Talk About Marriage banner

Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
430 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Aloha fellow TAM'ers-

Excuses-- Healing- Persistent Wounds

Wondering if you fine folks would share how MC and even IC helped you over time? What has been the most profound thing you learned about yourself and your marriage during MC? How long did your MC last and how did it wind down?


Spouse and I are still attending weekly MC sessions for his online EA and his general computer addiction (Dday Feb 2012) Our MC says that she thinks we are at a point of moving into "forgiveness" but she will still focus on WH and his computer addiction. Less focus on the "vulnerabilities" in the marriage.

Forgivness-----that's a big one right?
One of my biggest hurdles is the excuses he gave. The biggest one being the "I didn't go _looking for it_, it just happened"........ <--- IMHO a car accident just happens, not a affair. When he uses that excuse he is not owning his mistake..... of course he says he takes ownership of what he did but I disagree. When you say it just happened, you are not being honest with yourself. Every day that he logged on, searched for her in the chat room, tex ed her and obsessively checked his computer, he was "looking for it"....... and I feel like until he gets that, then he could fall into repeat pattern territory. Am I wrong here?


Excuses- rationalization-justification- pay no mind to these.....they are not the real reasons but is it safe to say that until the _real_ reasons are uncovered, recovery is at a road block? Did you find that to be true in your experience with MC?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,324 Posts
He wants you to focus on the fact that "it just happened", meaning his initial intent was not to have an affair, because it portrays him in the best possible light. It is important to him for you to know he doesn't consider himself a serial cheater.

He's probably trying to convey that he wasn't initially looking to cheat on you, but wants you to understand that he thinks he owns the fact that he could have made all better choices once the door was opened, and could behave better if given another chance.

Really up to you if that's good enough for you. I don't think it would be for me.

I was in MC for different reasons, but I found that the whole exercise was about my spouse putting up one excuse after another. After a while, even if her excuses were reasonable, I got sick of the exercise and stopped going.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,156 Posts
I'm really not sure if it's helpful. I am the unfaithful wife who had an EA 15 months ago. My BH really wants to understand the 'why' and 'how' and I'm really trying to do that as well.

I did not go looking to initiate a relationship. I had a male colleague, we had numerous platonic work-only conversations. It was a well known fact in our company that my husband did not attend any after hours functions with me at that time (he always did previously).

Conversations became less work, more personal (how are you today, doing anything this weekend?, love those shoes you wore).

Then they become even more personal, talking about our marriages (surprise, neither of us were happy!) and sexual incompatibility. Fast forwarding very quickly to sexual content, photos. We didn't consummate it into a PA (on opposite coasts) but the damage had been done.

I didn't seek it out but I can't say it 'just happened' either. I've had friends of the opposite sex and colleagues that I've even traveled with and NEVER had this happen before. I clearly put myself out there and never once considered how any of this interaction would make my husband feel. I hid my phone, email and kept all of this communication secret which meant I knew I was doing something wrong.

So, now it's about finding out why and what I can do to make sure it doesn't happen again.

As for my husband, I'm not sure if we'll survive this or not. I know neither of us is willing to go back to how our marriage was before but it's unsure if he'll ever be able to really forgive and trust me again as well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,303 Posts
You are right Affairs just don't happen. However the "affair fog" which does much to cloud judgement, rewrite history, and ignore events and situations that lead up to an Affair. Effectively make him stop saying "it just happened" to: " It started with a 'Hi haven't seen you in awhile'. Then we got to talking and to be good friends. I realize now we were getting to close.
The topics getting more personal as we descended deeper into the maelstrom. It got to the point that we were just waiting for someone to take the next step. Waiting for our wills to fail us. But I really don't remember the second it changed. I just remember that once it happened it was like a shot of cocaine. The thrill of it, how wrong it was, made life seem like it was suddenly in color once again.
After awhile once the new wore off the guilt came and started tearing us apart. The friendship was gone. Replaced with a shallow lover with nothing there but the shallow lust that brought us together. My wife is now betrayed and I am stuck into two places emotionally.
I think it was getting caught that started to crack the facade of the new world i can concocted to fit this new thrill in my life. The ugly truth of the way things really happened started to seep out. Turning beauty into guilty and embarrassment. I suddenly found my self alone trying to tear out this new shallow addiction to this woman I really barely knew. Then trying to explain how things started when I really couldn't remember myself. I just found myself alone in a whole new world different from my marriage, and the affair, and it was it very lonely. I wish I had not made the mistakes I had. Or I would be at home. With my kids, happy, content, and secure and not in this apartment all alone. I am sorry."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
430 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Badbane- *Wow*, thanks for sharing, that was really emotional and intense.

