Skip to main content

Author Topic: My Story Steady as she goes...

C
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 692
  • Gender: Female
My Story Steady as she goes...
OP: March 03, 2021, 10:49:46 PM
Previous thread:

https://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=11657.0;all

Third thread’s a charm? Nope, I’m not referring to reconnection - my goal is for this to be the thread where I get to a place of real, healthy detachment. I feel like I have come a long way toward that place, despite the challenges of a relatively close clinger and being the owner of an overly analytical personality.

From my last thread, my W’s rental place has been month to month. Her landlord was asking her about April and she decided she doesn’t want to be there anymore. I had some idea that she was considering other places, so I asked her what she wanted to do, and she said she wanted to come home. So it appears that sometime later this month, she will be moving back home.

I have no indication that this is the beginning of reconnection or even really a touch and go; in my mind it’s more like she’s going to become a live-in MLCer once again. As for boundaries... yes, no OW while living here. I will have to figure out what the rest will look like. The fact is, she’s here probably 6 days a week, from the time she gets ready for her day until it’s time to get ready for bed. She has meals here, she brings her kitten here. She helps out in the kitchen and with pet care. So I know a lot of live-in MLCers live almost separate lives, but she hasn’t been doing that these past couple of months so I would have to re-assess if she becomes dismissive or disrespectful.

Most importantly, I am truly in a place of no expectations. In my mind, nothing has changed except that she will be sleeping here. But I’ve changed. I’m not observing her or trying to read her mood or letting her mood affect mine. I’m living my life on my terms, and there’s room if she wants to join me at some point. If she does, I’ll want to know she’s in it for real - no sliding back into old habits and assuming it’s all okay. And if she doesn’t decide to walk alongside me, it’ll be her loss because my path is a pretty awesome one and it makes me happy - but no judgment, because she needs to walk the path that makes her happy.

So as thread 3 begins, that’s where I am. My posting had slowed because not much was happening and I was mostly feeling pretty content in my life. Things might pick up now that she is (supposedly - I will believe it when it happens) moving back into our home. But I think I’m prepared for it. And reasonable timing, too, as the one-year anniversary of BD1 is in about 10 days. With any luck, this thread will be like paint drying. But I welcome any input, wisdom, advice, questions, 2x4s... it’s all greatly appreciated.
  • Logged

  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 11324
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#1: March 03, 2021, 11:05:34 PM
Well, that's an interesting turn of events, Curiosity.
And you sound calm, steady and realistic.

There are others here who can talk from their own experience of a live in or a returner better than me, so I hope they will swing by. My only thought from the cheap seats is that there is probably an awkward balance between sensible 'no expectations' and reasonable adult expectations of someone who lives with you in a way that is not self centred cake eating lol. But I am sure you will figure this out for yourself as you go  :)
  • Logged
T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.
Healing and growing found here https://littleplotbythesea.wordpress.com

"Option A is not available so I need to kick the s**t out of Option B" Sheryl Sandberg

  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 11270
  • Gender: Male
  • You can't please everyone. You are NOT a pizza!
Steady as she goes...
#2: March 03, 2021, 11:55:35 PM
Following along but no "words of wisdom" from me as my MLC'er is history and I have grown forward in my own life...
  • Logged
Me - 58, xW - 50
Together 19 years - Married 17 at separation & 21 at D-Day
S - 14, D - 10
2 Dogs
BD#1 - August 2015
Atomic BD - 13 Dec 2015
House sold & separated - Mar 2016
Divorce final 30 August 2019

Survival Instructions for Newbies
Site Map
 
A "friend" will not "stand by you" no matter what you do. That is NOT a friend. That is an enabler. That is an accomplice.
A REAL friend will sit you down and tell you to your face to stop being a firetrucking idiot before you ruin your life and the lives of those around you.

  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2956
  • Gender: Female
  • Time is a Gift! 🎁
Steady as she goes...
#3: March 04, 2021, 05:41:23 PM
Attaching
  • Logged
Survival Instructions for Newbies

The Apology Every LBS Deserves

My Journey

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass - it's about learning to dance in the rain."

"Don't become a container for bitterness.  It's a toxin that destroys what it's carried in."

F
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 776
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#4: March 06, 2021, 04:03:48 PM
Attaching
  • Logged
M 48
H 41
No Kids
Married 5yrs, Together 11yrs
BD Oct 31/17
ILYBINILWY Dec 21/17
2nd BD- Dec 27/17
OW-Confirmed Jan 3/18

 Isaiah 43:1 " But the Lord says.. Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. "

"It's ok to be scared. Being scared means you're about to do something really, really brave." Anonymous

  • *
  • Trial Subscriber
  • Full Member
  • Posts: 220
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#5: March 07, 2021, 02:34:57 PM
You sound very calm. Mine also wanted to move in but I refused as I am not ready. Following along
  • Logged
Me 45
H    48
Married 13 yrs no kids
BD May 2019 (I moved out Nov 2019)
EA or PA with ex gf (not sure), H spent 3 nights with the hoe during our vacation in July 2019, it was a friendly encounter according to H
H wanted D April 2020 but didn’t file it
Contact never stopped, H now wants to reconcile
Me not sure

C
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 692
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#6: March 07, 2021, 04:54:58 PM
We'll see how it goes... and I'm not assuming that it is definitely going to happen (most likely, yes, just because she is unlikely to have made other arrangements for when her lease runs out at the current rental at the end of the month). Basically, since we had that conversation, she has been a little more communicative - nothing about the relationship, of course, but just more likely to reach out for small talk via text when she's at her rental, and more likely to ask me to join her for coffee or to sit on the couch together when she's here and we both have a bit of free time. Still... the one night she stayed over, she had trouble sleeping and apparently clenched her jaw during the night; and if we are both taking a nap, she struggles a bit to get to sleep. So she seems to have some underlying anxiety around sharing a room, and I don't know what that will mean for her staying here long term. During the waking hours, though, she is clearly looking to spend more time in my company - plus, there are a few incidental touches here and there, and she always gives me a hug when going back to her rental - not a quick, one-armed hug but a real one. For a while, on the days she wasn't here for work, I wouldn't necessarily hear from her at all, and that really doesn't happen anymore - plus, some of her admin-type work could be done at her rental place and she chooses to come here to do it. So in summary, I would say that our interactions and her comfort in our home are moving in a positive direction at the moment, but there is absolutely nothing I would interpret as a sign of her definitely wanting to reconnect or reconcile or anything at all like that. I am enjoying the positive interactions for what they are, keeping my expectations at zero, and keeping any thoughts of relationship discussion way, way out of my mind.

I have heard it said here that the ones who return, always come home too soon and they're not done baking yet. I think that's very likely to be true in my case too - even if this is more midlife transition than crisis, we are only a year out from BD1 and that's pretty quick, especially for a wallower. I believe that I am mentally and emotionally prepared for the constant presence, mostly because it's been nearly constant for the last month or so as it is. However, there's a big difference between having her here all day, 5-6 days a week, but sleeping elsewhere - and having her living and working here all the time. I am definitely going to be mindful of taking time for myself - getting out of the house at times, making sure to meditate, focusing on my writing and other hobbies more. I am also prepared for the possibility - maybe even likelihood - that she will be here for a while and then decide she needs space again, and that's okay. I guess I won't know how I actually feel about it until or unless it happens, but as a theoretical, I believe I will be as okay as I am with this whole thing.

Lest anyone think I am somehow avoiding the underlying issues or denying the effects her MLC has had and continues to have on me, I'm not. I do acknowledge and accept that she betrayed me (emotionally, if not sexually), she abandoned me and our marriage and our home and pets and life, she has lied to me (at least by omission), she has gaslighted me (and probably herself, too), she has emotionally traumatized me. I acknowledge and accept that these things are real and true. I also accept that it is very likely that I will never know why she did these things, and there's a good chance she won't ever really understand it. And I don't love that, but it's the way things go - the most I will likely get (and there's absolutely no guarantee of it) is some sort of genuine apology and amends. And it's entirely possible that what I will get is a touch and go, with her moving out, seeking an OW, and cycling away from me again. She's not reconnecting - she's not ready for that and there's no guarantee that she ever will be. But part of the decision to stand is the acceptance that the MLCer will be on a roller coaster throughout this entire process, and this past year (especially the 7-8 months since I discovered this forum) has taught me a lot about strength and detachment, and I have learned a lot about my own self-worth and what I bring to a relationship. And I think that will serve me well during this next phase.
  • Logged

  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2175
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#7: March 07, 2021, 05:07:36 PM
Curiosity -
As you are aware, self care is so important.
This will be an emotionally tumultuous time for you as she starts moving forward with moving back in (if it happens, as you say).
Be kind to yourself.

Most MLCers never give an apology, until they are out of their fog and on the far end of healing, from what I understand. 
Basically what I"m saying, is don't expect it especially in the near future.

Good luck during this changing time.

Sea
  • Logged

C
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 692
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#8: March 08, 2021, 01:26:33 PM
I don’t think there is such a thing as too many reminders about the importance of self-care. Same with “no expectations.” Especially on days where she makes it really easy to have expectations...

With the CDC releasing guidance for fully vaccinated people, we are making plans to meet a friend for outdoor dining - W, MIL, myself, and this friend. W and I walked around in the yard this afternoon celebrating the blossoms on our fruit trees and looking forward to our next batches of lemons and apricots, and our first batch of limes. We talked about how nice it would be to take a real vacation when conditions allow it. And she has been shopping online for replacement furniture for our den, so we took measurements to see whether the sizes would work. So very easy to let the mind drift into future planning from there. But I’m not - the fact is, a vacation would be nice and I will take one when I can safely do so, regardless of what happens with her. The fruit harvest will be lovely regardless of who is here to enjoy it. The furniture will be a good fit for the room regardless of whether it’s our shared furniture or not. So I can have those conversations and not turn it into an assumption that somehow everything will work out between us.

Since we had the initial conversation about her moving back in when her rental agreement is up, we haven’t have any further discussion about it at all - not even a mention. And I think that’s good. So much of what I have seen here is that whether it’s a touch and go or a reconnection effort, they are often like scared kittens - best to stand back a little and let them explore the space on their own terms rather than approaching them. And I think that by expressing interest in the furniture and the yard and things like that, by helping more with the chores, she is mentally making our house “home” for herself again. That isn’t about me at all, it’s about the space and surroundings. Meaningful reconnection with the pets, with MiL, with friends, with me... those are things that could happen down the road, but there is no guarantee.

From a personal standpoint, I find myself quite amazed at how the anger seems to have just gone away. I don’t feel like I’m suppressing anything, I don’t find myself resenting anything or shutting down or wanting to lash out. And I have certainly cycled into that frequently in the past several months. I don’t even know that I feel much pity or disdain or any of those things. I just feel... open to whatever comes. Excited about my own future and my current life. Happy with where things are in my career and hobbies and family and friendships. And as it relates to my W, I am appreciative of the time we spend together, grateful that we are both here and healthy, open to exploring whatever activities we both want to share. I am aware that she still has concerns and trepidation, even doubts about what she wants for herself. And I certainly have questions about what our future relationship will be, who we each will be as life goes on. For now, though, I feel like I can genuinely accept that it’s not the right time to be asking those questions, and I can genuinely appreciate the good and roll with the challenges.

Certainly, if and when I reach a point of frustration or cycle back into anger or resentment, if triggers arise and I am in need of a good vent session, I will put that vent session here. I have no interest in painting a falsely rosy picture of this whole thing and I know that it is extremely likely that rosy days might well be more the exception than the rule.
  • Logged

C
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 692
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#9: March 11, 2021, 09:07:56 AM
Journaling...

Still not a word about my W’s plan for moving back in (or not) this month. She’s still around often; we talk about our day quite a bit, make small talk, but nothing of substance. She is back on her phone a bit more and is talking about the fact that she’s sleeping poorly, and how exhausted she is. She had been making a point of hugging me tightly every time she left, and even occasionally touching my hand or my back or shoulder in our conversations; that seems to have lessened recently. Still, she makes a point of asking about my day and she does help with chores around the house when she’s here, in ways she hadn’t been before. I’m not stressing about all of this, just noticing it and acknowledging that she is probably struggling quite a bit now. The specifics of why she’s struggling - I don’t know and don’t want to overanalyze it. She is welcome to come talk to me about why she’s struggling, but otherwise, she will deal with it or not in whatever ways she chooses. I can’t resolve it for her and even if I could, it’s not my job.

The move, if it does happen, is a local move of about one mile. It would take several trips for her to move things using her car, but it’s all small items; no furniture or anything particularly bulky. So it could happen over the course of a single day and wouldn’t require any assistance, meaning that the fact that she hasn’t said or done anything more about the move doesn’t in any way mean it’s not happening. As I’ve said, I’m preparing for it mentally and emotionally, but also prepared for the possibility that she will change her mind and get a different rental place.

I have been talking quite a bit with friends, some of whom have at least a little understanding of the midlife identity questions that can happen, but really no experience with true MLC. They are happy that I have found this community; a little nonplussed about the concept of standing, detaching, just accepting the fact that the MLCer is going to blow things up and they need to work through it, and moving forward with our own lives; a little bit uncertain about what MLC is, exactly, even if they do understand that there are some dramatic shifts that can happen in midlife. But they also accept that this is what I am doing, they acknowledge that our marriage seemed solid and mutual and loving prior to all of this, and they know who I am so they understand my commitment. They have been exceedingly supportive and wonderful. It’s been really good to reach a place where, when we talk, it’s about more than just MLC and what is happening in my life - I leaned on them a lot for a while, and they provided a lot of support to me. Now we are at a point where we can support each other - and I want my friendships to be reciprocal relationships just as I want my marriage to be.

The fruit trees are in bloom here! Living where I do, winters tend to be mild so I haven’t always appreciated the arrival of spring as much as I did when living in places with cold winters. But something about this spring is making me hopeful - not about my marriage so much, but about life in general. There’s the prospect of things opening back up, travel, being able to see friends and family. Days are getting longer and warmer; getting outside and exploring new places is possible. There is much for which to be grateful, and I am.
  • Logged

A
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 1113
Steady as she goes...
#10: March 11, 2021, 03:28:12 PM
Hi Curiosity,
I hope I'm wrong but it wouldn't surprise me if your w didn't move in.   Not that she won't but that it wouldn't surprise me if she didn't.  Just from experience with my own MLCer plus what others have written here, it seems that in the early days they have every intention to do what they say they will but as the time approaches they stall, back up, and go in another direction.   Just be prepared in case that happens to you too.   Best to respond unemotionally, like it's no big deal to you.   If she does move in, then still be prepared for her to move out again at some point.   If you were 3+ years in, I would be less inclined to think this, but at 1 yr it's a good possibility.   Not that you are or will do anything to push them away, but they just don't seem to be able to think their way forward with us around.  We muddle their minds a bit I think.   

I'm happy you are prepared emotionally and mentally for whichever way it goes, but I think it might still be hard on you if it doesn't happen.   If it doesn't just focus on all those good things you mentioned like spring is here or almost, fruit trees are in bloom, travel may be possible soon, longer and warmer days.    Either way there is lots good ahead for you. 
  • Logged

C
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 692
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#11: March 11, 2021, 04:12:58 PM
Anon, I think you’re right - that even if she does move back in, it won’t be for good. She moved out for a month last summer, then was back for three months before her October move-out. I had wondered if she might remain a live-in MLCer but the fact is, her anxiety was too amped up for her to make any progress - and that was with me being relatively calm; I was far more anxious about her presence after BD2 but before the first move-out. Still, she is anxious - not just here, but in general. I do think there’s a decent likelihood she will end up needing space and I don’t know whether she’ll try living here or back out of it between now and the end of the month.

I’m not sure what it is about the three year mark, but there does seem to be something to it - I recall reading a thread about it here, and a friend whose MLCer is at three years is seeing some possible movement. In my case, her MLC could possibly be three years if you consider all behavioral changes, and it would suggest the start being around her turning 40. But counting from BD2 is probably the most accurate and that is ten months. Even the start of the EA was only 18 months ago. So I am operating as though this is movement within the tunnel, not a move out of it. Would I like for this to be the end of what was really more MLT than MLC? Absolutely - but I do not believe that is the case.

It’s funny... when we are status quo within the tunnel, I don’t think nearly this much about where she is in the process. This just goes to show you how easily I can fall back into overanalyzing every little bit of this incomprehensible process. And if she does move back in, this level of analysis, even if it’s not from an anxious place, is something that she will perceive as pressure... so it’s a good time for me to practice taking my eyes off her and putting them on my own life.
  • Logged

C
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 692
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#12: March 15, 2021, 03:10:31 PM
It’s amazing how the loss of one hour from the weekend throws things off for several days. And maybe it’s not so much the hour; but the fact that it’s not quite as light in the morning when the alarm goes off. I don’t know... I will say that despite feeling a little disoriented by the still-pretty-dark skies when my alarm went off this morning, it’s a pretty good day here. I got some time-sensitive work done; I am taking the day off tomorrow to see my dad who will be out in my part of the world; I’m generally feeling pretty good about work and home and the approach of spring (though it has been chilly and rainy here!), perhaps because of the later sunset time.

I’ve been thinking about trauma and PTSD and betrayal and gaslighting... and how often the occurrence of betrayal, gaslighting, and trauma lead to the development of PTSD. I’m earlier in the timeline than many here, so I can’t say what might happen in the future in terms of any future betrayal, or even any triggers that might arise out of the things that have happened so far. But I know I went through a period of shock, a period of bargaining and the whole “pick me” dance, and then a period of feeling resentment and anger and being very aware of the trauma and gaslighting, and very hurt and angry at her about it. It wasn’t constant; I had times over the past several months where I thought I’d reached detachment and acceptance, only to cycle back into the anger and venting.

Now, we just passed one year since BD1. The anniversary of BD2 is still a couple of months away (I know the date of BD1 but not the exact date of BD2). It seems too soon for me to really be past the anger and hurt, but I find that even when I think about what has happened - even when I think about the possibility that there is still gaslighting and cake-eating going on - the anger just can’t take hold in me. I feel absolutely secure in who I am and what I’m worth, I feel like the things I do for her are because they’re kind things to do for someone I care about who is in crisis, not because I have any expectations of reciprocity or because she will be indebted to me because of anything I do. I feel comfortable setting boundaries around things that would be disrespectful or hurtful to me, and I feel like I can be honest with myself about what that might look like.

I know nothing more about her plans to move back home; I can’t see a way for her to have made other arrangements, but her lack of forward movement on it and really her lack of acknowledgment of the fact that it is theoretically happening in the next two weeks does make me skeptical.

I assume this is not even a touch and go; I don’t think she is even thinking about coming back to the marriage at this point. In my mind it is ongoing escape and avoid, it’s just that she is shifting from being a clinger to (possibly) being a live-in once more. And that’s okay; I’m ready for it. I do my own thing while she’s here; if she specifically asks to do something together I will happily participate but I don’t seek her out. I have plenty to keep me entertained. If it does turn out to be a touch and go, I’ll know it when she’s gone again. If it turns out to be the beginning of reconnection, I will know it when I feel confident that we are connected once again - which might take years. In the meantime, it’s just another loop in the roller coaster. I’m just keeping my eye on a steady focal point - my own path forward - so her loops don’t make me dizzy.
  • Logged

  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 11270
  • Gender: Male
  • You can't please everyone. You are NOT a pizza!
Steady as she goes...
#13: March 16, 2021, 01:17:04 AM
You may be closer to the beginning of the "timeline" but you are MUCH farther along the path of your own healing than I was at that point in time after BD.... . Congratulations! You are doing amazingly well IMHO
  • Logged
Me - 58, xW - 50
Together 19 years - Married 17 at separation & 21 at D-Day
S - 14, D - 10
2 Dogs
BD#1 - August 2015
Atomic BD - 13 Dec 2015
House sold & separated - Mar 2016
Divorce final 30 August 2019

Survival Instructions for Newbies
Site Map
 
A "friend" will not "stand by you" no matter what you do. That is NOT a friend. That is an enabler. That is an accomplice.
A REAL friend will sit you down and tell you to your face to stop being a firetrucking idiot before you ruin your life and the lives of those around you.

