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ooohhh, Sage!!! hearts to you, I'm so glad you're back and posting smile

I agree absolutely with this:
Quote
a marriage takes two
oftentimes the WAS/WS is vilified by the LBS (and this community)
we ALL should be on a perpetual path of growth and self-discovery

But in/re asking the LBS to shoulder a portion of the blame/responsibility for the demise of the M, here's my take:

-- first off, if you're married to a narcissist, I don't think you get to take any blame. The gaslighting in your case was/is extreme. I think you needed to remove yourself from the situation in order for the fog of his emotional abuse to clear and for you to see the light. Perhaps the process was the path you needed to take in order to get to where you are today. ((SAGE)) (And edited to add: perhaps the LBS per pinn and Ginger can take responsibility for ignoring warning signs before getting involved and/or staying with a narcissistic partner and work on improving their picker for next time around-- that definitely does make sense to me.) However, I definitely don't read ScottyB's wife as a narcissist from what I have read. I'm more with Wayfarer's interpretation on her.

-- second, the decision to cheat and the responsibility for the affair is always 100% on the cheater. Zero responsibility on the LBS. The WS may justify their actions to the skies-- SSM, MLC, whatever... but in the end, they, alone, made the cascade of decisions that led them to cheat. That's always on them. Not on you. I've heard you say before and completely agree that there are ways to end a marriage honorably. (as an aside, it sVcks to be an LBS, but I also think it sVcks to be the WS, who allowed themselves to become a liar and a cheater and justified it to themselves. It is a hard road back, I think, once/if the fog clears and you see your own behavior in the light of day.)

--third, assuming you have two relatively reasonable people in the M (no narcissists etc.), then of course both parties should shoulder their portion of the responsibility for the problems in their M prior to the A. I think if you can detach the cheating or wayward behavior from the circumstances within the relationship that may have contributed to the WS's affair-- hard to do for both parties, because the WS is clinging to that justification as a life raft to absolve their own choices, and the LBS often either vilifies the WS and doesn't look at their own behavior, or hyper-focuses on it and their role in "causing" the A (or pendulum swings back and forth between the two extremes). But if you CAN detach the two, go back in time before the A-- are there ways your S could have been a better partner? Are there ways you could have been a better partner? Can you put yourself in your partner's shoes and see how your own choices and behaviors-- while not cheating or lying-- might have been hurtful? Are there things you can learn from this situation that might lead you to be a better friend or partner to others in the future? I think the main point is that this is never a black and white situation (unless, again, one of the parties is a narcissist and unable to have a real relationship with another human being). And, don't be a victim or waste your time wishing karmic vengeance on your WS. I continue to love reading DnJ and WF on how to grow, learn, and forgive (for yourself) through the trauma we've all been through. None of us can go back in time and change the past. But we can all choose to learn and grow from our experiences.

Early on in our R process, my H felt like I did wrong (SSM) which caused him to do wrong (infidelity) and while he acknowledged that his wrong was worse than my wrong, he couldn't untie his choices from the SSM. He couldn't even talk about the A without tying it to the SSM. It was as though I forced him to cheat because of the SSM. Nopey-nopey-nope. Then we moved to him being able to take 100% responsibility for the A, but I was responsible for the SSM so we both were equally at fault for what happened to our M. I also refused this illustration. To me, we were each equally responsible-- 50-50-- for the problems in our marriage before the A. Yes, the SSM was on me, but it didn't appear in a vacuum, and he bears responsibility for his part in my disinterest and in his inability to communicate the depth of the problem to me. He then chose to cheat and is 100% responsible for that decision. At first, he didn't like this-- he turned it into this mathematical equation where he's 100% responsible for something far worse than what I'm 50% responsible for, so does that mean he shoulders 90% of the blame for where we are right now? I think that whole blame game is pointless anyway. We're both individually 100% responsible for our own choices, including our own individual mistakes and bad choices, and for our own individual decisions to stay and work on the M. (Which, to be completely honest, I probably need to own a little more right now.) He recently said to me-- I agree with you on the 50-50 pre-A responsibility and his own 100% responsibility on the cheating. But he thinks that he was more deeply affected by the problems in our M prior to his infidelity than I was. Which I do think is fair. I didn't miss the sex. I basically transferred all that physical touch to my children and felt over touched and pawed at all the time by them anyway. His primary LL is PT and he felt abandoned.

Also-- this is a hugely traumatic experience not only for the LBS but for the children as well, who bear zero responsibility for any of this are deeply affected anyway. It's all overwhelming. I see ScottyB as trying to navigate through this path for himself and for his kids and it just being hard. I think it is totally natural to question your own role in what happened and get angry with your WS for ditching. (FWIW, I also find that MLC post hilarious and sad.)