----->I suddenly found my self alone trying to tear out this new shallow addiction to this woman I really barely knew. Then trying to explain how things started when I really couldn't remember myself. I just found myself alone in a whole new world different from my marriage, and the affair, and it was it very lonely. I wish I had not made the mistakes I had. Or I would be at home. With my kids, happy, content, and secure and not in this apartment all alone. I am sorry." <----- Right there, ouch.

I understand the chemicals that take over the brain during infatuation. It's powerful and hypnotic..... I almost feel like many of us could "imagine" how that feels. We remember we all had those passions during our own courtships through various relationships in our lives. The intensity is other worldly. We feel to our deepest core....... I think everyone would love to feel that alive again but at what cost???

Badbane---did you dig into yourself and try to find what was missing in your life......what did you like about yourself in the affair that you didn't have in your marriage? How were you reflected back?

I think we BS always focus on what the AP "had" that was so enticing when I really feel it's what did the WS set free within during that time?

Are you in IC to see what was under it all?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,426 Posts
Well no MC or IC for my wife and me or either of us as a couple so I'm a little outside of your question. We put in the work though together to sort through it all, it took the better part of two years and we still discuss it all periodically.

Being the cheater I get both sides of this. "I didn't go looking for it" is probably a legit answer - at least as regards how it started. Example, I didn't wake up one day and decide to pursue an affair. I didn't wake up and decide to go look up my old HS girlfriend on facebook, she found me. So that possibly adds up. I certainly continued looking for it though once it found me.

As far as "it just happened" you're right. It didn't just happen but it likely feels that way to him. Until he understands that it didn't just happen he still has work to do. That doesn't mean that he's going to have an epiphany and suddenly be able to give you an explanation that makes rational and logical sense, that explanation will likely never come. Sometimes it's just hard to explain stupid. It does mean that he needs to get to where he can accept and admit that he did it, that it wasn't an accident, and he understands what in him allowed him to cheat. It's hard work but the answers are there inside him.

I wouldn't say recovery is at a road block until the answers are discovered as long as effort is being put into finding them and progress, however slow, is being made. Recovery/reconciliation is a process and this is very much part of it. If no effort is being made or all progress has stopped and noting is being done to push forward then I would say recovery is at a road block.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
430 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
I saw this quote from Dr. Shirley Glass in the healing library and it resonates with me.



Sometimes there is an over-functioning spouse and an under-functioning spouse. One partner takes on a lot of responsibility—and then resents it. The more a person puts energy into something and tries to work on it, the more committed to the relationship that person is. The other partner, who is only semi-involved in the relationship, is freer to get involved in an affair, because they’re not as connected to the marriage. This is interesting because the popular notion is that the person who has the affair wasn’t getting enough at home. The reality is that they weren’t giving enough at home.


Q. How do you handle that? Dr.G. In rebuilding that relationship, more equity has to be created. The issue isn’t what can the betrayed spouse do to make the partner happy—it’s what can the unfaithful spouse do to make their partner happy. In research and in practice, my colleague Tom Wright, Ph.D., and I have observed that when you compare who does more, who is more understanding, who is more romantic, who enjoys sex more—the affair is almost always more equitable than the marriage. Usually, the person was giving more—more time, more attention, more compliments—in the affair than in the marriage. If they can come back and invest in the marriage what they were doing in the affair, then they’ll feel more. There is some research showing that people are more satisfied in equitable relationships. When relationships are not equitable, even the over-benefitted partners are not as satisfied as those in equitable relationships. Certainly the under-benefited partners are not satisfied. Q. You seem to be constantly reversing the conventional wisdom about affairs.


