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Author Topic: My Story “As much as you burn me, baby, I should be ashes by now.”

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“As much as you burn me, baby, I should be ashes by now.”

I first heard this song written by the American songwriter Rodney Crowell many years ago (sung by Emmy Lou Harris). Like nearly all country songs it speaks of pain & betrayal. I hadn’t thought of this song again until I heard it playing recently on a nearby radio. Oh, yeah, I thought. This one belongs on the LBS playlist. The spouses of MLCer’s are incinerated by the betrayal, the incomprehensible words & actions burning up health & sanity, marriages & families.

I haven’t been on Hero’s Spouse for quite some time. BD was over four years ago. My threads are on the private side, but my story plays like most of yours, with the exception of older participants & a longer marriage (59 year old spouses, a 48 year old OW, & 6 weeks shy of a 39th anniversary at BD). I didn’t believe anyone who said I “would be ok”. I wasn’t ok & I couldn’t imagine ever being “ok” again. I was manic, not eating, not sleeping, had racing & obsessive thoughts, including some suicidal ones. You all know how it goes.

“I should be ashes by now”, but I’m not. And you won’t be ashes either if you take care of yourself. It’s about you now (and your children, if you have them). Before all else, take care of yourself & protect yourself. Your MLCer is gone, gone, gone. Down some path that I struggled for years to comprehend, to figure out. If I could only figure it out…

You are on this site, a vital step to getting support from others who understand. You are on this site, giving purpose to your life by helping others. First steps: Breathe, Sleep, Eat. However you can. Believe for a couple of years that your spouse is coming back. I think maybe we have to believe that for awhile. Decide if you are a Covenant Keeper, living as a spouse perpetually wedded to someone who may never want to be your spouse again. There is heroism & principle here.

Or after a time, “move on” as they say. Watch the signs of your own situation. Get past the idealization of your spouse & your marriage. I think many of us have come to realize that we were always the strong one, always the one that compromised. That our spouses had some broken places that their apparent goodness & honesty & integrity just could no longer hold together.

I took stock of my situation. My H divorced me & married the alienator 2 weeks later. He is a deeply flawed man who I believe suffers for his own betrayal of his integrity. I became no longer willing to keep the covenant he shattered with his lies & deception & abandonment.

“I should be ashes by now”, but I’m not. I fought for the best financial settlement I could (it is never fair). I moved 200 miles away. I revived a long dormant career. I bought a house. I sold our marital home. I did online dating. I kissed a couple of frogs. I have a companion now of one year with whom I am quite compatible. It’s not perfect, nothing is. I won’t marry again. I must remain strong & independent for my own survival. My mind is once again peaceful. I am happy. I continue to recover.

I am not going to tell any of you that “you will be ok”. You don’t believe that. But you won’t be ashes. You will recover in your time. You will get strong. You will once again find peace.

Hugs to All,
HT 

HT, I think I linked your last public thread so other's can read it.
http://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=7133.0



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« Last Edit: September 05, 2017, 04:23:51 PM by Thunder »
Detach and Survive: A Book of Self-Care for the Wives of Midlife Crisis Men
The Journey from Abandonment to Healing, Susan Anderson
Healing the Shame that Binds You, John Bradshaw
The Addictive Personality, Craig Nakken
https://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/chapter-contents.html

M'ed 41 years
BD-Jan 2013
Legally separated Feb 2013
D'ed without my consent July 2015
H M'ed OW Sept 2015

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Oh Heart... I really needed to see something like this right now. Thank you.
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Me: 36
H: 39
S20; D13; D11; D7
Together 21 years, Married for 5
BD: 4/25/2017 (EA)
BD: 4/10/2018 (EA same OW)

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Beautiful post Hearttattoo...I especially love this:
 
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My mind is once again peaceful. I am happy. I continue to recover.

There is no other way for the LBSer than to walk this path one step at a time....acceptance is key and belief that life is not over because our marriage is.

Thanks for the update!
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"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see" Hebrews 11:1

"You enrich my life and are a source of joy and consolation to me. But if I lose you, I will not, I must not spend the rest of my life in unhappiness."

" The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it". Flannery O'Connor

https://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/chapter-contents.html

T
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Thank you :)
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HT,

Loved the song!

You sound good and strong!

Great to see you back and posting  :)

Beautiful post Hearttattoo...I especially love this:
 
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My mind is once again peaceful. I am happy. I continue to recover.


I agree!
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M 61
H 61
S 31
D 28
BD 13 Dec 2010
Divorced 27 Feb 2015 (30 years marriage)

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" Jeremiah 29:11

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A true success story. Love it, HT!

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Get past the idealization of your spouse & your marriage.

HUGE. I didn't hit this point until I left the bargaining stage of grief and entered anger. Years and years. But embracing the humanness of all involved is also a blessing that kept bitterness at bay and let real healing start.
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Second Ready2, you're a real success story.

Loved the song title and that we are not ashes despite all we have to deal with.

For me, it is not much a case of idealization of spouse and marriage. I know I had a good husband and marriage. And that, most men out there and marriages pale in comparison with Mr J. But that ends up making it more difficult, because I am used to a high quality man and marriage/relationship.

Of courses, the crisis alien is absolute low quality, and I don't think I would even go for a coffee with the crisis version.

We all have flaws, we are all imperfect. MLCs seemed to had got rid of something that was good and decent, decided it was terrible, and burn everything to the ground.

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Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together. (Marilyn Monroe)

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I rarely visit HS now over five years post-BD. But occasionally I have thoughts I want to share.

I do think of my H (married now to the alienator for 2 ½ years) every single day. These thoughts no longer bring the gut-wrenching pain they did in the beginning. I feel sadness though, an almost overwhelming sense of sadness when I think of what my H did to our R, to our family, & to himself.

My H is pretty much a Vanisher & I’m ok with that. It is beyond painful to think of having some sort of “normalized” relationship with him like some D’ed people seem to mange. Our R is of the past. It is memories. When he left our home 10 minutes after BD & offered only the most ridiculous explanations for why he was so “unhappy in our M” & how he had methodically deceived me for five years committing adultery with an OW he met online, our M, our friendship, our partnership was over. Of course, I didn’t know it at the time & rejected that notion right up until the D was final & he was M’ed 2 weeks later.

I think what brought on these musings today was reading RCR’s FB article on the difference between MLC affairs & Exit affairs. She acknowledged more explicitly than I’ve read before that marital reconciliation with MLC is uncommon. When I first joined HS, I didn’t get that impression. I remember as I learned about MLC hoping that my H was indeed having a MLC instead of some other kind of affair, because that meant that there was hope for reconciliation. And, yes, there is always some hope for reconciliation after a M is afflicted with adultery, MLC or not. But after years on HS, it became very apparent that reconciliation with a MLCer is very uncommon. It happens, yes, with spectacular success sometimes, like RCR herself. But, it is not the norm; it is indeed uncommon.

Being at perhaps the far end of “middle age” (H & I both 59 at BD) I think I had the life experience & common sense to instinctively know some things at BD. I knew drink & drugs & dating were not the appropriate antidotes to the pain I was living with every minute of every day. I knew I had to take care of myself & find support.  And I knew I had to plan for MY future. I believed for a long time that my H was coming home. But, paradoxically, I also knew I had to keep planning for a future without my H. I immediately protected myself financially. After the initial shock I took steps to re-enter a long-neglected career. I began cleaning out closets & giving away unneeded household items. I thought about where I wanted to live on my own.

I guess my message is, if you are still reading, hope for reconciliation if that is what you desire. Don’t burn bridges. Don’t take revenge. Don’t do any further damage to the family your MLCer has devastated. But, above all else, take care of yourself. Get healthy & stay healthy. Do whatever Mirror Work you need. And, prepare for a life without your MLCer, because that is most likely where you are headed. Realistically, that is where most LBS’s are headed.

I am grateful for the life I have now. I am financially stable. I have a little home & garden I love. My kids are close by. I have new friends & stronger R’s with old friends. Would I have traded my M for any of this? Of course not. I loved my H; I loved our life together. My life is not “better”, it is just different. MLC did not “happen for a reason”. My H’s MLC, the destruction our our M, & my subsequent satisfying life were not/are not “God’s plan for me”. I reject & deplore such platitudes. But life does go on & I promise that if you take care of yourself & prepare yourself for the future, you will one day have a good life & a happy life.
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Detach and Survive: A Book of Self-Care for the Wives of Midlife Crisis Men
The Journey from Abandonment to Healing, Susan Anderson
Healing the Shame that Binds You, John Bradshaw
The Addictive Personality, Craig Nakken
https://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/chapter-contents.html

M'ed 41 years
BD-Jan 2013
Legally separated Feb 2013
D'ed without my consent July 2015
H M'ed OW Sept 2015

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I guess my message is, if you are still reading, hope for reconciliation if that is what you desire. Don’t burn bridges. Don’t take revenge. Don’t do any further damage to the family your MLCer has devastated. But, above all else, take care of yourself. Get healthy & stay healthy. Do whatever Mirror Work you need. And, prepare for a life without your MLCer, because that is most likely where you are headed. Realistically, that is where most LBS’s are headed.

I am grateful for the life I have now. I am financially stable. I have a little home & garden I love. My kids are close by. I have new friends & stronger R’s with old friends. Would I have traded my M for any of this? Of course not. I loved my H; I loved our life together. My life is not “better”, it is just different. MLC did not “happen for a reason”. My H’s MLC, the destruction our our M, & my subsequent satisfying life were not/are not “God’s plan for me”. I reject & deplore such platitudes. But life does go on & I promise that if you take care of yourself & prepare yourself for the future, you will one day have a good life & a happy life.

Preach it like it is, sister! I agree with this absolutely.

Life goes on and we need to be responsible to make it the best possible because of those around us, I have not lost hope in God, I know that He will do as He wishes and that really is none of my business, my task is to live my life in a way to honor God and that includes finding joy in the life that is. My heart's desire is reconciliation with my beloved and the Lord knows that. My children live with me and we talk every day, they are in contact with their dad and seem to be happy with the level of contact they have with him. That makes me happy. Otherwise, I just carry on with my life :)
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BD 13 Dec 2010
Divorced 27 Feb 2015 (30 years marriage)

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" Jeremiah 29:11

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Thank you for sharing, HT. 

I had hope of reconciliation until my MLCer married the OW.  That was it for me.  We've had very little contact since BD.  He will be coming on my property this summer to take the rest of his things.  After that I would guess it will be no contact at all, even though we live 5 minutes apart. 

I am taking care of me, as well as doing some work on me.  It is my hope that your prediction that I will one day have a good life, as well as a happy one, is 100% accurate. 

Thank you again for dropping in to share an update. 
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BD: 1/1/16
Together 15 years - married 7 years
His divorce final 7/26/16
Married the OW

After all, tomorrow is another day.

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Hi HeartTattoo

Nice to read you.

... think what brought on these musings today was reading RCR’s FB article on the difference between MLC affairs & Exit affairs. She acknowledged more explicitly than I’ve read before that marital reconciliation with MLC is uncommon. When I first joined HS, I didn’t get that impression.

Interesting. I always thought most, if not nearly all, MLCers come out of MLC, but reconciliations are rare/very rare, for a number of reasons, the main one being that the LBS has moved on, also because MLC lasts too long. I still think the same. What I remember is that, in the past, saying it used to lead to a lot of upsetness.

I guess my message is, if you are still reading, hope for reconciliation if that is what you desire. Don’t burn bridges. Don’t take revenge. Don’t do any further damage to the family your MLCer has devastated. But, above all else, take care of yourself. Get healthy & stay healthy. Do whatever Mirror Work you need. And, prepare for a life without your MLCer, because that is most likely where you are headed. Realistically, that is where most LBS’s are headed.

Wonderful message. Allow me to add that without the MLCer does not equal without someone else in our life. Of course, if we don't want someone else/new, that is fine as well.

I am grateful for the life I have now. I am financiall

Very glad to know you are leading a good life.

Going back to RCR articles, one of the things I think they tend to fail to show/say is that the alienator is often going to stay around for years on end. And if not the first alienator, the second (or third, or...). The articles about the "affair" (I don't call living togethr an affair, it is a marital like relatioship while still married to someone else) isn't going to go away just because infatuation ended, or because it come out in the open.

MLCer and alienator relationships can last for many, many years. 
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Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together. (Marilyn Monroe)

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Preach it like it is, sister! I agree with this absolutely.

Hi, Mitzpah. You made me laugh with this.

I sometimes look back & cannot believe the level of pain & despair & mental/physical anguish I was in & just how long my gradual recovery was (& really it continues on). I hate the thought of the pain that MLC brings to so many spouses & families.

I want to reassure readers here that recovery will occur. Each day post-BD seems like forever when your mind is racing in turmoil & your body aches & your future is shattered & you pace & panic & cannot bear the thought of another night alone. But the years in the rear view mirror go by quickly, especially once health & stability return.

I don't know if my "preaching" helps any newbies. But I do think it is important that they understand that the chances of marital reconciliation are slim (or perhaps as Anjae posits the timeline is just too long). I think the collective mind of HS understands this much better than it did five years ago. It is obvious that there are many here three, four, five, seven, or more years on who have no signs of return from their MLCer & indeed many of these MLCers are ensconced in M's with the alienator or in a marital-type R. Whether they are happily ensconced is another question, one I am not informed enough to answer. But we know the statistics about second M's & all the baggage drug along into these new R's. I hope all MLCers "enjoy" the consequences of these new R's.

I know you have great faith, Mitzpah, & live in the confidence of that faith & the love of your children. May you continue to have that peace.

Hugs,
HT
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Detach and Survive: A Book of Self-Care for the Wives of Midlife Crisis Men
The Journey from Abandonment to Healing, Susan Anderson
Healing the Shame that Binds You, John Bradshaw
The Addictive Personality, Craig Nakken
https://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/chapter-contents.html

M'ed 41 years
BD-Jan 2013
Legally separated Feb 2013
D'ed without my consent July 2015
H M'ed OW Sept 2015

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I had hope of reconciliation until my MLCer married the OW.  That was it for me. 

I am taking care of me, as well as doing some work on me.  It is my hope that your prediction that I will one day have a good life, as well as a happy one, is 100% accurate. 

Still Baffled,

I love your handle. I, too, am still baffled. My mind spun in circles for so long trying to make sense of this & trying to figure it all out. Part of my recovery was letting go of that & realizing I will never make sense of my H's actions. I do think of him often, but I am just sad at what his MLC/depressive-addictive tendencies led him to do. So out of character, so at odds with his value system, so not the image of the "good guy" he had portrayed all his life.

Yes, my H's M to the alienator was IT for me too. He didn't have the strength of character to even inform me. A short simple email would have been the sensible & appropriate thing to do. No, a month after the fact he called our younger son & told him. It was left to him to inform me & in turn for me to inform my older son who has been more deeply affected than his brother.

At 2+ years, SB, you are probably out of the deep drowning waters of the LBS, but you will gain more & more peace & stability in the years ahead. Nurture the person you are now. I do so many things now that were not characteristic of the "old me". Life knocked me up-side the head, I guess it knocked a few connections loose. It's not a better me, just a different me.

Keep taking care of SB & moving forward.
Hugs,
HT
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« Last Edit: April 28, 2018, 07:43:21 PM by HeartTattoo »
Detach and Survive: A Book of Self-Care for the Wives of Midlife Crisis Men
The Journey from Abandonment to Healing, Susan Anderson
Healing the Shame that Binds You, John Bradshaw
The Addictive Personality, Craig Nakken
https://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/chapter-contents.html

M'ed 41 years
BD-Jan 2013
Legally separated Feb 2013
D'ed without my consent July 2015
H M'ed OW Sept 2015

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Interesting. I always thought most, if not nearly all, MLCers come out of MLC, but reconciliations are rare/very rare, for a number of reasons, the main one being that the LBS has moved on, also because MLC lasts too long. I still think the same. What I remember is that, in the past, saying it used to lead to a lot of upsetness.

The articles about the "affair" (I don't call living togethr an affair, it is a marital like relatioship while still married to someone else) isn't going to go away just because infatuation ended, or because it come out in the open. MLCer and alienator relationships can last for many, many years.
Hi, Anjae,

You may be right. Some (most?) of us will never know if our H's come out of MLC because we have no contact. Maybe they may begin to see light again, but for various reasons make no move to the spouse. Maybe because they know the spouse is in a new R, maybe because of guilt/shame or difficulty taking the steps of reconciliation. We see what a very slow & painful process it is for some of those here whose H's have returned or are in that process. Maybe they feel trapped in their "new R" with the alienator--financially, in guilt, in co-dependence, etc.

And, yes, it just takes too damn long. I think that is another thing RCR has begun to appreciate. It is now over 5 years post-BD for me. As you know, my H said he had been involved with OW for five years prior to BD. In discussions with his co-workers about his behavior at work & thinking about some odd behaviors I recollected, I believe he was showing signs of MLC two years prior to that. A very, very long period of MLC. And we are old! I don't have time to wait around for this old man to get it together & kitty-foot around for him to develop enough accountability & remorse for me to even stomach the sight of him. From the joys of MLC right into the joys of the dementia too prevalent in his family. And at this point, there is absolutely nothing that indicates this Vanisher is even remotely near the end of his MLC cycle.

Allow me to add that without the MLCer does not equal without someone else in our life. Of course, if we don't want someone else/new, that is fine as well.

I am at the two year mark with my gentleman friend. I enjoy the companionship of some meals together, some travel & social outings together. We are more compatible in some areas than I was with my H. In other ways, less compatible. It is just very different at this juncture than the very long R, started in our teens, that I had with my H. It can never be the true partnership I had with my H, planning a future, raising children, building a home. I will never M again & cannot see how my new companion & I could even live together happily. It is enjoyable, but not joyous. It is nice, but not completely fulfilling. I guess it truly is up to me to find that joyousness & fulfillment within myself.