I think we should all give ourselves a break, especially those going through the hardest parts right now. It's okay to be mad. It's okay to be sad. It's okay to go through all these emotional swings and this is the best place to come and dump so that you don't act on emotion IRL. My recommendation to Scott would be to maybe read some of DnJ's thread and especially his recent posts on BL42's thread. As other posters above have said, you don't want to end up bitter and jaded. Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. Don't do that. Figure out how to let it go.

You got this, ScottyB.


Me (45) H (41)
M:13 T:17, D8 & D11
4/19 BD #1 ILYB
8/19 BD #2 Long-distance EA
12/19 BD #3 Actually 2 year PA
2-5/20 R attempt #1
6/20 limbo again, back in contact with AP
9/20-present R attempt #2
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pinn,

Originally Posted by pinn
My ex and I were off/on for years pre-marriage. Grew up together. I know her better than anyone ever will. She treated me like garbage during that off/on time that went on for years. We had not spoken for a year or so. One night I get a call from her. I am watching the phone ring, I know if I pick it up we will soon be back together, eventually marry and she WILL eventually cheat and leave. I know this. I remember the feeling distinctly watching the phone ring. Guess what I did... I picked up the phone and guess what happened....
Wow, what a visceral memory. I imagine it as a slow-mo cut in a Hollywood film. Of course, you didn't "know" then in the way you know now and even if you remember considering the implications you probably had a small part of you that hoped it wouldn't end up being the case, but that must be a real "wonder what would've happened if..." moment.

Originally Posted by pinn
So now it is time to look back and examine what happened. So I did a bunch of work, learned a ton about relationships in the hopes that this will never happen again. I had some flaws that I never knew existed until I looked, I knew nothing about love languages, I did not press when there were obviously serious issues developing in our relationship, I knew nothing about what an actual good relationship was or what it looked like.
Good point / lesson here though...everyone on this board can use our sitches as a learning opportunity for the future (better identify red flags, improve ourselves in areas we're lacking...etc.).

Originally Posted by pinn
Do I take all the blame for my ex going off and cheating? Of course not, that is not acceptable. But I do take at least partial responsibility for getting into a relationship that was likely going to fail spectacularly, ignoring warning signs hoping they would go away, definitely poor communication and in general, just staying in a poor relationship probably for comfort more than anything else.

The thing for me is everyone (LBS & WS/WAS included) has issues they should work one. No one is 100% perfect. It's a balance between recognizing your faults and contributions to the D, but also not putting the full burden of the sitch on yourself when it was the WS/WAS who chose to have the affair and/or walk away from marriage without a willingness to work on it.

Originally Posted by pinn
As Sage said: "we ALL should be on a perpetual path of growth and self-discovery"

I agree there!
Indeed!


Sage4,
Originally Posted by Sage4
And likewise, going back to LH's tagline side convo, we shouldn't be in a R nor fighting to save a R when someone is trying to walk away from it. That is another opportunity for self-work and growth. "Why am I am motivated to save this and make them stay? What does that say about me, my insecurities, fears or expectations? Where do I need to grow? Am I codependent? Needy? Or just in shock at the moment?"

^^ Both of these are on the LBS. Within their control as an autonomous human.
Not sure I 100% agree here. There a distinction between an dating relationship and a marriage. Imo, people should work to save a marriage because it's a vow and meant to be a commitment for life. I don't necessarily between it's a codependency to not want a D. That said, our MC for a few sessions did tell me "what does it say about you that you want to be with someone who betrayed you?", and that will always stick out in my mind. At the time while I didn't want the betrayal I also didn't want to "fail at the marriage" and get divorced. However, I now recognize if one person is hell bent on it ending there's usually not much a LBS can do to reason or "fight" it, and may be better off accepting and letting go.

Originally Posted by Sage4
the majority of people here are dealing with the more caustic ends to marriages. And most of them ARE dealing with infidelity and abuse (I happened to believe infidelity IS abuse, BTW). So the LBS might need more of any of these things FIRST: 1. time; 2. support that this isn't about you; and 3. gentle nudges to behave in ways that they will feel proud of 2 years down the road, BEFORE they are able to spend heaps of time on the self-examination table.
In regards to #2, I think that is an important point. The LBS is not without faults, which they certainly should work on, but unless there's a major issue it's often "not about you" and more about the WS/WAS. Again, accept your faults and work on them but don't necessarily put the burden of the affair/D on yourself because in many cases it's not.

may22,
Originally Posted by may22
as an aside, it sVcks to be an LBS, but I also think it sVcks to be the WS, who allowed themselves to become a liar and a cheater and justified it to themselves. It is a hard road back, I think, once/if the fog clears and you see your own behavior in the light of day.
Do you think they ever do see their behavior in the light of day? Or, do they just go on through life like that?

