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Dirazz
It’s never about what the betrayed spouse lacks. 
It’s always always about what the betrayer lacks. 
The OW was 26 years younger than me. That’s something I can never compete with. It was very difficult for me to overcome. But over time I started to see I didn’t need or have to compare myself with her. I was better in ALL ways. Morally and yes even physically. She’s short and on the thick side. I’m 5”10 and all legs and on the thinner side. 

She’s just the first crude women my H has been around. What I mean by that is she was all to happy to let everyone know what sexual acts were her “ specialties” 🤢. Shes a class act! 
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HangingOn
Reading this I wonder if affair partners really ever know each other or are WS simply so dysfunctional that they all answer this the same.  Either way it is the part of this that to me is most painful.

I have my integrity and character in tact.  And for that I’m so thankful and morbidly glad I’m the BS.  I could never carry the guilt of seeing the destruction I caused as a WS.  I recognize we are human and things happen.  I can forgive that.  I’m trying to walk with Grace but How does my WS ever become a person of integrity again in my eyes?  How does one’s character repair itself?  What actions are enough?  I love him but have zero respect.  Is that even possible?
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Dirazz
HangingOn, it is possible to love someone and not respect them. I did the first few years after DD. Even though my H was doing everything right, I didn’t trust his actions and definitely not his words. But no matter what I dished out he took it. And he took it humbly. After I let my anger go I saw how incredibly broken he really was. That allowed me to show him grace. 
I remember those days you are going through as very conflicting for me. How could I still love someone who devastated me? But I did and I do. I think I loved him enough to give him a chance to fix himself and work on our marriage. 
Almost 4 years later I can honestly say as painful as some of that recovery time was it was so worth it! 
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Phoenix
hurting wrote:
I’m glad you are seeing changes in your WS. I would still be wary and guard my heart closely. 7 months out is very early into this mess. Hopefully he continues the way he is going and does not disappoint you further.

I am even more glad to hear of the changes you have made for yourself and the things you have done for you. You are on the right path of self care... and working on some of the pre-existing issues you’ve identified seems like the thing you need to do. Keep loving yourself and looking after yourself. I too, went out and got my hair redone and styled. I bought myself pretty jewellery that I could enjoy without it being associated with my WS.

Remember- she doesn’t matter. What her face looked like, how nicely she had her hair and make up done... that is purely as a superficial mask she wears. It certainly doesn’t mean she is ‘better’ than you are. I always have female colleagues at work exclaiming over how ‘fresh’ and ‘good’ I look at the end of a night shift... including during the weeks to months post d-day. You would know how much I felt the complete opposite of that. Just because my make up is on right, does not mean ANYTHING underneath that is ok. A superficial mask is all it is. A completely worthless superficial mask which conveys NOTHING of what is going on underneath it all. 

IMO, You’re doing great. I was a bloody mess at 7 months. That you are managing so much grace and insight at 7 months in complete with pregnancy hormones is honestly amazing to me.


I also did all those things for my betrayed spouse. For me it was in hope of rekindling what we had in the beginning and because he now sees me with disgust. So I hoped that seeing me beautiful again would remind him of how attracted we were in the beginning to each other. I let myself go, dressed like an old lady for many years. About 9 months after Dday I through out half my closet with his help. He said that I did not put any effort for him but for my AP I went all out.
It’s true the outside doesn’t matter it’s what’s in the inside and what your actions show to your BS that will make the difference. 
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hurting
Phoenix, I wish most WS would try as hard as you do. I know for your BS (and in your timeline), it is late... but seeing sincere effort is better than none. I would’ve been so happy if my WS wanted me to do that with him.

I’m glad that you’re back on this forum.

It strikes me that as a WS, you too want to ‘rediscover’ yourself. Rediscover probably isn’t the best word here... maybe it’s more ‘trying to find a better you’ than the one who lied and cheated. As a BS, I lost just about everything I thought made up my world. It was like there was nothing left of me, that hadn’t been severely damaged and traumatised. Everything hurt. Nothing was safe. I think that’s why it’s hard for us to find ourselves again.

