It’s easier to chart a course of action when you are not involved

FWH is hot and cold.   He is doing the work and he is not doing the work.  He has cut ties (formally) with several friends.  Friends I did not like because they either directly aided his Affair or indirectly (stood silently by).  He has been pulling away for some time now and has been seeing them in a different light.  This past fall he has removed them from his phone contact list, removed them from facebook and other social media accounts.  But then he has started talking to a woman at work.  Mentioned her to me.  Then he mentioned that she has little girl the same age as our 2 year old.  Wouldn’t it be nice if he could arrange a playdate.  Something doesn’t sit well with me.  I don’t know if I am afraid of getting burned again and paranoid or if my gut is trying to tell me something.

I know what I would counsel someone else. Communicate your discomfort.  Let him know how you feel.  Let him know your thoughts.  Its easy to tell someone else what they should do.  Its easy to have perspective when you are not in the middle of it.

I hate this.

I know what needs to be done.  So why to I clam up.  I am doing that a lot recently.  I’m unhappy with our sex life, so instead of speaking up – I am retreating inward.  I don’t like a behavior he is exhibiting.  Why is it so difficult to stand up for myself?  Why is it so difficult speak?  Why is it so difficult to articulate what I want? I don’t know.  I don’t have the answer for that one.

You Don’t HaveThat Kind of Power

YOU DON’T HAVE THAT KIND OF POWER.

Your actions will not cause your WS to do anything. They have to make the choice. You have no control over what they do.

You can choose to try to love, nice or accommodate them back. They can choose to reject your overtures and remain or return to the AP. You could 180 and the result could be the same choice. You could file for D and your WS could choose to pull his/her head from ass or they could choose to run away.

You cannot control this, you did not cause this, you cannot fix this. The wayward has to want to fix this, has to choose to fix this.

Hang in there. Just keep breathing and putting one foot in front of the other. Do what is best for you, what is healthy for you. And believe this will get better but YOU have to choose it.

he other side of the coin – is understanding that you do not have the power to change your WS. Using the 180 to manipulate your WS to change is self defeating. I have also read a lot of posts of hurting BS saying they are failing the 180. By attempting to do the 180 you are succeeding in putting some of your focus back on you. Just because your WS does not react, doesn’t mean you are failing.

YOU DO NOT HAVE THAT KIND OF POWER.

I will admit that I misunderstood the 180 as a newbie. I really latched onto the possibility it would wake my WH up and I became discouraged when he got the benefit of not seeing me on the floor crying and assuming that I was ok. I became frustrated because I couldn’t get him to react the way I wanted him to.

When I was doing the 180, I used to dance in the kitchen with my kids (when I was cleaning up, making lunch, etc). I would normally do this when FWH was in the living room texting OW or on FB. I was hoping he would be interested in what I was doing, but he wasn’t. I kept doing it. By doing it, I started to remember how much I loved to dance and that I used to dance all alone in my apartment. I remembered the joy of dancing when no one was watching and that this was an activity completely outside my relationship with FWH. My kids loved it. My newborn loved it. I remembered a piece of the old me. Did I get a reaction of of FWH? No. Did he suddenly fall on his knees and beg my forgiveness? No. But I decided this was what I wanted my life to look like.

Stealing this from SerJR’s – Understanding the 180 thread on Surviving Infidelity

Fundamentally, it is all about personal empowerment and rebuilding your self esteem. It is not about manipulating your spouse and when this is not understood it interferes with the results. The goal of the 180 is to become the type of person that you want to be.

Your power is your ability to change your life and what your life looks like.

Don’t be afraid. You can’t fix this. You can’t make your WS fight for the M.

You could convince them to stay, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t cheat again.

No rugsweeping please!

Yesterday I triggered. Over something so seemingly innocent. A child’s song.

DD1 was singing 5 Little Monkeys while I was making lunch. I hate that song (and several other ones) because OW2 used to sing to her kids and my kids while she was at my house. I remember feeling at the time how inadequate I felt as a mother because I did not seem to have the energy or inclination to do this. Now, my perception of OW2 as a mother changed drastically after D-Day when I learned the truth.