Originally Posted by may22
I think we should all give ourselves a break, especially those going through the hardest parts right now. It's okay to be mad. It's okay to be sad. It's okay to go through all these emotional swings and this is the best place to come and dump so that you don't act on emotion IRL. My recommendation to Scott would be to maybe read some of DnJ's thread and especially his recent posts on BL42's thread. As other posters above have said, you don't want to end up bitter and jaded. Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. Don't do that. Figure out how to let it go.

You got this, ScottyB.
Well said!

Last edited by BL42; 09/16/21 02:36 AM.

Me:39 Ex-W:36
M:7 T: 9
S:6 D:2
BD/IHS/Confirm EA/PA: Feb '20
OM1 affair ends: May '20
W/OM2 & moves out: June-July '20
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Hi BL,

Quote
may22,

Originally Posted by may22
as an aside, it sVcks to be an LBS, but I also think it sVcks to be the WS, who allowed themselves to become a liar and a cheater and justified it to themselves. It is a hard road back, I think, once/if the fog clears and you see your own behavior in the light of day.
Do you think they ever do see their behavior in the light of day? Or, do they just go on through life like that?

Good question. I think the conventional wisdom is that they have to hit rock bottom, have their fantasy new shiny life with AP fall apart, and fully experience the consequences of their behavior and decisions before they have the motivation to take the hard look within and figure out why they did what they did. Blu's husband took this path. I think a lot of other people never do. it's pretty painful to realize that your life is shredded and you're the one who is responsible. (Wayfarer wrote this incredible post on my thread a loooong time ago, about how painful it is to set your ship on fire, watch it go down and realize that the lifeboat you thought would save you is sinking and it is all on you. I might have gotten the details wrong but that image has always stuck with me.)

Anyway, for many probably easier to keep moving and blaming others. Regardless, I think the basic thing to remember is-- it is all out of your control, anyway. They'll do it or they won't, and it is a waste of your time and energy to spend a lot of time thinking about it. Spend that time and energy on yourself (and your kids). You deserve it.

I'm watching my H process all of this in real time right now, though he never took that final step of leaving and so didn't really hit rock bottom, though his turning point (he says) was finally being free to take that path-- he had an apartment all lined up and just had to sign the lease-- and he saw his life unfold and realized that wasn't what he wanted. He feels like that was the major turning point for him, but he also moped around for months after that still pining for his GD AP. And, it took months for him to finally even just accept responsibility 100% for his actions without blaming me for creating the circumstances that made him vulnerable to cheating. (eye roll emoji.) So all very slow, but I'd say he's definitely out of that fog now and grappling with the big hairy questions about why. I know he feels so much better about himself now than he did. It really did take a toll on his psyche to lie all the time, because that isn't who he thinks he is-- bringing his behavior into alignment with his values has really helped his mental health. I'd say he still has a lot of work to do in this area, though.


Me (45) H (41)
M:13 T:17, D8 & D11
4/19 BD #1 ILYB
8/19 BD #2 Long-distance EA
12/19 BD #3 Actually 2 year PA
2-5/20 R attempt #1
6/20 limbo again, back in contact with AP
9/20-present R attempt #2
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Originally Posted by BL42
Not sure I 100% agree here. There a distinction between an dating relationship and a marriage. Imo, people should work to save a marriage because it's a vow and meant to be a commitment for life.
The problem BL is it takes two people to honor that commitment.

Originally Posted by BL42
I don't necessarily between it's a codependency to not want a D. That said, our MC for a few sessions did tell me "what does it say about you that you want to be with someone who betrayed you?", and that will always stick out in my mind.
Your MC is a very wise person.

Originally Posted by BL42
At the time while I didn't want the betrayal I also didn't want to "fail at the marriage" and get divorced.
Mainly because of fear. What will it do to the kids? Will I be able to find another person? Can I afford to life alone and pay child support?

Originally Posted by BL42
However, I now recognize if one person is hell bent on it ending there's usually not much a LBS can do to reason or "fight" it, and may be better off accepting and letting go.

Not "may" be better. Will be better.

Originally Posted by BL42
In regards to #2, I think that is an important point. The LBS is not without faults, which they certainly should work on, but unless there's a major issue it's often "not about you" and more about the WS/WAS. Again, accept your faults and work on them but don't necessarily put the burden of the affair/D on yourself because in many cases it's not.
BL you didn't cause your W to cheat on you. That was her choice and her choice only.

Originally Posted by may22
as an aside, it sVcks to be an LBS, but I also think it sVcks to be the WS, who allowed themselves to become a liar and a cheater and justified it to themselves. It is a hard road back, I think, once/if the fog clears and you see your own behavior in the light of day.
99% of the time they didn't allow themselves to become a liar and a cheater. It's who they are it's in there DNA due most likely to learned behavior. They think lying and cheating is normal.