I imagine it’s a bit different for a WS. Is that because you see what you were, and don’t like what you see so you seek to change yourself? Is it because you want to be a better person for your BS? What drives your wish to change, and find a new you? (Not just about physical change as you referenced above)... is it the risk of loss of your BS because of how unacceptable your previous behaviour was? 

I have asked my WS this question before, but being the verbally and emotionally limited person he is, I feel his answers are either ones that I deduced for him (or flat out told him at some point or another while raging in the past) or that my understanding is limited on this front.
His answers are essentially ‘I want to change for myself. So that when I look at myself in the mirror, I can see a ‘good’ person’ and because if he doesn’t and he continues as the immature lying cowardly selfish person that he was, I WILL leave. Given that he wants to stay in a relationship with me, and I have made it clear that I’m not interested in being in a relationship with someone who cheats/looks at brothels/lies/takes drugs/has no boundaries, he gets to choose whether he continues with those life choices or lose me. 

Sometimes he speaks as though he has ‘no choice’ but to change. This irritates me and makes me quite angry, as I feel he ‘blames’? Me for making him change. (I’m no sure that he actually means it like this). The way I see it, is he has a choice to change or not. I cannot FORCE him to change, no matter how much I may want to. All I’ve done, is make CLEAR where I stand and what I will and will not tolerate. Does that count as ‘forcing’ a WS to change? If losing me isn’t an option for him (hilarious really in the grand scheme of things because helloooo, what did you THINK cheating might lead to?) then that’s a choice HE has made. I can not force him to feel that or choose that.

I suppose some of this comes down to what exactly is being ‘changed’. I will not tolerate him going out and drinking any more for example. The old him would’ve brushed my (much more timidly expressed) objections aside. The post d-day me has made my stance very clear. Perhaps the ‘change’ then, is more that he doesn’t do these things any more as they make me feel unsafe. The old him would’ve just made me feel I was crazy and had no right to object. He may feel like he would still like to go out, but the change is that he respects his and my positions on this and chooses accordingly. 

Although I know the topic on ‘finding’ ourselves was in reference to something a little different, I have found my VOICE and my boundaries post d-day. I am no longer afraid of expressing my fear or pain or uncertainty. My life is saturated with all of these things now. Holding them in to try to appease my WS never worked- he just went and cheated. I never realised how mute I had been, till the screams of pain and rage forced their way out of me post d-day. Now the dam has been opened... and there’s no holding it back. 
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TheFarmGirl
I have most of the same questions as you, but no answers. It’s just awful.  

What I can offer: EMDR has helped me immensely. I’m a year out from dday, and started emdr at about 8 months. No idea why it works, but it does. I’m not fixed, and I still have angry outbursts at my WS, but two long sessions of emdr lessened my anger from about twice per week to once a month. We have done MC and I have done IC with multiple counselors, but neither had any effect on my ptsd from multiple betrayals. 
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Sadie
Hurting, I so agree!   The biggest change in me, is that I have found my voice and am now crystal clear on my tolerance level.   
     Although, I had always felt I was voicing my dissatisfaction with is actions in the past, apparently, I was never clear enough, but also, he is now more receptive to “hearing” me.   Not long after dday, he was still getting too close for my comfort with other women who needed his “help”, or a saleswoman at a Harley dealership whom he just enjoyed talking to.    Um... NONONO!   I reminded him that was how he got in the mess in the first place and had him read up on proper boundaries to make me and our marriage safe again.   Fortunately for the sake of keeping the marriage, he was open to hearing me and has since changed his behavior, but I will no doubt be forever vigilant moving forward.
       So how am I working on finding myself?    I have been willing to try anything and everything that I think will bring me back....I moved out, I drank, i journaled, I read, I moved back in, I drank, I had him block her on his phone and his social media, I stopped going to WW and gained all my weight back (HUGE mistake), got back in to WW, therapy, anxiety meds, I do more hard physical work like trimming trees or deep cleaning in order to get out of my head and I am VERY vocal on what makes me feel unsafe.    I also let him know the things that I appreciate and love about him.    Respect him?   Not so much yet, but I am only one year out from getting the full truth, 2 years from the initial dday.     
       
      
     
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