which youíve gained objectivity through the passage of time. If you were dumped when you were young, you probably went through a period of intense grief, followed by resentment (ďHow dare he do this to me," or "She was outrageously unfair!Ē), followed by contempt (ďShe has a personality disorder,Ē or ďHeís a psychopath!Ē) and, finally, disgust, when you couldnít stand to imagine ever having been intimate with that person.

Once the disgust stage passed, you could think of your former lover with little emotion, positive or negative. This process is always long and often unsuccessful; so many people get stuck in the resentment or contempt stages without ever detaching. (Think of how many people you've met who are still bitter about a divorce or betrayal that happened 20 years ago.) Forgiveness is a more elusive but far more positive way to achieve detachment.

The secret of forgiveness, regardless of whether you want to use it as a method of detachment or as a way to fortify your relationship after a repair, is to focus not on the offensive behavior, but on freeing yourself of the emotional pain you experienced as a result of the behavior.

Unless youíre a saint or Mother Theresa, trying to forgive while in pain is like trying to put out a fire in an oilfield without sealing the wells. As long as the pain flows, any forgiveness you achieve will be nothing more than a temporary elevation of feelings that will sink back into a pool of defensive resentment or contempt as soon as the pain rekindles. If youíve ever tried to forgive while you were still hurt, you probably ended up forgiving the same offense a thousand times, as the pain and resentment kept coming back, without mercy, until you finally healed the wound.

Because the most severe aspect of emotional pain is the sense of utter powerlessness it engenders, forgiveness has to involve taking back power over your emotional life. At the end of your healing process, the subtext of forgiveness will be something like this:

ďI forgive you for reminding me that I sometimes feel devalued, inadequate, and unlovable. I know that I am valuable and worthy of love, because I value and love others. Whenever I think of how you hurt me, I will value someone or something and show love to a significant person in my life, and that will remind me of how valuable and lovable I truly am.Ē

Reclaiming power in this way makes forgiveness relatively easy, once you are completely healed. As long as you feel powerless, forgiveness is all but impossible.
Posted By: may22 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/03/20 03:03 AM
Scout, thank you for this. I've been thinking on this a lot, and some of the action over on Sage's thread about detachment and indifference. Letting go of control and caring about what is or isn't going on in someone else's head.

It's been a good week, a really good week. I've been focusing on myself and the kids, Thanksgiving, getting ready for Christmas. We decided to cook a whole big meal just for the four of us, and ended up eating outside and inviting our neighbor over (the one who was recently divorced) because he was all by himself. It was nice. H did the majority of the cooking, including two pies, and the kids helped a lot too. We hung out with our good family friends at the beach on Saturday and went on a hike with another family Sunday, so also got some social time with other adult humans who aren't my H, which always feels good.

I feel good in where I am with letting go of control and not caring about what is going on in my H's brain, not worrying about a timeline or what happens next. Just accepting where I am/we are for now and being okay with it. No R talks at all for more than a week now and I'm good with that too. I trust that if we both individually get to the place we need to be to work on our MR, we'll deal with it then, with professional help. For now, we're just being parents and friends and I'm not spending any time worrying about what that means or doesn't mean. (Sometimes I feel a little coming on and I can take a deep breath and RELAX and let go, again.)

The anger has abated, a lot. I've had a few triggers when I think of the A or AP, but the pain is much duller than it was before. H has also been extremely kind and thoughtful and, actually, rather loving. It feels interesting but I'm not reading anything into it. Very present and engaged. We also had a little fight the other night and afterwards he apologized and took responsibility in a way I've never, ever, in 17 years of knowing this person, seen him do. (My IC was blown away when I told her the story). That experience unbalanced me a bit, but again, trying to not worry about it one way or the other and just be grateful that it happened.

It still feels strange to be going through the preparations for Christmas and remembering where I was at this same time last year. I just did our holiday cards and remember so clearly last year thinking it was probably the last time I'd do a card that included H on it. Weird to put together a new one with all four of us and no visible sign of all the trauma we've gone through this past year, or how close we came (maybe how close we still are) to no longer being a family unit. It feels strange, though, not sad or hard. I feel a little remote about it.

One thing I'm loving over the past week is that putting a stop to all that mental flow of energy to my H is allowing me to spend much more mental focus on my kids. I remember a year ago taking them to the movies by myself, and having the hardest time even concentrating on the movie or them or anything but OMG what was happening with my MR. I've had some really wonderful 1-1 conversations with each of my daughters this past week, fun and lovely and fulfilling and I feel so full of joy in those moments I could explode.

We put up the tree last night, our elf came this morning and the kids are so excited and happy. I hope everyone no matter how difficult things are right now can take a breather from the stress of what is happening or not in your MR to connect with your kids and block everything else out and just BREATHE and enjoy them. xoxo M
Posted By: LH19 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/03/20 11:30 AM
This is a really good post May. Everything will need to be addressed at some point. Enjoy your kids and the holidays.
Posted By: Sage4 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/03/20 06:17 PM
May, this is one of your best updates yet! I see SO much growth in you, in your relationship and just in your general life perspective.

Literally every paragraph you wrote is peppered with deep, authentic, healthy detachment:

Originally Posted by may22
Letting go of control and caring about what is or isn't going on in someone else's head.

Originally Posted by may22
It's been a good week, a really good week. I've been focusing on myself and the kids, Thanksgiving, getting ready for Christmas.

Originally Posted by may22
I trust that if we both individually get to the place we need to be to work on our MR, we'll deal with it then, with professional help. For now, we're just being parents and friends and I'm not spending any time worrying about what that means or doesn't mean. (Sometimes I feel a little coming on and I can take a deep breath and RELAX and let go, again.)

Originally Posted by may22
That experience unbalanced me a bit, but again, trying to not worry about it one way or the other and just be grateful that it happened.

Originally Posted by may22
It feels strange, though, not sad or hard. I feel a little remote about it.

Originally Posted by may22
One thing I'm loving over the past week is that putting a stop to all that mental flow of energy to my H is allowing me to spend much more mental focus on my kids.


Keep it up, you are doing so good.

xx
Posted By: may22 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/05/20 03:08 AM
Thanks LH, Sage. I feel good. smile

Scout, I realized I didn't address the forgiveness part of your post at all, just the parts about the path towards it... and I wanted to be sure you knew that I appreciated the whole post. It is just that I'm not really thinking about forgiveness, yet. I know I want to get there but I don't want to move faster than I'm ready-- which was one of the major takeaways of that post for me, anyhow.

My IC asked me about forgiveness this week and how I saw that happening. I said that I'm not really worrying about that right now, but that trust and forgiveness are things that generally have come easy to me, and sometimes it is my brain that has to slow me down. Earlier that day I'd been in a conversation with someone at work who had totally thrown me under the bus back in January. It was really awful and I felt completely betrayed when it happened, and it took me several months to repair the damage with my own boss because of it. Anyway, I was having a great time talking with him, work stuff, kid/distance learning stuff-- a very positive conversation and I hung up feeling good about it, I'd helped him out with several things. It didn't occur to me until after we hung up that wait, I don't trust this guy at all. It is something I need to hold onto intellectually, otherwise I forget.

I also realized that nearly every time I post about feeling positive, something happens to derail me-- like the Universe reminding me not to get too big for my britches. And in fact yesterday after I typed this out, I went to a colleague's funeral and was feeling rather down, it was a long drive so I listened to Esther Perel's podcast on relationships and got to one about a couple that met as affair partners and were now married, the H with two young children and the W feeling unaccepted by his family and branded as the "other woman." All the other episodes I'd listened to that involved affairs placed the original married couple in the center, not the APs and the difference in my response really struck me. I could drum up zero sympathy for the OW, ZERO-- even when she was crying about being treated as an outcast by his family, I just felt like she deserved it and what else did she expect? And when the H talked about how happy and in love they were, I felt a visceral disgust, like I wanted to vomit.

Then I got home and H had spent the day on a virtual quarterly conference that used to always be held in AP's city. He had also won a new contract that he'd worked on for a couple of years, and while I am happy about this and said let's celebrate with nice take-out, I know I wasn't over the top by any stretch, I didn't touch him or hug him-- I just didn't feel any of that would be authentic to how I was feeling at the moment. It was more how you would congratulate a neighbor or friend, not your H or best friend. (Not that I think I should have done anything differently, just saying what I did.)

He seemed a little down and quiet all night, and in my head I wondered if he was missing AP, because of the conference, or because she might have been more enthusiastic in congratulating him on something he's been working for during the entire duration of the A. He'd shared with me way back when that one of the things he knew he was going to miss about her was her friendship, someone he shared good news with and was happy for him, etc.

But... here's what I'm really proud of, and how I know I'm really making progress, not just on the surface. (Though please swing 2x4s at me if I'm not getting it.) It didn't really bother me. I felt the stirrings of it all worrying me, and of course the podcast made me think about the A and AP. I know that a month ago I would have gone down the rabbit hole and felt terrible and probably started something with H around it.

Instead, I did my own thing. Relaxed my brow. Enjoyed the amazing take-out dinner and no cooking or dishes. Played board games with the fam. After the kids went to bed, took a bubble bath, worked on a crossword puzzle, chilled out until I felt totally calm. I realized that my own experiences during the day probably had something to do with how I was feeling-- maybe more so than anything I was observing in H's behavior-- and anyway, even if he was missing her or those feelings he had with her, I really felt like well, that is natural under the circumstances and besides completely in his lane, not mine.

So I went to bed and fell asleep and had a good nights' sleep-- no 4 am awakening and mind going in circles-- and woke up feeling fine. And H has been his nice (new) normal self today so far, made me breakfast, cracking dumb jokes, wanted to call his mom on speakerphone together to talk gifts--so who knows if everything yesterday was just in my head. Maybe, maybe not... but truly? it doesn't really matter either way.

I am, though, really feeling proud that I was able to nip those feelings in the bud and refocus on what I can control-- my own emotions, my own response to the triggers I experienced yesterday-- and was able to rebalance. Alison, if you're reading, it was so key for me to know it was OK to have to re-let-go of the control thing every 10 minutes sometimes-- that has really stuck with me and helped me to recenter and rebalance.

Clearly all still a WIP but feeling pretty good. I have a lot of fun stuff planned for the weekend and had a productive work week. Happy Friday everyone! xx M
Posted By: may22 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/12/20 12:49 AM
(boring) status update for the past week: nothing, really, to report. Things are basically the same.

Earlier in the week I was triggered during a conversation with my H about something totally unrelated to any of this--he used the word "love" and I was immediately hit with a tidal wave of remembering that my H was/is in love with someone else. I walked away and needed some time on my own to recalibrate, and was pretty quiet the rest of the day.

H of course couldn't handle this and seesawed between being solicitous and kind and upset that I was upset (I shared with him that I'd been affected by the conversation and needed to process my feelings, and that I was sad). At the end of the night, he told me he understood these things would come up but that I "couldn't" let it affect me for the whole day and be "mean" to him ("mean" = not being nice, since I did nothing that could be remotely considered "mean." I was simply not being too friendly).

I said nothing at the time, but the next morning told him I didn't think that was right, that I was going to have these feelings, probably would for a long time, and I deserved the space to process them. That feeling them was healthy and shoving them down was not, and I didn't like being made to feel like I should apologize for having them. I wasn't yelling at him or being "mean" to him-- I was simply working through some things in my own head.

He said, okay. Repeated that it makes him feel helpless and frustrated when I'm upset, and also that he knows me well enough that I can't really fake it anyway. But this time, he didn't seem to think that his feelings trumped mine, which I'd kind of felt that he'd intimated in the past--- a sense that because he was upset and couldn't do anything about me being upset, I needed to just get over it. That was absent. He said he was sorry and he understood, and I went back to work.

Still no talking about anything but I'm not pushing that. Sage had written on her thread about being scared of detachment, the feeling that once you let go of this love it is never coming back. I feel that too, a bit. That the longer we aren't connecting on any of this, the longer it goes without him beating his breast and telling me it was all a horrible mistake, the farther I walk down a path alone and the more I feel there will be no going back... though at the same time, I don't want to go back anyway. If there is to be a M2.0 it will need to start from scratch. I have flashes of wondering if I even want an M2.0 with him.

The girls and I decorated the tree over the weekend, and I found his box and put his ornaments on the tree. I pulled the letter out I'd written him and read it and cried, on my own. He came around to see how I was doing and I told him that it was hard for me, that last year I had really thought this was probably going to be our last Christmas as a family. He said, well, it isn't, we are here together, you should throw that letter out. Which weirded me out a bit, that he showed zero curiosity to read it. I said, it was a nice letter. He seemed surprised. I asked if he'd expected it would say something like I hope you are sad and alone right now? And he said yes, maybe, something like that. All weird.

