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Kalmarjan
Graceandhope wrote:
Kal- the process can't begin until the WS takes responsibility, stops deflecting and stops being selfish and thinking they have the right to control things, including how and when their spouse heals. You keep mentioning blame, it's more accountability and restitution. I wasn't speaking directly to you or to my situation, but to comments and attitudes I've seen here. There is a hierarchy of needs. If the spouse does not feel safe, that they are not getting grace or empathy it their questions answered, they can't move forward to change. Chances are tho, not only do they have some ideas what was wrong, but they have a few ideas of their own and those may be their priority. Your wrong on the affair not changing issues in the marriage. The moment the WS started talking to the AP, they started changing the dynamic of the marriage. Lastly instead of your house being hit by a meteor and looking for someone to blame analogy, You have someone with a sore throat , for days, and they also have a compound fracture. Instead of fixing the leg, you tell them to gargle with salt water for the sore throat...

I agree. There are no short cuts. There is no blame. You are in a relationship, pure and simple.

It's when you stop deflecting blame, when you own up to your end of what the situation is, that you can change things.

Your WS doesn't want to accept responsibility? You can't control that. But you can work on you and being right with your part of the marriage.

When I said that the underlying parts of the marriage that brought a WS to cheat don't change, I meant it. Unless it truly is only to do with the amount of sex they are getting, nothing is solved, and the problem is still there, as a WS I can tell you that the horrible realization of that sucks.

It's weird. People think the problem starts with talking to an AP. I've news for you. It stems from way, way before. To say otherwise shifts blame to the AP. In my case, I had opportunity to cheat many times in my marriage. I work in an industry where it's common. I never cheated though. Was it because the AP came along? Hell no. It was inside me the whole time. Years of letting everything go. Years of not being true to myself, and what my needs were. I was housebound back in 2011 with crippling anxiety I had no idea where it was coming from. Thousands of dollars spent in therapy. No dice couldn't figure out what or why I was so messed up. I took prescription anti anxiety meds. I got off then with CBT therapy. I figured it was because of how much I worked. It wasn't that. It was my relationship with my wife. Even if a BS is somehow perfect, (and believe me, no BS is perfect, far from it, they are just less wrong in how the situation progressed) the relationship itself didn't satisfy the needs of BOTH parties, and that needs to be addressed.

And shortcut? LOL. There's no such thing. What I am talking about is fixing the problem, and there are no short cuts. There is only hard work, self reflection, and a lot of uneasy realizations ahead of both the BS and the WS. In the end, it comes down to a choice. Scale the mountain, or stay at the bottom.

The meteor analogy is only to say that there are literally things you have no control over - like whether your WS decides to sleep with someone else. You can choose to think that it's all your fault, and that you must have done something, or could have done something differently. See, that's a fundamental flaw in thinking. Essentially you are saying there is some way that you could have controlled your wayward spouse. Why would you want that responsibility? A WS made their choice to do what they did. Perhaps it felt like they weren't in control but at the end, you do have a voice in your head that asks if this is what you really want to do. You just choose to answer yes or no.

This is why I don't buy the whole "broken" theme. It's a crutch, an explanation for something that sweeps the issue under the rug. Why did my spouse lie down with another person. Oh, they must be broken. They are selfish, they can't control what happened to them. Bull. It's all about selfishness, yes, but it's not like the call of a siren, or that they were drugged (unless that was the case, then that's a different story.)

I never wanted to lose my wife. I always wanted at least friendship with her, and the thought of losing her completely was too much to bear. I was motivated to figure out what was wrong with me, and our relationship when me and my wife decided together to fix this. But I also had to see that it was worth it. If confronted with someone who thought that I should do all this stuff because, well, I cheated...? Adios. It's easier to start at the beginning with someone else.