Originally Posted by may22
I think we should all give ourselves a break, especially those going through the hardest parts right now. It's okay to be mad. It's okay to be sad. It's okay to go through all these emotional swings and this is the best place to come and dump so that you don't act on emotion IRL. My recommendation to Scott would be to maybe read some of DnJ's thread and especially his recent posts on BL42's thread. As other posters above have said, you don't want to end up bitter and jaded. Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. Don't do that. Figure out how to let it go.
This will come in time naturally.
Originally Posted by may22
Anyway, for many probably easier to keep moving and blaming others. Regardless, I think the basic thing to remember is-- it is all out of your control, anyway. They'll do it or they won't, and it is a waste of your time and energy to spend a lot of time thinking about it. Spend that time and energy on yourself (and your kids). You deserve it.
Good stuff!


M:51 W:46
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“Don't chase people. Be yourself, do your own thing and work hard. The right people - the ones who really belong in your life - will come to you and stay.”- Will Smith
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I need to go back and catch up on all of the posts since Ginger's first one. But I tend to agree that rarely is the LBS completely innocent. Most marital problems, including infidelity, is a symptom of both spouses getting too comfortable, not trying, and letting the MR languish and/or take a backseat to other things in their lives.

However, being a less than perfect spouse in no way justifies walking away, cheating, breaking up the MR and the family, and divorcing. I tell LBSs here all the time as a reminder about the WAS being able to change their mind that they stood before God and witnesses and took vows of commitment and to work together to overcome problems to stay together! Death do us part, for better or worse, etc....or some variation thereof.

So for a WAS to say, "you aren't perfect so I am sleeping with someone else, leaving you, and breaking up our family" is counter to those vows...and NOT JUSTIFIABLE in any way.

But the LBS has to recognize their own shortcomings and work to improve themselves. Period. It may not save their MR, but it may save their next one! So sitting back, saying poor me what did I do to deserve this solves nothing!! Get working on yourself to become the best version of you that you can be. Once you've been through this, whether or not your MR survived, that should be one of the LBS' goals for the rest of their lives.

Ok, when I get time I will go back and read the rest of the responses.


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Originally Posted by may22
Early on in our R process, my H felt like I did wrong (SSM) which caused him to do wrong (infidelity) and while he acknowledged that his wrong was worse than my wrong, he couldn't untie his choices from the SSM. He couldn't even talk about the A without tying it to the SSM. It was as though I forced him to cheat because of the SSM. Nopey-nopey-nope. Then we moved to him being able to take 100% responsibility for the A, but I was responsible for the SSM so we both were equally at fault for what happened to our M. I also refused this illustration. To me, we were each equally responsible-- 50-50-- for the problems in our marriage before the A. Yes, the SSM was on me, but it didn't appear in a vacuum, and he bears responsibility for his part in my disinterest and in his inability to communicate the depth of the problem to me. He then chose to cheat and is 100% responsible for that decision. At first, he didn't like this-- he turned it into this mathematical equation where he's 100% responsible for something far worse than what I'm 50% responsible for, so does that mean he shoulders 90% of the blame for where we are right now? I think that whole blame game is pointless anyway. We're both individually 100% responsible for our own choices, including our own individual mistakes and bad choices, and for our own individual decisions to stay and work on the M. (Which, to be completely honest, I probably need to own a little more right now.) He recently said to me-- I agree with you on the 50-50 pre-A responsibility and his own 100% responsibility on the cheating. But he thinks that he was more deeply affected by the problems in our M prior to his infidelity than I was. Which I do think is fair. I didn't miss the sex. I basically transferred all that physical touch to my children and felt over touched and pawed at all the time by them anyway. His primary LL is PT and he felt abandoned.

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!

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.

Maybe your sitch was different, and he was 100% innocent in your SSM, but I find that hard to believe.


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“Less than perfect”

That is a very subjective perception.

Very few leave because things are “less than perfect”

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Originally Posted by Ginger1
“Less than perfect”

That is a very subjective perception.

Very few leave because things are “less than perfect”

I used that wording purposefully. As in there is no such thing as perfect, so WAS will always try to justify their actions because of their "not perfect" spouse.


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Originally Posted by Ginger1
Very few leave because things are “less than perfect”
Strongly disagree with this statement. It's called "Grass is Greener Syndrome"


M:51 W:46
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Originally Posted by LH19
Originally Posted by Ginger1
Very few leave because things are “less than perfect”
Strongly disagree with this statement. It's called "Grass is Greener Syndrome"


Often not that simple

My point being is LBS are not blameless victims

Last edited by Ginger1; 09/16/21 02:15 PM.
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