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#2825751 12/04/18 06:43 PM
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So I thought I would start my own piecing thread. Since we've been in piecing since March.

Here is a link to my other threads:

All of Steve85's previous threads

Quick synopsis. BD 12/23/17 - Initiated by me after discovering her long distance EA. Typical things from WAW/WW. "ILYBIANILWY." "I don't want to be married anymore." Etc.

Her plan was to get a job, get an apartment and get a divorce. For us to stay friends. For my D14 to live with me in the marital home. For her to have a key. For us to have dinners both at the marital home and at her apartment. Etc........

Typical WW fog. Up and down behavior. I want to stay. I want to go. I don't know what I want.

I made classic LBS mistakes the first 2 days of begging, pleading, moping, crying, using logic, etc. Day 3 I remembered DBing based on her first EA in Sept. of 2005. (That time she immediately recommitted back to the marriage.)

Last act of rebellion against the MR was in mid-Feb. After that she committed back to the MR. She began to participate in MC and do the homework. She did a 180 on many things, started to become invested back in the family, the home, etc.

We've been piecing since the end of February. And it has been hard work. I've maintained my 180s, I continue my GAL activities, and I also have learned that detachment is something that all married folks should have (lookup self-differentiation in marriage).


M(52), W(53),D(17)
M-20, T-23 Bomb Drop - Dec.23, 2017
Ring and Piecing since March 2018
SteveLW #2825782 12/04/18 10:15 PM
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Hi Steve,

Welcome to the slow forums ;-) Maybe we can change the culture of that??? I did not read your initial threads. Your sitch turned around rather fast. Wow. 3 months? That's record time around here! I often wonder had my H not left for the full blown R with OW for 10 months, how things would have been different. On BD, it had mostly been an EA an he had no intention of leaving. I think it would have been easier to forgive his initial EA and piece because at least he was still home and with our family initially. Who knows that tho.

When I first started posting, there were several piecers - 25, Train, Mowgli, Lim, Stormchaser, NYGal, and then JoeJoe came around this summer. I'm sure I am forgetting many. Perhaps I should move my threads over here too. I do appreciate when they come back for a visit and update. How can we encourage folks to give more updates in piecing? And it seems like when folks piece (or give up on hope for the M) they often stop posting altogether.

I certainly do appreciate how much time and energy you give to the boards! You are pretty awesome. Thank you!

Blu

Last edited by BluWave; 12/04/18 10:18 PM.

“Forgiveness liberates the soul. It removes fear. That is why it is such a powerful weapon.” – Nelson Mandela
SteveLW #2825817 12/05/18 10:40 AM
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25 is now divorced and she moved to Poland this year, she is actually doing well

Also my friend was Jack 3 Beans who passed away two years ago, RIP sir


Welcome Steve


Me-68, D35,S34
SteveLW #2825923 12/05/18 05:58 PM
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Thanks Blu and Cadet. Yes I'd like to see these boards more active. Blu yeah I look back and am still surprised at how fast my sitch turned around. A lot of it was due to certain circumstances that most sitches do not meet. Like I initiated BD. My W's EA OM took himself out of the picture within a few weeks of BD. W started prowling for OM2, but due to still being in the marital home and being primary caretaker of D14 didn't have as much opportunity as some other Ws (she is a SAHM). Then there was the church angle. Some friends there invited us to a marriage retreat and to my surprise she agreed. She came to C with me (we were unsure if it was MC or if I was going to continue in IC alone) but she liked the C and agreed to continue attending.

But it was just shy of 3 months. I remember in my threads, the wayward side of her started initiating sex with me in early March. Within days we had had sex many many times. I was still mastering DBing at the time but knew not to attach significance to it.

Actually this morning in the shower it dawned on me. I am pretty sure I know the moment that she gave up her waywardness. We were on our want to MC and she casually mentioned that her voracious desire for sex had abated. Whatever switch had been flipped leading up to her EA that made her so sexual suddenly seemed to switch off again. Prior to BD we had a SSM. Since we've been intimate on a pretty good cadence (once or twice a month which is WAY over what we averaged for the first 19 years of our marriage). But the waywardness seemed to disappear along with her insatiable sexual appetite. I theorize that the two were part and parcel of whatever was causing her to want to walkaway.

Its okay though, I can live with once or twice a month! LOL And MR 2.0 is 100 times better than MR 1.0 was.

Sorry for the diatribe. I tend to do that. laugh


M(52), W(53),D(17)
M-20, T-23 Bomb Drop - Dec.23, 2017
Ring and Piecing since March 2018
SteveLW #2829739 12/26/18 01:01 PM
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Steve glad to see you have taken your sitch here. I believe Newcomes believe that once entering Piecing that one is out of the darkness and on the road to MR bliss.
Although I don't claim to be any type of expert and depending on the day I believe that W and I are dipping our toes in Reconciliation only for the next day to leave me wondering, I can see that piecing is far from a walk in the park.

Healing, from the LBS standpoint, is paramount. Without healing, I don't know that there can be a successful R. I think many of us have had to deny ourselves this much-needed healing in order to DB. "Trust" being the casualty. Not just trust that the S is not cheating but that there won't be any more surprise BDs. That the two will both embrace a much healthier way of communicating that both protects the individual as well as the MR.

I do have a few questions regarding your sitch Steve. Do you believe that there was anything you could have done to prevent this latest BD in your sitch? Did you skip any steps or ignore any issues that may have helped bring you back?

Any reflective insight that you have that might help others, I'm sure may be cathartic as well as extremely helpful for others.


M 53 W 54, M since 98
D15, D19
8/2013 discovered EA, W maintained contact with OM
until 10/14
7/2/17 W said she wanted S, 7/25/17 moved out of MBR
12/17 W says moving out 5/18, W still in home.

SteveLW #2830708 01/02/19 05:20 PM
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For some reason, I can't use the full editor application, so I'll have to make do by using the Quick Reply. Here is a quote from the great Jack Three Beans for posters who move to the Piecing forum.


"IF anyone is coming here from Newcomers or MLC or any of the other forums, following 25 years, Starsky, me...anyone else and you think that the advice here is different...it is.

It is different. DO NOT take advice from Piecing and apply it to a newcomer situation. Do not apply it to god forbid an MLC situation.

Piecing is when both parties are (or say they are) committed to working on the realtionship and even then? Give it a few weeks or months to see if that is true."


It is not about what you feel should work in your M. It is about doing the work that gets the right results. Do what works!
RR17 #2830718 01/02/19 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by RR17
I do have a few questions regarding your sitch Steve. Do you believe that there was anything you could have done to prevent this latest BD in your sitch? Did you skip any steps or ignore any issues that may have helped bring you back?


Thanks for your response. Regarding your questions. I assume you mean BD just over a year ago? it is a good question, but I now think the answer is yes. I could have been the man I am today and that would have prevented BD.

I am not sure what your 2nd question means. Please expound. I don't want to presume and answer wrong.

Thanks RR. Your input is always so good, and I know you struggle yourself so it is nice to have a brother in arms in all of this.


M(52), W(53),D(17)
M-20, T-23 Bomb Drop - Dec.23, 2017
Ring and Piecing since March 2018
sandi2 #2830719 01/02/19 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by sandi2
For some reason, I can't use the full editor application, so I'll have to make do by using the Quick Reply. Here is a quote from the great Jack Three Beans for posters who move to the Piecing forum.


"IF anyone is coming here from Newcomers or MLC or any of the other forums, following 25 years, Starsky, me...anyone else and you think that the advice here is different...it is.

It is different. DO NOT take advice from Piecing and apply it to a newcomer situation. Do not apply it to god forbid an MLC situation.

Piecing is when both parties are (or say they are) committed to working on the realtionship and even then? Give it a few weeks or months to see if that is true."


Thanks sandi. Good stuff here. I will go back and read all of the stickies when I get some time to do so!


M(52), W(53),D(17)
M-20, T-23 Bomb Drop - Dec.23, 2017
Ring and Piecing since March 2018
SteveLW #2831453 01/06/19 07:41 PM
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Did you skip any steps or ignore any issues that may have helped bring you back?


Sandi once made a whole list of requirements for reconciliation. The new platform makes it difficult to search or I would include a link. What I am asking is, do you think that you might have skipped any requirements in your first go-round that led to the second BD?


M 53 W 54, M since 98
D15, D19
8/2013 discovered EA, W maintained contact with OM
until 10/14
7/2/17 W said she wanted S, 7/25/17 moved out of MBR
12/17 W says moving out 5/18, W still in home.

SteveLW #2831477 01/07/19 02:01 AM
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RR that's what I thought you meant, but didn't want to assume. the answer is absolutely. In fact, after BD in 2005, once she said she didn't wasnt a D right away when I confronted her about the EA that I discovered, no work was done other than the requirement that she end the EA. She recommitted to the MR and for several years did alot of trying to improve our R. I got through the pain and went back to alot of bad habits. That contributed directly to BD 2017. And if I screw up again, forget what I've learned, and slip back into those behaviors I'm guaranteed BD#3 at some point and will end up D'd next time.


M(52), W(53),D(17)
M-20, T-23 Bomb Drop - Dec.23, 2017
Ring and Piecing since March 2018
SteveLW #2831488 01/07/19 03:07 AM
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Steve, you are an honorable man to own your faults. It has been discussed that the WW has to express or experience certain things as well. I wish I could find the thread. Alas, I remembered that I copied her list to notepad.

Quote
This list has some of the things the WW will need to do in order to reconcile, honestly and completely, with her H. If you see something that needs to be added, feel free. 

These are in no special order.

1). Consequences! And taking a hit with hard, maybe a painful loss of some kind.
2). Realizing the connection between her decisions with the consequences/loss.
3). Accepting responsibility for her decisions...and for every loss,
and every hurt she caused those she loves and who loves her.
4). Accepting and dealing with the consequences, without blaming anyone but herself.
5). Making a conscious choice to end her wayward direction and turn around.
6). Seeking guidance and/or spiritual counsel to guide her in how to cleanse her heart of the wrong attitudes, selfcenterness, resentment, rebellion.......whatever she carries that is unhealthy.
7). To be remorseful.  If necessary, even seek spiritual help, pray, whatever......to feel remorse for the destruction her decisions and feelings has caused her H.  She has to feel true remorse in order to emotionally reconcile and heal properly.
8). To completely forgive her H for everything in the past. To release the blame,anger, and hurt she held throughout their M.
9).  To be wiling to do whatever it takes for the MR to heal.
10). To agree and cooperate with the H's choice of transparency plan (accountability), sending a NC letter, having any medical tests, ending any friendships out of his request, (and of course, any contact with OM), place of employment, giving him requested information, attending MC, or anything else the H may request in order to ensure the success of their reconciliation, and the safety of the MR.
11). Accept/agree, without resentment, that she is in no position to give her H any "conditions" to her going back into the MR.  And, to accept without resentment, that the greatest level of work in piecing the M back together, must come from her.
12). To accept that it will take time for her healthy emotions to be restored.  To realize and accept she cannot measure the success of their progress by her feelings.
13). To be informed, and accept, that she must go through withdrawals from her AP, and could experience depression. She needs to understand this is normal, and not a sign that she will have never have feelings for H. 
13).  And the hardest one of all.........learn to forgive herself.

 Keep in mind, these things will not all come about at one time. Neither will she be able to know without someone guiding her.  It is really important she has help or coaching from an unbiased source who is pro-marriage and is familiar with piecing after an affair. 


M 53 W 54, M since 98
D15, D19
8/2013 discovered EA, W maintained contact with OM
until 10/14
7/2/17 W said she wanted S, 7/25/17 moved out of MBR
12/17 W says moving out 5/18, W still in home.

SteveLW #2831603 01/07/19 05:15 PM
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After BD#1, here is a point by point synopsis:

Quote

1). Consequences! And taking a hit with hard, maybe a painful loss of some kind.


This definitely happened. After BD in 2005 she lost a lot of freedom. She agreed to full disclosure. The most painful loss was the loss of OM. She went into about a 6 week withdrawal. It took several months before we were back to normal, but we eventually settled back into a new normal, which was very similar to the old normal except she was much more transparent. She also did a lot of reading trying to figure out how to fix things. She even did Love Dare at some point (I found out years later).

