To Delete or Not Delete? That is the Question

I haven’t written for quite some time.  I have continued to read (AOW, 2P, RBM, SS, Morgan, etc.)  I have been most taken by the comments and blogs that relive the affair, d-day, no-contact, recovery, failure, and on the cycle goes.  The ‘aha’ moment came for me when someone wrote that the writing causes us to continually relive the pain and prevents us from moving on and away.  Likewise, in order to get past the pain, we need to relive it and all of the unanswered and unanswerable questions that we have.

Unlike so many of my blogging friends, I have been unable to delete the old emails or shut down the pseudonym accounts.  I have not been able to delete the ‘saved chats’ that Google stores up.  I have not been able to throw away the hand written, but unsent, letters to MM during the period of no-contact.  I never shut down my blog and on occasion, I read my old posts.

Unlike so many of my blogging friends, my MM and his w are divorced and he and I are a “couple.”  It has been almost 2 years (22 days shy of the full 2 years) since that D-Day, December 9, 2009 – since I got the email from MM’s W saying “Hi – I know about you and my husband.”  It has been a long road.  MM and I talked at length, about my need to get past the pain of no-contact, about his efforts to “work on his marriage” during that time, taking his w to mexico for her birthday, to his company’s holiday party, to posting pictures of her on his Facebook page while telling me he loved me, needed me, wanted to be with me but that I should be patient.  There are times when my anger, to this day, is larger than life, and all I want to do is beat him up – so I yell, storm off, get sullen.  And he lets me.  He says he understands. 

What I have learned from MM is that when caught between a rock and a hard place, most MM will retreat into the familiar, the comfort zone rather than jump off a cliff.  The fear that no one will be standing there waiting to catch them is paralyzing.  When I asked my ex-H for a divorce, I came to the realization that I would rather be alone and poor for the rest of my life than spend one more minute with him.  And mind you, we had a perfectly comfortable life – 2 homes, 2 beautiful children in private school, 3 cars, luxurious vacations several times a year, savings accounts, material objects galore.  Yet I wasn’t happy.  It didn’t make me happy.  It was financially comfortable, but ever day I woke up I felt like I had sold my soul.  I wasn’t happy.  I wasn’t getting any younger.  I wasn’t setting a good example for my children.  I was a lousy role model.  The discomfort had to end.  And so I ended it.  MM could have stayed in his loveless, sexless, miserable marriage forever.  It was comfortable.  (Sound familiar 2P?)  As a funny anecdote, MM, a/k/a my boyfriend and I were having a silly disagreement and I offhandedly told him that if he continued what he was doing there would be no sex.  To which he replied that was no threat, in fact he could go years without it and had the history to prove it.  While that was funny, it was also quite telling and ultimately very sad.  Why would anyone want to live like that?

I have a dear friend who is dying of cancer.  It is heartbreaking to watch the disease eat this vibrant, beautiful woman up leaving little more than a shell.  We were out to lunch and she was telling me about what a burden her husband has become and how incapable he is of taking care of her, helping her, supporting her.  He doesn’t even go with her to doctor appointments.  He’s not working.  He has locked himself in the master bedroom; she sleeps downstairs.  He wont cook, clean or help with the household.  She spends as much time out of the house as possible – going to the gym, out to the lunch, to the movies, out of town, with friends.  I asked her why she doesn’t tell her H to get out.  The fire burned in her eyes when she told me that she has told him to get out, that she filed for divorce 2 times, but didn’t follow through, and as she looked at me across the table told me she would rather be alone than have him in her home but is now too weak to move him out.  Of course I offered to pack his shit and throw him out for her.  She laughed and said he was too heavy for me.  I told her to come to me and my older kid offered to give up her room for her.  She’s not going to leave now.  But how sad for her.  She doesn’t get a do-over at the end, to be happy.

BF (f/k/a MM) and I were having dinner a couple of weeks ago.  We were talking about his kids, his ex-w and a problem at school.  He stopped and said that most people refer to the “fog of the affair” yet when he reviews his life to date, he feels that the fog was his marriage – his self-deception was his life with his ex-W.  It is difficult for him to come these realizations; the musings frighten him.  He punishes himself for losing those years and wonders what he was thinking.  His ex-W has been wonderfully obliging – consistently proving him right.  She has trespassed on his property (having his landlord open the door to his house so she could find “some papers”); she forged his name on legal documents; she refuses to take her kids to therapist appointments, help them with their homework, encourage attendance at school.  She has proved him right at every turn.  He has told me horrible stories of her past behavior when they were married.  – She was fired from a job when she was pregnant, yet never revealed the reason.  Imagine how egregious her actions must have been that a company believed they had a stronger case in firing her, than a pregnant woman would have against her former employers.  (Needless to say she never sued them.) – She changed a neighbor’s home listing on-line, never telling them, giving her an ‘edge’ in the marketplace.  The stories are incredible.  Yet, if it weren’t for me, for our ‘affair’, he would have done nothing.  He just simply shut himself down.

We had dinner with some of his college friend his past summer.  They live in Germany now.  The wife said some very interesting things.  She said that no one liked MM’s ex-W yet didn’t want to say anything to him – after all, it was his choice, they were his friends and they would support him (or not).  The second thing was that when she heard he had an affair she thought – good for him and that he’s really not capable of having an affair, whoever the AP is, means more than that to him.  MM/BF was stunned.  Everyone but him knew about his ex-W, but no one told him; everyone knew that he wasn’t capable of having affair yet he believes that he was wrong.  Worse, was that he was weak and would have done nothing to extricate himself from a life in which he was simply going through the motions.