It makes me sad that he isn't showing curiosity, that he can't say to me... hey, I'm really sorry you're feeling this way. It is okay. I get it. What can I do to help you feel better? I realize he simply can't right now and besides, his process and ability or inability to support me is not within my control, anyway. I know this, and mostly it is okay and I just handle my own side of the street. I think I've been able to drop my expectation that he would support me here... but I'm still dealing with some sadness around this, what it even means to drop those expectations of the person who was supposed to be there for you no matter what.

I'm also realizing there are some new feelings surfacing that I hadn't really fully recognized or named before, maybe because they were buried under the anger... feelings of rejection and humiliation that go along with the A. Just trying to sit with them and acknowledge they're valid. Somehow it feels easier to be angry than humiliated.

Maybe the most telling thing this past week is that I spent fully half of my IC session talking about work stuff rather than H stuff, which feels like progress to me. Starting to re-look at some career change opportunities again (I turned down the other offer earlier in the year even though the money was really good, because I had a couple of sidebar conversations with people in or recently left the organization and the internal culture did not sound like what I need in my life at this point). Some movement in both the potential for going the consulting route and other FT roles... not sure what I want, at this point, but I feel excited to be exploring my options here again, and connecting with people around all this stuff is really interesting and fulfilling to me, regardless of what I decide next.

We have plans this weekend to spend time outdoors with our closest family friends, and the girls have tons of plans to bake up a storm which I'm both looking forward to and dreading the mess that will inevitably follow. I'm still reveling in this feeling of being totally present with them and loving every moment of it-- an ability that had been somewhat lacking during all the emotional turmoil of the past year. And, the MBR is just about finished (finally) though I don't think we'll be able to move back in this weekend.

Happy Friday, everyone.

xx M
Posted By: LH19 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/12/20 12:11 PM
So May Iím going to challenge you to just live the next 20 days enjoying your children and the holidays and try to block everything else out. Stay in the moment for 20 days focusing on the present.

Also I can see whatís happening and itís actually pretty predictable. You have been growing, learning everything about relationships and your husband is standing still. You are looking for some simple validation and heís not able to provide it. You are more then likely not going to be able to go backwards unless you sacrifice your needs.

I think you and I are a lot alike and up to a year ago I was still looking at reconciliation with my ex for my kids and familiarity/history. My ex was obsessed with the bachelorette and loved the movie Bad Moms. Last Saturday I was on a date with an Ivy League PhD, fitness competition winner, who has traveled the world and done habitat for humanity in South America. Why would I want to go backwards? To say I won? For my kids who will be adults soon?
Posted By: may22 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/12/20 08:45 PM
Originally Posted by LH19
So May Iím going to challenge you to just live the next 20 days enjoying your children and the holidays and try to block everything else out. Stay in the moment for 20 days focusing on the present.

Challenge accepted smile I'm getting there. The majority of my time, I'm there... A day and a half of sadness in the past week is waaaaaay better than where I was a month or two ago. I'm not sure I can legit hit being in the moment for 100% of the next 20 days, but I'll shoot for an improvement.

Question, though-- I've been consciously letting myself be okay with the feelings as they come, not pushing them away (which was kind of my MO that allowed me to get through a lot of the last year and a half). Are you saying I should take 20 days to put those feelings aside and just not think about them? Or do my best to focus on all the positives in the moment, but if the feelings come, it's okay to feel them for a bit?

Originally Posted by LH19
Also I can see whatís happening and itís actually pretty predictable. You have been growing, learning everything about relationships and your husband is standing still. You are looking for some simple validation and heís not able to provide it. You are more then likely not going to be able to go backwards unless you sacrifice your needs.

yeah. Not going to worry about what the future does or does not hold, right now, though (Right???) he will or he won't move forward. The choice to leave is always in my hands. I'm not taking it, now. We will see. FWIW he's been in IC two years now and I've actually seen a lot of growth in him, around communication, vulnerability, and empathy, though I would say the empathy has not been directed at me to date. He's become a much more involved, engaged, and loving father. Whether or not he can work on his issues in/re our R is another story, but at this point I don't think he's a lost cause.

Also... sorry, but Bad Moms IS a funny movie wink Maybe you have to be a mom to like it. My H also thought it was dumb. I watched Bad Moms Christmas on an airplane and kept cracking up, which is weird when no-one else can hear the movie wink

I hope you also are enjoying the moment for the holidays-- it sounds like it! smile
Posted By: LH19 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/12/20 09:16 PM
Yes I suggesting you try to put your feelings away for 20 days if at all possible. They will certainly be there for you on January 1.

Sure Bad Moms is an entertaining movie if you emotionally mature enough to handle. My ex went to the movies with a bunch of 20 something year olds twice.

My guess is that if your husband was hanging out with a bunch of 20 year old dudes and went to see ďFatal AttractionĒ twice you might find that a bit odd.
Posted By: Oceangl Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/12/20 10:07 PM
May, it's so good to "see" you. I felt like I could have written so much of your original post on this thread. I could feel the ups and downs and frustrations. You seem so much more empowered and healthy. It seems you are on the right track. The whole thing is just so freaking hard. I struggle with feeling positive and then super mad. But I think like this thread has mentioned, the best thing for us in this position is to keep empowering ourselves and stop making our spouse the focus and center of our energy.
Posted By: may22 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/13/20 08:47 AM
LH, True. haha. I would be veeeery weirded out if he did that.

I'll give it a shot. Regardless, without too much trying I've been able to stay in the moment and enjoy the kids and the season-- as much as possible during crazy COVID times-- and spending as little time worrying about H as I can. Spent the afternoon at the pool having drinks with good friends while the kids ran around and played-- it was really nice. Thinking about a drive in movie tomorrow night after D8 and I make christmas cookies smile

Oceangirl... so nice to see you too! I've been wondering how you are doing and glad you checked in. You sound really good. It is so freaking hard and unfair and BS and all the rest, and one thing I've done over the past couple of months that I didn't really do so much before is let myself get really really angry and sad about it. That's helped a lot, I think. And... it is what it is, right? We can choose to stay and deal or leave and deal... neither path without its problems. For now, I'm still OK staying and dealing. I had a couple thoughts I'll post on your thread.

xx M
Posted By: BluWave Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/14/20 09:11 PM
(((May))) I look for your posts several times a week and read them. Iím not sure what to say sometimes. But Iím still here. I believe in you.

Blu
Posted By: may22 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/15/20 02:51 AM
((Blu)) thanks for popping by smile

Had a little setback yesterday. H is trying, trying hard, to do lots of acts of service, which he knows is my primary LL. (Still the odd PT which weirds me out and I haven't really been reciprocating.)

He's been doing a lot more of the grocery shopping and cooking and picking up around the house. it feels a little weird because one of the things I've done during all this (which is probably a 180 on my side but I didn't do it for that reason) is I've stopped asking him to help with anything, because I want to feel like I don't really need him and can do things myself. So now I take the garbage out instead of asking him to do it. I get a stepstool instead of asking him to get something from a high shelf. I just handle the dishes if he doesn't pop up quickly enough to start it or tell me to sit down and he'll take care of it later. Or, even if he does tell me he'll take care of it, if he hasn't by the time I want it done, I just do it. And I am fine with this, I don't really care, because it helps me to feel more empowered and like I can do all this by myself. Who needs an H??

But I see him trying to step it up, and yesterday he wanted to cook all day. Fine. But then he gets frustrated if things don't go 100% as he expected them to -- this is a long-term issue of his that has honestly gotten somewhat better, but I still find somewhat annoying. For instance, our dishwasher has been acting up and things get put away dirty. I fully acknowledge this is probably usually me that does this, because I've made the decision that it is more efficient to put everything away and occasionally deal with something dirty than to inspect every item before I put it away. Saves me time, and it isn't generally gross or a big deal. (haha Sage maybe I *am* just a $hitty housekeeper!!) H hates this and gets super annoyed if he finds something dirty that was put away. Sometimes he can handle this frustration, sometimes he can't and yells. (For the record, he also sometimes puts things away dirty or didn't handwash them well enough, and I just... clean it. Because it takes two seconds and isn't worth getting mad about.)

Yesterday he yelled at me about it and I just ignored him. I was sitting outside, reading a book and drinking a G&T. He came outside to tell me how he felt. I guess he was trying to say that it hurt his feelings that I didn't care how he felt about the kitchen stuff. The truth is, though, I don't care. I don't care at all. He was being a d!ck about it and that is his problem, not mine. So I said exactly what I thought-- I don't care. at all. I went back to my book and he went back to the kitchen.

Later, the kids and I were watching some funny videos and I realized H was sitting all by himself in the other room. They wanted to watch a video a second time and I said hey, let's see if daddy wants to watch it with us! He wouldn't come over so we went to him and I realized he had been crying. I asked if he was okay and he said no, he was mad at me, because I said I didn't care at all. I didn't respond (kids right there, plus not sure what I should say, since that was true). After we put the kids to bed, he slouched all sad off to bed. I asked what was up and he repeated he was really sad that I didn't care, it made him realize that I really didn't care and never did. That I was mean to him all day, he was trying to do something nice for me and the family, and I didn't care.

He'd also driven to the record store earlier in the day to get me a present and he didn't think I really appreciated it. (Cardinal!! Honestly! He is into records and so I get one as a gift and I'm supposed to be all gaga over it??) It was nice. I appreciated it and said so. It was autographed by the artist and apparently he read about it being released, drove down to the record store immediately, and scored the last signed copy. We listened to it twice, I said thank you multiple times (a Christmas album so he wanted to give it to me early.) But I would honestly have been just as happy if he'd said hey, here's a new album I think you'll like and just put it on Spotify.

Anyway. I guess I understand that he's trying to share something he loves with me (the records). That he's trying to be a better partner and do more of the cooking and stuff around the house. I did say to him that I didn't mean I didn't care how he felt in general, I just didn't really care about the spoon being dirty and I didn't appreciate being yelled at so wasn't going to engage.

I feel like he wants a sticker or at least a really appreciative, gaga wife for doing this stuff. But the truth is that none of it means anything to me until I feel like we're in piecing. I don't WANT to appreciate them and feel happy that he's doing his fair share around the house or got me a thoughtful gift because I am still holding onto the idea that this might not work out and he still might walk. I WANT to just focus on me and the girls and Christmas, and he's part of our family so of course I'm good with having him have fun with the family and stuff as well. But I'm not trying to put any energy into connecting with him outside of that. So much of this could easily bring up his A in my head-- that he wasn't doing this before because of the A, that last year at this time he wasn't engaging at all in any of this Christmas stuff, that if he'd given a record to AP she probably would have been all super happy about it and F them both-- and since all of that is totally outside of my control, I'm not giving it any headspace and keeping my head where I want it. On me, the kids, my work, and Christmas.

Is that okay? Should I be nicer? Should I be able to appreciate these things he's doing even as they feel a little like window dressing and irrelevant? I mean, part of me feels kind of bad. He CRIED. And I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen him cry. Maaaybe two hands thinking through all this $hit he's put both of us through the past couple of years.

There are certain things I've decided I'll look for to communicate to me that he's ready for piecing. They would include reading the Shirley Glass and Gottman books, initiating R talks, spending time and energy figuring out an MC who will take our insurance. There are other markers that I'd previously had in my head that he's met, like remembering to put his wedding ring back on immediately after surfing, making eye contact and smiling, PT, acting like he wants to spend time together just the two of us, like suggesting we go grab a beer together before picking up the kids, or making drinks after we put the kids down and suggesting we watch a show we both like and exchange backrubs. These things he's been doing pretty regularly, now.

But he has yet to tell me she's completely out of his head, that he wholly regrets what he did, that he understands how I must feel and wants to do whatever he can to support me. None of that, yet, and truthfully it isn't a big deal. We are where we are. But I feel like I've been crystal clear that I'm not open to piecing (I wouldn't use that word with him, but being open and vulnerable to him, trying to rebuild intimacy between us) until that happens. It kind of bugs me that he seems to expect or want ME to behave in certain ways like a wife would when HE is not behaving as a husband would (i.e. forsaking all others and making it ultra clear to me I'm his one and only). I think it really gets back to he wants a cookie and I'm all out, for this stage.

Anyway. So much for not thinking about any of this for the next 20 days smile but I really didn't start this one. And I believe I am kind and nice and civil and all the rest to him. I'm just not MORE than that. And I'm okay with that and sorry he isn't but it is what we've got at the moment.
Posted By: CWarrior Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/15/20 03:29 AM
Originally Posted by May
H hates this and gets super annoyed if he finds something dirty that was put away. Yesterday he yelled at me about it and I just ignored him. I was sitting outside, reading a book and drinking a G&T. He came outside to tell me how he felt. I guess he was trying to say that it hurt his feelings that I didn't care how he felt about the kitchen stuff. The truth is, though, I don't care. I don't care at all. He was being a d!ck about it and that is his problem, not mine. So I said exactly what I thought-- I don't care. at all. I went back to my book and he went back to the kitchen.