Quote

2). Realizing the connection between her decisions with the consequences/loss.


This one took the form of her realizing that she couldn't have and defend platonic friendships with males. She also realized that she had to make concessions with "freedom" and being transparent as a result of her actions.

Quote

3). Accepting responsibility for her decisions...and for every loss,
and every hurt she caused those she loves and who loves her.


This she did as well.

Quote

4). Accepting and dealing with the consequences, without blaming anyone but herself.


She definitely blamed herself. In fact that was a big difference in her post-BD#1 and post-BD#2. Post BD#1 she blamed herself exclusively. Post BD#2, she blamed me exclusively. It took weeks and MC to make her take responsibility herself.

Quote

5). Making a conscious choice to end her wayward direction and turn around.


This one didn't apply since she was not WW related to BD#1. She did turn around from her EA activities though.

Quote

6). Seeking guidance and/or spiritual counsel to guide her in how to cleanse her heart of the wrong attitudes, selfcenterness, resentment, rebellion.......whatever she carries that is unhealthy.


She did this.

Quote

7). To be remorseful. If necessary, even seek spiritual help, pray, whatever......to feel remorse for the destruction her decisions and feelings has caused her H. She has to feel true remorse in order to emotionally reconcile and heal properly.


She did feel remorseful. And while I think it was remorse at having been caught, initially, in the days that followed she realized she had jeopardized everything she had with me and was sorry for that and for hurting me.

Quote

8). To completely forgive her H for everything in the past. To release the blame,anger, and hurt she held throughout their M.


She did do this. A lot of it was that I had instituted changes. Unfortunately (more on this later) my changes were temporary just to save the MR rather then real and lasting.

Quote

9). To be wiling to do whatever it takes for the MR to heal.


She was. I, however, was not. She asked for IC and MC. At the time I didn't want to spend the money (our financial sitch was vastly different in 2005 than it is now). Again this was my fault, not hers.

Quote

10). To agree and cooperate with the H's choice of transparency plan (accountability), sending a NC letter, having any medical tests, ending any friendships out of his request, (and of course, any contact with OM), place of employment, giving him requested information, attending MC, or anything else the H may request in order to ensure the success of their reconciliation, and the safety of the MR.


She did this. I still have a copy of the email she sent. She ended the friendship, and went no contact. She did slip up on that once, but it was quickly squashed by OM AND, she later regretted even that. She wanted IC and MC but I refused.

Quote

11). Accept/agree, without resentment, that she is in no position to give her H any "conditions" to her going back into the MR. And, to accept without resentment, that the greatest level of work in piecing the M back together, must come from her.


Again, she did this but I only asked her to end the EA and have no contact with OM.

Quote

12). To accept that it will take time for her healthy emotions to be restored. To realize and accept she cannot measure the success of their progress by her feelings.


I think she did this but no way to know for sure. As once the EA was over I went back to pre-BD behavior.

Quote

13). To be informed, and accept, that she must go through withdrawals from her AP, and could experience depression. She needs to understand this is normal, and not a sign that she will have never have feelings for H.


She worked through this. Neither of us knew or understood this. I was more concerned that this meant she would never have feelings for me again, not her. In fact, she started making efforts to reignite the feelings. I was obtuse related to this.

Quote

13). And the hardest one of all.........learn to forgive herself.


I think she struggled with this the most.

After BD#1 she did a complete 180, immediately said she wanted to save the marriage, and started working towards that. She did have OM withdrawals. She processed through that better than I did.

The mistakes after BD#1 were almost exclusively on my side. I think I had trouble forgiving her. And I think I let that make me feel that she OWED me. I did mention it a few times over the next few years, but by 2010 never mentioned it. I had, however, gone back to my poor behavior as a H. Not empathizing with her, not listening to her, taking her for granted, being mean a surly, withdrawing into myself. By 2012 I had an HD TV in our MBR and would come home from work and spend all evening in there by myself. By 2017 I had become a pretty bad H other than providing for my family. Even then I nitpicked every single penny she spent. I was pretty bad.

BD#1 was on her (a lot of the worst behavior wasn't present pre-BD, though there was some.) BD#2 was mostly on me, looking back. Does that excuse her? Absolutely not. But the mistake I made after BD#1 was not doing the work I NEEDED to do. Not taking her up on IC and MC for us, and allowing myself to go back to pre-BD#1 behavior......and worse.


M(52), W(53),D(17)
M-20, T-23 Bomb Drop - Dec.23, 2017
Ring and Piecing since March 2018
SteveLW #2831669 01/07/19 09:33 PM
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Thanks. I hope others see this.


M 53 W 54, M since 98
D15, D19
8/2013 discovered EA, W maintained contact with OM
until 10/14
7/2/17 W said she wanted S, 7/25/17 moved out of MBR
12/17 W says moving out 5/18, W still in home.

RR17 #2831785 01/08/19 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by RR17
Thanks. I hope others see this.


Agreed. Much to learn from my two, very different BDs. Both initiated by me.

In the first, while I was far from perfect, it was more about her getting caught up in an EA with an old flame reconnected on social media, that just snowballed. He was married, unavailable, and she didn't want to leave me anyway. She immediately committed back to the MR. I got lazy again and my behavior became even worse. I eventually discovered another EA. This time she was full blown WW, and didn't want to save the MR. It took me doing my own work to finally get her to do her own work as well. It took a lot longer, was a lot harder, but I now realize that my changes have to be for life, and not just until the problems blow over.

I DB'd in both. But in the first my DBing was half-hearted and my 180s temporary. The learning here is that you as the LBS HAS to do the work, regardless of what your WAS/WS does.


M(52), W(53),D(17)
M-20, T-23 Bomb Drop - Dec.23, 2017
Ring and Piecing since March 2018
SteveLW #2832418 01/11/19 06:28 PM
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Hi Steve,

How are things? I've been loosely following the boards in the last few weeks, but just haven't had the time to post to everyone. Between holidays, working OT, kids, travel, illness, etc, I just can't keep up! I am impressed how people, like yourself, can stay so committed to posting! Thank you for that.

So I have been thinking about you and your recent changes in perspective and desire to walkaway. I don't have a thread in the piecing forums so I thought I would put this here. We keep saying it's hard, but we don't say a lot more. I thought I would dig a bit deeper (as I advise everyone else to do) as to WHY it is hard, and harder in some ways, than DBing. For anyone reading here, I would suggest looking up Maslow's Hierarchy Of Needs. I am sure that makes more sense than what I am going to attempt to explain!

My H has been back now for almost 4 years, and while we are not always "actively piecing," I think I can speak to it from the LBS perspective. In fact, IMHO, an important part of piecing is allowing yourself to second guess your commitment to the M and exploring those feelings. If you gloss over them or "force piecing" when you are not feeling it, I think you rug sweep something that needs to be addressed. If you do not address those issues, ultimately the LBS could become the WAS/WS. You might be getting a taste of that now. This has come up for me several times in the last 4 years. Now instead of acting on it, I dig a little deeper.

The shock of BD is devastating for all of us. The rug is essentially pulled out from under us and our entire life as we knew it changes. Many of us enter a stage of disillusion, anxiety, depression and desperation. That is how most Newcomers enter their sitch and thus the board. So there is no doubt that it is hard. It can feel unbearable. We read MWDs book and the links in Cadet's welcome thread. Some of us start posting and turn to the board, and some of us (myself included) just read in private for years.

For me, I did not create an acct, however I read for hours a day and found the advice/support through others that were in a similar position. I also read Sandi's rules daily and tried hard to follow them. I thought of them as my guide to just make it through the day. Because I was in a terrible crisis, I did not have the emotional bandwidth to do the greater task of self exploration. I was so wounded by his actions, that most of my focus was on wanting him back. I could not objectively think about what went wrong in the M and how I ended up here. Here lies the major difference between DBing and piecing. While DBing, I followed a set of rules, and felt as if I was in survival mode. Just getting dressed, getting through a work day, not falling apart, and taking care of my kids, and then sleeping through the night, was a challenge most days. I was at the bottom of the pyramid for many months.

The focus was on survival, following the rules, 180s, and GAL. I could not see clearly through my own fog, that him returning to the M would not fix my emotional damage. As Maslow explains, one cannot think about self actualization without basic safety! This pyramid on first glance is obvious, but a reminder we all need. How can you run a marathon without having had food, water or even oxygen?

Piecing is an entirely different animal. When my H pulled his head out of his rectum and left crazy XOW, of course there was an initial period of extreme relief. Perhaps it would be as if the doctor tells you that you have cancer and it is terminal, that you may have 6 months to live, only to later tell you that you are in complete remission and may live a full life. The emotional feelings of relief when the S returns to the M are indescribable. This for me lasted for a few weeks. As he continuously demonstrated his remorse and commitment to the M, I began to feel safe again. The safety, and detachment from the crisis period, allowed me to start seeing my sitch more clearly. I started to move up the pyramid. This is when a new kind of pain set in ...

As the months progressed, and I felt increasingly safe, my flog lifted and my perspective became more clear. As I moved up Maslow's pyramid, I was in a position to now see what had happened more broadly than just having become a victim. This devastation is less of a shock, but more of a dull ache with less and less periods of relief. The triggers were everywhere. And unlike DBing, there was no set of rules to follow. Reality stared me in the face and this was my new life, unlike the life I had created before BD. I chose a man to have a life and children with that is capable of the worst choices and here we are together again ....

The triggers were everywhere: in MC, during our conversations, when I saw a car that looked liked hers, when I saw HER, just driving down the highway on an average day, and waking up in a dark room with him laying there. While things may have looked normal, and yes, I got the guy, that dull ache and not knowing how to fix in was inescapable. Life went on, but the enjoyment was gone, and with a heaping side of resentment! This was not the man and life I had chosen.

If you are a LBS, and should be so "lucky" as us to have your S return, you would be a fool NOT to think about walking away. I said "think," and you really need to explore those thoughts. You owe it to your M and you owe it to yourself. The M was flawed before BD and it is even more flawed now, and that is the new reality. Because unlike a new R, where we don't really know if the person could cheat and abandon us, with our S, we know that they absolutely CAN and 100% DID. If that isn't a mind F, then I don't know what is. So if you decide to stay with someone after they return, there is work to be done and there is nothing fun or sexy about having to "work" on an R. The damage is 10 fold -- there is resentment now, there was a problem before, there is grieving the loss of what was and is now gone, there are triggers slapping you left and right and out of the blue, and then the "task" of creating something new. It can feel impossible at times.

I developed some very poor coping mechs in the last 4 years and I have also hurt my H a lot. I am not proud of it. I am changing, but I am still learning. I will say tho, that because so much time has passed, I don't have the same triggers, fears, or emotional responses to things that I did the first couple years. If I were to think about or see XOW, I would not feel much of anything, however I would more think something that includes pity for a what a mess she is. I think we are finally getting to place where we can discuss and address the bigger and more important aspects of our life and family, without as much emotional baggage. I still reserve my position that if I am going to leave my H, it will not be because of the mistakes he made, but it will be because we are no longer compatible.

And let's face it, we have all changed a lot during this process. We cannot really know if the new versions of ourselves will want to be together for another 10, 20, or 30 years. I am not disillusioned to what anyone is capable of anymore. But I also don't know what my perspective will be in the future. The silver lining for me is that this sitch has forced us both to really look at ourselves and our flaws and change. I think if we had maintained the old M without the BD, then we would have been our same selves. My hope is that the tools we are gaining in this mess will ultimately benefit us both personally and in our Rs in general. I hope what didn't kill me is making me stronger.

Hopefully you're all still awake .... Look up Maslow's pyramid. Good stuff.

