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post #16 of 338 (permalink) Old 08-03-2011, 01:32 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Distressed

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Originally Posted by lordmayhem View Post
It's a myth that affairs only happen in problematic marriages. Many times it's that the wayward spouse starts an innocent friendship that gradually crosses marital boundaries into the affair, the so-called slippery slope. It was nothing you did.

Another aspect is that the wayward spouse (her) begins to re-write the marital history in her head and she and her affair partner demonize you. This is so she can justify the affair to herself. They almost all do this.

Again, you could be the most perfect husband in the world, but if she is in the affair, she will literally invent things and see her marriage as terrible, just so she can justify her cheating in her mind.

The adolescent behavior you speak of is called being in the FOG of the affair. .... They get off on the thrill of sneaking around and deceiving you and others. While in the fog, they experience the endorphins secreted in the brain, and the rush. It's quite addictive, and because of this, they very rarely stop an affair on their own.
Thanks for this. I am hardly perfect, but on the whole, I think I was a pretty darn good husband and companion to her. I was happy and in love. Maybe knowing that it's not a direct cause-and-effect situation will make the hurt sting a little less for me.

With regard to martial revisionism, I am aghast at the re-writing of our marriage that I think I am beginning to see here. I can understand how someone might look back and say, "That was a bit of a drag after all", or "I put up with more than I thought I would", but to denigrate a whole experience with someone you thought you loved as being horrible and stultifying or oppressive or whatever is so wrong, unfair, and insulting.

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post #17 of 338 (permalink) Old 08-03-2011, 01:47 PM
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Re: Distressed

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Thanks for this. I am hardly perfect, but on the whole, I think I was a pretty darn good husband and companion to her. I was happy and in love. Maybe knowing that it's not a direct cause-and-effect situation will make the hurt sting a little less for me.

With regard to martial revisionism, I am aghast at the re-writing of our marriage that I think I am beginning to see here. I can understand how someone might look back and say, "That was a bit of a drag after all", or "I put up with more than I thought I would", but to denigrate a whole experience with someone you thought you loved as being horrible and stultifying or oppressive or whatever is so wrong, unfair, and insulting.
And that is one of the things that are so hurtful about affairs. It's not just the betrayal and broken trust. Its the re-writing of the history of the marriage and the demonzing the betrayed spouse. Here's a good thread to read

What were most marriages like pre-infidelity?

http://talkaboutmarriage.com/coping-...-will-fun.html

Could someone explain this "fog"

Remember, none of it is your fault. She chose to cheat, lie, and betray. She may have already gone from EA to PA, especially likely if OM is a coworker. IF you decide you want to stay with this cheater, you are going to have to be steadfast. And that means killing the affair. However, the way you describe your WW, it seems affairs are inevitable.
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post #18 of 338 (permalink) Old 08-03-2011, 02:28 PM
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Re: Distressed

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As you read more about how affairs happen and the dynamics of affairs, you will see that they follow a certain pattern.

It's a myth that affairs only happen in problematic marriages. Many times it's that the wayward spouse starts an innocent friendship that gradually crosses marital boundaries into the affair, the so-called slippery slope. It was nothing you did.

Another aspect is that the wayward spouse (her) begins to re-write the marital history in her head and she and her affair partner demonize you. This is so she can justify the affair to herself. They almost all do this.

Again, you could be the most perfect husband in the world, but if she is in the affair, she will literally invent things and see her marriage as terrible, just so she can justify her cheating in her mind.

The adolescent behavior you speak of is called being in the FOG of the affair. A very similar situation when teenagers fall head over heals in love with someone. This state of mind is fed by the secretive nature of the affair. That it's taboo. They get off on the thrill of sneaking around and deceiving you and others. While in the fog, they experience the endorphins secreted in the brain, and the rush. It's quite addictive, and because of this, they very rarely stop an affair on their own.
I totally agree with this. Yes marraiges that are having problems are vulnerable to affairs. BUT, affairs cause otherwise good marriages to have serious problems.

Not all affairs are the result of poor marriages. Not having good boundaries can lead to real problems. But even with boundaries they can happen. It happens slowly. The spouse may not be looking for an affair at all. But it happens.

Revisionist history sets in to justify the affair.