If there is something I learned in all this, it was to be true to myself first, so that I would be vulnerable enough to open myself to work on the hard things. Faced with "demands?" ultimatums? What's in it for me? Why should I come back? In the end, knowing that the relationship was what was wrong, the only thing left to do was, let's fix it. Maybe my wife did all the "right things" before, but that didn't work for me. Today I know what's up, and we both are better in our relationship than we were before.
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Tim2014
Well you know the one things that gets being skipped . In the beginning we all once were infatuated with our spouses! Everything was hunky dory then you get married and all everyday life kicks in! Chores bills work all things that need done! Life becomes mundane! Let's face it ! It happens to everyone! Then each other annoying habits start kicking in and the arguments! Most times over the stupidest crap! Everyone faces marriage problems! Hence infatuation or in a affair it's called the affair fog! This person is wonderful just right for me! Whereas at home your spouses quirks start annoying you more and more! But this is where infatuation ends love begins! Real love overlooking the stupid crap and talking with your spouse about the bigger issues! Again it's easy to take the easy way out! It's climbing that mountain before it becomes more dangerous than it already is!
So there marriages out there right now with everyday real life problems where people are working to overcome them without taking the easy way out! Because whether you believe it or not someone else is just a different person with a different set of problems! Hence why the grass isn't greener on the other side! You already know your problems here! Man or woman up and fix them! Do whatever it takes or it's too late ! That's life ! There's no wrong or right no justifications .
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Graceandhope
Sigh... You were in your marriage before the affair, you determined how you interacted with your spouse. She decided how to respond to you. Your choices determined your relationship. The marriage didn't make you suppress your feelings, try to "be the nice guy" you did. You change, you change the way you interact , the conditions change.

Your talking about control, WS talk about feeling controlled but appear to want to control the time frame of repair. I don't want to control my spouse, never have. We have two kids we responsible for making into decent humans, my husband is responsible for BEING a decent human being. That's not my job to control.

I am talking repair. You can't ( or should not ) build a house on an unstable foundation. I'm telling "you " (generic non specific ) that if the spouse still feels threatened ( that the WS isn't really committed, still seeing the other person, obsessed with the price the other person is paying is not enough, trying to gloss over the affair,) there is no way they can cognitivly focus on repairing the marriage or in reality trying to build a new one. Not only that but many bs actually need to see the WS working, demonstrating perseverance and dedication to the bs and the marriage before they ( the bs) will truely feel they are willing to stay and put in the effort to create a new marriage.
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TimT
Kalmarjan wrote:
...This is why I don't buy the whole "broken" theme. It's a crutch, an explanation for something that sweeps the issue under the rug...

