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A Message from Michele
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Re: Walk Away Spouse Fits My Ex-Wife to a "T" [Re: tom_h] #2903795
09/14/20 10:22 PM
09/14/20 10:22 PM
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https://www.divorcebusting.com/foru...ain=45226&Number=1899726#Post1899726


Originally Posted by SmartCookie
Some people think that a WAW is hard, angry, cold. In a fog. There's more to her than that.

4 years ago, a woman laid in bed at night, not wanting to wake up in the morning. There was no way out. She couldn't divorce him. He would have visitation without her there to protect them. He had never hit them, but he surely didn't understand how to care for them. He didn't even know who they were.

She couldn't leave. She had no job, no way of putting food on the table for the children she loved. She had been dependent for so long, & she trusted this man to provide for her. Now she lay in bed, wondering who he was, & how she got her. These were not the choices she would have made, if she had a 2nd chance.

She couldn't talk to him. He couldn't hear her. She desperately wanted to share herself with him. He had walls up. She couldn't penetrate them. He seemed so content to work, watch TV, eat & sleep. Why didn't he want more, like she ?

She felt trapped. She resented herself for letting him treat her this way for so long. He told her often enough, he was a good husband. She needed so much more from him. She tried telling him, for years she tried, then she cried, she begged, she pleaded, but he couldn't hear.

He was cold, hard, in a fog.

She tried everything, she read every book. She prayed her heart out. She tried to be more Christ-like. Figuring if she set the example, he would follow.

She knew it came down to two choices. Her children's happiness, or hers. She would sacrifice hers. She decided to stay, & raise the children, with this man who would never know her. When they moved out, so would she. Then she would salvage what was left of her.

She put her heart in a dusty old box in the top of the closet. It was easier. She didn't hurt anymore, she was numb.

When she finally quit trying, & tried to fill her hours with distractions, he noticed. His fog was lifting. He wasn't quite so cold, so hard. She didn't care. It was too late. She was numb. Her heart was in that box. She vowed never to take it out again.

She stumbled through her days, crossing them off in the calendar. Wondering how much longer she could live this way. Did her children see her unhappiness ? She wondered, are they better off with a single happy parent, or with two parents who co-exist ? The torment was eating her alive. What to do ?

By now, she wasn't sleeping. Wasn't eating. She pulled away from all of her friends. She was dying inside. She desperately wanted, needed to be loved, appreciated, noticed, cherished. She was a beautiful fragile flower slowly dying without water, sunshine & air.

When no one was watching, she cried. She cried til she ran out of tears. She wanted it to be over, she wanted the pain to stop. Everytime she looked at her husband, it reminded her of the pain. The pain that was consuming her. She turned to alcohol to numb the pain. Anything to make the pain go away. Her friends ask her why she's losing so much weight. She wonders, why can't anyone see that I'm dying here. She doesn't try to tell the man she shares a bed with, remember, he can't hear her.

She finally writes him a letter. She says she is done. They need to raise their children, & he's the only one who can be their dad. Now he's fully awake & out of his fog. He's scared. He had no idea how bad she hurt. He thought things were good. He's been living in a separate reality from her.

He says he'll change, he'll do anything, to make her happy. He says his family is the most important thing to him. She doesn't believe him. She's numb. Her heart is safely in that box. He tries, she watches. He tries some more, she watches. He's dying now. She's numb. Now he wants the pain to stop. She's numb. She wonders why did things have to go this far before he would hear me ? Now she doesn't want to talk to him. She's numb. Talking to him reminds her how much she used to hurt, she can see it in his eyes now. Her survival instincts kick in, at least she doesn't hurt now. She's numb.

The only place to go from numb is anger. He tries some more, she can see he's making changes. Now comes the buried anger. The anger that she wanted to express to him for all the years past. The anger she was afraid to show. He doesn't realize, angry is better than numb. He takes her anger. For 12 months he takes her anger. Sometimes he fights back, & when he does she goes numb again.

She's so scared to take her heart out of that dusty box. Numb is so much safer. Angry is so much safer. Does he know how hard it is for her. She knew the day that her children were born, that she would give her life for them. She just didn't know it would be like this.