I admire that you are still here, Anjae, faithfully guiding others through their experiences & offering your wisdom. I hope you & your family are well.

Hugs,
HT
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« Last Edit: April 28, 2018, 08:17:46 PM by HeartTattoo »
Detach and Survive: A Book of Self-Care for the Wives of Midlife Crisis Men
The Journey from Abandonment to Healing, Susan Anderson
Healing the Shame that Binds You, John Bradshaw
The Addictive Personality, Craig Nakken
https://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/chapter-contents.html

M'ed 41 years
BD-Jan 2013
Legally separated Feb 2013
D'ed without my consent July 2015
H M'ed OW Sept 2015

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I think most of us will know our MLCer has come of crisis. They will reach out. Doubt the LBS being on a new relationship will prevent a MLCer from reaching out.

Also doubt the MLCer is aware of the difficulty of the steps towards reconciliation. But the LBS is, or has become more and more with the stories of those reconnecting/reconciled.

And the LBS may not even want to try. I doubt I would want to. Mr J's Replay has been going on at nearly 12 years since he left. I am not going to waste any time dealing with the problems of reconnection. Not now. If it had been 3 three years? Sure. 5 most likely. Even 7. But, then again, by then, I don't think I, or others, really knew what reconnecting meant and how long it also takes.

We know Replay takes a long time. But we tend to forget that the other stages of MLC (reconnection and reconciliation aren't MLC stages, they happen at certain MLC stages) also take a very long time and what it means.

No, nope, sorry, I don't want the trouble, the difficulty, the problems of reconnection. Am I being selfish? Most likely. But I have to right of wanting to keep the peace I found. And not wanting it shaked by a broken MLCer.

I am in for a nice, joyful, kind, gentle relationship, I am not into more darkness, struggles, problems. Mr J was a very, very nasty MLCer. Dealing with his nasty, and years long looking after grandmother, made me want something light, simple, trouble free. If that makes me superficial, so be it.  That and wanting a bedroom of my own.

In fact, I turned men down because the were complicated or wanted something I didn't.

I don't mind being around when/if I have some time. I am well. Family is also well.
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Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together. (Marilyn Monroe)

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Great updates, HT! It's lovely to hear that your surviving and thriving has evolved into acceptance and contentment. Your advice and openness is wonderful, especially for those newbies who rely on the wise words of the vets.

Sending hugs and continued strength to you.  :)
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BD 29 Nov '13
Left home 8 June '14
Does not live with OW

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Good to see you post HeartTattoo,

It's nice to hear you have a gentleman friend for outings and companionship. I agree, I think at our age we can never find the R we had before because we are not young and don't have the time and life to build what we lost. Building a home and raising a family - all takes many years and a lot of ourselves. I can understand you not wanting to marry again. I wouldn't either. Well I'm still married to my H anyway! 😄

I've dated, had couple R's but I'm ok on my own too. I've built a new life and made some lovely friends along the way. I've built an even closer bond with my children so feel very blessed with what I have. I wouldn't swap my life with any MLCer, whatever or wherever they may go!

It must be hard with a vanisher but it's also hard with a clinger too just different reasons. I don't know which is best TBH! Maybe a vanisher helps you to detach and let go much quicker?!? My H has periods of quiet but then pops back up again. It's like picking the scab off when he does! Re-opening my wound that I try so hard to make heal.

Big hugs

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I want to document the experience of a rare contact with my Vanisher MLCer.  He emailed two days ago asking if he could call as he needed to speak with me about something. After letting it sit for a little over 12 hours, I responded. I tried to anticipate what this unusual call was going to be about. I needed to mentally prepare. My candidates were something like this, in order of likelihood:
1.   Money, more specifically seeking to change our alimony agreement
2.   Serious illness, needing me to inform our kids
3.   Serious illness, wanting me to reconcile him with the kids
4.   An attempt at “amends”, that 9th step of 12-step programs like AA
5.   Some “reaching out” from the tunnel exit

My instincts were right. He began the call without any preamble. No “how are you, how are the kids”. His voice was flat & unemotional throughout. So, he starts out telling me that he is losing his job, the business he works for is being sold, & it doesn’t look like there will be a place for him in the new organization. He has been looking for another job, but he’s already been told his experience is out of date, working in the same place for 28 years.

None of this should come as a surprise. This prospect was raised 2 ½ years ago during our D proceedings. This business has been officially on the market for one year. He’s 65 years old with indeed a very narrow work history. One should have been preparing mentally & financially for such an occurrence. It should be noted, too, that he has not & will not be struggling. His income for many years placed him within the top 10% of US wage-earners.

So, he wondered if I could “forgive” any part of his remaining obligation. After a short pause, my response was simply “No”. I thought that is what you would say, he said, but I was told to ask you first.

I told him I was sorry about his job, but that we had an agreement & he had assets. I told him he could withdraw from his retirement funds, that he was old enough to withdraw without penalty.

Well, I guess there could be some sort of reduced lump sum payment, he replied. I told him I didn’t care about any lump sum, but that we had an agreement & it wasn’t that generous of an agreement to begin with, given the circumstances.

And that was it.

I suspect he has talked to his lawyer & he was the one who told him to ask me first. I had discussed this very possibility with my own lawyer on our last meeting, because it seemed a very real possibility that he could lose his job before our alimony agreement terminated. She told me that because we had made a last-minute agreement in court, that the judge did not make the ruling, that the judge could not change our agreement. I am not 100% sure of this, because judges seem to do whatever they damn well please when it comes to D. My financial settlement was not fair, not because of his infidelity & abandonment. No one cares about that anymore. But because of his income vs my time as a stay-at-home Mom & lower paying jobs, the length of our M, & the limited time before he would presumably retire. I would not be surprised to receive a letter from his lawyer or even some sort of court summons, which is what I got, with no warning, in response to our preliminary discussion of D.

I had some anxiety anticipating his call, but I was glad I had time to process the possibilities, think them over, & rehearse what my answers would be. The possibility of nearing the light of the tunnel exit seemed unlikely to me. I have come to believe he never will. While he acted like a decent, honest, honorable person, he also lived a life of denial—running from his family history of mental illness, from his own symptoms of depression, from his alcoholism & other addictive behaviors. He deluded himself for five years that his infidelity would not harm our M, that I was also unhappy, that his behavior was “what happens all the time”.  His phone call only reinforced my belief that he will live the rest of his life in the dark tunnel of MLC.
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Detach and Survive: A Book of Self-Care for the Wives of Midlife Crisis Men
The Journey from Abandonment to Healing, Susan Anderson
Healing the Shame that Binds You, John Bradshaw
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https://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/chapter-contents.html

M'ed 41 years
BD-Jan 2013
Legally separated Feb 2013
D'ed without my consent July 2015
H M'ed OW Sept 2015

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My brain flip flops between "not surprising" and "shock" that he´d want you to make a bad deal worse- for you. The fact that he called you tells me he still does not get just how much damage he did to your future. When HE is faced with an economic crisis, it IS a crisis but when YOU were faced with an economic crisis, it was not even on his radar. Wow- hope OW is reconsidering her choices as she thought she won the lottery. Guess they´ll both have to learn to budget and she will be carrying the economic load. Helllooooo karma bus.
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So sorry, HT. You did an amazing job of handling it! It's incredible the way the vanishers pop back up when there's something we can do to help them live their new lives. I hope he hits all further road blocks to bothering you again.
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The selfishness remains breathtaking.  I too always had a glimmer of hope that my MLCer would one day appear as his old lovely self, but 8.5years post BD, none of us are seeing any evidence of it either.
He too will pop up, grinning at me, when there is something that he thinks will benefit his life.  With absolutely no sign of any understanding or empathy regarding the appalling financial (and otherwise) situations that he happily put me and the boys in over the years.
The boys would love to have a meaningful relationship with their Dad once again, but sadly, they have all now experienced for themselves the chilling, self serving behaviours, with a total lack of understanding for their experience these past 8 or so years. They have all decided to keep him at an emotional arms length from their hearts in the future.
It's such a shame, but it too has been revealed the extensive mental health history in my MLCer's family, that was kept a secret from them/us all by their mother.  Living with that sort of denial, I too can't ever imagine my MLCer having the strength of character to apologise to any of us any more.
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I am sorry, HT.

FTT is right, now that he may be a little less well financially, it is a crisis, when you took a tremendous blow, it was a nothing.

MLCers are selfish beyond belief.
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My first thought at BD was 'how could he?"  Nothing they do or say surprises me and everything they do or say surprises me.  Oh well, and on it goes.
Good to hear from you even if it isn't the most cheerful news. :P
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Ah, the "cheerful" news is that HT stood up for herself and did not cave in hopes of a bread crumb. Hey, he has his degree and could earn $ with it- it will be less lucrative and more physically demanding but that is the hand he dealt HT. He expected HT to go back to work after years out of the field of work, now he can face what he expected her to do. Choices, consequences.

It´s like a party when the parents go away and the wayward teen is sooner or later left with the messy clean up.
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Good for you, HT. I really enjoy hearing the stories of people who know themselves enough to be able to listen to what their MLCer says and say "No." in a healthy, self aware way. I hope there will be no formal, taking you back to court type of thing with this. I can say I am no longer amazed by anything and MLCer does.

I'm glad you are doing well.
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Thanks for all of your replies. Like FTT, I am shocked, but not surprised. I am really kind of shocked that he hasn’t prepared better for this eventuality. But not surprised that his first response is to weasel out of our D settlement. FTT is right, he may never work as an anesthetist again, but he still has a nursing license as well & just as he expected me to return to nursing after many years away, he can seek jobs in many places.

I guess MLCers are not good at mentally preparing for career ends &/or retirement. And my particular MLCer was never good at money. He wouldn’t have the money he has now in retirement funds if I hadn’t insisted. He never wanted to hear about bills or budgets. He wasn’t extravagant, but he wanted to spend money without thinking about the cost. He earned the money; I managed it. It worked pretty well & now many miles down the road he still wants me to “fix” it at my expense.

LBS’s of Vanishers don’t have much opportunity to defend our boundaries, but when we do, it is so damn satisfying. MLCers with their selfishness & lack of empathy must be somewhat nonplussed when we do so.

And, Karma, along with being a b*tch, is hilarious. At BD, when I kept asking why, along with his other absurd replies was, “You support health care reform & HCR will hurt my job”. No, the ACA (Obamacare) probably kept his tiny hospital afloat for a few more years & the dismantling of ACA hastened the splintering of the hospital conglomerate that sold off his hospital.

Another of his explanations was that I had been away from nursing so long that I no longer understood nursing (no matter that the OW was a teacher & knew nothing about health care). Now, I’m the one 2 ½ years along doing well (after a long orientation) at a university hospital & he’s the one being told his experience is seriously out-dated.
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The Journey from Abandonment to Healing, Susan Anderson
Healing the Shame that Binds You, John Bradshaw
The Addictive Personality, Craig Nakken
https://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/chapter-contents.html

M'ed 41 years
BD-Jan 2013
Legally separated Feb 2013
D'ed without my consent July 2015
H M'ed OW Sept 2015

L
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HT, very good to hear from you. I also applaud your resounding "NO" to your xH's idiotic request. No indeed. This is the bed he made, let him lie in it. Like FTT said, choices have consequences. How about asking the new MRS to get a second job? His plight, except that it could affect your settlement, is not your problem. Let them both get 2 jobs. Karma in action.
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trying2bok

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HT,

Good to see your thread. I don't come around much anymore but still check in from time to time to see if there are any fellow travelers from the old days still posting.

Your response to your ex was perfect. It was good for me to read because I'm expecting a similar request from my ex at any time. I know from my daughter, who's in touch with him, that he's suffering severe financial challenges and I expect he'll be in touch to try the same sort of "request" that you ex did with you.

It's amazing they think we're going to be receptive to such pleas. I'm doing better financially than my ex (who's OW wifey doesn't work due to her chronic illness) and I suspect that's surprised him. (He thought I was going to roll up in a ball and die after he left.) Although I do feel somewhat sorry for him, he's been the architect of his own financial disaster.

Today would have been my 45th wedding anniversary. I didn't remember it until late in the day and was a bit surprised that it seemed like just another day. I'm so grateful for the detachment and peace no contact--and time--have given me.

TMHP



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M 40 yrs.
BD 1/11
Began living with OW 1/11
Divorce final 8/13
Ex married OW 6/15

God, grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change; the courage to change the one I can; and the wisdom to know it's me.

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Hi HT,

Long time, no read....

Shocked, yes, surprised no....

Mean old Mr. Reality is really a buzzkiller isn't he....

Good to read that you are moving forward with your life and that you could provide an answer to xH... Short, sweet, simple, and direct... "No."

His actions, his consequences, his circus, his monkeys to deal with...
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Together 19 years - Married 17 at separation & 21 at D-Day
S - 16, D - 12
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BD#1 - August 2015
Atomic BD - 13 Dec 2015
House sold & separated - Mar 2016
Divorce final 30 August 2019
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Good to hear from you all. TMHP, our stories have always been so similar. We, along with CoffeeDrinker (may she rest in peace), were probably among the oldest & longest-M’ed LBS’s. I hope any upcoming contact with your H is not traumatic or financially detrimental to you.

Another piece of evidence today that H has badly managed his finances, despite knowing his job was in some jeopardy & that he was nearing retirement age. He emailed this morning saying that my alimony automatically withdrew from his account on the 25th this month instead of the 30th coming within hours of over-drawing his account. Now, even including my alimony, the MLCer makes at least 1 ½ -2 times what I do. That’s not including OW’s salary. Why doesn’t he have enough pad in his account to prevent over-drafts? Or why hasn’t he tied his savings account, if he even has one, to his checking to prevent over-drafts? Poor MLCer, he has to actually think about money management instead of just gliding along on fantasy.

He asks where he can once again send paper checks instead of using automatic bank withdrawals. His first payments post-D were sent from a joint account with OW with both names listed, even before they M’ed. I’ll not accept that again. And I won’t give him my physical address. I had a PO box for the first year & a half after I moved, but dropped it when it seemed “safe”, to cut the expense. My bank should be able to receive his paper checks directly for deposit in my account. I’ll check with them this week (today is a US holiday).

I love the empowered feeling that setting boundaries for my H gives me. His actions affected me & my life so traumatically for years. I know that I would barely be triggered by his joint checks anymore, but I don’t have to accept that. I don’t have to give him my address. No part of my life now “belongs” to him. That was his choice, not mine. But, now he must live with that choice & all its consequences.
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The Journey from Abandonment to Healing, Susan Anderson
Healing the Shame that Binds You, John Bradshaw
The Addictive Personality, Craig Nakken
https://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/chapter-contents.html

M'ed 41 years
BD-Jan 2013
Legally separated Feb 2013
D'ed without my consent July 2015
H M'ed OW Sept 2015

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Heart,

Most US banks and many others will  do an EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer) at the request of the account owner. I know that Wells Fargo offers this service as I used that to pay my Student Loans and everything else. It is not an automatic debit (unless the account holder sets it up that way).

My question for you though is, if it is NOT automated, will you then end up having to chase him to pay? My guess is yes if he is as bad about finances as you say he is....
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S - 16, D - 12
1 Dog
BD#1 - August 2015
Atomic BD - 13 Dec 2015
House sold & separated - Mar 2016
Divorce final 30 August 2019
Moved on in life

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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.

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HT, if he is paying thru the court system, I don't think you can legally accept a paper check. And, having it come thru the courts gives you more protection. They will go after him for you. All you have to do is complain. My xH was really late one month. I called the court and the money came in toute suite.
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Listen to UM and Learning! This will be the beginning of more headaches for you. Ignore him. His problems are not your problems. <-- my mantra!!
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His problems are his problems, not yours.



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I wouldn´t accept a paper check b/c it then becomes a "must be lost in the mail or delayed by the mail" excuse. With a preset automatic withdrawal there´s no room for error and YOU don´t run the risk of bouncing a payment (not that you would be in that boat, but you get what I mean about knowing your finances). If he does a wire transfer, there may be a wiring charge for that.
And even if you were willing to take a check, he´d have to send it by a certain date and keep track of his balance and still run the risk of an overdraft because you could cash it before he thought you would. A paper check is not going to save his financial patoot. Perhaps it is time for him to become responsible. He could think of it as a mortgage with a late fee penalty:)

Well, it does show that they are not sharing a bank account. Maybe ow figured out his MO in that arena.

Please go beyond protecting your address and insist on timely electronic transfers.

Hugs,
FTT
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D final 8/13

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Hi HT,
I'm a little behind on your thread [I agree with the others by the way, not your problem].  Anyway just to say I still read your thread even if I have nothing to add.
We are about the same age and both working when we didn't expect to...but, I'm glad to be working in many ways; it means I'm still part of life you know?  I think it would be far more difficult and lonely to be home all the time.
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Thanks for following along, Calamity. Yes, I never expected to be doing this kind of work again, especially at this age. But, for me too it has on the whole been positive. 

I have hesitated to discuss another part of my recent journey because I am doing fine & have great support from family, friends, & co-workers. After a routine mammogram this spring I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was small & caught early & does not appear to have spread. I had the necessary relatively minor surgery (lumpectomy is kind of an ugly word). Genetic testing on the tumor confirms that chemotherapy is not warranted, but I have begun radiation treatments to decrease the chances of recurrence later down the line.

One of my reasons for bringing this up on HS is to remind all of us once again, to be vigilant in self-care. Even years down the line, once all the crazy painful panicky angry depressed effects are winding down & you are “moving on” with your life in healthy & happy ways, stay vigilant.

Our LBS symptoms are so severe I often marveled at how healthy I remained, with hardly a cold, let alone more damaging physical effects. So it gave me a bit of a chill when my oncologist was talking with me & casually mentioned that this tumor “has probably been forming for 4-6 years”. Bomb drop was 5 ½ years ago.