Seriously, he yelled over that?! I'm actually with your husband in that I can't stand dirty dishes in my cupboards. As a single dad, I take care of the dishes that come out of the washer dirty. When I live with someone else, this is one of those things I negotiate--"This matters to me, that matters to you, let's make a deal." I get not caring at all about the dishes, and not caring what he's feeling when he's yelling at you. I hope you do care what he's feeling when he's not yelling!

Originally Posted by May
I did say to him that I didn't mean I didn't care how he felt in general, I just didn't really care about the spoon being dirty and I didn't appreciate being yelled at so wasn't going to engage.

Yay!

Originally Posted by May
But I feel like I've been crystal clear that I'm not open to piecing (I wouldn't use that word with him, but being open and vulnerable to him, trying to rebuild intimacy between us) until that happens. It kind of bugs me that he seems to expect or want ME to behave in certain ways like a wife would when HE is not behaving as a husband would (i.e. forsaking all others and making it ultra clear to me I'm his one and only). I think it really gets back to he wants a cookie and I'm all out, for this stage.

May, I really respect your ability to meet him half-way--not giving up, not going all in. He's trying to be good, share, and make you happy. I haven't read all your recent posts--so just a question. Are you sure it's clear to him what you need to be happy, what he must do if he wants a happy husband/wife relationship again?
Posted By: SamCal Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/15/20 04:28 AM
Aw man. I have deleted/rewritten this one billion times and still feel it is poorly articulated, so apologies:

I will admit, my gut reaction reading this is I did actually have sympathy for him (which I can't recall ever having about anything you've ever written about him before). Maybe it is because I am equivalent to your husband's viewpoint in the dirty dishes camp and feel a lot of empathy over that struggle and how it can become a lot greater than about just a dish. And how it can be challenging to see it as just a dirty dish when you're already feeling on emotionally unsteady ground. But this also has more context, obv.

I understand wanting him to come to you with these professions and how you need to feel he needs to get there on his own. I echo CW's question about if he knows what you actually need - have you directly said that to him? Sometimes what you write makes that unclear, and it can read like you have a goalpost but you haven't told him what it is and you just expect him to know and you need him to figure that out on his own. It sounds like he is genuinely trying a lot of things and making headway in a lot of ways that you are glad to see. This stuck out to me:

Quote

It kind of bugs me that he seems to expect or want ME to behave in certain ways like a wife would when HE is not behaving as a husband would (i.e. forsaking all others and making it ultra clear to me I'm his one and only).


It sounds like you have the same expectations of him in terms of wanting him to behave in certain ways that a husband would, and on paper I'd say that it looks like all of the things listed that he is doing right is him trying to show you in your LL that you are his one and only.

IDK - hugs to you, all of this is tough, and it's fun to read about your Christmas stuff with your girls, so I am glad you are doing all of that!
Posted By: LH19 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/15/20 02:41 PM
May,

I have absolutely no fuching clue what you are doing right now.

You better get your ego in check or this is going to end badly. Unless that is your intention? If so, then keep it up.
Posted By: BluWave Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/15/20 02:50 PM
Originally Posted by may22
((Blu)) thanks for popping by smile

Had a little setback yesterday. H is trying, trying hard, to do lots of acts of service, which he knows is my primary LL. (Still the odd PT which weirds me out and I haven't really been reciprocating.)

He's been doing a lot more of the grocery shopping and cooking and picking up around the house. it feels a little weird because one of the things I've done during all this (which is probably a 180 on my side but I didn't do it for that reason) is I've stopped asking him to help with anything, because I want to feel like I don't really need him and can do things myself. So now I take the garbage out instead of asking him to do it. I get a stepstool instead of asking him to get something from a high shelf. I just handle the dishes if he doesn't pop up quickly enough to start it or tell me to sit down and he'll take care of it later. Or, even if he does tell me he'll take care of it, if he hasn't by the time I want it done, I just do it. And I am fine with this, I don't really care, because it helps me to feel more empowered and like I can do all this by myself. Who needs an H??

But I see him trying to step it up, and yesterday he wanted to cook all day. Fine. But then he gets frustrated if things don't go 100% as he expected them to -- this is a long-term issue of his that has honestly gotten somewhat better, but I still find somewhat annoying. For instance, our dishwasher has been acting up and things get put away dirty. I fully acknowledge this is probably usually me that does this, because I've made the decision that it is more efficient to put everything away and occasionally deal with something dirty than to inspect every item before I put it away. Saves me time, and it isn't generally gross or a big deal. (haha Sage maybe I *am* just a $hitty housekeeper!!) H hates this and gets super annoyed if he finds something dirty that was put away. Sometimes he can handle this frustration, sometimes he can't and yells. (For the record, he also sometimes puts things away dirty or didn't handwash them well enough, and I just... clean it. Because it takes two seconds and isn't worth getting mad about.)

Yesterday he yelled at me about it and I just ignored him. I was sitting outside, reading a book and drinking a G&T. He came outside to tell me how he felt. I guess he was trying to say that it hurt his feelings that I didn't care how he felt about the kitchen stuff. The truth is, though, I don't care. I don't care at all. He was being a d!ck about it and that is his problem, not mine. So I said exactly what I thought-- I don't care. at all. I went back to my book and he went back to the kitchen.

Later, the kids and I were watching some funny videos and I realized H was sitting all by himself in the other room. They wanted to watch a video a second time and I said hey, let's see if daddy wants to watch it with us! He wouldn't come over so we went to him and I realized he had been crying. I asked if he was okay and he said no, he was mad at me, because I said I didn't care at all. I didn't respond (kids right there, plus not sure what I should say, since that was true). After we put the kids to bed, he slouched all sad off to bed. I asked what was up and he repeated he was really sad that I didn't care, it made him realize that I really didn't care and never did. That I was mean to him all day, he was trying to do something nice for me and the family, and I didn't care.

He'd also driven to the record store earlier in the day to get me a present and he didn't think I really appreciated it. (Cardinal!! Honestly! He is into records and so I get one as a gift and I'm supposed to be all gaga over it??) It was nice. I appreciated it and said so. It was autographed by the artist and apparently he read about it being released, drove down to the record store immediately, and scored the last signed copy. We listened to it twice, I said thank you multiple times (a Christmas album so he wanted to give it to me early.) But I would honestly have been just as happy if he'd said hey, here's a new album I think you'll like and just put it on Spotify.

Anyway. I guess I understand that he's trying to share something he loves with me (the records). That he's trying to be a better partner and do more of the cooking and stuff around the house. I did say to him that I didn't mean I didn't care how he felt in general, I just didn't really care about the spoon being dirty and I didn't appreciate being yelled at so wasn't going to engage.

I feel like he wants a sticker or at least a really appreciative, gaga wife for doing this stuff. But the truth is that none of it means anything to me until I feel like we're in piecing. I don't WANT to appreciate them and feel happy that he's doing his fair share around the house or got me a thoughtful gift because I am still holding onto the idea that this might not work out and he still might walk. I WANT to just focus on me and the girls and Christmas, and he's part of our family so of course I'm good with having him have fun with the family and stuff as well. But I'm not trying to put any energy into connecting with him outside of that. So much of this could easily bring up his A in my head-- that he wasn't doing this before because of the A, that last year at this time he wasn't engaging at all in any of this Christmas stuff, that if he'd given a record to AP she probably would have been all super happy about it and F them both-- and since all of that is totally outside of my control, I'm not giving it any headspace and keeping my head where I want it. On me, the kids, my work, and Christmas.

Is that okay? Should I be nicer? Should I be able to appreciate these things he's doing even as they feel a little like window dressing and irrelevant? I mean, part of me feels kind of bad. He CRIED. And I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen him cry. Maaaybe two hands thinking through all this $hit he's put both of us through the past couple of years.

There are certain things I've decided I'll look for to communicate to me that he's ready for piecing. They would include reading the Shirley Glass and Gottman books, initiating R talks, spending time and energy figuring out an MC who will take our insurance. There are other markers that I'd previously had in my head that he's met, like remembering to put his wedding ring back on immediately after surfing, making eye contact and smiling, PT, acting like he wants to spend time together just the two of us, like suggesting we go grab a beer together before picking up the kids, or making drinks after we put the kids down and suggesting we watch a show we both like and exchange backrubs. These things he's been doing pretty regularly, now.

But he has yet to tell me she's completely out of his head, that he wholly regrets what he did, that he understands how I must feel and wants to do whatever he can to support me. None of that, yet, and truthfully it isn't a big deal. We are where we are. But I feel like I've been crystal clear that I'm not open to piecing (I wouldn't use that word with him, but being open and vulnerable to him, trying to rebuild intimacy between us) until that happens. It kind of bugs me that he seems to expect or want ME to behave in certain ways like a wife would when HE is not behaving as a husband would (i.e. forsaking all others and making it ultra clear to me I'm his one and only). I think it really gets back to he wants a cookie and I'm all out, for this stage.

Anyway. So much for not thinking about any of this for the next 20 days smile but I really didn't start this one. And I believe I am kind and nice and civil and all the rest to him. I'm just not MORE than that. And I'm okay with that and sorry he isn't but it is what we've got at the moment.


May! I think this is the most honest, clear headed and confident thing Iíve read from you. I love it. I was surprised at the last two postersí reactions. You are holding firm on your boundaries and teaching him what is acceptable and what is not. Because this isnít about a dirty spoon! Thatís not what really matters. The power dynamic in the relationship is slowly shifting, and yes it will be uncomfortable, but itís about time. I do not feel sorry for him, not at all. He needs to be broken of his entitlement and selfishness and it doesnít behoove him for you to allow that to continue.

Itís so much easier to step up and be Mr Super Dad and H than to dig deep and work on the M problems. He puts on his cape and he cooks, cleans and buys the most perfect gift (only perfect in his design, and so obviously not perfect for you) and then he expects praise and appreciation ó look what a great guy I am tho!!! ... Thatís the easy stuff. .....You know what I want to see? I want to see a man that wants to see you. I mean really, really see YOU. What do you need? How much has he hurt you? Itís not just about him. All the superness doesnít erase the destruction he has caused. And no, you do not have to tell him this explicitly, you already have. He knows.

He can only fake it until he makes it for so long. He will have to really look at what he has done and explore the whys ó itís hard and itís painful to look inside and do that kind of work. I watched my own H and itís a dark place. I have had to do some of that too.

Keep holding your head up high and stand firm. Never let go of your standards for anyone else. Command the respect you deserve. You got this May.

And on an aside note ó I know it works because my own H Has had to do some of that with me. Iím the sh1tty spouse that rages over dumb little things, like dirty spoons. Many years ago, H silently rolled his eyes and put up with it. He learned to resent me and I lost respect and unknowingly saw him as weak. And then he ran to OW. Itís not like that anymore. He will hold his own or very gently put me in my place. Itís uncomfortable and I dont like it. It pains me to admit it, but I know I need it. I also respect him a lot for it!!! Heís a stronger and more confident man now. Iím still learning not to be so moody and controlling ......

Blu
Posted By: LH19 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/15/20 03:56 PM
So here's my perspective. He's not acting like a dick he is a dick. I don't think May should reconcile with him because I think he's going to walk again down the line, because he really doesn't have the motivation to work with her to change anything, their relationship will keep seeking the same equilibrium it has had because of how their personalities and issues come together. My point is I think he is trying the best he can and that's not good enough. So at some point he will quit trying. It's nearly impossible to reconcile with someone who is not extremely remorseful.
Posted By: SteveLW Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/15/20 04:15 PM
Originally Posted by may22
They would include reading the Shirley Glass and Gottman books, initiating R talks, spending time and energy figuring out an MC who will take our insurance.


may, are these things that you would expect from your H before all of this? I mean did he engage in these kinds of activities previously? If one of you needed to see a specialist, would he do the research to find a specialist that accepted your insurance, or is that something you did? Was he a reader of self-help books prior to all of this?

My point is that, yes you need to have requirements for him to come back and to R and piece. (By the way, I see in your sig you think you are attempting to R again, but there can be no R without piecing!) But you cannot expect him to become someone he isn't. And your requirements have to be realistic. Like expecting that OW is completely out of his head. Yeah.......probably not realistic. I know you'd love for this to be the case. And you may have an idealistic, romantic belief that it is possible. But take it from another man, it probably isn't. Guys have a tough time getting the girl from 5th grade out of their heads, let alone a woman they have had sexual relations with! The key here is that you work through whether or not you are ok with that truth, and if you can live with the idea that when you married this man, this OW was not in his head, but now all this time later she is.

So yes have requirements.

Full transparency. He has no secret accounts, credit cards, social media accounts that you do not have full access to. His phone is unlocked or you know the passcode, and he is willing to hand it over to you immediately anytime you request it. He agrees that you know where he is at all time, including having a phone app that you can monitor is whereabouts.
He gets into IC, supports you being in IC.
You both get into MC.