Sometimes he tries to push her to heal faster. She's doing her best. He wants more from her at times. She's doing her best.

Some nights, the pain returns, & she remembers, & she just can't sleep. She's not numb anymore, and the anger is going away. She doesn't know how or where, but it is. She's so scared. Numb is safer. Angry is safer. If she gives in to her fear, to her sometimes overwhelming fear, everyone will call her a WAW. She wanted you to know.


"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
Re: Walk Away Spouse Fits My Ex-Wife to a "T" [Re: tom_h] #2903797
09/14/20 11:14 PM
09/14/20 11:14 PM
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Originally Posted by tom_h
Originally Posted by Steve85
Originally Posted by tom_h

Originally Posted by Vapo
Prior to 2 years of single life do not even attempt to date, you have to learn to be content and happy to be by yourself.
We're going to have to talk about this one more. A lot more.


Why? Vapo's advice is straight-forward, and it is the same advice I gave you in the response to your post in my own thread.

Here is the thing tom_h, it is IMPOSSIBLE....ABSOLUTELY NOT EVEN A POSSIBILITY, to be happy and fulfilled as one half of a couple if you cannot be happy by yourself. This is the mistake so many married people made, thinking marriage and life-long commitment to another individual will fulfill them and make them happy, even though they were not happy and fulfilled as an individual themselves. What Vapo is saying that unless you take the time to realize that your own happiness is your own responsibility, you will be setting yourself up for another D with a new person in the future.
C'mon, Steve, I appreciate the comment, but you realize that lecturing someone into submission is not a way to teach! Let a dialogue happen, and then I maybe come around. But firm, table pounding from two who "know better" is not a way to convince anyone, let alone a techie, to believe in something.

And can you tell me how to find replies to my comments on other threads? Most forums have an index of them, but I can't seem to find it here at DB.


I certainly was not lecturing you into submission. Nor was I table pounding. But one thing I know for sure is there is no 100% fault in any of these situations. There is always things both spouses did or didn't do to get themselves to the point they are at. So yes, you have to learn to be happy by yourself if you are ever to be happy as 1/2 of a couple. It is your life. You can always decide you know better and ignore the wisdom Vapo gave you. But your chances of success in a new R without working on yourself first are very low.

Here is a link to all of your posts.

https://www.divorcebusting.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=userposts&id=41670

And here is a link to my response to you in my thread:

https://www.divorcebusting.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=2903719#Post2903719


M(51), W(52),D(16)
M-20, T-23 Bomb Drop - Dec.23, 2017
Ring and Piecing since March 2018
Re: Walk Away Spouse Fits My Ex-Wife to a "T" [Re: tom_h] #2903810
09/15/20 03:21 AM
09/15/20 03:21 AM
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You said you didn't want me to stay away from your thread, so I am going to take you at your word.

First, if you haven't already, go read Divorce Busting.

Second, based on what you have posted here, you are not a victim.

You and your wife were in a long-term relationship. You both had ways in which you were a good spouse, but you also both had ways in which you were not a good spouse. It eventually got to the point where your wife thought leaving was better than staying. So she left.

You don't agree with that decision, but can you put yourself in her shoes to the point where you can understand why she made that choice?

Can you accept that her responsibility to tell you exactly how unhappy she was is not greater than your responsibility to pay attention to your wife and not take her and her happiness for granted? You both failed. It wasn't like you upheld your end of the bargain and she didn't. Both of you contributed to the breakdown of your marriage.

I am not trying to lay on the guilt. I just truly, honestly believe that growth only comes when we acknowledge our own responsibility and focus on becoming better partners, regardless of whether our significant other is doing the things we need from them. (With the big caveat that one shouldn't stay in an abusive situation.)

It's not easy. I fail at it all the time, pick myself up, and try again.

But it's the only way to grow into a good partner.


Me: 44
H: 44
Kids: 20, 16, 16, and 10
Together/Married: 22 years
H announced he was emotionally detached and considering D: 4/4/16
H announced he is going to try to stay and reconnect: 5/1/16
Re: Walk Away Spouse Fits My Ex-Wife to a "T" [Re: Rose888] #2903818
09/15/20 05:55 AM
09/15/20 05:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Rose888
You said you didn't want me to stay away from your thread, so I am going to take you at your word.
Rose, thanks, I don't have that thin a skin, but my first day I read a lot of posts that were sympathetic and commiserating so I was taken aback when none of the replies to my post were that way for me. So hammer away, it's fine.
Originally Posted by Rose888
First, if you haven't already, go read Divorce Busting.
Roger that.
Originally Posted by Rose888
You don't agree with that decision, but can you put yourself in her shoes to the point where you can understand why she made that choice?