C
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 692
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#14: March 16, 2021, 09:57:38 AM
Thanks, UM! Having this forum and the people here has done so much for me.

A little anecdote about where W is... she has a home office set up in our detached garage, but it’s chilly out there so she often works in our bedroom. Recently, the house was being cleaned in the afternoon so she was going to go out there and work - it’s been weeks since she has worked out there. I went out an hour or so before and turned on the space heater so it wouldn’t be so cold in there, then about a half hour later I heard her go out and come back in soon after. I asked how the temperature was and she said it wasn’t too bad, she’d gone out to turn on the heater. She didn’t explicitly say she had turned it on but she implied it. I said that I was glad it wasn’t too cold; I’d turned on the heater but not very long ago. And she was so relieved, she said, “thank god... I’m so spacey, I was wondering how long ago I’d left it on and how long I’d been trying to burn down the garage, I decided I wasn’t going to tell you it was already on when I went out there.” And we sort of laughed about it but it stayed with me. She’s still foggy, she’s still not talking to me, she’s still got this idea in her head that I am the grownup and am disapproving or judging or otherwise intimidating or scary. I honestly don’t know where this has come from - I’ve never doubted her adultness or competence or brilliance or capability.

Anyway... I didn’t take it personally, unlike a previous evening when we were watching the news. One of the correspondents came on, and my W and MIL were talking about the terrible makeup and decor and all of this, then my W said “Curiosity doesn’t like it when we’re catty and judgmental.” I did take offense because I hadn’t said anything, I just wasn’t participating. I did respond that I wished she wouldn’t do that, I wished she wouldn’t assume how I was feeling or reacting to what she did. And I think in some ways it needed to be said because a big part of our pre-BD problem was that she didn’t tell me how she was feeling because she assumed my reaction would be one she didn’t like. But still, I was frustrated with myself for not just letting it go.

So she’s still psychologically in the same place. It’s helpful for me to know because it reminds me that any reconnection would require her to feel like I and our home are a safe space - and I will have to be sure that anything required of me to make that happen is something that I’m okay with, too.
  • Logged

C
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 692
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#15: March 25, 2021, 11:45:53 AM
So, the move-in is happening this weekend. She has to be out of her rental place by Saturday 11am. We have a niece coming to stay with us and it seems like she might be coming to visit as early as tomorrow afternoon. My W is worried about that because she wants to make sure all of her things are back here before the niece gets here so that she doesn’t have to explain anything. So I don’t know how much her family knows about the separation... I assumed the local relatives all at least knew she was sleeping elsewhere, even though she is here most days.

She is considering taking some time off from work in a few weeks and is planning to get away somewhere pretty - without me. She will likely go alone, an enabler friend might join her for part of the time. So she’s planning at least a temporary escape even before she is back in the house. Which is fine. Probably better than fine; it’s good because it shows me where she is and allows me to keep my expectations at zero where they belong. My assumption, whether she is physically in the house or not, is that she is still in the tunnel until there is direct communication with me that shows meaningful growth in terms of the way she navigates her relationship with me.

I am doing well with it all. I can see her pain and anxiety and depression, and I can empathize without getting pulled into her cycle. My initial impulse when she showed anxiety about the niece moving her visit up was to apologize for the stress it caused her... but then I realized that I have nothing for which to apologize. This is my home, MIL is my guest, she wants her granddaughter to visit. I am fine with that and the timing doesn’t matter to me because I have nothing to hide. At the same time, I also don’t want to knowingly do something to make things difficult for my W, so she has asked for some help moving her things back in and I will help her with that. I want home to be a safe space for both of us, so if there’s something I can do to help with that, I will - but it has to be a safe space for me first, so I have to be sure that my boundaries are clear and that I understand my motivation for doing things - I’m not going to “nice” her back into the marriage, so being nice or considerate or supportive has to be done purely because it feels like the right thing, the healthy thing, for me.

I am also due for a few vacation days this month; I don’t know that I will go anywhere because things are still pretty limited due to the pandemic. But I will probably do a couple of day trips to the local beaches or hiking trails, get outside and celebrate spring, take my laptop along to do a bit of journaling and creative writing, meditate a bit. Maybe even seek out a cooking course online. I am grateful for the coming warmer days, the gradual reopening of things as vaccinations are more widely administered, and the life I have.
  • Logged

  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2956
  • Gender: Female
  • Time is a Gift! 🎁
Steady as she goes...
#16: March 25, 2021, 07:37:38 PM
Sounds like a good way to spend a few days C.  It will be interesting to see how w does with the move back in.  You stay in that good place of no expectations C.
  • Logged
Survival Instructions for Newbies

The Apology Every LBS Deserves

My Journey

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass - it's about learning to dance in the rain."

"Don't become a container for bitterness.  It's a toxin that destroys what it's carried in."

K
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 5637
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#17: March 26, 2021, 01:36:36 PM
It is so good that you have such a keen understanding of all this C b/c a live-in MLCer is probably the hardest to deal with.  I know I am so much more at peace when my H goes dark. Then when he becomes a close-contactor, my emotions are triggered.....still. SO I have much respect for you. But I can also see by how and what you write here that you are eons ahead of where I was at this time in H's MLC. It is true kindness you are showing to W now, in helping her move and providing a safe place. And regardless of how she responds to it, your kindness and love is never wasted.

Enjoy your vaycays. I have a feeling you will need many of those to maintain your sanity. You really are doing great. Good luck this weekend!
  • Logged
Me 49
H 48
S13
BD 5/16
H Moved out 6/16
OW--yes. Worked for H. EA turned into PA while I was in chemo. On again/off again like every high school romance

A
  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 1113
Steady as she goes...
#18: March 26, 2021, 02:00:40 PM
You are sounding great Curiosity!!  Your attitude at this stage is admirable.  I hope some newbies are here following your thread 🙂   Looking forward to your next update!  Anon.
  • Logged

C
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 692
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#19: March 26, 2021, 02:20:22 PM
Thanks, FW, KIT, and Anon, for following along. I recall reading, I think originally I saw it on HB though it has been referenced and confirmed here a number of times, that the harder part of all this is the later stages, when the LBS is tested on the lessons learned during the early stages of the crisis. Now... I don’t for a moment believe we are in those later stages yet; while it could be an attempt to see whether home feels safe enough for her to try to reconnect to the home and pets at least, I am assuming this is a wallower who tried to replay and has at least temporarily given up on the attempt at high energy. I do see glimpses of her helping around the house, asking about my day, even the occasional hug. She slips and calls me by a pet name now and then. None of it is a clear, intentional cycle toward me and our marriage, and until it is unmistakable, I will assume this isn’t reconnection. Even when it seems unmistakable, I know that touch and goes can fool anyone.

It is interesting how things evolve; often I can see the pain, anxiety, and depression, and then sometimes I get glimpses of the adolescent brain and priorities - time off from work? Road trip with enabler BFF! Making plans and talking them through with me... not even on the radar, at least so far. And even after she first moved out in October, I would be upset when not looped in on her plans. Now, I observe and acknowledge and live my life. I have learned patience, I have learned to not be emotionally dependent on her. I am sure I still have more to learn, but I do believe I am a better and more understanding person because of this journey so far. And yes, I’ve done a lot of work, but I wouldn’t have known where to begin without this community, as well as the articles by HB and RCR. I don’t know where the relationship will go from here, but I do know that I am going to be more than just okay, I am going to be whole and happy.

Move-in is imminent, and the arrival of warm weather is perfectly timed. This means I can get out for a walk or go to the beach or the park or even just go into the backyard and smell the citrus blossoms. (Though really, who am I kidding, it’s essentially outdoor weather year-round here.) I am doing a bit more writing again. Still not as mindful of my diet as I would like to be, so I will be working on that next. Mostly, though, I am maintaining my friendships and my gratitude for all that is good in my life. And I will be here a bit more often, because when impatience tries to creep back in, the wisdom here helps keep me on track.
  • Logged

C
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 692
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#20: April 03, 2021, 09:50:15 AM
By way of an update, W has been back in the house just over a week. Things seem to be going well - she is sleeping better for the most part, seems to have less anxiety. And I am getting used to having her in the same bed again, to having her in the house all the time. It feels like I am in a good place with all of this. I am not reading anything into her decision to come back to the house, and I’m not reading anything into her increasing comfort here. I’m not even reading anything into her continuing comments about improvements we could make to our yard to make it better for entertaining, or her completely unprompted decision to come pick me up at the car dealership yesterday when it turned out that maintenance was going to take longer than anticipated. These are all nice things, and I am expressing appreciation for nice gestures and engaging in those home-improvement conversations in an interested way without pressing her to make decisions or actual concrete changes. To me, all of these things are potential points of connection but only “potential,” until or unless she reaches a point where she is capable of making that deeper connection.

I have been thinking a lot about trust and intimacy, open communication and having the relationship and spouse be a safe place for true vulnerability. For me, it was something that I took for granted before... I didn’t like to be vulnerable, I wanted to always be strong and reliable and I never wanted to add stress to my W’s life by making her take on any of my burdens. However, I always felt like if I did need to lean on someone, she was my person. And by not going to her, I never meant to show any lack of trust or lack of faith in her. Part of it was that I didn’t want to be a source of stress for her, and part was that I didn’t want to be dependent on anyone. At the same time, though, I knew with absolute certainty (I thought) that we were a team, that she was in my corner, that it was the two of us together against anything that might arise. But I do think that in my own midlife transition, I allowed myself to fade into the woodwork. I saw myself as a support system for her to achieve her goals and dreams, but lost sight of my own dreams and the need for new goals. I prioritized her and the relationship - not just above myself, but to the exclusion of myself. I defined my needs based on the needs of her or our mutual needs. And then at some point, she stopped considering my needs too, and focused only on her own wants and needs. Hard to blame her; why would she value my wants and needs when I didn’t even do that myself? And I’m not saying that to take the blame for her crisis, but to take ownership for my part in the disconnection that had developed between us. It wasn’t obvious on the surface, but there was no true intimacy. We were coexisting comfortably, but I was mostly just existing instead of truly living, and she started living in ways that didn’t include me.

So now? I actually think of my wants and needs first - I also consider her wants and needs as well as how my wants and needs affect our relationship, but I know that we each have to see to our own happiness individually. I take care of myself because that’s what is essential. Seeing her happy, feeling connected to her - those things would add to my happiness so sure, I would like to do what I can to foster those things. But I am not responsible for her happiness, and there is nothing I can do to ensure it - and any connection between us would only happen if and when we are both open to it. Only my part of that is within my control.

Otherwise... seems like the trajectory continues in the direction of more relaxation of restrictions. Indoor dining is available in some places, there is talk of travel restrictions loosening. The numbers are still high enough that I am being cautious, but at the same time my household is fully vaccinated and my family members are also approaching that status. People I know who are on the front lines in this pandemic are sure there will be another surge as summer approaches, but I am keeping a “wait and see” attitude. I have no plans to be among the first people to test the edges of newly relaxed restrictions, but I am also eager to be out in the world again.
  • Logged

C
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 692
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#21: April 05, 2021, 04:34:51 PM
Just a brief update (or not so brief). W has been talking about taking some time off from work later this month. Shortly before she moved back in, she mentioned it and said she might use the time to get out of town, change up the routine. No mention of going with me or asking if I was interested, though she did know I was looking at taking some days off around the same time (not purposely to coincide with hers, it’s just that that’s when I could spare the days). And that’s fine - as I said, I saw no evidence of reconnecting with me in her decision to move back home. Not to mention, we went away together for a weekend that I thought was a planned reconnection after some family stress, but which turned out to be BD1. So I’m not honestly all that eager to go away with her while we are in this weird limbo.

So she came in and told me she made plans for her vacation, got an Airbnb from Wednesday afternoon to Sunday morning. It’s a couple hours away, she’s taking her mom, a couple of friends are joining her for one night of it. And I told her that sounds nice. I said I have off the Thursday and Friday, I thought I might do some day trips around here, hang out with the kitties, relax a bit. And her face fell a bit, she was clearly feeling guilty. So I asked what was wrong and she said she felt bad because I was going to be off when she wasn’t here to hang out. So I told her to relax, I didn’t take the time off for her - I knew she was looking to get away, she knew I was taking days off, but we didn’t plan to spend them together. I said that if she wants to spend time off together, she is welcome to ask me, and if she doesn’t, that’s fine too, so don’t feel guilty and enjoy the vacation time. But yeah... she’s in this weird place of sort of detached but sort of not, I guess.

The difference between now and last summer is that I would have been upset that she didn’t want to spend the time with me before, I would have been dreading the time alone, I would have analyzed this endlessly to try to get clues about where she is emotionally and what this means for me and is. I probably would have talked at her at length about how I don’t want her to feel guilty about wanting to spend time away, or about needing some space. Now? I recognize that she is anxious and needs to escape and decompress. Home is in some ways where she wants to be, but also a reminder of the fact that she is emotionally stuck, doesn’t know what she wants her life to look like or who she really is. It’s a reminder of work since she works from home. It’s a reminder that in her mind, her indecision puts me in limbo. It’s a reminder of the guilt she feels about hurting and betraying me. So of course she wants to get away at times, she will have to do that until she forgives herself. And it isn’t for me to tell her how to feel or not feel. I don’t control that. But honestly, her time away will be good for me. I’m off work, so I can turn off my morning alarm, I can make the meals I want to make, I can write, go for a drive, walk in the park, binge television shows that only I like; read for hours on end. I don’t have to remind myself not to observe her too closely for those several days. Taking a lesson from some older threads, I can skinny dip in the pool without worrying about MIL’s presence! I honestly feel like it will be good to spend the time apart.

W is considering taking a break from her IC sessions. I’m not sure if that is a good thing or a bad one, and again, it isn’t for me to say. I feel like maybe it means she wants to just be for a little while, to not feel like she has to be working on issues or figuring things out. Maybe it’s a way to take the pressure off. Maybe it’s an acknowledgment that she is stuck and the therapy sessions are a reminder of that, and she wants to not have to explain to anyone that she is no closer to figuring out her life as the weeks go on. Good,  bad, or neutral, though, it’s her journey and she has to do it in a way that feels authentic to her.

Still observing from as much of a distance as I can when we share a home and a room. But I am doing so without emotional dependence on her decisions (or indecision). I am doing so with love and empathy, but without a need to fix things for her or even tell her how I think she should try to fix things. It’s her life, she will and should live it the way she chooses to - that’s what I’m doing with my own life.
  • Logged

  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 1403
  • Gender: Male
Steady as she goes...
#22: April 05, 2021, 06:20:05 PM
Hey C  :D

That sounds really good...... you're letting her float, and she is having some consideration  8)
Wonderful  :)

Taking a break from IC..... that's not unusual, I wouldn't even worry about it. It's difficult to come to a place where you know you (yourself) isn't right.
It can take a long time to ponder that, especially since you know at that point that you can't trust yourself.

Look at that strength you displayed when she realized that you'd be off..... and that the world didn't come to a stop for her. Bravo!! Outstanding!!
And you did it with love, grace, patience and compassion. All these things come back to you, and they do think about these things.
Very positive all around, I'd call that a win  ;D

I hope you have a great time off, and get some needed decompression of your own (it's very healthy to get away from the MLC'er for a little time).
Beyond that, it lets her miss you. That's important too.

-SS
  • Logged
W - 40
M - 44
Together 25 years, M 23
No kids
BD - 27th April 2019
Start of Shadow - Feb 2012

C
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 692
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#23: April 05, 2021, 07:01:19 PM
Thanks for that perspective, SS! I really appreciate the way you model loving detachment - it is a goal of mine to get to where you are. I genuinely do see the separate time as a positive thing. We were too enmeshed through most of our relationship, almost all of our friends were friends of both of ours, we rarely spent time apart except when we were at work. She's an extrovert and I'm an introvert, so she looks at my time off - solitude, quiet, activities I pursue alone - and she feels guilty because she's leaving me alone on my time off instead of hanging out with me. And I love spending time with her, anytime, I really do - but it's really good for me, healing, even, to spend time on my own. It may be that this is the first time she really gets to see that, and maybe it will finally become clear to her that she doesn't have to feel guilty. But that's her process, and she has to come to that conclusion however she can and in whatever time it takes her.

As for me... the more I think about it, the more I am looking forward to the time. I don't really need to get away for a vacation because I genuinely love home and feel at peace here - not that I'll never travel alone, but I feel like being a tourist in my town, cooking just based on my wants, reading, writing, watching guilty pleasure television, swimming, exercising... all of that sounds absolutely perfect to me.
  • Logged

K
  • *
  • Trial Subscriber
  • Full Member
  • Posts: 142
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#24: April 06, 2021, 07:37:36 AM
really appreciate the way you model loving detachment

I am trying to work on that. I do cold detachment, which is really "more of the same" for me.  ;D
  • Logged
Me - 51, xh - 52
Together 26 years - Married 24 at separation
D - 23, S - 20
No BD - gradually moved out into our vacation house starting 8.20

C
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 692
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#25: April 12, 2021, 10:16:37 AM
A bit of journaling...

Things are going pretty well. Days are getting longer, it’s (mostly) not too hot yet, I am looking forward to a couple of days off late next week. Still some restrictions in place, but I can take a day trip up the coast, perhaps check out a local museum or two (bummed that the planetarium I really want to visit is still closed)... I am considering a spa day or maybe just a leisurely swim followed by a bath and some at-home pampering. I considered a night or two away, getting a hotel room depending on what’s available - but honestly, I just love being at home.

I have been reading a lot lately about interdependence, not just in romantic relationships but with family and work and friends as well. I think that early on, I recognized that we were enmeshed but I struggled to accept the word codependent. Now, I do. I think that in most of my relationships in my life, I skew toward independent - I was emotionally avoidant earlier in my life but even being willing to be emotionally engaged with people, I have tried to maintain some level of independence. This relationship, this marriage... it’s been different. While I have maintained my independence with respect to practical matters, finances, the day to day business of running my life... emotionally and psychologically, I had become very dependent on her validation and my need to provide for her and be supportive and strong and reliable. My career had become a way to support us - to support her - as she pursued her dreams and goals and as she found her way. And I think I got to a place where subconsciously I felt like I was being taken for granted and questioned my worth, my value. I was successful but stagnant in work, circumstances prevented us from pursuing some of our favorite recreational activities that we shared, some of her meds had interfered with our physical intimacy... it all added up to a place where I was just existing; not even unhappy in a way that I could identify at the time - I wasn’t happy or sad or really much of anything. Was this my midlife transition? Maybe.

Now... I love my life. My work? It will never be my true passion, but I enjoy what I do and the challenges associated with learning to do it well. I respect and admire the people with whom I work, I learn from them often. I have found hobbies about which I am passionate, I am eager to try new things again and to visit places I love as well as those I have never seen. I eagerly await a time in which I can see friends and family who live far from me. I want to be connected to my partner, to have new experiences and romance and security and trust and growth as individuals and as a couple - but I know that I can have new experiences and and fun and growth and security in my life whether I have a partner or not.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I haven’t suddenly become exuberant and outgoing and highly demonstrative. I am still a relatively quiet and introverted person. The hobbies about which I am passionate are largely solo pursuits - cooking, reading, writing, and such - but just because my passions are quiet and understated, that doesn’t make them any less deep or valuable. I’m still me, but I value myself and I know myself better, I know that I am worth more than just existing to prop up someone else.

I am doing a little work despite having today off, but I think there will be some baking this afternoon. Perhaps some reading; I got some new recommendations last night. W has a busy work day, but I have a lot to do. W and I cooked dinner together last night, spent a little time working on a puzzle together yesterday, made plans to go to a exhibit together later in the year. We also talked about our individual vacation plans for next week, and a bit of discussion about changes to our furniture and outdoor space. No expectations, and I am in a good place of awareness that even when the moment might feel very normal, the situation as a whole is not normal. But I do appreciate the glimpses of it.