Maybe it's a matter of semantics, but I DO believe "brokenness" is a legit way to describe what is often present when understanding affairs. That's not meant as an excuse or diminish personal responsibilities, but there are often many factors that contribute to a person's unhealthiness. They need to recognize those broken parts, gain insight into them, and take responsibility for healing change.
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Dirazz
My WS used that word " broken" when discriping the way he felt during his 2 month affair. He also told me he needed to fix himself so he could be a better husband to me. He's done exactly that!
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UrbanExplorer
I think it is probably an issue of semantics. "Broken" connotes mental illness to me, when I think the issues putting people at risk for affairs are more like not being in touch with one's needs, lack of assertiveness, poor communication skills, a sense of one's own mortality, or harboring certain attitudes/beliefs about marriage and monogamy.
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AHmember113
I am new to this post but would just like to say that as a BS, it gets tiring and hurtful to continually hear that the affair was in the past, focus on the future, you don't need to keep discussing it, think happy thoughts, bla, blah, blah. My WS dropped a nuclear bomb in my life, my children's life, and what I believed to be true for over 30 years. I am the walking wounded, so are my children. We are reconciling and healing but it is a SLOW process.To those who just want us to move forward and start over with only the future in our minds, it will NEVER happen. We may heal from the bomb but we lost an arm, a leg,and we will forever be reminded of that loss, scar, every time we look down! The pain lessens but I for one will never forget how severe the pain was. We are reminded every time we see the AP, pass the hotel, the house, the park, etc., yes, blah, blah, blah! I actually believe there are times my WS forgets! There are comments made about others behavior or character and I just think "really?"
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sb13
I am also in a situation where my WS thinks that because it's been 4 months since I asked him to leave our home (after finding out he not only had an affair once recently, but an affair with the SAME woman 6 years ago and we were only together 9 years total), that I need to stop being so angry about it all. I feel I'm allowed to be angry. He hired the woman in his office in the midst of their second affair and continues to supervise her!!! And he continues to try and convince me that it's all business between them. That he only communicates with her about work related things. (I find that difficult to believe). That he will be transferring to another office in June. Whatever, I'll believe it when I see it. I also have difficulty in believing that he wasn't the messed up one in our relationship all of these years. He was emotionally abusive towards me for so many years, often picked fights with me and my daughter for the most stupidest things, and called 'me' SELFISH for so many years during our relationship. All the while I stuck by him during his 3 cancer treatments and his stem cell transplant. Yes, I know...I'm the selfish one. So, yes I have difficulty in forgiving him after finding out that his first affair took place while he was going through chemo the second time and I was his caregiver and cleaning up after him! That he never came out and told me about either of the affairs, I had to discover them all on my own. The fact that this same man had an affair on his first wife as well. Call me crazy, I just have a difficult time believing that I played a part in the breakdown of our relationship. I am of the mindset that maybe if he wasn't so occupied with his affairs, that he wouldn't have unconsciously sabatoged our relationship and always compared me to the other woman. Yes, he had been attending counselling since being caught, has made many promises to change his ways, but I am struggling with the idea of taking him back because of all of the years of betrayal. I also struggle with the idea of having to do so much work to start a new relationship with him when I feel like I acted the way I did during our relationship because of the way he treated me. And really, how could he have treated me so nice if for six plus years he had someone else in his head? Someone else he was always comparing me to.
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AHmember113
You don't say if you are married or not. If not then I would ask you why do you put up with his abusive, selfish, behavior? Please get yourself, just you; some counseling to help you assess your situation objectively. It is so difficult and you can do it alone. Also, I recommend reading books by Leslie Vernick. She has several on emotionally destructive marriages and relationships And has a heart to help women..
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Heidi
As a BS there was no way I could have gone from discovering the affair one moment to positively working on the marriage the next. It's a fallacy to expect this to happen. In my experience the timeline of recovery kind of looked like this:

1. Discovery / trauma - you have to work on getting through the day. Work out how you are going to eat, to sleep. Basic needs. There was no way I could work on myself or my marriage. I had to just survive.

2. Getting the truth - probably the most painful part. For me this took 6 months in total. Until I had the full truth how could I / we decide if I even wanted to save this marriage?

3. Seeing change - I had to know he was working on himself. Learning why he did what he did (clue: it wasn't because of the state of our marriage), and how he would behave differently next time. This part was necessary to rebuild trust. In my case it took about a year to get to the stage where I could trust him. Part of getting to that stage was working on myself. I liken the trauma I went through to PTSD. I had flashbacks and triggers, and had to learn how to deal with them. This probably took us up to the year mark and is still ongoing.

4. Moving forward - this is where you come to a level of acceptance and change your focus from the past to the future. Where I work with my spouse to talk about the kind of marriage we want. Where we support each other through the pain, and enjoy some good times together. This is where as a BS I feel safe enough to talk about the good and bad of our marriage. This is where I start to believe him when he says he won't cheat on me again. That when (not if) we have setbacks / problems, as all marriages do, he won't go looking for outside validation. This is also the point where he trusts me that I won't throw the affair back in his face at every opportunity and will instead play my role in making our marriage a great one. This part started at around a year but in my view needs to be a permanent thing. A work in progress.

I couldn't have done step 4 before the other steps were completed. That's like putting a band aid on a broken leg and telling someone to run a marathon. You have to deal with the past before you can look to the future.

For those of you still in the early stages, so many of us understand your pain and trauma. Your timeline will be different from mine, but I suspect the stages will be similar. It can't be rushed, and there will be so many setbacks along the way. It's a marathon not a sprint.

But you know what? It does get better.
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