Now, I have a pretty strong family history for cancer (although not breast cancer) & we all know the statistic that 1 out of 8 women will experience breast cancer in her lifetime. (Heart disease still kills more women though.) So, I’m not going to blame my H or his MLC. One can never know what environmental factors trigger crazy genetic mutations. The larger point is Take Care of Yourself. Keep Taking Care of Yourself. Keep up with a primary caregiver. Get those mammograms & then get the mani/pedi. Take your BP meds even if you feel fine. Return to counseling if you’re depressed. Call a friend or a suicide hotline if you have ANY thoughts of harming yourself.

We have all lived through one of the most traumatic events one can experience. This sort of stress has an effect. Somewhere. Some how. Some day. Perhaps in a way we least expect. Take care out there.

Hugs,
HT
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The Journey from Abandonment to Healing, Susan Anderson
Healing the Shame that Binds You, John Bradshaw
The Addictive Personality, Craig Nakken
https://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/chapter-contents.html

M'ed 41 years
BD-Jan 2013
Legally separated Feb 2013
D'ed without my consent July 2015
H M'ed OW Sept 2015

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Hugs, HT! Yet more proof how strong you are (and how much more absurd it is for your MLCer to prod you to help HIM out at a time when he could be offering YOU support instead). I do believe the emotional turmoil we experience can manifest physically. I am very glad you are doing all of the proper self-care to continue your success story. :)
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HT,

I have just caught up on your most recent interactions.  (I don't come here as often as I used to, either).

Great response on your part!  NO!  I would say that some people have all the nerve...but we are talking about an MLCer...and they have more than just that.

Sorry to hear about your recent health scare....it is good that it was caught and fixed.  Very strange to hear that it possibly started about the time of BD.  I remember (and don't remember) how I felt at that time!  How we all felt!  Our lives completely in upheaval....the shock, the overwhelming sadness.....It's amazing how many of us have been able to get to the other side...in one piece!

He expected you to say no....but he had been "told" to ask.  By whom, I wonder?   ::) ::)

Take care of yourself.....you did a great job of standing firm to your own needs.

Hugs,

L
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Found out about affair - 2/11
H asks for divorce - 8/11
H filed for divorce 10/11
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I'm sorry to read you had a big health scare, but glad to know you are doing well.

I too believe this terrible emotional experience can show physically.

But it is indeed impossible to know it your husband's MCL was the reason.

Big hugs.
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Very glad the tumour was caught early HT [I hate to write that word or the word 'cancer' so I'm making myself say it].  Breast cancer is very common in my family--I didn't expect to get this old. :D
Someone here will note your post and take heed.  Thanks for sharing.
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HT, I am also glad to hear that your health is under control. You have been thru so much already. I hope you continue to be strong and cheerful. A positive attitude goes a long way in helping to beat back cancer.
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trying2bok

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I’m very rarely on the site anymore, but I thought I would just document the kind of contact you might get from your MLCer on down the line, oh say, nearly seven years post-BD.

E-mail received today, something like “I’m going to need cataract surgery (because I’m an old f@rt & actually had an elder-crisis). I need records from previous eye surgery I had (about 20 years ago) & my drs no longer have them. Do you have any records of it?”

Uhhh, no dude. You BD’ed me & immediately walked out the door with your car packed. I spent some of my manic f'ed-up LBS energy purging a lot of the sh!t you left behind, including, but not limited to, the random pair of gym shorts you left in your empty dresser (& you thought I might still have 2 years later), your father’s rifle which neither I nor your sons had the least bit of interest in, & garbage bags full of dried up insulating foam, car cleaning products, & shelves full of other unorganized, left-behind dude sh!t.

How long does this go on? That he thinks I might still be his care-taker, his record-keeper? I’ve worked very hard to accept what he wanted from Day 1—that our M is over. Seems he is shameless about not quite letting go of that fragile, barely-there thread between us that was our M.

Oh yeah, my reply was simply “No”.

Health update: My 6 month checkups & follow-up mammogram have been fine. I retired a couple of months ago from my nursing job & am taking it easy for awhile & planning out some new household & crafty projects. The financial insecurity of retirement is still scary, but it seems feasible & my body was ready for less stress.
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« Last Edit: November 18, 2019, 03:03:27 PM by HeartTattoo »
Detach and Survive: A Book of Self-Care for the Wives of Midlife Crisis Men
The Journey from Abandonment to Healing, Susan Anderson
Healing the Shame that Binds You, John Bradshaw
The Addictive Personality, Craig Nakken
https://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/chapter-contents.html

M'ed 41 years
BD-Jan 2013
Legally separated Feb 2013
D'ed without my consent July 2015
H M'ed OW Sept 2015

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HT, so good to hear from you! Congratulations on your health! Glad to hear that all is well there.  Congratulations on your retirement!!! The financial side is scary, but you've gotten this far. I am certain you are well equipped to deal with anything.

Your xH has got to be kidding. :o He really thinks you might have possibly kept medical records of his?  :P They never lose their inflated sense of self, do they?
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trying2bok

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I kind of doubt that in todays' medical world, they would need records from eye surgery 20 years ago.

Their brains do not function the way ours do. They have a thought and maybe it allows them to have some contact with us..whatever that means.

Glad your health is good and you have retired! I started a nursing job a year ago and am loving it...lol...it is 2 hours per week, close to home and any day/time I want. They recently asked me to take on another small position for 3 hours per month.

I regret not working 10 years ago after BD. It would have been much much better for me.
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I’m very rarely on the site anymore, but I thought I would just document the kind of contact you might get from your MLCer on down the line, oh say, nearly seven years post-BD.


So in another couple years MLCer will be trying to reach me to ask if I have records he needs that he left behind!!    I have also purged many things he left behind. 

Thanks for an update.  Congratulations on your retirement.  Mine was supposed to be June of 2019 but I'm still working for another 2-3 years after having to buy him out of the house/property. 

Drop in now and again since you'll have more "free" time now!   ;)
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His divorce final 7/26/16
Married the OW

After all, tomorrow is another day.

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Hi HT!

Nice to have an update from you!

So in 2-3 more years (depending on the way you want to look at it) I can expect some off the wall request? Oh Goody!

Since we have kids, I guess it won't be as much of a shock as we have to have regular contact as it is...

But seriously... I think your reply was perfect... Simple, short, and to the point...
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Together 19 years - Married 17 at separation & 21 at D-Day
S - 16, D - 12
1 Dog
BD#1 - August 2015
Atomic BD - 13 Dec 2015
House sold & separated - Mar 2016
Divorce final 30 August 2019
Moved on in life

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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.

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Thanks for the replies & comments.
Your xH has got to be kidding. :o He really thinks you might have possibly kept medical records of his?  :P
This far down the line this sort of sh!t is just so laughably absurd. I would have loved to have filled my reply with eye-rolling, tongue-sticking-out, tears-running-down-the-face laughing emojis, but I seriously think it would escape him. As XYZ says, their brains just don't work right. It obviously wasn't working pre-BD when he threw his life (& mine) away to bond with an online damsel. It wasn't working when he tried to explain any of it at BD.

And it sure hasn't been working given his last requests--medical records from 20 years ago & last year, "Hey, you wouldn't want to forgive the remainder of that meager alimony I agreed to give you after 40 years of M, would you?" Nope, something definitely eating away at brain matter here.

XYZ, I'm glad you have some flexible nursing work you enjoy. Despite the toll it took on my body & health, I am proud of the nursing work I did for the last four years. It was a true accomplishment to return to hospital staff nursing after so many years away, stick with the frustrations of orientation, & then earn the respect of my much-younger co-workers. I couldn't have done it right after BD though. Even two & a half years later, I see now that I still carried some remnants of the anxiety & manic energy that came with BD into my work life.

Most people I knew at BD could grasp the craziness of my H's actions & my devastation. But I think it is hard for most people who haven't experienced it to truly grasp the depth & breadth of this experience. The physical, mental, soul-shaking body blow of BD. The life's course destroyed leaving you stranded on some unrecognizable island in the middle of nowhere. The wound on your heart that may scab over & scar over, but forever leaves a nagging ache. The unsolvable puzzle that was your beloved's behavior, then & now. It forever alters your old relationships, your new relationships, your sense of Self.

Some days you might consider the snort of laughter you get from a self-pitying request for 20 year old Lasik records pretty good Karma for a life hit by a bomb.
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https://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/chapter-contents.html

M'ed 41 years
BD-Jan 2013
Legally separated Feb 2013
D'ed without my consent July 2015
H M'ed OW Sept 2015

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Quote
Some days you might consider the snort of laughter you get from a self-pitying request for 20 year old Lasik records pretty good Karma for a life hit by a bomb.

Karma indeed. ;) Even after all this time, he thinks your world, somehow, still revolves around him. ::) I hope he felt really foolish and idiotic when you replied "No".

You really should be so proud of yourself for putting the pieces of yourself back together. You have recreated yourself into a truly formidable, yet compassionate person. You will, and do, survive what life throws at you. I am certain that the young nurses you won over really are impressed with your professionalism.
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trying2bok

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It has been one of those mild late fall/early winter days you really hope for so you can finish up the garden chores. As I cleaned out gutters & trimmed back dead plants I marveled at the cloudless blue sky.

Somewhere along after BD, maybe during that winter, or maybe into the spring I thought I couldn’t bear to see, I looked up to see an exquisitely blue sky without a cloud in sight. Impossible, I thought, to see something so beautiful when I felt so dreadful myself. Every time after that, when I would go out & see a sky without clouds, I would think, Oh, another impossibly blue sky. And each time, it would heal my heart, just tiny bit by tiny bit. Healing is not a destination; it is an ongoing project. I expect to be working on this project the rest of my life. And I am so grateful for everyone & everything that has helped along the way.

I can hardly bear to read newbies’ stories; they just keep coming. I still can’t get that close to their pain. But if any newbies’ read this I want you to feel hope.
 
I was always a bit confused by the concept of Mirror Work. I wasn’t/am not perfect. My M wasn’t perfect. But what was I supposed to be improving when I couldn’t sleep more than 2 hours at a time, threw perfectly good food in the trash because I couldn’t stand the sight of it, & paced my house at night howling & clutching the stomach that felt like it had been gut-punched?

The Work we have to do is look at ourselves in the Mirror & say “There is no easy way out of this, no shortcuts. You have to march right through this fire of pain & despair.” Get any help you can find, anywhere. But do not think the crutches of alcohol, illicit drugs, or random new romances will help you.

Your MLCer can be of absolutely no help. Stand for your marriage if you like & do no further damage, but this is all up to you now. Navigate contact/no contact, whatever your situation requires, but this is about saving you now. Saving your marriage is only a distant glimmer of possibility. Save your own self first. Find your impossibly blue skies.
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The Journey from Abandonment to Healing, Susan Anderson
Healing the Shame that Binds You, John Bradshaw
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https://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/chapter-contents.html

M'ed 41 years
BD-Jan 2013
Legally separated Feb 2013
D'ed without my consent July 2015
H M'ed OW Sept 2015

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Your post is as breathtaking as your impossible blue sky.
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me 59, H 55
S17, S13 & S13
M 1/98

7/16 - BD - PA - OW
No legal action. Reconnected.
Done, with compassion.

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What an impossibly beautiful post HT. The advice to the Newbies is spot on. And yes, our healing will be a life's work. The good part is that we are working it.
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trying2bok

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Thank you for your comforting words
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BD End of April 2017
Moved out - kind of, May 2017
Denied affair
Cycled hard April - Oct 2017, my son figured out affair, I confronted husband, we were going away as a family for the weekend - H monsters hard and files for a D end of Oct, 2017
D final Sept 2018
Many touch and goes
He lives in monster, kids haven’t been with him overnight since Jan 2019
Moved in with MOW, a former friend of mine, May 2019

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Quote
I was always a bit confused by the concept of Mirror Work. I wasn’t/am not perfect. My M wasn’t perfect. But what was I supposed to be improving when I couldn’t sleep more than 2 hours at a time, threw perfectly good food in the trash because I couldn’t stand the sight of it, & paced my house at night howling & clutching the stomach that felt like it had been gut-punched?

Great description of the nightmare we go through.

I see that the mirror work comes later as we rise from the ashes of our burnt-to-the-ground marriage, ideas of the future, and identity. In learning about MLC, we learn that some of our tendencies to "help" are really about control, how we react when we could respond, how our inner hurt child lashes out at perceived injuries instead of developing into an adult, how our thoughts control our emotions, how we have a choice to jump off the victim triangle.....

This is the mirror work that for me happens--and is a continued journey--only after the pure survival mode of post-BD lifted and I became a human being again.
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« Last Edit: December 07, 2019, 12:08:08 AM by Reinventing »

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Hello,

Quote
E-mail received today, something like “I’m going to need cataract surgery (because I’m an old f@rt & actually had an elder-crisis). I need records from previous eye surgery I had (about 20 years ago) & my drs no longer have them. Do you have any records of it?”

This is a gem. I would have responded, "Oh, yes. I transferred all of your important documents to the Etch a Sketch. Let me check, oops. They are gone."

Quote
Stand for your marriage if you like & do no further damage, but this is all up to you now. Navigate contact/no contact, whatever your situation requires, but this is about saving you now. Saving your marriage is only a distant glimmer of possibility. Save your own self first. Find your impossibly blue skies.

Great words and advice. I used to believe that saving my marriage was the only success. Now I realized that I saved myself and my children. I did find my impossibly blue skies. It can really happen.

(((Hugs))) and more (((Hugs)))

Ready

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"Always look in the mirror and love what you see."

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The seventh anniversary of BD has come & gone with little fanfare. Oh, the time building up to it & the build-up to the holidays still has its melancholy. Winter is dark & dreary here & the memories of Christmas past intrude, especially the last one, three weeks before BD, when we were completely clueless (except for H, of course, who was plotting his escape).

So, seven years, the far side of the 2-7 year time frame MLC has been said to last. Counted from BD, not from H’s long-ago obsession with buying a motorboat (that I was to pilot, Yikes!) so that he could once again take up his teenage try at water-skiing again at age 55. Not counted from the five years before BD H said he had been “seeing” the OW. How long an EA, telling her of his “unhappiness in his M”? How long a PA? I didn’t ask. But they had become so “emotionally close”, had been “falling in love” & “wanting to be together” for 2 years or so. Whatever. All very crazy & unbelievable.

For two years, through the shocked & crazy world of the LBS, I believed he would come home. He let the separation agreement stand for two years while I said I was “making decisions” & he said I would have time to “re-establish myself”. When I said I didn’t want a D, he sent the court papers through the mail with no warning. When the D was final, he M’ed the OW within 2 weeks.
 
That, at least, was a clear wake-up call. For two years I had been hoping, but also preparing. Preparing to move, preparing to sell my beloved home, preparing to re-enter a long-dormant profession, preparing to live the rest of my life without my friend, companion, lover, husband of 40 years. And that’s what I did, moved 200 miles, sold the home in the woods I had designed, worked again as a nurse, & will live the rest of my life without the man I have loved since I was 18 & the last man on earth I would have expected to have hurt me like this.
 
Once you’ve been on HS for any length of time, you begin to see that, yes, there are returns. RCR’s own inspiring story. Others, some very slow & sloggy returns. But the number seven holds no magic. Most of the MLCers still seem to be lost in space five, seven, ten years or more. Clinging & boomeranging in puzzling & hurtful ways. Or, vanishing into new lives with their long-time infidelity partner who may now be their legally & socially acknowledged spouse.

I have a good life & I am very grateful for that. But my heart & soul remain damaged & I try (but don’t always succeed at) not returning to “trying to figure things out”. That way be dragons—no answers, no logic, no solution, & no peace at all.

Make the best of your life & live it as joyfully as you can. That is all there is.
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Healing the Shame that Binds You, John Bradshaw
The Addictive Personality, Craig Nakken
https://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/chapter-contents.html

M'ed 41 years
BD-Jan 2013
Legally separated Feb 2013
D'ed without my consent July 2015
H M'ed OW Sept 2015

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There is no "magic" number.

This:

Quote
But my heart & soul remain damaged


How could it not be? The life and love we shared was real...for 35 years it was totally real..and I am grateful for those 35 years but not grateful for what this did to me and continues to this day.

Thanks HeartTattoo for acknowledging. How I so often wished that we all lived close by to one another, because unless you have been here, it is hard for anyone to understand..why the love doesn't fade away, why you could still be affected by this loss.

But we survive don't we? And life unfolds and there is beauty and smiles to be had.

And, truly we do not know what lies ahead...it could be something incredible...however, living for today, counting the many blessings I have is what is really important.

Glad to hear things are well for you.
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"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see" Hebrews 11:1

"You enrich my life and are a source of joy and consolation to me. But if I lose you, I will not, I must not spend the rest of my life in unhappiness."

" The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it". Flannery O'Connor

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HT, I am sorry he revealed so much to you. I am sorry you had to listen to it. To have a bucket of cold water thrown at you.

I am glad that my xH kept all of his MLC nonsense to himself. I didn't need to listen to all that BS he would use to damage me and my heart. What happened hurt plenty. And, for a while, I wanted to hear exactly what sent him off the rails. But what good would it do me? I just hit the 9 year mark. He has never looked back, and he wanted no part in talking to me. I used to wish I had some clue into his mind, but now I am glad I don't have to hear his lies and history rewrites in my mind. I am done speculating on them. I don't care.

Quote
And, truly we do not know what lies ahead...it could be something incredible...however, living for today, counting the many blessings I have is what is really important.

The quote from XYZ says it perfectly. We truly don't know what lies ahead. I, for one, am open for the gift of it.
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trying2bok

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Thanks for following along, Learning & XYZ. I think it helps to get some of this stuff down on “paper” & out of my head. Not that it’s ever completely gone. It’s funny how it goes up & down still, from teary sadness to chuckles at the absurdity.