W has talked about taking a break from her therapy, but also says that break won’t be immediate, and last night she was working on homework her therapist had given her for their session this evening. So I do know she is working, processing, trying to figure herself out. I don’t know what that work looks like or in what direction they are looking for the source of W’s crisis or unhappiness or anything. And ultimately, that isn’t for me to worry about. Her crisis, her journey, if she wants to share it with me at some point, I am here to listen. I hope she figures out who she is and what she wants for her life, I really do. I even hope that part of what she wants is to continue building and sharing the life we have, rebuilding a relationship with the person I have become - but I have no expectations, and I will not be destroyed or devastated if her choice is something else.
  • Logged

C
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 692
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#26: April 26, 2021, 01:18:00 PM
Updating...

Our separate vacations happened, and overall mine was quite good. I took some scenic drives/walks around the area, I explored a couple of cool exhibits, I skipped the swim because it was a bit chilly, but I did do some self-pampering at home. I cooked things I would enjoy. I caught up with a few friends - sadly, not in person as they don’t live nearby, but it was still very nice. I did some reading, some writing, some meditating... all the things that make me feel like me.

My W and MIL left Wednesday afternoon. I got about three long goodbye hugs from my W, she said she’d keep in touch and told me I was welcome to send lots of cat pictures. She texted me to let me know they had arrived safely, the place was remote but lovely, and in a gated community for safety. The next message I got from her was Sunday afternoon, “home in about 2 ½ hours.” And I admit that my mind wandered to her and tried to analyze the lack of communication a little, and I was a little hurt by it, though I wouldn’t say I really felt anger. But I didn’t really dwell on it, and I didn’t send the requested “lots of cat pictures” not out of resentment but because it was only a few days and because she had planned this vacation to get away from home and routines and responsibilities, so I didn’t want to initiate conversation for such a small reason. Had she messaged me to ask for pictures, I would have sent them. And ultimately, I got over the hurt pretty quickly because I realized that being able to detach from each other is actually a healthy thing - ideally we would be on the same page about communication while we’re apart, but that’s in a healthy relationship with a healthy partner. Right now, she isn’t in a healthy place and the relationship is pretty nebulous and undefined - there are no rules or expectations beyond our own individual boundaries.

So when they got home, she came and found me, and she asked all about my days off. They both gave me the rundown on how they’d spent their time. She took her work laptop but didn’t do any work or reading. Sounds like they mostly just relaxed by the pool or chatted (some of W’s friends joined them late Friday and were there for the weekend). When we’d gone to bed, I asked if she had enjoyed the getaway. She said her mom had needed it, that MIL had found it relaxing, that the friends had found it relaxing and we’re sorry they’d had to leave paradise. And I asked if W had also found it relaxing. She said that she’d been pretty anxious and had taken an anti-anxiety medication each day while there. She indicated she has had a lot on her mind. I said I was sorry she’d been stressed, and that was basically the end of the conversation. Today we’ve caught up a bit more over our respective lunch breaks. She said she slept pretty well last night but, as is seemingly the case every day, she is still tired all the time. She doesn’t have the shark eyes but she is clearly depressed on top of the anxiety.

In some ways I wish we could have relationship talks because I have evolved so far from the codependency we had allowed ourselves to develop. I want a relationship where we are both safe to be our real selves, but not one where we are joined at the hip and have no lives of our own outside of our coupledom. I want her to know that I see her and know her and accept her and love her... but she seems trapped in this perception of herself, of me, and of us. As much as she says she wants to be her real self with me... I don’t think she knows what her real self looks like.

Please know that I am not actually planning to or even tempted to actually have relationship talks at this point in our lives. It is absolutely clear to me that it would feel like pressure to her and she would dissociate and shut down and run away. And honestly, even though she has seen my growth and evolution, she is going to have to see that it is real and consistent before she is able to even think about seeing me as a safe place for her to explore her true self. And I am going to have to be consistent and solid in my knowledge of my self-worth, because whatever happens with her and with us, it isn’t going to get any easier from here.

It is looking like MIL might be returning to her home sometime in the early part of summer. I think that it will be good for all of us to return to something more closely resembling normal life. I have no idea how that will change things with MLC or with us, but as grateful as I was for MIL’s company in the early days after W moved out, I think MIL would appreciate being back in her own home, W would probably appreciate not being under her mother’s gaze at all times, and I am ready to navigate life and MLC without any buffers.
  • Logged

  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2956
  • Gender: Female
  • Time is a Gift! 🎁
Steady as she goes...
#27: April 26, 2021, 09:04:49 PM
Good to read an update C.  Your vacation sounds lovely.

I didn't realize that MIL was only staying with y'all and that she had her own place to return to eventually.  I guess I missed that.
  • Logged
Survival Instructions for Newbies

The Apology Every LBS Deserves

My Journey

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass - it's about learning to dance in the rain."

"Don't become a container for bitterness.  It's a toxin that destroys what it's carried in."

  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 11270
  • Gender: Male
  • You can't please everyone. You are NOT a pizza!
Steady as she goes...
#28: April 27, 2021, 01:27:54 AM
Quote from: Curiousity
I don’t think she knows what her real self looks like.

And this sums up the "problem" and causes of MLC in 11 simple words....

But, unlike a teenager who is in the midst of figuring this out in Puberty, the Mid-Lifer has real life and real responsibilities to deal with (or run away from)...
  • Logged
Me - 58, xW - 50
Together 19 years - Married 17 at separation & 21 at D-Day
S - 14, D - 10
2 Dogs
BD#1 - August 2015
Atomic BD - 13 Dec 2015
House sold & separated - Mar 2016
Divorce final 30 August 2019

Survival Instructions for Newbies
Site Map
 
A "friend" will not "stand by you" no matter what you do. That is NOT a friend. That is an enabler. That is an accomplice.
A REAL friend will sit you down and tell you to your face to stop being a firetrucking idiot before you ruin your life and the lives of those around you.

C
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 692
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#29: April 27, 2021, 08:45:59 AM
UM, I posted a while ago about the Cat Stevens song, “Father and Son,” because we heard it and I imagined it resonated with my W - only it’s about a young man seeking his independence at the end of adolescence, not a woman in her 40s who has made a life and made commitments as an adult. But you’re absolutely right, the way you figure yourself out as a teenager is very different compared to the way you figure yourself out as an adult. I have certainly learned lessons along the way about my real self, but I have done my best to learn and grow in the framework of my existing life - evolution, not revolution. Trying to remodel rather than blowing up everything and starting over. Which is why only one of us is an MLCer.

FW, yes, MIL normally comes to stay with us for a few months in the winter. She had planned a bit of a longer stay... and then the pandemic made travel risky enough that she just didn’t go home last spring. Now that she’s vaccinated, travel is looking possible again though we are still pretty risk-averse. So I suspect she will return home (which is on the other side of the country) this summer. Will she return for the winter later I. The year? No idea....

I just wanted to add that I have learned and grown so much as a result of this forum and the thoughtful, insightful discussions here. I didn’t feel like I got a lot out of therapy, but through reading and journaling and thought and meditation... I feel like I’m a new person in many ways. I have learned to value myself for my own qualities and quirks, not just for what I can provide for others. I have learned the importance of passions, of play, of ongoing personal growth throughout life. And I have also learned that the path I have chosen along the way - marriage, house, pets, career, friends, and more - all of that is consistent with the person I am and want to be. And I had always thought of it as a foundation from which I could build, but really, the foundation isn’t all that external stuff. The foundation is in me. And I’ve learned and am continuing to learn those lessons and do that work on myself, but this community provides the syllabus.
  • Logged

C
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 692
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#30: May 17, 2021, 10:08:43 AM
It’s been a little while since an update, so here goes... while on my vacation a few weeks ago, my dad called to say they had found a mass in his lung and he had to have a biopsy. There was a complication and he was hospitalized, and it turned out it wasn’t cancer but an infection that needed to be treated surgically because it was walled off and in a location that doesn’t tend to respond well to antibiotics. It’s a pretty major surgery so I made arrangements to travel to him (halfway across the country) to help care for him. It felt strange and a bit uncomfortable for me to be away from home while my W was at home - something that had happened several times before BD without incident when I traveled for work. But there was a part of me that just didn’t trust her to be in my safe space when I wasn’t there. Anyway... she immediately offered to take me to and pick me up from the airport. She took care of the house and pets while I was away. She reached out to me several times to ask how things were going. She did a fair amount of online shopping for furniture for our home, and she went to dinner at the home of her boss, who has a really nice outdoor setup with heating units and speakers and such, and she asked her boss for information about how we could do something similar at our home. She’s talking about having her colleagues over for dinner parties in our home. She even got excited about and started looking into options for a family vacation with my siblings and their spouses when I mentioned that the siblings had talked about all of us doing that. And honestly, the discomfort I felt was really just in passing; once I made the plans and while I was away, I didn’t worry at all about her being home without me there.

MIL is going back to her home in July. It will be very interesting to see how we navigate our daily routine when it’s just the two of us again. I am hoping that the greater independence we have each established through our separate travels will mean that we are able to continue to coexist comfortably even without the buffer of a third person here. Obviously none of it is reconnection; not really - or at least that’s my assumption. I am not calling it anything resembling reconnection until there’s actual open discussion about what we want from our relationship with each other. And even then, I will have the discussions if she initiated and leads them, and certainly I am open to them. But I’m not labeling anything - not prospectively and maybe not even in retrospect. I’m observing, responding rather than reacting, and living my life in a way that feels authentic to me.

Despite the underlying reason for seeing my siblings again, it was really great to spend time with them. We live far apart, we have busy lives... it’s easy for a lot of time to go by without being together. But I have so much love and respect for them, and it really does feel good to spend time together. They don’t know anything about MLC, not even a hint that W lived elsewhere for 6 months. Part of that was me wanting to protect W from any backlash in case we do reconcile, but part of it was me not wanting to seem like a failure or a victim to my family. If W were still living separately, I would probably be more inclined to be open with my family after spending time together like this, but given that she’s back home, I am keeping it private for now. I also no longer feel weak or like a victim. It no longer feels like this is something that’s being done to me; it’s something that is happening in the life of my W, and yes, it affects parts of my daily life, but I’m still living my life on my terms no matter what happens with her and with MLC.

So that’s the latest here. Progress from my W? Probably - she is settling into her work role and more comfortable in our home; even starting to make the occasional future plans. Progress in our relationship? Hard to say in the short term. Compared to the early days of anxious interactions and distance and active seeking of other romantic connections, we are in a much better place. Compared to a healthy, committed marriage with an appropriate amount of independence and interdependence, we aren’t there by any means. I know what I want and I have some ideas on how to get there, but I don’t know what she wants a relationship to look like (her relationship with me or with anyone else, for that matter) - I’m not sure she knows that for herself. Progress for me? I would say yes. I have sought hobbies and interests that don’t involve W, but this was the first time I had traveled and left her at home since before BD, and I think it was a really important step. For us to coexist, I have to be able to trust her to be in my space, even if I’m not yet at a place to trust her with my heart again. And this was a big step in the right direction for me, as far as that goes.
  • Logged

C
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 692
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#31: May 20, 2021, 01:23:01 PM
A little more updating...

We were watching Handmaid’s Tale (minor spoilers about a flashback!) and there was a conversation between an engaged couple about her anxiety regarding their marriage. The groom to be had gotten divorced from his xW after he had an affair with the new bride to be, so she was (naturally) concerned that he would get tired of her too. When he said he loved her, she expressed fear over the possibility that she might change over time, and he reassured her by saying that he would just have to love whoever she turned out to be. My W and MIL were so impressed by that answer, they thought it was really perfect... and my thought was, “of course he would; that’s just what you do.” I mean... that’s part of what commitment is - the acknowledgment that we all change and grow over a lifetime but we are promising to love and accept each other through all of that.

We also chatted about the family vacation with the siblings, and my birthday and all that... and W asked me if I was going to have a MLC. I told her that I’d already had one, I just kept it small and understated. She said something in response like, “to each her own,” and that was the end of that conversation. It was all pretty casual and joking in tone, but it was interesting mainly because I don’t think she has ever mentioned MLC before. I’m not sure I have talked about it specifically, though I know that in the early days after BD I talked a little about identity crisis. We did talk about limerence and she had read about it back then, but she is in the mental health world and so many of them don’t acknowledge MLC. So I thought it was interesting that her brain went there. It was purely around my upcoming birthday, not any changes in me (or at least that’s the impression I got), and it was very casual.

She is all over the vacation planning, searching for vacation rentals for all of us, looking at destinations. She’s also very interested in upgrading things around the house and yard - fire pit, outdoor speakers, repairing or replacing the fence, some new furniture items, replacing our mattress and bed frame, even looking at adding a separate heating/air conditioning zone to the back of the house since it runs warm in summer and cold in winter compared to the front of the house. It’s a really interesting thing to watch. She was never one to pay much attention to the small day to day chores, tidying, things like that, so when she started detaching pre-BD I didn’t really notice it in the way she was about the house. However, in retrospect, she had always been one to want to change up the decor, make the setting nice for entertaining, things like that - things that had sort of gone by the wayside as the fog settled in. So in some ways it seems like she is reconnecting with the home, perhaps. I’m still not calling it reconnection, not by any means... but it’s nice to see home making her happy again, at least for now.

MIL asked me if I was planning to attend the wedding of a cousin of theirs (I missed the wedding of this cousin’s sister, because at the time we had an elderly pet who couldn’t be left alone). I said that I was planning on it, definitely... I didn’t want to presume anything about what might happen, but I also feel like given that we are married and living under the same roof, and we were invited together... why wouldn’t I attend, barring some circumstance that explicitly precluded my attendance? Anyway... MIL was clearly happy that I was planning to attend and that I didn’t get caught up in hypothetical situations about what might or might not happen with us.

So I am just living my life - finding my happiness in the small day to day things, taking care of myself and my pets and my home, being present in the moment. I’m not dwelling on what our situation might be in a year or a decade or whenever, I’m just living based on what I know to be the case right now. I know that I will be okay regardless of what happens. I sometimes think back and wonder if maybe her MLC (or maybe MLT) didn’t truly inflict trauma on me - I know that it can and has for many, if not most, people here. And I know that there have been times over this past year in which I definitely felt traumatized - after BD1, particularly, but not only then. But I feel like I truly have healed from that - I don’t want to just plaster over it and pretend I’m okay, and I don’t think that I am doing that. But... is it possible to truly heal in this short a time? Maybe there are degrees of emotional trauma. Certainly there are degrees of severity of MLC - with no monster, no PA, no vanishing, no wasteful spending, no destructive habits, and no kids to be affected, there hasn’t been as much damage as there often is.

So, that wasn’t just a little bit of updating, as it turns out. It’s probably clear that I like to process and analyze and all that - and I know it often doesn’t give a definitive answer, but it helps me to have some kind of explanation in my mind, even if it’s not always correct.
  • Logged

C
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 692
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#32: May 28, 2021, 06:50:31 AM
A great discussion in another thread included some thoughts about communication and the line between making someone feel seen versus infantilizing them. In the interest of not hijacking that thread, I am putting some thoughts here about my own experience with this.

The mention of infantilizing brought me back to our stint of marriage counseling, where my W tried to explain away her behavior by saying that anytime she had felt things that didn’t fit into “our life” or that she didn’t think I could handle, she would suppress them until she reached a point where she couldn’t anymore. And it made me so angry because I felt she was infantilizing me, and she was making assumptions about my feelings and what I could handle. I didn’t want a predefined “our life;” I wanted whatever it meant to share a life with her - no matter who we each turned out to be. Maybe somehow, in her mind she was trying to “see” me and be the person she thought I wanted. But by not communicating, instead she denied both of us the right to know the real her. This is not by way of putting the blame on her; I had wants that I set aside too; we both could have been more open at times, so I know I did the same thing. The only difference is that instead of looking elsewhere to fill those wants, I altered my expectations of our relationship and accepted it as it was. It wasn’t perfect but it still brought joy to my life in many ways.

I think that in a great relationship, it is important for both people to feel truly seen and accepted, to be understood without always having to explain themselves. That only works if both people are authentic, though. If what you “see” in your partner is not aligned with your own wants for your shared life, communication from a place of kindness, respect, empathy, and love is important, and is far preferable to offering “acceptance” (in quotes because it’s not real if it makes you suppress your own feelings). By talking about that lack of alignment, maybe you can reach a place of true acceptance - or maybe you will find that you align in a different way than you’d previously thought. Or perhaps instead, something that had previously been a similarity has become a place where you differ. There’s room for some differences in a shared and happy life... those differences often contribute to the happiness.

Just some thoughts stirred up by another excellent discussion.
  • Logged

m
  • *
  • Subscriber, 12 Month
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 795
  • Gender: Male
Re: Steady as she goes...
#33: May 29, 2021, 04:52:51 AM
What a great summation, just wanted to say I can relate and agree with what you wrote there. This goes beyond dealing with people with crises, what you wrote to me is the underpinning of living an authentic life, sharing ourselves as we really are with others (which is both self respect and a gift to those who appreciate it) and boundaries. For me anyway a “relationship” with someone based on not holding these truths is really more a facade of a relationship than true intimacy.

Thanks for the clear summation of that discussion. I think some of this falls on deaf ears and/or is simply ignored sometimes.
  • Logged
No Kids, 23 years at BD1 (4 years), married 21
First signs of MLC Jan '15
BD 1 Jan '17, BD 2 Mar, Separated Apr, BD 3 May,BD 4 Jun '18
First Sign of Waking up-Dec '17, First Cycle out of MLC Mar '18-Jun ‘18, Second cycle Jul '18-??
Meets OM Jan '17 and acts "in love," admits "in love" Jun '18, asks for divorce Jul '18

t
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 815
  • Gender: Female
Re: Steady as she goes...
#34: May 29, 2021, 06:42:34 AM
I didn’t want a predefined “our life;” I wanted whatever it meant to share a life with her - no matter who we each turned out to be.

Utterly, completely this.

It’s not that I didn’t have standards or expectations. It’s sort of that I knew from long and early direct experience that life throws a lot of sticks into the spokes, and that sometimes it’s the ways we identify and remove those together, or co-learn how to ride safely around then, that is the real measure of love and commitment. So we choose the right partner to do that with, and the two of us meet whatever challenges come. Together.

To be honest, I was always up for the ride. Even through dark or jagged passages, I wanted to be there to see and know how we survived.

It bugs me that anyone would commit to the ride and then bail out of it.

Lately I think a lot about how I don’t think h will ever return even insignificantly or fleetingly, and how if he did, I’m not sure there’s any way to convey to him all the terrible bad and miraculous good that he missed while working someone else’s tandem bicycle story. The way he fortified the life he chose after leaving us, especially in pandemic and during actual family deaths, is sort of unforgivable. But I always knew it would take a whole lifetime and maybe even eternity, to tell him all the whys and hows of my love for him.

There are some people who read a story from first word to last. There are others, who open a book and jump straight to the last page to “see how it ends”. I’m not that impatient; as writer and as a soul, I’m first word to final word, and the entire journey in between. And then there are people who don’t read at all, because they don’t like it, or it’s a chore or tedious or they’d only ever read for school and grades or for work and for a paycheck, because someone else made them or expects them to. Or maybe they don’t read because they legitimately have some disability or whatever that makes reading fitful, laborious, or makes their head or eyes or mind hurt. Or they don’t like “catching feels” or literary analysis or critical thinking or varying/non-varying language, or the usual subject matter. Or, I don’t know why some don’t like to read.

I also don’t know which of those types h is. He presented as flighty but dedicated; so did/do I. And somehow eventually our types didn’t quite match up, the path split and the roads diverged, and now it feels pretty far along and like maybe those don’t intersect again — or if they do, why do they?

Anyways. I love what you’ve said and it sounds/looks like you are a person/partner who somehow possesses a lot of basic trust in life’s paths and in the pleasance and surety that two can get there, whichever there, together and with perseverance. Grounded, well-rooted, is how your spirit sounds to me.

