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post #91 of 243 (permalink) Old 02-27-2017, 02:34 PM
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Re: Sympathy for The Devil- Wayward Spouses and Compassion

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Men do that a lot. Rescue women. KISA.
Women who need to be rescued are generally lost. Better to look for a partner. You will end up being much happier. You bring stuff to the table she brings stuff. The KISA always goes out and gets killed for the King.

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post #92 of 243 (permalink) Old 02-27-2017, 07:37 PM
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Re: Sympathy for The Devil- Wayward Spouses and Compassion

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I agree that my advice for waywards is pretty much 100% focused on the WS/DS and I don't say much- if anything- about the BS/LS at all. This is because:

1. Everyone ELSE on marriage forums everywhere is mostly focused on the Betrayed Spouse so the WS doesn't need my help or advice on how to help their BS when they have so many other great resources to which to turn for that. (Like yours!)

2. Wayward spouses are broken people, generally. I actually agree with @sokillme to a degree on that. They're usually not actually happy that they blew up their marriage.
Hi @EllaSuaveterre,

Sorry it's kind of late in the day but Mondays always seem to sneak up on me! LOL Anyway, I do want to respond to you and try to speak together because I think our viewpoints and opinions are very different. Now, on one hand we are in very different stages in our lives (I'm in my mid-50's, kids are grown and gone, second marriage) and I think where one is on the journey can really change their perspective. When I was your age, I didn't have much self-worth yet either, nor did I have ANY CLUE what real marriage was nor how to survive a tidal wave of emotions...and now that I'm older I have and know all those things, so it changes how I view things on a foundational level.

Still sometimes I feel like you and I are almost polar opposites. I think partially it's because I'm a peace-loving introverted intuitive with strong Thinker tendencies that filter my feelings; whereas I would guess you might be an extroverted senses-oriented person with VERY strong Feeler abilities. FYI this is neither good nor bad--just ways that we are...and ways that we differ.

I do understand why you wrote "to" or "for" waywards (for now let's just agree to use the terms wayward and betrayed), because the majority of help "out there" is for the betrayed spouses. There are forums, and blogs, and websites, and articles...all aimed at betrayed spouses...and very little offered specifically for waywards. Trust me, as a wayward I understand that!

But there's a big reason why!

In order for a wayward person to want and receive help to become faithful, they would have to fundamentally change what they think and how they act! Let me phrase it another way. I could publish articles that are "supportive" of wayward people, but then that would not necessarily encourage them to a life of fidelity, would it? If I was "supporting" someone actively involved in an affair, I'd be in some way or other making them feel better ABOUT the affair! And quite frankly that's not reality.

See, in my view this is like someone who has had a bad, BAD car accident and they are bleeding out under the wreckage and pinned. I could come along and encourage them that the damage to their face isn't all that bad and they look okay--but they would still DIE because I wasn't dealing with reality! In reality what I desperately need to do first is stop the bleeding and get them out from under the wreckage. I say this as someone who is a recovered wayward: if someone is so self-centered and self-focused that they seek outside their marriage and don't see that they are dropping a bomb on their spouse and their children, then they do not need more belly-button gazing. They are bleeding out and pinned! The need is to stop the blood first, then get them un-pinned.

So first, I would teach waywards how to see outside themselves on a consistent basis. I think sometimes that "seeing others" is a skill that some have intuitively, and sometimes it has to be taught...some never "get it" very well. But it is definitely different to shift the focus from your own self to your spouse and THEIR NEEDS. Again, I'm not being mean, but I think it's human nature to think of ourselves to some degree and to think we do all the chores and to think our side is right and theirs is wrong, etc. So there's a real skill to learn to put your own defenses and inaccurate and unhealthy thinking down...and learn to pick up healthier habits.

Then I would teach waywards how to act in the best interest of others on a consistent basis. During the affair, the wayward thought and ACTED in their own best interest period. The first thing I said above I'd teach is how to think of others...how to see others...how to stop assuming about your spouse... In other words it would essentially be re-learning all about their spouse (in a way)!! Next I'd say now that you've learned new ways of thinking, and the thinking is outward or external...now you need to stop talking and ACT. How do you ACT in a way that is in someone ELSE'S best interest? How do you sacrifice without becoming resentful? How do you balance openness and honesty with setting boundaries? All of that! Okay you're seeing your spouse in a different light now because you learned how to see them and how to change the way you think...but how do you put all that into ACTION? Because frankly, thinking is still all internal, and actions speak 1000 times louder than words. If you actually love someone you may or may not "have feelings" for them at the moment, but you can and should ACT IN A LOVING WAY TOWARD THEM.

