SuzieQ
As seen in other threads, DD was the end of June - so really, only 3 months ago. Since then my WH has been coming more and more out of the affair fog - his affair was emotional and physical and lasted about 4 months before he was completely overridden with guilt and confessed. I didn't see it coming. I don't think he's completely, totally out of affair fog yet, but is more and more like himself and a little more peaceful every day that passes. We have decided to work on rebuilding our marriage. I can say he really is trying hard and I feel our connection re-growing over time.

Although he says and shows that he is single-minded about our marriage he has been honest that he does still have feelings for his AP. He misses her and thinks about her still - not in an obsessive way - but in a "I really liked that person and now I'm not ever going to be with them again" way. He says he wishes he didn't have those feelings, and hopes they will just keep dissipating as time goes on. But in typical affair pattern he says the feelings he had for her were so strong and so thrilling, and he's never felt that way before. He struggles with the thought of having to give it up completely. He also says after IC and our seperation and soul searching he knows I am his "home" and where he belongs.

The problem: all of this has left me feeling like I'm competing for him, and that makes me resentful. I am not one of those BS that beats myself up over his decisions. They are all on him and completely his mess. I know I am a good wife and a good catch. I have been amazing to him and I know I don't deserve this. Why am I still here? Prior to him losing his mind, my WH was amazing too. He really is my bestfriend and I've been so happy with him. I love the way he loves me. He's an amazing father and can be an amazing spouse. That's what I deserve - and if he can get back to that - I'm still all in. I'm devastated that he may not have felt the same. He's been able to explain to me that he feels the root of all of this was in his childhood trauma of abandonment and unpredictability, which made it hard for him to be truly honest with people, including me. It has nothing to do with me, I'm just caught in the storm. He said he felt like he always had to be strong for me and protect me, and portray himself to be a certain way even if it wasn't real. He couldn't stand disappointing me or seeing me hurt. He didn't even realize he did this or felt this way. It wasn't until after his affair and all of his emotional turmoil and all his IC over the last 6 months that have helped him understand. His biggest goal right now is to be really super honest about everything, and he seems to be doing well with it. He also he says the honesty makes him feel closer and closer to me. So I really didn't do anything to push him away, he created the rift on his own. We've been together since we were 16, and have only ever been physical with eachother. When the AP came along he acted selfishly and impulsively motivated by curiosity and a longing to connect with someone he didn't feel pressure from, and then he got hooked. He's also explained to me that it never felt like A or B to him. It didn't feel like he loved me or he loved her. He loved us both. For a while he fooled himself into thinking that could be possible, but of course it's not. Before DD he actually thought he would leave me (and he told AP he would). He says that now he realizes he felt that way because he believed that once I found out about the A I would leave him and I wouldn't be an option. So he sold himself a story about how he'd be happy with AP instead. Now that he's really had to make a choice, he says he chooses me. I believe this based on his behavior and actions (No contact, going to IC and CT, being committed to helping me through my grief, pitching in more at home, being honest, etc...)

So pretty much every day now he is sweet to me and it feels good, but it also is frustrating. Like this morning, on his way out to work, he hugged me extra long then really looked into my eyes (his were a little misty) and said, "Oh my sweetheart." Like he's taking a metal tally, or reassuring himself that he made the right choice. It's like he's seeing me for the first time in a long while (coming out of the fog?!!). Like he's waking up out of a trance and remembering who I REALLY am and what REALITY really was. It feels like, "Oh I remember you! You're that sweet, wonderful girl I adore and cherish and has been so wonderful to me..." But I know/worry that those moments are often immediately followed by, "But I still remember there's that other girl out there that I still long for and she is someone extraordinary." Yes. Actually immediately after DD two of the thing my WH actually said to me were, "She's a different kind of girl. She's out of this world gorgeous," and "She is just so extraordinary. I wouldn't have let this happen to us unless I thought it was for someone really extraordinary." So I find it difficult to even enjoy these new tender moments with him because I know he still thinks about her. It feels like I'm still competing. What I want to yell is, "You idiot! That time for competing is over! I shouldn't have to compete anymore. I have the right to feel safe and loved because 11 years ago you promised to forsake all others and I have spent the last 11 years being the best wife I could to you !!!!" I don't deserve this insecurity.

I guess I'm just venting.

Any other BS feel this way? Is this common? Will it pass? I'm so frustrated with it. Anything I can do to help myself feel better? Or process through this phase?
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Tim2014
You see all is bs feel the way you feel if the aps so appealing and special divorce is first on even playing ground sand go for it but if you read other wS spouses on here it's not how it try is you have to rewrite history to ease your guilt and conscience I call that crap wake up from fantasy land or maybe they deserve each other that's how o feel about my situation the opinion of a humble man
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Lostmyspark
Yes in my heart I still feel like I'm competing with her. It's been one year since DDAY and I still feel like I'm competing. My husband has said she was his ideal physically. That haunts me. I am a reasonably attractive person but physically she and I are absolute opposites. I always imagined I would be my husbands ideal, or at least he would make me feel I was. I was hoping to not feel this way a year later, but I still do. The OW is quite a bit younger than me and in pretty much every woman's prime age. That eats me up inside. I tell myself to stop comparing, but it is a daily struggle for me. My self esteem is completely deflated. I am working to control these thoughts but it is the most difficult thing for me lately. I know I am not some hideous ogre, but if I don't control my thoughts, that's how I feel. I have never been a vain person. Honestly, I didn't have to work too hard to look at least cute. Since this betrayal I am hyper vigilant about my appearance. I don't in any way feel that his affair was my fault or because of how I look, but it has still just shattered my self esteem as a woman . Sorry if that's a bit negative. I am having a tough time the last few days
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SuzieQ
Lostmyspark - My WH and I are both 35. His AP was 24. And a hairstylist. So she was always all dolled up. I hear you! I know I'm not "out of this world gorgeous" but you nailed it when you said he always made me feel like his ideal. Now I know I'm not. I hate feeling like he feels like he's settling. I never realized how shallow and vain he was about appearance. So yes, pre DD I was not a total slacker (like I never leave the house in sweats or pj bottoms- hahaha) but I didn't have to try very hard to look cute and was totally secure in that. I always told myself - "Who was I trying to impress anyway? I only care what my H thinks, and he thinks I'm perfect just like I am." So now I find I try harder. Not obsessively harder, but definitely mindful and making it more a priority.