I like that about you. I am kind of in chaos lately so I don’t know I’d say it of myself, but I recognize it in other folks here, and in you. It’s reassuring, to me. (((HUGS)))
  • Logged

C
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 692
  • Gender: Female
Re: Steady as she goes...
#35: May 29, 2021, 05:40:27 PM
Thank you both for this. Marvin, I think there’s a lot of great discussion in the other thread, many good points on all sides. In general, I would say I learn something from every single story on this board, and that particular thread has taught me a great deal. I feel like the stories of people who don’t have children together resonate with me in many ways. The presence of children, particularly young children (or even adult children who still live at home) guides so much of the interactions between MLCer and LBS, and can be a source of very particular injury during this time (or can remain a place of connection when there are few others). So, while I value greatly the lessons gained from the stories of couples with children and couples with grown children... navigating MLC without children has some differences, and I am perhaps more likely to see similarities in those stories, just as I am more likely to see similarities in stories where the MLCer is a close contacter or lives at home. I know several people who contributed have different stories, and I am grateful for all the perspectives.


It’s not that I didn’t have standards or expectations. It’s sort of that I knew from long and early direct experience that life throws a lot of sticks into the spokes, and that sometimes it’s the ways we identify and remove those together, or co-learn how to ride safely around then, that is the real measure of love and commitment. So we choose the right partner to do that with, and the two of us meet whatever challenges come. Together.

To be honest, I was always up for the ride. Even through dark or jagged passages, I wanted to be there to see and know how we survived.

It bugs me that anyone would commit to the ride and then bail out of it.


Terra... I could have quoted almost your entire message because I feel like there’s so much we have in common. As different as our individual circumstances, and as different as our spouses are in all of this; there are some fundamental similarities in the way you and I see relationships, in our personal values around that, and perhaps in our sensitivity to the hurts that the world and other people can inflict. I think that, as much as I knew that some people took marriage lightly... I sort of assumed my W believed, as I do, that once you take that step, you don’t bail. You share the joys and the challenges, you are a safe place for each other, you are on each other’s team. Always. She comes from a family where her parents were married forever, her sisters are both in long marriages. We were together for a long time before getting married, and there was a long stretch between our engagement and our wedding. There is no scenario in which we can be seen to have rushed into that level of commitment. We were 43 and 37... not children. So yeah, it was a shock when it became clear that marriage didn’t prevent her from dropping her boundaries and getting into an inappropriate relationship. It didn’t make her talk to me, work with me when she felt that our connection was waning. Getting past that... it may not seem like it’s taken a long time on the calendar, but it’s taken a massive shift in how I view myself, relationships, and her. And despite the things I’ve lost, I feel like I am a better person for having made that shift.

We are enjoying the long weekend, spending time together, talking about making plans for a vacation with my family and possibly a vacation for the two of us. We bought tickets for some shows in the fall. She is checking in with me before agreeing to go see friends or to go to work gatherings. She is talking to me about improvements to our home, about planning our finances for the future and for retirement. I am not building my vision of our future on the words she’s saying, but I can’t deny that I appreciate the words, the plans, the sentiments. I want to believe in them, I hope I can... but I don’t expect it and I certainly don’t depend on them. But, just taking each moment as it comes, I’m happy. Not because of her words or her presence - but because my life has given me much for which to be thankful, and I am.
  • Logged

s
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 1757
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#36: June 18, 2021, 08:46:30 AM
Phew! It’s taken a while but I’m finally caught up!
  • Logged
Me - 28
H - 35
3 children together D3 D6 D8 (D1 D4 and D6 at the time of BD)
Together - almost 8 years

BD & MLCer moved out - November 2017
OW discovered - December 2017
Moved in with Ow - November 2019
Ow met children - December 2019

C
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 692
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#37: July 11, 2021, 10:39:48 PM
Updating and journaling a bit…

W’s family is visiting from across the country. They’ve been here a week, will be here a few more days, and when they go home, MIL will go with them (she normally lives there but was out here visiting when the pandemic hit and it wasn’t safe for her to fly). It has been… enlightening, to say the least. Without going into detail, I will say that I knew there were some family of origin issues, but the degree of dysfunction has become much more evident over the course of the past few months. I know MIL has mixed feelings about going back to her home… but as much as I am grateful for having had her company early in my journey, I am also glad to have a bit of time without her living here. I think it will be good for W to be out from under her mom’s shadow, and I think it will be good for us to be able to live our lives without her presence. Has she been a buffer between us? An influence that kept my W closer to home than she otherwise would have been, during her months living away from home? A source of pressure and tension that contributed to my w needing to live away from home in the first place? Maybe a bit of all three.

We are still coexisting comfortably, plans are moving forward for home improvements and travel together… but we have another set of separate vacations planned for just after her mom leaves. This time, I am actually going away for an overnight while she’s gone. I’m hoping the time away will be good for her; I’m looking forward to mine. There are still no relationship talks, though she does actually share with me her feelings about the strife in her family. Despite that sharing, in some ways she seems more emotionally closed off and avoidant than even in the early days post BD, though I suspect that is exacerbated by her family’s presence here. It feels less like she’s closed off from me specifically and more like she’s just closed off period, though maybe it was always like this and I just personalized it too much before.

I feel like my real self. I feel like I had that burst of excitement and passion around discovering my love of writing, and that has settled into just a part of who I am and what I love to do. But I think that by finding it, by having something tangible that isn’t work and isn’t about my W, I have re-learned the value of all of my interests. That’s what GAL is to me - it’s not a frenzied search for distractions and interests and things to fill up my calendar. It’s a calm certainty of who I am, of my inherent worth and importance, of the fact that I am worthy of love and respect. It’s the deep understanding that I am responsible for my own path and my own emotions, that the things I love to do have value simply because I love to do them - it doesn’t matter if someone else is bored by them or doesn’t see the appeal. It’s about remembering that not only is it okay to have wants ans desires, to play, to just be in the moment - it’s essential. It’s not just getting A life, it’s about getting MY life, a life that I truly love and that is meaningful to me. And I don’t succeed in that every moment… and maybe not even every day. But I’m working on it, and I would say that there are very few days where I fall short, and I have gotten pretty good about being kind to myself in those moments of frailty. I think it’s making me a better person and a better partner. I know it’s making me more self-aware, wiser, less naive, and stronger.
  • Logged

  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 11270
  • Gender: Male
  • You can't please everyone. You are NOT a pizza!
Steady as she goes...
#38: July 12, 2021, 01:04:28 AM
I feel like my real self. I feel like I had that burst of excitement and passion around discovering my love of writing, and that has settled into just a part of who I am and what I love to do. But I think that by finding it, by having something tangible that isn’t work and isn’t about my W, I have re-learned the value of all of my interests. That’s what GAL is to me - it’s not a frenzied search for distractions and interests and things to fill up my calendar. It’s a calm certainty of who I am, of my inherent worth and importance, of the fact that I am worthy of love and respect. It’s the deep understanding that I am responsible for my own path and my own emotions, that the things I love to do have value simply because I love to do them - it doesn’t matter if someone else is bored by them or doesn’t see the appeal. It’s about remembering that not only is it okay to have wants ans desires, to play, to just be in the moment - it’s essential. It’s not just getting A life, it’s about getting MY life, a life that I truly love and that is meaningful to me. And I don’t succeed in that every moment… and maybe not even every day. But I’m working on it, and I would say that there are very few days where I fall short, and I have gotten pretty good about being kind to myself in those moments of frailty. I think it’s making me a better person and a better partner. I know it’s making me more self-aware, wiser, less naive, and stronger.

This is the best definition of GAL that I have read ... EVER!
  • Logged
Me - 58, xW - 50
Together 19 years - Married 17 at separation & 21 at D-Day
S - 14, D - 10
2 Dogs
BD#1 - August 2015
Atomic BD - 13 Dec 2015
House sold & separated - Mar 2016
Divorce final 30 August 2019

Survival Instructions for Newbies
Site Map
 
A "friend" will not "stand by you" no matter what you do. That is NOT a friend. That is an enabler. That is an accomplice.
A REAL friend will sit you down and tell you to your face to stop being a firetrucking idiot before you ruin your life and the lives of those around you.

C
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 692
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#39: July 12, 2021, 12:52:16 PM
Thanks, Ursa! One of the benefits of endless analysis is that sometimes I actually stumble onto things that work. The most important thing was to stop analyzing my W and the relationship and to focus on the place where I actually have some level of real insight and control - my own life.

I also want to add that in addition to the self-work that I have done and continue to do, I was very lucky to have a supportive network of friends. And although my family is not nearby, MIL was a great help to me early on. I probably vented to her a little more than I should have, though I did keep some boundaries and I stopped really venting to her pretty early in my healing. I think that real human connection is an invaluable part of the healing process, and I think some people can get that through a trusted therapist, some through family, some through friends, some through supportive groups such as this community, and some through a combination of any of the four. Although therapy was the smallest part of my support network, I do think in many ways it was a catalyst for some positive movement.
  • Logged

  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2956
  • Gender: Female
  • Time is a Gift! 🎁
Steady as she goes...
#40: July 23, 2021, 09:25:17 PM
Catching up C

I agree with Ursa, that was a great definition of GAL
  • Logged
Survival Instructions for Newbies

The Apology Every LBS Deserves

My Journey

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass - it's about learning to dance in the rain."

"Don't become a container for bitterness.  It's a toxin that destroys what it's carried in."

C
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 692
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#41: July 24, 2021, 09:16:56 AM
FW, good to hear from you, and thank you!

It’s interesting… the more I feel like I am settling into this new/old version of myself, the more I feel like she is settling into our home and even in some ways back into our life. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not going back to what we were before BD. If and when she reaches a point where we can openly discuss a future together and what we both need and want in a healthy relationship, we will have that discussion. But I will not slide back into that place where I defined myself as primarily being the reliable support system from which she could pursue her dreams. I am a fully-formed person, with my own dreams and hopes and fears, with my own wants and needs and passions, and I am on my own journey to make sure my life has purpose and joy. There’s room for her to be a part of it, but my ability to find and pursue purpose and joy does not rely on her presence.

Settling into our routine post-MIL leaving. She went home a week ago; w and I each took a short trip and are now back at home. I’ve been doing some reading, listening to a lot of writing podcasts, getting involved in a bit of research on various topics that I enjoy. I love learning and it feels like my natural curiosity is fully reawakened. I am keeping in contact with friends and family, taking care of myself. There is some more caution creeping into our daily lives as Covid cases increase, but there is still room for us to engage with the world, albeit with a few more precautions than we needed to take a month or two ago.
  • Logged

C
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 692
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#42: August 01, 2021, 12:48:30 PM
Some interesting developments this weekend; I am curious about others' insights though I know that each person and situation are a little different. W and I went to a concert last night; it involved taking a bus from the parking lot to the event. Soon after we got onto the bus, a woman got on with a friend - and it looked a lot like OW. I couldn't be completely sure with masks and all, but it was OW's style of dress, the eyes looked right, the hair color looked right but the style seemed a little different and she looked overall just different enough that I couldn't tell. W and I looked at each other but I couldn't tell from her expression; I couldn't pick out OW's voice on the bus enough to tell. So, we enjoyed the concert and the evening, came home, and went to sleep as usual.

This morning, W asked me if I had realized that someone we knew was on the bus last night. That's how she phrased it. I said that I'd thought so, but I hadn't been sure until the moment W mentioned it. W said that she hadn't really been sure either but then she went on social media and saw that OW had posted a picture from the same concert we were also attending. What are the odds, right? Not only that we went to the same event, but that we chose the same remote parking structure AND we ended up arriving at the same time so that we were on the same bus. Anyway... W said she had hoped she and OW could remain friends, and she had reached out to OW a couple of times including on mother's day (the first mother's day since OW lost her mother) but had not been receiving any responses. So today is OW's birthday and W said she planned to reach out one last time, wish her a happy birthday, and say that she would no longer be reaching out as she had hoped that they could remain friends but OW has made clear that she doesn't want that, and W will respect her wishes.

I asked W how she was doing... and it launched into a relationship talk. She told me that while living away, she had put up a dating profile and had done some online dating - it was mostly unrewarding. There was someone she was talking to around the end of 2020 but that person had decided not to pursue anything. W said that she realized she needs to have friends of her own; that we had become too enmeshed; but also that she doesn't have any friends in the queer community and she needs that. She also said that she's a flirty person, and she does like to be able to flirt with someone when there is the potential for mutual interest, even if neither person is going to pursue it - so flirting with straight women or with men doesn't have the same appeal. She said that she realized it's not about dating or sex, and she has changed her profile to indicate that she is looking for friendship and community, not for dating or relationships or sex. Someone apparently did reach out but they have not made any arrangements to meet.

She said that when she was deciding she wanted to move back home, and then in the months since, it had become clear to her that she wanted me to be her person, and she wanted our life to be the foundation for her life - she wanted our home to be her home and our pets to be our family. She had had a lot of confusion about the fact that she felt like she had needed more, but being home has felt right to her. She said she didn't want to be separated anymore.

So I agreed with all of that, we did and do each need to have our own lives and friends and parts of ourselves that are independent of each other. I told her that underneath any sort of independence, there have to be healthy boundaries and there has to be trust - that each person is respecting the boundaries of the relationship. I told her that I wanted her to have her own friends and her own interests just as I will continue to have mine - and I said that I hadn't been misleading her when I said that if she were truly polyamorous, I had been accepting of that, as long as the boundaries of our relationship were respected at all times. I don't know that she truly needs or even wants that, and I do know that we would have to rebuild trust before any sort of exploration of that could be considered. And it does appear that she is wearing her wedding ring again. In discussing her confusion around the EA, I said that she'd clearly been in crisis and needed to work through things, and I knew she had been doing that work - and she agreed with that. I said that within a healthy relationship, there is room for all of the parts of our individual selves, and that she needs to know that it is safe for her to be exactly who she is.

So... I don't want to belabor stage watching and labels because there's no way to know in this moment whether this is real and lasting and a step to reconnection, or whether it's manipulation or a touch and go or a moment of clarity in ongoing crisis. I will say that she does seem to be clear; that her actions have been consistent since she's been home; that while she has lied by omission, she has not actually told me lies (or very few). I do think that there's a not-insignificant chance that she had more of a transition than a full crisis (or that she had a real crisis but moved through it quickly; I don't know if the only distinguishing characteristic is timeline or if severity plays into it) and that she is truly through the worst of the quagmire. I am leaving plenty of room for the possibility that she's still not really sure and that even if she thinks she knows what she wants, there's no guarantee that this won't happen again in the future.

I am, I think, handling it pretty well. She apologized for what her actions had put me through, and I agreed that we had become far too codependent and that I thought we needed to find more independence. She said that she thought we could be better than before as a result of these months of struggle, and I said that while I wasn't exactly going to thank her for all that had happened, I agreed that I thought we were on a better path as a result of our individual growth. A part of me has been tempted to continue the relationship discussion, to analyze where we have been and to talk about where we want to go in the future - and as a result of my growth, I have not done that and do not intend to. I'm going to take this morning's discussion for what it was, appreciate the openness of our conversation, and continue to move forward with my life. I will keep being truly present with her in our conversations, I will check in about how she's doing - but I will not push her to share beyond what she chooses to share. I will be open with her about how I'm doing, and I will continue to have my own interests and friends, and be happy that she has her own interests and friends too. I'm going to put myself first, and always be sure that I am a fully-formed individual who is responsible for my own happiness and finding my own purpose and meaning in life.

So in terms of a timeline for my journey... I think our codependent tendencies have to some degree always been present, though really they have increased over the past 7-8 years or so. For probably the last 3-4 years, she has been seeking to pull away - as she found a good career path and some friends in that same field, she's been trying to define herself outside of our relationship. Rather than seeking to do the same, I think I developed a strange combination of neediness and closed-off tendencies. I hadn't realized just how much I was defining myself based on my role as a spouse and I didn't know who I was outside of that anymore. The EA started probably 20-21 months ago (autumn 2019), BD1 was 17 months ago (March 2020). BD2 (her wanting to be separated) and her initial move-out (for a month) was June into early July 2020, and she was home again for a few months although very much not in a place of reconnection. She moved out again in early October 2020, and moved back in at the end of March 2021, so she was away for just short of 6 months during that stretch, and 7 months out of the past 14. Since moving back home, she has been settling in and has gradually started talking more about home improvements, travel plans, a future that included both of us together. But today was the first time she'd specifically said she didn't want to be separated anymore, that she wanted me to be her person, that our life was the foundation she wanted for herself.

So... a long update, a potentially meaningful interaction. I know that there will be some skepticism and please know that it is completely justified and I share it on some level. I remain fully open to reconciliation and will take her at her word, doing my part to ensure that we can rebuild some trust and safety and acceptance in our relationship. But I will also be sure to keep the lessons I have learned along the way, about defining my self-worth based on me and not on who I am to anyone else. I know that this could all happen again, and I will be strong and thrive regardless of what happens with her. But it could also NOT happen again, and I am leaving room for that as well. So... we shall see what the future brings.
  • Logged

  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 8056
  • Gender: Female
Re: Steady as she goes...
#43: August 01, 2021, 01:09:25 PM
Sounds like you're in a good place, and only time will tell if actions and consistency come with the words. It's still (as I know you know) all about her, but that's expected, too. Good on you for handling it all so well!!
  • Logged

  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 4352
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#44: August 01, 2021, 02:04:45 PM
I am curious, how do you feel about her wanting to stay friends with OW? And that she has a need to be flirty with people who are a possible romantic interest? You seem to be ok with sharing (polyamory), but do you already know the boundaries you'd need in place for that?

It's a foreign concept for me to trust anyone who cheated before with a polyamory situation (face it, polyamory is not for me  :) ) so I was wondering if you already had your boundaries in mind.
  • Logged
When life gives you lemons, make SALSA!

C
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 692
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#45: August 01, 2021, 04:19:46 PM
Thanks to you both. The first boundary is that… while I have come to believe that polyamory is something that is a genuine part of some people’s identities and lives, it’s also entirely too easy for it to be used as an excuse for cake eating. I’m worth more than that, so there would be no consideration of accepting a polyamorous spouse without complete trust, openness, and honesty. That would have to be rebuilt over time. I’m not sure if I can reach that level of trust with her anytime soon, or even if that’s what she wants anymore. It’s not off the table but it requires a depth of mutual respect and trust that has to be unshakable.

It occurred to me that she said a lot about wanting me to be her person - but also essential to moving forward is that I want her to be my person, too. I have to be able to trust her implicitly, to feel safe being vulnerable with her and to know she’s in this with me. I want that, I am working on believing that. I have to know that she actually wants to be my person - that this isn’t just about what I can do for her, but about her wanting to be here for me.

As for flirting in general and a friendship with OW specifically… I have generally found that she doesn’t tell outright lies, at least not often or in significant matters. She gets distant, withdraws, even perhaps lies by omission. But she doesn’t tend to actually say untrue things. So the friendship with OW… honestly, given that their relationship was emotional only and that she has been so consistent for so long now in saying that there is no more romantic interest there, I could see being okay with that but I honestly don’t see OW being okay with it. And with regard to flirting with other people… again, I just think there has to be a lot of discussion about boundaries. I will want her to be open about any profiles she has online. I will want to know who the people are that she is meeting and when it’s happening. I want her to have her own friends; I want her to be able to have queer friends if that feels like something that will improve her quality of life. And I don’t think she is looking to have online relationships and coffee dates that she calls “friendships” but are actually non-sexual relationships. I really do think she is looking for friends, and that a little harmless flirting in some of her friendships is something she enjoys.

There’s a lot to talk about, and a lot to think about. I’m sure there will be more conversations as we navigate this new dynamic between us. I think it has the potential to be more open and trusting and real than the relationship we had before - but in order for that to be the case, we both have to want that and we both have to do the work. I know I want that and I know I will do the work. I believe that she wants it, though I will need to see consistency too. As to whether she will do the work… again, I think so but I am not assuming it either.

This isn’t the end, not by any stretch. I wouldn’t be looking for an icon change before the beginning of next year at the earliest. This is the beginning of where we start testing each other to see what we have learned on our journeys. I will need to think about boundaries and my own needs and wants. I will definitely be here, doing my best to check in regularly so that I can remain grounded and focused on myself and to guard against falling back into a place of codependency. I don’t think I will go there again; I believe that I value myself too much for that now. But I always appreciate reminders, warnings, advice… I love this woman and it is easy for me to, if not idealize her, at least to be generous in my interpretation of her words and actions. Having a grounding influence from this group will be really helpful for me going forward.
  • Logged

  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 1403
  • Gender: Male
Steady as she goes...
#46: August 01, 2021, 06:52:14 PM
Hi C, (oh I like saying that..... it's like Hi-C, which I lived on as a kid  ;D )

I would say that it is very encouraging..... as I believe they have to re-choose their life (all of it).