In my experience working with unfaithful people, what I've seen happen over and over again is that waywards are so focused on themselves and what they "deserve" and how other people's spouses get them this or that...that continuing on in the vein of "Yes, and you do deserve XXX" does not stop the blood or pull them out of the wreckage. In order to move from an unfaithful person to a FAITHFUL person, there has to be ... HAS TO BE ... a hard stop, a hard 180 degree turn away from what has been happening before, and a complete and serious change in the person. They have to both "put off" the unfaithful habits and "put on" the new, faithful habits, or else all that happens is that once the hoopla from this affair dies down a bit, they have no faithful foundation on which to build, and they just do it all over again!

You wrote:

Quote:
I don't think I've ever seen a WS who honestly delights in their BS's misery and anguish. Usually, on D-day and after, the WS feels lousy. They're probably not feeling bad for the "right" reasons. They're probably feeling regret rather than remorse. But they're still, usually, not very happy.
@EllaSuaveterre, I'm laughing because clearly you just haven't been around long enough yet. LOL I'm not a pessimist, but I have definitely seen some WS's who take delight in hurting their BS more and more; however, this is also usually an individual who feels better about themselves when they belittle someone else. So there are mental health syndromes involved.

However, overall I would say that from what I've experienced over the years, most waywards feel very lonely and miserable before the affair, for a variety of reasons. Very often things are not right before the affair--and often they are on a paddle boat down the DeNial River. But after D-Day to say "well the WS feels lousy too"--Ella, we did it to ourselves! I mean, I wouldn't feel lousy if I was flagrantly faithful! Any pain I feel as a result of being discovered is SELF-INFLICTED and thus honestly is not on the same playing field as the betrayed who was shot in the head from behind!

In real life, part of me thinks "If you would like to stop hurting from losing your AP, don't have an affair, duh!" like that joke about "Doc, it only hurts when I do this!" And I'm honestly not trying to be mean or angry or grouchy other than to say that I think it is shocking, in my opinion, to try to address someone's pain over ending their affair by saying 'Awww...you deserve to be happy too' or 'You are allowed to feel sad over not having a lover' when REAL HELP would be to say as a true friend, "PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS!!! DO NOT HAVE A LOVER, IT WILL HARM YOU ENORMOUSLY IN WAYS YOU CAN'T IMAGINE!!!"

Quote:
These are people that have such low self-esteem and such miserable psyches that they are willing to ruin every aspect of their lives for a dopamine hit and an ego boost. Therefore, teaching them how to meet their own needs, how to practice healthy, nondestructive self-care, and how to forgive themselves and not hate themselves so much, is vital. If they can meet the needs that led them to cheat in the first place before they get desperate and put their morals aside, they'll be less likely to need an ego boost- another affair- in the future. That's why I like that abandonment self-help workbook so much. The premise thereof is that you don't need another person (like an affair partner) to make you happy/safe/loved/important/whatever.
Who is all this focused on? Where's the focus? On the SELF again!! SELF-esteem and SELF-care... see that? I think waywards usually have "self" down pat, but have little or no idea how to think of and care for OTHERS. Thus to teach them what they are already doing (taking care of Self) won't "fix" what the problem is! Now, I understand the idea of knowing how to self-soothe, and how to make healthier relationship choices, but really I think the thing that most have not considered is not "How do I take care of ME ME ME!!?" but more like "When I married, I voluntarily agreed to always include and consider my spouse in all things!" That means "How do I take care of THEM?" How do I include THEM in my life? How do I let them see the real me (even when I'm afraid)? What are my weaknesses and what have I put in place TO PROTECT MY SPOUSE FROM ME?

See?

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I'm not very good at self-care yet, and I'm a complete novice at not hating myself. I'm hardly qualified to be any kind of counselor to anyone. But it seems like wayward self-care and self-forgiveness (and thereby filling one's own bottomless emotional bucket so one is no longer so tempted to commit adultery) has been abandoned and laughed at by infidelity experts, and it just baffles me utterly. So I feel the need to step in where no one else has or will.
I think it is abandoned by infidelity experts because that is a topic for personal counseling or IC, not for marriage counseling or infidelity counseling. By far, the vast majority of waywards I've met are a deep sorrow to me, because they refuse to look at the flaws within themselves. They refuse to do the work to change. They refuse personal responsibility. They refuse to even admit they were wrong! By far, the vast majority of waywards are so "set in their ways" if you will, they would NEVER admit they did something wrong, stop doing it, and do the work to repair the damage they did. And thus, the vast majority of waywards go along reinforcing "the wrong thing" and end up destroying their lives and their families lives. Now do people recover afterward? Sure of course--people are resilient and often bounce back even after tragedies--but they are forever DIFFERENT and harmed but what happened, all for pride.