Can you accept that her responsibility to tell you exactly how unhappy she was is not greater than your responsibility to pay attention to your wife and not take her and her happiness for granted? You both failed. It wasn't like you upheld your end of the bargain and she didn't. Both of you contributed to the breakdown of your marriage.
Yes, I accept the fact that responsibility cuts both ways. But it will take me awhile to accept that fact that there is mutuality, or 50:50 duality, when one spouse is blissfully living in what is admittedly a less-than-perfect marriage, while the other one is secretly plotting an exit and sequestering all the money in secret bank accounts, hiring lawyers in advance, etc. One person is acting honestly (even amid the crummy marriage) and one is acting duplicitously.

Today at least, I understand everything she felt, and everything she did EXCEPT filing for divorce without notice. Trial separation, counseling, even legal separation with dating allowed. Just leaving without turning back after 30 years makes no sense to me. I feel an enormous sense of betrayal. If her feelings during her 5-10 years of pain were legitimate, then can't my sense of betrayal, at least for awhile, also be legitimate?

My situation after nearly 12 months is that I've lost most of my best friends (their wives all adore my ex), and my social life has been pretty bland due to my singleness and covid. Until I saw the WAW syndrome described by Michele I still couldn't understand anything! So finding this place I was hoping to makes some new online friends and maybe find a few kindred spirits who could patiently see me through some new understanding. That's all.

I've had very few chances to vent. Most people don't want to hear it. My ex was no doubt venting about me to a small collection of girlfriends for years. Don't I get a chance? I know, I know, grow up Tom.

Re: Walk Away Spouse Fits My Ex-Wife to a "T" [Re: Ready2Change] #2903819
09/15/20 06:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Ready2Change

https://www.divorcebusting.com/foru...ain=45226&Number=1899726#Post1899726


Originally Posted by SmartCookie
Some people think that a WAW is hard, angry, cold. In a fog. There's more to her than that.

4 years ago, a woman laid in bed at night, not wanting to wake up in the morning. There was no way out. She couldn't divorce him. He would have visitation without her there to protect them. He had never hit them, but he surely didn't understand how to care for them. He didn't even know who they were.

She couldn't leave. She had no job, no way of putting food on the table for the children she loved. She had been dependent for so long, & she trusted this man to provide for her. Now she lay in bed, wondering who he was, & how she got her. These were not the choices she would have made, if she had a 2nd chance.

She couldn't talk to him. He couldn't hear her. She desperately wanted to share herself with him. He had walls up. She couldn't penetrate them. He seemed so content to work, watch TV, eat & sleep. Why didn't he want more, like she ?

She felt trapped. She resented herself for letting him treat her this way for so long. He told her often enough, he was a good husband. She needed so much more from him. She tried telling him, for years she tried, then she cried, she begged, she pleaded, but he couldn't hear.

He was cold, hard, in a fog.

She tried everything, she read every book. She prayed her heart out. She tried to be more Christ-like. Figuring if she set the example, he would follow.

She knew it came down to two choices. Her children's happiness, or hers. She would sacrifice hers. She decided to stay, & raise the children, with this man who would never know her. When they moved out, so would she. Then she would salvage what was left of her.

She put her heart in a dusty old box in the top of the closet. It was easier. She didn't hurt anymore, she was numb.

When she finally quit trying, & tried to fill her hours with distractions, he noticed. His fog was lifting. He wasn't quite so cold, so hard. She didn't care. It was too late. She was numb. Her heart was in that box. She vowed never to take it out again.

She stumbled through her days, crossing them off in the calendar. Wondering how much longer she could live this way. Did her children see her unhappiness ? She wondered, are they better off with a single happy parent, or with two parents who co-exist ? The torment was eating her alive. What to do ?