Her saying that she wants you in her life is shown in words, and in moving back (actions).
It'd a long road to rebuilding trust, but I think too that the need for independence to some extent is always part of an MLC that completes.
In the way you have grown too, the type of interdependence which existed before will not be possible. You have learned, grown and become stronger: There is no going back.

One thing I have learned is the MLC'er makes choices in little bits which add up to bigger bits, and she is nowhere near done choosing and understanding her choices. At this point though, I think the choices they make are quite firm. They've examined (or are examining) who they are, what they want, and have to come to terms with what all that means. They could be similar to what they thought they were and wanted. They could be different to what they thought, and the differences in both cases have to be dealt with, accepted and forgiven. All that takes time, and you are being very patient.
In the end, you are becoming and knowing exactly who you are, what you want, and what you can accept. The same is happening in her. You are doing it from strength, she is doing it from weakness.

You know what (to me) was very telling about what you wrote? She brought it up. That shows some level of trust, and vulnerability. Mine still dances around anything like that topic, so for yours to go ahead and open up about it..... wow. That's great. As long as you're honest with her, I think she will try to do the same with you. What comes out may shock you, probably shock her too. They do (generally) think they will be judged, so be gentle and I think she may open up more and more.... in there is the truth as to what you both need, and agreement or at least understanding.
I would be happy that as she continues to discover and change...... you're going to be part of it, not all of it, just included. There's where your boundaries will be formed. The polyamory, I'm assuming you are not ok with this (?), and as she chooses and grows, knowing your thoughts/feelings should be too important  to jeopardize. I'm not well versed in this dynamic, and I hope that it's just a fear born out of her current desire to flirt, which may fade out all on it's own. She is after all still choosing, discovering, learning and maturing.

One thing that I notice (I could be wrong) is you are the "giver" in the relationship. Would you say this is the case? This area will need to be evened out in order for you to be happy and fulfilled. That's probably a ways down the road for big things, but I wouldn't hesitate at this point to start asking for smaller things and see how she responds. Everyone has to feel like they have "skin in the game", and she needs to make some investment into the relationship in order to attach to it. Small things lead to bigger things  :)

-SS
  • Logged
W - 40
M - 44
Together 25 years, M 23
No kids
BD - 27th April 2019
Start of Shadow - Feb 2012

C
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 692
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#47: August 01, 2021, 07:27:54 PM
SS, thanks for all of your insights, I think you have a very good read on me and on my marriage; I am more the giver, always have been. I’m not great about letting myself be vulnerable or leaning on someone, never have been. Pre-MLC, I always felt that I could lean on my W and she would be there for me. It came up a few times where I needed support and she was there for me - and even when I didn’t need support, she was always in my corner. I tried not to need a lot of support though, and as she evolved in her life and career, she always needed more than I did and it felt good to me to be the one she counted on. Agree - that needs to change. We need to be able to self-soothe, and we also both need to be able to count on the other to be on our team. We both need to be able to trust each other enough to lean on each other. We have had that ability before and I believe we can and want to again, but it doesn’t just come back because we aren’t the same people we were.

As for the polyamory… I’m honestly not sure. I am accepting of it in the situation where both partners and any other people involved are not just aware, but fully accepting and trusting and respectful of each other. There have to be really well defined boundaries and the communication has to be absolutely top notch to ensure that everyone’s needs are being met. That is hard enough in a monogamous relationship; it is exponentially harder when others are involved. Without belaboring the story of how I evolved on this, I will say that I genuinely feel like I was okay with it, but given how things happened, I am not sure if I can get to a place of deep enough trust to be accepting of a spouse in a polyamorous relationship. And even if I could with someone that I trusted, she has specifically broken boundaries around that before (at BD2). So I won’t rule it out, but I also think it would take a LOT of work to get to a place of that much trust. And honestly, I don’t think she necessarily wants that for herself anyway. I don’t want to speak for her, but I think she wants a single secure foundation and I think the way that EA blew up for her was a wake up call.

What resonated with me the most is that they are still making their choices and trying to understand them, and they are concerned about being judged. I have worked really hard to not put pressure on her and to make it clear that I am not judging and not putting any expectations on her. When she said she didn’t want to be in her old rental anymore, I didn’t assume she was finding a new one and I didn’t assume she was coming home. I gently asked her what she did want, and she said she wanted to come home. When she said she didn’t want to be separated anymore, I said okay. When she said she needed to have some degree of independence and her own friends, and that we had been too enmeshed, I agreed and said that yes, we had absolutely been codependent and we needed to be our own individual selves. The thing is - I validated all the things she said, not just to validate her, but because I completely agree and have said those things here and in conversations with friends.

It’s one thing to want our life as her foundation, to want me as her person - but what does that foundation, that relationship, look like? What does it provide to her? What does it provide to me? How do we value that relationship and respect it and cherish it appropriately? That’s all stuff that will need to be discussed. Not today, not tomorrow… we need to just live with this bit of evolution and see how it feels. But if this is to have a chance to be real, we will have to get there when we are both ready.
  • Logged

m
  • *
  • Subscriber, 12 Month
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 795
  • Gender: Male
Re: Steady as she goes...
#48: August 02, 2021, 12:23:21 AM
Curiosity: first I am very happy for you, it sounds like from your viewpoint things are moving in a better direction with her. Movement is good indication something is happening, and positive movement is the best (obviously!).

You also sounds like you have a pretty clear view of your own boundaries, wants, and are really expanding your life and not just focused on your relationship. I think some of us find to a degree that over time and with closeness we became a little to enmeshed with our spouses. I am not saying its great but I think its natural. Not that you are in any way saying this, but just because that happens it doesn’t mean our spouses need to blow things up just to find space.

My case is very different than yours, but I wanted to share the similarity in some things. My wife also came back after 1.5 years, didn’t say exactly she wants “our life” but pretty much started resuming a version of our lives. She even said things like she was back but still wanted to “explore” and do her own thing. At this point I was pretty much living my own life. Then after a couple of months she raised the idea of polyamory. For me that was always a boundary. I do not believe personally that polyamory works in vast number of situations, it definitely is not something that I am capable of and in her case it was, as you said yourself, a way for her to have everything she wants the way she wants. And my saying no to the idea is what led to her essentially asking for a divorce a month or two later. So in my case I was still an object. She was not capable of empathy, seeing me as a person, and caring for me. She was still deeply in a place where she only saw people and places as they existed in her needs.

So as they say hope for the best, but live your life and just watch what happens. She may really have been having a mid life transition as you say which would be great. I believe the difference between MLC and MLT is not just degree, rather whether certain psychological foundations collapse or are just stressed (if that makes any sense). I know in my W’s case it definitely is MLC, because 4.5 years out she is still so different than the person she was, and still looks and acts in a lot of pain, confusion and is mostly in her own head.

It’s one thing to want our life as her foundation, to want me as her person - but what does that foundation, that relationship, look like? What does it provide to her? What does it provide to me? How do we value that relationship and respect it and cherish it appropriately? That’s all stuff that will need to be discussed.

You are posing great questions. I think these questions are things we should always ask ourselves, even when our relationships are “working.”
  • Logged
No Kids, 23 years at BD1 (4 years), married 21
First signs of MLC Jan '15
BD 1 Jan '17, BD 2 Mar, Separated Apr, BD 3 May,BD 4 Jun '18
First Sign of Waking up-Dec '17, First Cycle out of MLC Mar '18-Jun ‘18, Second cycle Jul '18-??
Meets OM Jan '17 and acts "in love," admits "in love" Jun '18, asks for divorce Jul '18

C
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 692
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#49: August 02, 2021, 10:59:04 AM
Marvin, thanks for this response - it’s extremely helpful as there are some similar experiences, albeit at different times, in our journeys. The polyamory thing came up between BD1 and BD2… and I admit I was the one who brought it up. It was a sign of my codependency that made me even think of it as an option - but I didn’t actually say anything to her about it until I had thought it through and realized that in the appropriate setting, with enough honesty and trust and respect, I could see a relationship working with one or both partners being nonmonogamous. The question becomes, though - can enough trust and respect and honesty exist in a real, flawed human relationship? And can those things exist in a relationship with someone who has already betrayed trust by not having healthy boundaries around their relationships? I historically idealized my w a bit too much, and was sure that she would be honest and open and respectful of me and our marriage. So I said that sure, let’s see what happens. OW was not willing to be a secondary partner, and W was not willing to give her up… so all the things she had said to me about me being her person? All that blew up at BD2 last spring.

So now… I’m going to need to know what’s different before I trust her and trust this behavior. Though only a day into this new phase or whatever it is, I am tempted frequently to continue the conversation, to put my boundaries out there, or at least to tell her that although I’m not going to pressure her to have the conversation, I want her to know that there is more we need to say (or more we need to figure out) about our boundaries and hopes and plans for our lives, individually and together.

I’m posting here more frequently for a couple of reasons - clearly, things are changing and insight and wisdom and cautions and feedback are always much appreciated. But also because I know that no good will come from putting pressure on her or putting expectations on whatever this developing relationship is at this point. So rather than spew all of my feelings and not-fully-formed thoughts to her, I am putting them here as a way to ruminate and process. I know that a lot of my thoughts are W- centered and relationship-centered, but really, my primary focus is on figuring out what I want in my own life and in a relationship. I want to be married to her - I believe in commitment and more importantly, I love her and I like spending time with her and sharing experiences large and small with her. But marriage (in my mind) also requires trust and vulnerability and intimacy and play, it requires us to live our authentic lives and to fully accept each other in living those lives. We have to cherish each other and the bonds of the relationship between us. And none of us is perfect, but I will need to know what her view of marriage in general, and our marriage specifically, is in order to figure out if and how we can each be happy in the framework of whatever relationship we design for ourselves.
  • Logged

C
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 692
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#50: August 03, 2021, 09:36:06 AM
There has been further conversation… apologies from her, she thanked me for making it possible for her to come back home. We both agreed that we don’t want the fragile relationship we had before, but that we can’t have that because we are not the same people we were then. She discussed a little about realizing through therapy that there are these broken bits within her, and she hopes that I can roll with them because she really wants this marriage.

I’m good. I’m at peace. I know that this is only the beginning; we have discussed that we are both open to marriage counseling but we can also start having these conversations ourselves because we seem to be on the same page. I do not have expectations; she openly acknowledges that she is still broken and that there is more she needs to discover about herself. To know that she is working on herself and has that level of insight gives me hope for her healing. Personally, I feel whole and content and grateful for all that is good in my own life. I have come to love and value and respect the person I am - not for who I am to others, just for being me. And no matter what happens in the long run, that’s here to stay.
  • Logged

C
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 692
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#51: August 06, 2021, 08:56:37 AM
So, a bit of an update and some perhaps unique events? After my initial conversation with W and some continued discussions where she expressed that she wanted to be friends with OW, I was thinking about how things happened - really thinking, from a more peaceful and healed perspective. And the thing is… the EA wasn’t a completely one-sided thing on the part of my W, but it was in large part unrequited. There was about a month where they spent time together and there was emotional connection but no physical affair; not even a kiss. It was something that W wanted to pursue but OW was hesitant for a lot of reasons - her own (presumed) heterosexuality, but also her concern for my feelings, among other things. It was all pretty emotionally charged, and I think the things that were broken in each of them gave them a connection that they felt they needed to explore. At the end of that one month, my W came home saying that a relationship would never work, that they could only ever be friends. And OW reached out to me to apologize and to say she had never meant to hurt me. There was clearly a lot of guilt in her message. As angry and hurt as I was at that time, I was tempted to respond in anger, but even then I knew that would be counterproductive. So I never responded, and that was the last time I heard from or saw her until last weekend.

When she saw us on the shuttle, she and her friend moved to the back of the bus, out of our line of sight, and I heard her say something about being more comfortable back there. So I was thinking about it and the fact that she clearly still feels a lot of hurt and guilt about everything. When W reached out to her to wish her a happy birthday and express a hope that they could be friends, OW (let’s call her A, now) was confrontational because she didn’t want any deception or “on the sly” conversation.

In truly, honestly thinking about the situation, our marriage had some fragility born in codependency prior to A entering the picture. The relationship with A was a symptom of W’s crisis, and it was clearly a situation where the involved people were all in an emotionally charged state and nobody was seeking to hurt anyone. And A had clearly taken all the blame onto herself, had decided I hated her and thought she had tried to destroy my marriage, and felt like she was wholly responsible for the emotional affair. She didn’t know what she had done, but was sure she had done something. Ultimately, I didn’t think that was fair to her, and so I responded belatedly to her message. I expressed that it was nobody’s fault, that we had all been struggling with a difficult situation and had done the best we could based on our own emotional states. I said that for my part, I had grown and healed, and I was in a better place. I told her I did not blame her; that any anger I had about her was more about the betrayal from my W - but even that was not something my W did with malicious intent. I told her that I hoped we could put it all behind us and that I genuinely wish her only good things.

She was grateful for the conversation and so was I. I know that it’s not the way these things usually go, but it felt right for the situation and I feel better for having reached out. It might well be that she feels like she was a pawn in W’s crisis, and she can’t maintain a friendship with W after all that - but I wanted everyone involved to have the same opportunity to clear the air and start fresh; there was no reason for her to keep seeing herself as the one to blame.

W and I are continuing to talk, small bits of what we have experienced and what we want going forward. I am able to express that I had anger and felt betrayed, but to do so in a way where it’s not the main focus of the conversation. I’m not in that place anymore - I am emotionally whole and healed, and while I appreciate her apologies and remorse, I no longer need that in order to move forward. We are talking about boundaries; about what we need our lives to include (the independent pieces as well as the shared life). We each have a new appreciation for the struggles the other has gone through, and for the work we are each continuing to do on ourselves. And in all of this, a part of me keeps sight of the possibility that this could all be temporary, that she could fracture again and withdraw - but I can’t live my life in fear of that. Because her words and actions are consistent, I am taking them at face value and I am being open and honest as well. And I think that’s a good place to be.
  • Logged

T
  • *
  • Trial Subscriber
  • Sr. Member
  • Posts: 351
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#52: August 06, 2021, 01:46:33 PM
Wow, all sounds like great healthy insight into everything. It has to be nice to get that apology and know that A has empathy and regrets any hurt caused. How often does that happen?
  • Logged
H-54 W-58  M 7/6/91 Kids d-30 s-28 d-14 (dies 2009)
2013- moments of disconnect start
Aug 2016 promotion requires travel   
Oct 2017-total disconnect
Jan 2018- moved out H
Mar 2018- BD1 found old phone 3 EA ‘17-H in therapy
EA ow1-49,  EA-ow2 57, (EA- ow3-58 not reciprocated)
Sept ‘18 -2nd Home in new state H new job
Oct 2018-H moves home
Oct 2020 BD2 does not return home from B trip
Nov 2020 H move to 2nd home in other state OW4
Div filed-Dec ‘20   Div final-Feb ‘21
Oct 2021- XH moves in OW4
https://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=11796.

C
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 692
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#53: August 06, 2021, 02:24:38 PM
Tornup, I think it is exceedingly rare that an alienator actually turns out to be someone with as much empathy and as much of a conscience as A has. And I was lucky that, to this point, I have had wonderful support and relatively low trauma. It’s never trauma-free, of course, and there is always a lot of healing work to do. I’m still doing it and that will continue as W and I pursue what certainly is presenting itself as reconnection at this time.

To borrow Acorn’s phrase, sample of one. Each person has to follow the path that feels authentic for them, based on the specific details of their own situation and the people involved. And most importantly… I wanted to have that conversation because I felt that A deserved closure, but also because it was good for me (and for W). I am prioritizing having a clear conscience myself, but if my choices allow all involved to clear the air and clear their consciences too, how can that be anything other than good?
  • Logged

T
  • *
  • Trial Subscriber
  • Sr. Member
  • Posts: 351
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#54: August 06, 2021, 02:44:55 PM
Curiosity-
You are right!! It is all GOOD!!
  • Logged
H-54 W-58  M 7/6/91 Kids d-30 s-28 d-14 (dies 2009)
2013- moments of disconnect start
Aug 2016 promotion requires travel   
Oct 2017-total disconnect
Jan 2018- moved out H
Mar 2018- BD1 found old phone 3 EA ‘17-H in therapy
EA ow1-49,  EA-ow2 57, (EA- ow3-58 not reciprocated)
Sept ‘18 -2nd Home in new state H new job
Oct 2018-H moves home
Oct 2020 BD2 does not return home from B trip
Nov 2020 H move to 2nd home in other state OW4
Div filed-Dec ‘20   Div final-Feb ‘21
Oct 2021- XH moves in OW4
https://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=11796.

  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 1403
  • Gender: Male
Steady as she goes...
#55: August 07, 2021, 08:40:02 PM
Wow, that is a fascinating spin on the sitch......

How nice that this person wasn't just the typical user. Even though it went somewhere it shouldn't anyway, good on that person.
So does that mean your W was (mostly) in fantasyland? Projecting feelings and this person was mostly being nice and trying to be a friend? Wow..... that is really unique...... and "nice" is often mistaken for more.
Soooooo interesting. Encouraging actually.

I think it was very mature of you to talk to her, and have an understanding. So good on you too  :D
I'm so happy to hear that it's important to have a clear conscience...... it is!! Super awesome.

Way to go C  ;)

-SS

 
  • Logged
W - 40
M - 44
Together 25 years, M 23
No kids
BD - 27th April 2019
Start of Shadow - Feb 2012

C
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 692
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#56: August 07, 2021, 09:28:38 PM
Thanks, SS! I feel pretty good about it. It felt 100% like the right thing to do for me, and the fact that it might provide some closure and healing for her was only part of it.

I think it was a mix of things. I think A tends to be emotional and demonstrative, and l suspect that you’re right, that W misread the nature of their emotional connection and neither of them was in the mindset of defining boundaries. I honestly think A was a little flummoxed by W’s interest, but she felt the emotional link so she stuck with it. I don’t know the nature of their conversations other than that she was absolutely convinced there was no way I could be okay with a polyamorous relationship. And she couldn’t be second fiddle, and she couldn’t pursue something that was deceitful or hurtful to me. W was quite upset and frustrated about it at the time, but ultimately it was the right thing for all involved.

I feel like we are settling into this part of the journey. A few conversations about that relationship and what happened, a few conversations about how we see life moving forward. I’m not defining it or making any predictions about what the future holds. I have been working for these past many months on figuring out who I am, what gives my life purpose and what brings me joy - and I’m not giving up any of that just because she has said and done some things that I have been hoping for. If anything, this is the most important time to keep up the self-discovery. It’s even more essential now that I hold onto my own individual identity, to ensure that the codependency that had made its way into our lives can’t find a way back in.

Thanks for the encouragement, SS! It’s definitely an unusual path to have taken, but one of the important lessons is that we all have to act based on our knowledge of the specific nuances of our situations.
  • Logged

  • *
  • Trial Subscriber
  • Sr. Member
  • Posts: 306
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#57: August 09, 2021, 10:55:24 AM
I’m not defining it or making any predictions about what the future holds. I have been working for these past many months on figuring out who I am, what gives my life purpose and what brings me joy - and I’m not giving up any of that just because she has said and done some things that I have been hoping for. If anything, this is the most important time to keep up the self-discovery. It’s even more essential now that I hold onto my own individual identity, to ensure that the codependency that had made its way into our lives can’t find a way back in.