Quote:
You've been in this particular rodeo a long time. Surely I can't be the first one to think of this. It's not that I don't care about the betrayed spouses of the world; that's not it at all. It's just that the whole infidelity-recovery community remains focused on the BS. With me being the lone voice saying "Love yourself!" in a crowd of people saying "Forget yourself and help your spouse!" it's not like WSes are going to somehow miss the memo that their BS is hurting badly and that they need to try to give them security, comfort, and answers. With so many great people reminding them of it, they can't miss it, surely.
Here's the thing: having been through it myself, I know that immediately after D-Day and in the first days-weeks-month of reconciliation, that a wayward does hurt. Yes indeed. I will share with you and in my instance I had an online affair with a man I met through a game, but through the game I also met many other people whom I considered friends...people I cared about who cared about me to some degree...like a friend would. After D-day I gave up the OM and all the friends from the game. I deleted the game, deleted all their contacts, and never ever went back EVER. But in my heart of hearts I felt lonely and sad and isolated. As I've told you in this reply, that emotion was SELF-INFLICTED. I brought people into my heart and life who filled a role that should have been my husband's alone! So the cure to feeling lonely and sad and isolated was not to be told "Oh @Affaircare, you deserve to feel loved and happy and included. You deserve to have your needs of friendship met." Yes, I do deserve to feel loved but what I needed to learn at the time was HOW TO LET MY HUSBAND FILL THE LONELY HOLE.... and how to find happiness with my husband...and how to feel included with my family and spouse, not outsiders.

I realize and recognize that no one "makes me feel <insert emotion here>" and thus my husband would not actually fill the lonely hole..I actually have to see myself as worthy enough to fill my own lonely hole. LOL But the point is that everyone "out there"--in movies, books, blogs, articles, etc.--talks about "how to love YOU" or how to love yourself. Very, very few talk about "Here's how to be MARRIED." "Here's what it's like to be so intimate with another human being that you include them in everything." "Here's how you and your spouse turn to each other and fill the other's needs." Yes, it is ideal if both spouses commit to filling the other's needs (he fulfills hers/she fulfills his) because then both needs are being met! But nowhere does the wedding vow say "I will meet your need IF YOU..." It says 'I promise to forsake all others through all the circumstances of life." So here's how you do that.

Hope this gives some food for thought. I'd be happy to talk more if you'd like.

Helping couples recover and reconcile after an affair or keep their marriages affair-free at Affaircare.

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Last edited by Affaircare; 02-27-2017 at 07:55 PM.
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post #93 of 243 (permalink) Old 02-27-2017, 07:49 PM
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Re: Sympathy for The Devil- Wayward Spouses and Compassion

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"PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS!!! DO NOT HAVE A LOVER, IT WILL HARM YOU ENORMOUSLY IN WAYS YOU CAN'T IMAGINE!!!"
Interesting not to pry but, it's rare that you hear this from someone who had an affair. How do you think it harmed you in that way?

Do you personally think it harms the ones who don't even know it. Kind of like years of alcoholism has an affect on a person or something like that?
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post #94 of 243 (permalink) Old 02-27-2017, 08:38 PM
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Re: Sympathy for The Devil- Wayward Spouses and Compassion

Ella - I guess you would have to clarify exactly what kind of pain a WW has to deal with after d-day. Do you mean the shame? The regret of being caught? The guilt that led her to confess? The pining away for OM? Or is there something else you refer to?

You see, I do not believe that any woman feels "remorse" for cheating. She may very well feel deep regret over the pain it's caused her husband and family but never condemn herself for getting into bed with another man. She deserved that part. It was important for her self-esteem and besides - it proved to her that the grass isn't always greener on the other side. It made her appreciate her husband more. The whole experience was a good thing that had some unfortunate collateral damage. For these reasons I think most WW's end up convinced that it was all worth it in the end. They have memories of the dangerous liaisons and exciting sexual escapades they can relive forever. D-day was the beginning of a challenging game of manipulation in order to chill the old man out and get things back to normal.

If this is how I see it - because this is the only way I've ever seen it - then how could I ever feel compassion for a WW?
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post #95 of 243 (permalink) Old 02-27-2017, 09:25 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Sympathy for The Devil- Wayward Spouses and Compassion

I appreciate your taking the time to draft such a well-thought-out and lengthy post. Those sorts are my favourites.