Blu


“Forgiveness liberates the soul. It removes fear. That is why it is such a powerful weapon.” – Nelson Mandela
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Blue, excellent post. Very well said. I think the only thing I'd add that while working hard on a R is not sexy, it is absolutely essential. Most of us ended up in our sitches because we stopped working on the R. And while I agree we now know this person we're are with is capable of cheating on us, in some respect they didn't cheat on us because we weren't trying anymore. I know that comment will be controversial here, because we often say and I truly believe that nothing justifies adultery. But I hope people understand what I mean. In a way we were no longer together with that person. In my sitch I had allowed MR to get to the point where we were living separate lives. Would this person have cheated on me if we were connected, in sync, and part of each of our lives the way we were early on? I would say no. Is that true in everyone's case? No. But most adultery is a symptom of bigger problems in the marriage.

So the point is that we should never stop working. During limerance that work comes easy. After that in love phase it takes an effort. When we stop trying that is when there is a greater chance of one spouse stepping out of the marriage. I'd recommend anyone that is feeling the way I recently felt to deal with it properly. When I felt that before I allowed it to make me stop trying. To give up. To pull inward. To start behaving as a single person as if I had walked away. That jeopardized my marriage and allowed for a greater chance of infidelity.

This time I handled it differently. I tried to work on me and the MR rather than giving up. I tried to understand why I felt the way I did. I kept up with the self exploration and tried to grow through it. The book I'm reading talks about this in how to affair proof your marriage. And most of it is in self differentiating in healthy ways. I think that fits right in with what you are talking about here. You can't have a healthy marriage until you have a healthy self. That includes addressing your self esteem and dealing with the feelings you have, positive and negative, the right way.


Last edited by Steve85; 01/12/19 05:52 PM.

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I completely agree with you Steve. My H and I were living separate lives. Originally we were “tag teaming” on weekends with child care and while that gave one of us a break, we forgot about the importance of spending time together to keep the connection between us. Unfortunately, I know this now in hindsight. If I ever find myself in another long term relationship, I won’t make that mistake again. Good for you for having the maturity to self reflect and do the work. When the two of you are through this, your marriage will be better and stronger than it ever was before. I think you are both blessed to have this second chance and glad you are not wasting it. (((HUGS)))


Me 53
H 48
B/G Twins 13
SD 21
Legal SA - January 2019
Divorce filed - June 2019
Divorce final - November 2019

Together 14 years
Married 12 years
BD1 - May 2014
BD2 - September 14, 2018

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Everyone, I am in tears typing this. I didn't want to put this in the newcomers because I know a lot of posters there are hurting today, and struggling. But my wife handed me a card tonight. It said on the front:

Not only am I glad we found each other.....

Then you open it and it says:

I'm glad we've never let go.

I can't believe it. If you had told me last year that this year I would get a card like this from her I would not have believed you at all! I am so humbled, and happy. I can't help but have tears well up thinking about it and reading this card.

I feel so blessed.


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Super happy for you Steve!!! Hope you had a great evening with your W. smile


Me 53
H 48
B/G Twins 13
SD 21
Legal SA - January 2019
Divorce filed - June 2019
Divorce final - November 2019

Together 14 years
Married 12 years
BD1 - May 2014
BD2 - September 14, 2018

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Originally Posted by Steve85
Everyone, I am in tears typing this. I didn't want to put this in the newcomers because I know a lot of posters there are hurting today, and struggling. But my wife handed me a card tonight. It said on the front:

Not only am I glad we found each other.....

Then you open it and it says:

I'm glad we've never let go.

I can't believe it. If you had told me last year that this year I would get a card like this from her I would not have believed you at all! I am so humbled, and happy. I can't help but have tears well up thinking about it and reading this card.

I feel so blessed.


Steve85, that was the sweetest card, you are blessed. You give me hope that maybe there is a sliver of a chance that my sitch will improve.

I also ageee with you upthread when you were talking about how we should always be working on the R. That’s the biggest lesson I learned from my sitch.

Glad things are going better for you!


Original BD: 10/26/2017
PA: 10/2017 - 11/2017
Second BD: 09/15/2018
Currently: IHS
M: 42 H: 45
S: 22 lives on his own D: 18 away at college S: 15 still lives at home - the only child we share together
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Wonderful to hear! It gives me hope that the long haul does indeed have promise.


M: 56
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S: 22
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H Moved out: 10/1/18
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Wonderful to hear! It gives me hope that the long haul does indeed have promise.


M: 56
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So we are solidly 2 years into piecing and I have to tell you, it has been a roller-coaster ride. I documented in the newcomer thread from late last summer, where I found messages between my W and another guy from an online game. It was pretty innocent but it was obvious to me that this guy, that lives in Canada, was smitten with her. For her part she wasn't really reciprocating, but she was really enjoying the attention.

I confronted, she was immediately remorseful. I pretty much told her that I was done with that behavior, that while I shared responsibility for her EAs in the past, this time this thing was all on her. And that I was not interested in having to worry about this kind of thing for the rest of my life.

She did a complete 180. When we first started piecing she was resistant to complete transparency. This time all of that changed. She gave me complete access to her phone, PC, PWs for all accounts, etc. I made it clear to her that I was not interested in having to keep tabs on her. But I have to say, her actions afterward spoke volumes! It was clear that she valued our MR and wanted to do whatever she could to make sure I was aware of that and that she was willing to do whatever it took to show that.

The one 180 I did out of it was I decided to be more forthcoming with compliments and words of affection. That is her primary love-language and I took this minor indiscretion as a sign that I needed to make sure I was keeping that love tank full.

The turnaround since then has been astounding. Our MR is better than it has ever been. I work hard at it, and while date night is much harder now in the COVID world, I still make sure we spend plenty of quality time together. I make sure I am providing her that level of words of affection she needs to feel love and fulfilled. She has begun to be much more forthcoming with the physical touch. Our sex life is the best is has been since we were newlyweds! I am amazed all the time at the improvements in our MR.

I really think the first year she was piecing, she was always expected the OLD Steve85 to come back. I think it took her a good year and a half to trust that the positive changes that I instituted during our sitch at the end of 2017, beginning of 2018 were real, sincere, and permanent. And once she could fully trust that the new Steve85 was the real Steve85, she opened up to me like she hadn't been in almost 20 years!

Anyway, that's the update right now. Piecing is a long process. After 2 years I believe w are still piecing, and possibly will be for the rest of our lives. But the results are work the efforts.


M(52), W(53),D(17)
M-20, T-23 Bomb Drop - Dec.23, 2017
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Quick update from me.

Things continue to go well. We actually bonded more through the COVID crap. I know the lockdowns and being cooped up had 1 of 3 affects on families. No impact (some didn't notice anything different!). Made things worse (families that didn't react well to being confined together so much). Or brought them closer together. The latter was us. Even my D was embracing more family time as we treaded through the pandemic. We found that carry-out affords a lot of opportunity to sit down and talk without the hustle bustle and noise of a restaurant! And it is more private too.

Wife and I hit a snag in the sex dept. She has developed two bad shoulders. Her range of motion is really limited and movement and motion seems to really aggravate the pain. If this had happened pre-BD I would not have dealt with it well at all. But now I do not take it as a personal affront! We both know she will get over this and we will get back to regular intimacy. And it has caused intimacy in different ways. She often needs help with dressing and undressing due to the problem, and that closeness of her allowing me to help with that is very nice. Another thing that would not have occurred during BD.

So we continue to move forward, and each day seems to bring us even closer together than we were before. It is amazing that something like what we went through was necessary in order for us to wake up to how bad things had become, and motivate us to turn it around.


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Dealing with a feeling of "now what" lately. Maybe it's our daughter graduating and getting ready to head off to college. Idk. I've actually been wondering how life could be different if I had made a different decision. I've had this on and off but it's been a little stronger lately.

I've also been a bit lax on GAL the last few months, I need to amp that back up.


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Honestly this is one of my biggest fears. We get to a point where it's just the two of us and then what? We have the luxury of never having a MR where it was just the two of us. So for us the novelty of it will push us through for a little while. But the converse of that is also true, you did have a MR that was once just you two. What about that time would you like to recapture? What kind of things do you guys want to do in this next phase in your lives individually and together?

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Oh and do you guys talk about that? Retirement, travel, later in life starts?

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Good questions. To be honest our marriage wasn't great in the beginning before or daughter. We had a great courtship, but right away after marriage we fell into the classic mistakes so many couples make. I expected sex, I started having NGS tendencies. She started to feel like the only thing I wanted was sex. So she started withholding it. I then started withholding all other affection and intimacy. And it just snowballed from there. Then she went off the pill and got pregnant. We list the first baby, it was devastating and actually brought us closer together briefly. Then she got pregnant again and our daughter was born. Things just got worse and worse after that.

And no, we haven't really discussed what comes next yet. We will. Travel sounds good, but we've always had pets that have made it difficult to do. Our pets are older now and we probably don't have much time left with them. We will probably get more info travel once they've passed on.


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I mean I can see why the anxiety is there your D is a buffer and kind of a stop keep on spending much time looking backward. But with her gone, the opportunity for it to all slide back to exactly the way it was can feel greater. I think it would be best to focus on how much different your MR is now than it was in that time. And how different the 2 of you are. I think maybe having some conversations about life after kid would be great date night fodder. And maybe in true DB fashion you can take some time by yourself to think about what you had wanted this phase in your life to look like and what you now think you'd like this phase in your life to look like. What does Steve want between now and retirement? What does Steve want in retirement? What does that look like? What kind of steps would it take to get you there? Life seems to move so much more quickly as I age. Things that seemed years away sneak up on me now. Years long plans don't feel so far out and long lasting as they did. Just food for thought.

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Yeah, I will discuss all of that with her. I have had those conversations in my own head though. I have a pretty clear plan. Some of it is investment based. If my investments do well, then I will actually retire fairly quickly (next 2-3 years). So we will see (cross-fingers!).

If not I have a little over 7 years left. Crazy I am actually considering retirement! Life goes so fast.


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M-20, T-23 Bomb Drop - Dec.23, 2017
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Steve, I could see that as both exciting and scary. Kids definitely provide a reason NOT to divorce and a reason to reconcile. My XW's desire to R was based on giving our kids a "real home and family"--her words, not mine as I believe our kids already have those. I do suspect having a shared vision of the future that works for both of you would help immensely. Not that I ever got as far as you in marriage, so props, you have obviously been doing some things right. (:



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Thanks CW. We are heading home now from dropping my D 2300 miles away for school. W is driving while I work from the car. She was pretty strong when we left but really broke down last night in the hotel. She's better today but a emotional. I think when we get home tomorrow she'll have a hard time.


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All my love to you guys!! My commuter student is currently very irritable at her 2nd day of a 6 day orientation as her school doesn't really pay attention to their commuter population since they have such a large on campus population including grad and law students. I'm blessed I don't have to say goodbye this year. But accepting that she's like a real adult and I'm basically on the clock for how much longer I have her is finally starting to hit.

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WF, yes you are blessed! I cannot believe how much I am missing my D already! I am so looking forward to Christmas for her to come home for a few weeks.

On the piecing front, what a difference a few years make. Prior to BD in 2017 I was plotting my own escape once my D was 18 and in college. Now I cannot believe how close my W and I are. The last almost 3 years we've been closer and have had a better marriage than at any point in our 24 1/2 years together. I wish I had been more mature and knew about NGS way back then, and then we could have had going on 23 years of wedded bliss. But as Bon Jovi said: I can promise you tomorrow, but I can't buy back yesterday.

So I continue to just learn, grow, and improve as much as I can. I love our playfulness. I love how much more secure I am in our R. I love how much better our dynamic is. To go from the edge of D 3 years ago to being in a place where D isn't even a consideration has been an amazing journey. Admittedly, I had a lot more work to do on myself than she did, but the fact that she has been willing to work on herself and on our marriage as well just endears her to me more and more.


M(52), W(53),D(17)
M-20, T-23 Bomb Drop - Dec.23, 2017
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Hi Steve,

I thought I'd bring this convo over to your thread:

Originally Posted by SteveLW
May, very profound and well said. Though I do tend to disagree a bit here. SSM are rarely all one spouses fault. Maybe yours is in the rare category. But usually SSMs follow a similar path. The LD spouse starts avoiding, turning down, making excuses for not having sex. The HD spouse then gets bitter, angry, resentful and this causes them to behave in ways that further perpetuate the SSM. After all, the LD spouse is already struggling wanting sex, so when the HD becomes mean, short-tempered, stops helping with the kids and around the house, withdrawn, etc, the LD spouse now wants to have sex even less than they did before!