HT, I am sorry he revealed so much to you. I am sorry you had to listen to it.
Learning, I begged for these bits of explanation, because this was all so sudden & I couldn’t comprehend any of it. Not that any of his “explanations” really helped because it still made no sense. Don’t people that are “unhappy in their M” talk about that with their partner? Don’t they try to work it out with their spouse? They don’t just pretend everything is fine & then one morning tell their partner they are so desperately “unhappy” that they are leaving (10 minutes later) to move it with an OW, do they? Well, yes, we finally accept, in MLC they do.

The life and love we shared was real...for 35 years it was totally real..and I am grateful for those 35 years but not grateful for what this did to me and continues to this day.
Thanks HeartTattoo for acknowledging....because unless you have been here, it is hard for anyone to understand..why the love doesn't fade away, why you could still be affected by this loss.
XYZ, I think you & I are similar in our feelings about our M’s. There are big situational differences—yours a Clinger at times, mine a Vanisher. You a Covenant-Keeper, me moving on from what I see as a destroyed Covenant.
 
But we both deeply grieve (still) the loss of our very long M’s. While I look back & recognize the damages FOO issues inflicted on my H & our M, I still don’t believe I am in any way better off without him. I am a different person now, but not a better person. I have not “blossomed”. I just pulled up the strength that was inside me (with a lot of loving help) & built a new life. It is a good life, but not a better life than I would have expected to have had with my H. And in many ways it is not as good a life.

I feel great sadness at the brokenness of my family, especially for my sons, especially at holiday times, especially when I see older couples contentedly together.

There have been bright silver linings, but they are still the linings of one h#ll of a big dark cloud. One I wish would have passed me by.

Hugs to All,
HT




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https://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/chapter-contents.html

M'ed 41 years
BD-Jan 2013
Legally separated Feb 2013
D'ed without my consent July 2015
H M'ed OW Sept 2015

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The only thing I will add HeartTattoo, that someday life will take a turn and the fun and excitement that once was will return...I don't know in what way for the years seem to stretch out without much to anticipate or look forward to.

I don't know what it will be, I just think that there is still time to feel fully alive again.

I have to believe that for the "emptiness" still causes great sadness and fatigue.
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"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see" Hebrews 11:1

"You enrich my life and are a source of joy and consolation to me. But if I lose you, I will not, I must not spend the rest of my life in unhappiness."

" The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it". Flannery O'Connor

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...someday life will take a turn and the fun and excitement that once was will return...I don't know in what way for the years seem to stretch out without much to anticipate or look forward to....there is still time to feel fully alive again.

I just don't think this way. Maybe I'm a pessimist at heart, although I consider myself more of a realist. Maybe I just don't have the imagination to anticipate what exciting & wonderful thing could possibly happen at this point in my life.

I try, & for the most part, succeed, to feel joy at the simple things of life--seeing the woodpecker get the suet instead of the pesky starlings, spotting the beautiful albino squirrel that nests nearby, my spring flowers, my hobbies, & the new hobby I am contemplating.

Would it be wonderful if my H wanted to renew a R with me? First of all, I don't have a shred of confidence that that will ever happen. But allowing for the possibility, maybe it could eventually be wonderful, but I believe that first it would be extremely difficult & painful (as most LBSs with returned MLCers describe).

Some wonderful things I contemplate would show me to be a not-very-nice person--if I heard somehow that H is desperately unhappy with his life & his choices (but, alas, feels trapped), that H/OW retire to their dream beach house (I'm making this all up) & it is flooded &/or blown away by climate change effects, that H's old age leaves OW a frustrated caregiver watching their (his) savings dribble away. You get the drift; my imagination works pretty good here & not in a good way.

I don't know, XYZ, I believe I have a good life with simple joys & that there really isn't anything that will ever erase the still aching scar that was inflicted upon my heart. I can't imagine what could possibly make that scar disappear.

Hugs,
HT
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https://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/chapter-contents.html

M'ed 41 years
BD-Jan 2013
Legally separated Feb 2013
D'ed without my consent July 2015
H M'ed OW Sept 2015

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I never had a “knowing” like RCR, that her H would return to their M. But, for a very long time, I thought my H would return. Surely after the two year minimum for MLC to run its course, based on the now-rather-disputed two to seven year time span for MLC. Seven years would be unimaginable.

But at the two year mark he was pushing for the D I did not want. And two years and eight months later, two weeks after our D was final, he M’ed the OW. Then my “knowing” was that I better get on with the purging & packing I’d already begun. Get serious about moving & getting a real job. My “knowing” was that I was not going to sit in “our” house feeling lonely & rejected & waiting for something I was becoming increasingly sure would never happen.

Now, at the seven year post-BD mark, I have an inkling of another kind of “knowing”. A tickle in the back of the mind. A curiosity. An occasional what-if game. I just don’t think the story is over. It’s not a need for the story to continue, it’s more a coming-to-the-end-of-the-book kind of curiosity.

I had occasion a month ago to glimpse my Vanisher MLCer, my first sighting since our D court hearing, and oddly enough it occurred in the very same courthouse. We were both testifying in the property line dispute raised by our former neighbors when I put our marital home up for sale. The new owner’s lawyer, while prepping me, mentioned my H would also be testifying, & saying he knew there was some “sensitivity” there, had arranged the order of our appearances so it was possible that we would not cross paths.

I know many LBSs have quite a lot of contact with their MLCers for one reason or another. It even seems to be encouraged. Be “friendly & breezy”. I’ve done that when I had to—when our son was M’ed 18 months post-BD & then making absolutely inane small talk when we took the elevator together at D court.

But, in reality, the thought of interacting with my H causes my heart to stop. I don’t feel “friendly & breezy”. I still feel betrayed, devastated, heart-broken. Oh, I have moved forward in my life in every regard; I knew I had to. But I will never believe that “this was all for the best” or that “what I’ve learned about myself was worth it”. No, my H’s actions were nothing but a tragedy that destroyed a long, faithful M & two sons’ trust in their father & in their own understanding of what M is about.

The No Contact plans seemed to be working, but Nature called & I had to leave my little closed-door room. I made it around the corner to the bathroom with no sighting. But on my return I passed another witness room with the door wide open & there was my H, standing with his back turned to the door (what a weird haircut he has, I thought). I slipped by—Success, & ultimately left the courthouse with no further contact.

But my “inkling”, my “tickle” is this. With his door open did he want an “accidental” encounter? Was his ridiculous inquiry last year about 20 year old medical records some sort of a reaching out? And, I don’t mean that these were necessarily calculated actions, but unconscious ones. Will he someday consciously reach out “Can’t we be friends after all this time?” Well, the answer to that question would depend on some pretty stringent boundaries, but that’s a story for another day.
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https://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/chapter-contents.html

M'ed 41 years
BD-Jan 2013
Legally separated Feb 2013
D'ed without my consent July 2015
H M'ed OW Sept 2015

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But, in reality, the thought of interacting with my H causes my heart to stop. I don’t feel “friendly & breezy”. I still feel betrayed, devastated, heart-broken. Oh, I have moved forward in my life in every regard; I knew I had to. But I will never believe that “this was all for the best” or that “what I’ve learned about myself was worth it”. No, my H’s actions were nothing but a tragedy that destroyed a long, faithful M & two sons’ trust in their father & in their own understanding of what M is about.


Your thoughts shared in the above paragraph most certainly echo my own, HT. 

I'm a few years behind you on a timeline (just started in year 5 since BD) and I do know there will be some events in the near future where I'll be in the same venue as the MLCer and the OWifey. 

I hope the property line dispute is a settled, done deal. 
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BD: 1/1/16
Together 15 years - married 7 years
His divorce final 7/26/16
Married the OW

After all, tomorrow is another day.

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stillbaffled,

I'm sorry you're going to have to see/interact with your H & OWifey (I like how you did that!) We shouldn't have to bear that. I, quite luckily never had to see my H & the OW together. I only actually had to lay eyes on the OW one time while shopping. It was about one year post-BD & while I was doing much better by that point, I know I was still crazy because I actually considered confronting her in the store & making some kind of scene (so not like me in my normal self), but I was still enough of myself that I didn't do that. I just followed her for awhile (still a little crazy) & then realized how stupid even that was--How does that change anything?

I've even worked out how I would respond if I ever encountered H & OW by accident & he moved like to make introductions. The more polite version is "Oh, wait. I've got to be somewhere else" & walk off. The less polite version is to saying glaringly "Wait. We're not doing this" & walk off. The H I will acknowledge & interact with if necessary. But, the OW will never get my acknowledgement. I have a long & loving history with my H. OW is nothing to me & I owe her nothing. Not politeness. Not acknowledgement. I'm not saying that's the right way to do things & some would say this shows I've not evolved enough (done enough mirror-work, moved on enough). I say the woman who aided & assisted my H in knowingly destroying my M & my family deserves less than nothing from me.

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https://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/chapter-contents.html

M'ed 41 years
BD-Jan 2013
Legally separated Feb 2013
D'ed without my consent July 2015
H M'ed OW Sept 2015

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I read your post yesterday, heart tattoo, and I had no words. I felt everything you wrote and I am 3.5 years in. I think I will feel the same way you do even at 7 years. I don't think there will ever be an end to the pain and betrayal. I think we just learn to live with it.

I have often wondered how I would react when faced with the inevitable meeting of ow. So far I have been lucky and my xh has not had the gall to bring her to any of d17's events which actually surprised me. I guess that shows some sort of respect on his part or maybe she doesn't go because she knows my daughters cannot stand her. Either way, I do not believe that I would react or respond with grace. I think I would take the less polite version that you mentioned. Ow does not deserve acknowledgment, good or bad.
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Heart, I'm almost 6 years in and feel just like you about the whole thing: "I believe I have a good life with simple joys & that there really isn't anything that will ever erase the still aching scar that was inflicted upon my heart. I can't imagine what could possibly make that scar disappear."

I have said it before somewhere, maybe on my own thread, I would rather have still been married to my H in an imperfect marriage, than have done my mirror work and discovered myself. This whole disaster has not been worth it to me. I envy those who do come away from this stronger and happy to be leaving behind someone who treated them with such little respect. I wish I could be them but it doesn't seem to be happening to me. I am trying to accept this, too. Luckily I have kids and can be grateful for them.
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Married 1989, together since 1984 
BD May 2014,
D26, D23, S16
OW Physical Affair same one. He and she said she turned 34 the month of BD. She turned 52 this year.

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It's funny, my answer to "Can't we be friends after all these years" would be "No". My friends don't treat me like he treated me.

People always say "It's better to have loved and lost..." I disagree. If I'd never loved, I'd be happy in my ignorance. Was the juice worth the squeeze? That depends. If I'd known my juice would end up sour and not be enough, maybe I'd have chosen differently. (Maybe not, I have kids I love beyond measure).

The scars remain. No matter who you are. But they are only a part of us, they do not have to define us unless we let them. I will never trust like I did before, but is that a bad thing?  I don't think "Wow, how great that it took being betrayed to realize I trust too much" (that would just be freakish) but I do accept that this SUCKED big time, so I'll take any tiny amount of something I can use from it.

In my world, I still win even with scars. I have honor, integrity, loyalty.  XH renounced his. Am I "glad" or "grateful" I got these "lessons"? That's just silly. Who would rather have had a decent, non screwed up human being as a spouse from the get go, raise your hand?
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Who would rather have had a decent, non screwed up human being as a spouse from the get go, raise your hand?

Laughed out loud over coffee reading this  :) :) :)

I suspect that making some peace with these questions is an issue for all of us, HT.
And of course the reality is that we can't go back and change those big decisions. And at the time we made them based on what we knew and saw then didn't we?
I enjoyed my relationship with my h. I've never been able to regret that as a life experience. But it is also true that in many ways marrying my h turned out to be a terrible mistake, the worst mistake I have made in my life. And, even with a tough eye, I simply could not have conceived at the time that my h would become what he did or do what he did do. No one who knew him for years could have foreseen it.......how could I?

I think the trickiest bit about the idea of Post-Traumatic Growth as a concept is that it gets a bit chicken and egg.
How do we separate the Growth bits (good) from the Trauma (bad)? Or feel that the Growth stuff is big enough to counterbalance the horror of the Trauma which sometimes our brain wants to do maybe? And does linking the Growth good stuff minimise or devalue the reality of the Trauma? Or that we were forced to Grow in crisis and to survive rather than it being a more open choice by us? Or that we paid for what we have now somehow with the coin of Trauma so continually ask ourselves if it was 'worth' it, that 'juice worth the squeeze' thing as OR puts it?  :)

I remember about a year or so after BD, some well meaning person (idiot) saying to me that I would look back and see that God's plan would bring better things bc of my losses. One of the few times in my life I have wanted to punch someone in the face lol. I think IIRC I took a deep breath and replied icily that I had no idea what God thought I might need that was worth losing my father, mother, husband and home for.....but it would have to be pretty f**king unimaginably fantastic.....and then I walked away leaving them with their mouth open lol.

And I had a time when I hated people telling me I was so 'strong' or that I should be proud of being a 'survivor'. Yup, that made me want to punch people too  :)

Fwiw.....I think we have to separate the two things. Which takes a while. And part of that is about owning the Growth but not owning the Trauma. Whatever we have made after it, we made that, no matter how small or big. But the Trauma was something done to us, not by us (mostly). They are inherently different things imho. If I look at my life now, I have both Trauma residues (unchosen) and Growth goodies (chosen and usually hard-earned). That is my reality. I suspect that is how it is for most of us tbh.
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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.


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It's funny, my answer to "Can't we be friends after all these years" would be "No". My friends don't treat me like he treated me.
<...snip...>
 That's just silly. Who would rather have had a decent, non screwed up human being as a spouse from the get go, raise your hand?

My answer is the same as yours OR.. "No, I don't have friends who have treated me the way you have treated me.... No, we are not "friends." I am your ex-husband and the father of our children."

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Atomic BD - 13 Dec 2015
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Divorce final 30 August 2019
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I have said it before somewhere, maybe on my own thread, I would rather have still been married to my H in an imperfect marriage, than have done my mirror work and discovered myself. This whole disaster has not been worth it to me. I envy those who do come away from this stronger and happy to be leaving behind someone who treated them with such little respect. I wish I could be them but it doesn't seem to be happening to me. I am trying to accept this, too. Luckily I have kids and can be grateful for them.

Milly,

I really never understand very well the concept of Mirror Work. Sure, any single human has flaws that can be worked on. But at BD I had entered the year I would turn 60. I knew myself very well. We had been M'ed nearly 39 years. And yes, there was MLC & an affair I was completely unaware of. But I was a whole person. Our M was a team that had raised two sons, shared a profession, built a house, constructed a life. I had interests, he had interests, we had shared interests. I didn't need to "find myself".

My "work" after BD was recovering from what I consider a "nervous breakdown". My joke to people was that I never really understood what a "nervous breakdown" was, but I was pretty sure now that I had had one. Most of us lived this experience--mania, obsessive thoughts, panic, suicidal ideation, physical pain, inability to eat or sleep, sudden & drastic weight loss, etc.

My counselor gave me constant reassurance--your thoughts are normal; your feelings are normal; recovery will take as long as it takes; yes, this is grief; you are the sanest person I have had in this office; this is not on you, this is on him.

My work was to take care of myself--try to eat, try to sleep, seek support, & let myself slowly feel better. I don't think it is realistic to think we will get rid of our scars. Some LBSs I think have come to the conclusion that their M's were not healthy places for them even before BD. They seem to have put it all behind them--I'm a better person, I found myself, I've never been happier, I'm now with the love of my life, etc. Great! I'm happy for you. But that is not all of us. Some of us had very happy, if flawed, M's. Some of us had H's who were honest & honorable & faithful, who loved us before MLC grabbed them. I can't just tell myself "Well, his MLC & his infidelity & his abandonment were so disrespectful, that my goal is to wash my hands of him forever". It's not working that way for me & my counselor would say that's normal for you & you've developed skills to function in your new life.

We all have pain in life. I don't think the goal is to wash that pain out of our lives, but to learn from it if we can, recover from the initial shock of it, & go on living the best life that we can.

Hugs,
HT

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https://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/chapter-contents.html

M'ed 41 years
BD-Jan 2013
Legally separated Feb 2013
D'ed without my consent July 2015
H M'ed OW Sept 2015

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I would just like to say I agree HT and Milly

Although I do believe I’m a better person, more rounded, more grown up but I too would have rather none of this had happened! Maybe my marriage wasn’t perfect but I was happy and I felt safe and loved!

I’m lucky I have jobs I love, my children and a lovely home and I’m financially ok.

But my family is broken and I struggle to cope with the endless problems alone. I’m tired, feel old and long for the ‘rock’ that was my H!

I will never, ever understand why he threw his family, me and our home away for some strange, weird life! I can’t think of anything worse than being this age with no home to call my own, no security, no lifetime partner to love and care for me! A life of freedom (maybe) but he has to work damn hard, no pension, no home. His children don’t bother with him that much. He’s just turned 60 but he didn’t have the fabulous birthday that I enjoyed last year with all my children and granddaughter by the sea last year. Maybe he doesn’t care - I don’t even know!

But I do know I wouldn’t want an endless stream of women, starting new relationships and failing over and over. I just cannot see the attraction - maybe it’s exciting but it wouldn’t appeal to me. A lifetime spent with a special someone that you’ve got to know inside and out, grown with, laughed and cried with - had a family with is worth so much more than any floosy found online!

I can’t say I don’t have a good life now - I work hard, I have lots of friends and I’m mostly happy but that deep sadness and inner loneliness hasn’t left me!

Hugs

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Funny this came up right now.  I was talking about this to my Therapist - about my weaknesses etc. And she said something to the effect that  that I was a normal contented person in a happy, marriage with a successful family before all this happened.

And I remembered that I was.
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Totally agree with what you are saying. I did not need to remake myself, certainly by age 55 I knew very well who I was.