I told FWH at the time yesterday that I was triggering over the song, knew the reason without me having to fully explain it, even suggested to DD1 that perhaps it was more appropriate to be singing Frosty (due to the snow). I didn’t talk about how it made me feel though because DD1 was still in the room with us.

After the kiddos went to bed, I started talking about it. For whatever reason, FWH did not want to talk about it. Especially didn’t want to talk about her or even think about her. He once again said he was sorry. But hinted that he wanted this to be in the past.

Once again I had to remind him that I did not ask for her to be in my life. I did not ask for her to be introduced in my life. In his frustration he mentioned that his A ended over a year ago. Rather calmly I mentioned that yes it had been over for a year, but he continued lying about the Affair until May/June 2011. So by my clock the last lie was less than a year ago. And the ONE book he has read, counsels the WS to expect real healing to take place approximately 2 years from the last lie.

So FWH puts his headphones on for his video game and shuts down. I hate when we go into rug sweeping mode. There are days when he is very open and communicative. And then some days when he just shuts down and hopes it all goes away.

I said my peace last night, and let it go. But I still want to talk some more today. Because I don’t want him to think that just because we don’t talk about his Affairs all of the time does not mean that everything is back to normal.

I worry. I worry about why he wants to rug sweep. He has called OW2 whore a few times the past few weeks and quite frankly that makes me nervous. I don’t like the anger or any emotion being directed towards her. I want indifference. I want to talk about her like she is a piece of furniture. That’s it. It concerns me when he doesn’t want to talk, when he calls her names, because I wonder if deep down he is still harboring some feeling for her and protecting the flame of the fantasy so if doesn’t completely die out.

My Part in all of this

I will not accept any responsibility for his choices. But I wonder about what I allowed.

When did I stop respecting myself? Why was I always forgiving his choices? Why were there no boundaries? Why were there no consequences for his actions? And did this have any impact on his decision to cheat not once but twice (and have inappropriate relationships with other women and lie).

I know he was a broken person, but I wonder how long I propped him up and allowed him to never fully feel the consequences of his actions.

Just something that has been bouncing around in my brain.

and we have a trigger

No contact with FWH’s affair partner from his PA was established October 17, 2010. That was the date FWH sent the NC email. The next day PA got that email and was livid. She sent FWH a text telling him she felt stupid and used. She was closing her FB account, shutting off her phone and was done.

At the time, I thought it was a bit of an extreme reaction. The PA had supposedly been over for months. FWH kept telling me, his mother and really anyone that would listen that the A was over, but she just didn’t get it.

Well there was a good reason she didn’t get it, he was still having an affair with her. He was just really good at hiding it. The Affair was underground.

She had a very good reason to be angry. The night before FWH sent the NC email, they got together for a date they had planned for over a week because I was out of town. They had sex in our apartment and spent the evening together.

She was so happy as a result of this long awaited time alone, that she poured her heart out to FWH in a FB message the Monday morning before she saw the email. That evening she read the email and well – she understood that FWH was never going to leave me. That he probably was in fact using her. That whatever she thought their relationship was, it was in fact an affair.

Now since I found out that the affair was underground and they got together for sex while I was out of town, I have gone out of town several times. But for some reason, this upcoming trip out of town is causing me some anxiety.

Their last weekend together, FWH was planning to have some friends over for poker on that Friday night. It was probably a bit of misdirection, so that I wouldn’t be suspicious about Saturday night. Or I wouldn’t be suspicious about the cleaning he was doing on Sunday when I returned.

I am going out of town this Friday morning and FWH is planning again. And even though his plans are with his friends that i can verify his activities, it is in fact a trigger. I can’t help but wonder. i can’t help but be anxious. And it sucks. That I can’t even get together with my brothers and sister, whom I do not get to see a lot, without having to worry about what in the hell he is doing.

Its not the fear of what could happen. More of an annoyance because if he fails, then Divorce is the next step. I am not going back down this road again. I am not going to try to Reconcile with someone who has no desire to remain in a committed relationship and marriage.

Some days this just sucks.

Getting through to the other side

D-Day 1 was probably one of the worst days of my life.  Everything I thought I knew was crashing down around me.  WH was not perfect I knew that.  He was a flirt.  Knew that too.  But I really thought that he adored me, that he only had eyes for me.  I really believed that he would never lie to me.