Sigma-Was there a reason you never sought counseling?? How were you both able to handle all the issues? What were your methods of healing?

You mentioned progress---- something I struggle with internally is
_Am I happier than before the discovery?_ He is certainly happier, all his needs are being met yet I still feel really lonely. One of our biggest issues is his inability to communicate. His nature is solitary and computer driven.......so in a nutshell, the guy doesn't talk much and doesn't "need" to listen to people talk much. That part of him has not improved and I still find myself feeling as empty in that regard.....even with all the tools that we have learned....he "forgets" he needs to do his part as well.

Hope that paragraph made sense........
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,979 Posts
"it just happened" is obviously a distancing mechanism.

Here's a question for you--do many things "just happen" to him?

For example, my husband used to rarely admit he was late because he LEFT late. No, it's because there was so much traffic, the road was closed for construction, the weather was bad, etc. etc. It's taken YEARS before he's interalized that people who are on time to things have a cushion of time that (usually) prevents them from being late. Yes, sometimes they show up early, but many times they needed that cushion just to arrive exactly on time. (But, unfortunately, he hates being early even more than being late, so he hasn't changed in this regard ;) .)

Externalizing fault is a narcissistic trait. I don't mean that your husband has NPD, but it is a trait of people with narcissistic tendencies. Meanwhile, of course, other people take on TOO MUCH blame, including taking blame for the actions of other people that were quite beyond their control.

This not an attack on cheaters--I'm just blandly discussing externalizing fault as a generalized psychological issue, quite apart from cheating.

Separately--in some cases--I think when we do something really horrible and hurtful, we can "dissociate" from it as a psychological protective mechanism. You picture yourself standing outside of yourself doing something that is wrong. It is a way of shielding the mind from mental breakdown--true, full admission of guilt would be so appalling that some people simply couldn't handle it. (Other people can handle it just fine--but these people lack consciences, they are sociopaths and completely lack empathy. But you would see that the lack empathy for nearly everyone, not just for you.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,214 Posts
Excuses- rationalization-justification- pay no mind to these.....they are not the real reasons but is it safe to say that until the _real_ reasons are uncovered, recovery is at a road block? Did you find that to be true in your experience with MC?
"...Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus, and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs and peep about
To find ourselves dishonorable graves.

Men at some time are masters of their fates.
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars
But in ourselves, that we are underlings
....."

Julius Ceasar. Act 1 Scene 2.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,979 Posts
I saw this quote from Dr. Shirley Glass in the healing library and it resonates with me.



Sometimes there is an over-functioning spouse and an under-functioning spouse. One partner takes on a lot of responsibility—and then resents it. The more a person puts energy into something and tries to work on it, the more committed to the relationship that person is. The other partner, who is only semi-involved in the relationship, is freer to get involved in an affair, because they’re not as connected to the marriage. This is interesting because the popular notion is that the person who has the affair wasn’t getting enough at home. The reality is that they weren’t giving enough at home.


Q. How do you handle that? Dr.G. In rebuilding that relationship, more equity has to be created. The issue isn’t what can the betrayed spouse do to make the partner happy—it’s what can the unfaithful spouse do to make their partner happy. In research and in practice, my colleague Tom Wright, Ph.D., and I have observed that when you compare who does more, who is more understanding, who is more romantic, who enjoys sex more—the affair is almost always more equitable than the marriage. Usually, the person was giving more—more time, more attention, more compliments—in the affair than in the marriage. If they can come back and invest in the marriage what they were doing in the affair, then they’ll feel more. There is some research showing that people are more satisfied in equitable relationships. When relationships are not equitable, even the over-benefitted partners are not as satisfied as those in equitable relationships. Certainly the under-benefited partners are not satisfied. Q. You seem to be constantly reversing the conventional wisdom about affairs.
Sara8 liked to quote this and refer to this a lot. I think it's important to point out this isn't the case 100% of the time. It's just that in her research, Dr. Glass uncovered the fact that it's a pure myth that the loyal spouse was somehow always at fault for deficiencies in the marriage.

I can safely say these passage didn't apply to our marriage, for example. I was not the spouse giving extra. Just was not!

