jasmine Show full post »
Skelling
I feel I have to explain myself. He di not say I shouldn't feel that way but rather trie to explain, why I didn't need to feel unsafe. The thing is that he understands that it triggers me, when I tell him but in the situation itself, it just doesn't come up that it possibly could be a trigger. I tried to explain that he still can be friendly but there is a differnce in being friendly and going the extra mile. The problem is though that what for me is the extra mile, for him is perfectly normal. Hurting mine would say the same thing."I am trying to do everything to make you feel safe" and I agree they shoul do everything in their power to help us feel safe no matterb how uncomfortable or how it may look to others. I understand its tough and under differntb circumstances, it probably wouldnt face me. But now it does and to me it doesn't matter if this woman was 100 or 20, its the lack of control of how his words/actions are percieved. And a promise that he won't ever do that to me again, just doesn't cut it. I need to see that he can keep out of a questionable situation and if that means people experience him as less friendly and outgoing, then thats the price. He promised to try but can't promise to be succesful 100%of the time. I suppose that this is ok as long as I see him really trying and really understanding that even these little things now are red flags to me. As someone rightly said affairs don't start with sex but with a connectio a friendly word, something in common....I do believe he doesn't intend to ever cheat on me again but I also think he never intended to do it in the first place. Just the night before he had sex with this woman, his work mate warned him to be careful, after he told her about connecting with the OW well and he said: Don't worry I wouldn't ever do anything like that. I am not like that. That was just one day prior to him ending up in the OW's hotelroom and her bed. So words don't mean anything. Words won't keep me safe. My fear is though, that this is so engrained in him (he himself says this is me, I have always been like that, you fell in love with me because of that, which is true but now it has become a problem and not a small one)that he really won't be able to change it. And I don't think I could be ok with that because I don't want to question what if. I know he worries about work and tells me in the service industry people are always super friendly and its accepted. But he is not in the service industry and I firmly believe that if he would state his boundaries or rules such as not discussing business over lunch/dinner alone with a woman or open door policy will be accepted by women without even a flinch because I would respect and even admire that, if a man I was working with told me this explaining his reason out of respect of his wife. But again maybe thats just me and I understand it can be an uncomfortable conversation to have but again thats the price for his choices.
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anthro
I think a big part of the trust issue for me is simply that a partner became a stranger. I was with someone who I thought was truthful, someone who I thought had my back and was protecting our turf just the way I would. I would always protect her interests, her safety etc, just the same way I'd protect my own. I thought all that was a given with this person.

So aside from the specifics of any particular action, there is just the fact that I cannot quite feel that way any more. In effect that's a big loss of trust. It's like the difference between a friend you'd shoot pool with vs a friend you'd want with you in a foxhole. I don't have that person I'd trust in a firefight any more. 
Formerly known as Anthropoidape... male bs, long affair, d-day Feb 2017.
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jasmine

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Firstly we have no control on how we feel towards certain situations. A trigger is a trigger. None of us chose to have ANY of them. Secondly even if we (lol) somehow ‘chose’ to feel a particular way, the WS is not in any position to tell us to feel otherwise. They do not need to understand or agree that something may be a trigger. All they really need to understand is that it IS a trigger and choose to act accordingly.

These words are very timely for me. This morning I was thinking about triggers and what they actually are, and how my husband reacts. My emotions were running high so I journaled my thoughts to try and understand them better  Here’s what I thought: Triggers are reminders, and bring to mind all the thoughts and feelings that my husband’s behaviour created within me. Triggers reactivate the pain and anxiety. It only takes a second to feel triggered but much longer for the emotions to subside.The emotions cascade, like a domino effect. Those feelings are very distressing. HIS behaviour created those feelings. It wasn’t always this way. There was a time when I didn’t experience these triggers and the emotional storm that follows. It feels awful  and I hate it. I didn’t ask for this  It was not of my choosing.  

My husband’s reaction? When he senses I’ve been triggered he will jump right in and get confrontational with me “What’s the matter with you? You are acting strange! You are accusing me! You don’t trust me!” This is usually followed by defensiveness: “I didn’t.... I wasn’t.... I don’t” or something like that. All this aggravation from him when I’m triggered and distressed to begin with. It’s like I’m being told I’m wrong to feel as I do, that I’m doing something wrong by feeling triggered. If I’m triggered and I’m with him it’s like a double blow  On my own, I can let the feelings pass, though it’s not pleasant. With him it’s far worse because of he becomes confrontational, as if I’m the source of the problem when in reality it’s him.