I understand what you're saying, mostly, but there are a few of your major points that just honestly make zero sense to me. I'm not trying to be snarky about it; I'm genuinely baffled and STILL can't understand exactly why and how you're saying these things, what the line of thought behind it was, etc. Please allow me to highlight my confusion on a point-by-point basis:

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Originally Posted by Affaircare View Post

Still sometimes I feel like you and I are almost polar opposites. I think partially it's because I'm a peace-loving introverted intuitive with strong Thinker tendencies that filter my feelings; whereas I would guess you might be an extroverted senses-oriented person with VERY strong Feeler abilities. FYI this is neither good nor bad--just ways that we are...and ways that we differ.
That's true. I'm an INFP, and like most INFPs, I am deeply emotional, a hopeless romantic, often at odds with the more pragmatic sides of life, and bitterly stubborn when it comes to my ideals of how life "should" be and how people "should" be towards each other. I do think most of our differences come down to age and personality type. That said, I still very much admire you as a person, even if I end up driving you insane by the end of this thread with an endless ping-pong of point/counterpoint. Again, I don't ask these questions to be catty; I ask them because something about their essence hasn't yet "clicked" in my brain and I really, really want to understand why you (and others) see things as you do.

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I do understand why you wrote "to" or "for" waywards (for now let's just agree to use the terms wayward and betrayed), because the majority of help "out there" is for the betrayed spouses. There are forums, and blogs, and websites, and articles...all aimed at betrayed spouses...and very little offered specifically for waywards. Trust me, as a wayward I understand that!

But there's a big reason why!

In order for a wayward person to want and receive help to become faithful, they would have to fundamentally change what they think and how they act! Let me phrase it another way. I could publish articles that are "supportive" of wayward people, but then that would not necessarily encourage them to a life of fidelity, would it? If I was "supporting" someone actively involved in an affair, I'd be in some way or other making them feel better ABOUT the affair! And quite frankly that's not reality.
Okay, confusing bit number one:
How is being supportive the same thing as condoning an affair? I have pointed out many times and to many people that one can disapprove of a person's actions without piling on shame or scolding said person. I've given many, many examples as to how this might be done. Validate the feeling; steer away from the action.

"I know you miss your girlfriend, but calling her would further wound your wife. Try to think of some other way to cope with your loneliness."

Yet, no matter how many times I say that supporting=/=condoning, this counterpoint continues to come up. I must be missing something. Would other waywards look at the above sentence and somehow get "Go ahead and call your AP" out of it?

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See, in my view this is like someone who has had a bad, BAD car accident and they are bleeding out under the wreckage and pinned. I could come along and encourage them that the damage to their face isn't all that bad and they look okay--but they would still DIE because I wasn't dealing with reality! In reality what I desperately need to do first is stop the bleeding and get them out from under the wreckage. I say this as someone who is a recovered wayward: if someone is so self-centered and self-focused that they seek outside their marriage and don't see that they are dropping a bomb on their spouse and their children, then they do not need more belly-button gazing. They are bleeding out and pinned! The need is to stop the blood first, then get them un-pinned.
Confusing bit No. 2:

I see this analogy a lot, with the affair being made into as much of a physical trauma as an emotional one. I get the imagery, but I fail entirely to see how being kind to a wayward and validating their emotions is making the "wound" worse for them! If they are pinned under a car and bleeding, wouldn't getting them out involve an emotional ICU? Wouldn't getting them out involve giving comfort and validation to help them get through the day-to-day, teaching them how to swallow their feelings long enough tend to their spouse, and teaching them how to tend to themselves so they don't feel empty?

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However, overall I would say that from what I've experienced over the years, most waywards feel very lonely and miserable before the affair, for a variety of reasons. Very often things are not right before the affair--and often they are on a paddle boat down the DeNial River. But after D-Day to say "well the WS feels lousy too"--Ella, we did it to ourselves! I mean, I wouldn't feel lousy if I was flagrantly faithful! Any pain I feel as a result of being discovered is SELF-INFLICTED and thus honestly is not on the same playing field as the betrayed who was shot in the head from behind!

In real life, part of me thinks "If you would like to stop hurting from losing your AP, don't have an affair, duh!" like that joke about "Doc, it only hurts when I do this!" And I'm honestly not trying to be mean or angry or grouchy other than to say that I think it is shocking, in my opinion, to try to address someone's pain over ending their affair by saying 'Awww...you deserve to be happy too' or 'You are allowed to feel sad over not having a lover' when REAL HELP would be to say as a true friend, "PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS!!! DO NOT HAVE A LOVER, IT WILL HARM YOU ENORMOUSLY IN WAYS YOU CAN'T IMAGINE!!!"
Firstly, if you have a friend who has already cheated and they're confiding in you about it, telling them they shouldn't have taken a lover is like looking at a person with a severed arm and saying, "Chainsaws are dangerous, you know." THEY KNOW. They already know the affair was wrong and hurtful; why else would they feel bad enough to confide in you? The guilt is with them forever, throbbing like a sore tooth, driving them to distraction. The damage has already been done and the best you can do at that point is try to patch up their wounded heart and broken spirit. The last thing a hurting person needs- self-inflicted or not!!- is an after-the-fact "I told you so".