And if this doesn't show how much you have grown in this journey, I dont know what would!   I love your outlook on where you are at!
  • Logged
Me (W) 44 - W 42
BD - Jan 17, 2020

C
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 692
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#58: August 09, 2021, 12:41:09 PM
Thanks! The growth was certainly hard fought for, at least! My emotional roller coaster was certainly extreme (at least by my standards). But yeah… I am honestly thankful for the lessons I have learned over this journey so far. Going from a place of not knowing who I really am outside of my marriage, to truly loving and respecting myself… that’s truly priceless. It’s also allowed me to remove the limitations on how I saw myself, and it’s shown me exactly how much I bring to any relationship I’m in. There’s so much still to discuss, and I really don’t have any assumptions about the long term direction we are moving in, but I wouldn’t give up the things I’ve learned about myself for anything.
  • Logged
« Last Edit: August 09, 2021, 12:42:50 PM by Curiosity »

C
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 692
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#59: August 10, 2021, 02:59:25 PM
A little more pondering of the situation. Thankfully, things are about as exciting as paint drying, which is sort of exactly what you hope for. W is opening up to me occasionally about her therapy. She gets homework assignments and sometimes struggles, but what she told me was about trying to define the various roles in her life, and what gifts she brings to each role (as well as the wounds related to each role). She said that as a spouse, she really struggles to come up with much positive stuff that she brings to a relationship. So we talked a bit about it and she tentatively mentioned a couple of things, and I confirmed and validated those, and added a couple more. I’m not pushing her, I’m available for a hug or to listen, and I think that’s appreciated. She is really trying to be present, to participate in running the house, to check in with me, to talk to me about what is going on with her. There’s a fair bit of depression and anxiety in her, not really even far beneath the surface. So she gets the time and space she needs, and I also get the time and space to focus on me and my personal growth.

In thinking about the conversation with A and my need to reach out, it’s interesting. Some of it is unique to the nature of their relationship and how it went (or didn’t, as the case may be). Part, though, is about who I am. I think in some ways a part of me feels a sort of kinship with A… we both were emotionally entangled with W as she navigated (and continues to navigate) this crisis. We both rode the emotional roller coaster that was not our own. We both didn’t intend to hurt anyone and got caught up in a situation that escalated beyond our expectations. Certainly, the unclear boundaries that she had contributed to her relationship with my W becoming inappropriate… but she was the one to stop it, and it didn’t take her long before she did that. So yeah… in some ways, she was the only one of us who considered anyone’s emotions other than her own… I was in my own feelings and so was my W, but A actually thought about my feelings.

In addition, I like to be liked. (I guess that’s true of both of us). This was something that started as a friendship between her and both me and my W, before things changed in the face of my W’s limerent attachment to her (which was at least partly reciprocated). So it seemed like we were becoming friends, then suddenly I was persona non grata and was blocked on social media for a while, and a part of me was offended because I was the one who’d done nothing wrong.

I have a lot more understanding of it all now, though there’s still a lot I don’t know. I do regret that things happened the way they did because I do think she would make an interesting person to have as a friend. Her lived experience is very different compared to mine, her perspective in many ways is different, and I like to spend time with people who might have different insights to offer. However, I also fully recognize what has passed between all of us, and it may be that even though their relationship didn’t go very far, it muddies the waters too much for a healthy friendship to exist. Whatever happens, my priority is on my own well-being, and any building or rebuilding of relationships will have to be done in ways that feel like they move me forward in my own path.

Just some musings on what - reconnection or not - feels like it has become a very different story compared to where I was this time last year.
  • Logged

C
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 692
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#60: August 12, 2021, 11:16:23 AM
See, I can still overthink even when I’m in a much more healthy place! The difference is that it’s a little more self-focused. I think I still use it to figure out where other people are coming from, which logically I know you really can’t. But mostly it’s about gaining perspective and understanding why things happen in my life and why I respond as I do. Long story (as usual)…

When A reached out to me last summer, she talked a lot about how she’d been in my shoes and understood and respected my feelings, and she reiterated that when we had our text conversation last week. What I didn’t think about, really until the past day or two, is that in a weird sense, I have sort of been in her shoes too. The circumstances were different and the outcome was different, and maybe in some ways I respect her more for not being able to pursue a relationship with my W, given this. I’ll explain…

When I started talking with my W, it was initially within a group of friends. Within that group was someone, let’s call her G, who had become a good friend of mine. We hadn’t known each other long, but we had gotten close. G had a crush on my W before I’d ever had an individual conversation with W, and there was a brief encounter between them. It was something that, for my W, was never going to be an ongoing relationship, but G was smitten. We were all in our twenties and W, at least, wasn’t looking for anything serious. Now… soon after this, W and I began to have more intimate conversations. She’d been honest with G that she didn’t see a relationship between them going anywhere; but still, I was torn. I resisted my growing feelings for my W, I told her I couldn’t possibly hurt G by getting involved with W… but W kept talking about how that had never been a serious relationship, and we deserved to be able to explore our attraction, and eventually I couldn’t fight my feelings and we began our relationship. G struggled with this, she didn’t talk to me for a while and I felt tremendously guilty for pursuing my W knowing that it would hurt G. Eventually, we got past all that. G is now one of my closest friends, one of the people I cherish most in this world - though she is geographically distant, we are here for each other in ways that few people are.

So there are differences, sure - G and W had a casual fling and the underlying emotional connection was one-sided, while W and I had an 18 year relationship and were married. And conversely, I ended up pursuing the relationship with W, while A gave it up or was unable to pursue it, at least in part because of her concern about how it would affect me. Interesting that there have now been these two situations where W is at the center of an emotional triangle where the other two people are the ones managing guilt and concern for the third person involved… which is not to say she has felt no guilt about how she treated me, because I know she has. But it’s an interesting juxtaposition, at least in my mind.

Maybe that’s part of what I still feel is unfinished in my conversation with A. It’s not just that I understand her actions, that I respect that she’s been in my shoes and that I don’t blame her for what happened… it’s that I’ve been in her shoes, and on some level I have greater respect for the way she handled things because I was not so generous or self-sacrificing when I was (sort of) where she is. I haven’t reached back out to A. We interact casually on social media, but no more discussion has occurred since we cleared the air last week. At this point, I feel like she deserves to be able to heal from all of this, as we all do. I have made clear to her that my door is open if I can help her, so I tend to feel like if she doesn’t reach out, it’s because she needs distance to heal. Maybe, even if she has no hard feelings toward me, she just wants to wash her hands of the whole situation, including us. So for now, I’m keeping thoughts to myself (other than posting them here and journaling). But I admit there’s still a part of me that wonders if sharing this perspective would help us both.

Ugh, stupid brain…
  • Logged

T
  • *
  • Trial Subscriber
  • Sr. Member
  • Posts: 351
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#61: August 12, 2021, 02:24:37 PM
Curiosity- I think the initial conversation was so open and I felt from what you wrote that respect was there on both ends even without her hearing your new self reflection. I also agree she is out of the triangle and needing to move on.

The EA my XH had with a co-worker that she did not reciprocate I was able to talk to her as well. She let it go on for 3 years. Letting him use her as an escape on messages and her basically ignoring them. She did him no favor. She created a habit for him that will now be hard to break. She however thought she was saving him as a friend.

No matter the reasons I feel in A situation as in in my XH limerance EA neither did them a favor by allowing the situation to go on, but it appears they did have good intentions and at least were willing to give some insight after the fact. That is a rare.

I agree with you however, if she does not reach out I would allow her to move on.

  • Logged
H-54 W-58  M 7/6/91 Kids d-30 s-28 d-14 (dies 2009)
2013- moments of disconnect start
Aug 2016 promotion requires travel   
Oct 2017-total disconnect
Jan 2018- moved out H
Mar 2018- BD1 found old phone 3 EA ‘17-H in therapy
EA ow1-49,  EA-ow2 57, (EA- ow3-58 not reciprocated)
Sept ‘18 -2nd Home in new state H new job
Oct 2018-H moves home
Oct 2020 BD2 does not return home from B trip
Nov 2020 H move to 2nd home in other state OW4
Div filed-Dec ‘20   Div final-Feb ‘21
Oct 2021- XH moves in OW4
https://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=11796.

C
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 692
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#62: August 12, 2021, 03:17:00 PM
Thanks for that… it sounds like there are similar features in the EAs that our spouses had, and the more I think on it, the more I think you’re right. I regret that, had their boundaries been better, had crisis not happened, perhaps we could have all been friends. And if this pandemic and this crisis have taught me anything, it is the value of friendship. But this is where we are, and we can only move forward from here.
  • Logged

C
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 692
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#63: August 19, 2021, 09:51:36 AM
So, to the surprise of nobody, I’m still thinking through things but I think reaching some sort of resolution. By way of an update…

W is a little overwhelmed with things at the moment. She has some licensing exams coming up next month, work is busy, she’s having a ramp up in her anxiety, and I think she’s a little put out by the fact that A isn’t willing to just put everything behind her and be a friend to my W. Though W has apologized for hurting me, she’s also convinced that she needed to blow up her life, and she’s convinced there was nothing wrong with the way she explored and then ended the EA with A, and she refuses to apologize to A. So… it’s good that W is taking the initiative to pursue her own happiness, but she is also still self-centered to a degree where she is unaware or unapologetic (mostly) about how her choices impact the people in her life. She’s still certain about wanting me and wanting our marriage to be the foundation of her life, and her words and actions are consistent - she isn’t checked out, she participates in the day to day experience of our shared life and household. But the attachment between us is tenuous - she’s still self-focused and I guess in some ways we are mirroring each other, because I’m not letting myself be overly attached.

I’m open to reattaching. I’m affectionate with her and mirror her interest in talking about the future or our relationship. Nothing too deep or involved. I’m focusing on maintaining my own completeness as an individual - we spend almost all of our non-working time together, but I make a point of reading or writing or studying my own interests during some of that non-working time, in addition to spending some of the time being present with her. I haven’t really had any triggers with respect to her EA or abandonment of me… since she has said she wants to be here, she has been consistent, and all is fine there. If things change, I’ll be prepared for it - but I’m also not going to hinder any potential reconnection by being overly suspicious of her.

I did follow up with A to tell her a bit about my having been in her shoes. She had been under the impression that W prompted me to reach out to her, so she was surprised to learn that I had done it on my own. She responded with a “wow, I need to process this and may have a better response after a night’s sleep,” and then the next time she reached out to me it was a bit of unrelated small talk. Still, she seemed grateful and acknowledged that the feelings were still raw.

It’s interesting, the phrase that came to mind to describe what might be making me need to make things right with her was “trauma bonding,” though as I read about it, I realize that’s not the way that phrase is used. But I do think there’s something to the idea that I feel a weird bond with her through a common traumatic experience that we both shared. I don’t think I would necessarily have reached that place if the EA had been sustained or had become a PA. I’m not sure I would have reached it if W hadn’t come home saying she wanted our marriage back. But I keep coming back to the fact that the way W treated me at BD is basically the same way she treated A when their EA ended. And I think it’s the fixer in me, the person who wants to be universally liked, who wants to take on this role of helping A to find some healing because I know what it’s like to have been in her shoes.

The more I process it, the more I am okay with just letting things be, and letting time and our own self-work heal each of us individually. I value all relationships - friendships, family, marriage - and I feel like I am in a place where I’m ready and able to start fresh, with a clean slate. I am wiser and more able to validate myself, and I am far less predisposed to developing codependent relationships than I was before. So any relationships going forward won’t be like the ones I had before. But reconnecting, new or rekindled friendships… all of that is fair game, if it’s something that the people involved want. And if not, that’s okay too, because I am enough on my own.
  • Logged

A
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 3556
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#64: August 19, 2021, 10:52:25 AM
You sound calm, Curiosity.  A good place to be.

For what it’s worth, in my experience, I think the degree of MLCer’s egocentrism is a kind of weathervane of their healing.  Self-centredness is antithetical to reconnection or any healthy relationship, as common sense dictates. 

So, staying cool, calm and collected, and not making any assumptions and building up expectations are on the menu.  You seem to be doing just that splendidly! 
  • Logged
Feb 2015: BD. 
Dec 2017: Seriously reconnecting

H never left home.

C
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 692
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#65: August 19, 2021, 01:01:45 PM
Thanks, Acorn. Not that I want to stage watch or anything, and I am just living day to day and not trying to define things or put expectations on anything. But at the same time, I recognize that for someone having an identity crisis, the idea that she went from “I can’t commit to working on this marriage” to “I want you to be my person” in just over 14 months… well, I find it hard to believe that fundamental a change would happen that quickly.

There is some degree of self-centered behavior that is just a part of her at baseline. Pre-crisis, it did not define her and did not prevent her from being a supportive spouse, it was just… there. I’d call it within the range of normal amounts of self-focus. In MLC, of course, it’s all about themselves. Even the AP is about validating them, not about the AP him or herself. As they try to work through it, they are often somewhere in between. They have to be hyper focused on themselves while they’re doing the work to resolve the identity crisis, but there’s some room for focus on others and on relationships. It takes a while, I think, before the balance shifts enough that the amount of focus on others is enough to sustain healthy relationships. And I think she wants to be there and is trying to be there, but she still has more work to do before getting there. So… there’s my “I’m not going to define this” definition. Oops.
  • Logged

T
  • *
  • Trial Subscriber
  • Sr. Member
  • Posts: 351
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#66: August 19, 2021, 01:54:08 PM
Quote
haven’t really had any triggers with respect to her EA or abandonment of me…
Do you think in any way it is a trigger that she has an issue with A not wanting to be friends? I know my XH completely cut off the non reciprocated EA when it ended. Almost hated her. Now 2 years later he said she occasionally jokes with him or complains about work with him. Made me uneasy for him and her. Once boundaries are crossed they need to be done. I hope A doesn’t want to be friends. I think its for the best
  • Logged
H-54 W-58  M 7/6/91 Kids d-30 s-28 d-14 (dies 2009)
2013- moments of disconnect start
Aug 2016 promotion requires travel   
Oct 2017-total disconnect
Jan 2018- moved out H
Mar 2018- BD1 found old phone 3 EA ‘17-H in therapy
EA ow1-49,  EA-ow2 57, (EA- ow3-58 not reciprocated)
Sept ‘18 -2nd Home in new state H new job
Oct 2018-H moves home
Oct 2020 BD2 does not return home from B trip
Nov 2020 H move to 2nd home in other state OW4
Div filed-Dec ‘20   Div final-Feb ‘21
Oct 2021- XH moves in OW4
https://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=11796.

C
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 692
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#67: August 19, 2021, 02:34:45 PM
That’s a good question, Tornup, and the answer is… it’s complicated. I would say it doesn’t rise to the level of being a trigger, but probably only because she and A have both been very consistent in their words and actions; neither of them is looking for a romantic connection. And beyond that, neither of them seeks to be using the other as an emotional crutch… after the EA had supposedly ended last fall, W was still talking to A while never sharing anything with me, and that was concerning. Now, W talks to me about how she’s doing, good and bad - she’s more open and honest with me than she has been in a few years. Plus, their relationship was never physical and even the limerent emotional bond wasn’t very long-lasting. So I don’t think it’s a trigger, exactly. I do think that the amount of investment in it that my W has is an indicator that she still has some work to do on healthy relationships, though. I think W is afraid to be too attached; some fear of abandonment or something. She feels safer when the other person is more emotionally invested than she is. I think she feels like she got dumped, and she doesn’t like rejection. So… not so much a trigger because I don’t emotionally react to it, but a red flag in that I am aware of how it demonstrates some difficulties in the way she manages relationships. Does that make sense? Too analytical? Anyway… it’s a good point and a good thing to think about.
  • Logged

T
  • *
  • Trial Subscriber
  • Sr. Member
  • Posts: 351
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#68: August 19, 2021, 02:44:29 PM
Yes, totally makes sense. That is exactly where my head was. Little more work to do on view and action on healthy relationships and I also agree on the ego taking a hit. Sometimes it is more about the ego than the person.
  • Logged
H-54 W-58  M 7/6/91 Kids d-30 s-28 d-14 (dies 2009)
2013- moments of disconnect start
Aug 2016 promotion requires travel   
Oct 2017-total disconnect
Jan 2018- moved out H
Mar 2018- BD1 found old phone 3 EA ‘17-H in therapy
EA ow1-49,  EA-ow2 57, (EA- ow3-58 not reciprocated)
Sept ‘18 -2nd Home in new state H new job
Oct 2018-H moves home
Oct 2020 BD2 does not return home from B trip
Nov 2020 H move to 2nd home in other state OW4
Div filed-Dec ‘20   Div final-Feb ‘21
Oct 2021- XH moves in OW4
https://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=11796.

C
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 692
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#69: August 23, 2021, 01:26:18 PM
A bit more journaling… of course, feel free to offer feedback if anything warrants it.

We were having some small talk over the weekend, talking about food delivery, and W said something about one of the delivery options she used “when I was stupid and confused and didn’t think I wanted to live at home.” She was clearly beating herself up a bit and I tried to soften that, telling her she wasn’t stupid and she had things she had needed to figure out. Anyway… just a bit more about how she sees her time away from home as “confusion” and not an ongoing part of who she is now. It doesn’t give me any expectations; she didn’t say anything that was new or related to our relationship. It’s more of the same rather than being anything new, but consistency is probably a good thing for her. Even if her roller coaster is only transiently slowing down, a slowdown from time to time is probably good for her. I hope so, for her own peace and healing.

As for me… I have been writing more, mostly journaling but some creative writing too. That is at least in part thanks to my sort-of ongoing discussions with A. It was an odd situation, as I have described, but it meant that what started as a potential friendship between A and us as a couple, instead became this odd triangle where W was pursuing A but trying to hold onto me, A was trying to build friendships with us but W was eager and I was withdrawing, and I was shutting down because I could feel W slipping away and didn’t know what was happening. So as A and W were building this relationship (asymmetric expectations and all), A’s impression of me was of someone who went along while W ran the show, someone who didn’t like to talk about her feelings, someone who was emotionally closed off. She had assumed that when I reached out to her to clear the air, it had been because W had prompted me to do so. Eventually it occurred to her that I had done it on my own. Then she said something about how she’d been told I didn’t like to talk about my feelings, but she was finding our fairly open discussion to be enlightening. So for me, this discussion has been truly helpful.

The way I tend to communicate when the topic is complicated… I write a draft, I sit with it, think and process, go back and edit it, question whether I’m ridiculous for wanting to send it at all, do some more editing… and then finally I get brave enough or impatient enough and I go ahead and send it. I don’t do that for every text, just if there’s something specific that I want to express and I am opening or reopening the conversation. Once the conversation is ongoing, I text in essentially real time, like most people do. Anyway… in writing some of these drafts, I came to the realization that a lot of what I thought I wanted to say to her was really just processing I needed to do within myself. It wasn’t anything that would help her; it might help her to know me if we were to build a friendship, but it wasn’t going to help her come to terms with this whole roller coaster or even necessarily put her on the path to resolving her questions within herself. And when I reached out, it was primarily because seeing her discomfort made me want to clean the slate, for her benefit and mine. I feel like we have done that, at least as much as possible, and it has led to another layer of self-awareness for me that I need to work through on my own. It isn’t a trigger… quite the contrary, it’s a deeper understanding of myself and my relationships, and that’s all good stuff.

Around BD, one of the things my W had said was that this was about figuring herself out, but she could only do that in relationships. I didn’t believe it, saw it as codependent and unfaithful and an excuse for giving herself a free pass to ignore me and our marriage. But what I am starting to realize is that in a sense, she was partially right. I don’t agree that you can ONLY figure yourself out in relationships. In fact, I think that the very foundation of figuring yourself out can only happen through introspection. Other people can give you a perspective that might guide your introspection, they might see something in you (or you might see something in them) that guides your own introspection in a new way. But ultimately and fundamentally, that discovery is a self discovery.

I liken it to optometry… we each see ourselves through a lens that may be scarred or mottled based on our history. Therefore, the picture that we have of ourselves is distorted, and we have to figure out where those scars are, how they’re distorting the image, and how to correct for that. Sometimes, when your gaze is refracted through the lens of someone else… sometimes their own scars will correct for yours in such a way that you see aspects of yourself more clearly than you had seen them on your own. But sometimes, the scars and mottling on their lenses add in distortions that hadn’t been there when you just looked at yourself. And if you don’t have a really good sense of what your own scars and distortions are, there’s no way for you to know in a relationship which aspects of your personality are real, which are distortions based on your own scars, and which are distortions based on the other person’s scars. So there’s some great stuff that comes from relationships - there’s a lot of growth that you can only get by expanding your field of view beyond your own lens. But unless you have that foundation already in place,  the relationship can blur things more than it clarifies them.