Today was the first time I could actually see that becoming triggered and the feelings that follow on are all rooted in betrayal trauma, and that comes from the way he behaved and all the lies he told and the secrets he kept from me.  Yet I’m the one who has to find a way through it, if anything just for myself. But I don’t like it. It was never of my choosing. 

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hurting
Skelling, I too agree that if a person can be upfront about their boundaries to those around them (eg open door policy out of respect for their wife), I would find that admirable more than odd. I appreciate honesty. A person brave enough to come out and say something that may be deemed ‘awkward’ or ‘odd’ by others in order to maintain their boundaries would be a person who could gain my respect. 

Then again, I’ve become much more upfront about things since his betrayal. I would rather call a spade a spade than pussy foot around people and avoid directly calling them out on things. Just last night, I informed someone very directly that they were being awfully rude as well as racist. The past me would never have done that... but it felt good to me to now have the courage to come out and say it like it is. 

Jasmine, that sounds difficult. Tbh I’m not sure I would react well to my WS responding in such a way. Pretty sure I would make it damn clear that what’s ‘wrong’ with me is everything that he decided to do to me. Defensiveness has no role here. I get that situations will often appear unrelated to a WS. They don’t understand our triggers. Some are blatantly obvious. Others won’t be. Or they might just happen because of something that have popped into our minds. 

Regardless of that, I really think that it is important for them to remember that we did not choose to become this. Who in their right mind would? They chose to force us into this state by their past selfish decisions. I did not choose to be someone who is now scared, hurt and insecure. I did not choose to become unsafe. I didn’t choose to have triggers or intrusive thoughts of any nature. The reason I suffer these things is because of my WS.

Even now he will of course, focus on how an ‘unrelated’ situation affects him. Any person would, I suppose, first assess a situation in terms of their own position. What I need my WS to learn, is to make the jump automatically to how it might affect me. Not just as it might affect someone who hasn’t been betrayed, but in keeping in mind that I AM unfortunately uncomfortable with a lot of situations. I am insecure and feel unsafe a lot. 

He tries to do this. The problem is, he doesn’t do it well enough. Because as much as a WS may try, they will never be able to understand the huge array of triggers we may suffer. They’ve never suffered it themselves. They just inflicted them.
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jasmine

Hurting, It’s only these past few days that I can see that my triggers would not even be on my radar had it not been for my husband’s behaviour. Writing that down, it’s so obvious but as you point out, some triggers are not so obvious. Some of my triggers originate in earlier traumas, and it was only yesterday, after writing down my feelings I suddenly went BOOM! I was right back in time remembering one particular incidence of abuse and there was the obvious link. My husband’s behaviour looked the same as the people who participated in that abuse. Even worse was the memory of how I was going to get out of that situation, and whether I was going to get out alive. I hadn’t even thought about that particular memory until it came to the front of my mind yesterday. Even now, as I’m writing this, I can feel that awful surge of stress hormones in my belly and palpitations as I’m remembering it.

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Skelling
hurting wrote:
Skelling, I too agree that if a person can be upfront about their boundaries to those around them (eg open door policy out of respect for their wife), I would find that admirable more than odd. I appreciate honesty. A person brave enough to come out and say something that may be deemed ‘awkward’ or ‘odd’ by others in order to maintain their boundaries would be a person who could gain my respect. 

Then again, I’ve become much more upfront about things since his betrayal. I would rather call a spade a spade than pussy foot around people and avoid directly calling them out on things. Just last night, I informed someone very directly that they were being awfully rude as well as racist. The past me would never have done that... but it felt good to me to now have the courage to come out and say it like it is. 

Jasmine, that sounds difficult. Tbh I’m not sure I would react well to my WS responding in such a way. Pretty sure I would make it damn clear that what’s ‘wrong’ with me is everything that he decided to do to me. Defensiveness has no role here. I get that situations will often appear unrelated to a WS. They don’t understand our triggers. Some are blatantly obvious. Others won’t be. Or they might just happen because of something that have popped into our minds. 

Regardless of that, I really think that it is important for them to remember that we did not choose to become this. Who in their right mind would? They chose to force us into this state by their past selfish decisions. I did not choose to be someone who is now scared, hurt and insecure. I did not choose to become unsafe. I didn’t choose to have triggers or intrusive thoughts of any nature. The reason I suffer these things is because of my WS.

Even now he will of course, focus on how an ‘unrelated’ situation affects him. Any person would, I suppose, first assess a situation in terms of their own position. What I need my WS to learn, is to make the jump automatically to how it might affect me. Not just as it might affect someone who hasn’t been betrayed, but in keeping in mind that I AM unfortunately uncomfortable with a lot of situations. I am insecure and feel unsafe a lot. 