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Originally Posted by Affaircare View Post
Who is all this focused on? Where's the focus? On the SELF again!! SELF-esteem and SELF-care... see that? I think waywards usually have "self" down pat, but have little or no idea how to think of and care for OTHERS. Thus to teach them what they are already doing (taking care of Self) won't "fix" what the problem is! Now, I understand the idea of knowing how to self-soothe, and how to make healthier relationship choices, but really I think the thing that most have not considered is not "How do I take care of ME ME ME!!?" but more like "When I married, I voluntarily agreed to always include and consider my spouse in all things!" That means "How do I take care of THEM?" How do I include THEM in my life? How do I let them see the real me (even when I'm afraid)? What are my weaknesses and what have I put in place TO PROTECT MY SPOUSE FROM ME?

See?
I do see. Romantic gestures of all sorts, and gestures of compassion and caring, are like my second language. I know how to perform kind, nurturing, loving, playful, spontaneous, pre-emptive acts of kindness and love. I learned when I was dating my husband. Post-A, I simply date him once more. Taking care of my darling Mr. Suaveterre is second-nature to me. And as to including him in my life, well, as I'm emotionally and financially dependent upon him, the integration of our lives is almost automatic. I suppose some WSes might need to be reminded to date their BS, or to take time to listen to them express their emotions, or to include them in their day, but it isn't difficult. It's as simple as telling them, "Today, maybe try putting your arm around her and telling her you care for her and will strive to keep her safe." or "Today, try writing your husband a poem like you used to do when you first started dating". Simple as.

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Originally Posted by Affaircare View Post
I think it is abandoned by infidelity experts because that is a topic for personal counseling or IC, not for marriage counseling or infidelity counseling. By far, the vast majority of waywards I've met are a deep sorrow to me, because they refuse to look at the flaws within themselves. They refuse to do the work to change. They refuse personal responsibility. They refuse to even admit they were wrong! By far, the vast majority of waywards are so "set in their ways" if you will, they would NEVER admit they did something wrong, stop doing it, and do the work to repair the damage they did. And thus, the vast majority of waywards go along reinforcing "the wrong thing" and end up destroying their lives and their families lives. Now do people recover afterward? Sure of course--people are resilient and often bounce back even after tragedies--but they are forever DIFFERENT and harmed but what happened, all for pride.
And yet those people would also try to reconcile?? If they don't want to think about what they've done, the only option is divorce. Still, I think a lot of that refusal to look inside oneself, refusal to acquiesce to the BS's requests, refusal to end the affair, etc. comes down to, "This is hard and I'm scared of being in pain." Self-care fixes that because they'll know how to soothe their pain and thus be empowered to do whatever it takes, because they're less afraid of the pain that doing the right thing will bring them.

That's really all I've got as far as things I don't agree with and/or don't get. Can you explain those things in a little more detail, or maybe say it a different way or something? I just can't grasp your line of thinking in the above paragraphs.

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post #96 of 243 (permalink) Old 02-27-2017, 09:44 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Sympathy for The Devil- Wayward Spouses and Compassion

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Ella - I guess you would have to clarify exactly what kind of pain a WW has to deal with after d-day. Do you mean the shame? The regret of being caught? The guilt that led her to confess? The pining away for OM? Or is there something else you refer to?

You see, I do not believe that any woman feels "remorse" for cheating. She may very well feel deep regret over the pain it's caused her husband and family but never condemn herself for getting into bed with another man. She deserved that part. It was important for her self-esteem and besides - it proved to her that the grass isn't always greener on the other side. It made her appreciate her husband more. The whole experience was a good thing that had some unfortunate collateral damage. For these reasons I think most WW's end up convinced that it was all worth it in the end. They have memories of the dangerous liaisons and exciting sexual escapades they can relive forever. D-day was the beginning of a challenging game of manipulation in order to chill the old man out and get things back to normal.

If this is how I see it - because this is the only way I've ever seen it - then how could I ever feel compassion for a WW?
Well, for me, that moment came after I got out of the hospital, and one of the first things my mother's friend did was condemn me for having an affair. How could you? How dare you? You're an idiot! You're scum!

The tears came immediately, and within seconds I was literally reduced to leaning against the arm of the couch, wailing in despair, until my mother came in the room cautioning that I'd disturb the neighbors.

I had an affair. It was one of those things I didn't think myself capable of until after the affair had already started. I put cheaters in a totally separate class of beings, like murderers and rapists. And now, I was in that category. Holy Gods, I thought. I'm a bad person!! People, even people with low self-esteem, usually have some regard for themselves. They care about their own survival and usually believe that they are worthy of some degree of basic respect. In that moment, that left me. Just like that, all of my worth was gone. I was lower than a dog.THAT was what set me crying. I realized I'd lost my humanity. I'm close to tears even now, remembering what that felt like.

