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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 haven’t 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)))


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May,

Breathe.

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


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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


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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


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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?

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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.


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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.

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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.


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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!


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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.

Last edited by LH19; 11/18/20 02:02 PM.

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