It is important in a marriage to recognize the symtoms of a developing affair. Do not have blind trust. Have blind love. That type of love that empowers you to be strong and help your partner if they seem to be going down the wrong path. Even if they insist they don;t want or need help. They are dillusional. They may not realize it. You have to engage and intervene to help them to stop. My wife did this for me. Don't the whole we are just friends thing. They may even believe that. Their mind is not right. They are under the influence of some powerful chemicals in the brain.

Last edited by Entropy3000; 08-03-2011 at 02:49 PM.
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post #19 of 338 (permalink) Old 08-03-2011, 02:48 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Distressed

Unfortunately, and to my huge disappointment, my wife seems inherently to be at risk for going wayward.

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She may have already gone from EA to PA, especially likely if OM is a coworker.
The OM is indeed a coworker. They are in exactly the same line of professional work. She said a couple of months ago that she can "talk to him about anything and he really understands me". Implication: I am useless and insensitive. Sure I am not in the same line of work, but I am in another, equally interesting one. She doesn't seem to be really interested in what I do. I'd be delighted to take her on a lengthy tour of my world.

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However, the way you describe your WW, it seems affairs are inevitable.
She might be inherently emotionally un-grounded, confusing attention/excitement for profundity and low-key, warm, sustained stability for dullness. I don't think I "entertained" her enough; but then again, she seems like she can only be entertained on her own terms. She's not "bossy" per se, but very particular about what she wants when she wants it (or doesn't want). She detests surprise parties for her, considering them to be an imposition. Nonetheless, she purports to crave spontaneity -- which I now think is a clever excuse to avoid being pinned down for social events she doesn't want to attend (usually mine). While I like to hang around the home as much as any happily married guy, I thought our social life was becoming a little narrowed/stymied by her.

I just yesterday recalled how she told me that a therapist she saw a few years ago (on a short series of consultations) said that she had a controlling personality and has a big fear of abandonment. There is something to this. Her father left her and two siblings when they were toddlers. Her mother (to mom's credit) stuck with it to provide well enough for the family on her own but kind of burned out in the process; once the kids were in college mom phased out herself to become a bit of a hippie loner. My wife rarely sees her parents or siblings, although one lives close by. I wonder how a non-family has affected her outlook.

She is very friendly and charming in small doses -- her colleagues and casual acquaintances just love her -- and I don't think this is fake at all. But she seems to have precious few real, solid friends outside of a narrow work circle with whom she interacts on a current basis. She also says very unkind things about such friends -- not even as a caring criticism -- often about their lack of ability or persistence or perspective.

Speaking of criticism, she is the original contradiction of "being able to dish it out but not take it". Even friendly suggestions are received like out-of-line comments. (I am not a back-seat driver at all, but occasionally do like to warn the driver if there is something coming that s/he might not see, like a pedestrian behind us in the parking lot of the mall. She told me not to comment on anything again with her driving, as she can see everything. Yes, she is an excellent and alert driver, but this attitude is uniquely over-confident and dangerous.) In many of our arguments, she refuses to try to see my perspective, because it's all cut-and-dried, and I am wrong, deluded, lazy, whatever.

Sometimes I detect a woman trying to be Superwoman, but who is overcompensating to the max at every turn: a hard-boiled exterior which might have a marshmallow trapped inside. But the confection isn't sweet and cute when you get up real close and take a bite -- it's sour and nasty.
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post #20 of 338 (permalink) Old 08-03-2011, 02:52 PM
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Re: Distressed

B-
You got some smart and cool dudes posting to your thread, thats for sure.
I just wanted to make a point about how screwed up the DS is and it also amazes me how they twist the sh~t out of everything just so they can sleep at night.
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post #21 of 338 (permalink) Old 08-03-2011, 02:54 PM
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Re: Distressed

I had an EA um-teen years ago at work. My wife picked up on it and engaged. She contacted some mutual friends who I worked with. They helped with the situation.

The bottom-line is that she exposed the affair. I thought it was adeep friendship. Only later on did I come to realize I was in an EA. The Withdrawal told me that.

The thing is that the affair will not end as long as they work together. So you would have to expose the affair there and get her to change jobs.
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post #22 of 338 (permalink) Old 08-03-2011, 03:06 PM
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Re: Distressed

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Thanks, 8yc. I will try to keep focused on what is important and do things in a measured way. It won't be easy, but I understand what you are saying.