He tries to do this. The problem is, he doesn’t do it well enough. Because as much as a WS may try, they will never be able to understand the huge array of triggers we may suffer. They’ve never suffered it themselves. They just inflicted them.


Thank you for that. I could have written that. I asked my husband to read this. Maybe it helps, when it comes from someone else. and Jasmine I agree for me triggers are usually tied to feelings, situations or trauma from the past, which make them so painful. I grew up not feeling loved, desperate to be seen by my dad and loved at least from my mom. I didn't get that. Maybe they thought they did but I never felt it. I felt like an outsider all my childhood even in my own family. And the affair amplified that feeling of being left out, abandoned, insignificant, unworthy, unloved the list goes on. And every time there is a trigger that reminds me that the OW was put before me. her feelings before mine, whether intented or not, I would be thrown back and feel just like I did as a little girl and those are the days, when it gets really dark and I question my whole existence. And I think this is when was Hurting said, comes into play, when our WS look beyond the immediate effect of their choices, actions, words and take that jump to make an effort to think how it possibly can trigger us, or affect us. I understand that its hard work and doesn't come naturally. It takes practice and effort but most of all the will to actually do it. 

I don't know maybe I am wrong and I find something else, that he needs to "fix" further down the road. But right now this seems to be a big one for me and the key to SEE a change a chance to trust that he means what he says and a therefore a start to trusting his words again too.
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Phoenix
jasmine wrote:


I think you have both hit the nail on the head. Betraying partners need to learn from their experience. They need to understand their weaknesses and vulnerabilities, and develop strategies to honour their values. My husband has learned a lot since d day. Like stillme says, it’s not a perfect relationship but it’s okay, and okay can be okay. The fact that my husband has been proactive in working on himself and our relationship is crucial. He has also taken responsibility for the ways that his behaviour impacted on me and on the relationship. That makes all the difference. I too have learned a ton of stuff too. I really do try to see these issues from all perspectives. That’s why I really value what the BS’s share with us here.

 

Obviously there are unfaithful partners who treat their spouses with total disregard and don’t feel much guilt. I have no respect for people who behave like that. But I also know that many BS’s are just human, good people who have made mistakes and feel a lot of pain and remorse over what they did. My husband has looked at his behaviour and he isn’t proud, but he has learned and gained insight into the entire ‘story’, as I have. That’s why I feel it is appropriate to have respect for him as a human being, who is imperfect and fallible. We all have the potential to mess up, every one of us. It’s just that we all somehow thought our spouses would be exempt. Or they’d be as committed to exclusivity as we were. And then fate gave us all a big slap on the face, and here we are.

Phoenix mentioned Brene Brown. She did a really good book on shame, possibly her first book. Shame is a huge factor for both my husband because of his behaviour, and for me, because of the humiliation and the feelings of shame for being weak and feeling like a failed wife. Shame is a huge barrier to progress and to healing ourselves and the relationship. That’s why I try to keep it respectful but it goes both ways. I have sometimes had to protect myself from some of the things he has said, or from his hostility and his moods. It takes a long time to get beyond the rawness of the emotions that erupt early on, that is during the first year or two, and it’s all a learning process. The endgame for me is to restore respectful communication and mutual understanding of each other’s experiences, and to commit to the relationship and take steps to make sure history won’t repeat. 

i know that not all relationships survive. I know also that some relationships are toxic and abusive and should be dissolved. Some have a chance but there are no guarantees. It’s very, very tough trying to recover a relationship after betrayal. 



Yes, this is very true. I also think that the work has to be a constant from now on. Not just until you feel better but always. Exactly like an Alcoholic. I started therapy again. I stopped for a couple of months. I have a need for it now. I have a need to keep exploring myself. I also know that it is not only about therapy. I keep looking for resources to help me in my journey to becoming the person I have always wanted to be. I truly believe that "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" but it's not just about that. You also have to learn from every single experience. One of the things that I have learned through this experience is that I do have an addictive personality. I thought that just because I wasn't addicted to alcohol or drugs that I wasn't an addict. But I am addicted to other things that I use to make me feel good because I don't feel good about myself. I want to learn to control it cuz it can and has gotten out of control in the past. So, it should be a work in progress always with break troughs every step of the way. 
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Phoenix
anthro wrote:


I don't know if this is right or not. If it is, then staying together doesn't really work for me.