If that requires making getting ICs and an MC that is covered by insurance, then you need to verbalize to him that you expect him to that that legwork. And put a deadline on it. Communicate the deadline to him. Keep the action you will take if the deadline is not met to yourself.

If he is not agreeable to any of this, or you don't feel 100% comfortable that he is completely committed to this plan and to you (you are his one and only as you say), then YOU need to take action.

Set a deadline. "If this plan is not in full realization by January 31st, the on Feb. 1st I will go file for D!"

May, you are not in R. You have moved from one state of limbo to another. Either get busy Ring and piecing, or get busy filing for D. Unless you are willing to live like this for a long time. You guys are in a cease-fire with no plans for long-term piece. You are South Korea and he is North Korea. That is no state to live in!
Posted By: wayfarer Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/15/20 04:21 PM
Yeah, I'm going to split the difference here. I'm sorry. H is not entitled to raging at you over a dirty spoon. He needs to learn to self sooth like a child. There are things that matter and things that don't. A dirty spoon is 100% a thing that doesn't matter. You were within every right to refuse to engage in such a childish tantrum.

That being said. May, you know you could've handled that better. You know you could be showing him more appreciation and inclusion in the MR and the family. But because of where your head is at you're refusing to. Even when he's doing nothing wrong. May you can't keep punishing him forever. You don't have to pick in or out, but I think you need to seriously ask yourself what you're doing here. Here's the deal if you are just trying to survive living in the household together as you separate things and work towards whatever an amicable D would be for you you're behavior is 100% on par and completely acceptable. If you have any desire to try to make this marriage work, I'm sorry to say it but I'm with LH here you need to check your ego.

May he's trying and you are constantly throwing it in his face that it's just not good enough. Honestly what's the difference between him comparing your MR to his relationship with AP and you comparing his actual behavior with your expectations? If what he's doing isn't good enough for you then you need to tell him what is. You need to be explicit. And you can't make him jump through hoops to get there. Also "there" needs to be definitive. While you have every right to have moved the goal post due to the relapse, you can't keep continually moving it. The record thing was super disheartening. No records aren't your things. They are his thing. But he wants you to be a part of his thing and you're just rejecting it because you can. I don't give a d@mn about sneakers. The whole streetwear culture makes no sense to me. But my H wanted me to have a pair of very expensive sneakers, so I accepted them grateful and I do my best to style them appropriately so I can wear them. He wants me to go to these stores. Let me tell you how little I care about Supreme or Yeezies. But it's important to him, and I'm important to him, so he wants me to be a part of it, and I want to be a part of it because he's important to me. H gladly puts up with things I know he has no interest in simply because he wants to be a part of the things that are important to me. If he was this dismissive to you right now in this moment, not a year ago, or 2 years ago, but right now everyone on this board would tell you to pack your things and your girls and run for the hills. You can't just be checked out and rude simply because you were the betrayed. Relationships take two people and it's not fair to hold H to a higher standard than you hold yourself because he made the biggest mistakes.

Next you want AP out of his head and out of the MR. Ok reasonable expectation. Unreasonable is the time line and the way you want it to be. He had a serious relationship with someone else for 2 years. That person is a part of him and his history now. In the same way an old bf of yours would be. The fact is if you want this MR you have to accept that that relationship for him was a real and valid relationship and she doesn't simply disappear from his psyche because you will it so. She will always be there the way any of your exes are there. But that doesn't mean he can't commit. It doesn't mean he isn't willing to do the work. It doesn't mean he isn't trying or wanting to try. You can't have a M 2.0 that is completely devoid of everything it took to get there. My point here is, you can't keep rejecting him, showing him you don't care, showing him no matter what he does isn't good enough and expect any kind of good result. May even if you want a M 2.0 at like 5% while you want out 95% every time you're dismissive and have unreasonable expectations you shut that 5% down a little more. You will close you're own window.

Just to be clear standards and expectations are two very different things. You can stand firm in refusing to be spoken to in that manner over a dirty spoon. Responding to him that you don't care and having an expectation that he should just suck it up and move on is silly. No it's not your job to be the adult at all times, but come on May. If I got upset over something stupid and H or my kids or my BFF said "I don't care" I would've felt cut off a the knees. Humans are imperfect beings. His imperfections, well those are much bigger than most, but he doesn't deserve to be gut punched. You could've asked him why he was so upset over some thing so inconsequential. You could've told him he needs to rewind and start over with an appropriate tone. You could've said I'm not having this conversation if you're going to talk to me like that. But you simply said you don't care.

H messed up. H messed up on another level. This is a huge hurdle to get over my dear. But if you have any desire to get over it you can't keep beating him over the head with it with every single action, inaction, interaction and reaction. Everything H says and does isn't about the A. And that thought process is on you. That's not on him. I know I've brought this up before. You will get over this long after H has decided he's over it. So you can keep punishing him so as long as you feel bad he feels bad. Or you can start working through some of this on your own. May I've said it before and I'll say it again. It is not your job to make H forget about AP. And it's not his job to heal you from your hurt and anger. You have individual work to do.

The last thing I'm going to harp on is forgiveness...again. And I'm sorry for all the harping but this May isn't the May I know. I'm watching your anger eat you up in real time and it hurts my heart.

You haven't forgiven him or AP at all here. Not even in the sense of pity. The longer you hold on to the anger the longer it's going to eat you up inside. It won't just destroy your chances for a M 2.0 it's going to destroy your chances at healthy relationships in the future. Forgiveness doesn't require the transgressor to be 100% remorseful. It's doesn't require the affected person to forgive all either. Forgiveness isn't a zero sum game. It's a step toward happiness and wholeness. Gifts you deserve to give yourself after all of this. The longer you grasp tightly at the what if scenarios, the because of scenarios, and the pain this has cause you, the long you will drag the A on into the future. The longer AP will hang over you. The longer it's going to take you to get down a road where you're working on M 2.0 or your moving happily down that road alone.

No matter what path you choose here, if it's the right one for you I support it. But I can't just sit back and watch you wield your rage like weapon. Rage isn't always fire. It very easily can be ice. You need to be careful here. And maybe do a little self assessing.
Posted By: LH19 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/15/20 04:27 PM
Just for the record I wasn't talking about the dirty glass. Totally uncalled for and you could have told him where to stick it.
Posted By: SteveLW Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/15/20 04:38 PM
wayfarer just a follow-up. Where do you see him trying?

As an outside observer what this looks like to me is that after this PA, he is trying to go back to MR 1.0. May is wanting MR 2.0. I like your point about her not being explicit. I am guessing that May is afraid to be explicit because it may break this fragile armistice that exists between them. May wants more than what they have. Her H wants things to go back to "normal". If her H doesn't get what he wants, he will use the threat of the OW and/or D, to try to get May to be more the way he wants her to be.

I feel like May is afraid of D, and while dissatisfied with the state of things, would take that over her H cheating and potentially leaving. If she pushes him to give more, then she is afraid he will raise the specter of D again or be pushed back into the arms of the OW.

I have a theory that a lot of times the WAS will use D as a threat to get their LBS to back away. I know I think my W used it during her WW period, and I now doubt if she ever really considered following through. When I confronted her about her EA, she got me to back off by saying "I don't want to be married anymore." This is why I try to get LBSs to drop their fear of D, because that fear can be leveraged by the WAS/WS.

May, at this point what are you more afraid of? D or remaining in your current state forever?
Posted By: BluWave Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/15/20 05:00 PM
I love this more angry May. I saw her as submissive and too accommodating to him for so long. Not sure what that says about me tho, because anger was my shield and biggest protector. Wayfarer, you make so many valid points. LH & Steve, you both as well. Iím going to reread this and think on it all. Great discussion.

Blu
Posted By: Oceangl Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/15/20 05:25 PM
I just want to add that when I read your post I sense your deep anger and hurt. I don't know about you, but for me, sometimes when he has been nice to some degree to me, I feel anger rise up. It's like I finally felt like it was safe enough to let it surface. I've realized that I still have hurt and anger to deal with, and I have to be careful to acknowledge it and see it so I don't take it out on others. It's so hard.

I would also be careful of expectations. Expectations are tricky things. Needs are better, and can actually be satisfied. I agree he needs to show he is working on himself, but I am not sure dictating which books to read are the correct way. The way you work on yourself and what touches your heart and mind are likely different than his.
Posted By: LH19 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/15/20 05:41 PM
Originally Posted by Steve85
wayfarer just a follow-up. Where do you see him trying?

As an outside observer what this looks like to me is that after this PA, he is trying to go back to MR 1.0. May is wanting MR 2.0. I like your point about her not being explicit. I am guessing that May is afraid to be explicit because it may break this fragile armistice that exists between them. May wants more than what they have. Her H wants things to go back to "normal". If her H doesn't get what he wants, he will use the threat of the OW and/or D, to try to get May to be more the way he wants her to be.

I feel like May is afraid of D, and while dissatisfied with the state of things, would take that over her H cheating and potentially leaving. If she pushes him to give more, then she is afraid he will raise the specter of D again or be pushed back into the arms of the OW.

I have a theory that a lot of times the WAS will use D as a threat to get their LBS to back away. I know I think my W used it during her WW period, and I now doubt if she ever really considered following through. When I confronted her about her EA, she got me to back off by saying "I don't want to be married anymore." This is why I try to get LBSs to drop their fear of D, because that fear can be leveraged by the WAS/WS.

May, at this point what are you more afraid of? D or remaining in your current state forever?


Actually Steve I see this situation being a lot like yours. Your W was not remorseful when you caught her the second time. I am pretty sure at that point if you required anything from her or acted like a dick she would have divorced you. You played the long game and ate a lot of $hit sandwiches because you didn't want a divorce and it worked out for you.

My point being is if I am May's husband and she's pursued me for two years trying to get me to end my affair and I end it and think I am trying and she continues to blow up at me I am eventually going to give up. More of the same behavior that I ran from in the first place.

I know it sounds crazy but if I had a two year affair I really had to be angry at her or I am a sociopath.

I will say it again, with out remorse it is very hard to reconcile. Sometimes it takes years for remorse.
Posted By: SteveLW Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/15/20 06:22 PM
Originally Posted by LH19
Originally Posted by Steve85
wayfarer just a follow-up. Where do you see him trying?

As an outside observer what this looks like to me is that after this PA, he is trying to go back to MR 1.0. May is wanting MR 2.0. I like your point about her not being explicit. I am guessing that May is afraid to be explicit because it may break this fragile armistice that exists between them. May wants more than what they have. Her H wants things to go back to "normal". If her H doesn't get what he wants, he will use the threat of the OW and/or D, to try to get May to be more the way he wants her to be.

I feel like May is afraid of D, and while dissatisfied with the state of things, would take that over her H cheating and potentially leaving. If she pushes him to give more, then she is afraid he will raise the specter of D again or be pushed back into the arms of the OW.

I have a theory that a lot of times the WAS will use D as a threat to get their LBS to back away. I know I think my W used it during her WW period, and I now doubt if she ever really considered following through. When I confronted her about her EA, she got me to back off by saying "I don't want to be married anymore." This is why I try to get LBSs to drop their fear of D, because that fear can be leveraged by the WAS/WS.

May, at this point what are you more afraid of? D or remaining in your current state forever?


Actually Steve I see this situation being a lot like yours. Your W was not remorseful when you caught her the second time. I am pretty sure at that point if you required anything from her or acted like a dick she would have divorced you. You played the long game and ate a lot of $hit sandwiches because you didn't want a divorce and it worked out for you.

My point being is if I am May's husband and she's pursued me for two years trying to get me to end my affair and I end it and think I am trying and she continues to blow up at me I am eventually going to give up. More of the same behavior that I ran from in the first place.

I know it sounds crazy but if I had a two year affair I really had to be angry at her or I am a sociopath.

I will say it again, with out remorse it is very hard to reconcile. Sometimes it takes years for remorse.




Actually, I think the big difference is that pretty early on in my sitch I began to embrace the idea of her leaving and us getting a D. Yes, I made it clear that it wasn't what I wanted, but I dropped the fear of it within the first couple of weeks, and started to move forward as if that was the inevitable end. I tell the story all the time about how that first week, when we were meeting her family for Christmas dinner, as we got ready I said "Wow, hard to believe this will be the last time I have Christmas dinner with your family." (Just for background, I have an amazing relationship with her family, there is mutual admiration.) She almost immediately backed down and said "Well this is why I didn't want to say anything before the holidays, I thought after the holidays I might feel differently." The minute I started to embrace the fate, and even move on mentally and emotionally, she started to back away from it.

