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Author Topic: My Story Continued adventures without Harold Hill

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My Story Continued adventures without Harold Hill
#20: March 29, 2021, 02:21:04 PM
He took some lower level positions and eventually started his own business. So, now that work really couldn't be the source of his misery, it is me.

This sounds almost like he doesn't believe he deserves to be happy, and is engaging in some kind of self-punishment.  Some people can't stand happiness because it brings out all of their inner shame.  It sounds like you may have found such a person.

My H was one of those fun/funny guys with a lot of darkness underneath.  He responds primarily to things that are amusing or fun, but doesn't like to engage on more serious matters.  I sense in hindsight that OW offered a lot of obligation-free fun -- the kind that comes without the burden of thinking of the children, of having a spouse who rolls her eyes when she sees what you've spent, and of having a spouse who sometimes wants to sit down and have a serious conversation about where things stand.  None of those were his bag.  I wonder -- now especially with his job situation very fluid -- if things still feel as carefree with OW.  I know enough to realize that his finances are a wreck, but at least in that case, it's both of them who made the mess, so no one is pointing fingers. 

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"One day you will tell your story of how you overcame what you went through and it will become someone else's survival guide."  -- Brene Brown

Me - 62
H - 62
Married 1984
OW - 2013 or earlier
BD - 2013
Divorced 2014
Married OW 2016

3 kids
S - 24
D - 32
S - 34

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Continued adventures without Harold Hill
#21: March 29, 2021, 10:59:08 PM
You know, Marian, I have a feeling that my H was also one of those fun guys with darkness, or perhaps sadness/emptiness, underneath.  What you say about him responding primarily to things that are amusing or fun, but not liking to engage on more serious matters, resonates.  I think all of the OWs that my H has gone through, including the current one, offered that obligation-free fun, at least for a while, and perhaps offered him the chance to play the hero by doing good deeds, but not having the ultimate responsibility for anything.

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#22: March 30, 2021, 03:06:49 PM
You know, Marian, I have a feeling that my H was also one of those fun guys with darkness, or perhaps sadness/emptiness, underneath.  What you say about him responding primarily to things that are amusing or fun, but not liking to engage on more serious matters, resonates.  I think all of the OWs that my H has gone through, including the current one, offered that obligation-free fun, at least for a while, and perhaps offered him the chance to play the hero by doing good deeds, but not having the ultimate responsibility for anything.

It's very hard to have a relationship with such people because you can never really solve a problem that requires a serious conversation.  When the relationship with OW starts, there's so much chemistry that serious conversation isn't really necessary, and quite frankly, none of the parties involved are really interested in discussing the nuts and bolts of compatibility.   I think that's why the affair relationship is so often doomed -- no one really stops to consider how they will actually make things work in a stark reality.

I have allowed myself to indulge in a bit of schadenfreude as of late, when the pandemic brought H and OW many practical problems to deal with.  If H indeed has lost his job for good (which I haven't been able to confirm) then OW will be dealing with a very challenging scenario that she likely did not ever envision for herself.  Her gooey sappy stuff about how "blessed" she is may not be enough to carry her through it without some degree of resentment.  I made it through many of those same challenges and then some in the early years of our marriage.  She wanted it so badly, and now she has it. 
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"One day you will tell your story of how you overcame what you went through and it will become someone else's survival guide."  -- Brene Brown

Me - 62
H - 62
Married 1984
OW - 2013 or earlier
BD - 2013
Divorced 2014
Married OW 2016

3 kids
S - 24
D - 32
S - 34

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Continued adventures without Harold Hill
#23: April 06, 2021, 06:52:09 PM
Hi Marian, I wanted to suggest a website called Guy Counselling Stuff-Midlife Crisis. It is a good resource I have deemed accurate regarding midlife crisis. It has brought me comfort and seems to have experience about this phenomenon. Perhaps you will find it useful.
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#24: April 08, 2021, 02:01:05 PM
Thanks, I'll take a look at that.

The past couple weeks I found myself reading the biography of a favorite actor I watched growing up.  I didn't know much about his later years, but it turned out he had a serious MLC, and his family knew it and labeled it as such.  It was fascinating to see the patterns revealed in a situation so removed from me, and by a biographer who couldn't have known the events were practically following a script.  I had to chuckle a bit when I read the parts about how his friends were all puzzled about how he'd disappear and then come back to his wife and want to see her off and on, sometimes staying for months, sometimes for weeks.  Everyone said it seemed like he still loved her, but he just couldn't figure out how to fix what was going wrong.  Check, check, and check . . .