There he was sitting in the driver’s seat telling me he was in love with another woman.  That this woman who I had never heard about in our entire existence was his one great love.  The one that got away in high school.  She was the one he pined for ever since.   That the love he felt for me was nothing compared to what he felt for her.  That he was even wondering if he ever loved me.

I was eight months pregnant and I had really no idea what was going to happen.  I cried, I screamed, I was in shock.  But I got out of the car and went into work.  I was able to sneak in under the radar.  I left to go get lunch and called my best friend who was traveling that day and cried to her voice mail.  I picked up my lunch and forced myself to eat a few bites.  My friend from the office came back from lunch and I told him.  Then I told my boss.

My boss was a former priest and very good at managing crisis situations like this.  He calmed me down and asked me what I wanted.  Did I still want to be married?  Told me to go home, tell WH that and see what happened.

I called WH to let him know I was coming home and he asked if his AP should leave.  The bitch was still in my house.

When I got home, WH had pulled up marriage counselors on the computer.  He had done some research on depression.  I was a little hopeful that he would decide to stay in the marriage and work on us.

However, the problem was he was addicted to his AP.  He couldn’t function without his daily fix either through text, phone calls or fucking.  And the next day he told me he was going to leave me because he deserved to be happy and his AP made him happier than he ever had been.

So we lived like that through the birth of our baby.  One day he wanted our marriage the next day he wanted his AP.  I have absolutely no idea what I was thinking at the time.  I don’t know if I thought I could be patient and he would find his way back.  Or if I thought being a martyr would help the situation.  But he  ping ponged and on several occasions told me how bad he had it because he was in love with two women.  He even offered up a plan where we would all live together.  WH and his little harem.  I know how I felt about that plan, I have no idea what the OW thought.  (Or if she even knew about his suggestion).

I mean I could see everything so clearly.  The stuff that came out of his mouth were things verbatim from articles or books on infidelity.  There wasn’t anything original about what he was saying.  He spent a lot of time blaming me for the Affair, blaming my mistreatment on his need to look elsewhere.  Even told me that his AP and her skanky friend thought I degraded him.  That my treatment of him was so poor and over such a long period of time that he never realized how bad it was until they pointed it out to him.

At one point WH came home late one night after I had the baby.  He told me he had met up with his AP and she tried to have sex with him, but being the bastion of self denial and pillar of strength, he just accepted a blow job.  I mean really who says that to their wife.  And what does it say about the wife who accepts the shit sandwich as it were.

I just kept taking it and saying thank you may I have another.  Until I got mad.

After D-Day 2, I went over to our empty condo with our three kids.  I had not been there in over a week.  WH was working and was spending his evenings elsewhere.  I had no idea where but I knew he was with her.  Since our condo was just a block from our apartment, he had been going there to do laundry since we had moved just prior to our son’s birth.  I needed to clean our daughter’s sheets since she had spilled something on them and all of the laundry soap was at the condo rather than in the laundry room of the apartment building. It was a lovely day, I thought we would go to the condo and start the wash.  I could take the kids to the park and come back to put in the dryer.   I opened the door and realized in a second where my WH had been sleeping.

In the middle of our living room was an air mattress bed.  On the floor was OW suitcase as well as WH backpack with clothes.  (I had not seen him take it out of the apartment).  All over my kitchen counter was her hair stuff, her laptop was on the fireplace mantle, set up for them to watch movies.  WH had purchased a shower curtain for the bathroom.  There was take out boxes on the counter.  Groceries and left over food in the fridge.  I almost threw up.  Then the sweetest little voice piped up and said “Mommy why is there a bed in our living room.”   I was completely blown away.  That WH had been shacking up there for several days and never told me where he was.

The night before he had  promised to come home and walk the dog and he never showed up, so I did it.  And then I found out he was a block away and couldn’t pull his ass out bed to walk our dog.  I was home with a newborn and two children.  I had no idea where he was or when he was going to grace us with his presence again.   It was the absolute height of selfishness and complete disregard for me coupled with his inability to disappoint the OW.