His crisis damaged me and caused me to lose several years of "life".

But we are resilient and I have found a good life, I feel happy, I feel blessed.

I also cannot understand why he doesn't want his family......I just came back from Antigua with my daughter and SIL, we had such an amazing week together and he could have been there but wasn't...yet, in the past when he has joined us, that has always ended poorly...so this time, the first in many years I was totally free to enjoy my time there.

It was an adult's only resort and I was the only single person, the couples mainly being my age and older...and for the first time in 10 years, I wasn't affected by that as I once used to me...yes, I sure would have liked him to be by my side.....but I am grateful to have had my daughter and her husband who is like a son to me...and we enjoyed every minute together.

I still don't like the rebuild me as much as the pre BD me....too much has been shattered, too much is vulnerable and there is a loss of my loved one that will never be satisfied.....and it took many many years to even feel this good but I don't think there was much more I could have done to get to the place I am today.
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Funny this came up right now.  I was talking about this to my Therapist - about my weaknesses etc. And she said something to the effect that  that I was a normal contented person in a happy, marriage with a successful family before all this happened.

And I remembered that I was.

This ^^^^^
It's important to remember this. That we weren't broken just bc our spouses broke.
Sometimes mirror work is just about how we survive and move forward from what happened the best we can.
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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.


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

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Nerissa, thanks for sharing what your therapist said. I think we might take on our mirror work as a means to fix ourselves, or improve ourselves with the hope it will make us perfect partners for the future. Then after we do our mirror work, which does make us feel good to a certain extent as we like this new really nice person, we find that our lives are not necessarily any happier. Then we reach a stage where we wonder 'Were we really that bad before?' Then after all the self criticizing, which is not good for us (it wastes years as xy says), we need to realize that we were good people before BD, too. We were really good people. Our spouses had something go wrong with them.
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Married 1989, together since 1984 
BD May 2014,
D26, D23, S16
OW Physical Affair same one. He and she said she turned 34 the month of BD. She turned 52 this year.

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I think we might take on our mirror work as a means to fix ourselves, or improve ourselves with the hope it will make us perfect partners for the future. Then after we do our mirror work, which does make us feel good to a certain extent as we like this new really nice person, we find that our lives are not necessarily any happier. Then we reach a stage where we wonder 'Were we really that bad before?' Then after all the self criticizing, which is not good for us (it wastes years as xy says), we need to realize that we were good people before BD, too. We were really good people. Our spouses had something go wrong with them.

I think the problem I've had with the concept of Mirror Work is that it implied to me that I needed fixing. As I've said, I didn't think I needed fixing. I knew who I was. I was a very good wife. I was a whole, healthy, well-functioning person. My counselor reinforced that.

I saw the first work I needed to do was Recovery. I was sick--emotionally, physically, mentally--all caused by the trauma of BD & its aftermath. Then starting up somewhere in the Recovery phase was the Getting a New Life phase which accelerated as my H pushed for a D & then M'ed the OW.

I saw this somewhere today & thought it kind of summed up for me what Mirror Work maybe was supposed to be for me.

Maybe you’re not healing
because you’re trying to be
who you were before the trauma.

That person doesn’t exist anymore.
There is a new person trying to be born.
Breathe life into that person.

Lynnette Duncan

New person, new life, the scars still remain. They affect that new life. Maybe those scars will fade more as physical ones do, but they won't go away. And they affect this new life in various ways. Maybe those ways are just different for all of us. Healing takes what it takes & it takes as long as it takes. And as long as we are doing generally healthy things, that is OK.

Hugs to All,
HT


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The Journey from Abandonment to Healing, Susan Anderson
Healing the Shame that Binds You, John Bradshaw
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https://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/chapter-contents.html

M'ed 41 years
BD-Jan 2013
Legally separated Feb 2013
D'ed without my consent July 2015
H M'ed OW Sept 2015

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I think that it might have been Treasur that said that mirror work was to look at one's life before and during the M, see what still fits, what has been discarded for the sake of the M and maybe trying them back on to see if they fit and then, discarding what doesn't.... Then, going out and looking at other things that maybe we haven't done but wanted to try and see if those things bring us joy...

Not so much a reinventing or reworking but a (re)discovery of things that bring us joy.... Because, just like kids who outgrow their toys, we too may outgrow some of the things we loved in the past and replace it with things that we love in the present...
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Me - 60, xW - 54
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S - 16, D - 12
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BD#1 - August 2015
Atomic BD - 13 Dec 2015
House sold & separated - Mar 2016
Divorce final 30 August 2019
Moved on in life

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What if you look in the mirror and like what you see? No fixing required. I'd like to think I do this every day, gauge if I was the person I wanted/intended to be, adjust what I need to, enjoy the rest.

There are days when I wasn't who I intended to be. If it was a one off, no big deal. But if it becomes a habit, maybe it DOES  need fixing.

HT, what was it about the concept of mirror work that made you think it implied you needed fixing? Perhaps just as likely, you could look at yourself and see that it WASN'T you that needed fixing, but someone else? Is it the concept? The way people describe it? Just your impression?
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Just a note that the concept of "mirror work" came originally from Louise Hay, who popularized the idea of actually looking into the mirror and saying loving things to ourselves. (Remember the SNL character Stuart Smalley and his mirror work?) She noted that children are happy to see themselves and react with glee, while adults have tended to build up the opposite reaction over time.

So, it was originally a practice of self-affirmation.

Here, we've expanded it to the idea of "working on" ourselves, but that doesn't have to mean we need fixing or that we should be critical. To me, it's more like, how can I become the best person I can be? I can acknowledge where I could benefit from improvement without beating myself up about not being everything I "should" be (yet/ever).
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Hello,

Quote
Here, we've expanded it to the idea of "working on" ourselves, but that doesn't have to mean we need fixing or that we should be critical. To me, it's more like, how can I become the best person I can be?

From my perspective, mirror work was a time to heal from BD. The life you understood and the role you had in an intact relationship and family were gone. The first steps of mirror work were just getting off the mat and to start living again. To see what priorities needed to be taken care of and above all, not to hope or depend on the MLCer to help or even be bothered by you.

The next stage is what is defined by Covey in Seven Habits of Effective People is the notion of "sharpening the saw"  This is where the self healing and nurturing of self plays a role. It is about bringing back a balance to your life and self-renewal. Not a criticism of self, but a focus on self as the MLCer goes through the tunnel. As people, parents, and spouses, we should always be about getting better. Not from a flawed aspect, but a need to polish aspect.

Mirror work is not about holding yourself responsible for the loss of the marriage- if you want to hear that, just talk to your MLCer, they have a knack for letting you know everything that is wrong with you. Instead, it is about exploring and doing things differently. I started to cook and actually taught myself a few things on how to repair a car and complete home repairs on my own.

I also learned how to check myself and not react but to respond to situations. That was my mirror work.

Quote
So, it was originally a practice of self-affirmation.


And now this is where I am at and I really like this statement!

(((Ready)))

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Two, maybe three months ago I was going through a little resurgence of emotion surrounding my MLCer & the loss of my former life, over seven years now post-BD. The MLCer regularly turned up in my dreams & I shed a tear or two here & there.

The last month or so though, I feel more removed from it all. It is a part of my life that is receding further & further in the rearview mirror. I do still think of my H every single day & review various memories of that past life. Some are pleasant; on the whole I would judge our M to have been quite good until MLC hit. But in contrast to the immediate BD period, when I think I idealized many of my H’s qualities, I now more often think of the times he disappointed me with his self-centeredness & his over-prioritizing his needs over the needs of our family.

When I logged on to HS today, I went to my profile to update H’s age by a year & came to the My Status buttons. Even after the D, even after his M to the OW, even when I started a new R, I kept the “I Don’t Know” button clicked. Today I hit the “Done” button.  It’s not that yesterday I wasn’t “Done” & today I am. Although I held out great hopes for the recovery of my M, I knew it was “Done” when he demanded the D & M’ed the OW. I knew I was at a new level of “Done” when I entered a fairly committed new R, which is now four years along.

As we all know by now, Recovery lurches along day by day, a little forward, a little back, sometimes a lot back & sometimes a leap forward. No such leaps or lurches here, just a growing acceptance that any R I had with my H is dead. He is a vanisher, but as long as he is with the OW, I will not reach out in friendliness nor respond to any effort for “friendliness” on his part. We very rarely have some tidbit of business to take care of in a straightforward fashion, but even those occasions are waning.

If he ever separates from the OW, which I have no reason to believe he will, I would want us to try to be friends. I hate more than anything that our family is awkwardly & painfully shattered. I would welcome an opportunity to attempt a bridge over that divide.

Some would advise I ignore the OW & attempt some healing of my family despite her. But she is my albatross. I am unable (unwilling?) to give her existence any acknowledgement. And my H, because of his association with her, is also tainted. He only exists now as an emblem of pain & betrayal. Fortunately, as time flows along, that pain no longer hits me in the gut, constricts my heart in my chest, or sends my brain into flights of obsessive thoughts. It is the pain of a scar which no longer hurts, except when the weather changes & I have to acknowledge the existence of my H in this world M’ed to another woman.
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https://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/chapter-contents.html

M'ed 41 years
BD-Jan 2013
Legally separated Feb 2013
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H M'ed OW Sept 2015

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Some would advise I ignore the OW & attempt some healing of my family despite her. But she is my albatross. I am unable (unwilling?) to give her existence any acknowledgement. And my H, because of his association with her, is also tainted. He only exists now as an emblem of pain & betrayal. Fortunately, as time flows along, that pain no longer hits me in the gut, constricts my heart in my chest, or sends my brain into flights of obsessive thoughts. It is the pain of a scar which no longer hurts, except when the weather changes & I have to acknowledge the existence of my H in this world M’ed to another woman.'


Good to hear from you HT. 

I won't be one of those advising you to ignore the ow and make all friendly with your ex. 

Your words above seem to express my feelings as well. 

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His divorce final 7/26/16
Married the OW

After all, tomorrow is another day.

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Good to hear from you HT. 

I won't be one of those advising you to ignore the ow and make all friendly with your ex. 

Your words above seem to express my feelings as well.

Yep.... I have to be polite for the sake of the kids but other than that, why would I want to be "friends" with someone who would treat me in that fashion?
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Me - 60, xW - 54
Together 19 years - Married 17 at separation & 21 at D-Day
S - 16, D - 12
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BD#1 - August 2015
Atomic BD - 13 Dec 2015
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Divorce final 30 August 2019
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Nice to hear your update HT. Six years from BD for me and I would say you reflect my feelings, too.
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Married 1989, together since 1984 
BD May 2014,
D26, D23, S16
OW Physical Affair same one. He and she said she turned 34 the month of BD. She turned 52 this year.

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Thanks for following along & validating my feelings. I sometimes feel that the MLC chapter should just be filed away somewhere never to intrude on my current life. I've certainly been moving along, but I don't think I will ever "get over this" like my H hoped I would (in short order) or that some friends advised.

Certainly lots of couples split up, separate, D, at every stage of coupling. But as HS confirms for us, we are in a "special" club. No one, even if they have had a break-up in their past, can comprehend the enormity of a MLC BD & abandonment. You are just going along with life, with your life partner, with life's usual bumps, & then a tsunami hits, washes away your life & all you believed about your life.

No one gets to tell us how to "get over this", but I judge myself sometimes. Am I holding onto resentment? Am I holding myself back from complete healing? I've quit asking all those unanswerable questions like Why? & How?, so I guess I have to ask new ones, maybe just as unanswerable.

Hugs,
HT
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Healing the Shame that Binds You, John Bradshaw
The Addictive Personality, Craig Nakken
https://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/chapter-contents.html

M'ed 41 years
BD-Jan 2013
Legally separated Feb 2013
D'ed without my consent July 2015
H M'ed OW Sept 2015

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No we do not "get over this".

I have a friend whose 19 year old son committed suicide 20 years ago, she will never get over that either.

Things that are this traumatic, lead to permanent scars, wounds that heal but leave a reminder that fades but still causes us some problems. The innocence is over.

11 years next week since BD. I am back seeing my therapist and she wrote this to me this week:

Quote
I think you are doing a phenomenal job navigating this horrific life trauma you've had to experience.  It's beyond hard right now, and I continue to see you rise to the top of all the sh*t again and again.  Your resilience is remarkable and has built to the size of Canada by now, to be sure.

She made me smile. What helps me is when I look back to the shell of who I was, the curl up in a ball and not move, the tears which flowed all the time...that woman is not who I am now.

Some days still hit me hard, some memories still make me ask..how did this happen to us??

I think the reason I still come to HS is because here and with a few really good friends, I can see that this isn't just me who continues to be affected by his rejection/desertion/abandonment/betrayal......and I allow myself to say, it's ok..I am doing the best I can.

Sorry HT that this is like the "gift" that never stops giving or the nightmare that never truly ends.  :'(
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Quote
the enormity of a MLC BD & abandonment. You are just going along with life, with your life partner, with life's usual bumps, & then a tsunami hits, washes away your life & all you believed about your life.

This ^^^
And imho it is ok to feel just how you feel, HT. Tbh seeing them as something toxic to be repelled by is also something that keeps us away from things and people that might harm us and don't serve us, doesn't it?
As xyz says...it's ok if we know we are doing the best that we can to adapt to the reality that this awful thing happened, we survived it and we do our best to build a different life after it.
And that might include accepting that some things are unforgivable to us.
And that it was life altering and some bits of residue from it may never entirely 'go away'.
Good enough imho is good enough  :)
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« Last Edit: July 07, 2020, 04:34:01 PM 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.


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

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11 years next week since BD. I am back seeing my therapist and she wrote this to me this week:
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I think you are doing a phenomenal job navigating this horrific life trauma you've had to experience.  It's beyond hard right now, and I continue to see you rise to the top of all the sh*t again and again.  Your resilience is remarkable and has built to the size of Canada by now, to be sure.
Eleven years, XYZ! Yes, you are doing an amazing job dealing with the many phases of interaction/non-interaction with your H. Reassuring us that WE are not the crazy one is, I think, the best thing our therapists give us. Sitting there manic, crying, not eating or sleeping, fighting intrusive obsessive thoughts, mine kept saying "Of course you feel this way...this is loss, this is grieving...this isn't on you...you are the most normal person I've seen in this office..."
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I think the reason I still come to HS is because here and with a few really good friends, I can see that this isn't just me who continues to be affected by his rejection/desertion/abandonment/betrayal......and I allow myself to say, it's ok..I am doing the best I can.
We come so far. We look back & see our progress. Now, am I a little stuck holding onto some of the pain? Or am I just accepting those scars that still ache sometimes, that I have to protect sometimes in ways that others don't understand? I don't wallow; I am beyond kind to myself & it is good to come here & see others still needing reassurance, still feeling the ache of the scars.

Tbh seeing them as something toxic to be repelled by is also something that keeps us away from things and people that might harm us and don't serve us, doesn't it?....And that might include accepting that some things are unforgivable to us.
And that it was life altering and some bits of residue from it may never entirely 'go away'.
Interesting, Treasur. H is toxic & the OW is a nuclear waste dump  ::) ;D And for me, staying away (not hard with a vanisher) is my way to deal with it. And, if I'm honest I haven't forgiven. I can make a grand statement of forgiveness--it's for me, not him, etc, etc. But that's not really what I believe. For true forgiveness, I would have to have some sort of R with him that involves his acknowledgement of his actions & their effects on his family, along with a big dollop of remorse.

Believing that will never happen, I don't see true forgiveness in the cards. And this may be why my therapist said, given how this all played out, I would never get closure--his owning up to his damaging actions with remorse, allowing then for an honest forgiveness on my part. That all sounds so healthy, but I don't see how that ever happens. It seems tough enough when reconciliations happen and truly impossible without.






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Detach and Survive: A Book of Self-Care for the Wives of Midlife Crisis Men
The Journey from Abandonment to Healing, Susan Anderson
Healing the Shame that Binds You, John Bradshaw
The Addictive Personality, Craig Nakken
https://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/chapter-contents.html

M'ed 41 years
BD-Jan 2013
Legally separated Feb 2013
D'ed without my consent July 2015
H M'ed OW Sept 2015

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you are the most normal person I've seen in this office...

 ;D
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"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see" Hebrews 11:1

"You enrich my life and are a source of joy and consolation to me. But if I lose you, I will not, I must not spend the rest of my life in unhappiness."

" The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it". Flannery O'Connor

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And for me, staying away (not hard with a vanisher) is my way to deal with it. And, if I'm honest I haven't forgiven. I can make a grand statement of forgiveness--it's for me, not him, etc, etc. But that's not really what I believe. For true forgiveness, I would have to have some sort of R with him that involves his acknowledgement of his actions & their effects on his family, along with a big dollop of remorse.

Believing that will never happen, I don't see true forgiveness in the cards. And this may be why my therapist said, given how this all played out, I would never get closure--his owning up to his damaging actions with remorse, allowing then for an honest forgiveness on my part. That all sounds so healthy, but I don't see how that ever happens. It seems tough enough when reconciliations happen and truly impossible without.


Pretty well sums up the way I feel about it as well, HT!  Very well said. 
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BD: 1/1/16
Together 15 years - married 7 years
His divorce final 7/26/16
Married the OW

After all, tomorrow is another day.

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It was eight years ago today that I awakened to my H, with his car packed, waiting to tell me he was “unhappy in our marriage” & that he was moving out. At my insistence, after a few minutes, he also told me he had been “seeing” someone else & would be living with her.

I don’t need to describe the effects of BD on any of you here; we tend to suffer in pretty much identical fashion. But M’s can vary. We had been M’ed very near 39 years at that point, high school sweethearts, neither of us had ever been unfaithful, we had weathered some bumps, but we had entered the empty nest phase with no money issues, no sex issues, no lack of attention issues.
 