So… rather than sending my most recent few messages to A, I have kept them for myself, used them for journaling and introspection and, hopefully, growth. From my perspective, the slate is clean between me and A. If it is beneficial to both of us to continue the conversation, we will. If it is beneficial to her to reopen the conversation, I am happy to talk to her. If, as we pursue our individual paths, either or both of us want to explore a friendship, that door is open on my side. But I feel like my further growth and healing at this point are in my control and not reliant on anything she or W might say to me.
  • Logged

C
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 692
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#70: August 25, 2021, 04:04:32 PM
A small bit of an update. W has been pretty anxious lately, tired all the time, brain fog, muscle aches, indigestion. It made me think she might be sinking back into the quagmire… but she’s doing well and engaged with work, and she is prioritizing spending time together where we are sharing an activity, not just sitting side by side both on our phones. So she was talking about the fog and the constant tiredness, and I went against the “no relationship talks” guideline to ask her what she thought the cause of these symptoms was. She mentioned work and her upcoming exams, and also the combination of all of those symptoms is kind of a vicious cycle where, because of the muscles and digestive issues, she doesn’t sleep well, and she has fog, and then she doesn’t study as efficiently as she wants, and then she’s more anxious, and so on… so I asked her how she was feeling about us and being at home and the pets and all. And she said she feels really good about us and home, she thinks things are solid, a good foundation. She said she knows there are still things to talk about, but she thinks we’re solid. And I agreed, I said that yes, there’s a lot to talk about - but I’m not worried about that conversation because I believe that through the changes of the past couple of years, we have each developed ideas about what we want our marriage to look like, and I believe based on our conversations so far that those ideas are compatible. She agreed with me, we hugged, and that was that. And the thing is, I’m not holding onto any expectation that we will definitely be compatible when those conversations happen, because nothing is guaranteed. But based on each of our words and actions since she’s been home, there seems to be room for a foundation that allows both of us to be our authentic selves. And I’m willing to explore that. And I think those conversations will be beginning in the next month or so, after her exams. So we shall see. I’m not in a rush and would not push for them; both of us openly acknowledge that we need the discussion, and beyond that it needs to happen when we both feel ready.

As for my communication with A, and my journaling and processing… I think my brain is settling down. I have reached a place of acceptance that the events of the past two years are now a part of our story - all three of us. I think we have fully cleared the air about the hurts that occurred - none of them were malicious, but none of us is fully without blame either. I have been having some casual conversation with her about the work she does, a little small talk. It’s not a friendship, exactly, but it’s also increasingly comfortable. As I have processed my own feelings around the EA and re-establishing communication, and around who she thought I was and some reasons why all of the initial miscommunication happened in the first place, I have felt a decrease in my need to continue the in-depth processing with her. And the fixer tendency within me, which was making me want to keep reaching out to try to help her process her own pain around it, is subsiding. I have told her that I am here if she wants to talk about it, but ultimately her pain and her reactions and her relationships going forward are for her to decide. And I feel like I have learned a bit more about myself and my relationships through the exchange.

Still journaling and writing, but I am also noticing an uptick in my interest in other things. I am more motivated to excel in my work, less easily distracted during a project, more interested in getting back on the nutrition train, exercising, using my vacation days, general self-care. I am present with and supportive of my w and her current struggles, and checking in to see if there are things related to the relationship that we need to discuss, but I am not personalizing her anxiety nor letting my own self worth or success as a person and as a spouse be defined by her mood. So it feels like a pretty good place to be.
  • Logged

C
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 692
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#71: September 16, 2021, 09:32:22 AM
Journaling, updating, all that good stuff…

W had her big exam this week. She’s had some post-test anxiety as she won’t know her results for a couple of months, but is generally managing it well. Her job is going great, and she’s settled into our home and life nicely. She reaches out to me occasionally, for hugs or kisses or to ask how I’m doing, but she’s still somewhat in her own head. Much more interested in seeking points of connection than in the worst of crisis, and continually (albeit slowly) improving, but still more distant than I would want from a spouse in the long term. We are taking a vacation together next month, just the two of us - a romantic inn with a spa and nearby wine tasting opportunities. I confess that there is a small part of me that thinks back to BD1, when we went away for a weekend that I thought would be the start of reconnecting after life had gotten in the way of our romance. But ultimately, I can’t live in fear. We have talked extensively about this vacation, planned it as a getaway to actually spend time together… the planning of it is very different compared to BD1, such that any negative surprises would mean that she had actively lied to me during vacation planning. And, as best I can tell, she has really not actively lied to me during all this. She withheld a lot of information during the early days, and there’s still some stuff we haven’t talked about and that we both acknowledge we need to discuss. But I expect this trip will be nothing revelatory, just a break from our routines for two people who enjoy spending time together. And if there are revelations, good or bad, I’m more than strong enough to handle them.

I’ve been considering the possibility that she has some amount of borderline personality disorder, or at least some of the traits. I know borderline and narcissistic personality disorders come up on this forum at times, and it has occurred to me before. W has acknowledged that A has fairly severe BPD, and A definitely has the history of abuse that often exists in BPD. W has made a lot of comments recently about how she’s very familiar with personality disorders, and specifically BPD. At first, I thought it was some of the studying she’d been doing for her exam; then I thought it was an oblique reference to A; I even wondered if it was related to her family - her sister may well be a narcissist. But then, it occurred to me that while in marriage counseling, W would dissociate if she got too emotionally upset. She seemed to idealize A and was almost obsessed with her when their EA started, then she got to a place where she talked about how A was way too unstable for a relationship… and now she seems to want to be friends with A again. W definitely has a lot of shame, a great need for external validation, underlying anxiety and depression. On the other hand, there’s never been any indication she would self-harm, she hasn’t monstered, she didn’t even pursue risky behaviors. So I don’t know… I’m no expert and a lot of the diagnostic criteria involve her own feelings and motivations for her actions, and I haven’t talked to her about them enough to be certain. The pattern of my own codependency can certainly fit with what often happens with partners of borderline people. It’s a conversation that I would actually be really interested in having with her at some point.

As for me, I’m hanging in there well. I am enjoying my life, with her as a part of it but not at the center of it. I feel good about the way I am living - showing affection when I genuinely feel it, not seeking reassurance from her, defining my self-worth from inside myself and not based on anything she might say or not say. I heard her talking to a friend, and the friend had asked about us. W told her that we’re good, but that there are still things to be discussed and worked out - all of which is true, and all of which I have said to my own friends. For some reason, it got me into a cycle of processing and I was a little quiet. She noticed and asked me if she’d said something wrong. She seemed extra affectionate for a while after that, almost as though she was trying to provide reassurance in some way. I’m not sure why it put me into an introspective place… maybe it just heightened my awareness that there are still relationship talks to be had. It’s not like I’m unaware, but usually the awareness is not really at the forefront of my thoughts.

My conversation with A has trickled into a casual acquaintance kind of thing. A lot of the things I felt like I needed to say to her were mostly things I needed to process within myself and with friends; I still acknowledge that A and I now share the history of having been on the roller coaster with W, but that doesn’t automatically make us friends. I’m pretty comfortable with whatever ends up happening with her - in many ways it feels like the slate has been cleaned. I’m not sure if that’s true (or even if it’s possible) between her and W, but that’s not my concern. I am focused on my own best path forward, and then secondarily on how my relationship with W should look and how that fits into my life.

It continues to be an interesting ride… the day to day is calm, comfortable, often quite happy… but the mental and emotional work of growth and healing remains significant.
  • Logged

  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2956
  • Gender: Female
  • Time is a Gift! 🎁
Steady as she goes...
#72: September 17, 2021, 09:58:57 PM
Great update C.  I continue to read so much growth in you.  Well done.
  • Logged
Survival Instructions for Newbies

The Apology Every LBS Deserves

My Journey

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass - it's about learning to dance in the rain."

"Don't become a container for bitterness.  It's a toxin that destroys what it's carried in."

C
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 692
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#73: September 24, 2021, 09:41:55 AM
Still plodding along, living my best life (or at least trying to)! We had a quick trip to visit my family, to belatedly celebrate my sister’s wedding. It was really good to see so much family, though I do feel like it was a little reckless in an ongoing pandemic. We did our best to be careful, though.

W said to me last night that she really wants to celebrate Christmas this year. She was over here last year, but we didn’t decorate or exchange gifts, just had a relaxing day. It was odd because we were essentially separated (not legally, but she was staying in a rental place) - but she was still over here more days than not. This year, though… we are planning a vacation together, she wants to celebrate Christmas, she’s all in for a vacation with my siblings. I’m seeing glimpses of affection, occasional words of love. It’s slow but shockingly consistent.

As for me, I’m living my own life. I’m here and committed, but I’m also still emotionally detached. I’m not worried about it, really, but I also find it a little sad in some strange way. I know my previous attachment to her was unhealthy, and that my view of her is much more real and honest, but a part of me misses the music-swelling, heart-racing romance that I used to feel with her. Don’t get me wrong - I’m quite content and happy in my life and specifically in my shared life with her. It’s just a calm, subdued sort of happiness.
  • Logged

  • *
  • Mentor
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 11270
  • Gender: Male
  • You can't please everyone. You are NOT a pizza!
Steady as she goes...
#74: September 26, 2021, 11:53:20 PM
Don’t get me wrong - I’m quite content and happy in my life and specifically in my shared life with her. It’s just a calm, subdued sort of happiness.

I wonder for how many of us LBS's, whether we reconcile or move on to a new R are exactly in this same frame of mind/emotion. The "Butterflies in the stomach" are long gone and don't really seem to be intent on returning - Instead it is, as you noted, a calm and subdued set of emotions.... More "mature" maybe? I don't know but I can fully echo your feelings... Sometimes I wonder if it is not doing a disservice to my partner or if there is something that is "wrong" with the R in that the heady, emotional "high" just is not there, just not happening.... but, at the same time, the rational mind says that limerence is not a particularly productive/positive state of being - yeah, maybe an endorphin rush but it tends to cloud over the red flags too... If one is looking at life through rose-colored glasses, everything looks pink, including the red flags.... Hmmmmmm ....

Monday morning and<swoosh!> deep into thinky land... I need more coffee.....
  • Logged
Me - 58, xW - 50
Together 19 years - Married 17 at separation & 21 at D-Day
S - 14, D - 10
2 Dogs
BD#1 - August 2015
Atomic BD - 13 Dec 2015
House sold & separated - Mar 2016
Divorce final 30 August 2019

Survival Instructions for Newbies
Site Map
 
A "friend" will not "stand by you" no matter what you do. That is NOT a friend. That is an enabler. That is an accomplice.
A REAL friend will sit you down and tell you to your face to stop being a firetrucking idiot before you ruin your life and the lives of those around you.

  • *
  • Trial Subscriber
  • Sr. Member
  • Posts: 306
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#75: September 27, 2021, 02:31:15 PM
Nice update C! 

You have seemed to master the art of detachment, with a sprinkle of enthusiasm and optimism  8).

I hope that the tides continue to shift in your favour!
  • Logged
Me (W) 44 - W 42
BD - Jan 17, 2020

C
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 692
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#76: September 27, 2021, 02:42:45 PM
Thanks, Ursa… it’s helpful to know I’m not alone in this. It makes sense logically that limerence doesn’t last forever, that it’s actually not a particularly healthy place to be for the long term. It serves its purpose and then fades in favor of a more real and honest view of the relationship and the other person.

Just a bit of clarification about w saying that she wanted to celebrate Christmas this year. I wasn’t sure what she meant; historically she has really enjoyed hosting a holiday party for coworkers and friends. I think at least in part I figured she meant she wanted to do that again now that she’s back at home. But no, she was actually talking about the two of us exchanging gifts and decorating the house for our own enjoyment.

I’m not reading into anything she says or does at this point… one thing I noted was that I am very much still in a place of no expectations. I didn’t assume her desire to celebrate Christmas was about me or us or anything in particular; I asked what she was looking forward to about it. Much like when she said she didn’t want to be in her rental home anymore - I didn’t assume she was coming home, I asked what she did want.

I think I’m getting to a healthy middle ground of not necessarily expecting her to seek more connection with me, but also not expecting her to distance herself. Having said that, at some point I do want a more connected relationship. But it’s only been 16 months since BD2 and only 2 years since the EA started. I would far rather move slowly and deliberately than rush into something for which she isn’t ready (and maybe I’m not ready to fully trust, either).

I’m having the occasional casual exchange with A, small talk and nothing related to W or the EA. I’ve made a couple of donations to the animal rescue she runs - I donate to others, but hers is one for which I did some fostering. Setting aside all that has happened, I know how much she cares and how much good she does, and I do feel a personal connection to that particular rescue. I am comfortable with the idea that there won’t be any sort of cathartic conversation with her - I feel like I have processed a lot of the things I thought I needed to say to her. And I think W has moved on emotionally - even when the romantic interest was gone, she was still stuck on this idea that they needed to be friends.

Now, she seems to be in the same place I am - no residual entanglements that would complicate her feelings about a friendship, but no driving need for it either.

So, without labeling this as any sort of reconnection or anything like that, I will say that I think W and I individually are in very good places in our lives, and I think that the life we share seems to be something that adds to our respective happiness.

Thanks, LL, for the vote of confidence! Funny… I don’t think of myself as a Pollyanna, but I do manage to find the optimistic take more often than not. I’m not one to predict the future- I can’t even predict the right line to be in at the grocery store! But I will say that right now I am in a good place, and W says that she is too. And I’ll take that any day.
  • Logged
« Last Edit: October 09, 2021, 03:31:14 PM by Thunder »

C
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 692
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#77: October 09, 2021, 01:59:46 PM
W and I are leaving on vacation tomorrow - the first real vacation we’ve taken as a couple since the “vacation” that turned out to be BD1. I admit to having had some occasional bits of anxiety, worrying if there’s a new BD coming. I don’t know that it rises to the level of being a trigger, because I can evaluate the situation and see how different her attitude has been in preparation for this trip compared to that one. 

Still… while we are still in this somewhat tenuously connected place, I am not yet able to fully trust her. Despite that, I’m also not waiting for the other shoe to drop; I think it is very likely that this will just be a nice getaway together and a chance to actually deepen the connection between us. If I’m wrong, though, I will be okay and I won’t be blindsided as I was 19 months ago.

Still conversing with A on a fairly casual basis; I think we both want to process all that happened with W, but right now we’re both proceeding with caution. It’s a very unusual situation in that it was a mostly one-sided EA on the part of W; I think A felt connected to her but would not have pursued anything beyond friendship (and, as it turned out, she didn’t pursue anything beyond friendship, even when W and I were separated).

If not for MLC, it may well be that A would have been a friend of ours, and no boundaries would have been crossed. We’ll never really know that for sure, but I think we are all trying to move past the events of the past two years to make a fresh start. I think the relationship between W and A will always be somewhat strained as a result of the way things happened, but I feel like I am in a place where I can learn from what happened and build present and future relationships with them purely on the basis of who we all are as a whole.

That will hopefully mean reconciliation with W; but we have a lot of talking and trust-building to do. And I hope I am able to build a friendship with A - outside of the trauma that occurred around the EA, it turns out we are far more similar than I had realized. If past events make a friendship impossible, I will at least be able to move forward knowing that I have made peace and made amends for anything I said or didn’t say that might have led to any tension, and I am at peace with that.

Not entirely at peace around the trip, though. I am mostly eager for it because it’s a step forward rather than just staying in comfortable inertia. But there is a little anxiety there. I’ve debated telling W of my concerns, but I haven’t because I don’t want to get into that conversation which will surely lead to feelings of guilt and shame for her. So here I am, putting those concerns out into the world in this safe place.
  • Logged
« Last Edit: October 09, 2021, 03:22:39 PM by Thunder »

A
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 3556
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#78: October 09, 2021, 02:26:34 PM
Quote
Not entirely at peace around the trip, though. I am mostly eager for it because it’s a step forward rather than just staying in comfortable inertia. But there is a little anxiety there. I’ve debated telling W of my concerns, but I haven’t because I don’t want to get into that conversation which will surely lead to feelings of guilt and shame for her. So here I am, putting those concerns out into the world in this safe place.

Wise to hold off that convo!   I think that ‘little  anxiety’ will dissipate in time. 
Breathe.  Relax.  Take one hour, one day, at a time.  And enjoy the trip — your are very likely to enjoy it more if you don’t have any expectations of R progressing noticeably, IMHO.  Nothing really happens fast in reconnection… 
  • Logged
« Last Edit: October 09, 2021, 03:11:30 PM by Acorn »
Feb 2015: BD. 
Dec 2017: Seriously reconnecting

H never left home.

C
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 692
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#79: October 09, 2021, 06:21:55 PM
Thanks for that reminder, I needed it. One of the challenges is that when it seems like reconnection might be happening, expectations become hard to avoid. But I’m doing my best to avoid them!

W posted something on Facebook that said “if you look at your circle of friends and don’t get inspired, you don’t have a circle, you have a cage.” And she started talking about who inspires her… first it was all about colleagues, friends, mentors. Finally, she said, “you inspire me.” And I think that a year ago I would have lived and died by whether she actually verbalized that. Now, I noticed, it was nice that she acknowledged me, but I don’t determine whether I am a worthy human based on whether she sees my value. Similarly, it would be nice for this trip to be an opportunity for connection because it’s the kind of thing that was always good for us in the past. But if nothing changes, I’m not going to fall into despair. And if there is an impending BD that I’m missing, well… the shock and despair of last time won’t happen again. I’m too strong and too sure of my own worth for that.
  • Logged

K
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 5637
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#80: October 13, 2021, 10:17:55 AM

And I hope I am able to build a friendship with A - outside of the trauma that occurred around the EA, it turns out we are far more similar than I had realized. If past events make a friendship impossible, I will at least be able to move forward knowing that I have made peace and made amends for anything I said or didn’t say that might have led to any tension, and I am at peace with that.


Wow that is pretty amazing. That takes an unbelievable amount of detachment and maturity. But I know you are probably one of the few who could handle it.

As for the vacation, there is bound to be awkwardness and uneasiness surrounding what used to be the norm.  B/c the reality is, so much has changed and yet, here you go proceeding with something that you probably did hundreds of times with W before all this mess.  Totally get it. Just being with H these days I get lulled into the past and then BOOM, trigger. I think the only way around that stuff is time.  And eventually conversations but like wise Acorn said, now is not that time.  Just try to be in the moment. Don't worry about what could happen. I know--a tall order. I wouldn't be very good at it lol.

And if there is an impending BD that I’m missing, well… the shock and despair of last time won’t happen again. I’m too strong and too sure of my own worth for that.

LOVE this. I might frame it. ;)  ANd you are right. It's a whole new Curiosity, and she is pretty awesome.
  • Logged
Me 49
H 48
S13
BD 5/16
H Moved out 6/16
OW--yes. Worked for H. EA turned into PA while I was in chemo. On again/off again like every high school romance

C
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 692
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#81: October 16, 2021, 07:13:39 PM
Thanks, KIT! I have come a long way and I am truly comfortable in my own skin, maybe more than I have ever really been. This community has been instrumental in my journey to where I am - even though it’s ultimately a solo journey, none of us navigate it truly alone. I am truly lucky to have such good help with navigation.

No bomb drops, no surprises. Still not much in the way of affection or romance, but we spent time together comfortably and enjoyed the week. She is very clearly still anxious and depressed; this has been a part of her for her entire adult life, and sometimes it’s worse than others. She seems content in her work and her daily life; she seems sure that our life is what she wants. She’s just so caught up in her own anxieties that I think she’s scared of really examining anything too closely - our life, her own hopes and dreams - because she will get overwhelmed if something needs to be changed or repaired. So she stays on the known, comfortable path. It’s not sustainable for her long term mental health, and she knows that. I’m not pushing for that conversation… vacation was not that time; now is not that time. And that’s okay; I’m quite content in my life as it is.

The situation with A… yeah, I know it’s really unusual. I don’t know what will come of it other than that it seems like we are all on good terms, all pretty casually friendly albeit not particularly close. I’m okay with whatever friendship or acquaintanceship develops in the end; I just didn’t like that the distance and discomfort were based on how our interactions were refracted through the lens of W’s crisis. I want my relationships with people to be based on myself and that person, without outside distortion. Admittedly, it would be really interesting to actually talk to her - all cards on the table - to know how this whole situation felt from her perspective. But I don’t need that conversation in order to heal.