I didn't mean to say that it was 100% my fault-- I actually think we are equally to blame and we followed the exact path you lay out above. (Scary, really.) And PT is his primary LL, and it got to a point where anytime he touched me it felt like code for let's have sex, so I would flinch away. He's said, half- seriously, when we bought two couches for the TV room that was a major negative influence on our R, since we stopped cuddling on one couch to watch TV and instead each had our own.

Anyway, while I do think he bears responsibility (and we haven't really dug into this in therapy yet), I also totally own my part in it too. I didn't realize how important it was to him. I didn't realize what I was communicating to him with my actions. And I feel pretty badly when I put myself in his shoes. (Of course, none of this in any way excuses his behavior, and we also had other issues around communication, etc that need work.)

Originally Posted by SteveLW
As the HD partner, I am always going to want sex more than my W. But what a difference the last 3 years since R have been. I dropped all the passive-aggressive, resentful behaviors over when she doesn't want to have sex. I remain the same upbeat, helpful, partner whether we had sex last night or whether we did not! And what a difference it makes. We now have sex quite regularly, but there are the odd time when she just isn't feeling up to it. But I do not let it change me being the best spouse that I can be! Our dynamic is 100% better because I don't act like a jerk about the occasional rejection.

Steve, this is so great! It's so funny. Before all this happened, my H would roll in after work, not really help with dinner or the kids (he'd do some but mostly in response to my requests, not taking the initiative to handle things himself). He'd lay around and watch TV or go into his office and do work and I felt like I handled the lion's share of all the household work (I worked full time too). Then when we went to bed he'd start rubbing my back for 30 seconds and be surprised when I wasn't leaping into his arms. I had fifty million things on my mind with the kids and work and he was basically behaving like a third child for me to manage-- that is NOT sexy. Now, sometimes I'll come home from work and he's already gotten the kids from school, is making dinner, doesn't let me help, says to put my feet up and brings me a cocktail. Now THAT is sexy. (As I reread this, it sounds like he is a 50s housewife... it isn't like that every day for sure. We're pretty equal partners generally and other days I do most of this same stuff. But he also knows that my job is higher stress than his and is willing to go above and beyond to give me a break when I need it, which is nice.)

Question for you-- did you guys have explicit conversations about the SSM and your desire to have more frequent sex? Or was this more like you just changed your response and she responded positively? Has it been pretty consistent since you've been piecing or have there been harder times?


Me (46) H (42)
M:14 T:18, D9 & D11
4/19 - 12/19: series of escalating BDs
9/20 - present: R and piecing
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Originally Posted by may22
Hi Steve,

I thought I'd bring this convo over to your thread:

Originally Posted by SteveLW
May, very profound and well said. Though I do tend to disagree a bit here. SSM are rarely all one spouses fault. Maybe yours is in the rare category. But usually SSMs follow a similar path. The LD spouse starts avoiding, turning down, making excuses for not having sex. The HD spouse then gets bitter, angry, resentful and this causes them to behave in ways that further perpetuate the SSM. After all, the LD spouse is already struggling wanting sex, so when the HD becomes mean, short-tempered, stops helping with the kids and around the house, withdrawn, etc, the LD spouse now wants to have sex even less than they did before!

I didn't mean to say that it was 100% my fault-- I actually think we are equally to blame and we followed the exact path you lay out above. (Scary, really.) And PT is his primary LL, and it got to a point where anytime he touched me it felt like code for let's have sex, so I would flinch away. He's said, half- seriously, when we bought two couches for the TV room that was a major negative influence on our R, since we stopped cuddling on one couch to watch TV and instead each had our own.

Anyway, while I do think he bears responsibility (and we haven't really dug into this in therapy yet), I also totally own my part in it too. I didn't realize how important it was to him. I didn't realize what I was communicating to him with my actions. And I feel pretty badly when I put myself in his shoes. (Of course, none of this in any way excuses his behavior, and we also had other issues around communication, etc that need work.)

Originally Posted by SteveLW
As the HD partner, I am always going to want sex more than my W. But what a difference the last 3 years since R have been. I dropped all the passive-aggressive, resentful behaviors over when she doesn't want to have sex. I remain the same upbeat, helpful, partner whether we had sex last night or whether we did not! And what a difference it makes. We now have sex quite regularly, but there are the odd time when she just isn't feeling up to it. But I do not let it change me being the best spouse that I can be! Our dynamic is 100% better because I don't act like a jerk about the occasional rejection.

Steve, this is so great! It's so funny. Before all this happened, my H would roll in after work, not really help with dinner or the kids (he'd do some but mostly in response to my requests, not taking the initiative to handle things himself). He'd lay around and watch TV or go into his office and do work and I felt like I handled the lion's share of all the household work (I worked full time too). Then when we went to bed he'd start rubbing my back for 30 seconds and be surprised when I wasn't leaping into his arms. I had fifty million things on my mind with the kids and work and he was basically behaving like a third child for me to manage-- that is NOT sexy. Now, sometimes I'll come home from work and he's already gotten the kids from school, is making dinner, doesn't let me help, says to put my feet up and brings me a cocktail. Now THAT is sexy. (As I reread this, it sounds like he is a 50s housewife... it isn't like that every day for sure. We're pretty equal partners generally and other days I do most of this same stuff. But he also knows that my job is higher stress than his and is willing to go above and beyond to give me a break when I need it, which is nice.)

First, let me say, WOW. All of that sounds soooooo familiar. Your dynamics were very very similar to our dynamics. Any affection I showed her she would recoil from thinking "oh he wants to have sex!". And admittedly I had become pretty bad at showing any affection outside of the bedroom. Again, due to the resentfulness, anger and bitterness.

Now I show a lot of non-sexual affection, genuinely and sincerely. I also should point out that I have actually turned her down a couple of times, legitimately, from being really tired or not feeling well that night/morning.

Another WOW for me is the couches! We had a similar thing occur after I got my recliner. Amazing the parallels!



Originally Posted by may22
Question for you-- did you guys have explicit conversations about the SSM and your desire to have more frequent sex? Or was this more like you just changed your response and she responded positively? Has it been pretty consistent since you've been piecing or have there been harder times?

We have talked about it. And we both acknowledge that the dynamic is so much better because our overall MR is so much better. IC for me, MC for us also helped a lot. I had gotten to a pretty selfish worldview and IC really opened my eyes up to that. A lot of it was because I felt isolated and alone in the MR. Learning to be more empathetic, and remembering that I love this woman really helped too. It really is amazing how much better of a MR it is when you keep the other person ahead of yourself in priority.

But I do think that my change in response was huge. As the bald TV Texan asks "How was resentfulness, bitterness and anger working for you?" The answer was that it wasn't! That behavior caused our MR to be ticking time-bomb. When it exploded it was going to be a disaster, a mess. Not sure if you remember my sitch or not, but I actually initiated BD, she hadn't gotten to the point where she was ready to BD me. I think that actually helped me in DBing and made our outcome a little more likely to move to R, but I did wake up to how lousy of a H I had become.

It has been pretty consistent since piecing and Ring. When she first opened up to the idea of Ring, if you read my threads, she was initiating almost every night and every morning...for a couple of weeks. Since then we've fallen into a more consistent routine of once a week on average, except for when both of her rotator cuffs were injured. But I've been pleased with our sex life for last 3+ years. It has been way better than any other point in our MR.


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Happy Halloween, Steve. (:



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Originally Posted by CWarrior
Happy Halloween, Steve. (:

Thanks CW! Halloween was a non-event for us. With our daughter away at school it was just another Sunday night for us.

How was it for you and your kids?


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So we've hit a bit of a snag.

Still trying to figure out how I feel about everything right now. And maybe it is just my usual end of the year assessment of things, and what I want long-term. But I've been having weird feelings of ending things. It is very strange since I haven't had these feelings in about 3 years. At least not this strong.

I really need to sort it all out, where it is coming from, and why. Obviously I am not acting on any of it but it has caused me to pull back from my present, listening and validating, upbeat etc. There are some non-relationship things going on that might be informing some of it, but I also for some reason am feeling unfulfilled (I think that is the feeling).

Anyway, I know others of you are going through piecing as well. Do any of you ever deal with feelings like this?


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So Steve what about ending it and being divorced makes you think you will be more fulfilled in the future?


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Originally Posted by LH19
So Steve what about ending it and being divorced makes you think you will be more fulfilled in the future?

Really good question and one that I have no answer for.


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Originally Posted by SteveLW
So we've hit a bit of a snag.

Still trying to figure out how I feel about everything right now. And maybe it is just my usual end of the year assessment of things, and what I want long-term. But I've been having weird feelings of ending things. It is very strange since I haven't had these feelings in about 3 years. At least not this strong.

I really need to sort it all out, where it is coming from, and why. Obviously I am not acting on any of it but it has caused me to pull back from my present, listening and validating, upbeat etc. There are some non-relationship things going on that might be informing some of it, but I also for some reason am feeling unfulfilled (I think that is the feeling).

Anyway, I know others of you are going through piecing as well. Do any of you ever deal with feelings like this?
Well there is obviously other things going on because you’re not the type of person to act on emotion. Also sounds like your NGS might be flaring up a little so that might be something to look at.


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Well I'm only a little over a year out with recon and piecing so I, probably a little too often, think about calling it quits.

In the beginning a minor inconvenience would put me in the state of mind to question what I was even doing. Now it's mostly when we just have spats that are more than just annoyances and when I have days where I think "god I miss the way he was in the middle of the A." Not because I enjoy being treated like crap but because he wanted to spend time with OW and because of his guilt he felt compelled to do twice as much around the house. He wasn't working like 60-70 hours a week. He was working like 50 max and would make dinner at least 2 times a week but usually it was more. Lifting a lot of mental load off of me so I could have me time. Now he's comfortable working like a crazy person because he knows I'll pick up the slack. And if I so much as breathe that it's a lot and I'm trying not to be resentful or unappreciative he then becomes a puppy and lavishes me with affection, attention, and things. So then I feel guilty. And I feel like maybe ending it would've been easier than this shame spiral I now have to deal with. Sometimes it's a Tuesday night I just wish I had space and I wish I would've ended it.

In any case it's fleeting. I love him. And he'd crawl across gravel if I asked him to. So I can't say he doesn't love me. And because we always have our friendship and that love to fall back on I don't really stay questioning it for too long. Love comes in waves. It ebbs and flows. It transitions. There's passion and there's companionship. And sometimes it's just being alone together. I have days where if he says one more word I want to smoosh his face. And days where I want to jump into his arms the second I see him. And days where I really just want to be alone like completely alone. But as far as I can tell all of that is all very normal.

In your situation though. You guys just went through a really big transition. Your daughter left the house. That does things to people. Marriages fall apart. People fall apart. It's a huge life change the kind that makes people reassess and question things. It's also the kind of change that if you didn't plan appropriately for it, it can leave you feeling empty. Empty nesters can mean a lot of things. Almost 20 years of your life was dedicated to full time parenting. And now it's simply not.

Even if none of that's the case, why is it that you think your marriage is what should make you feel fulfilled? It's not your wife's job to make you feel that way. It's not your marriage's job either. Your wife is your wife because you love her and want to spend the rest of your life with her. Your marriage is a marriage because that bond and commitment was/is important to you to show the world you love and cherish your wife, and your family. Neither of those things exist for your fulfillment. Love isn't' about you. Neither is commitment.

I'm doubling down on LH's question of why do you think ending the marriage will make you feel fulfilled in the future? And I'm adding have you discussed this feeling of being unfulfilled and all the little satellite feelings that go along with it with an IC? Also have you really sat in why you think a drastic change (just in general, not necessarily in direct relation to your marriage) would made you feel fulfilled again?