But he had some sort of issue—he was so “unhappy in our M”, although he had never expressed this before & couldn’t articulate at this moment, or later, what this actually meant. He threw out a couple of feeble, nonsensical “reasons”, but didn’t monster & told me I was “a fine person”.

But, the main point here is eight years down the line: life moves along with or without your participation. I was old enough & wise enough to know I had to take care of myself even as I battled what I still call a “nervous breakdown”. For two years I balanced two opposite concepts in my mind & in my actions—my H would be coming home & my H is not coming home. I had sincere hope in the former, yet I knew I did not want to wake up years later having wasted my time waiting for something that I knew deep down was unlikely to happen.

I participated in my life, made the decisions I needed to make, & am very grateful for the life I now have. This is not a better life than I would have had with my H; how could I ever know that? This didn’t all happen for some reason (I don’t believe in a God that manipulates what happens in our lives for some grand scheme). I have “moved on”--it would be nearly unbearable to remain in the physical, mental, & emotional turmoil of post-BD. But I am not “over it”, nor will I ever be. Though some encouraged me with that notion, I knew that would never be the case.
 
I think of my H daily; I love him still though I have come to admit more completely his flaws. He is a vanisher; we interact rarely & in minimal fashion. I cannot fathom being casual “friends” while he is M’ed to the woman who helped him destroy our family. I can almost forgive him & understand, given his flaws, how he fell deeply into MLC—a tunnel so deep & twisted I doubt he will ever emerge. The alienator, though, I will never forgive. I have no understanding of her flaws, her motives, her excuses, & I do not wish to understand.

Though I nearly drove myself crazy trying to find the answers, trying to puzzle it out, thinking I could fix it if I only could understand, I came to accept that that was impossible. There is no answer; there is no solution to the puzzle; there is no fixing.
 
Bad things happen to us all; if we are lucky many more good things happen along the way. Life is not fair. One of those bad, unfair things may be that our spouse falls into a MLC. The one we love may find his love for us distorted by depression & delusions & an addiction to an amoral alienator. Such is life. I’ll take my joy where I can find it & I do find it. We must!
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Detach and Survive: A Book of Self-Care for the Wives of Midlife Crisis Men
The Journey from Abandonment to Healing, Susan Anderson
Healing the Shame that Binds You, John Bradshaw
The Addictive Personality, Craig Nakken
https://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/chapter-contents.html

M'ed 41 years
BD-Jan 2013
Legally separated Feb 2013
D'ed without my consent July 2015
H M'ed OW Sept 2015

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So glad to know you HT, though I wish it wasn't under these circumstances. You are so full of grace and strength and will always be an inspiration. Big hugs today.
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Thank you HT for your sincere honesty.   I am still at the beginning of my journey since BD in July.   Still living in the world of hoping my W comes out of the tunnel but starting to realize she may not.   Time to detach and focus on myself.  Wish you all the best.
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W - 42
M - 46
Together 19 years, M 17
2 kids
BD - July 2020
W Left Home - January 2021
W Filed for D - May 2021
D Final - Jan 2022

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Hi HT
I found myself nodding along to what you have just written.  I came across this the other day.
'7 Hurts That Never Heal and 3 ways to cope'.
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/when-kids-call-the-shots/202010/7-hurts-never-heal?utm_source=FacebookPost&utm_medium=FBPost&utm_campaign=FBPost&fbclid=IwAR3Q4cmeIvbUv52NLr-933Oyid1CtNE8vD6VfNhNQSDC0OnegFjRRnya1v8

1) Death of a loved one
2) Mental illness
3) Addiction
4) Chronic Illness
5) Betrayal
6) Permanent Injury
7) Trauma

Lucky us, MLC would have to tick 4-5 of those boxes. 

1) Turn your hurt into a mission
2) Share your pain
3) Keep growing

I think those of us that have found ourselves here are doing an amazing job of turning our lives around without our MLCers but agree, this will be a part of us for life.
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Hello, HT,

I was nodding along to everything you wrote as well -- this in particular jumped out at me:

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I balanced two opposite concepts in my mind & in my actions—my H would be coming home & my H is not coming home. I had sincere hope in the former, yet I knew I did not want to wake up years later having wasted my time waiting for something that I knew deep down was unlikely to happen.

I think I spent years in this two-track mode; not only balancing the two opposites that you describe, but also running the hurt part of me alongside the part that just got on with everything. 

I can completely relate to the article that Kikki posted (hi, Kikii, by the way); this, despite our best efforts, isn't something that is just going to go away.  Even though my life definitely isn't defined by it and I have turned things to so many positives. 

Perhaps that is why I am still here, reading, after a long time.  It's a way of acknowledging the hurt and the trauma without it taking over, maybe. 

Like you, I no longer have any interaction with my H, who I must call my former H -- even though he does cross my mind daily as well.  I can't fathom being casual "friends" either, even if we do have children (who he rarely interacts with), not under the current circumstances.  But I also know that change is possible, hence the two tracks...

Thank you for writing, I needed to see this today!
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k
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Perhaps that is why I am still here, reading, after a long time.  It's a way of acknowledging the hurt and the trauma without it taking over, maybe. 

Like you, I no longer have any interaction with my H, who I must call my former H -- even though he does cross my mind daily as well.  I can't fathom being casual "friends" either, even if we do have children (who he rarely interacts with), not under the current circumstances.  But I also know that change is possible, hence the two tracks...


Hi T&L :)
I think what you wrote above is exactly how I feel too.  There are few people in the world who understand this.  Other LBS always understand.
Communication with my former H is a couple of emails from him to me, per year.  I too, cannot be casual 'friends' either.
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M
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Good to hear an update from you, HT. I feel like you, too.
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Married 1989, together since 1984 
BD May 2014,
D26, D23, S16
OW Physical Affair same one. He and she said she turned 34 the month of BD. She turned 52 this year.

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Hi HT, Hi Kikki, Hi T&L,

If it was not Wednesday, I'd be thinking this is Throw-Back Thursday - monikers from the past popping up again...

I guess I am one of the ones that has chosen to leave the 2nd track in that it no longer is relevant to me whether xW comes out of the tunnel or not.... Like you both, "casual friends" is not in the cards (as much as she would like it to be) because I don't HAVE "friends" that treat me the way that she has treated me nor am I so desperate that I would accept that kind of treatment in the future.... but unlike you both, I have regular contact with xW due to our kids so maintain a casual "light and breezy while polite" approach to her...

Something that I saw on Nas' thread comes into play here - a bit of the "boiled frog" syndrome where we accommodate our Mid-Lifer's bit by bit and we don't see the forest for the tree we have our foreheads pressed against.... Once that tree has been burned down, we tend to wake up and realize that, yes, there is in fact, a forest... and that we are worth being part of that forest...

Like T&L wrote, I know that change IS possible but I am at a place where it wouldn't make a difference anymore... I have grown too in this mess.... As Medusa used to have in her Tagline "One does not make the trip to Hades and back without acquiring transferable skills."

Good to see your update HT!
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Me - 60, xW - 54
Together 19 years - Married 17 at separation & 21 at D-Day
S - 16, D - 12
1 Dog
BD#1 - August 2015
Atomic BD - 13 Dec 2015
House sold & separated - Mar 2016
Divorce final 30 August 2019
Moved on in life

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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.

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Hello,

Quote
Bad things happen to us all;

Yes, they do. However, when we realize that we can overcome and move forward, that is our healing, our recovery.

Quote
Though I nearly drove myself crazy trying to find the answers, trying to puzzle it out, thinking I could fix it if I only could understand, I came to accept that that was impossible. There is no answer; there is no solution to the puzzle; there is no fixing.

I struggled with this for years as well. I thought if I wait things out, detach from her rollercoaster, take care of the kids, and just be a great guy, everything would work itself out.  it didn't. I spent a lot of time wondering where I went wrong. It took a long time to realize it wasn't me. My ex threw away her marriage and tore our family apart and I really had nothing to do with any of it. it wasn't that I was the best or worst husband, it had nothing to do with me actions as a father, it had nothing to do with addiction or abuse. It wasn't about manipulation or control as my ex could basically do whatever she wanted. We had our fights and our issues, but in the end- non of it mattered. It wasn't me that mattered- it was her. Her crisis, her choices, and her troubled essence.

Your H's core makeup had a crack. Issues deeply buried probably long before he even knew you. Just like the Nashville Bomber, he blew his life up. Now the Nashville bomber subscribed to a theory that we have lizard people living amongst us and I guess he posted on some network that helped confirm his beliefs, that this dialogue cemented his mindset to take action and build the bombs. Your h had the same dialogue, but instead of communicating with others, it was the internal dialogue in his own mind that convinced him to take action.

Once again, nothing to do with you. Nothing for you to fix or correct. Not only something you can't explain, but he probably couldn't explain it either.

When I first joined the forum, I thought that this was the place where I could find the solution to fix my ex. I diagnosed her, I found a site for support, and now apply the right responses and voila, healed marriage. Case closed. In the end, I discovered the forum has some good ideas on how to handle the person in crisis, but it doesn't provide all the answers or has the solutions explained at the end of the book. While MLC bring us together and is the common denominator in our posts and discussions, the forum is really about the journey and recovery of the LBSer. With the forum, you may not save your marriage, but you can save you.

(((((Ready)))))




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Quote
With the forum, you may not save your marriage, but you can save you.
We don't want to hear this as newbies, but for almost all of us, this is the truth I think. That our marriage and spouse is broken irretrievably and that all we can do is survive the experience and rebuild our lives the best we can.
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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.


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

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That sure is a lot of processing HT.

Thank you for sharing it  :)

-SS
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W - 43
M - 46
Together 28 years, M 25
No kids
BD - 27th April 2019
Start of Shadow - Feb 2012

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I participated in my life, made the decisions I needed to make, & am very grateful for the life I now have. scheme). I have “moved on”--it would be nearly unbearable to remain in the physical, mental, & emotional turmoil of post-BD. But I am not “over it”, nor will I ever be.
 
Well, HT, I'm just beginning year 6 so a bit behind you on the timeline but you have done a marvelous job in summing up my feelings with the above statements. 

Bad things happen to us all; if we are lucky many more good things happen along the way. Life is not fair. One of those bad, unfair things may be that our spouse falls into a MLC. The one we love may find his love for us distorted by depression & delusions & an addiction to an amoral alienator. Such is life. I’ll take my joy where I can find it & I do find it. We must!

Again, written as though you could read my mind!

HT -- good to have an update from you.  Thanks for the share. 
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BD: 1/1/16
Together 15 years - married 7 years
His divorce final 7/26/16
Married the OW

After all, tomorrow is another day.

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I rarely return to the site, but thank you to all who replied to my anniversary of BD post in January. I guess it's become a ritual, lol.

This post documents my process on a recent e-mail from my H (actually X, but I never call him that unless it would cause confusion). He contacted me because our oldest son (38) does not respond to his calls or texts. He was hit very hard by his father's actions & has not concocted a way to be social & distant with his dad like my younger son has.

My son lives with me & has struggled for the last couple of years with a combination of depression, some drug use, & shady companions, including a toxic romantic relationship. Recently he has ended his relationship, & is stable enough to have gotten his job back. His dad asked me to "tell him I love him...and would love to see him".

I was traveling & took several days to think about & craft a reply:
"From the beginning I told the boys that you were still their father; that I did not want to be a barrier to their relationships with you. But broken hearts heal slowly & at their own rate.

I cannot convey messages from you for a couple of reasons. G is on a better path now, but he doesn’t need another “should” coming from me. I wouldn’t be telling him what to do, but just the message coming from me would imply that he “should” contact you. When he feels strong enough & ready to communicate with you, he will.

The other reason is more personal. I am no longer your advocate—it’s not part of my role anymore. Me transmitting your message implies that I think that is what G should do. It’s no longer my role to encourage his relationship with you. You’re on your own here. I can’t fix it for you."

Some of the notes I had jotted down edged toward blaming, the words "you reap what you sow" came to mind. I do feel sorry for my H; I reminded him years ago that he was giving up a lot. He just never processed what any of the consequences of his actions would be. As my counselor often reminded me, addicts will give up everything without a thought & to my counselor, his MLC R was a drug he was using to quell his "unhappiness".

My life is going well, but the past is not really past & I doubt it ever will be. H's rare contacts are no longer painful; mostly they are puzzling & cause me to review my boundaries with him & to come up with replies that are not unkind, but still hold him to account.
 
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Detach and Survive: A Book of Self-Care for the Wives of Midlife Crisis Men
The Journey from Abandonment to Healing, Susan Anderson
Healing the Shame that Binds You, John Bradshaw
The Addictive Personality, Craig Nakken
https://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/chapter-contents.html

M'ed 41 years
BD-Jan 2013
Legally separated Feb 2013
D'ed without my consent July 2015
H M'ed OW Sept 2015

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Big hugs, HT. Your response is beyond reasonable, in its own way very compassionate (not just to you and your son, but your H). It's what healthy people do - show integrity. Whether he'll be able to process it is of course another matter, but certainly there's good info imparted to him.
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Heart t-
Your response was utter perfection. It honestly could not of had more compassion and reasoning for your son and your XH. Those notes you jotted down still came through, but in a classy intelligent way. Your children are so lucky to have you as a parent and your XH lost a great soulmate due to his crisis.

I have had many conversations with my XH on keeping in touch with his kids. That the more distance the harder to close the gap. He was a great Dad until he wasn’t and the only things that keeps him away is his own shame. What a sad thing for these MCR’s. They lose more than their morals, integrity and families. They really lose the future that the family they created deserved as did they.

Thank you for sharing. I think these words from you will stick in me and I can see them coming out years from now if that sad day comes.
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There is almost something harder about someone being alive and having to lose what you believed to be true of them than someone actually dying.

Indefatigability - determined to do or achieve something; firmness of purpose
perspicacity- a clarity of vision or intellect which provides a deep understanding and insight

Married July 1991
Jan 2018 BD1 moved out I filed for Div/ H stopped it
Oct 2018 moved back
Oct 2020 BD2
Feb 2021 Div-29 1/2 years
July 2021 Married OW
Feb 2022  XH fired
May 2023 went NC after telling XH we could not be friends
Aug 2023 XH moves w/o OWife

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What a very honest, balanced and appropriate response that was, HT. And a great example imho of what putting the needs of our kids first looks like, of respecting them above being concerned about our ex/spouses feelings or wishes.
And how very strange, after so many years, that your xh should think it appropriate to ask you to relay any message at all to an adult child on his behalf. There is something almost infantile about an adult who hurts people so much yet expects to be loved and accepted regardless and without acting to acknowledge the hurt they caused.
Good news though that your son may be on the path to recovering from his own troubles and I hope that continues.
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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.


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

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Quote
I was traveling & took several days to think about & craft a reply:

This is what is so important to learn.

Crafted, detached and carefully worded responses are the way forward for any LBS.  My therapist once said, If it takes 3 days to write an important email or text then it takes 3 days.......

Your response, HT, was fab.

I am glad that your  younger S is back on his way to the S you knew.  I am there with my 24yr old S and it's a slow process.

I also see similarities in your older S's decisions.  Sadly I think that may end up being the same for my S and H even if H and I were to reconcile. It's hard to see and witness as a mother because  it's not what we hoped for when our children were born.
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BD march 2013
Stay at home MLCer
OW for 3.5 years - finishing Autumn 2016
Reconnection started 2017.
Separated 2022 (my choice because he wanted to live alone) and yet fully reconnected seeing each other often.

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What a beautifully crafted response -- I think it was exactly right.  I will remember that!

My young adult children as well don't really have a relationship with my former H; one son sees him occasionally but says that he isn't a father at all, but he still desperately wants his approval, and meets him every now and again hoping for something that isn't there.  He may be doing as you describe your younger son doing, concocting a way to be social and distant.  Time will tell if he keeps that up.  The other two just ignore, as far as I can tell.  It hurts my daughter in particular horribly.  It's sad. 

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My life is going well, but the past is not really past & I doubt it ever will be. H's rare contacts are no longer painful; mostly they are puzzling & cause me to review my boundaries with him & to come up with replies that are not unkind, but still hold him to account.

That resonated with me, particularly the bit about the past not being completely past.  I think having children means that some bit is always there. 

Lovely to hear from you, thank you for updating!
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He was a great Dad until he wasn’t and the only things that keeps him away is his own shame.
Same. And the greatest thing was his example of honesty & integrity. That is what has hurt & baffled our boys so much. Along with me they cannot fathom how this all happened. I have learned that MLC is a very powerful disorder & seems to override some people's sense of decency. I intellectually understand the process, but still have a hard time accepting it.

...how very strange, after so many years, that your xh should think it appropriate to ask you to relay any message at all to an adult child on his behalf. There is something almost infantile about an adult who hurts people so much yet expects to be loved and accepted regardless and without acting to acknowledge the hurt they caused.
It is strange, especially since we communicate so rarely. I believe that when he thinks about G it makes him feel bad & he doesn't want to feel bad--that's what his infidelity & the adoration of the OW "fixed" for him--the "bad" feelings of MLC. I wonder how that's going now  ::)  Now he wants me to "fix" this unhappiness of a son who shuns him.

He responded right away to my message & suprisingly didn't bristle at the truth darts I aimed his way. His response "Thank you for letting me know that he is on a better path. I'm sure even this morsel wasn't easy for you." I'm not sure what his second sentence meant. I have told him I cannot discuss G's situation with him because of my son's wishes, but he seems to imply that I have a need to withhold information from him. Not going to over-analyze it. I've learned that lesson. Nothing an MLCer says or does makes sense to a "normal" person.