I also need to correct you. While I probably ate more crap sandwiches than I should have, I certainly would not characterize it as "a lot". One of the things I learned the first time in 2005 was to not accept disrespect. And after my first 2 days of moping and acting defeated, I pulled myself up by my bootstraps and stood up for myself. There were many times I told her I wouldn't put up with her behavior/disrespect and walked away. And I also have been vocal that one of the most empowering moments in my situation was when I consulted with a D attorney. And then started to dictate the terms of what a D settlement would look like to her.

The point I think for May here is that she has to be CLEAR what she requires for Ring and piecing. Allowing him to slink back into MR 1.0, without working on the issues that opened him up to the OW to begin with, is a recipe for future disaster.

I would argue that May is in a situation I was in post EA/sitch 2005. And I made many of the same mistakes then that May is making now that led to EA/sitch 2017.

So yes, remorse on the cheating spouse's part is a must. But another must is the LBS knowing what they want in Ring and piecing, and clearly articulating that to their WAS....and having the backbone to adhere to that.
Posted By: Ginger1 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/15/20 06:33 PM
I wrote a whole long post and decided to delete that one. May, I know this is tough.

Basically, you are both back in marriage 1.0. Which is pretty much going to end up with the same result.

I echo wayfarer. Heís trying. But you keep punishing . Marriage 1.0. You let him back with no clear expectations. So he is doing what he thinks he can do. Speak your love language ( acts of service) try to share and connect on his interest and he is getting stonewalled .does he deserve it? Sure, but if you truly want a marriage 2.0, you canít do that.

And I get the feeling that you want him be fed up and leave so itís him doing the leaving and you not doing the kicking out. I could be off base, but I get this impression
Posted By: LH19 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/15/20 06:54 PM
Originally Posted by Steve85
Actually, I think the big difference is that pretty early on in my sitch I began to embrace the idea of her leaving and us getting a D.

Uuuumm you may want to reread your sitch when you have time. Your memory may be a little clouded (fog) lol.
Originally Posted by Steve85
I also need to correct you. While I probably ate more crap sandwiches than I should have, I certainly would not characterize it as "a lot".

" a lot" is certainly subjective
Originally Posted by Steve85
The point I think for May here is that she has to be CLEAR what she requires for Ring and piecing. Allowing him to slink back into MR 1.0, without working on the issues that opened him up to the OW to begin with, is a recipe for future disaster.

The problem is that shipped has sailed. She let him off the hook too easily.
Originally Posted by Steve85
So yes, remorse on the cheating spouse's part is a must. But another must is the LBS knowing what they want in Ring and piecing, and clearly articulating that to their WAS....and having the backbone to adhere to that.

You see Steve we both agree here lol.
Posted By: SteveLW Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/15/20 07:17 PM
Originally Posted by LH19
Originally Posted by Steve85
Actually, I think the big difference is that pretty early on in my sitch I began to embrace the idea of her leaving and us getting a D.

Uuuumm you may want to reread your sitch when you have time. Your memory may be a little clouded (fog) lol.
Originally Posted by Steve85
I also need to correct you. While I probably ate more crap sandwiches than I should have, I certainly would not characterize it as "a lot".

" a lot" is certainly subjective
Originally Posted by Steve85
The point I think for May here is that she has to be CLEAR what she requires for Ring and piecing. Allowing him to slink back into MR 1.0, without working on the issues that opened him up to the OW to begin with, is a recipe for future disaster.

The problem is that shipped has sailed. She let him off the hook too easily.
Originally Posted by Steve85
So yes, remorse on the cheating spouse's part is a must. But another must is the LBS knowing what they want in Ring and piecing, and clearly articulating that to their WAS....and having the backbone to adhere to that.

You see Steve we both agree here lol.


I understand you feel you understand the dynamics of my situation more than I do. So we will agree to disagree.

In general I stand by what I said:

May is handling her sitch like I did the my 2005 sitch.

May needs to be handling her sitch like I did my 2017 sitch, as imperfect as that handling was at times.
Posted By: may22 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/15/20 07:28 PM
hi everyone,

wow, lots of really great food for thought here! I have a few minutes and want to share a few thoughts back:

first, now I feel like a huge slob. For a bit of context, for most of our M, I did 90% of the shopping and cooking. H helped cleaning up the kitchen and I did most of the rest of the cleaning of the house. (Yes, we both have FT jobs). When we had our first child we sprung for a cleaning service (best $ I've ever spent) so much of the deep cleaning is managed by them these days, though during the lockdowns I re-developed enormous respect for their skills and profession and was filled with gratitude for what they do. In the second year of the A, H started IC, I read DB and started practicing 180s (I did not know about the A at this point). He stepped up a lot around the house. Now he does 90% of the grocery shopping and 50% of the cooking. I probably do 75% of the kitchen stuff and everything else-- vacuuming, bathrooms, tidying up every night. (To be fair, as he likes to point out all the time, he does 90 percent of the yardwork. But that isn't a daily task.)

I clean up something of his at least half a dozen times a day. It doesn't bother me, UNTIL he starts acting like a d!ck when he decides to do something. Before, I would get angry and resentful and I stopped cleaning up after him, or if I did it would be resentful while doing it. Now, I am not. I TRULY don't care about leaving that spoon dirty. I TRULY don't care that he's mad about it. I'm not angry and letting it seep out or anything. I. don't. care. If I did, I think I'd go back down that hole of resentment regarding everything else and that is M1.0. I'm not going back there. Maybe there is a more enlightened and inclusive way I could do this? I would be open to it. Basically I'm trying to protect myself from feeling resentful. He feels like me saying I don't care about the spoon is saying I don't care about him and his feelings-- or at least, that is how he felt. I'm not sure how to deal with that.

On being explicit about what I want-- yes, I have been explicit. He knows. Am I asking too much? Maybe. I don't expect it is going to happen, though, at least not anytime soon.

Originally Posted by steve85
Originally Posted by may22
They would include reading the Shirley Glass and Gottman books, initiating R talks, spending time and energy figuring out an MC who will take our insurance.

may, are these things that you would expect from your H before all of this? I mean did he engage in these kinds of activities previously? If one of you needed to see a specialist, would he do the research to find a specialist that accepted your insurance, or is that something you did? Was he a reader of self-help books prior to all of this?

My point is that, yes you need to have requirements for him to come back and to R and piece. (By the way, I see in your sig you think you are attempting to R again, but there can be no R without piecing!) But you cannot expect him to become someone he isn't. And your requirements have to be realistic. Like expecting that OW is completely out of his head. Yeah.......probably not realistic. I know you'd love for this to be the case. And you may have an idealistic, romantic belief that it is possible. But take it from another man, it probably isn't. Guys have a tough time getting the girl from 5th grade out of their heads, let alone a woman they have had sexual relations with! The key here is that you work through whether or not you are ok with that truth, and if you can live with the idea that when you married this man, this OW was not in his head, but now all this time later she is.

All good points, and you have me rethinking this a bit. I'm *always* the researcher. For everything. And no, neither of us ever read self-help books. It was a big hurdle for me to overcome to buy DR. But I'm glad I did smile

And in/re R vs piecing... I see it differently, that you must first decide to reconcile and then begin piecing, and sometimes the reconciliation process takes some time. For instance, in Blu's case, her H wanted to R and they spent some time in MC and spending time together before she agreed to let him move back in and they began piecing. I feel like that is where we are, except we happen to live in the same house. He has said explicitly to me he wants this to work, he wants M2.0, he wants to build a new MR with me, to have the life we want to live together. He loves me, he is working on getting her out of his mind, we have total transparency, etc. He has said he needs time and he (maybe a month ago is the last time he said this) that he thinks I am trying to jump too far ahead. I think he has a fair point, and I also have stuff to work on myself-- so I have stopped talking to him about this and focused on my own feelings and processing them. I have felt like the danger in this is that I will truly stop caring and won't want him as an H anymore. TBH, I feel like this maybe more than I should as someone who is supposed to be standing.

And finding a MC that will take our insurance... he did it the first time. Motivated, I believe, by a desire to check that box and get Ded from me and run off with his AP. (I didn't know about her.) So he is FULLY capable of doing this legwork if he is motivated enough, so I'm comfortable sticking with that one. He also did the legwork to find his own IC. (I found the MC the second time around, who it turns out doesn't take our insurance after all and we haven't seen him since lockdown.) And he has picked up both books and read parts of them, though not this time around... and I know I pushed him to do it when he did it before. This time, I'm curious to see if he does it on his own. I've told him it would be a way for him to better understand what I'm going through. I feel like he really wants to minimize my trauma and pain, because it makes him feel too guilty.

And about getting her out of his head... yeah, he still has a crush on Winnie Cooper from the Wonder Years. I feel like I can be okay that it happened, as soon as I believe that it is wholly in the past. That he doesn't believe himself to be "in love" with her anymore. That he fully regrets his actions and wishes he didn't do it.

The last time we had an R talk, I asked him what he would do if she reached out to him. He said, I'll tell you about it. I said, would you respond at all? he said no, I'd talk to you about it first so we could decide what to do together. This is a huge change from where he was before, even more so because this was his idea, not mine. But, I also told him that what I wanted was if that phone rang and he realized it was her, for his first thought to be... fC&k. why is she calling me? I don't want to deal with her, not the butterflies or whatever I know her calls elicited in him before. Truth is, I don't know where his head is, and which camp he'd fall into if this happened. I don't know that he knows himself. But that is what I want. Is that too much?

I do not think if I push him he'll go back to OW's arms, at this point. I really don't. It is funny because I think I was afraid of that for a long time. Now, I don't really think it would happen and if it did, I think a big part of me would be secretly glad because I could just wash my hands of all of this and move on.

I do think that H wants M2.0, not M1.0, at least intellectually. I'm not sure, though, what M2.0 means to him because we haven't really talked about it. I have a suspicion that M2.0 might just mean he gets his way more because he thinks in M1.0 I ran the show. That would be disappointing to me, if that is the case. He is scared of digging into the hard work of why he cheated because he thinks if he really faced up to it being completely wrong and let go of all his justifications, he would not be able to handle it. it would break him. (He's said this to me on more than one occasion.) But this is all on his side of the road, not mine. He'll either do this work, or he won't. I can't do it for him. I just need to keep focusing on me and seeing if I see progress on his side, or I don't, and then at some point whether or not I want to keep trying if I don't think he's capable of doing the work it takes to be a good H.

I don't think I expect him to be that person, right now. I did, for a long time. Now, I don't. It makes me sad, but it is what it is. I am just annoyed when I feel like he wants to jump ahead on some parts-- having me be squishy happy because he bought me a record-- without dealing with all the garbage underneath. I feel like allowing myself to be squishy happy about stuff like that is letting a wound scab over without clearing out all the pus inside, and it will become an abscess. I don't want that. If he's ready to clean it out, I am too. If he isn't, we gotta let that thing air out, and that is manifested in some level of distance between us.

LH, I think the A was longer than it might have been otherwise because it was long-distance. They saw each other maybe every 6-8 weeks for a magical few nights and then he flew back home. The first nine months or so were standard stuff, then they went into romeo and juliet mode, breaking up every time they saw each other. he told me in July of 2019 she re-sent him an email he'd sent her in July of 2018, which I think basically said I'll leave May soon and we can be together, and the reason she re-sent it to him was because absolutely nothing had changed. I still didn't even know about her existence. He said he tried to leave me, he tried to end it with her, he couldn't do either. (That's where his fantasyland D came from, where we'd all be best friends and sister-wives.) Steve, I think you'd written recently (I think it was you) about your W flip-flopping back and forth between wanting to stay and wanting to go. This is what my H has said to me, that one minute he would be convinced that he had to leave and be with her, 100%, and ten minutes later he would think the exact opposite. Anyway, I think that the long distance aspect of all of this (plus twu wuv, of course) is why it lasted so long without him being a sociopath. Though he was very, very angry with me about the SSM, also.

Wayfarer, thinking on your post.

Wow, seeing that there was more action since I started writing this but I gotta go... will read and respond more later. I really appreciate all of this.
Posted By: SteveLW Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/15/20 07:47 PM
May, great post! I think after reading that I will back away from a lot of the things I've said. You've clearly thought about this and have considered a lot and seem to have a good idea of what you want and how to get there. And you have articulated that to your H. So I now understand your frustration a bit more. It makes a lot of sense.

And I too still have a crush on Winnie Cooper! Lol
Posted By: may22 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/15/20 09:23 PM
Originally Posted by LH19
My point being is if I am May's husband and she's pursued me for two years trying to get me to end my affair and I end it and think I am trying and she continues to blow up at me I am eventually going to give up. More of the same behavior that I ran from in the first place.

I don't disagree with you at all. And, I didn't blow up at him... that was kind of my point. I would have before. If he'd yelled at me about a GD spoon I would have given it back at him for being an a-hole and would have seethed about it for the next several hours. Instead, I ... didn't care. I said so. That was it, then I went back to my book.

