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anthro
Vanessa wrote:
I will forever be "waiting for the other shoe to drop"


I believe the expression is "waiting for the other boot to hit my face". 
Formerly known as Anthropoidape... male bs, long affair, d-day Feb 2017.
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HangingOn
Maybe another way to ask is...do any of you BSs feel that what was forced on you resulted in some serious growth to survive and it feels like you have “outgrown” your WS literally?  
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HangingOn
Sadie wrote. I don’t think my wh had that kind of insight.    He did finally realize that his denial and then trickle truth was causing more damage to me and to our marriage.    

That at is something to be thankful for!
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anthro
HangingOn wrote:
Maybe another way to ask is...do any of you BSs feel that what was forced on you resulted in some serious growth to survive and it feels like you have “outgrown” your WS literally?  


This is very much how I feel. I feel I suddenly got a new eldest child rather than having a partner. That is not to say she doesn't have a lot of strengths and some areas where she is ahead of me, but in terms of learnings from hard experience it seems to me that we are miles apart and it should not be so. The problem is that if you were a good learner you'd have learned not to cheat long before you cheated.
Formerly known as Anthropoidape... male bs, long affair, d-day Feb 2017.
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Sadie
In therapy, I had said that I felt that I am the better person now in our relationship.  I am the type of person who Could lord it over him for the rest of our days and that was not how I wanted my marriage. No I never cheated, but a saint, I am not.   I also knew, that at some point, somehow, those scales had to change or I felt that we had zero hope of having any kind of a marriage.   My therapist had me write down my mistakes/transgressions in my life.  It helped to put us on a more even playing field and to move forward.     
    I still don’t think that I will ever look at him the same, but I no longer see him as a pos scum sucking moron.     
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Dirazz
I too live in a glass house! 
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Keepabuzz
I have done a lot of things in my life, cheat on my wife is not one of them. Nothing I have done can hold a candle to that, and I’m not interested in trying mind meld myself into thinking that it does. I refuse to make myself feel worse to make her seem not as bad. It is what it is, she cheated, I didn’t. Nothing, literally nothing is ever going to change that. 
Male BS, D-day July 2015, trying to stay out of the dark.....
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Dirazz
For us it’s not a contest  of who did worse. I refuse to spend my life feeling like I got screwed over. I have so many great things in my life. For that I am so grateful. It’s a clean slate for both of us. I may not have cheated but I know I could have been a better wife in many ways. None of that matters anymore. Are we moving forward? Are we stronger than before? Have we learned anything from the devastation brought in our marriage? Whoever brought it. For better or worse. We’ve been through the worst now its all for better!!!! 
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Sadie
Before my wh and I married, looking back, there is no way I would be friends with that me.    I was narrow minded, incredibly selfish...overall, not a very good person.  I was actually sick of myself.  Fortunately, I grew and changed and was on the way to being a pretty good me.   I needed to re-visit that me in order to remember that I have some pretty awesome people in my life that chose to forgive me and still love me through quite a few years of my being a pretty crappy person.   Because of that trip through memory lane and because I chose to stay in my marriage, then —for me—what kind of marriage would I be in if I M not working towards forgiving him, like so many forgave me?     He and I chose to try to work it out and there is no way we would have had any kind of shot if I had not remembered that I was very far from perfect, yet I was still loved.
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ThrivenotSurvive
Sadie -  I agree.  While I have never done something so egregious as cheat - I've done plenty of things I needed forgiveness for.  I have not always been the best version of myself.  But luckily I have learned from those mistakes.  I have sought to be, and do, better.  I have been fortunate that those around me have been willing to see those changes and allow their opinion of me to evolve - as I did.   

I choose to give compassion and forgiveness - as much as I possibly can  (it's hard but I work at it).  Why?  For two main reasons:

First, because they are values I treasure and admire in others.  It is the type of person I want to be.  It is not about the other person.  It has nothing to do with whether they deserve it. TRUST is different - it is given on the basis of deserving - which is why my husband is having to earn it back very,very, very slowly.  But compassion?  An attempt to see things from their point of view?  To understand their insecurities? Their pain? To look at their failures and shame - and still see them as deserving of kindness?  That I do because I WANT to, because I think the world needs more of it. 

If they choose not to learn from those mistakes and become better for them, i may well cut them out of my life.  But not with malice and I will do my best to find as much forgiveness as I can muster.  Because for ME (and I do not expect that others see it this way), it is a part of my having integrity.  I cannot ask for what I would not give to another.  

Which brings me to the second reason - because I have needed for others to forgive me - to love me in spite of my failings, to respect my attempts to grow (some more successful than others).   