It doesn't necessarily matter to the path forward, but I am utterly shocked by two things in her behavior:

1. How she can find such fault with me and our marriage. From my perspective, nothing had changed much since we met four years ago and got married two years ago. Sure, the "honeymoon" phase of the relationship faded as it always does, but I thought we were replacing that with a deeper, more profound love of living a happy life together. (Wrong!) I think I have been a good husband, tried to be attentive to her needs, always available to help and listen. Certainly we haven't suffered any marital trauma or turbulence before. How can she find -- and express -- such fault with me so suddenly? Am I not the same person she married? What's that all about?

From the fragments of emails and messages I have now seen, she is complaining to this guy about me, my real and supposed shortcomings, why she isn't happy. Naturally, that just emboldens them to spend more time together and get in league against me, "the bad guy". (As a semi-objective reading, this is just a conspiracy of the two of them -- her family and friends I know have been nothing but warm and friendly to me to date.) Surely she must realize that she is feeding a monster if she dishes on me in front of him.

If someone wakes up one day and decides s/he married the wrong person, isn't the decent and honorable thing to do to show some remorse, and make it less hard for the other person? I really would prefer to hear something like, "You are a great guy and I know you tried to be a good husband. I am sorry, but for whatever reason, this isn't working for me -- I need space and want to be single again. I hope you find someone who can commit more than I can. I feel awful about this and will try to make it as easy as possible on us." I wouldn't like that, of course, but it would be clear, show some responsibility and basic feeling, and respect for the person being let down. What she is doing is piling disrespect onto irresponsibility. I married this woman?

2. I shake my head at the amateurish, adolescent nature of this affair. Does she really think I won't notice her inattentive demeanor, frequent passive-aggressive conduct and furtive behavior? It's become screamingly obvious. It's almost like I don't exist, my needs/concerns don't matter a damn, while she's on some emotional trip that I am supposed to pay for but not participate in? She doesn't see how awfully transparent this is. What's that all about? Can't she even be smart about how she has an affair or manages the break-up, or whatever she's doing? Is she trying to provoke me? (I haven't bit, yet anyway.)

I have never been in this situation before and it is really sad and troubling. I know I might never get answers to these nagging questions, but I would like to try to understand what is going on so I can get my bearings and do the right thing, whatever that might be. Certainly I have to prepare myself for the realization that my marriage -- which I thought was so happy three months ago -- might be over.
You make perfect sense sir.

The person in the affair is truly mentally impaired by the chemicals playing in their brain due to the affair. The power of this is unbeleiveable. Defies all logic and even their sense of loyaly, right and wrong and love for their spouse. They can come out of it the wiser for it however. No always and probably not usually, but it can happen.
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post #23 of 338 (permalink) Old 08-03-2011, 03:11 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Distressed

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They are dillusional. They may not realize it. You have to engage and intervene to help them to stop. My wife did this for me.
How can the partner not realize the error of throwing themselves at (or with) another person in a physical affair for an extended period?

How can the betrayed partner intervene to make them stop? Doesn't this require the wayward spouse to see the reality of their situation and the likely consequences of their actions? I can't imagine my spouse understands what she is doing. I think she thinks she is having the equivalent of a little snack of cake on the side every afternoon, without adequately appreciating that she is putting at risk her main daily meal.

While I might understand (but not endorse) a quick what-happens-in-Vegas type of fling, where the issue is stifled as soon as there is a return to reality, I am amazed how she seems to think she can have two men in parallel. This is inherently risky, impossible, stupid, and likely to blow up in her face.

Is she so reckless, or is this the prelude, the big wind-up to a definitive break-up with me? If it weren't for her deep-seated fear of abandonment, I would have to vote for the latter.
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post #24 of 338 (permalink) Old 08-03-2011, 03:21 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Distressed

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B-
You got some smart and cool dudes posting to your thread, thats for sure.
I sure do! Thanks to everyone! I am feeling slightly less horrible about all this because you're there! (How's that for a compliment?)