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Originally Posted by wayfarer
Even if none of that's the case, why is it that you think your marriage is what should make you feel fulfilled? It's not your wife's job to make you feel that way. It's not your marriage's job either. Your wife is your wife because you love her and want to spend the rest of your life with her. Your marriage is a marriage because that bond and commitment was/is important to you to show the world you love and cherish your wife, and your family. Neither of those things exist for your fulfillment.
Love isn't' about you. Neither is commitment.
Love is a choice, one that you must make everyday.

And sometimes doing nothing is a choice and an action. (even if it seems like its an inaction)

Last edited by Cadet; 11/30/21 07:00 PM.

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LH, not sure if it is NGS. Maybe. But it isn't any need not being filled by her. It is more a feeling of malaise in general. Like I said, there are other factors going on outside of the MR that may be impacting my overall feeling.

WF, I relate so much to what you wrote. There are some habits she has that have been literally driving me mad. Things I would have reacted poorly to 4 years ago. I try to remember how much I love her during those moments and not let the old guy come back, but lately it has been heightened. It is kind of like someone running their fingernail across your skin. Mildly annoying most of the time, but almost intolerable when you have a sunburn. It is as if I currently have a sunburn, maybe because of the factors outside of the MR.

But to the question you doubled down on, I really do not know. The best I can describe it is like being someone with claustrophobia trapped in an elevator. All you can think about is how freeing getting out of the elevator would be. You cannot think past that, or that maybe if the elevator opens you will be in another confined space that will be no better. Your other questions are outstanding as well, and I also do not have answers. Except that I had stepped away from IC, and that is something I am going to restart post New Years.

Cadet, thanks. Great reminders here. I do choose to love her. Which is why I've pushed all this down as far as I can and do not let it affect my actions (per LH's point). I am doing nothing but posting my internal struggle here.

Thanks to all three of you for the support.


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Originally Posted by SteveLW
LH, not sure if it is NGS. Maybe. But it isn't any need not being filled by her. It is more a feeling of malaise in general. Like I said, there are other factors going on outside of the MR that may be impacting my overall feeling.

WF, I relate so much to what you wrote. There are some habits she has that have been literally driving me mad. Things I would have reacted poorly to 4 years ago. I try to remember how much I love her during those moments and not let the old guy come back, but lately it has been heightened. It is kind of like someone running their fingernail across your skin. Mildly annoying most of the time, but almost intolerable when you have a sunburn. It is as if I currently have a sunburn, maybe because of the factors outside of the MR.

But to the question you doubled down on, I really do not know. The best I can describe it is like being someone with claustrophobia trapped in an elevator. All you can think about is how freeing getting out of the elevator would be. You cannot think past that, or that maybe if the elevator opens you will be in another confined space that will be no better. Your other questions are outstanding as well, and I also do not have answers. Except that I had stepped away from IC, and that is something I am going to restart post New Years.

Cadet, thanks. Great reminders here. I do choose to love her. Which is why I've pushed all this down as far as I can and do not let it affect my actions (per LH's point). I am doing nothing but posting my internal struggle here.

Thanks to all three of you for the support.

I read a good book about the fact that for a relationship to survive, each partner needs to be willing to push things to a crisis when they need to. Each person needs to be willing to say "the status quo doesn't work for me" with the implication being that if it doesn't change, they're done. The other person can either ignore them, in which case the relationship ends, they can agree to fix whatever the issue is, or they can offer a compromise. This process forces the relationship to evolve, and to stay alive it must evolve. The alternative is to slowly erode through building resentments. This sounds like where you are at Steve.


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Hi Steve,

I also think about what it would be like to walk out. As you know I'm even earlier in the process than WF and I still haven't fully forgiven him. I worry that I'll never really get over the fact that he had this affair and told another woman he loved her. That still f-ing hurts and I'm not 100% sure I'll ever be okay with it. When he reverts to pre-BD habits it makes me insane and scared that I went through all of this to get back to our same mediocre pre-BD M. And then I get angry that it even OCCURS to me that D is an option, since it never had been before and he's the one that put it on the table in the first place.

I also think you should give yourself and your R a bit of a break for the feelings you're having-- I think it is incredibly common for so many right now after a year and a half of this pandemic. Don't make the mistake of blaming your current malaise on your W or your R.

What I have gone to when I have these feelings is back to DnJ (wow, I wish he would post here on Piecing one day!) What are my values and my most strongly held beliefs? What do I want out of this life? Who do I want to be? And recognizing that the feelings I'm having are fleeting and I can let them pass by. So often that immediate thought of walking is emotionally driven and passes within minutes. Focus on the good between you two and all of the reasons you are still married.

The other thing I do is go back to the basics of what do I control? Just me. Recognizing you're feeling this malaise is an important step. What can you do about it for yourself? Are there self-care opportunities you should pursue? Something new? Also, I'd question why these bad habits bother you so much. Can you disconnect your own emotional reaction from her bad habit? In the big picture, who cares? Unless it is unsafe or somehow a really serious negative for you, I'd try to not let it bother you. I was able to do this actually in the middle of my whole sitch, where I forgave my H for all the resentments I'd held for many years and stopped seeing him leaving his lunch plates around, for instance, as an infuriating character flaw and instead either picked up the dish and put it in the dishwasher (took me 30 seconds) or left it and didn't worry about it. It removed so much negativity from my life. Maybe this would help you too? Basically a level of detachment.

Finally, I see what LH is saying about the need for an R to evolve, but I don't necessarily agree that the only way for that to happen is the threat of it ending. Make it a purposeful thing to try something new together-- I remember reading a lot way back when I thought my M could still be saved by trying harder about the way that new experiences affect your brain, and that doing something new together is bonding. Are there things you can do as a couple to break out of your rut and see each other anew?

I know Gottman talks about having regular "state of the state" relationship convos-- do you guys do that? It gives an opportunity to air little things before they turn into resentment. And as WF said, you guys are facing an enormous change in your lives-- have you two sat down to talk intentionally about what you both want for the future?

Anyway, hope some of this helps.

M


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Originally Posted by LH19
I read a good book about the fact that for a relationship to survive, each partner needs to be willing to push things to a crisis when they need to. Each person needs to be willing to say "the status quo doesn't work for me" with the implication being that if it doesn't change, they're done. The other person can either ignore them, in which case the relationship ends, they can agree to fix whatever the issue is, or they can offer a compromise. This process forces the relationship to evolve, and to stay alive it must evolve. The alternative is to slowly erode through building resentments. This sounds like where you are at Steve.

Hmmm. I will have to sit with this a bit. Not sure it is resentments as much as it is "do you have to -enter annoying habit here- every 5 minutes?" I will admit a lot of this is on me. Things like that bother me and as May said (I'll get to your response next), maybe that is more on me than her. In some ways I can't help how I feel, but at the same time I do get to choose how I deal with it. I don't really have any resentments, at least that I can put a finger on.

Originally Posted by may22
Hi Steve,

I also think about what it would be like to walk out. As you know I'm even earlier in the process than WF and I still haven't fully forgiven him. I worry that I'll never really get over the fact that he had this affair and told another woman he loved her. That still f-ing hurts and I'm not 100% sure I'll ever be okay with it. When he reverts to pre-BD habits it makes me insane and scared that I went through all of this to get back to our same mediocre pre-BD M. And then I get angry that it even OCCURS to me that D is an option, since it never had been before and he's the one that put it on the table in the first place.

I also think you should give yourself and your R a bit of a break for the feelings you're having-- I think it is incredibly common for so many right now after a year and a half of this pandemic. Don't make the mistake of blaming your current malaise on your W or your R.

What I have gone to when I have these feelings is back to DnJ (wow, I wish he would post here on Piecing one day!) What are my values and my most strongly held beliefs? What do I want out of this life? Who do I want to be? And recognizing that the feelings I'm having are fleeting and I can let them pass by. So often that immediate thought of walking is emotionally driven and passes within minutes. Focus on the good between you two and all of the reasons you are still married.

The other thing I do is go back to the basics of what do I control? Just me. Recognizing you're feeling this malaise is an important step. What can you do about it for yourself? Are there self-care opportunities you should pursue? Something new? Also, I'd question why these bad habits bother you so much. Can you disconnect your own emotional reaction from her bad habit? In the big picture, who cares? Unless it is unsafe or somehow a really serious negative for you, I'd try to not let it bother you. I was able to do this actually in the middle of my whole sitch, where I forgave my H for all the resentments I'd held for many years and stopped seeing him leaving his lunch plates around, for instance, as an infuriating character flaw and instead either picked up the dish and put it in the dishwasher (took me 30 seconds) or left it and didn't worry about it. It removed so much negativity from my life. Maybe this would help you too? Basically a level of detachment.

Finally, I see what LH is saying about the need for an R to evolve, but I don't necessarily agree that the only way for that to happen is the threat of it ending. Make it a purposeful thing to try something new together-- I remember reading a lot way back when I thought my M could still be saved by trying harder about the way that new experiences affect your brain, and that doing something new together is bonding. Are there things you can do as a couple to break out of your rut and see each other anew?

I know Gottman talks about having regular "state of the state" relationship convos-- do you guys do that? It gives an opportunity to air little things before they turn into resentment. And as WF said, you guys are facing an enormous change in your lives-- have you two sat down to talk intentionally about what you both want for the future?

Anyway, hope some of this helps.

M

Lots to unpack here May. Very good stuff and insightful. Your thought on her habits make a lot of sense. I too went through a lot of what you dealt with as I am a borderline OCD neat freak. She.....is not. LOL So I had to really adjust my expectations back 4 years ago when we were in the thick of our sitch. Socks laying on the floor, dishes randomly tossed into the sink (with an empty dishwasher next to it), being the one that has to clean (if I want a clean house I have to do it), all were things I realized I had prioritized over her. It wasn't until we were married several years that I realized she was like this when we dated. So I couldn't expect it to be different once we were married. So I had a choice to make that a deal breaker, or put it aside for love. In the big scheme of things an untidy house isn't the end of the world...even though it makes me hyperventilate! LOL

As far as the breaking out of a rut, I don't really think we are in a rut. We had actually been in a pretty good place. We do regular date nights, we have good conversations, we share, laugh and play. All good stuff. And WF mentioned the major life change (our D was just home for Thanksgiving) with our D going off to school, and in some ways that has actually benefited our MR.

She doesn't really like R talks these days. So the state of the state thing probably won't work for us. I'll mull that one over. But it did spark a memory that happened a couple of weeks ago. that could be part of my malaise.

As I said, things have been going pretty well for us. But then after I had been a way for a week long hunting trip, I had literally just returned home. Somehow we were discussing hanging out, or doing something together, and she made an offhanded comment about "We are always together." And not in the "I love that we are always together" tone, but quite the opposite. After I pointed out I was just gone for a week, she then went to the fact I have been work from home since March 2020. Now, she is about as introverted as a person can be. She really needs her alone time to recharge, values it highly. I have a lot of activities I do (gun range, hunting, hanging out with a group of friends, going up to the hunting property overnight (not just in hunting season but also to go up to maintain it), etc), to make sure she is getting alone time. Anyway, this particular comment struck me the wrong way. I didn't realize how much it had stung until just now. I think that is the point that I started having the malaise. Kind of a "maybe it isn't going as well as I thought".

IDK, I am sure this will all pass. D went back to school on Tuesday. We'll see how things go I guess. Meantime, I have kind of resorted back to DBing principles. I am present, upbeat, fulfilled, pleased, but not overly talkative. I listen. I continue to validate (validation has a huge impact on our MR since I learned to get proficient with it after discovering this site). I have a lot of GAL activities and haven't really slowed down on those even during the pandemic. Maybe my detachment isn't what it should be? I will have to work on that, get back to a good level of differentiation.

Thanks everyone for their feedback.


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Originally Posted by SteveLW
Meantime, I have kind of resorted back to DBing principles. I am present, upbeat, fulfilled, pleased, but not overly talkative. I listen. I continue to validate (validation has a huge impact on our MR since I learned to get proficient with it after discovering this site). I have a lot of GAL activities and haven't really slowed down on those even during the pandemic.
This is what I mean Steve this seems like a covert contract. You just said you didn't feel fulfilled and now you are going to put on this act to try to get her to appreciate and value you more.