Thanks for all of your replies & support throughout this crazy turn in our lives.
HT
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Detach and Survive: A Book of Self-Care for the Wives of Midlife Crisis Men
The Journey from Abandonment to Healing, Susan Anderson
Healing the Shame that Binds You, John Bradshaw
The Addictive Personality, Craig Nakken
https://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/chapter-contents.html

M'ed 41 years
BD-Jan 2013
Legally separated Feb 2013
D'ed without my consent July 2015
H M'ed OW Sept 2015

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Thanks for sharing your recent interactions HT.

It feels like his reply about the morsel being difficult implied about you both not communicating. Doesn’t seem like he understands why which is a shame.

Hope your S is doing ok now, you too.

Rose 🌹
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Married 15+ years with 2 children
BD1 - 2016
BD2 - 2017
BD3 - Sept 2019
MOW Mar 2016-Jan 2018
OW2 - Feb 2019, age 30
H left home Oct 2017 to stay with his parents
Bought a family Puppy mid 2018 - referred to as ‘P’

Link to advice by my mentor, Phoenix, on what to tell the children about H leaving - reply #33 (it had a glitch)
https://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=9313.30

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It feels like his reply about the morsel being difficult implied about you both not communicating. Doesn’t seem like he understands why which is a shame.

Thanks, Rose, for following along. I think your take on his comment is right. He seems to understand that communicating with him is difficult for me, but he never acknowledges why. For example, he has never said anything like "I know that I hurt & disappointed all of you, but I love our sons, etc, etc..."

He has always been a master at denial. Denial that his FOO's history might be affecting him. Denial that his drinking was a problem (it was my problem if I didn't like it). Denial that my reporting his drinking problem to his work was the right thing to do (professionally, legally, & personally). Over 20 years later & 20 years sober, he still brought up his resentment over that in our first post-BD counseling session.

This is why I don't think he will ever leave his MLC tunnel. Too much denial. His protection from daily shame, regret, accountability. He was already setting that stage in the first couple of weeks when he came to counseling--"This (infidelity & abandonment) happens all the time." Like it's in the air or water. Not that he made the choices to meet up with someone he met online, to continue to meet up with her for five years, to lie & deceive, & to ultimately drop his bomb & leave a nearly 39 yo marriage.

I am very grateful for where I am in life. I am grateful I no longer live with the physical, mental, & emotional suffering of the first couple of years. But I also accept that it is never "over". That's an unrealistic goal. I think of my H daily, he is often present in my dreams, I miss him, I miss our intact family.

I haven't followed the threads much in the last several years, but I hope, Rose, that you have found some peace & that you have a life that you can be grateful for.

Hugs,
HT
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Detach and Survive: A Book of Self-Care for the Wives of Midlife Crisis Men
The Journey from Abandonment to Healing, Susan Anderson
Healing the Shame that Binds You, John Bradshaw
The Addictive Personality, Craig Nakken
https://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/chapter-contents.html

M'ed 41 years
BD-Jan 2013
Legally separated Feb 2013
D'ed without my consent July 2015
H M'ed OW Sept 2015

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Hi, HT,

Just saying hi, nodding along with everything you say.  I, too, am very grateful that I'm no longer living with the pain and fear of the early years of this mess, but also accept that it really isn't ever "over".  As evidenced, among other things, by the fact that I still read here.  Avoidance and denial play a huge role with my former H as well.    And now my children have to continue to deal with it, which breaks my heart.

x

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De Nile - it's not just a river in Egypt....

xW2 also has a mile-wide river as well... Basically "Unless you catch me red-handed and have photographic evidence, it never happened.. You just imagined it..." ::)

Denial -

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« Last Edit: November 16, 2021, 12:38:10 AM by UrsaMajor »
Me - 60, xW - 54
Together 19 years - Married 17 at separation & 21 at D-Day
S - 16, D - 12
1 Dog
BD#1 - August 2015
Atomic BD - 13 Dec 2015
House sold & separated - Mar 2016
Divorce final 30 August 2019
Moved on in life

Survival Instructions for Newbies
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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.

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Quote
xW2 also has a mile-wide river as well... Basically "Unless you catch me red-handed and have photographic evidence, it never happened.. You just imagined it.
Lol, and sometimes even then they can look at the photographic evidence and say it isn’t real. It didn’t happen. That is a fact! The denial is insane!!!
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There is almost something harder about someone being alive and having to lose what you believed to be true of them than someone actually dying.

Indefatigability - determined to do or achieve something; firmness of purpose
perspicacity- a clarity of vision or intellect which provides a deep understanding and insight

Married July 1991
Jan 2018 BD1 moved out I filed for Div/ H stopped it
Oct 2018 moved back
Oct 2020 BD2
Feb 2021 Div-29 1/2 years
July 2021 Married OW
Feb 2022  XH fired
May 2023 went NC after telling XH we could not be friends
Aug 2023 XH moves w/o OWife

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Thanks Heart. Yes I have peace now, actually my thread is called ‘peace’. Over 5 years since BD and my H is good at denial too. I also think of him daily and miss our intact family. 

I do hope your H can get back to the great Dad he was. I was thinking the same about my H only today. From ‘Dad of the Year’ to ‘Not seen Dad this year’. That’s why I think of him daily, I just wish there was a way of making sense of it all and there’s not.

Be kind to yourself - a 39 year marriage is not something you drop like he has. Well done for getting so far through it so well.

Rose 🌹
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Married 15+ years with 2 children
BD1 - 2016
BD2 - 2017
BD3 - Sept 2019
MOW Mar 2016-Jan 2018
OW2 - Feb 2019, age 30
H left home Oct 2017 to stay with his parents
Bought a family Puppy mid 2018 - referred to as ‘P’

Link to advice by my mentor, Phoenix, on what to tell the children about H leaving - reply #33 (it had a glitch)
https://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=9313.30

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Ten Years After
#115: January 12, 2023, 02:06:25 PM

It seems fitting that my last thread was archived & locked today on the 10th anniversary of BD. This 10th anniversary seems like it should be a bigger milestone than it actually is. If anything, I have noticed a few times this past year that I am just not that interested in spending any time with old memories.

H remains a Vanisher & we have had no contact at all for nearly a year and a half. I don’t see or seek out info on social media, I don’t hear rumors from contacts in our former location, & my kids & I have a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

I am grateful for the life I have. I’ve seen a meme “Life is amazing & then it’s awful & then it’s amazing again…” We all eventually suffer a trauma—we all will eventually lose someone we love—certainly through death, & some of us will lose, usually in a matter of minutes, hours, or days, a spouse we thought loved us, was truthful & faithful, & with whom we expected to live out the rest of our lives. Having a spouse flounder into a MLC & betray & abandon us is a serious trauma. But if we seek support, take care of ourselves, & quit trying to find the answers to our unanswerable questions, we can once again be happy & find joy & let the deep pain of BD & loss fade with time. The scars of my lost M & the mental, emotional, & physical pain following BD will never be entirely gone, but the sharp edges are no longer tormenting me. Life can again have its amazing moments.

My counselor had a sign in his waiting room that said “Hurting People Hurt People” & I just have to accept that my H, who did love me & who did try to be a good guy & a good father & role model, until he didn’t, came from a disordered family & his response to those hurts was to deny his vulnerabilities, to avoid honest communication, & to inflict suffering on the three people he should have loved & protected. Such is MLC.

HT


edit - removed link - oldpilot






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« Last Edit: March 28, 2023, 07:05:41 AM by OldPilot »
Detach and Survive: A Book of Self-Care for the Wives of Midlife Crisis Men
The Journey from Abandonment to Healing, Susan Anderson
Healing the Shame that Binds You, John Bradshaw
The Addictive Personality, Craig Nakken
https://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/chapter-contents.html

M'ed 41 years
BD-Jan 2013
Legally separated Feb 2013
D'ed without my consent July 2015
H M'ed OW Sept 2015

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Re: Ten Years After
#116: January 12, 2023, 02:14:40 PM

My counselor had a sign in his waiting room that said “Hurting People Hurt People” & I just have to accept that my H, who did love me & who did try to be a good guy & a good father & role model, until he didn’t, came from a disordered family & his response to those hurts was to deny his vulnerabilities, to avoid honest communication, & to inflict suffering on the three people he should have loved & protected. Such is MLC.

HT

Thanks for posting this.  it describes my former W to a tee.

HD
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XW55
M58
Together 27 years & Married 22 at BD & 25 at D-Day
S24 S22
BD 9/29/19 (Moved out unannounced while I was away for weekend with no prior warning.)
Served D on 10/19/20 and D Final 11/10/2022

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Ten Years After
#117: January 13, 2023, 06:01:29 AM
Hi HT,

If you'd like, I can bring your old thread back to life and append this thread to it... Or we can just run with a new thread. The last post in the old one was November 2021

Just let me know

Quote from: HeartTattoo
The scars of my lost M & the mental, emotional, & physical pain following BD will never be entirely gone, but the sharp edges are no longer tormenting me. Life can again have its amazing moments.
This is what healing is really all about....

UM
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Me - 60, xW - 54
Together 19 years - Married 17 at separation & 21 at D-Day
S - 16, D - 12
1 Dog
BD#1 - August 2015
Atomic BD - 13 Dec 2015
House sold & separated - Mar 2016
Divorce final 30 August 2019
Moved on in life

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.

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Ten Years After
#118: January 13, 2023, 08:15:17 AM
UM,

Whatever you think works best for the board. I don't think the old thread is "full", just not that active. Last year's anniversary kind of slipped by in Jan 2022. Good sign of healing I guess. It all just takes up less space in my current life.

I don't anticipate posting more frequently, but I do like popping in occasionally to give Newbies & others with less time in how it looks further down the road, at least in my case.

Thanks for your work on the site.
HT
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Detach and Survive: A Book of Self-Care for the Wives of Midlife Crisis Men
The Journey from Abandonment to Healing, Susan Anderson
Healing the Shame that Binds You, John Bradshaw
The Addictive Personality, Craig Nakken
https://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/chapter-contents.html

M'ed 41 years
BD-Jan 2013
Legally separated Feb 2013
D'ed without my consent July 2015
H M'ed OW Sept 2015

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Ten Years After
#119: March 24, 2023, 10:07:04 AM
Heart Tattoo,
I am almost seven years in - and this seems about right.

"I just have to accept that my H, who did love me & who did try to be a good guy & a good father & role model, until he didn’t, came from a disordered family & his response to those hurts was to deny his vulnerabilities, to avoid honest communication, & to inflict suffering on the three people he should have loved & protected. Such is MLC."


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Re: Ten Years After
#120: March 24, 2023, 10:37:00 AM
Agree that accepting them for who they are now is key to healing and moving on.  I am 7 years removed from this MLC craziness and almost 1 year newly married to a man who tells me every so often I'm his best friend..  and he's mine too.  Life doesn’t get better by sheer chance.  You have to choose to make the best of it.
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Ten Years After
#121: March 24, 2023, 10:30:28 PM
Thank you for sharing how it is like further down the road HT. My therapist was right, those questions will remain unanswered. Now, it doesn’t really matter anymore because it doesn’t change anything.

What I’m still bothered about is  seeing my ex having the best time of his life like nothing happened. How unfair is that. You are right again with how hurting people hurt other people. My ex had been cheated and had cheated in the past with his exes. However, he had a good family. His parents supported him. Perhaps it’s just his character and not MLC.
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Me 43 at BD
H    45 at BD
Married 11 yrs at BD, 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 seeing suspected OW2 (divorced with two kids) and 2 years older than him, H didn’t file the D
Clinging boomerang
6/21 H moved in with me; kicked him out 01/22
H turned into a vanisher, wants a Divorce, OW 3 (16 years younger and extreme sporty)
14.11.22 Divorce final, I'm done

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I merged them and brought it back so you can finish it here.
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« Last Edit: March 28, 2023, 07:04:42 AM by OldPilot »

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Thanks, folks, for following along. It is validating to have others moving into the same wavelength. The timing, the years it takes, are not so important. When I would sob to my counselor "How long do I have to feel this way (crazy!), he would say "It takes as long as it takes." (He would also say "You're not crazy, you're grieving.")

Quote
What I’m still bothered about is  seeing my ex having the best time of his life like nothing happened.
Dragonfly, my advice would be--don't "see" what he is doing. And I would add, whatever you're "seeing"--social media, sightings by friends, his bragging, gossip--it's all going to skew "Hey, Look Here, Everything Is Great!" Just don't look. Get some distance; get more detached. "See" the good things you are doing & the good things you will do in the future.

I did some snooping including finding their wedding pictures on FB. I kept trying to make the puzzle pieces explain this surreal world I had been forced into. But I had to stop, I was done; none of the information I could find could tell me what happened & why. Maybe my H is having the time of his life; I don't know. But I truly believe somewhere deep down where his honesty & decency went to hibernate, he has an ache in his heart about our lost R, the shattered R's he has/doesn't have with our sons, & the lost friends/family. He lied to himself & he deceived himself before he lied to & deceived me--a price will be paid for that.

Hugs,
HT 
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Detach and Survive: A Book of Self-Care for the Wives of Midlife Crisis Men
The Journey from Abandonment to Healing, Susan Anderson
Healing the Shame that Binds You, John Bradshaw
The Addictive Personality, Craig Nakken
https://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/chapter-contents.html

M'ed 41 years
BD-Jan 2013
Legally separated Feb 2013
D'ed without my consent July 2015
H M'ed OW Sept 2015

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Quote
I kept trying to make the puzzle pieces explain this surreal world I had been forced into. But I had to stop, I was done; none of the information I could find could tell me what happened & why.

I did the same. Most of us do for a while, even just a little, and longer than is good for us. It’s normal as HT says.
Looking back, I think it serves a strange purpose if not a healthy one perhaps.....most of it is a trauma response, just like HT says, trying to make the pieces explain what we can’t grasp. It’s a desperate kind of feeling, isn’t it? I remember it even now. I think we do it until we realise that it isn’t giving us the answer we need, again just as HT says. But I think it can also metaphorically rub out nose in the actual reality.....I still remember the strange sense of idk, shock? weirdness? of seeing a picture of my h (bc in my heart he still was my h, and legally had only been my xh for a couple of weeks) getting married.....it forced me to accept things I could not understand. And that was painful but useful and necessary.

I think the tricksy bit - and again most of us go through this stage - is holding the belief that anything they are doing or not doing, whether they seem happy or not, says anything at all about us. That’s the nut to crack imho....and, for me, removing him from my head and not seeing or knowing helped me to break that ‘habit’. Again jmo, but I think that is just as true if you are telling yourself the ‘they look happy so I must have been wrong about my marriage’ story or the ‘they look miserable so karma proves i’m right’ story. One cracks the nut when it’s more like a stranger on a train whose happiness or unhappiness, success or failure, is not an issue in your life....and like a stranger, not knowing helped me.

I have found that it is a habit in a strange way, love, or perhaps attachment more accurately. It was built over time with thousands of small things....interactions, conversations, small moments, shared memories....and it takes time to unlearn that habit and replace it with new and different habits. It took me years but now I simply don’t think of myself in the same way and would find going back to that kind of attachment very strange. Again, looking back, I think it took me about five years to lose all of the old mental habit...which seems like a darned long time  :)....but I am far from where I was. Idk if that’s good or bad as such, but it is certainly different and more peaceful than the desperate rollercoaster years. I’m grateful for that. Nothing special about me....we all get to new habits imho in the same way we built the old ones....with time and a series of small steps.

Quote
Maybe my H is having the time of his life; I don't know. But I truly believe somewhere deep down where his honesty & decency went to hibernate, he has an ache in his heart about our lost R, the shattered R's he has/doesn't have with our sons, & the lost friends/family. He lied to himself & he deceived himself before he lied to & deceived me--a price will be paid for that.
I am less certain than HT about this. Or perhaps I am just accustomed to telling myself I don’t know.
Having said that, writ large, I suppose I do agree with HT that lying, betraying and causing damage to people who have loved and trusted you for decades is a big thing. In the short term post BD, it seems as if we LBS pay a heavy price simply bc we value the things that are lost and damaged. They do not I think for the simple reason that, at the time, they don’t value those things as we do. In the longer term anecdotally, that changes for some perhaps as they find themselves in a life that isn’t quite how they imagined it would turn out to be. But maybe that isn’t the case for all of them. Or they manage somehow to continue to justify it to themselves or blame others for it. True narcissists - of which there are relatively few of course - will never feel like normal folks feel about these kind of things even when it is blindingly obvious that they should. (A recent appearance by our former PM here, Boris Johnson, appearing before a committee to testify about lying to parliament was like a case study of the Narcissist’s Prayer in action  :).....from it never happened to if it did, it wasn’t my fault lol....almost laughably nonsensical to watch but not so easy if you were one of the people outraged or grief stricken about losing a loved one during a Covid lockdown where you followed the rules and Mr Johnson did not. Just like with an MLCer imho, a level of emotional detachment makes a difference....but it is self evidently true that he feels no shame and will not carry consequences that hurt him in the way that might feel fair to so many others.)

Having said that, most of our spouses were/are not true narcissists at that level imho....they may have been a bit higher on the narcissistic scale than we believed or they may have shot up there as part of an MLC type fracture. So I suppose it makes sense to believe writ large, as HT says, that they are not probably incapable of shame, remorse or regret entirely. Creating this kind of pain and distress and damage by one’s own actions in life is a big thing....and i’d guess that there is some kind of price to pay for that eventually. If only that you have to accept that you are a person who can do these things to people who love and trust you, that you are not actually the kind of good, decent, trustworthy or kind human being that you thought you were or wanted to be.