Dirazz - I also agree with your point that this is not a contest for me.  If we'd been keeping score in our marriage, I'd have spent the first ten years being the one found wanting.  I didn't cheat, but I was such a workaholic that both my husband and my daughter often felt abandoned by me and jealous of my job.  Was it a betrayal?  In some ways, yes.  I didn't see it that way.  I was driven and needed to prove myself - but I put my needs first even when I knew it hurt them, when they begged me to come home and spend time with them.  Far more socially acceptable than cheating - but selfish as hell.  It was all about me meeting MY needs with little regard of how it affected others.  Do i feel this justified my husbands actions?  NO.  Not in any way.  But it does keep me from jumping on my high horse too often (still do occasionally, I'm no saint).

And Dirazz, I love your point about having no desire to see yourself as a victim. ME TOO.  I was victimized - but I am not a victim.  That may seem like semantics to many, and that's okay - we each have to find our way through the maze in the way that makes sense to us.  But I refused, and will always refuse, to give anyone the power to fundamentally change me.  To make me something I am not.   I am the only person who gets to say what I am.  And victim in no way describes me.  

And to answer the question put forth by HangingOn: Yes, this process has caused me to grow exponentially - and in ways I never anticipated.  I found a level of strength, resilience and COURAGE - I had no idea I had.  Based on my husband's lack of emotional intelligence and a history of near phobia at anything that resembled self-examination, I honestly thought there was a VERY good chance I was going to outgrow him during this process.  To the point of it killing our marriage.  I was resigned to that being a likely outcome.  But I wanted to give him (and me) a chance.  Partially because I loved him and partially because I couldn't just forget about all the good years (and there were a lot).  All the times he'd loved me, supported me and had my back - even when i was the one being selfish.  The way I saw it, we'd either grow together and build something beautiful out of the ashes - or I'd walk away knowing I'd REALLY, really tried.  I made myself a promise to give it my best for a year... and then reassess if I still wanted to be with him.  

I am so happy I did.  He surprised the heck out of me - and I think even himself.  He did the one thing he'd spent his life avoiding - he began to examine his feelings, his motivations, his childhood, his needs and wants - and inability to express them.  It's been three years and he's till growing, changing, learning.  He's a work in progress and so am I.  I know that many WS's will NOT experience this awakening.  They will double down on all the unhealthy patterns of the past or grow a small amount and then stagnate - but there are many who won't.   

I am glad my husband was one of those.  But I wouldn't haven't hesitated in leaving him if he hadn't done the hard work that made him into someone I could respect again.  Not cheating anymore was not even close to enough to make me stay.  And I don't think it should be for anyone else either..  

I know my outlook differs from many others in our community - many of whom I think very highly of.  I don't think there is a "right answer" - only the way that makes sense to you.
BS - Female
Married 27 years, one adult child
DD May 2016

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” - V Frankl
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Dirazz
But I refused, and will always refuse, to give anyone the power to fundamentally change me.  To make me something I am not.   I am the only person who gets to say what I am.  And victim in no way describes me. 



THRIVE, this right here☝🏼Is perfect and I 100%
agree!!! 
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Jennifer


I choose to give compassion and forgiveness - as much as I possibly can  (it's hard but I work at it).   

  But I refused, and will always refuse, to give anyone the power to fundamentally change me.  To make me something I am not.   I am the only person who gets to say what I am.  And victim in no way describes me.  


Yes and yes! Thank you for sharing this.
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AnywhereButHere
"Nothing and no one should have the right to change you so profoundly."

No one has the right in the context of infidelity to so change a person. But a good marriage or any other profoundly deep and signifigant relationship involves just this kind of vulnerability, willingly bestowed as a responsibility for the beloved one to carry, cherish and protect. This is why betrayal in any kind of signifigant relationship results in more than just pain...it results in trauma.

"I refound me.  The part that is still untouched, that no one, not even my husband or daughter have the power to change.  And when I did so, I felt “rebooted” if you will."

Thank you for this excellent description of 'detachment'.
BH, 5+ Mo EA, DDay 3/8/18
"...regarding all as God after God."
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TimT
anthro wrote:
...Then there would be people who cheat and learn a big life lesson from it, changing forever as a result. The problem I have with this is that it is kind of legitimate to have this kind of lesson at, say, 14 to 15 years of age. Maybe even at 25. But to get to to 28, 38, or 48 and still need to experience this to learn the life lesson is not a good sign of overall insight, emotional intelligence, empathy, self-awareness, or bullshít detection ability. 
I fit into this category, having an affair when I was almost 40. I never thought I would be "that guy." After it happened, I was confused, stubborn, selfish... it could have ultimately gone any number of bad ways (and did for a while). I guess I'm thankful that while the affair revealed personal flaws that had always been part of me (and I had to decide whether or not to work on addressing them) it did not define my character.

For some people, their infidelity really does reflect bad character and they probably have had a pattern of lying/cheating. For others, it does not. We are not necessarily defined by our worst mistakes.
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Dirazz
And thank goodness for that Tim! I too am thankful my husband did not let his bad choice define him. He took that and made himself a better man! 
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