That being said, I know he feels like he's trying and I'm not recognizing it. I'm thinking on this more, particularly in/re WF's post.

And, also, FWIW, something I've just thought of... this response from me made him think and then cry. I don't believe he came to the right conclusion about why I said what I did, and I think the tears were self-pity rather than anything to do with his own contributions towards our situation. But, the other two responses I would have given in the past-- either saying okay sorry and swallowing some $hit-- which to him just confirms that he was right-- or getting angry in response-- which to him confirms that I'm a b*tch-- aren't where I want to be.

Originally Posted by BluWave
May! I think this is the most honest, clear headed and confident thing Iíve read from you. I love it. I was surprised at the last two postersí reactions. You are holding firm on your boundaries and teaching him what is acceptable and what is not. Because this isnít about a dirty spoon! Thatís not what really matters. The power dynamic in the relationship is slowly shifting, and yes it will be uncomfortable, but itís about time. I do not feel sorry for him, not at all. He needs to be broken of his entitlement and selfishness and it doesnít behoove him for you to allow that to continue.

I guess this is how I feel. I am not going to be yelled at about a dirty spoon. (Or, I can't control whether or not he yells, but I can control how I respond, and I just don't care to respond to the yelling.) I'm sorry. I get it bothers him. (It actually bothers me too, but not enough to be rude about it to my husband.) I want a relationship where if I see an accidentally left dirty spoon I'll think oh no! H missed a dirty spoon when he unloaded the dishwasher! And take care of it without feeling anger or resentment in my heart. I got to this place after a lot of work and I don't want to let it go. (To me, that would be going backwards into M1.0). I want the same from him.

What I think happens in his head (which I am familiar with, because this used to happen to me) is a burst of frustration towards me, GD it, she never looks at the spoons before she puts it away, that makes me so frustrated, etc., and it boils over into yelling at me. I don't like that. WHY should a dirty spoon matter more than my relationship with my spouse? How is the extra second it takes to grab a different one worth yelling at someone? I also understand that that road goes both ways-- I could also take that extra second to check the spoon before it goes into the drawer, because I care about him and I don't want him to feel frustrated. I'm actually okay with doing that. But I'm not going to do it because he yelled at me.

Originally Posted by BluWave
Itís so much easier to step up and be Mr Super Dad and H than to dig deep and work on the M problems. He puts on his cape and he cooks, cleans and buys the most perfect gift (only perfect in his design, and so obviously not perfect for you) and then he expects praise and appreciation ó look what a great guy I am tho!!! ... Thatís the easy stuff. .....You know what I want to see? I want to see a man that wants to see you. I mean really, really see YOU. What do you need? How much has he hurt you? Itís not just about him. All the superness doesnít erase the destruction he has caused. And no, you do not have to tell him this explicitly, you already have. He knows.

He can only fake it until he makes it for so long. He will have to really look at what he has done and explore the whys ó itís hard and itís painful to look inside and do that kind of work. I watched my own H and itís a dark place. I have had to do some of that too.

Blu, yes, yes, yes. He is trying in his way, and I do appreciate it. The AoS, the gifts, etc. And he wants it to erase what he did, I think. He does not want to look at me and *see* me and accept the destructiveness of what he did. Maybe he can't. Maybe he will be able to with time. I don't think he can, at this moment, because he can't yet face what that means. He says he is working on all of this in IC, why he did what he did. I don't get the sense he's digging deep, yet, getting to the deep dark corners. I guess where I am right now is... maybe he will get there. I hope that he does, very much. Maybe he won't. Then I have some hard decisions in front of me. But I've let go (and need to continue to let go, sometimes, daily) of any expectation that this will happen today or tomorrow or next week. It will or it won't, and there will be a point if I'll be done if it doesn't happen.
Posted By: may22 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/15/20 09:36 PM
Originally Posted by Oceangl
I just want to add that when I read your post I sense your deep anger and hurt. I don't know about you, but for me, sometimes when he has been nice to some degree to me, I feel anger rise up. It's like I finally felt like it was safe enough to let it surface. I've realized that I still have hurt and anger to deal with, and I have to be careful to acknowledge it and see it so I don't take it out on others. It's so hard.

Jeez. I did think I had worked through a lot of the anger. I feel that I have. The burning rage has dissipated, quite a bit. (WF, thinking on whether I'm fooling myself and have just morphed into the icy stage... I don't *think* so but I want to take the time to really reflect on it and see). But the fact you can read the anger and hurt in this post makes me think I'm not as far along as I'd liked to believe... which makes sense too. I did have to go punch my punching bag later that night after that exchange, so the anger was there. The hurt is there too. it feels a bit more raw right now than it has, I think as the anger has ebbed away it rises to the surface. I know exactly what you mean about feeling safe to be angry. That has absolutely happened to me.

Originally Posted by Oceangl
I would also be careful of expectations. Expectations are tricky things. Needs are better, and can actually be satisfied. I agree he needs to show he is working on himself, but I am not sure dictating which books to read are the correct way. The way you work on yourself and what touches your heart and mind are likely different than his.

Agreed. I am working continually on dropping expectations and I think I've made good progress here. I have not been communicating my needs to him lately because... I don't know. I don't think he is capable of meeting them, really, and I feel like I want to be able to deal with my own emotions and responses myself without expecting anything from him. Though in typing that out I feel like I should reexamine needs vs expectations and maybe I'm conflating them... at this point I kind of feel like I shouldn't need or expect anything of or from him. (And I had an assignment from LH to just chill, be in the moment, and enjoy Christmas, so that is what I was trying to do! smile )

On the books, I guess I feel like if it is too hard for him to acknowledge from me directly how much he hurt me, maybe understanding the process in a more abstract way will be helpful. And there are also parts about SSMs and how a SSM is a betrayal of your S also... things I've read and learned about the impact and hurt my actions had on him, which were hard to read but important. Of course, when he read parts of these books in the past he's totally keyed on those areas, and the parts about why people have affairs and how they feel in affairs. He has skipped the parts about the trauma response, the flashbacks, the needing to re-calibrate your memories and identity in the wake of learning your S had an affair. Those are the parts I want him to read.
Posted By: may22 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/15/20 10:11 PM
Originally Posted by Ginger1
I wrote a whole long post and decided to delete that one. May, I know this is tough.

Basically, you are both back in marriage 1.0. Which is pretty much going to end up with the same result.

I echo wayfarer. Heís trying. But you keep punishing . Marriage 1.0. You let him back with no clear expectations. So he is doing what he thinks he can do. Speak your love language ( acts of service) try to share and connect on his interest and he is getting stonewalled .does he deserve it? Sure, but if you truly want a marriage 2.0, you canít do that.

I really, really refuse to go back to M1.0. There are definitely flashes of that right now, but I'm doing my best to control my own responses on my side of the street to avoid that outcome. For me, at least, one of the most important things I've identified is to not let resentment creep in. It ate away at me and made me small and bitter and was a major factor in the SSM for me. I don't want that and I'm working hard to not go down that hole. Detaching myself from caring about his frustration is a mechanism for me to keep from feeling resentful. I feel more like... eh. sorry. I don't really give a cr@p about it.

I feel I was really really clear with him about needing her to be 100% out of our lives and his head (yes, I know that was not realistic but that is what I said I wanted) and him to take responsibility for his actions and be wholly remorseful in order for us to move on. That I want to wait until we are at that place before going to MC. (I don't want to go and listen to him being sad about missing AP.)

Maybe I was asking for too much. I know people here have gently questioned me on my desire to see him rending his shirt and tearing his hair with sorrow and remorse, being embarrassed and disgusted when he thinks of his A. I guess this is my fantasy scenario and not very realistic... but I know he's aware that I want him to say he's over her fully before I want to work on things between us. Maybe I'm being petty by not being more appreciative of the things he's trying to do because the big thing isn't done first. To me, it feels like glossing over the fact that the big thing isn't done yet (and maybe never will be done, in which case I don't know that I can stay in the M to him even if he doesn't cheat again) and it feels like we would just be slowly drifting back to M1.0. That is why, at least in my head, I'm sticking to my guns on this and not making it too comfortable for him and reinforcing his trying. I feel more like where Blu is-- that is the easy stuff, and I'm waiting for the harder stuff before I open my heart back up.

And I truly don't feel like I'm punishing him, or stonewalling him in a significant way. I am kind and appreciative. I met his eyes and thanked him multiple times about the record. I made a big deal about it. We listened to it twice. (I did not jump up right away to turn it over when the first side ended because I AM NOT USED TO RECORDS and I didn't think about it... but he noticed and thought I must not really like it). I didn't, however, let it make me go all gooey inside, that he was sharing this thing with me. It did not spark joy or love inside of me. Should it have? It would have before the A. And I hope a gesture like this will again, in time. But where I am right now, being verbally appreciative was about the best I could do. The problem is, I think he expected or hoped it would make me gooey inside, and he knows me well enough to know it didn't. I just am not going to be gooey inside until I feel safely into piecing, I think.

He doesn't get the gooey bright-eyed optimistic May, right now. I can't be that girl. I don't want to be her until he stands up and tells me enough so that I believe it that she's gone from his heart. If you recall, the best he told me was a month or so ago that he wasn't "actively" in love with her anymore. Might that have changed in a month? Maybe. But I'm waiting to hear it from him directly. I don't want to make assumptions based on him being nicer.

Originally Posted by Ginger1
And I get the feeling that you want him be fed up and leave so itís him doing the leaving and you not doing the kicking out. I could be off base, but I get this impression.

Intellectually, I do not want this. Emotionally, maybe I do, sometimes.
Posted By: may22 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/15/20 10:28 PM
Originally Posted by Steve85
May, great post! I think after reading that I will back away from a lot of the things I've said. You've clearly thought about this and have considered a lot and seem to have a good idea of what you want and how to get there. And you have articulated that to your H. So I now understand your frustration a bit more. It makes a lot of sense.

And I too still have a crush on Winnie Cooper! Lol

Ha! We are watching the whole series with our kids (though now taking a break as the characters on the show are getting older and more and more just into girls, and they're a little young for it) and it has sparked all kinds of conversations with our male friends and family members. Apparently every male of that age still loooooves Winnie Cooper. smile

Thanks-- I'm an overthinker. Once I get through chewing on these posts I think I'll go back for a bit to my living in the moment and enjoying the holidays with the kids mode.
Posted By: wayfarer Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/15/20 11:39 PM
May, just so you know I'm not asking you to fawn all over H. He isn't where he needs to be to deserve that. You aren't where you need to be for that to be safe emotionally. I'm just asking you to pay attention to what you're saying and doing. Because I can see what you're saying and what you're not saying here. I don't think you're ungrateful, but you know he can tell when you say things for lip service and when you mean it in the same way you can see the way he is seeking something from you meaningfully or for his own self gratification. I know you think he was crying because of self pity, and honestly maybe he was, but what if that was only part of it.

I cried every time H and I got into a little spat as we tried to glue the pieces of our sh!tshow back together, regardless of whose fault it was because every single time it felt like I was nailing that door shut. I'm not saying your H is enlightened and open enough to think that deeply about things. But there's a good chance he's not a complete narcissist and he may be genuinely upset about things in layers that it's not just self pity. I'm not asking you to comfort him or walk it back. He's a big boy. And at some point here he's going to have to learn to walk through negative feelings all by himself. What I'm saying is that you know you could've taken a higher road and just decided it wasn't worth it. And that doesn't sound like you. That sounds like Rage May.

I can see the little cracks of rage spilling out over the edges of you trying very hard to be detached and take some time to just live your life and figure things out. And I will never not say your anger is justifiable because it is. And it always will be. But we all have to make choices here and I'm worried that because you still have so much of that pain and anger just under the surface that the choices you make are going to be counter productive to what you want because it feels so deeply relieving and freeing in the moment to just not GAF about H or his feelings. But that's a fine line to walk between that kind of detachment and ice. I'm really asking you here to watch your step.
Posted By: may22 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/16/20 02:01 AM
Wayfarer, I know. I have been thinking about what you said all day. And thinking back to you saying to me a long, long time ago to watch the rage and what would happen when it came out. And not to let this experience make me lose the hopeful and optimistic May inside.

I'm scared I don't know how to walk this middle path. That all I know how to do is to be the optimist or shut it all down. It's hard. I'm crying right now as I type this because it does feel so comfortable to not GAF. And what does that mean about me?

You're right in that I know he can see right through me when I'm just giving something lip service. I did and said all the right things but it wasn't from my heart. And he knew it. And what Sage said awhile back that me not saying anything is still a prison for him because he knows I'm feeling something that makes him feel uncomfortable and he can't deal.

I am thinking now that the record thing might have been more of the issue for him than the "I don't care" comment. Or that they're meshed together, that me saying "I don't care" was about the record and the cooking and the trying and all the rest. I still think there was a good healthy dose of self-pity in there. But you're right in that it may have not been the only feeling. The tears are unusual.