But this is one of those things that bugs me--black and whiteness. The irony is, that there are plenty of people 100% convinced that the loyal spouse was at least partially at fault, as there are people convinced of the opposite. Like all things human, the answer lies in between--some marriages were one way, and other marriages another way. It's not a one-size-fits-all issue.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,426 Posts
We resolved together to try to work through it ourselves first and if we couldn't get there either as a couple or individually we would then pursue counseling. Honestly we did a good job of it. My wife was absolutely super about telling me how and what she felt, even when what I was telling her was killing her, and not showing me the emotions. After the first week post D Day I don't think she ever once broke down uncontrollably, or lashed out at me in anger. She would tell me how she felt but she managed to explain it without beating me up or making me feel guilty. For my part I was (still am) really good about being willing to talk about it all. I confessed everything on D Day so I had nothing to hold back or hide. I knew that progress depended on her feeling comfortable that she knew it all and that I would never do this to her again so I talked. I talked every time she wanted to, answered every question gladly. I actually liked talking about it because when we were talking I knew she was still invested in our marriage. If she had stopped engaging me it would have been a bad sign indicating she was checking out.

As far as your H and his inclination not to talk, this hits home for me. I was the same way. My wife and I both just assumed I didn't need much in that department either. Until my EA when I just chatted and communicated like canary with my OW. It surprised both of us to realize that I really did need a connection and communication like that. So when we realized it we started building it between us. We had it in the past and over years and kids it had just waned, we took each other fore granted. So now I work at making sure I communicate with my wife. When I get home from work and want to go veg in my chair and watch the news for a while I don't. I go in the kitchen sit down and talk to my wife. We could both easily fall back into our old patterns of living around each other. We both love what we have recreated now so we make sure we don't let that happen. Just like what you quoted in red, your H needs to make sure he is meeting your needs so you can better meet his. It may well take him out of his comfort zone, but presumably you're both already out of your comfort zones dealing with the infidelity so he might as well step out a little further and accomplish something right??
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,426 Posts
Separately--in some cases--I think when we do something really horrible and hurtful, we can "dissociate" from it as a psychological protective mechanism. You picture yourself standing outside of yourself doing something that is wrong. It is a way of shielding the mind from mental breakdown--true, full admission of guilt would be so appalling that some people simply couldn't handle it. (Other people can handle it just fine--but these people lack consciences, they are sociopaths and completely lack empathy. But you would see that the lack empathy for nearly everyone, not just for you.)
This is interesting. You're absolutely right about disassociation, and the impact of a full admission of guilt. IMO this is one of the reasons so many cheaters start lying their ass off when confronted. They simply cannot face what they have done and their mind starts creating any path out of the chaos it can find to avoid hitting the wall of reality in front of them. Then once the crisis abates and they realize they have just dug the hole deeper by lying about it they can't face that and turn back to their AP for a feel good fix because let's fact it, at that point reality for the cheater sucks.

I do think there's another alternative for being able to handle a full admission. I don't think you have to be a sociopath or have no empathy. Once my EA blew up I gave a full admission. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life but I knew lies would be worse. I stepped up and ate the bullet, I owned what I had created because I knew it was the best thing I could do for my wife at that point. I had created this mess and I owed her the best and most direct path out of it regardless of how hard it was for me to give it to her.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
430 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
That's true---- somewhere in between is more accurate and uneducated about marriage in general.

My focus has shifted from looking at the past so much ...but really trying to understand this pain I'm in. Struggling with it in counseling...... I've got the tools, I have a understanding of human nature, the infatuation, the motives, the what, why and why come.........and I understand that I will never have all the puzzle pieces.............there are no easy answers and quick fixes.......I'm fearful that this uncertainty is my new best friend. I'm trying to focus on my healing....... now I have been cheated on in my first marriage but I didn't have to reconcile....that marriage ended..that was a goodbye pain a finite ending healing. Reconciling is a whole new rodeo for me and I'm dancing like a mad woman.

Counseling is great, I love going.....I especially love IC....it's the one hour in my day where I can really let go......and scary because the reality is that my spouse for whatever reason checked out.....and that's a scary and can I be honest here....I'm jealous!!!