He seemed to be reaching the end of his crisis and wanting to come home again when he finally passed away.   The sad thing is, at one point he had a serious moment of clarity about what he had done, and was literally reduced to tears.  He just didn't get his act back together in time.   I Googled the other woman -- an actress much younger than him -- and found that long after his death, she's still spreading lies all over the Internet about how awful his wife was and how the OW is really his one true love.  Some patterns, it seems, are just inescapable.  It's funny how once you see it, once you really get what MLC looks like, you can spot it easily in others.  I'm impressed that his family, even many years ago, fully recognized it and labeled it.  It seems like knowing what it was really helped them get through the pain.

It sometimes seems like these things are uniquely horrible when they show up in our lives, but lots of folks have been down this road.
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"One day you will tell your story of how you overcame what you went through and it will become someone else's survival guide."  -- Brene Brown

Me - 62
H - 62
Married 1984
OW - 2013 or earlier
BD - 2013
Divorced 2014
Married OW 2016

3 kids
S - 24
D - 32
S - 34

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Continued adventures without Harold Hill
#25: April 10, 2021, 09:44:39 PM
Thank you for sharing. I am having a hard time myself. Ex-H BD was more than 3 years ago. He is no longer with OW but a new gf. He has moved thousands of miles away. Our child is leaving the nest in a couple of months to go to another continent, and I am having thoughts of self-harm. So it's important for me to see your stories.

I saw this on a therapy site a while back and feel it applies to our situation. Wonder what you all think.

***

About the only people more dangerous than philandering men going through life with an open fly and romantic damsels going through life in perennial distress, are emotionally retarded men in love. When such men go through a difficult transition in life, they hunker down and ignore all emotions. Their brain chemistry gets depressed, but they don't know how to feel it as depression. Their loved ones try to keep from bothering them, try to keep things calm and serene and isolate them further.

An emotionally retarded man may go for a time without feeling pleasure, pain, or anything else, until a strange woman jerks him back into awareness of something intense enough for him to feel it—perhaps sexual fireworks, or the boyish heroics of rescuing her, or perhaps just fascination with her constantly changing moods and never-ending emotional crises.

With her, he can pull out of his depression briefly, but he sinks back even deeper into it when he is not with her. He is getting addicted to her, but he doesn't know that. He only feels the absence of joy and love and life with his serenely cautious wife and kids, and the awareness of life with this new woman. It doesn't work for him to leave home to be with her, as she too would grow stale and irritating if she were around full time.

What he needs is not a crazier woman to sacrifice his life for, but treatment for his depression. However, since the best home remedies for depression are sex, exercise, joy, and triumph, the dangerous damsel may be providing one or more of them in a big enough dose to make him feel a lot better. He may feel pretty good until he gets the bill, and sees how much of his life and the lives of his loved ones this treatment is costing. Marriages that start this way, stepping over the bodies of loved ones as the giddy couple walks down the aisle, are not likely to last long.
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#26: April 11, 2021, 05:12:20 PM
Thank you for sharing. I am having a hard time myself. Ex-H BD was more than 3 years ago. He is no longer with OW but a new gf. He has moved thousands of miles away. Our child is leaving the nest in a couple of months to go to another continent, and I am having thoughts of self-harm. So it's important for me to see your stories.


Hi sachertorte -- it made me sad to see that you are suffering so much from the absence of your loved ones.  Do you have someone to support you?  Do you have a therapist who can help you make a safety plan?  I've been there and there's no shame in admitting that you need help.  Please reach out to some folks you know in non-virtual life who can support you <3

I think that excerpt you shared is right on.  It rings true for every male I've ever seen go through MLC.  (I've known females, too, but that pattern is a bit trickier to nail down.)  I think it's absolutely true that it's depression that just doesn't look/feel like depression, and the woman becomes the drug.  The problem is that the kind of woman willing to become a drug isn't healthy herself.  Not all of them are bad, but all of them are nursing their own issues.  Some of them are so broken that they will maintain that emotional connection to that man by any means they possibly can, even if it's by stirring up drama.