I had a really nice time away. We saw some beautiful countryside, drank good wine, relaxed, slept, enjoyed the break from work and daily responsibilities. Most of the time was spent with W, but there were no deep conversations and it didn’t feel like our closeness was changed one way or the other. Which is fine; there will be time for that closeness, if and when we both are ready to work for it. I am open to it but not entirely sure I can fully trust her; I still am not sure I could lean on her and count on her to stick with me. After all… when she came back, she said she wanted me to be her person. She didn’t say she wanted to be my person - and both of those things have to be true for real intimacy. I believe we can get there, but I also think it can’t be rushed or forced.

So… a good trip, things are good here. Nothing earth-shattering; but who wants their earth to be shattered anyway?
  • Logged

  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 1403
  • Gender: Male
Steady as she goes...
#82: October 16, 2021, 11:30:07 PM
Hi C  :D

You're coming right along..... how marvelous  ;D

Another gift of being around fellow LBS's...... the wonderful growth, development and strength.
You're a totally different person now, and will be an even better person when all is said and done. Simply marvelous.

-SS
  • Logged
W - 40
M - 44
Together 25 years, M 23
No kids
BD - 27th April 2019
Start of Shadow - Feb 2012

C
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 692
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#83: October 19, 2021, 02:08:19 PM
Thanks, SS! It feels really good to be where I am right now. I feel like me, not one-half of a couple or the support system for a spouse, but an actual human with wants and needs and hopes and dreams and yeah, even a few fears scattered in there - with the full range of emotions and the knowledge that they are all valid and important. A lot of this realization is based on the work I have done myself, but so much of it has been prompted by the support and inspiration from this community and my own community of friends.

Updating, mostly about W. She has been going to therapy weekly for a while; I didn’t know the topics of discussion but i know she was reading/listening to The Body Keeps the Score a while ago. I assumed they were discussing trauma, but it seems they had not been… one of the things about W’s career is that sometimes she’s reading these types of things for professional reasons and not thinking about applying them to her own life. So… she came out of her last therapy session and said it was really hard. They talked about W’s trauma history - some from her professional life, some from her dad’s passing, some from a car accident… w carries a lot of physical pain (neck and shoulder stuff, headaches) and a massage therapist asked her about trauma recently. So… it’s something she is now working through with her therapist, along with doing some EMDR, and I think this can only be good for her. She actually talked to me a little bit about it last night, which felt really good. I’m not sure I would have recognized her work trauma as trauma when it was happening; my career exposed me to a lot of the same things, though not to the same degree. And I’m not saying it isn’t trauma - it absolutely is. But as it was happening, I wouldn’t have recognized it. But now I know better, so I do better.

We made plans to go see a holiday show in a couple of months… me, W, and A. I’m not sure what to expect from that, or from the friendships that seem to be developing. I knew A would be interested in the show, as I was, and when I mentioned it to W she also wanted to see it. So I extended the invite to A, not sure if she would accept or not. And she did, without any sort of hesitation. We have been talking regularly by text, mostly small talk, but we haven’t actually had a conversation in person since all of this happened. In fact, the only time I have even seen her was on that one shuttle bus at the end of July, when I wasn’t even certain it was her! So… it might be a giant, tense mess, or it might be fine. I have no hidden agendas and I don’t think W or A do either, so I’m going to go with the thought that it will all be fine.

In discussing a possible friendship with A, W was talking about having her over to our house around the holidays - not just her, but including her with other friends in the area who aren’t traveling and want to be with other people for the holiday. She had wanted that for A, to give her an actual positive holiday experience which has not really been the case for her in her life. I said that who knows, it might be possible… don’t rule it out. Then W said… well, that might not work because C (one of W’s friends who was somewhat of an enabler during the worst of the crisis) kind of hates A. I was surprised at that, and asked why. Apparently W’s friends hate A “for the way she treated W.” W told C that she didn’t want to be the villain in A’s story… and C said, “well, A is the villain in my story.” W said that this was because her friends are loyal (though to me the enabler term is a better fit). She said they just want her to be happy, and she is, so it’s fine.

It made me realize, once again, how much W is stuck on the idea of wanting to be seen as a good person. And yet… she has done very little to take ownership for how her actions caused pain. For me… I wallowed in it for a while, blamed her, all of that - and then I took ownership for my own emotions, and in doing that I realized that her actions hurt me (partially because of the promises she broke, but partially because of my codependency) - but her actions were not done with the goal of hurting me. W did what she did in response to her own emotions, and to pursue what she thought was right for her. It wasn’t about me at all. I think A, because of her own trauma history, has personalized it and decided W abandoned her - whatever their relationship was, W was there for her and then she wasn’t. A personalizes it too much and W doesn’t even personalize it enough to take responsibility for the part of it she did cause - the initial abandonment of someone who was emotionally leaning on her.

For my part, I do think it would be good for W to recognize that even if her actions aren’t about other people (me, A, or anyone), they do actually affect the people who are in her life and who have ties to her (emotional, financial, legal, marital, familial). And when her actions cause pain, she will at least temporarily be the villain in someone’s story. That doesn’t have to be permanent, but it’s pretty rare that someone will immediately forgive and completely overlook the abandonment or betrayal. She needs to understand that actions have consequences, and that isn’t just about practical matters - it’s true (maybe even more so) for actions that involve emotional responses. I’m not saying this out of a personal need for an apology or amends, or even necessarily because I need her to understand how she hurt and traumatized me. I don’t think I need that for my own healing; I know what she did, I know how it felt to me at the time, and I have accepted and forgiven. But for her own emotional health, I think it would be good for her to have an awareness of how her actions affect others. And I do want her to have that level of emotional health.

So… clearly still a lot to think about. But I feel like we are in a good place overall and on our way to an even better one.
  • Logged

C
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 692
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#84: October 23, 2021, 01:41:41 PM
Following up on the whole stream of thoughts about A being the villain in C's story... It's stuck with me for the past few days, and I've been trying to work out why, and what exactly I'm feeling. In some ways, I'm angry at C on behalf of A... which is not really my place because I am a couple of degrees removed from any relationship they might have. I don't even know if they've met in person, actually. I'm sure that had we not been in pandemic times, they would have - but I really don't know, and it doesn't matter. Then, as I think back, I remember early on in W's MLC... she had moved out for the first time, in June 2020. She was only gone for a month and I talked to her regularly, and she was in terrible brain fog at the time. She was constantly forgetting small things, she was overtly anxious and depressed, she was trying to figure out if she and A could make a relationship work. It was a tumultuous time and she was complaining to me often, but not really sharing with me what was really going on with her or what she was trying to resolve in her life. Anyway... I was so closely attached to her at that point, that I reached out to her friends - just a text to thank each of the two closest friends in her life for being there for her and supporting her. I didn't ask them for any information, didn't even ask how W was doing - it was literally just a thank you, I'm worried about her and I'm glad she has people she can lean on. Well, one of the friends was very kind in her response, but C was pretty curt and condescending, and I felt like I'd been scolded for even bringing it up. And these friends... well, they're definitely her friends and not "our friends," and certainly I wouldn't call them friends of mine. But they've been in our home a number of times, we've had a number of conversations, it's not like we're strangers. Ever since that exchange, I've felt really uncomfortable around C, though I have tried to get past it because she's a friend to W and she's going to be around.

So... C was curt and dismissive of me back then, and now she has decided that A is the villain in her own story, because of "the way she treated my W." This, despite the fact that W is actively pursuing a friendship with A. It's one thing to be angry when someone is actively doing things to cause pain and grief to someone you love - even if they are doing those things because of their own grief/shame/trauma. But, months later, when W is seeking a friendship with A, when nobody is seeking to hurt anyone else or even to pursue anything inappropriate with anyone else, C still holds a grudge? Also... what about the way that my W treated A? I get that C's vested interest is in the well-being of my W, and that's her priority. But she seems to have no empathy at all about how my W is the one who pursued A, who offered this idea of romance and someone to help her out of the less-than-ideal place where she is in her life right now... and then W decided that no, a relationship between them wouldn't work, and that was the end of it. You can love W, want her happiness, commiserate with her when things don't work out the way she'd envisioned, but also recognize that another person's emotions were involved. You can recognize that yes, A might have hurt W by not being emotionally able to pursue a relationship, by struggling with all that it would mean to get involved - but W hurt A as well, and none of it was because either of them was trying to hurt the other. And ultimately, it's not C's place to exonerate W and to villainize A, just like it's not my place or MIL's place or anyone's place - the relationship between W and A is theirs alone, and only they get a say in whether to place blame and whether to forgive.

Ultimately, I think that where this truly affects me is that it helps me to assess where my boundaries need to be around spending time with C. And I have no problem with her being in my home or spending time around her, but based on what she has shown to me, she is not a friend of mine and, given the distinct lack of empathy, I have no interest in changing that. Acquaintanceship is fine and need not be complicated. If, however,  it comes down to a gathering in our home and they can't both be here... the fact of the matter is, A has shown me far more respect and consideration than C ever has, and I personally would be far more comfortable with A than with C. A is someone who has empathy, who has shown concern for my feelings (more concern than my W did, in the heart of the crisis, in fact). I had always been someone who tended to like everyone, to struggle to see fault in people, and to want everyone to like me. I am coming to the realization that I don't have to (and, in fact, it's not healthy to) contort myself or suppress my own alarm bells in order to try to win the approval of someone who has demonstrated a distinct lack of concern for my comfort or well-being. I'm not going to be liked by everyone, and I don't actually have to like everyone that comes into my life.

I've gone back to journaling quite a bit since coming back from vacation... what I write here is just fraction of my processing of what's going on. Feedback and thoughts on the situation are always welcome, but just writing it down helps me to think through it all and try to figure out what it means and what, if anything, I should do about it. I don't know if W and I will need to talk sometime about my feelings around C... my inclination is to not bring it up. If we ever do get to a place where the question of "do we invite C, A, or both to the house?" comes up, we'll probably have to have at least a surface-level discussion of it then, but I don't think I have to get into the nuance of my views on C. Also, MIL dislikes A for many of the same reasons that C does (and MIL loves C and has decided that C is basically another daughter to her)... so that will complicate the matter more when MIL is back with us for the winter. Another wrinkle in the situation, which I'm sure will be addressed in further writings.
  • Logged

N

Nas

  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 2807
Steady as she goes...
#85: October 23, 2021, 02:30:38 PM
Following up on the whole stream of thoughts about A being the villain in C's story... It's stuck with me for the past few days, and I've been trying to work out why, and what exactly I'm feeling. In some ways, I'm angry at C on behalf of A...

I was confused by the bolded part of this statement mostly [bold font added by me].
I’ll admit that I was a bit confused previously when I read that you had befriended your wife’s EA. Now reading this statement from you, I’m wondering how it serves you or how it will work in the healing of your marriage that you seem be emotionally invested in your wife’s former EA.

How C feels about A is about C. And how A feels about C is about A. You’re trying to reconnect to your wife, but you’re investing emotionally in your wife’s former EA, which seems risky for even the most detached person. Of course you’re allowed to be friends with whomever you want, but this seems to be adding a layer of complexity. On a human level, I can see you being mixed about C, because by stating that A is the villain in her story, she’s essentially saying that she’s angry at A for not getting together with *your wife*

This is just purely my outside perspective. I only share because you said you were trying to work out your feelings about it and I thought perhaps seeing it from a different vantage point would be helpful.
  • Logged

C
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 692
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#86: October 23, 2021, 04:30:12 PM
You’re absolutely right, it does add a layer of complexity. And I agree that being angry at C on behalf of A is beyond the bounds of healthy attachment. I think there’s some lack of resolution on my part because it seemed like we were going to all be friends and because there really does not seem to have been a mutual romantic connection on their part. I think that where I might have originally wanted to paint W as blameless; lured into something by A… I run the risk now of going the other direction, of holding W fully responsible for everything inappropriate while considering A without any fault in the EA. And I know that’s not completely true, and I think a part of the attachment is wanting to have the conversations that could put it all to rest in my mind. I think it’s another layer of believing myself to be more healed than I am. And it’s not from a place of anger or anything; it’s just that endless processing and wanting to understand the things that we can probably never fully understand.

As far as any relationship going forward, best case scenario for me would involve no hard feelings and determining the level of friendship purely on how compatible we all are and what feel like healthy boundaries for each of us in the present and future - a clean start. Holding onto the idea that A and I have some particular bond via shared trauma is not a path to a clean slate. I think that’s the part I need to get my head around. Thanks for your perspective on this, Nas… it’s very helpful.
  • Logged

T
  • *
  • Trial Subscriber
  • Sr. Member
  • Posts: 351
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#87: October 24, 2021, 06:38:13 AM
I have been following your story for a while now and I continue to be confused by the on going relationships with those that helped build the divide. I think I mentioned in my story my XH had an EA with someone that did not reciprocate for years. Now years removed due to work they conversate again and she some times jokes and comes to him with issues or problems. Personally for me it is a huge problem. Lines have been crossed. You cant go back. It is unhealthy. I am not in a relationship with XH anymore, but if I was that would most definitely be a deal breaker for me. Trust was broken. Part of rebuilding trust would be that they proved to not only me but themselves that they no longer needed that attachment. You are stronger person then me. Anyone that helped to break down my relationship would be in no way a welcome part of my relationship going forward in anyway.
  • Logged
H-54 W-58  M 7/6/91 Kids d-30 s-28 d-14 (dies 2009)
2013- moments of disconnect start
Aug 2016 promotion requires travel   
Oct 2017-total disconnect
Jan 2018- moved out H
Mar 2018- BD1 found old phone 3 EA ‘17-H in therapy
EA ow1-49,  EA-ow2 57, (EA- ow3-58 not reciprocated)
Sept ‘18 -2nd Home in new state H new job
Oct 2018-H moves home
Oct 2020 BD2 does not return home from B trip
Nov 2020 H move to 2nd home in other state OW4
Div filed-Dec ‘20   Div final-Feb ‘21
Oct 2021- XH moves in OW4
https://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=11796.

  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 11324
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#88: October 24, 2021, 07:41:27 AM
Quote
How C feels about A is about C. And how A feels about C is about A. You’re trying to reconnect to your wife, but you’re investing emotionally in your wife’s former EA, which seems risky for even the most detached person. Of course you’re allowed to be friends with whomever you want, but this seems to be adding a layer of complexity.

Wise words from Nas, as you said.
My response on reading your post was gosh, I wonder why Curiosity seems to feel she has to balance out if she likes someone with whether other people like them - W, A, C, MiL -as if she is somehow not entitled to just like or not like people in her own right.
And say so.
And have boundaries about how and who she spends her time with, while allowing others to do the same.

And I wonder if W, A, C, MiL or anyone else care as much about Curosity’s likes and dislikes as she seems to do about theirs?

I must agree that, albeit based on limited info, I would have issues with both C and A being my guests under my marital roof, for different reasons, metaphorically or otherwise. People have the right to not value or like me, not respect the boundaries of my marriage or even throw bombs at my life bc they think they know better or bc it meets their own agenda....but i’m darned sure I have no desire or obligation to make tea and biscuits for them at my table after they do lol.
  • Logged
« Last Edit: October 24, 2021, 07:46:01 AM by Treasur »
T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.
Healing and growing found here https://littleplotbythesea.wordpress.com

"Option A is not available so I need to kick the s**t out of Option B" Sheryl Sandberg

C
  • *****
  • Hero Member
  • Posts: 692
  • Gender: Female
Steady as she goes...
#89: October 24, 2021, 10:45:00 AM
Quote
How C feels about A is about C. And how A feels about C is about A. You’re trying to reconnect to your wife, but you’re investing emotionally in your wife’s former EA, which seems risky for even the most detached person. Of course you’re allowed to be friends with whomever you want, but this seems to be adding a layer of complexity.

Wise words from Nas, as you said.
My response on reading your post was gosh, I wonder why Curiosity seems to feel she has to balance out if she likes someone with whether other people like them - W, A, C, MiL -as if she is somehow not entitled to just like or not like people in her own right.
And say so.
And have boundaries about how and who she spends her time with, while allowing others to do the same.

And I wonder if W, A, C, MiL or anyone else care as much about Curosity’s likes and dislikes as she seems to do about theirs?

I must agree that, albeit based on limited info, I would have issues with both C and A being my guests under my marital roof, for different reasons, metaphorically or otherwise. People have the right to not value or like me, not respect the boundaries of my marriage or even throw bombs at my life bc they think they know better or bc it meets their own agenda....but i’m darned sure I have no desire or obligation to make tea and biscuits for them at my table after they do lol.

All of this - this is the work I still have to do on myself in terms of relationships. I do know that MIL has opinions about people's likes and dislikes; she makes no secret of her feelings. But in general, you're right - people don't care nearly as much about my actions, thoughts, and motivations as I worry that they do. People are, in large part, focused on their own actions and their own motivations. The important part is, though... regardless of what MIL or anyone else might think or say, I'm the one who has to live with the consequences of my choices and my actions. And I'm the one who has to be comfortable in my relationships.

First and foremost, I have to be comfortable in my own skin and in my own home. I can and will establish boundaries to ensure that is the case. And the fact is, I don't feel that any of the people involved have willfully harmed me to an extent where I do not want them in my home. So I don't feel the need to set boundaries that fully exclude any of these people from my life or my home.

Second, when considering my relationships with other people, my relationship with my W comes first. That means my priority is building a new connection with her; making our home a safe place for the two of us and doing my part to ensure that we can feel safe with each other. I can't do it all, of course, it takes both of us. But I can do my part, and more importantly, I can ensure that I don't let other people interfere with my part in building the connection with W. That means that MIL's opinions can't get in the way, nor can C's, nor A's.

After that, other relationships come into play... how I set boundaries with MIL (not that it usually matters, but for several months of the year she is living in our home); whom I trust or confide in. But all of that takes a back seat to the marriage relationship... and it does, truly, in my mind. I think that when I shift focus to other relationships, it's often because I feel like things with W are so stable and unchanging. I know that there are conversations we need to have - W has said she wants this marriage and has been consistent in that ever since we discussed it a few months ago. But she hasn't said what she wants the marriage to look like. She's said she wants me to be her person, but she hasn't said she wants to be mine. All of her actions are consistent - making plans for a shared future, being transparent about her conversations, clearly not seeking any close relationships outside of our marriage. And she's working through her own issues in IC. When I really examine it... I think that on some level I am impatient to have those conversations even though I know logically that it's something that can't be rushed. I feel like when the goal is detachment, that's straightforward... it's not easy, don't get me wrong, but I knew what I needed to do. But now... it feels like I don't want to push for discussions she isn't ready to have, but I don't want to seem so detached that I'm not open to rebuilding intimacy and trust.

Anyway... I think that a lot of this is the fixer in me, looking for ways not to erase the effects of MLC, exactly, but to try to rebuild everything that I thought was good or had potential to be good before the crisis became apparent. And really, the lesson I am working on taking away from all of this (and thank you all for your perspectives because it really does help) is that I still need to learn patience. I need to not overanalyze things; to just live my life in an authentic way, to let things be what they are. Easier said than done, but it is the goal.
  • Logged

 

Legal Disclaimer

The information contained within The Hero's Spouse website family (www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com, http://theherosspouse.com and associated subdomains), (collectively 'website') is provided as general information and is not intended to be a substitute for professional legal, medical or mental health advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. The Hero's Spouse cannot be held responsible for the use of the information provided. The Hero's Spouse recommends that you consult a trained medical or mental health professional before making any decision regarding treatment of yourself or others. The Hero's Spouse recommends that you consult a legal professional for specific legal advice.

Any information, stories, examples, articles, or testimonials on this website do not constitute a guarantee, or prediction regarding the outcome of an individual situation. Reading and/or posting at this website does not constitute a professional relationship between you and the website author, volunteer moderators or mentors or other community members. The moderators and mentors are peer-volunteers, and not functioning in a professional capacity and are therefore offering support and advice based solely upon their own experience and not upon legal, medical, or mental health training.