I remember thinking, "There's a knife on the kitchen table. As soon as she leaves the room, I'm going to shove that knife into my chest."


In order to cope with that, I have since taken up the mantle of love the sinner and hate the sin, because if I hadn't I would no longer place any value on myself as a human being. I learned to look at even the most heinous people on the face of this rock and say, "Yes, it's horrible that they murdered 20 people and they definitely should NOT have done that. Even so, there is a human with a story behind that mugshot. I wonder what made him feel, in that moment, like murder was okay?" I now give every human being a basic level of value, no matter how I feel about them or what they have done. Even my abuser, with whom I happened to have had the affair. It's probably rationalizing, but if I didn't rationalize and find some way to allow myself to have value and dignity, I wouldn't be able to even try to accept my husband's forgiveness, and I'd probably kill myself.

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post #97 of 243 (permalink) Old 02-27-2017, 09:47 PM
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Re: Sympathy for The Devil- Wayward Spouses and Compassion

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Well, for me, that moment came after I got out of the hospital, and one of the first things my mother's friend did was condemn me for having an affair. How could you? How dare you? You're an idiot! You're scum!

The tears came immediately, and within seconds I was literally reduced to leaning against the arm of the couch, wailing in despair, until my mother came in the room cautioning that I'd disturb the neighbors.

I had an affair. It was one of those things I didn't think myself capable of until after the affair had already started. I put cheaters in a totally separate class of beings, like murderers and rapists. And now, I was in that category. Holy Gods, I thought. I'm a bad person!! People, even people with low self-esteem, usually have some regard for themselves. They care about their own survival and usually believe that they are worthy of some degree of basic respect. In that moment, that left me. Just like that, all of my worth was gone. I was lower than a dog.THAT was what set me crying. I realized I'd lost my humanity. I'm close to tears even now, remembering what that felt like.

I remember thinking, "There's a knife on the kitchen table. As soon as she leaves the room, I'm going to shove that knife into my chest."


In order to cope with that, I have since taken up the mantle of love the sinner and hate the sin, because if I hadn't I would no longer place any value on myself as a human being. I learned to look at even the most heinous people on the face of this rock and say, "Yes, it's horrible that they murdered 20 people and they definitely should NOT have done that. Even so, there is a human with a story behind that mugshot. I wonder what made him feel, in that moment, like murder was okay?" I now give every human being a basic level of value, no matter how I feel about them or what they have done. Even my abuser, with whom I happened to have had the affair. It's probably rationalizing, but if I didn't rationalize and find some way to allow myself to have value and dignity, I wouldn't be able to even try to accept my husband's forgiveness, and I'd probably kill myself.
Once again I would like to point out that all your thinking was about yourself. No, what did I just do to my spouse.

In this sense you fit in the pattern of most WSs. This is precisly the point @Affaircare was making about them.
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post #98 of 243 (permalink) Old 02-27-2017, 10:08 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Sympathy for The Devil- Wayward Spouses and Compassion

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Once again I would like to point out that all your thinking was about yourself. No, what did I just do to my spouse.

In this sense you fit in the pattern of most WSs. This is precisly the point @Affaircare was making about them.
Not going to deny it, it's true. I think of myself first, and others after the fact. I am still capable, however, of putting myself aside temporarily if I see that someone else (like my BH) needs me. I know how to give romantic gestures, sweet words, lavish dates, and all sorts of other things that say, "I'm thinking of you". That makes him very happy, and when I see the look in his eyes I am inclined to think that my efforts, the things I already know how to do, are enough.

Yet you say it's not. It is VERY difficult for me to put aside my own emotions when I'm hurting, in order to console someone else who is also hurting. I'm more than willing to do it, when I think of it. But it somehow doesn't occur to me to think of it! Every single time you post and ask me to empathize with my husband over my infidelity, it always takes me by surprise, even though you've said it a lot! I honestly do WANT to think of him first, in more ways than just planning dates, giving cuddles, and writing love notes. I just don't for some reason. It just falls out of my brain, like I've got some kind of selective memory impediment. It's not that I'm ignoring his side of the story intentionally; I just forget!


I'd like to say I know what he felt when he found out about my affair, but I don't. My best guess is "miserable, probably." My husband doesn't tend to talk about his feelings a ton. Even when I asked him how the affair made him feel, and how I could help, he said, "I don't know. It's over now. It's in the past."

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post #99 of 243 (permalink) Old 02-27-2017, 11:14 PM
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Sympathy for The Devil- Wayward Spouses and Compassion

I've been reading this new thread and find it very fascinating. I feel like I understand where you are coming from @EllaSuaveterre and I look forward to reading a bit more in depth.
This last bit of information about not remembering to think first about your BH's feelings is interesting and it got me thinking. Perhaps one of the very problems that WS's have is that very thing, not knowing how to self soothe. Always looking to an experience or another person to make happiness and comfort happen for them. When it begins to wane in the primary relationship the WS looks elsewhere because he/she is so reliant on others to keep them happy/safe/entertained or whatever.
This in itself is an issue that needs to be addressed with inner healing of the emotions and perhaps even ptsd, csa or other forms of past abuse or neglect.