I decided to remove my children from this house of ill repute as quickly as possible.  I opened up my washing machine and there were his clothes and her clothes in there ready to be washed.  I was pissed.  I took it all out of the washing machine and threw it all over the apartment.  I really hoped she would come “home” and find all of her crap all over the place.  I texted him and let him have it.  Then I called his mother.  She was livid and immediately offered to drive me wherever I wanted to go.  Was ready to make the 4 hour trek to my parents place so I could get away from the asshole. (as she put it).

From that moment on, I didn’t care if I stayed married to him.  I told him later that night to go be with his OW.  I just didn’t care.  His mother stayed the night with me to help out with the kiddos.  My father offered to drive up on Saturday to come get us.  He knew something was wrong.  Just didn’t know what. This all happened on Thursday.  By Friday morning WH asked if he could come home after work and spend the night with the kids.  I left soon after he got there.  i came home and finished packing and then went to bed.  I really don’t remember talking to him that much.

The next morning (after running out for an hour to see OW) he told me he realized that he didn’t want OW.  Apparently OW was furious that she was left alone in the condo.  While he slept in the apartment with me and the kids.  They fought and he suddenly realized that she was no better or more special than I was.  That the same things I did that annoyed him and bothered him were the same things that she was doing.  Suddenly it didn’t look so rosy any more.  And I was leaving with the kids and all he had was her.

He still didn’t come out of it for awhile longer.  He knew he didn’t want a divorce.  He knew he didn’t want to lose me or the kids.  But he didn’t know how to live without his fix.  So he lied all of the time again.  He took his Affair underground for six weeks.  Telling me all along that the OW just didn’t get it.  Telling her that he just needed more time to figure out a way to make it work (or something to that effect).  Finally he just let go of her.

But that week in early August was a turning point for me.  I stopped reacting to everything he did by trying to change or trying to make things easier for him.  I started doing things for myself.  Making that decision to leave for a week gave me an enormous sense of relief.  I knew for a week, I wouldn’t have to watch him furtively try to text her.  Or know that if he was gone for an hour that he was sneaking out to talk to her in private.  Or wonder when he was going to come home or if he was going to come home.  I knew that I wouldn’t have to watch it all.  I couldn’t control it, but I didn’t I have watch it.

That week in August, I just let go of the rope.  I had been trying to hang on to an illusion that whole summer.  My marriage was not what I thought it was.  It wasn’t her fault that it was crap.  WH had been distancing himself on and off for years.  Running away to his bar friends when real life got to be too much.  Starting an online EA.  Having several inappropriate online relationships with other women.  And then finally allowing himself to fall in love with another woman.

I had to let go of what I thought our marriage had been.  I didn’t worry about the outcome.  I had no idea that week if our marriage would survive.   But I freed myself from having to make the decision.  I told myself I would give until the end of the year.  If WH was not making serious progress on returning to the marriage, I would just let that go too.  I just stopped worrying about what would happen.  I started to detach from our marriage.  I went for walks by myself.  I stopped texting and calling WH.  I didn’t ask when he was going to be home.  I stopped asking what he was doing.  (I was still checking our phone records – so  knew he was still in contact with her).  I started doing research on filing for CS, what I could expect to get from him.  I started looking for a divorce attorney.  I read books.  I wrote letters, started writing a play.

By the end of the year, I wasn’t afraid anymore.  WH had been NC with his AP for almost 2 months.  I started to relax more and more.  Since I wasn’t in fight or flight mode, I was able to start seeing what our marriage had really been and not trying gloss over the problems.  It was an incredibly freeing moment for me.   I remember sitting at my computer writing and I realized that I was not afraid of divorce.  I knew I would be fine no matter what the outcome.  And then the sun emerged and my true self emerged.  I was back.

What to do with the anger?

At first I was angrier with his Affair Partner than with him.  (And I don’t mean to gloss over his Affair Partner from 2008 – the online EA).  I should probably differentiate between the two.  I will call them PA and EA.  PA was physically present.  She was tangible. She was real to him, even though their relationship was pure fantasy.  EA was his ideal. A neglected housewife.  Everything about their relationship was pure fantasy.  There was nothing tangible.  There were long phone calls, time spent on Second Life and skype calls and messaging.  They had amazing sex in their minds.