How did you walk that line, WF? I know what people will say is SEPARATE and then you both have the freedom to work through your own $hit on your own timeline without interfering with each other. Short of that, what? I really do feel like the anger has abated, but it is not gone. And I know it isn't a linear process.

Ugh. And our IC just had a big billing issue with our insurance and had to stop sessions for a bit while she gets it worked out. smirk

Maybe what I do next is let myself process some of this again, let it out, punching bag, yoga, meditate, fun something with the kids tonight. Nice glass of wine and bubble bath... and tomorrow start over with living in the moment, maybe a notch kinder than I was being before. I can do this.
Posted By: Yail Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/16/20 02:55 AM
May, my two cents.

You are looking at your H as if he is your H. You are seeing someone you may or may not be with in the future, and you are trying to figure that out, and how he fits into that role you see him in and if he is doing the right or wrong things.

Who is this man in front of you? Who is this person, ignoring ALL titles (husband, father, friend etc.) and your titles as well. Who is this real person in front of you with emotions and a life as deep as your own?

I say stop looking at his actions as things you should respond to, and try to see who this person is with fresh eyes every day, and try to learn something new about him through your obsservations.
Posted By: may22 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/16/20 11:38 AM
Originally Posted by wayfarer
Next you want AP out of his head and out of the MR. Ok reasonable expectation. Unreasonable is the time line and the way you want it to be. He had a serious relationship with someone else for 2 years. That person is a part of him and his history now. In the same way an old bf of yours would be. The fact is if you want this MR you have to accept that that relationship for him was a real and valid relationship and she doesn't simply disappear from his psyche because you will it so. She will always be there the way any of your exes are there. But that doesn't mean he can't commit. It doesn't mean he isn't willing to do the work. It doesn't mean he isn't trying or wanting to try. You can't have a M 2.0 that is completely devoid of everything it took to get there.

okay. I think you're right, especially that last part. We are where we are, can't erase the past.

But, I'm struggling with how to do this. Where I've been this whole time is that I'll be okay with the fact of it having happened once it is completely in the past. But maybe my definition of "completely in the past" is not reasonable. I don't know. Even you saying he had a serious relationship with another person ... which I know to be true.. validating it with the term "relationship" makes me want to vomit. Still. I hate it.

Or if he was doing what your H is doing. Calling you beautiful, telling you he loves you, telling you over and over how glad he is that you stood. Then, I also think I'd have an easier time feeling more generous about what happened in the past.

We talked more tonight. He says some of these things. That he loves me, he never stopped. that he knows we'll be okay, that he wants to do the work. That he is so sorry that he hurt me, that he lied, that he betrayed me. [He is NOT saying he is sorry it happened.] That he's getting over her, he doesn't think he's "in love" with her anymore. But he isn't saying it was all a horrible mistake, he never really loved her, all the fantasy reconciliation apology words.

He said he thinks we need to take steps towards each other. He suggested that his work is first empathy, then remorse. Mine is understanding, then forgiveness. Is it wrong that I don't want to do this until I get the words I want to hear about her being dead to him?

He said, maybe we need more time before we do this, then. He's really uncomfortable with my anger and said it completely shuts him down. That he can't be the one that I dump my anger on.

I said I was scared of going back to M1.0. He said immediately... this isn't M1.0. And we can't go back there. We need to see a MC or something, maybe. I said I agreed.

He wants to talk about the SSM. We talked about it a little, I'd previously told him I didn't want to discuss it with him anymore (because he ran to it so quickly every time the A came up). He talked a little about how he felt. I think I've underestimated how much it hurt him. I could see it in the lines of his body when he talked about it even just a little, he tensed up, his voice, everything about him got tight and upset. He said he isn't over it, how it felt for me to take my love away from him for so many years. I'm debating whether or not I'm open to talking about this now. I think i am. It is separate from the A.

Originally Posted by wayfarer
Everything H says and does isn't about the A. And that thought process is on you. That's not on him. I know I've brought this up before. You will get over this long after H has decided he's over it. So you can keep punishing him so as long as you feel bad he feels bad. Or you can start working through some of this on your own. May I've said it before and I'll say it again. It is not your job to make H forget about AP. And it's not his job to heal you from your hurt and anger. You have individual work to do.

I have been working through this... I think I just have a lot to get through. I told my friend a couple of months ago I was scared of the anger because when I let it in it was like a raging fire, not an emotion you can feel and it peaks and goes on its merry way. She said, maybe it is because there is just so much there. I feel I'm stripping it all away a layer at a time. I have felt way better until today on all of this. And I truly don't feel bad or sad or angry right now. But it was still there, today.

Originally Posted by wayfarer
You haven't forgiven him or AP at all here. Not even in the sense of pity. The longer you hold on to the anger the longer it's going to eat you up inside. It won't just destroy your chances for a M 2.0 it's going to destroy your chances at healthy relationships in the future. Forgiveness doesn't require the transgressor to be 100% remorseful. It's doesn't require the affected person to forgive all either. Forgiveness isn't a zero sum game. It's a step toward happiness and wholeness. Gifts you deserve to give yourself after all of this. The longer you grasp tightly at the what if scenarios, the because of scenarios, and the pain this has cause you, the long you will drag the A on into the future. The longer AP will hang over you. The longer it's going to take you to get down a road where you're working on M 2.0 or your moving happily down that road alone.

No matter what path you choose here, if it's the right one for you I support it. But I can't just sit back and watch you wield your rage like weapon. Rage isn't always fire. It very easily can be ice. You need to be careful here. And maybe do a little self assessing.

I know I haven't forgiven him. I don't think I can, yet. I know I can when this is in the past. It is like to me, the spark of the A still exists, infidelity at some level, in the feelings he still harbors for her in his brain. When that is totally over and in the past, I know I can forgive. But today I don't think I can because there is still a kernel of the A happening, at least in my mind it is. Am I being totally ridiculous on this? I know my H would say so, that I'm trying to control how he thinks and feels. Am I? But regardless, I don't think I can reach forgiveness until I still work through my own feelings about all of it. I see it in the future. But not yet.

I feel worse about the record, now. I know I minimized it even to you guys. It was Jack Johnson's new christmas album, who is my very very favorite artist in the world. We danced our first dance at our wedding to one of his songs. The record store had 10 signed copies and he drove down to get it. When he got there, the guy said they were sold out. H was disappointed, chatted with the guy and browsed a bit, and then the guy went to the back and came back out and said I found one last copy, they hadn't put it out because one corner was a little smushed. He came home and he was all excited and said, I have a present for you, a Christmas present, but I really really want to give it to you early okay? And gave it to me.

I do feel badly about this.

Yail... so good to see you. I'm thinking on your advice and tried to keep it in mind tonight... easier said than done though!
Posted By: SteveLW Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/16/20 02:41 PM
May, hang in there. It is very difficult to get over infidelity, even when we think we can. I've told about an uncle that cheated on my aunt when I was young. She struggled with it for years. Still does and it has been over 35 years! I think what happens is we see the OP as competition, so our competitive nature kicks in. We aren't going to lose to another person taking our spouse!

Then when we win, we are left with the after effects. Dealing with that properly is important. I forget, are you in IC?
Posted By: wooba Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/16/20 03:35 PM
Originally Posted by may22
That he is so sorry that he hurt me, that he lied, that he betrayed me. [He is NOT saying he is sorry it happened.] That he's getting over her, he doesn't think he's "in love" with her anymore. But he isn't saying it was all a horrible mistake, he never really loved her, all the fantasy reconciliation apology words.


He apologized for hurting you and his lying and betrayal. How is that different from "saying sorry that it happened?" Sorry, I'm not really understanding this part.
He didn't say all those things (it was a mistake, he never loved her), but are those the things what you want him to say?
What if he never sees the A as a mistake because he actually fell in love with her, but at the same time he feels remorse for the hurt that he's caused you?

Also reading about your anger, it reminds me of what my S11 told me the other day - "When a teacher yells at me at school, I just turn stone-faced." What he meant was that he would do nothing and say nothing. he would have zero facial expression. This is my son's defense mechanism when he's in a hostile situation. Which I think works sometimes (you do not add fuel to the fire), but other times it can be unhealthy. There is a lack of communication. So when you say "I don't care" to your H, it definitely translates to way worse than "I don't care about the dirty spoon".

How will you ever know whether he is over A or not? even if he states so, will you believe him 100%? Sometimes it takes blind faith.

I also like what Yail said.

Thinking of you and I can't believe you live where you live!! Wish I could visit you one day! smile
Posted By: Gerda Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/16/20 05:40 PM
Hi, May. I never read your thread though I have seen and loved your posts in MLC. I just took a quick gander and do not know all the details so take my words with a grain of salt.

I stood for seven years, ten if you count when I started feeling unloved. I was basically a saint in the face of his infidelity, lying, stealing, etc. I kept believing in the man I thought he was and laying my grief at God's feet.

I don't regret that but I did discover what I had been told all along was true. That some things can't be talked out, and you can't expect healing to come from your spouse.

To me it seems like you are straddling three fences. There is a financial fence, and the part about the kids, as a post nup. There is the reconcilation fence. And then a divorce fence.

I think you need to commit to one side of one fence for a time. And it seems like you want to keep the marriage.

So my advice would be to declare a moratorium on R talk and just do IC. Make an actual rule not to do that and just to have fun for a while.

When the thoughts of the AP come your way, remember that they are from the darkness. They are a very real wound but your H is not going to be able to heal that wound. I don't know how you heal that wound without God, but if you don't have a faith life, I think you just have to keep giving over that pain to time and the universe. Expecting that your H will be able to say or do the right thing to heal your wound is a pipe dream. You can only hope that you build a new history with him.

If you don't trust him, you can't think he can fix that. He can destroy your trust further but only you can decide to trust again. In faith world we say that we don't have to trust the straying spouse because we trust God. In a secular sense I would say that this means making peace with NOT trusting him and knowing that you will be okay no matter what he does, and deciding if you want to hang out with this guy and go on dates and enjoy the kids together and then COMMIT to that and keep your doubts and fears and the rest between you and your journal, your IC and a daily hike into the hills overlooking the sea where you literally talk out loud the entire time and give all that pain away. If you don't think you can do that until you are sure he is done with her, then commit to that instead, tell him you can't wait to see him when he is at that point and you will put things on hold til then and just work on yourself and your independence.

A post nup might seem like a good security blanket but it seems like you are imagining it will fix a lot of things, and I am not sure about that. Maybe you can just divide all your finances for now and work on that when you know more.

I used to imagine murdering the AP. I hated her so much. I didn't get rid of that feeling. I just kept asking God to heal it. I think he did, a little, but they also I think broke up, and my H became so monstrous that I can't ever R with him again so I almost feel sorry for any woman who would get sucked into his vortex. But I do pray for him to be healed, and I wonder if you can just keep giving that responsibility for fixing your H and for healing your very real, very deep, very painful wound to the universe. It's too big for you, for any of us. I don't know if you saw this in my thread but a priest once told me that the pain I felt should not scare me, the way that when you have a broken arm and it throbs, you don't think it is breaking again. You know it's already broken, and the pain is coming from that already broken place. This helps me a lot to deal with my pain and not expect that any human being can fix it for me. It just has to heal.
Posted By: BluWave Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/16/20 06:27 PM
May,

I am busy at work but I just wanted to add how amazing I think you are. We are throwing opinions and advice at you form all directions and you handle it with such grace! I mean this when I say that your posts and threads are the ones that keep me coming back here. I have so much to learn from you. You take so much on, remain open-minded and really want to understand others, even when we write things that are painful to read! You also give very thoughtful and wise feedback to others.

It would be very interesting (telling) if XOW does reach out to him at some point and how he handles that. In my sitch, she certainly tried and in hindsight, the way he handled it helped us in our process. It was a couple months after he left her and came back to me. He bought a new phone and I think all the apps transferred over so I guess she got an alert that he tried to access a private acct that they had shared. She texted him asking had he tried to login in to it because she got an alert. He showed me the text and we agreed on a response. "That must have been an error. Please never contact me again." ... of course she did .... then she got blocked. And that was it. It helped me to trust him further, even tho my sense was that he really did not miss her or think about her. But hey, maybe those were lies I needed to tell myself (shoulder shrug).

There is a lot going on with your thread, so maybe I should post on my thread, but I have not seen folks talk much about what M 1.0 verses 2.0 actually means. We all use those terms, but is someone breaking down what it looks like? I have not seen that thread on the boards. Of course I have some thoughts on that. lol. I can certainly explain the difference between my own M 1.0 and my M 2.0 now. It my surprise people to know that they are not drastically different ...

Blu
Posted By: SteveLW Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/16/20 07:48 PM
MR 1.0 is the marriage with the dynamics it had before BD.