It's not something that often shows itself in a spouse until they have inwardly 'decided' that they aren't going to get their needs met within their current relationship. This in itself is not infidelity, but to a person who relies on others to give them the emotional stability they need it is (unfortunately) an open door to the possibility of infidelity if another person presents themselves in that vulnerable state.

I am in no way saying that the WS is excused from their actions or their withdrawal from the M.
What I AM saying is that the lack of self-care, self awareness and the lack of ability to self-soothe (emotionally speaking) is what lead some people down this path.
Therefore to ignore that they are struggling in this area during R is to only send those tendencies back underground again.

Another book I would recommend @EllaSuaveterre is
Keeping the Love You Find by Harville Hendrix.
It is an older book but it helps identify the gaps in childhood that lead toward wanting the kind of love that isn't always good for you and how to address those gaps and heal.
It would be very good for your next step after you complete the book your going through. (IMHO) It was very helpful in my process of both healing and reconciling.
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post #100 of 243 (permalink) Old 02-27-2017, 11:18 PM
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Re: Sympathy for The Devil- Wayward Spouses and Compassion

I also meant to say, I admire your tenacity to keep posting about this topic. There are WS who do need to hear what you're trying to say. TAM hasn't always felt like a safe place for wayward to pursue healing or express their own perspectives.
And I believe there is more healing for you as well in this journey.

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post #101 of 243 (permalink) Old 02-28-2017, 12:02 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Sympathy for The Devil- Wayward Spouses and Compassion

@tigerlily99 Thank you so much for the input! I'm glad you found my thoughts helpful. I'll certainly look at that book.

Your post actually described what I was trying to say far better than I seem to have said it!


Last edited by EllaSuaveterre; 02-28-2017 at 12:07 AM.
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post #102 of 243 (permalink) Old 02-28-2017, 12:11 AM
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Re: Sympathy for The Devil- Wayward Spouses and Compassion

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Once again I would like to point out that all your thinking was about yourself. No, what did I just do to my spouse.

In this sense you fit in the pattern of most WSs. This is precisely the point @Affaircare was making about them.
Good heavens, @sokillme ! Did you ever get the message! YES this!!

See the real turning point, the TRUE TURNING, is when you look up, the scales fall from your eyes, and you literally SEE the pain in your spouse's face. There are stains from where they've been crying. There are wrinkles from all the worrying. There are bags from night after night of sleepless hell. Something within you shifts when you look at what you have done and SEE IT, and you stop blaming and justifying and saying "Yeah but..." and with defenses down the place in you sees the full hurt in them and you know that YOU DID THAT to another human being!

That is the precipice! But it's also turning for basing everything on "self" and turning your eyes to others. Not 100% trusting or 100% selflessly--that's unhealthy too--but rather, basing love on getting to know the person who took another risk, and basing love on a decision to BE loving (not be loved), and basing love on acting to protect them...even if that means protecting them from you!

Helping couples recover and reconcile after an affair or keep their marriages affair-free at Affaircare.

The 180 * Coping With Infidelity Newbies--Please read this! * Weightlifter's Evidence Gathering Post for Newbies * The Man Up Nice Guy Reference
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post #103 of 243 (permalink) Old 02-28-2017, 12:20 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Sympathy for The Devil- Wayward Spouses and Compassion

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Good heavens, @sokillme ! Did you ever get the message! YES this!!

See the real turning point, the TRUE TURNING, is when you look up, the scales fall from your eyes, and you literally SEE the pain in your spouse's face. There are stains from where they've been crying. There are wrinkles from all the worrying. There are bags from night after night of sleepless hell. Something within you shifts when you look at what you have done and SEE IT, and you stop blaming and justifying and saying "Yeah but..." and with defenses down the place in you sees the full hurt in them and you know that YOU DID THAT to another human being!

That is the precipice! But it's also turning for basing everything on "self" and turning your eyes to others. Not 100% trusting or 100% selflessly--that's unhealthy too--but rather, basing love on getting to know the person who took another risk, and basing love on a decision to BE loving (not be loved), and basing love on acting to protect them...even if that means protecting them from you!
I guess this moment was dampened for me. As I said earlier, my husband cried once, didn't sleep in our apartment while I was in the hospital, and didn't forgive me for some six weeks, which I now know in the grand scheme of things is nothing flat. There were never sleepless nights, except when *I* was suffering flashbacks and nightmares. He never cried afterwards. He was never short-tempered, sullen, or morose. Compared to the stories I've read here, there was very little pain to see, therefore my own epiphany was less about what I did to him and more about who I was, and what I COULD HAVE done to him.