By now, she wasn't sleeping. Wasn't eating. She pulled away from all of her friends. She was dying inside. She desperately wanted, needed to be loved, appreciated, noticed, cherished. She was a beautiful fragile flower slowly dying without water, sunshine & air.

When no one was watching, she cried. She cried til she ran out of tears. She wanted it to be over, she wanted the pain to stop. Everytime she looked at her husband, it reminded her of the pain. The pain that was consuming her. She turned to alcohol to numb the pain. Anything to make the pain go away. Her friends ask her why she's losing so much weight. She wonders, why can't anyone see that I'm dying here. She doesn't try to tell the man she shares a bed with, remember, he can't hear her.

She finally writes him a letter. She says she is done. They need to raise their children, & he's the only one who can be their dad. Now he's fully awake & out of his fog. He's scared. He had no idea how bad she hurt. He thought things were good. He's been living in a separate reality from her.

He says he'll change, he'll do anything, to make her happy. He says his family is the most important thing to him. She doesn't believe him. She's numb. Her heart is safely in that box. He tries, she watches. He tries some more, she watches. He's dying now. She's numb. Now he wants the pain to stop. She's numb. She wonders why did things have to go this far before he would hear me ? Now she doesn't want to talk to him. She's numb. Talking to him reminds her how much she used to hurt, she can see it in his eyes now. Her survival instincts kick in, at least she doesn't hurt now. She's numb.

The only place to go from numb is anger. He tries some more, she can see he's making changes. Now comes the buried anger. The anger that she wanted to express to him for all the years past. The anger she was afraid to show. He doesn't realize, angry is better than numb. He takes her anger. For 12 months he takes her anger. Sometimes he fights back, & when he does she goes numb again.

She's so scared to take her heart out of that dusty box. Numb is so much safer. Angry is so much safer. Does he know how hard it is for her. She knew the day that her children were born, that she would give her life for them. She just didn't know it would be like this.

Sometimes he tries to push her to heal faster. She's doing her best. He wants more from her at times. She's doing her best.

Some nights, the pain returns, & she remembers, & she just can't sleep. She's not numb anymore, and the anger is going away. She doesn't know how or where, but it is. She's so scared. Numb is safer. Angry is safer. If she gives in to her fear, to her sometimes overwhelming fear, everyone will call her a WAW. She wanted you to know.

That sounds pretty much like my ex. [Maybe the two of you should get together.] Thank you Smart Cookie, this is what I had asked for.

In my defense, I will say that I wasn't emotionally abusive. I explored that long enough with my therapist because I had to know. Just HAD to know.

So tell me, how is it that you were so frightened to talk with him? To tell him, years earlier, that you were contemplating breaking up that beautiful family? Were you frightened of your ex? Afraid he would be angry or dismissive?

Because this is now hurting me big time. As my ex built up to her D-Day (or DB as y'all say here) she had convinced herself, and the girlfriends who were advising her, that I had anger problems. That when she served me divorce papers I would be furious. Never had she been more wrong. I was heartbroken. I was grief-stricken like never before. The night before she filed I still would have said that our wedding date was the best day of my life. And she didn't know that! All that pain (as you describe so well), accumulating over the years, had made her believe something that she ought to have known wasn't true -- perhaps because she fit me into a profile that said "of course he'll be furious."

I haven't been angry at her once. I think I have lived my Christian faith more purely since she filed than any other 12-month period of my life. Not that it's done any good, at least from the perspective of holding my marriage together.

It's so fascinating. Michele said in her first WAW article that the basically decent men who endure a WAW actually do truly change. They hit rock bottom and that change is possible only then. She also said that those men make great second husbands, because they are determined to not let it happen again. So for me at least, there is hope.

And lest you think there is no chance that we men can change, I saw an interesting example. The book "The Great Santini" by Robert Conroy is autobiographical about the author and his absolutely horrid father, a Marine Corps officer. Conroy wrote the book almost as payback for a dictatorial upbringing. But his father, when he saw the depicting of himself in the book, actually hit rock bottom and changed. Became a friend to his son. Conroy admits this.