PA was the most damaging.  She was close, willing, horribly broken and needy.  She accepted the crumbs.  Much like bread crumbs Hansel and Gretal dropped to find their way home, she picked up the crumbs hoping for a “real” relationship at the end.  One I don’t think WH was ever willing or even able to give her.  But she always held out hope.  It didn’t matter how poorly he treated her, she was always willing to accept his pretty words, promises and apologies.

For a long time I was very angry with PA.  She had befriended me, she watched my children, she was in my home so much, I even cleaned her kitchen once at a party at her house because I felt sorry for her.  Little did I know.

I remember her standing in my kitchen waiting for WH to say goodbye to me and the kids before going out with his friends.  She was always going to drop him off or she would hang out with WH and one of his friends.  I remember her standing there waiting for him.  After D-Day I wondered if she had a smug grin on her face because she knew they were going to have sex right after they left.

On D-Day I hated her more than I hated him.  I thought she was a stupid, needy, worthless person.

Below is an excerpt from a letter to her that I will never send.

And do not think for one instant that you know the state of our marriage.  You know what he told you.  You were not in our marriage.  You were not privy to our private conversations.  You know what he told you.  When I met you, you were well into your affair with him.  Our marriage was completely destroyed by the time you met me.  He was devoting all of his time and energy to the good feelings of his affair with you and had almost completely withdrawn from our marriage.  What you witnessed was what I was receiving from my marriage.  Nothing.  He was distant and cold.  And I did not understand why.  I was hurt and I tried to mask that hurt.  I was jealous of the time he spent with you and his friends.  I was angry that I was left at home night after night.  I was furious that I only got to spend time with the drunk that wandered home at night.  Our marriage may have had problems, but he drove our marriage into the wall and your foot was on the accelerator.  So please don’t tell me that I treated him poorly.  Not when he was treating me horribly.  Not when he was withholding affection from me and giving it to you.  Not when he was giving you all of his time and his family none.  If he was unhappy in our marriage, you had a direct hand in his misery.  Because you are a cheap, selfish person.  A better person would have told him that you would not date him until he ended his marriage.   But that didn’t matter to you, because you had no intention of ending your marriage until he left me.  You pushed him to divorce me.  But he wouldn’t.

Writing that letter helped me get every thing out of my head.  Prior to the letter I had a running dialogue of every thing I wanted to say to her IF I ever got the chance again.  It clogged up my mind, put too much focus on PA, (and some focus on WH), when it should have been on me.  I had to let it go.  I had to get it out.  I never wanted to talk to her.  I never wanted to see her again.  But I had things I needed to say.  And in the end it didn’t matter if I said them to her directly or not.  Writing the letter helped me vent the anger and hurt and betrayal, without getting into a pissing match with her.

My last real contact with her was in the wee morning hours of June 16, 2010.  When I had to look at her smug, embarrassed face.  Smug because WH was leaving to go be with her and embarrassed because WH had called her and told her to come talk to me.  All she kept saying was that “we never meant for this to happen”.  I realized pretty quickly that any conversation with her was not going to reach her that it would be a waste of breath.  I told her “I hope he treats you better than he did me.” and I turned and walked back inside.

I know he treated her worse.  I know she accepted his mistreatment and always came back for more.  I know she was willing to abandon her kids to be with a man who had no respect for her, treated her cruelly and fed her sweet little lies to get what he wanted.  Still to this day, I have no idea who the monster was that dated her.  At that time my WH was just one rung above the monster.

In the end, I got better.  I got the man he is capable of being.  I got the man who is capable of being a kind and supportive partner.  A partner who is able to balance his wants and needs and with my wants and needs.  (We don’t always have equilibrium – but I see the effort).

So in the end, I am sorry for the time and effort I wasted on her or trying to out do her.  She really wasn’t worth my time.  These days I don’t think too much about her.  She is more of an abstraction than a reality.

Ironically, I owe the discovery of WH’s earlier online EA to my ability to let go of PA.  I had read that the AP could have been anyone.  When I discovered the online EA and the existence of EA, I realized this was true.  PA may have had a greater emotional hold over WH, but she was not the first and she certainly was not his only or even his one true love for that fact.  The discovery of EA made PA that less special and I was able to finally let her go and the anger I felt.