Before learning about MLC, I had a very strong mental and emotional connection between sex and love.  But since witnessing this phenomenon, I've realized that the OW who step into these situations and believe that jaded husbands loved them are terribly deceived.  The sex is really just a distraction.  Both people are using one another to relieve the pain.
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"One day you will tell your story of how you overcame what you went through and it will become someone else's survival guide."  -- Brene Brown

Me - 62
H - 62
Married 1984
OW - 2013 or earlier
BD - 2013
Divorced 2014
Married OW 2016

3 kids
S - 24
D - 32
S - 34

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Continued adventures without Harold Hill
#27: April 17, 2021, 08:27:29 PM
Thank you so much Marian for all your kind words. I had taken notes of some of your observations a couple months back as I lurk on this forum. I have what I would like to think of as an illuminated Livre de l'heures -- of inspiring wisdom around our common ordeal. You are one of my beacons.

I have taken what you said to heart, and have reached out to a couple of my friends. I know I am valuable -- I just don't always feel it. FOO issues that I shared with my ex.

On some of the issues you have raised, I've collected some tidbits and again wonder if you think they have merit.

a. On the affirages' survival and what happens within them

Here are a couple of examples:

1.
https://forum.marriagebuilders.com/ubbt/ubbthreads.php/topics/766340/re-how-many-ws-have-married-their-op.html#Post766340

The male initiator confessed that there was no trust between him and the affair partner he married.

2.
https://www.steptalk.org/blog/mooma/bm-and-stepsons-got-what-they-wanted-251514
https://www.steptalk.org/blog/mooma/im-getting-my-karma-my-marriage-maybe-over-251042

If you do a search on steptalk.org on "affairs," you can see several affariages that eventually fell apart - including ones that were over twenty-years long. I am sure some do last, but from the admittedly self-selected misery of that forum I deduce none is insulated from the painful reckoning that life-long commitments require.

One striking feature about that forum is how quickly most posters urge someone to divorce. The vagaries of emotion that passes for "happiness" in our contemporary culture is prized above love and family. They also clamor that an affair must be the cause of any coldness or anger on the part of the other spouse.

I saw a particularly incisive comment that may serve to explain this haste to quit on the marriagebuilders forum: "Those whose marriages failed because of affairs do not learn to distrust affairs; they distrust marriages instead."



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« Last Edit: April 17, 2021, 08:42:25 PM by sachertorte »

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#28: April 17, 2021, 08:39:37 PM
On the rewriting of history:

Because of the widespread societal belief in the institution of marriage and the need to respect themselves, the initiator feels he must transfer the blame.
      - The doom of your marriage spells doom for all their future relationships – if such love can die, what guarantee is there that it won’t happen the next time? In fact, none. So if they hold out any hope of happiness in the institution of marriage, according to this belief system, they must rewrite the history of your love by claiming that it was always flawed, or even that it never really existed.

This is especially urgent since almost always there is an alienator waiting in the wings.

       – The inherent assumption here is: love is a commitment unto eternity. The only socially acceptable justification for breaking that commitment is if the beloved no longer deserves it. If you are a good person, why are they leaving you? Therefore you must become bad, otherwise they see themselves as bad.

      LBS: try not to take this too personally and suffer needlessly. Under great distress people lash out and do irrational things. Their pain is so great it’s coming straight from their amygdala – the hurtful things that come out are fight or flight, toddler stuff. They are trying to survive the best they can, given the constraints they face. Think about how horrible it must be for them to concede that the greatest and most meaningful endeavor of their life has been a shell and a sham. What despair that must wreak upon them.
Marian, I find what you said about the neurological response to trauma by returning to an older source of comfort during a difficult youthful transition very helpful. My ex has opted to go back to the country where he lived before we met, in his carefree youth. His girlfriend at the time doesn't fit the bill, since it was her jilting of him that led him to come to my country in the first place. Plus she's married and living in a third country. But we had a lot of life stressors before BD and he now thinks that country would return the hope and security of his young days, I am sure. He has found a girlfriend from that country to make the transition smoother. He has ever been a methodical planner, and I benefitted much from that thoroughness for many years. For that, at least, I am grateful.

I met a woman when I first married who was the alienator in a MLC divorce. The MLCer broke up with her in their twenties, and went back to the Asian country to find her eventually. She complained bitterly that he did not trust her with money and was emotionally aloof. She had terribly low self-esteem and gave her life savings to her abusive family who adhered to the tradition of sacrificing their daughters to the sons' welfare. Now to be fair, I am sure like all relationships there was an upside. However, she was not ever taught to count her blessings or to be secure in love.