Re: Walk Away Spouse Fits My Ex-Wife to a "T" [Re: Vapo] #2903820
09/15/20 06:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Vapo
Do not go on a hunt for a wife number 2, you are waaaaay to damaged to think clearly now. Damaged attract damaged and you might attract someone in your life that is just as damaged if not more. You need time to heal and you need time to recover. Prior to 2 years of single life do not even attempt to date, you have to learn to be content and happy to be by yourself. Thinking that some else will bring joy to your life is a receipe for disaster. The only way you can be happy if you find happiness from within.

So immerse your self in work, your hobbies and kids. You are in for a looooong haul.

So can we distinguish between "hunting for wife #2" and just dating? They really aren't the same, but you imply they are. I had far too much attention from another gal my age 90 days after the DB, and I did put an end to it after another 90 days because I did not like the thoughts I was having, but it was nice to have a date on New Year's Eve and Valentine's Day. Another high school friend, also divorced, made me dinner and I loved the attention and the goodbye hug!

But you're telling me this is not healthy? Human connection is not healthy? Please explain in more detail. Because I have received advice from other quarters that I should date my heart out, just don't make commitments. I've also had advice saying "don't do anything significant for a year" and that date is coming up quite soon. So is it one year or two? Dating forbidden or dating OK, just commitment and love are forbidden? I need more advice!

Re: Walk Away Spouse Fits My Ex-Wife to a "T" [Re: tom_h] #2903838
09/15/20 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by tom_h
Originally Posted by Vapo
Do not go on a hunt for a wife number 2, you are waaaaay to damaged to think clearly now. Damaged attract damaged and you might attract someone in your life that is just as damaged if not more. You need time to heal and you need time to recover. Prior to 2 years of single life do not even attempt to date, you have to learn to be content and happy to be by yourself. Thinking that some else will bring joy to your life is a receipe for disaster. The only way you can be happy if you find happiness from within.

So immerse your self in work, your hobbies and kids. You are in for a looooong haul.

So can we distinguish between "hunting for wife #2" and just dating? They really aren't the same, but you imply they are. I had far too much attention from another gal my age 90 days after the DB, and I did put an end to it after another 90 days because I did not like the thoughts I was having, but it was nice to have a date on New Year's Eve and Valentine's Day. Another high school friend, also divorced, made me dinner and I loved the attention and the goodbye hug!

But you're telling me this is not healthy? Human connection is not healthy? Please explain in more detail. Because I have received advice from other quarters that I should date my heart out, just don't make commitments. I've also had advice saying "don't do anything significant for a year" and that date is coming up quite soon. So is it one year or two? Dating forbidden or dating OK, just commitment and love are forbidden? I need more advice!


We are telling you that until tom is happy just being tom, he will never be happy being 1/2 of a couple.

You will get a lot of advice. The advice we try to give here is to help set you up for success in your next R. Whether that is with someone new, or with your W, if you don't work on Tom in the meantime then you are going to make the same mistakes, fall into the same trap, and end up in D court all over again.

It sounds to me like your W was miserable for decades, and only stuck around because of the kids and your religion. I see that all the time. I am very religious and active in my church. I've seen it a number of times where one spouse sticks around in a bad marriage until the youngest child is 18, and then they leave and file for D. I think rose was really on to something that suggests that you were missing signs that your W was unhappy. I think that is spot on because I can relate. my W was the same way. She was miserable. I just kept doing what I was doing and it wasn't until I saw tell-tale signs of an EA that I finally really understood just how unhappy my W had been.

tom, some of the best advice I got early on in my situation, when I too was grasping at straws to understand why my W was doing what she was doing (she was in an EA, when I confronted she immediately said she wanted to get a job, get her own place, and get a D) was that my W was simply trying to be happy. As Rose said, put yourself in her shoes. You many not agree with her methods, but her motivation is simply that she is doing what she thinks she must in order to be happy.

The other thing I learned from this same source was that I had no control over my WAW and whether or not my sitch ended in D or not. But I did have control over me and my own happiness. You say:

Quote
My situation after nearly 12 months is that I've lost most of my best friends (their wives all adore my ex), and my social life has been pretty bland due to my singleness and covid. Until I saw the WAW syndrome described by Michele I still couldn't understand anything! So finding this place I was hoping to makes some new online friends and maybe find a few kindred spirits who could patiently see me through some new understanding. That's all.