I also worry what that teaches our young daughter (she's 6 and in first grade). "Look Honey, now that Daddy and I have hurt feelings I try extra hard to put on makeup and look nice so Daddy will remember I'm attractive too and MAYBE he can forget his 24-year-old home wrecker." That's NOT what I say, but sometimes I think I might as well. My daughter probably gets that message anyway without me saying the actual words. Sigh. Ugh. Apparently I'm pretty angry about it. That just came out of nowhere.

No apologies for you being "negative." You are being real and that's all I wanted. So maybe part of me really has to hunker down for a long haul if we really are going to stay together?... I hope you and I can heal quickly.
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Lostmyspark
SuzieQ--Sorry you are feeling similar in this area. I'm hoping there are more good days than bad for you in the future. Unfortunately, this loss of self esteem thing is one of the many consequences we get to pay for choices other people made. I am determined to fight through it somehow...along with the rest of the mess thrown at me. Hang in there and do the best you can for your daughter. We can only do the best we can do.
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surviving
SuzieQ - I have always felt like I was in competition with my WH's AP's.  Yes, there were many.  I always sensed there was something wrong, but didn't get to DDay until two years ago.  Why marry me if you are continuing to look for something better?  My WH cheated on me the whole 34 years of marriage.  I guess I wasn't enough for him - he needed prostitutes, massage parlors with happy endings, strip clubs, porn, several emotional affairs and one 14-year physical affair.  DDay was in year 34 of our marriage.  We are now 25 months out from DDay.  I haven't reconciled - he would love to reconcile.  However, I think it is because he doesn't have another whore on the line, so he has to pick me.  Yes, I am still comparing even when there isn't someone else.  It is so hard.  Everyone says it gets better, and I am waiting for that to happen.  He is much better - the anger is 99% gone.  He is trying, I just don't know if it is worth it.  Sorry you are here with the rest of us.  I am so sorry that I am here.  But, I am learning every day from all of you!  Keep your chin up.  Hopefully, it won't take you as long to recover as I am taking.
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Kalmarjan
I've been doing some reading lately, some interesting stuff. It she'd a bit of light on this situation, if it is true.

The "feelings" your WS felt when first exploring this relationship are chemical, much like dopamine. It feels really exciting, the attraction, etc. That's why it feels so real!

Later on, a relationship simmers down into two different chemical relations... Oxytocin (I think that is what it's called) and vasopressin. This is where you get the feeling of comfort and reward for what you do.

See, the problem here is that you are trying to compete with a stronger chemical. (The dopamine) this is why I think no contact is essential. Each encounter fuels that dopamine drip.

The good news is that the effect disappears with time. So, don't think of it like you have come in second place, or are competing. You're not. There's no competition.

My wife is MILES ahead of where my AP will EVER be. We just got into a thing where we got too comfortable with each other, and stopped communicating.

I got suckered in to the "feelings" I had for the AP, but they were nothing more than a chemical attraction. As time wears on, there is nothing left there. My mistake was acting on the impulse the chemical dopamine was giving me.

Every guy is like this. We are wired like this. But we don't act on it because we are in a happy place with our wife. We may look at something and the thought crosses our mind like (WOW! That woman is Hot!) but we wouldn't do anything further than that.

It's when we have a problem with ourself that we cross that line. To be honest, an AP is really secondary to the root problem, and that is a lack of integrity to admit that we are currently unhappy with a situation that we allowed to happen.

A normal person may look inward and try to figure out why the bedroom has dried up. Maybe they would talk to their spouse. They would have found out that perhaps it was a cycle. Perhaps there is something they were not doing that caused their wife to not be attracted to them in that way currently.

This is where I was before getting into my affair. I wasn't able to talk, to communicate. So, that's my problem.

But, there is no completion when it comes to the AP verses my wife. My wife is the clear winner. She always was. I just stupidly let my "feelings" get in the way of realizing that.
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Kalmarjan
Or, another way to look at it is... It's like when you all first started dating. The difference is that it's secret, clandestine, and there is an element of danger that heightens it. It is like an addiction. It takes time to get over it, but in the end, it's not real. 
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TimT
This doesn't speak to all the issues raised in this discussion, but it does to some. It is the 2nd chapter in the manual that I am working on. (A much bigger project than I anticipated.) Maybe it will be of some help. 
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