I have a terrible suspicion that a lot of daughters of marriages wrecked by affairs go on to become alienators themselves. Some of the stepdaughters on steptalk.org are a wreck. Having children with multiple partners out of wedlock without any financial capacity to do any such thing. Some become MLCers and leave their marriages (I saw this on other forums too.) Angry, hostile, fearful, unable to sustain stable relationships. Their fathers are driven by guilt and try to buy their love or bully them into submission to appease the second wife.

I have had a loving, amicable divorce despite a monstering MLCer, and have hidden my devastation the best I can from our daughter. As God is my witness, I have done what I thought to be impossible in order to shelter her from exactly this destiny. May God and man help me in this.




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« Last Edit: April 17, 2021, 09:04:37 PM by sachertorte »

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#29: May 12, 2021, 01:15:41 PM
Because of the widespread societal belief in the institution of marriage and the need to respect themselves, the initiator feels he must transfer the blame.
      - The doom of your marriage spells doom for all their future relationships – if such love can die, what guarantee is there that it won’t happen the next time? In fact, none. So if they hold out any hope of happiness in the institution of marriage, according to this belief system, they must rewrite the history of your love by claiming that it was always flawed, or even that it never really existed.

This is especially urgent since almost always there is an alienator waiting in the wings.

       – The inherent assumption here is: love is a commitment unto eternity. The only socially acceptable justification for breaking that commitment is if the beloved no longer deserves it. If you are a good person, why are they leaving you? Therefore you must become bad, otherwise they see themselves as bad.


I've had some health issues going on and so haven't posted in a while.  Also, I have literally no idea what H is up to.  None.  Just that he's not dead.  And in times like that, I almost tend to forget about him.  I've had my own concerns to worry about.

I think there's a lot of truth in this statement.  I had never really thought of it this way, that the fundamental concepts of love and marriage are corrupted in the minds of both H and the OW.  OW is on marriage #3, so clearly this is true in her case.  Love ends, and she's had plenty of opportunity to accept this and move on.  Does H wonder if she'll fall out of love with him, too?  On some level, he must.  I have wondered many times why OW even bothered to get married a third time because by that point the vows are a total joke.  "Till death do us part"?  Nah, how about, "Till we get sick of get each other and move on."  If she is honest with herself, she must know this, but if she's mentally ill in some way, she may not.

I've given some consideration, obviously, to why H would stay with her even if the relationship didn't live up to his high expectations.  I think there are a few reasons:

1) H doesn't envision himself as the kind of man who leaves women.  The notion of planning and executing such a thing due to unhappiness is not in the scope of his thinking or worldview.  He sees leaving me as a thing that happened TO him, not that he caused.  He doesn't have the courage to cause such a thing to happen to OW because then he really would have to reckon with what he's become.  Unless an exit opportunity falls on him from the sky, he's unlikely to admit his misery to himself.   "I had no choice" is the narrative he tells himself about OW.   If social media is any indication, H is clinging desperately to his self-image as a family man.  OW (whose social media I intentionally avoid) seems to have the same mentality.  They're people who are all about their families, and what they did was just, well, happenstance.

 2)  I don't know, but I suspect, that their relationship is actually quite insecure, as you point out.  OW may be personality disordered and volatile enough to keep H hooked.  Anyone who's read about classical conditioning has probably also read that intermittent reinforcement is the most powerful.  That means that if OW is unpredictable with her affections, that will keep H feeling the initial limerence for longer and wanting to please her.  If she's a narcissist and the "golden period" has ended, he's likely striving to get that back, believing fully that he can if he works hard enough.   As I've mentioned before, I had read a lot of Internet advice that indicated that people were unlikely to marry affair partners, and then much to my horror, H did shortly after our divorce.  At the time this cut to the quick and I felt like he really must love her.  But in hindsight I wonder if it had more to do with securing an unstable relationship and his fear that she would leave him.  I suspect -- but don't know for sure -- that she dumped him at one point while they were dating and shook him up pretty badly.  Of course, then, he'd want to make things official to make sure that wouldn't happen again.

All of this is speculation, of course.  Like I said, I kind of forget about him for a while, and then after a bit of silence, come around to wondering what he's up to.  Not knowing makes it easier, really, because there's nothing to fuel my interest and I find that I just naturally move on to other concerns.  I could get used to this.
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"One day you will tell your story of how you overcame what you went through and it will become someone else's survival guide."  -- Brene Brown

Me - 62
H - 62
Married 1984
OW - 2013 or earlier
BD - 2013
Divorced 2014
Married OW 2016

3 kids
S - 24
D - 32
S - 34

 

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