Originally Posted by SteveLW
Maybe my detachment isn't what it should be?
I disagree. This isn't about detachment it's about you wanting her to appreciate and value you as much as you do her.
Originally Posted by SteveLW
I will have to work on that, get back to a good level of differentiation.
I think your GAL, self differentiation is better then most.

Steve I know how you feel. After my separation with my ex and we were trying again I went away for 5 days with my friends. When I came home I was hoping for her to be happy to see me and maybe some as WF says "play slap and tickle". Instead I got the old your home look which was deflating. Anyways you know how it played out and I ended up D. The truth was I stayed in the game because an intact family and seeing my kids everyday is what I VALUED the most.

Now that I am dating I have gotten those texts "I miss you and I can't wait to see you texts and %$#&$" and I am not going to lie they feel pretty fuching good. Having said that I would rather wake up with my kids every day.

So you have to ask yourself "what do I value most"?

I think all long-term marriages have to be renegotiated at some point due to different expectations.

As for your W. You know the pursuit and distance dynamic. Time to make yourself scarce.


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I just thought about a few things reading through what's here.

1) I really think maybe you should give a look through this thread a little Steve. These 'what do I do now' feelings have basically been going on since D was gearing up to head off to school so I really think you need to sit with that.

2) You said the relationship you guys had when it was just the two of you was pretty rocky. Was it rocky because of her, because of you or because of you guys feeding off each other? Because of that past do you even know how to be a couple without being parents first? I'm not talking planned date nights and differentiation. I'm talking do you guys know how to be in a mutually beneficial relationship with each other without your D there as a touch point and a buffer?

3) As your daughter doesn't need you "any more" (that's in quotes because let's be real they'll always need us) are you feeling a little useless or aimless without her as the target? Are you feeling a little less grounded without anyone depending on you? Is there a chance there's a co-dependency thing happening here? Creating drama where there is none so you have something to fix? Please don't take that as accusatory. I have no idea if that's what's happening here. I'm just spit balling with what I know. And if you can cross that off the list of possibilities immediately then that's all I was looking for with that.

4) Given the above you may want to consider not only IC but a serious R talk. Maybe not force this as a crisis issue. Because it's not. You guys aren't in crisis. You as an individual are kind of teetering on the edge of one right now though. You might need to consider MC? A couple retreat? Some kind of reconnection reading or bootcamp? I'm not sure. But I'm wondering if it isn't so much malaise as it is you're floundering navigating a moment in your life that you've never had to do before and it seems easier and more efficient if you just called it quits and give yourself the opportunity to start over.

I'm not sure, Steve. I know you're not going to rush to act. That's not your style. I just think there's a lot to unpack here and the surface feeling of it all that you're having a hard time pinpointing feels very much like it's literally just the surface of something here.

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Hi Steve,

I'm wondering about going back to the DBing principles in your sitch. Yes of course the GAL, self-differentiation, validation, etc is all good regardless. But for a M to work, you both need to be fulfilled, and focusing on your PMA and the distance/pursuit dynamic feels a bit manipulative rather than collaboratively addressing issues in your R with your W.

the idea of your W not being into R talks... that rang a bit of an alarm bell for me. She's a grown woman in a M that has had some pretty rocky points. I'm sorry, but whether she likes R talks or not, she's got to participate. As WF says, maybe not a dire "we have to talk" kind of thing, but at least get some of this out in the open. I think you need to be able to be honest and open with each other about your feelings. From my perspective that emotional intimacy is a big part of a healthy relationship. (And when that doesn't happen, when instead of sharing your feelings with each other you swallow them-- that does build resentment and distance, exactly as LH says.) Maybe she's just feeling sad about your D being at college and she could be misplacing those negative feelings on your M instead of where they belong, and maybe you need to have a good MC help you guys navigate this period of your lives together. Have you two talked together about your D being away at school and how that feels and what you want to do now as a couple that you have more time?

And a clarifying question to be sure I understand: when you say she doesn't like R talks, what do you mean by that? How do you define an R talk?


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Originally Posted by LH19
Originally Posted by SteveLW
Meantime, I have kind of resorted back to DBing principles. I am present, upbeat, fulfilled, pleased, but not overly talkative. I listen. I continue to validate (validation has a huge impact on our MR since I learned to get proficient with it after discovering this site). I have a lot of GAL activities and haven't really slowed down on those even during the pandemic.
This is what I mean Steve this seems like a covert contract. You just said you didn't feel fulfilled and now you are going to put on this act to try to get her to appreciate and value you more.

Originally Posted by SteveLW
Maybe my detachment isn't what it should be?
I disagree. This isn't about detachment it's about you wanting her to appreciate and value you as much as you do her.
Originally Posted by SteveLW
I will have to work on that, get back to a good level of differentiation.
I think your GAL, self differentiation is better then most.

Steve I know how you feel. After my separation with my ex and we were trying again I went away for 5 days with my friends. When I came home I was hoping for her to be happy to see me and maybe some as WF says "play slap and tickle". Instead I got the old your home look which was deflating. Anyways you know how it played out and I ended up D. The truth was I stayed in the game because an intact family and seeing my kids everyday is what I VALUED the most.

Now that I am dating I have gotten those texts "I miss you and I can't wait to see you texts and %$#&$" and I am not going to lie they feel pretty fuching good. Having said that I would rather wake up with my kids every day.

So you have to ask yourself "what do I value most"?

I think all long-term marriages have to be renegotiated at some point due to different expectations.

As for your W. You know the pursuit and distance dynamic. Time to make yourself scarce.

Thanks. This is what I meant by detaching and differentiating a bit more. Making myself scarce. She has asked for space, I am going to give it to her. Not be omnipresent.

Thanks for sharing your perspective on the dating/freedom vs. intact family. Even though my D is out on her own now, I get it. She was just home for Thanksgiving, it would suck to not be with her 50% (or more) of the time.


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Originally Posted by wayfarer
I just thought about a few things reading through what's here.

1) I really think maybe you should give a look through this thread a little Steve. These 'what do I do now' feelings have basically been going on since D was gearing up to head off to school so I really think you need to sit with that.

2) You said the relationship you guys had when it was just the two of you was pretty rocky. Was it rocky because of her, because of you or because of you guys feeding off each other? Because of that past do you even know how to be a couple without being parents first? I'm not talking planned date nights and differentiation. I'm talking do you guys know how to be in a mutually beneficial relationship with each other without your D there as a touch point and a buffer?

3) As your daughter doesn't need you "any more" (that's in quotes because let's be real they'll always need us) are you feeling a little useless or aimless without her as the target? Are you feeling a little less grounded without anyone depending on you? Is there a chance there's a co-dependency thing happening here? Creating drama where there is none so you have something to fix? Please don't take that as accusatory. I have no idea if that's what's happening here. I'm just spit balling with what I know. And if you can cross that off the list of possibilities immediately then that's all I was looking for with that.

4) Given the above you may want to consider not only IC but a serious R talk. Maybe not force this as a crisis issue. Because it's not. You guys aren't in crisis. You as an individual are kind of teetering on the edge of one right now though. You might need to consider MC? A couple retreat? Some kind of reconnection reading or bootcamp? I'm not sure. But I'm wondering if it isn't so much malaise as it is you're floundering navigating a moment in your life that you've never had to do before and it seems easier and more efficient if you just called it quits and give yourself the opportunity to start over.

I'm not sure, Steve. I know you're not going to rush to act. That's not your style. I just think there's a lot to unpack here and the surface feeling of it all that you're having a hard time pinpointing feels very much like it's literally just the surface of something here.

WF, as always, poignant and well said.

1) I agree. Solid observation here. I will continue to process the feelings without acting on them.

2) The relationship when it was just the two of us AND pretty much my daughter's entire life has been pretty rocky. I could probably say that other than the last 4 years, the previous 19 years there was probably 2 years that were not rocky, and most of that was following the first sitch in 2005. But your point still stands. I think there is a bit of, to #1, what next, maybe storming phase going on here. In some ways it has been beneficial. Rolling over in the morning and having sex without regard to doors open, other people in the house, certainly has been beneficial. She is a woman that has to be relaxed and comfortable to be in the mood. Ironically, my libido has slowed down....maybe because I am not used to it being so available. But you are spot on with this. We need to learn how to be each other spouses without being fulltime parents too.

3) Interesting point on this one. I do not think you are off base at all. Let's face it, a big part of our identity is being so-and-so's dad or mom. There may be a bit of an identity crisis going on related to that. Maybe it is codependent, maybe it is me facing the end of midlife, and moving into old age. I have been really thinking about retirement, and getting all my ducks in a row so that in 7-8 years I can retire. All of this goes into what you are hitting on here. I will continue to consider this, try to keep this in mind. You are right, I haven't had to deal with this before and maybe that is part of what I am struggling with.

4) As I stated, I am not sure she is willing for a serious R talk. She loathes them. Not that I won't have one if it gets there, but since right now this appears to be more on my end than hers, I think IC in the new year is a definite must do. I agree this is not a crisis. I agree that we probably do need something. I like the idea of a retreat. I'll be honest, we have an elderly giant breed dog that is in need of a lot of care, so getting away right now may not be possible right now. But I will keep this advice in my head.

I agree, maybe these is just on the surface of something deeper. I am hoping IC will help me get to a deeper level on this.


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Originally Posted by may22
Hi Steve,

I'm wondering about going back to the DBing principles in your sitch. Yes of course the GAL, self-differentiation, validation, etc is all good regardless. But for a M to work, you both need to be fulfilled, and focusing on your PMA and the distance/pursuit dynamic feels a bit manipulative rather than collaboratively addressing issues in your R with your W.

the idea of your W not being into R talks... that rang a bit of an alarm bell for me. She's a grown woman in a M that has had some pretty rocky points. I'm sorry, but whether she likes R talks or not, she's got to participate. As WF says, maybe not a dire "we have to talk" kind of thing, but at least get some of this out in the open. I think you need to be able to be honest and open with each other about your feelings. From my perspective that emotional intimacy is a big part of a healthy relationship. (And when that doesn't happen, when instead of sharing your feelings with each other you swallow them-- that does build resentment and distance, exactly as LH says.) Maybe she's just feeling sad about your D being at college and she could be misplacing those negative feelings on your M instead of where they belong, and maybe you need to have a good MC help you guys navigate this period of your lives together. Have you two talked together about your D being away at school and how that feels and what you want to do now as a couple that you have more time?

And a clarifying question to be sure I understand: when you say she doesn't like R talks, what do you mean by that? How do you define an R talk?

I will try to keep an eye on the manipulation. Certainly not what I am after here. As I said to LH, she has essentially asked for more space, so I need to give it to her. So I am going to be a bit more busy both while home and certainly when out, to let her have that decompression room, that room to really recharge her introverted internal self.

My W has a skewed view of R talks. In her mind she thinks that you only discuss it if there is an problem. So a state of the state talk, in her mind, is going to be me thinking there is a problem to be resolved. I did mind to say we never discuss the R, but it tends to be very organic, very spontaneous, kind of like the discussion where she said "we are always together". I really do not think this anything on her end at all. It isn't her being sad, withdrawn, etc. Nothing has changed (other than what I told WF about more intimacy) before this malaise to now. This is really totally on my side, and with me.

As far as your last question, it is a "hey, let's sit down and discuss the MR." That is what she doesn't like. If it is just something that comes up in the course of conversation, she is fine discussing it. If I make it a "thing" she doesn't. But at this point I don't even have anything to discuss. "Hey, I am in a malaise and kind of thinking I might be happier on my own." That seems like something I shouldn't be saying at this point.


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Originally Posted by SteveLW
As far as your last question, it is a "hey, let's sit down and discuss the MR." That is what she doesn't like. If it is just something that comes up in the course of conversation, she is fine discussing it. If I make it a "thing" she doesn't. But at this point I don't even have anything to discuss. "Hey, I am in a malaise and kind of thinking I might be happier on my own." That seems like something I shouldn't be saying at this point.