I think about it this way. I did a few things in my childhood and teens, even into my early 20s maybe, that I think showed poor character. I learned from them; I learned from how they made me feel about myself and how they sat next to the person I would like to be or to people I admire. Let's say, when I was 15 I stole something (I didn't as far as I can recall, this is just an example). I ended up disgusted with myself and resolved never to steal again. It would not follow that I have a weakness for stealing and need to guard against stealing for the rest of my life. It was just part of my journey to becoming a decent adult. I see this as quite different to alcoholism or some other addiction where the general wisdom is that you are never anything but an alcoholic for the rest of your life (I don't really agree with this either, but I get that it is a way of approaching alcoholism that can work.)

If I thought my partner had to be on constant guard against being dishonest, cheating, blowing the neighbour, whatever... I would have no interest in staying with her. None. That is a recipe for lifelong stress and distress. What I could live with is somebody doing something terrible and developing into a better person as a result. That can mean rising above your childhood misfortune, unlearning things your parents or past relationships taught you, etc. If you have some kind of inherent quality that means you are always on the brink of infidelity unless you guard against it then you should not be in a monogamous relationship, and only a lunatic would knowingly stay in a monogamous relationship with you.


Yes, There are times I have thought " Am I always going to be seen as a cheater? Will that be my identity now?" If that is the case then I will never get over my shame. How will that affect the relationship? I'm assuming it would impact it negatively. I think the vision you have Anthro is the same as me. That hopefully one day it will be just something I do and not who I am but I will do everything in my power to make sure it doesn't happen again. 
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Phoenix
Keepabuzz wrote:


The second he told you how “you shouldn’t feel that way”, if my wife said that to me? I would/will let the anger loose and make it clear to her that I DO feel that way, and the reason I do is 100% her fault!  Secondly, I would inform her she doesn’t get to decide what I feel or don’t feel!  

 


So if he interacts with an attractive woman multiple times, then he will likely have sex with her?  Wow!  He is literally telling you he is not safe, and that he will very likely betray you again. It’s a matter of time. People who are truly remorseful don’t say things like that. Betraying you again shouldn’t be an option in his mind, as opposed to what he is telling you  “I’m really trying to not have sex with other women. As long as I don’t flirt with one more than once or twice I should be fine. If my wife said literally anything in the same universe as that we would be getting divorced. 



I know one of the things that led me to the affair was the lack of boundaries. Now my boundaries are firmly in place. I am no longer over friendly with any male and especially not around my BS. I will no longer ever put myself in that position. Now I know this is disrespectful to my spouse. especially now. 
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anthro
Phoenix wrote:
I am no longer over friendly with any male and especially not around my BS. I will no longer ever put myself in that position. Now I know this is disrespectful to my spouse. especially now. 


Something to shoot for, just in my opinion, is to be pretty much the same with others whether your BS is there or not. That you are more careful when he's around is not necessarily a big deal but can be a bit of a red flag for some BSes.
Formerly known as Anthropoidape... male bs, long affair, d-day Feb 2017.
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Phoenix
anthro wrote:


Something to shoot for, just in my opinion, is to be pretty much the same with others whether your BS is there or not. That you are more careful when he's around is not necessarily a big deal but can be a bit of a red flag for some BSes.


Yes, you're right. It sounds like I am only doing this around my BS. I started a new job a year ago and I have no male friends (or any friends). 
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anthro
Phoenix wrote:


Yes, you're right. It sounds like I am only doing this around my BS. I started a new job a year ago and I have no male friends (or any friends). 


All this stuff takes a huge toll on friendships for both BS and WS. It becomes too hard to confide in anyone and you feel false all the time. "How are you?" "Good thanks."

I also think a lack of close friends can be a contributor to cheating. Good friends can be a check on dumb decisions. 
Formerly known as Anthropoidape... male bs, long affair, d-day Feb 2017.
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jasmine
Phoenix, your identity shouldn’t be that of  “a cheater”. You are just a fallible human being, as we all are in our own ways. You made mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes, some big, some small, some serious, some not. Our mistakes need not define us. You have many good and positive qualities, you have skills, talents and abilities. You matter to the people who love you. Very importantly, you are learning from your mistakes and using this experience to grow. Betrayal can feel like a crushing blow for the betrayed. There’s no denying how deep it is felt. But you are suffering too, and it’s not going to do you or your marriage any good by getting stuck in this place for too long. There will come a time, and I hope it’s soon, that you will pick yourself up, dust yourself down, hold your head up and say “I know I made mistakes but I’m not all bad. In fact, I’m OK. I’ve done plenty of good things too. My past mistakes don’t have to define me.” I promise this day will come when you can put your dignity back into its rightful place.
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