The thing of it is, he didn't seem really all that hurt. Yes, he was for a very short while, but he recovered faster than normal. In the back of my mind, I wonder if he's rugsweeping, and I have the "Things Every Wayward Spouse Needs to Know article saved on my computer just in case he is knocked to the floor with full-blown PTSD some years from now. Every few months or so, though, we'll talk about it when we play "The And", and he'll say he's okay, that he's over it, that he knows I wouldn't cheat again, that he's just glad I didn't get kidnapped and raped. Often, when I watch him sleeping or read posts by other BHs, I do feel a twinge of, for lack of a better phrase, nurturing instinct. I want to go over and hold him, and cuddle him, and tell him I love him and I'm sorry for hurting him 3 years ago. Usually I do. He'll cuddle me back, smiling, and say he forgives me.

But his pain- since there really isn't any- doesn't consume his life or mine. There's nothing nothing from which I must protect him, except for preventing future affairs and trying to manage my precarious mental health. Hence, the focus on self-care.

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post #104 of 243 (permalink) Old 02-28-2017, 12:37 AM
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Re: Sympathy for The Devil- Wayward Spouses and Compassion

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Not going to deny it, it's true. I think of myself first, and others after the fact. I am still capable, however, of putting myself aside temporarily if I see that someone else (like my BH) needs me. I know how to give romantic gestures, sweet words, lavish dates, and all sorts of other things that say, "I'm thinking of you". That makes him very happy, and when I see the look in his eyes I am inclined to think that my efforts, the things I already know how to do, are enough.

Yet you say it's not. It is VERY difficult for me to put aside my own emotions when I'm hurting, in order to console someone else who is also hurting. I'm more than willing to do it, when I think of it. But it somehow doesn't occur to me to think of it! Every single time you post and ask me to empathize with my husband over my infidelity, it always takes me by surprise, even though you've said it a lot! I honestly do WANT to think of him first, in more ways than just planning dates, giving cuddles, and writing love notes. I just don't for some reason. It just falls out of my brain, like I've got some kind of selective memory impediment. It's not that I'm ignoring his side of the story intentionally; I just forget!


I'd like to say I know what he felt when he found out about my affair, but I don't. My best guess is "miserable, probably." My husband doesn't tend to talk about his feelings a ton. Even when I asked him how the affair made him feel, and how I could help, he said, "I don't know. It's over now. It's in the past."
Ella, marriage is giving your life to the person. It's saying I am now living for you. Now of course you should know I don't advice that once you have been abused, but in a normal everyday marital relationship this is what is needed. Your spouse should do the same. Again romance is great it's like desert, but the meat and potatoes is the giving. The forcing yourself with your actions to think, how is this affecting my other half. When you do that you experience a much greater level of intimacy. You both become dependent on each other. This is a different kind of love then you see in romance novels and Disney. It is the kind that make you inseparable. It is the warm blanket kind of love. The concrete kind.

Think about what you just wrote. You had an affair and yet you forget about his side of the story? I think the fact that your husband has taken this so well in the long run has be detrimental to your learning about yourself. That is not a judgement on him but it is the dynamic that you find yourself in. You write a lot about you. This post is about WS as it relates to you.

Now write about the BS, I want you to put yourself in that situation, your a writing major, you should be able to do that. How would you feel if your husband were to do that to you. What healing would you need then.
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post #105 of 243 (permalink) Old 02-28-2017, 12:41 AM
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Re: Sympathy for The Devil- Wayward Spouses and Compassion

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I've been reading this new thread and find it very fascinating. I feel like I understand where you are coming from @EllaSuaveterre and I look forward to reading a bit more in depth.
This last bit of information about not remembering to think first about your BH's feelings is interesting and it got me thinking. Perhaps one of the very problems that WS's have is that very thing, not knowing how to self soothe. Always looking to an experience or another person to make happiness and comfort happen for them. When it begins to wane in the primary relationship the WS looks elsewhere because he/she is so reliant on others to keep them happy/safe/entertained or whatever.
This in itself is an issue that needs to be addressed with inner healing of the emotions and perhaps even ptsd, csa or other forms of past abuse or neglect.

It's not something that often shows itself in a spouse until they have inwardly 'decided' that they aren't going to get their needs met within their current relationship. This in itself is not infidelity, but to a person who relies on others to give them the emotional stability they need it is (unfortunately) an open door to the possibility of infidelity if another person presents themselves in that vulnerable state.
Someone who has these tendencies shouldn't be married. They are too much of a risk. This kind of thinking would be a huge red flag for me.
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