I'm with May on this. Not that that's particularly unexpected I'm sure, but she is a grown woman in a marriage. One that has a storied past. R talks shouldn't be a "thing" in any context unless it's a full blown crisis. One of the things my H has gotten right this side of the A is that he checks in often with me on how he's doing as a husband and father. He also makes it a point to check on my mental health. These little check ins give me opportunities to say what I need to say. And it sets me up to be in a completely non-defensive position when I reciprocate the questions. He was a big let's not make this a "thing" kinda guy prior. And that really led us to some ugly places. Barring communication if it's not being done the way you want is a pretty big hiccup in any long term relationship.

That being said. You don't need to frame this as a you (meaning her) problem to her. Honestly in your position I'd frame it as a we problem where the focus is on me. What I mean with that is you need to tell her how you're feeling or you're going to blindside her. You don't have to come out and say "Yeah so i've been thinking about a divorce lately. D's outta the house so..." You can say very diplomatically "I'm really struggling with the change in our household. I'm going to start up with IC again in the new year. I'm finding myself being irritable because I'm struggling. Including some of it being directed at you, and to be honest when I'm being logical I know it's not you, it's me. I'm a little raw/on edge/whatever right now. If I'm being unnecessarily gruff please let me know so I can correct myself. If I'm hurt by you can you be understanding even if it seems ridiculous. I love you and I'd really like your support through this."

Every R talk doesn't need to be heavy on the R.

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Originally Posted by SteveLW
My W has a skewed view of R talks. In her mind she thinks that you only discuss it if there is an problem. So a state of the state talk, in her mind, is going to be me thinking there is a problem to be resolved. I did mind to say we never discuss the R, but it tends to be very organic, very spontaneous, kind of like the discussion where she said "we are always together". I really do not think this anything on her end at all. It isn't her being sad, withdrawn, etc. Nothing has changed (other than what I told WF about more intimacy) before this malaise to now. This is really totally on my side, and with me.
I disagree here Steve and you have a right to question/ be disappointed that when you come home from being away for seven days that she doesn't want to spend any time with you.

So correct me if I am wrong but this is what I think is going on. You have always admitted you were a pretty crappy h throughout your marriage. You have made the changes necessary the last 4 years happy, upbeat, validation, GAL etc. Now what does come out sometimes was that also your W was a pretty crappy W. EAs, nude pics, withheld sex, stay at home mom with one D and no cleaning etc. So for 4 years you are holding up the bargain of a good H but she doesn't change much. So every once in awhile as resentment is building you think about leaving and something ends up changing your mind. That something more then likely is your daughter. Now that she is out of the house that may change your feelings a little bit. I think you are feeling under appreciated and I think that is something that should be discussed.


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Originally Posted by wayfarer
Originally Posted by SteveLW
As far as your last question, it is a "hey, let's sit down and discuss the MR." That is what she doesn't like. If it is just something that comes up in the course of conversation, she is fine discussing it. If I make it a "thing" she doesn't. But at this point I don't even have anything to discuss. "Hey, I am in a malaise and kind of thinking I might be happier on my own." That seems like something I shouldn't be saying at this point.

I'm with May on this. Not that that's particularly unexpected I'm sure, but she is a grown woman in a marriage. One that has a storied past. R talks shouldn't be a "thing" in any context unless it's a full blown crisis. One of the things my H has gotten right this side of the A is that he checks in often with me on how he's doing as a husband and father. He also makes it a point to check on my mental health. These little check ins give me opportunities to say what I need to say. And it sets me up to be in a completely non-defensive position when I reciprocate the questions. He was a big let's not make this a "thing" kinda guy prior. And that really led us to some ugly places. Barring communication if it's not being done the way you want is a pretty big hiccup in any long term relationship.

That being said. You don't need to frame this as a you (meaning her) problem to her. Honestly in your position I'd frame it as a we problem where the focus is on me. What I mean with that is you need to tell her how you're feeling or you're going to blindside her. You don't have to come out and say "Yeah so i've been thinking about a divorce lately. D's outta the house so..." You can say very diplomatically "I'm really struggling with the change in our household. I'm going to start up with IC again in the new year. I'm finding myself being irritable because I'm struggling. Including some of it being directed at you, and to be honest when I'm being logical I know it's not you, it's me. I'm a little raw/on edge/whatever right now. If I'm being unnecessarily gruff please let me know so I can correct myself. If I'm hurt by you can you be understanding even if it seems ridiculous. I love you and I'd really like your support through this."

Every R talk doesn't need to be heavy on the R.

Great point. Yeah I will consider having this conversation by the end of the year. I think framing it more about a me problem than an R problem. Especially since she hasn't changed anything at all, the only thing that has changed is my feelings.


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Originally Posted by LH19
Originally Posted by SteveLW
My W has a skewed view of R talks. In her mind she thinks that you only discuss it if there is an problem. So a state of the state talk, in her mind, is going to be me thinking there is a problem to be resolved. I did mind to say we never discuss the R, but it tends to be very organic, very spontaneous, kind of like the discussion where she said "we are always together". I really do not think this anything on her end at all. It isn't her being sad, withdrawn, etc. Nothing has changed (other than what I told WF about more intimacy) before this malaise to now. This is really totally on my side, and with me.
I disagree here Steve and you have a right to question/ be disappointed that when you come home from being away for seven days that she doesn't want to spend any time with you.

So correct me if I am wrong but this is what I think is going on. You have always admitted you were a pretty crappy h throughout your marriage. You have made the changes necessary the last 4 years happy, upbeat, validation, GAL etc. Now what does come out sometimes was that also your W was a pretty crappy W. EAs, nude pics, withheld sex, stay at home mom with one D and no cleaning etc. So for 4 years you are holding up the bargain of a good H but she doesn't change much. So every once in awhile as resentment is building you think about leaving and something ends up changing your mind. That something more then likely is your daughter. Now that she is out of the house that may change your feelings a little bit. I think you are feeling under appreciated and I think that is something that should be discussed.

You're not wrong. At least completely. Look, she is not a neat freak like me and never will be. Is she better now than 4 years ago? Absolutely.

I do need to correct something, it wasn't that she didn't seem happy to see me after the week away. Met me at the door. Hugged and kissed me. But then a couple of days later she made the comment about always being together. I get it, she really enjoyed her alone time. I do not resent that even a little bit. I think those breaks are important in most MR.

Maybe you are on to something what past resentments? IDK. Again I think part of my struggle is I cannot pinpoint how I am feeling nor why I am feeling it. Things I probably need to explore in IC.

Not 100% on the under appreciated part yet. Maybe there is some truth? I hadn't considered it before so I will have to mull that one over a bit.


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Originally Posted by SteveLW
Maybe you are on to something what past resentments? IDK. Again I think part of my struggle is I cannot pinpoint how I am feeling nor why I am feeling it. Things I probably need to explore in IC.
Maybe start with deciding if your needs are being met. If these needs are reasonable. How important are these needs for you. Is she capable of meeting these needs.


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There is a minimum amount of time that you both need to contribute to being together in a marriage.
I have forgotten the specifics but lets say its around 12-18 hours per week together.

So while I love the pursuit and distance other marriage experts do feel that a certain amount of time together is a neccesity.
I am not really sure or don't remember what MWD says about this but I feel confidant that you need to come to some agreement about how the two of you both choose to love everyday.


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Originally Posted by Cadet
There is a minimum amount of time that you both need to contribute to being together in a marriage.
I have forgotten the specifics but lets say its around 12-18 hours per week together.

So while I love the pursuit and distance other marriage experts do feel that a certain amount of time together is a neccesity.
I am not really sure or don't remember what MWD says about this but I feel confidant that you need to come to some agreement about how the two of you both choose to love everyday.

Thanks Cadet. I appreciate the perspective here. We are definitely getting way more than 12-18 hours a week together. Even on the weeks when I was going up to the hunting property, we were still way over that amount. I think that is why I need to really concentrate some more on GAL activities. Maybe it is too much time together? Her and I are pretty independent people even as married people. So 30+ hours a week might mean we need to concentrate on more time for ourselves a part. Her best friend recently got a new job and she has been seeing a lot less of her as a result. And due to all of the things going on this year with my daughter, I've been not spending as much time with some of my friends as well.

So I am not so much doing the pursuit/distance thing as much as I am just letting her miss me a bit. Her saying we spend all of our time together cannot be ignored. That may be a cry for more time apart.


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Originally Posted by SteveLW
S...I've been having weird feelings of ending things....Do any of you ever deal with feelings like this?
As you know, I am in a different sitch, but yes, I believe it is normal.

Is it just you that feels this, or is W behaving in a way that makes you feel like she does as well?

My understanding is that the methods used in piecing are different than the DBing tools. More direct talking etc. Sounds like R talks are not happening for you...maybe the love letter technique might be a place to start, even if you do not share it with her?? Just brainstorming ideas.

My lady and I are newly empty nesters as well, and are going through the transition. More like decompression for me. I have new free time. How do I spend it? More time as a couple? More focused on my "to do" list? How do I create excitement in the R?


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Originally Posted by Ready2Change
My lady and I are newly empty nesters as well, and are going through the transition. More like decompression for me. I have new free time. How do I spend it? More time as a couple? More focused on my "to do" list? How do I create excitement in the R?

Its REAL work, no shortcuts or easy buttons.


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Originally Posted by Ready2Change
Originally Posted by SteveLW
S...I've been having weird feelings of ending things....Do any of you ever deal with feelings like this?
As you know, I am in a different sitch, but yes, I believe it is normal.

Is it just you that feels this, or is W behaving in a way that makes you feel like she does as well?

My understanding is that the methods used in piecing are different than the DBing tools. More direct talking etc. Sounds like R talks are not happening for you...maybe the love letter technique might be a place to start, even if you do not share it with her?? Just brainstorming ideas.

My lady and I are newly empty nesters as well, and are going through the transition. More like decompression for me. I have new free time. How do I spend it? More time as a couple? More focused on my "to do" list? How do I create excitement in the R?

Thanks R2C. To answer your question, no she hasn't change in behavior. If anything she seems more committed to the MR than she ever has! I think in the back of mind there was a small part of my brain that expected the other shoe to drop once my daughter was away at school. A small part of me that thought, "Oh she is just waiting until daughter is out of the house, then she'll want to end the MR." Again, nothing she currently was doing made me think that. It was just the distrustful part of my brain. I am a naturally untrusting person. I do not trust many people, it just the way I am.

But no, this is all on me. Maybe it is the 4 year anniversary of BD coming up. Or maybe it is the empty nest. Maybe it is pandemic fatigue and all of the craziness around that. Maybe it is that I have been thinking more and more about retirement. Who knows. All I know is that I've been feeling that way. It has been a bit better the last two weeks, but I cannot say I am over it completely.


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So Steve what about ending it is appealing to you? I’m not saying you’re wrong because I’ve thought about what would’ve happened if my ex decided to stay and then we became empty nesters.


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Originally Posted by SteveLW
Thanks R2C. To answer your question, no she hasn't change in behavior. If anything she seems more committed to the MR than she ever has! I think in the back of mind there was a small part of my brain that expected the other shoe to drop once my daughter was away at school. A small part of me that thought, "Oh she is just waiting until daughter is out of the house, then she'll want to end the MR." Again, nothing she currently was doing made me think that. It was just the distrustful part of my brain. I am a naturally untrusting person. I do not trust many people, it just the way I am.

But no, this is all on me. Maybe it is the 4 year anniversary of BD coming up. Or maybe it is the empty nest. Maybe it is pandemic fatigue and all of the craziness around that. Maybe it is that I have been thinking more and more about retirement. Who knows. All I know is that I've been feeling that way. It has been a bit better the last two weeks, but I cannot say I am over it completely.

People who've been hurt repeatedly like to be the first to act. If I can hurt you before you hurt me I don't get hurt. If I blindside you before you blindside me I won't be at a loss or confused or angry or hurt. Honestly I think with anniversary pain looming you're probably feeding in to this not so healthy behavior unconsciously. I know I'm going through all the A anniversaries right now and with stress from work, being a mom during the holidays and some other things I've been crying in my car alone...a lot. But it's nothing he's doing. He's very much all in and also seems more committed to the MR than ever. Which is why I was trying to say earlier feeling this way sometimes seems like it's pretty par for the course. Even with my friends in consistently happy marriages high stress or high anxiety times they have weird thoughts/fatalistic thoughts about their MRs that are totally illogical and 100% internalized and anxiety driven.