I wanted a passionate swept away can't get enough of life and you butterflies in my stomach kind of love, but with HIM.


*Iheartlife*** Yes, he is very much the type of person who blames the world for everything. He does have a bit of narcissism in him but predominately he is just a selfish person in most ways. Only child syndrome combined with social anxiety and solitary nature = big hit at dinner parties eh? :) He's getting much better and counseling his helping him in many regards.

I am a very punctual person, I hate being late so I always pad my day to get there on time.

I suppose I keep thinking- should I feel better by now?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
430 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Sigma****I do think there's another alternative for being able to handle a full admission. I don't think you have to be a sociopath or have no empathy. Once my EA blew up I gave a full admission. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life but I knew lies would be worse. I stepped up and ate the bullet, I owned what I had created because I knew it was the best thing I could do for my wife at that point. I had created this mess and I owed her the best and most direct path out of it regardless of how hard it was for me to give it to her. ******

My spouse did the same but leaning more towards leaving for her...... once he realized how stupid that was and wanted to come home, he would tell me things but only if I asked which is NORMAL for him, he has been that way our whole marriage. Once the shock of it wore off....he became more willing to talk if I brought it up but scared at the same time. He is still afraid that talking about it will make me leave.

If the subject comes up or he sees me having a down day..I sense him clam up.

Last week he told me that some days the "memory" of the affair will pop in his head and he views it as a nuisance but that it haunts him for most of the day.....he doesn't like to share that with me because he said, "I know where I want to be and what I need to do and I don't want you to think that it means I long for the affair"

I find it very helpful in my healing when he actually brings up the subject instead of skirting it. We've had a few friends go through something similar and it's been a relief when he actually dives into the subject. It's in a way acknowledging my pain????
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,979 Posts
I do think there's another alternative for being able to handle a full admission. I don't think you have to be a sociopath or have no empathy. Once my EA blew up I gave a full admission. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life but I knew lies would be worse. I stepped up and ate the bullet, I owned what I had created because I knew it was the best thing I could do for my wife at that point. I had created this mess and I owed her the best and most direct path out of it regardless of how hard it was for me to give it to her.
Yes, I certainly don't mean to imply you have to be a sociopath to "own" what you did!

I just meant that a sociopath can own it without any difficulties because they have no pain or guilt associated with their choices. So they can talk about the evil they did like we discuss going about our daily business.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
430 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
TSCReadhead *So, now it's about finding out why and what I can do to make sure it doesn't happen again. *

How are you coming along in your quest to find out and prevent in the future? If you don't mind me asking.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,156 Posts
TSCReadhead *So, now it's about finding out why and what I can do to make sure it doesn't happen again. *

How are you coming along in your quest to find out and prevent in the future? If you don't mind me asking.
I don't mind you asking. I wish I had some clear answers. We're only a few weeks in to counseling at t his point.

I know that I bear a lion share of responsibility in where things went wrong. I felt alone, lonely and resentful of my husband. I did not seek him out to hash these things out and fix them. Why? That's the Million Dollar Question.

So far, our MC is helping us to realize how far we've really grown apart during the past 4 years. We both made mistakes and decisions which increased that divide and we've both borne a lot of resentment to each other. You know it's bad when you're weekly assignment is to 'spend time every day talking to each other' and you've only completed that 3 times in the week.

The good news is that it is progress. I know that a lot of the discussions are painful but necessary for us to understand what the other is feeling. Will it end successfully? My answer definitely varies. Today, it's yes. Friday, it was no.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,287 Posts
I tried IC - 4 sessions actually. Made me worse off than what I was prior to IC.

Quite frankly, why the fluck should I go to counseling when he was the one who chose to have an EA and said "it just happened" (yeah I got that one too). Counseling just isn't for me at all...

I know for a fact that for him, his EA was about an ego stroke (pun intended) and our relationship was perfectly fine. In fact there were no real issues just every day stuff that any couple faces in LTR. No denial of sex, always communicated well (that's a laugh isn't it at least communicated well until he chose to stop communicating everything), never really fought, had our tiffs but never fought...

It completely blindsided me... and "it just happened" My ass it just happened...I think I'm having an off day today...
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top