I see excuses in this paragraph. I see victimhood. What I can tell you is that where there is a will there is a way. We LBS loves to sit and stew in our juices and then claim "I am all alone". And I believe that is why the first bit of advice almost all anti-D experts give is to go out and GAL. I believe that is to prevent the above. I find it hard to believe that ALL of your friends are husbands of your wife's friends. I am sure, due to being involved in church like us, you do have several friends that are husbands of your wife's friends, but 100% of them? You even use the word most. So concentrate on the ones that are still around. Schedule time with them. I know I reconnected with an old friend that I hadn't talked to in years except at his parents' funerals. We have a mutual hobby in firearms and going to the gun range with him was cathartic beyond belief! Maybe firearms aren't your thing, but I have to believe that you have friends that you share hobbies with. So reconnect and engage in those hobbies!

And if by chance you don't have any hobbies.....go get some! The world is your oyster tom! One of my best lessons learned in my sitch was that my happiness is my responsibility, and mine alone!! Even though my W and I reconciled and are happier together than we have ever been, a big part of that was because I learned how to be happy without putting that burden of making me happy on her! Our dynamic is much better in the 2 years since our sitch than it was the previous 19 years combined.

As far as making online friends here...we are all your friend. I always like to think about Jesus when I think about true friends. One of my favorite accounts is when Jesus told Peter "Get behind me, Satan!" Many would have felt that was harsh and that a true friend wouldn't say that to a friend. But the harsh truth was that what Peter was saying was embodying Satan, and Jesus bluntly called him out on it. That is a true friend. A friend that tells you what you want to hear is no friend at all. So when someone says "Hey, go out and date your heart out" when you clearly are still hung up on your STBXW, that is bad advice. They say that because they are wanting to see you stop hurting. But it isn't good advice because in the end it won't accomplish stopping your pain, and it is patently unfair to women that you will date. So yes we are your friends, we want to see you get on with your life and be awesome and happy and healthy. But we aren't going to try to apply bandaids to a gaping wound that requires sutures. That is what dating would be for you right now.


M(51), W(52),D(16)
M-20, T-23 Bomb Drop - Dec.23, 2017
Ring and Piecing since March 2018
Re: Walk Away Spouse Fits My Ex-Wife to a "T" [Re: tom_h] #2903864
09/15/20 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by tom_h

My situation after nearly 12 months is that I've lost most of my best friends (their wives all adore my ex), and my social life has been pretty bland due to my singleness and covid. Until I saw the WAW syndrome described by Michele I still couldn't understand anything! So finding this place I was hoping to makes some new online friends and maybe find a few kindred spirits who could patiently see me through some new understanding. That's all.

I've had very few chances to vent. Most people don't want to hear it. My ex was no doubt venting about me to a small collection of girlfriends for years. Don't I get a chance? I know, I know, grow up Tom.


I completely understand. Us old timers get into fix it mode. This is a great place to vent. Most likely, you will find other newbies here that will become your main support group.

Just know that we all arrived here in just as much shock as you. We all felt the pain. We were all confused.

Covid definitely makes going through this process more difficult. I made a whole new group of friends going through it.


"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
Re: Walk Away Spouse Fits My Ex-Wife to a "T" [Re: Ready2Change] #2903882
09/15/20 09:40 PM
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Posts: 113
Originally Posted by Ready2Change
I completely understand. Us old timers get into fix it mode. This is a great place to vent. Most likely, you will find other newbies here that will become your main support group.
So what's your story? Point me to your opening post if you please ...

Re: Walk Away Spouse Fits My Ex-Wife to a "T" [Re: tom_h] #2903914
09/16/20 08:10 AM
09/16/20 08:10 AM
Joined: May 2019
Posts: 268
B
BenB Offline
Member
BenB  Offline
Member
B
Joined: May 2019
Posts: 268
You can click on any users name, then view profile, then total posts and go back to the very first one.


Me: 38
Stbxw: 35
No kids
Mini bd: February 6, 2019
ONS confirmed Sept 7, 2019
Told her to move out: September 8, 2019
W moved out: September 28, 2019
Divorce filed by me: September 23, 2019
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Moderated by  Cadet, job, Virginia 

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