I find that as incomprehensible as I always did, so tbh I accept that I do not know what it might be like to walk in those shoes years later. Part of my own progress was learning that I now know what it feels like to have one’s life and predictable beliefs implode....I can never quite go back to the Me I was before I knew that can happen or knew how I can react when it does.  Maybe, for them, it’s a bit the same....they can never unknow what they are capable of doing or perhaps that others could do the same to them. I don’t know. What I do know is two things.....that it had nothing to do with me, just like Mr Johnson’s behaviour and rationales had nothing to do with the millions of people trying to cope with the rules he imposed on the rest of us, and that I could not have done what my former h did so the consequences of it for him are not relevant for my life either.  It seems to me from over here in the cheap seats that our former spouses would need to do one of two things to hold their own cognitive dissonance together....either mentally erase their old life that included us or completely rewrite it as some kind of horror story of years of misery.....doing either would require losing quite a lot of one’s own life story and that must be a rather strange thing to experience....and it isn’t likely to be true, so you’re building a new you on pretty shaky psychological ground. Must be odd to live with that.

Just like with Covid, there were consequences for me and others, that’s true.....but it is necessary to unpick one from the other. Mr Johnson’s future career or lovely new house or multiple marriages will not change the reality of what it was like to live through lockdown and be unable to see my mother for almost a year....or my own choices about how I reacted at the time based on the information available to me....and I would drive myself crazy if I tried to link one with the other. Imho the same argument holds true about our former spouses.....unpicking that link is the nut we all eventually find our own way to crack. And not looking for evidence one way or the other helped me.
Stranger on a train principle..... :)
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« Last Edit: March 29, 2023, 12:21:48 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.


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

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Quote
narcissist....they may have shot up there as part of an MLC type fracture.

I think most MLCers, especially at BD, swing to high amounts of narcissism. It is at least consistent with their script and behaviors. I think it is in response to the pain that has grown in them, the dis-ease, before BD. I helps them enjoy the attention of the OW/OM, while the LBS is unaware before BD and then have two people fight over them after BD.

I do think for many, it subsides back to "normal" amounts with time.
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Hi, HT,

Thank you for writing, I know just how you feel -- it never goes away entirely, but life can be good regardless.

I have also finally more or less accepted that I just don't know what he does or doesn't feel, that took years and years -- probably more than for others because it took him 9 years to divorce me, and he was all over the place before that.  Even after that it took another 2 years for all the final papers to be signed, even when he was already married to OW6.  Yes, 6 -- he went through a lot of them.

I thankfully stopped looking at any social media years ago, having come to the same conclusions as everyone -- it does me no good.  The kids don't say much, they have little contact with him and refuse to meet OW6.  I haven't seen him for something like 6 years.  The only thing that he has said, earlier to me, now he's said it once or twice to the kids, is that he feels guilty.  But it stops there -- no mention of doing anything differently, no mention of regret for what he's done, if anything he just wants to feel better.  And then he goes off to his life.

I no longer worry about that; much as this crisis has had a massive effect on my children and me we just have to get on with it. 

I am sad for my children, this is now showing up in how they feel about their own lives and relationships, they've had to deal with more than many and they are angry about it and are desperate to feel more control over things; it's a hard lesson for them to learn as well that we just don't have control over how another person feels, or indeed what they do.  But it is reality, and again, we get on with it as best we can. 

But of course it says something that I'm still reading here, even if there is no longer anything to post.  I continue to learn, and also find that I use the wisdom that I get from hear to help my children.  Not to mention when working with difficult clients!

Keep on writing, HT, it's nice!
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Treasur, Reinventing, & Trustandlove,

Thanks for following along & adding some experiences & thoughts about MLC. It's interesting now 10 years on to think about these things rather theoretically. We know we can't crack the code (nut?!) of MLC. We are no longer in the manic state of trying to solve the problem & fix our lives.

Quote
I still remember the strange sense of idk, shock? weirdness? of seeing a picture of my h (bc in my heart he still was my h, and legally had only been my xh for a couple of weeks) getting married.....it forced me to accept things I could not understand. And that was painful but useful and necessary.
Yes, it was him insisting on the D & getting M'ed 2 weeks later that made it "Done" for me too. It had been 2 1/2 years by then. I had juggled "I think he'll come back" with "I need to have a plan for my life alone" for that time & it did help me to move forward to have that finality.

Quote
....with time and a series of small steps.

It is important for newbies to understand that Time is your friend & not your enemy. For the few that have returns, less than 3 years minimum is rare & you really don't want them back under-baked. And then there is the time for Reconnection if that occurs. For the vast majority of us who don't have a return it is the slow drip of time that heals us, with the baseline necessities of detachment, seeking support, & taking care of ourselves. That time is excruciating at first, but eventually I could look back & see my progress at 1 year, 2 years.....now 10 years. This experience will change us as you say, we never get over it & return to where we were (how could we?), but it gets further & further away in the rearview mirror.

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...most of our spouses were/are not true narcissists at that level imho....they may have been a bit higher on the narcissistic scale than we believed or they may have shot up there as part of an MLC type fracture.
Quote
I think most MLCers, especially at BD, swing to high amounts of narcissism. It is at least consistent with their script and behaviors.
It took me about 6 months to find THS & during that time my counselor framed H's actions as an addiction . H had been sober for 20 years, but according to IC (who did a lot of work with alcoholics/addicts) he was not in a recovery mindset & the OW was his new drug. That helped me put a framework to what had happened & when I learned about MLC that framework didn't really contradict any of it. One interesting thing IC said about addiction was that addicts show the traits of narcissism even if they do not have the personality disorder of Narcissism. This REALLY made sense. The lying, deceptive behavior, the lack of empathy in not anticipating my response & not really caring how I felt, & the complete focus on HIS happiness. The MLCer's FOO issues may have left them with some mild-moderate narcissistic tendencies & I learned to acknowledge that when I quit idealizing my M, but as you say, I too believe MLC exacerbates that. I remember RCR writing somewhere that MLC=depression + addiction.

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It seems to me...that our former spouses would need to do one of two things to hold their own cognitive dissonance together....either mentally erase their old life that included us or completely rewrite it as some kind of horror story of years of misery.....doing either would require losing quite a lot of one’s own life story and that must be a rather strange thing to experience....and it isn’t likely to be true, so you’re building a new you on pretty shaky psychological ground. Must be odd to live with that.
Very interesting question here. I believe at least part of the answer is denial. As a drinking alcoholic my H was a master of denial. Despite the risks to his job & other risks, his drinking (heavy binges; drinking when on the job) were not the problem--my reaction to it all was the problem. Twenty years later he still showed denial about that time. Only the threat of job loss made him stop drinking, but not really accept responsibility for the behavior. The other concept that I find useful is Compartmentalization. My H had his EA/PA with OW for 5 years without me ever finding out, so he was a master of putting our life in a box & pulling OW out of her box when convenient. I'm sure those two talents  :o  ::) --denial & compartmentalization continue to serve him well.

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...he has said, earlier to me, now he's said it once or twice to the kids, is that he feels guilty.  But it stops there -- no mention of doing anything differently, no mention of regret for what he's done, if anything he just wants to feel better.
I believe my H felt some shame & guilt & perhaps it pops up now, IDK--no contact & the kids & I have a "don't ask/don't tell" policy. But that useful gift of denial can keep him functioning.

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I am sad for my children, this is now showing up in how they feel about their own lives and relationships...
Yes, it is so hard to see my kids affected & lacking the presence & support of their father. One seems to roll with it. S (25 at BD) was almost engaged at BD & now has a successful M. S (30 at BD) has much difficulty, not all attributable to H's actions, but the lack of a father who didn't live up to the expected ideals & can't be trusted to be a supportive presence has only contributed to the problems.

Hugs to All,
HT




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Detach and Survive: A Book of Self-Care for the Wives of Midlife Crisis Men
The Journey from Abandonment to Healing, Susan Anderson
Healing the Shame that Binds You, John Bradshaw
The Addictive Personality, Craig Nakken
https://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/chapter-contents.html

M'ed 41 years
BD-Jan 2013
Legally separated Feb 2013
D'ed without my consent July 2015
H M'ed OW Sept 2015

T
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he was a master of putting our life in a box & pulling OW out of her box when convenient. I'm sure those two talents  :o  ::) --denial & compartmentalization continue to serve him well.

This resonates!  As does what you say about OW being the new drug; my H wasn't an alcoholic, but gambling was his addiction of choice....
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Ha ha, maybe Vanishers are not as good at compartmentalisation  :)
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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.


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

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The eleventh anniversary of BD passed by a few days ago during the haze of a mild flu attack, yet I woke today after one of those fairly frequent dreams in which H appears. As usual, nothing notable or symbolic, just one of those surreal yet mundane dreams.

It is the build-up to Christmas that is more triggering to me than the BD anniversary. The preparations take me back to our last family Christmas just 3 weeks before BD. I had felt some unease that season, which I had thought was based on finishing up a big volunteer project & worry about my kids traveling several hours home for Christmas. To lighten the mood I booked a weekend get-away mid-December at a picturesque historic setting. It was lightly snowing as H & I strolled around holding hands listening to lovely Christmas music.

To this day I don’t understand why H agreed to such an outing knowing as he surely did that he would be leaving within a few weeks. He could have easily put me off, saying let’s wait until after Christmas. Would the promised, yet never-to-be outing have been worse than the memories of that lovely weekend just a month before BD?

So, Christmas. The most festive time of year for many is the most triggering for me. Thanks a lot, H! I still love so much about it—my live tree & each decoration with its own memories, the simple outdoor decorations I put up to participate in the brightness of my street & neighborhood’s decorations. The gathering of my kids, my current companion, & his son. All of us have our “issues” with Christmas memories—some spoken, some likely unspoken, yet we gather to feast & play games & to be with the ones who want to be with us.

On a more pertinent note regarding detachment. Sometime back in early November maybe, older S was quizzing me about my health (which is fine) & then mentioned that his dad was sick. He was fuzzy on the details, but I got some sense of what might be going on. What is relevant here was my reaction. I didn’t quiz him for details (I don’t want H quizzing our kids about me). Aside from the empathy I would feel when hearing about anyone’s potentially serious health concern, I really had no emotional reaction & as we finished our conversation with my S mentioning his & his brother’s plans to visit their dad, I just calmly stated “I’m not part of this picture”. That’s it—I am no longer a part of the life led by the man I have known since girlhood, married at 20, & together built a solid life for 40 years. It still, & will always, sadden me. But it no longer knocks me over with shock & grief & physical, mental, & emotional pain. Life goes on.   
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Detach and Survive: A Book of Self-Care for the Wives of Midlife Crisis Men
The Journey from Abandonment to Healing, Susan Anderson
Healing the Shame that Binds You, John Bradshaw
The Addictive Personality, Craig Nakken
https://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/chapter-contents.html

M'ed 41 years
BD-Jan 2013
Legally separated Feb 2013
D'ed without my consent July 2015
H M'ed OW Sept 2015

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Good to hear from you HeartTattoo. May 2024 be a great year for you and your loved ones.

Christmas is good for me. Our family spends time together and it's so easy during those days....I have difficulty with New Years for I most often I am by myself.  I find that tough, especially after having my family around.

Each year I try and find something that I might want to do but have yet to come up with a good plan. I was supposed to go to my neighbors but their children were sick...so I binged watched season 5 of The Crown...felt angry at how Charles and the family treated Dianna....although some might be fabricated.

I don't want to be partying but just with other people would be nice. Most of my freinds are married or have families that live close by...I have choosen to live here and not closer to family so that is on me.

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“I’m not part of this picture”. That’s it—I am no longer a part of the life led by the man I have known since girlhood, married at 20, & together built a solid life for 40 years. It still, & will always, sadden me. But it no longer knocks me over with shock & grief & physical, mental, & emotional pain. Life goes on.   

Good thoughts about all this...acceptance and letting go. Our lives do go on and we are not a part of their lives...I am in a very small way...but not in a day to day or way that really matters..except we can spend time with our daughter.

Always good to hear an update from others.
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« Last Edit: January 13, 2024, 01:01:03 PM by xyzcf »
"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see" Hebrews 11:1

"You enrich my life and are a source of joy and consolation to me. But if I lose you, I will not, I must not spend the rest of my life in unhappiness."

" The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it". Flannery O'Connor

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Hello,

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Each year I try and find something that I might want to do but have yet to come up with a good plan. I was supposed to go to my neighbors but their children were sick...so I binged watched season 5 of The Crown...felt angry at how Charles and the family treated Dianna....although some might be fabricated.

I have never been a big New Year's Eve guy. My wife and I made it to 9 pm and called it a night. Last year we were in another country and slept through a big celebration just down the street from us. Just another year.

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On a more pertinent note regarding detachment. Sometime back in early November maybe, older S was quizzing me about my health (which is fine) & then mentioned that his dad was sick. He was fuzzy on the details, but I got some sense of what might be going on. What is relevant here was my reaction. I didn’t quiz him for details (I don’t want H quizzing our kids about me). Aside from the empathy I would feel when hearing about anyone’s potentially serious health concern, I really had no emotional reaction & as we finished our conversation with my S mentioning his & his brother’s plans to visit their dad, I just calmly stated “I’m not part of this picture”. That’s it—I am no longer a part of the life led by the man I have known since girlhood, married at 20, & together built a solid life for 40 years. It still, & will always, sadden me. But it no longer knocks me over with shock & grief & physical, mental, & emotional pain. Life goes on.   

Very good. I have reached the same point as well. My ex called me the other day out of the blue wanting to know if I remembered the address of one of her relatives and how to get to their place. Mind you, it has been nineteen years since I have spoken to said relative but I agreed to help. The next day, I google the relative and found the address that they lived at and it had not changed. I even got a couple of phone numbers. I texted the information to her and was done. Would have done the same for anyone. As you said, the angst, concern, and worry are all gone. Life does go on and your reaction and response is an indication of how much healing you have accomplished over the years.

(((Ready)))
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"Always look in the mirror and love what you see."

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To this day I don’t understand why H agreed to such an outing knowing as he surely did that he would be leaving within a few weeks. He could have easily put me off, saying let’s wait until after Christmas. Would the promised, yet never-to-be outing have been worse than the memories of that lovely weekend just a month before BD?
I was left right before the holidays as well being told he just needed no obligation and space. Divorced him in 90 days, but remained in communication and a “friend” in January we all as a family went to a NFL game. Traveled to another state to do so. He drove snd the kids and I flew.

He dropped us off back at the airport after the weekend and as we walked off I turned around and he was crying. I thought, what are we doing here? We were divorced 2 weeks later and he got engaged 4 weeks after that on the week anniversary of our daughters death.

Personally, I think they hate what they have become. These moments are to relive some guilt and also last moment. My XH when signing the divorce papers in our kitchen then told me he had to go to the bathroom. He didn’t use the one right off the kitchen but walked through the house and used the master bathroom, but he wasn’t gone long enough. I realized much later and he confirmed that he just wanted to see the house one last time.

Anyways, my view is that they can’t make their old life work. They want to, but they cant and so they just try and start over. I don think anyone can live a life for decades and bring kids in to the world and world and just walk off and be ok in any way. To do that you have to shut off so many emotions that how can you fully be engaged in your new life? I don’t think they can. Thats how I see it anyways
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There is almost something harder about someone being alive and having to lose what you believed to be true of them than someone actually dying.

Indefatigability - determined to do or achieve something; firmness of purpose
perspicacity- a clarity of vision or intellect which provides a deep understanding and insight

Married July 1991
Jan 2018 BD1 moved out I filed for Div/ H stopped it
Oct 2018 moved back
Oct 2020 BD2
Feb 2021 Div-29 1/2 years
July 2021 Married OW
Feb 2022  XH fired
May 2023 went NC after telling XH we could not be friends
Aug 2023 XH moves w/o OWife

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Thanks for responding, XYZ & Ready. Guess we're old hands at this by now--more or less. My detachment has its limits though. Fortunately H is a Vanisher. I don't think I could deal with the possibility of running into H & OW at the grocery or wherever. We don't have grandkids requiring us to show up in the same space & pretend it is all normal. I know some folks have to do that & do have that level of detachment.

I like knowing in general where they are & what the territorial boundaries are. Oh, I would handle some random encounter, but I just cannot accept that their R is normal--they know it; I know it. I don't like pretending at what I don't really feel.

XYZ, I think we all have times or places that are hard for us & it will probably always be so. Being alone can be hard; being with people can be hard; being with couples can be hard. Holidays, anniversaries, hearing a song, random thoughts. We've all got something that pricks our hearts a bit. I am just so grateful those things no longer double me over howling with pain or send my mind into a downward spiral.

Hugs,
HT

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Detach and Survive: A Book of Self-Care for the Wives of Midlife Crisis Men
The Journey from Abandonment to Healing, Susan Anderson
Healing the Shame that Binds You, John Bradshaw
The Addictive Personality, Craig Nakken
https://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/chapter-contents.html

M'ed 41 years
BD-Jan 2013
Legally separated Feb 2013
D'ed without my consent July 2015
H M'ed OW Sept 2015

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Quote

...as we walked off I turned around and he was crying. I thought, what are we doing here? We were divorced 2 weeks later...

I realized much later and he confirmed that he just wanted to see the house one last time.

Anyways, my view is that they can’t make their old life work. They want to, but they cant and so they just try and start over. I don think anyone can live a life for decades and bring kids in to the world and world and just walk off and be ok in any way. To do that you have to shut off so many emotions that how can you fully be engaged in your new life? I don’t think they can. Thats how I see it anyways

MadLuv,
I had very similar experiences with my H in the early days. Your last paragraph is just where I land. They can't make their lives work, so they opt out, & if they're "lucky" they find an OW to replay whatever part of their life they think they need to. If they are not a complete narcissist, but a half-way decent person, the shame, the sense of failure, whatever dark thing is in their heart seeps out. Maybe not often, but it's there.

Hugs,
HT
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Detach and Survive: A Book of Self-Care for the Wives of Midlife Crisis Men
The Journey from Abandonment to Healing, Susan Anderson
Healing the Shame that Binds You, John Bradshaw
The Addictive Personality, Craig Nakken
https://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/chapter-contents.html

M'ed 41 years
BD-Jan 2013
Legally separated Feb 2013
D'ed without my consent July 2015
H M'ed OW Sept 2015

 

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