This has been a pretty exceptionally weird 18 months in your life. I'm really happy to hear you've been feeling better. Maybe with a little more time, and some processing in IC in the new year this will all blow over.

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Great question LH. I couldn't really put my finger on it. Maybe a sense of freedom? Maybe a bit of the wondering what it would have been like if things had gone differently 4 years ago?

As I said, it has subsided a bit in the last couple of weeks. It isn't the first time I felt that way since we R'd though.


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Originally Posted by wayfarer
Originally Posted by SteveLW
Thanks R2C. To answer your question, no she hasn't change in behavior. If anything she seems more committed to the MR than she ever has! I think in the back of mind there was a small part of my brain that expected the other shoe to drop once my daughter was away at school. A small part of me that thought, "Oh she is just waiting until daughter is out of the house, then she'll want to end the MR." Again, nothing she currently was doing made me think that. It was just the distrustful part of my brain. I am a naturally untrusting person. I do not trust many people, it just the way I am.

But no, this is all on me. Maybe it is the 4 year anniversary of BD coming up. Or maybe it is the empty nest. Maybe it is pandemic fatigue and all of the craziness around that. Maybe it is that I have been thinking more and more about retirement. Who knows. All I know is that I've been feeling that way. It has been a bit better the last two weeks, but I cannot say I am over it completely.

People who've been hurt repeatedly like to be the first to act. If I can hurt you before you hurt me I don't get hurt. If I blindside you before you blindside me I won't be at a loss or confused or angry or hurt. Honestly I think with anniversary pain looming you're probably feeding in to this not so healthy behavior unconsciously. I know I'm going through all the A anniversaries right now and with stress from work, being a mom during the holidays and some other things I've been crying in my car alone...a lot. But it's nothing he's doing. He's very much all in and also seems more committed to the MR than ever. Which is why I was trying to say earlier feeling this way sometimes seems like it's pretty par for the course. Even with my friends in consistently happy marriages high stress or high anxiety times they have weird thoughts/fatalistic thoughts about their MRs that are totally illogical and 100% internalized and anxiety driven.

This has been a pretty exceptionally weird 18 months in your life. I'm really happy to hear you've been feeling better. Maybe with a little more time, and some processing in IC in the new year this will all blow over.

Thanks WF. I think you may have hit the nail on the head. Though again it is nothing she has or is doing. But as the 23rd loomed I think I started to relive the old hurt and that "do unto you before you do unto me" dynamic came into play a bit. I am thankful for this forum where I can air it out. Before this forum I would just bury it and go on with life.


M(52), W(53),D(17)
M-20, T-23 Bomb Drop - Dec.23, 2017
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SteveLW #2927670 12/24/21 03:57 AM
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So 4 year anniversary of BD is today. I just finished wrapping my wife's Christmas gifts. While I was doing that I was listening to music on shuffle. The song "Little Too Late" by Pat Benatar came on. The lyrics go:

"It's a little too little, it's a little too late
I'm a little too hurt and there's nothin' left that I've gotta say
You can cry to me baby but there's only so much I can take
Oh, it's a little too little it's a little too late"

Which is pretty much what I heard on 12/23/2017. It dawned on me, that while the last few days today's date had been on my mind, I was so busy today that I never even realized today WAS 12/23! I think that is a good thing.

Interestingly, I am pretty even about the whole thing today. No reliving the fear, dread and horror of that day 4 years ago. I am pretty much over the funk I was in a few weeks ago. Just looking forward getting through tomorrow (extended family get-togethers) and getting to Christmas. We are having our best friends over with their kids. Daughter is in from school. These are the best friends that were a big reason why that we are still together today. They don't even know what happened, but their friendship was one of the superglue bonds that kept my wife from really going scorched earth 4 years ago. There was some others too, but these friends were a big part of that.

Merry Christmas everyone, and Happy New Year!

Last edited by SteveLW; 12/24/21 03:58 AM.

M(52), W(53),D(17)
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SteveLW #2927983 01/04/22 03:02 PM
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It's interesting so many people are BD'd around the holidays. I wonder why that is? When I think about the like 5 times I left my ex before I left for good it was never around the holidays I didn't want to rocks the boat when we had to deal with both our families. It was just easier to pretend things were fine.

I'm glad to hear you're moving past that funk. I hope your holidays were wonderful.

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Originally Posted by wayfarer
It's interesting so many people are BD'd around the holidays. I wonder why that is? When I think about the like 5 times I left my ex before I left for good it was never around the holidays I didn't want to rocks the boat when we had to deal with both our families. It was just easier to pretend things were fine.

I'm glad to hear you're moving past that funk. I hope your holidays were wonderful.

Thanks WF! Yes good times, and we avoided the illness too. Our get togethers were not big, less than 10 people, so that helped. And none of us had any symptoms leading up to them.

As far as the BD around the holidays, you may not remember that in my situation I had initiated BD. My wife and daughter were shopping, and I came across the movie "Unfaithful" while channel surfing. It had been several years since I had seen it, so I started watching, it was only 5-10 minutes into the movie.

If you have never seen it, it is about a husband and wife, they have one child and are just entering middle age. They have a good relationship but the husband works too much, and they have just started to lose their connection. The wife meets a single (she thinks) European man, a little younger and starts an affair. The part that got my attention was how the wife started acting around the husband once the affair was started. She didn't like undressing in front of him, didn't want him touching her, and was distant and emotionally closed off. This was my wife to a tee in the preceding weeks.

After the movie went off I went to her PC and pulled up FB messenger and caught her messaging with the OM as she was shopping with our daughter. When she got home I confronted her with what I had found and got "I don't want to be married anymore."

She later claimed that she was hoping to get through the holidays and then BD me. So my BD would have probably been in early January rather than 12/23 if not for me watching the movie and getting suspicious.

But to your point, if not before the holidays, the first week of January is traditionally the time most divorces get filed for. Obviously people waiting until after the holidays to start tearing up lives.


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SteveLW #2927989 01/04/22 07:12 PM
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So interesting thing about that movie. Saw it at the movies when I was with my exw when it first came out and thought nothing of it other then it was a movie and Diane Lane is sexy lol.

Was flipping through the channels going through my sitch and I couldn't even watch it. Thought Diane Lane was still sexy but had to turn it off.

Just watched it over Christmas break and of course Diane Lane is still sexy but it just made me shake my head saying fuching WWs. I guess I am just glad that I was extremely naïve the majority of my marriage and didn't rally think these types of things happened.


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Steve, I don't know that I ever dug back in your sitch far enough to realize that's how things played out. I have seen Unfaithful. I actually saw it in the theater way back when with some friends. I think the draw for us was the converse to LH's, we were there for Olivier Martinez. I had actually just finished school for the year and my belly had just "popped." It was around the time my exH started claiming the baby wasn't his. Going to see that movie with my friends apparently meant I had some unconscious desire to cheat on him or was telling him in subliminal messages that I had. Every time that movie appeared in his ether for the remainder of our relationship it ended up in a fight. The irony is he never watched the movie. So has no idea that the ending was the husband turning himself in. So I can say I also have super unpleasant memories tied to that movie....

As far as the BD around the holidays, I guess I'm thinking about the crop of ladies who showed up around here about the same time I did. Where our H's had BD'd around Halloween or Thanksgiving and just wanted to play out Christmas like it was our last Christmas together and we should just be happy for the sake of our kids and their memories.

I totally didn't know that statistic about divorces the first week in January. That is interesting.

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You know interestedly enough it wasn't until the last time I saw it I realized he turned himself in. I think it was the first time I didn't walk away or shut it off before I realized they were in front of the police station.

There is a great conversation of affairs in the restaurant with her friends after she gets bopped in the bathroom.


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Yeah that movie is very realistic on how a cheating spouse behaves. I remember a few weeks into my sitch my W was refusing to undress in front of me because she had started grooming certain places and shaving her legs, something she hadn't been doing during the fall and winter for years. But she wanted to hide it from me. Obviously, she didn't want to send nudes to her EAP with unsightly hair! She tried to deny that she was grooming but then later admitted it. By the way, now that things are better between us, she now does shave and groom. Sorry if that is TMI, but I just realized that ironically that is a sign I wouldn't be able to catch now!


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LH19 #2928071 01/06/22 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by LH19
I guess I am just glad that I was extremely naïve the majority of my marriage and didn't rally think these types of things happened.
Enlightenment scuks sometimes.

Originally Posted by GinBlossoms
"Til I Hear It From You"

I didn't ask
They shouldn't have told me
At first I'd laugh, but now
It's sinking in fast
Whatever they've sold me
Well baby I don't want to take advice from fools
I'll just figure everything is cool
Until I hear it from you
It gets hard
The memory's faded
Who gets what they say
It's likely they're just jealous and jaded
Well maybe I don't want to take advice from fools
I'll just figure everything is cool
Until I hear it from you
Until I hear it from you
I can't let it get me off
Or break up my train of thought
As far as I know, nothing's wrong
Until I hear it from you
Still thinking about not living without it
Outside looking in
Til we're talking about it, not stepping around it
Maybe I don't want to take advice from fools
I'll just figure everything is cool
Until I hear it from you...


"What is best for my kids is best for me"
Amor Fati
Link to quotes: https://www.divorcebusting.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=2879712
SteveLW #2929252 01/31/22 04:17 PM
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Interesting development in my sitch. W has decided to wean herself off of ADs. I was really surprised by this. I have noticed her being a big shorter with things, snapping a bit more. Nothing overt, just a subtle difference. I will be interested to see if she goes back to being a big more emotional like she was before she started taking them. I asked her if this is what she really wanted, and she said "This is what you wanted, isn't it?" I told her that my advice 4 years ago was misguided and that I would support any decision she made related to them.

I will keep you guys updated, but I think she is planning on being off of them completely by the summer.


M(52), W(53),D(17)
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SteveLW #2929258 01/31/22 05:07 PM
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SteveLW,

Is she consulting with her physician on this? That's potentially a significant change. I imagine she's been on the ADs for quite some time. My now ExW had been on them 20 years when she suddenly stopped taking them a month or two before BD, along with other things like weaning off breastfeeding our then D1, and I always wondered if that was at least a factor in the situation. Her transition off ADs should be managed very closely, especially if they've been in her system for years.


Me:39 Ex-W:37
M:7 T: 9
S:6 D:3
BD/IHS/Confirm EA/PA: Feb '20
OM1 affair ends: May '20
W/OM2 & moves out: June-July '20
W files for D: Jul20
OM2 confirmed: 9/2020
Divorced: May '21
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Originally Posted by BL42
SteveLW,

Is she consulting with her physician on this?...Her transition off ADs should be managed very closely, especially if they've been in her system for years.
This is my understanding as well.


"What is best for my kids is best for me"
Amor Fati
Link to quotes: https://www.divorcebusting.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=2879712
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Yes, in fact I think that is what is prompting her to do this now. Her physician, whom she adores, is moving to a non-practicing, research position. I think my W doesn't want to be pressured into finding another physician. But yes she is consulting with her outgoing physician, and they have discussed this for the last few years.


M(52), W(53),D(17)
M-20, T-23 Bomb Drop - Dec.23, 2017
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SteveLW #2929291 02/01/22 01:44 AM
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I hope things go well for the both of you.


"What is best for my kids is best for me"
Amor Fati
Link to quotes: https://www.divorcebusting.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=2879712
SteveLW #2929464 02/03/22 07:24 PM
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One small change, I've noticed her being a little more reactive to things she doesn't like. I think this is a positive change. She seemed so uncaring about most things so seeing some emotion from her like that has been a positive. Plus, any backsliding I might do she calls me out on now! I need that feedback sometime when the old man creeps back up.

So it is going well so far. Her doctor has given her instructions on the weaning, it is very gradual. We shall see.


M(52), W(53),D(17)
M-20, T-23 Bomb Drop - Dec.23, 2017
Ring and Piecing since March 2018
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