- B
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post #25 of 338 (permalink) Old 08-03-2011, 03:58 PM
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Re: Distressed

I feel for you, I really do because I can see so much parallel to our wives. The difference is, when I discovered and confronted, she immediately came to her senses (I think), and is adamant that she wasn't even considering herself IN an affair while it was going on(!!!!). She too compartmentalized what she did from her supposed love for me... From what I read in your posts, she is goading you into a confrontation she actually wants, deep-down...kind of like the cheater who actually subconsciously wants to get caught because they don't have the guts to just come clean and admit what they're doing. I feel horrible for you because it feels to me like IF you in fact want to stay with her and IF she in turn once confronted wants to stay with you (two BIG BIG "ifs" imho), then you've got a really ugly, tough road ahead.

And if you decide you DON'T -- you've still got an ugly road ahead, although a shorter and clearer one.

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post #26 of 338 (permalink) Old 08-03-2011, 04:41 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Distressed

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From what I read in your posts, she is goading you into a confrontation she actually wants, deep-down...kind of like the cheater who actually subconsciously wants to get caught because they don't have the guts to just come clean and admit what they're doing.
Regrettably, I am moving towards the same conclusion, if not quite there yet. (I am still thinking she is reacting to some weird anti-abandonment psyche scenario where she needs two men to profess their -- compete for her -- love to make her feel secure.) Her liaison with this colleague seems to be too deep, too "comfortable", too reckless to be a temporary diversion or refuge from a lonely or vulnerable moment. I think she is trying to either get me to react (in which case I am again the "bad guy" for provoking a scene) or to suffer quiet humiliation in place at home (to her sick satisfaction) for some longer period.

By the way, the colleague in question has apparently had a very rocky marital history. He and his wife separated two years ago, but he returned last year because of their kids. So I am guessing it wouldn't be difficult to pry him loose again if he had a good incentive on his hands.

This appears to be a train-wreck happening in slow motion.
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post #27 of 338 (permalink) Old 08-03-2011, 06:45 PM
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Re: Distressed

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How can the partner not realize the error of throwing themselves at (or with) another person in a physical affair for an extended period?

How can the betrayed partner intervene to make them stop? Doesn't this require the wayward spouse to see the reality of their situation and the likely consequences of their actions? I can't imagine my spouse understands what she is doing. I think she thinks she is having the equivalent of a little snack of cake on the side every afternoon, without adequately appreciating that she is putting at risk her main daily meal.

While I might understand (but not endorse) a quick what-happens-in-Vegas type of fling, where the issue is stifled as soon as there is a return to reality, I am amazed how she seems to think she can have two men in parallel. This is inherently risky, impossible, stupid, and likely to blow up in her face.

Is she so reckless, or is this the prelude, the big wind-up to a definitive break-up with me? If it weren't for her deep-seated fear of abandonment, I would have to vote for the latter.
I am speaking from my own experience with an EA. What you are doing feels ok. Even though it is wrong. Logic does not apply. In my case I was convinced it was just a friendship. Until I went through withdrawal I did not realize the magnitude.

My wife intervened. I was not understanding. It felt ok. BUT, I did love my wife. She was firm and demanded the contact stop. I was not so far gone that with her and some friends help that I couldn't shake it. I absolutely needed intervention. It was like just falling slowly into a black hole. No excuses, this was double down stupid @$$hole sh!t. I was an idiot. BUT it is chemical. It is an addiction. The dopamin is feeding the brain. You gravitate towards the fix. You are numb to reality.

This is why I get upset with people tha flirt with danger. They put themselves in bad situations convinced they can handle it.

In my case I was changing jobs anyway. Otherwise I would have had to quit.

My wife exposed the affair.

FWIW, in my case I never went into this looking to be unfaithful. It was something that developed and became inappropriate. It must have been strong because it took weeks of withdrawal with the help of some anti-depressants to make it through. Also my wife did truly love me. She did not want to lose me. She was not passive. She was firm. She did not take my fog talk as anything more than dilirium.

I only recently forgave myself at the urging of my wife. She had forgiven me long ago. She new that I had not meant this to happen. But I did not stop it. It felt ok. I was wrong.

All I am saying is that people can realize they were wrong. My wife and I have more trust for each other today than before that situation. I am the wiser for my transgression. Also I used up my free pass .....