MR 2.0 is a new marriage forged with all new dynamics after your WAS has decided to recommit to you and the marriage.
Posted By: CWarrior Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/16/20 08:14 PM
Originally Posted by May
We talked more tonight. He says some of these things. That he loves me, he never stopped. that he knows we'll be okay, that he wants to do the work. That he is so sorry that he hurt me, that he lied, that he betrayed me. [He is NOT saying he is sorry it happened.] That he's getting over her, he doesn't think he's "in love" with her anymore. But he isn't saying it was all a horrible mistake, he never really loved her, all the fantasy reconciliation apology words.

Gerda makes some good points. When my lady and I split for 3-months, I had a 1-month relationship. I'm not in love with her. I wouldn't go back there. I did feel some love, I don't feel it was a mistake. I do feel it challenged my GF to be a better partner--it's clear being with her is a choice and I have options. I, of course, don't harp on that point or volunteer the presumed benefits of that 1-month GF. wink
Posted By: SteveLW Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/16/20 08:17 PM
Originally Posted by CWarrior
I do feel it challenged my GF to be a better partner--it's clearer than ever being with her is a choice and I have options.


Hmmmm. Not sure what to do with this statement. CW, I am not sure this is a healthy way to look at this. I mean, what happens when your GF feels secure again in your R? Will it take you dating another woman to straighten her out again? And would you stay with your GF despite the toxicity and problems if you felt that you had no options?

Wow.
Posted By: CWarrior Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/16/20 08:37 PM
Originally Posted by Steve85
CW, I am not sure this is a healthy way to look at this.

Maybe? What happened led me to where I am. I like where I am.

Originally Posted by Steve85
I mean, what happens when your GF feels secure again in your R?

I believe she feels secure. I hope she never feels so secure she ignores me for an extended time.

Originally Posted by Steve85
Will it take you dating another woman to straighten her out again?

If she stopped meeting my needs, and after communicating that enough time passed without her making an effort, I'd leave. Steve, Love will give her time, but I no longer believe in staying "no matter what". If she is my life partner--and I hope she is, we'll both make efforts when the other feels their needs are unmet.

Originally Posted by Steve85
And would you stay with your GF despite the toxicity and problems if you felt that you had no options?

Nope! It'd be an adjustment, but I can do well on my own. smile
Posted By: may22 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/16/20 09:23 PM
Originally Posted by Yail
You are looking at your H as if he is your H. You are seeing someone you may or may not be with in the future, and you are trying to figure that out, and how he fits into that role you see him in and if he is doing the right or wrong things.

Who is this man in front of you? Who is this person, ignoring ALL titles (husband, father, friend etc.) and your titles as well. Who is this real person in front of you with emotions and a life as deep as your own?

I say stop looking at his actions as things you should respond to, and try to see who this person is with fresh eyes every day, and try to learn something new about him through your observations.

This is harder than it sounds for me, I think. So much of my reason for standing is about H's role as the father of my children, and what it would mean for them if we split up. That was my driving force all along and I was able to manage/shove down a lot of the feelings I had about what the infidelity meant for me personally, because I was so fixated on doing everything I possibly could to protect them from D (and selfishly, to avoid giving up any time with them).

It was also the part that I could understand the least of H's actions. I could see how the A could have happened, given the issues with our R, H's personality, how good it must feel to have an AP who is head over heels in love with you and thinks everything you do or say is AMAZING. I think I shared when I snooped and found some text threads early on, before it was something serious (I think he moved it over to WhatsApp when it became an EA) and she was just pushing every single button for my H-- listening to a podcast he was on (which I was guilty of never doing), wanting to set up a call to ask him for career advice, sending flirty selfies. Gross. But also... understandable.

What I never, ever understood is his willingness to pursue the A to a place where it could have affected the children. I'm reading on some of the newer LBHs' threads about that same bewilderment, that a parent would do something so drastic to a child and pretend it is NBD. Yes, I know children are resilient and they'll all be just fine if you handle the situation appropriately... but for most kids, this will be the biggest disruption of their lives. What he will say is that-- he didn't do it. He got to the very edge of leaving. Had a great apartment secured. And looked over the edge and decided he couldn't do it. And he's here now. (He says this to me a lot. I'm here. I'm here. I'm here.)

He thinks it is not really fair for me to be angry with him for something he actually didn't do... but I am angry, angry that he considered it, angry, really, that he put me into a place where I had to consider it too, and build out custody plans and rethink what retirement might look like and worry about health care and imagine what my life would be life if my girls didn't jump into bed and snuggle with me every single morning. These things were never on my radar screen of things I needed to worry about. It feels like a wound to me, a hole inside, that I had had to come to grips with the idea that my girls wouldn't have a HOME anymore, but mom's house and dad's house. (Again. I'm not trying to say these things are not perfectly okay and kids don't deal with this perfectly well and two Christmases isn't better than one... I am just saying it was really hard for me to wrap my head around it, and I think I would have been perfectly happy in my life to never have had to think this all through.)

So.... peeling back those labels is hard. The husband/friend labels are easier, because the things he did are not things that a husband does, or a best friend does. But the father-of-my-children label will be hard for me to get around (possibly because if that label was taken away, I don't know that I'd still be here.)

He wants this of me, btw. He wants me to listen to him and understand him as a person today, not the person I met 17 years ago. I know he thinks I stopped seeing him as a person a long time ago. I told him that when I had that breakthrough in Feb 2019, the weekend away where I got my sex drive and love for him back, what happened that weekend was that I saw him again as a person, not just the husband-father labels I'd been slapping on him, and that somehow dissolved all the built-up resentment I'd carried for years.

He's actually been angry about that experience, in fact, too little too late-- that finally I was ready to reengage with him sexually after he had moved on (I did not know about the A at that time), and he felt like the weekend was one where we got a lot of stuff out in the open and were moving towards D. This continues to be a source of difficulty for both of us, resolving how we had such different takes on this one shared experience.

So I will work on this and think on this. We talked last night about setting some ground rules of engagement though nothing about what those might look like, whether it is we don't talk about R stuff at all for another couple months or we do set aside a regular time to talk and what topics are OK for now and not OK (I am not OK talking about his feelings for AP, still). Maybe we do end up having some non-A related conversations about each other, not our R. I honestly don't know if he is capable of doing the same for me-- understanding ME as a human being, not the mother of his children and impediment to his A. (Blu, you talked about this earlier, and I truly don't know his capacity on this front, though it makes me sad to say that.) Truth is also that this whole experience has been so encompassing for me, I feel like I'm in the process of re-figuring out my life in light of this knowledge and how it has affected and changed me-- so I don't know that I can talk about who I am or what I want outside of the context of the A and the trauma I feel like I'm still experiencing, to some degree. I don't believe he's in a place where he really wants to hear and understand that part, how much I've been hurt, yet.

Originally Posted by Steve85
May, hang in there. It is very difficult to get over infidelity, even when we think we can. I've told about an uncle that cheated on my aunt when I was young. She struggled with it for years. Still does and it has been over 35 years! I think what happens is we see the OP as competition, so our competitive nature kicks in. We aren't going to lose to another person taking our spouse!

Then when we win, we are left with the after effects. Dealing with that properly is important. I forget, are you in IC?

I am, have been since July; H now for almost two years. The IC though just is running into some trouble with our insurance and is pausing sessions (she was going to pause anyway over the holidays as she doesn't have child care). So no IC at least through the holidays and may need to find someone else.

Wooba, Blu, Gerda (yay!)-- thank you also-- I will respond more later to your thoughts as I need to chew on them a bit more.

xx M
Posted By: may22 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/17/20 02:40 AM
Originally Posted by wooba
He apologized for hurting you and his lying and betrayal. How is that different from "saying sorry that it happened?" Sorry, I'm not really understanding this part.
He didn't say all those things (it was a mistake, he never loved her), but are those the things what you want him to say?
What if he never sees the A as a mistake because he actually fell in love with her, but at the same time he feels remorse for the hurt that he's caused you?

Welllllll... this is the rub, isn't it? Why isn't what he is saying good enough for me? I need to sit with this. I think I'm letting my reconciliation fantasy get in the way of reality, maybe. Esther Perel says it is enough for the WS to be truly remorseful that they hurt the other person-- they don't have to regret it in its entirety, because it may have been an important, life-giving experience for them. I get this, intellectually. I think you're right in that he did fall in love with her. I get it, sometimes. But it is slippery to hold onto knowing that and being okay with that, for me, right now. I guess I WANT it to have been all a fantasy and mistake and he tells me it wasn't really love, just a sad figment of a mini MLC. (I feel a bit like Veruca Salt right now... I want I want I want!) For whatever reason, where I am right now, just being sorry he hurt me, his lies and betrayal... it doesn't feel like ENOUGH. Maybe it should be. Maybe it will be, with time. I'm glad he isn't just telling me what i want to hear, at least. He could, and he isn't.

Originally Posted by wooba
Also reading about your anger, it reminds me of what my S11 told me the other day - "When a teacher yells at me at school, I just turn stone-faced." What he meant was that he would do nothing and say nothing. he would have zero facial expression. This is my son's defense mechanism when he's in a hostile situation. Which I think works sometimes (you do not add fuel to the fire), but other times it can be unhealthy. There is a lack of communication. So when you say "I don't care" to your H, it definitely translates to way worse than "I don't care about the dirty spoon".

Yes, you're right. I think I need to find the right calibration of how not to feel angry and resentful myself in those situations while still being a mature (not 11 year old) communicator.

Originally Posted by wooba
How will you ever know whether he is over A or not? even if he states so, will you believe him 100%? Sometimes it takes blind faith.

Yeah. Not something I can answer today. Except that generally I err on the side of trusting too much. The dumb thing is I already am trusting him on a lot of this and need to always remind myself that he lied for a long long time.

Originally Posted by wooba
Wish I could visit you one day! smile

Yes!!!!! Maybe MWD should have a conference or something where we could all attend and spend a week together at a resort or something, sipping umbrella drinks and ogling the pool boys. wink
Posted By: Oceangl Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/17/20 03:40 AM
Originally Posted by may22
Originally Posted by wooba
He apologized for hurting you and his lying and betrayal. How is that different from "saying sorry that it happened?" Sorry, I'm not really understanding this part.
He didn't say all those things (it was a mistake, he never loved her), but are those the things what you want him to say?
What if he never sees the A as a mistake because he actually fell in love with her, but at the same time he feels remorse for the hurt that he's caused you?

Welllllll... this is the rub, isn't it? Why isn't what he is saying good enough for me? I need to sit with this. I think I'm letting my reconciliation fantasy get in the way of reality, maybe. Esther Perel says it is enough for the WS to be truly remorseful that they hurt the other person-- they don't have to regret it in its entirety, because it may have been an important, life-giving experience for them. I get this, intellectually. I think you're right in that he did fall in love with her. I get it, sometimes. But it is slippery to hold onto knowing that and being okay with that, for me, right now. I guess I WANT it to have been all a fantasy and mistake and he tells me it wasn't really love, just a sad figment of a mini MLC. (I feel a bit like Veruca Salt right now... I want I want I want!) For whatever reason, where I am right now, just being sorry he hurt me, his lies and betrayal... it doesn't feel like ENOUGH. Maybe it should be. Maybe it will be, with time. I'm glad he isn't just telling me what i want to hear, at least. He could, and he isn't.


Well, you're doing better than me, because I don't get this intellectually. I am still trying to figure out how to process this. My H regrets his affair and wishes he could go back and time so it never happened (I think because he feels shame because I good man wouldn't do that). BUT he loved her totally. Thinks she is amazing and blah blah blah. Can barely find a fault with her. So we all get some sort of $hit sandwich one way or another, and I think it's so hard to move through that. Or maybe it's just me. Sometimes I care less about her than others, I can tell I am moving forward, but it's still hard. So your struggle with it is understandable for me. I like a lot about Esther Perel, but I don't get this one. I want him to regret it in it's entirety. The thought of it being life-giving experience for him makes me want to puke. Especially since I was holding down the fort at home while he was having the time of his life. On the other hand, I understand I cant take the bitter train, there is no healing on the path. And I don't want their relationship to have power over me. So somehow, we have to move through this. Maybe I just don't like being compared to her.


Originally Posted by wooba
Wish I could visit you one day! smile

Originally Posted by may22
Yes!!!!! Maybe MWD should have a conference or something where we could all attend and spend a week together at a resort or something, sipping umbrella drinks and ogling the pool boys. wink


YES PLEASE
Posted By: LH19 Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/17/20 12:02 PM
So I have been thinking about your situation and am going to throw this out there. Is it possible the that you were is this fight to keep your family together and once you succeed you realized that part of the package isnít really all that great after all?
Posted By: job Re: Still taking it a day at a time - 12/17/20 03:49 PM
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Still taking it a day at a time (2)
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