I think a huge key to this is early detection and action. Time is not on the side of sanity.

Your wife is cake eating. It is good to be the Goddess. It feels great to her.

While she likes cake eating what usually happens is that the wife will revise history and trade up. Now this may not really be a trade up. But she is influenced by the fog.

Last edited by Entropy3000; 08-03-2011 at 06:52 PM.
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post #28 of 338 (permalink) Old 08-03-2011, 07:07 PM
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Re: Distressed

DO NOT over analyze her reasons. She isn't thinking that much or that clearly or that devious other than trying to keep it going and not get caught. She is rewriting the history as lord mayhem eloquently described to justify what she's doing because she KNOWS it's wrong. She can't look at herself in the mirror without a reason to be doing what she's doing so she paints the marriage and you black and ugly. She is responding to you the way she is because she is trying to prove her justifications right. If she accepted your love she wouldn't be right. Her ethical and moral boundaries keeping her from doing this kept moving slowly out further and further until she can't even believe herself what she's doing so she needs more justifications - that's why he and her go on spouse bashing commiserating.

BELIEVE - the affair is not your fault AT ALL. She made these decisions completely on her own and she will take quite a long time to accept that and begin to forgive herself. First she has to take the mask off she has put on to protect herself from her own conscience and see the real ugliness of herself in the mirror. That can't happen until the thrill of the high is severely tarnished and the A is out in the open for everyone to see it's ugliness - especially her. The delusional fog she is in is preventing her from seeing reality.

SO - what to do? First start by getting enough evidence that know how far it's gone. Is it strictly talk? Is it physical? Don't go beyond that and try to dig up the physical details they are horrifying and will only create mind movies and triggers that start them playing that you have to get past later. Then confront. Expect her to lie and tell only part of the story. Expect her to tell you it's your fault because you did or didn't do something. Expect her not to own it and initially not to commit to ending it. If it goes better than that then great, your ahead of the game already. If not, you won't be as let down knowing what to expect. What I describe is the typical WS reaction to confrontation.

Then what? Don't ask, just notify his wife and present to her whatever FACTS you've discovered. If you tell your wife first, he will cover his tracks and build a story first with her help. Your wife will accuse YOU of being insensitive and only hurting his wife. His deserves to know as much as you do. It will also keep him very busy trying to recover and most likely cause him to drop your wife like a bad disease.

Then you see how she reacts. Words don't count - only actions do. Don;t push a list of demands or she will head back to him where she THINKS she has safety and someone who doesn't impose horrible restrictions on her. You have to wait for her show remorse and a commitment to work on it before you start laying out what you need to feel secure and try yourself. Don't beg or chase. State ONCE, divorce is not what you want and you would like to try and work things out but that she must want to and show it before you will even try. Those actions START with transparency of everything she uses for the affair - phones, email facebook, texts and most importantly NO CONTACT AT ALL (NC). No breaking it off slowly. Puts her in the position of making a choice and doing it in the light in front of you.

Then wait - but not too long.

That's as far as you should look right now. Her reaction to the confrontation and the requirements will decide your next move. There are more drastic steps that can taken to try and get her stop. In this case fast is slow and smooth and careful are quick. KEEP YOUR TEMPER AND STEP AWAY if you can't.

Last edited by 8yearscheating; 08-03-2011 at 07:11 PM.
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post #29 of 338 (permalink) Old 08-03-2011, 07:12 PM
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Re: Distressed

Get cracking chief! Step one - evidence of how far it's gone.
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post #30 of 338 (permalink) Old 08-03-2011, 07:20 PM
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Re: Distressed

I must add - and not to give you false hope - just encouragement - you can get through this. IF she decides to try it can be better than it was before. My story - 27 years married - wife 20 years cheating - 2 men 20 years ago, my "friend" for 18 years. My youngest is MY daughter but not biologically. We are reconciling, almost 8 months since Dday - a long journey yet to go. Madly in love with each other and doing very well. IT CAN WORK OUT! First she has to want to try. One of the steps on the journey is figuring out how you didn't know she was not happy. The things she throws out now contain nuggets of the largest issues. BOTH of you as a TEAM will need to make changes to make it work going forward. Some, you might be able to start working on on your side now to show her you can change.
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