So, almost 2 years after d-day, BF and his kids are coming to my town to celebrate Thanksgiving with me and my kids. 

Now, if only I could hit that stupid delete button.

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11 Responses to “To Delete or Not Delete? That is the Question”

  1. Seasweetie Says:

    My affair partner and I both got divorced, because we were in bad marriages and because we wanted to be together. You know, the whole soulmate thing. But he dumped me after about ten months. He never could deal with the rage of his ex, his own guilt, shame and dishonor. It has been a horribly painful year of healing, but I am. We still have minimal contact but the woman he took up with 8 weeks after leaving me if extremely jealous and suspicious of me, undeservedly so. I am in a healthy new relationship. Not really sure why I am sharing this. Out of deference to him, I have written very little about our relationship or my feelings about it. I sincerely hope things work out as you want them to. It’s nice to hear the occasional happy ending.
    All the luck in the world to you,my friend.

  2. Susan Says:

    Seasweetie – I’m glad that you’re healing and I’m glad that you’re in a healthy relationship now. Yes, there is a lot of baggage that comes from being in an affair to ending it, to being in a bad marriage and ending that too. Interestingly, BF/MM has been in therapy dealing with his feelings and recognizing that he is ultimately entitled to be happy. Much to his surprise, his friends were unfailingly supportive of him and his decisions. MM would never have ended his marriage and that is something he struggles with. He sees himself in great part, as a victim in his life and consequently his marriage, always responsible for everyone but himself. It’s a good therapy conversation, yet very true. I think his biggest regret is that he didn’t end his marriage first and then come to me, as a free man. But I don’t think that he ever could have done something like that. As for happy endings, I certainly hope so. And to my friend along this arduous journey, I wish the same for you too.

  3. melinda Says:

    Hi Susan! I too continue to read the blogs you mention as well as read at i village although I don’t post much anymore. I think I have mostly said what I needed to say re: my affair. You sound really quite great and I am very happy for you! It is so nice to hear of one good “ending” amongst all these severe car crashes, including my own. I hear some peace in your post. And your friend’s cancer is such a wake up call! I can almost smile at the thought of us affair people stuck in bumper cars smacking into each other relentlessly (since that is what we often do) til it hurts so bad we have to stop.
    I am almost done my graduate degree started at the the beginning of the ending of my A. Soon I will have finished a book about all of my professional work of the past ten years, something I am indeed quite proud of, and something I need to move forward in my career which is my next step. It’s funny but that is also the same time I first met you and all the other bloggers over at TVs blog (2 1/2 years ago). Time sure flies.

    My ex AP is still within ear/eye shot and I still ignore him as I have trained myself to do so automatically over these past years. I don’t look at him, speak to him, call him, spy on him etc etc and he got the hint and leaves me thankfully alone. I simply never ever want to face the unbearable agony of a re-contact of any kind with him because it will mean a re-break up and I can not withstand that kind of emotional pain ever again in my lifetime. My MM will never leave his W; he is the precise person you describe in your post. That is his choice. Now I know I have my choice and I am good for my word to myself, the most important person in my world at long last! One of these days I might find a BF but I am not in any big hurry. I seem to do best in my life with a simple, uncomplicated, FWB, arrangement, end of story. Its not the thrill ride of the century, but then again it doesn’t crash and burn like a major car wreck either.
    KWIM? m.

  4. Susan Says:

    Melinda – Congratulations on your degree and book! That’s quite an achievement. You must be so proud. Perhaps it was the impetus of the end of your A that catapulted you in the right direction. So, the SOB was good for something. 😉 It is interesting to me that so many unhappy people simply choose the status quo, because it is familiar, than do something to change their lot in life. Inaction is as much a choice as action. It is a decision to do nothing. How very sad. There’s a whole world out there. I remember MM’s ex-W posted on a blog about how all he talked aobut in counseling was being happy, how she didn’t make him happy, how I (the AP) made him happy and that she wanted to slap him, how stupid and trite he sounded. Hmmmm, I guess after all is said and done, he felt the need to be happy. I question sometimes how long he would have tried to “work it out” before leaving his w, how high his threshold for pain is. But in the end, I don’t care. I believe he would have left, and that he would have left for me. But he would have gone through all the motions to please everyone but himself and he knew, that I would not wait for him to work it all out. And it is possible, that the apathy, indifference, pain, isn’t always bad enough to make people act. How long can you hold your hand over an open flame before it hurts, blisters, burns?
    Yes, there’s some peace coming.
    As for FWB, I’m all about that! And you never know where that might lead. 😉

  5. melinda Says:

    Susan the peace is good: Go for it! As we were both single when we got involved with our MM’s maybe you’ll understand me very well below: No matter what, as a divorced woman, you’d be having deep soul searching questions about ANYBODY you were considering spending all your time with, not just your current guy. It’s all part of the natural mate selection process. Knowing we can make it out there alone means we got past that frightening step. Can we make it alone? The answer is “yes” we can, even with kids in tow. It is not recommended but is doable. So anyone we would think of committing to NOW (post divorce) gets a whole lot of our scrutiny by nature of our situation. We pay close attention to our feelings because we already know whats involved with the “worst case scenario” happening. Your MM is getting your on-going, full scrutiny because he should! You should always pay close attention to your feelings because you are WORTH it. It looks like he is earning you, but you also get to call the shots as a divorced woman with kids. Never settle or you’ll find yourself right back in that “unhappy people” role that we both finally got out of KWIM? I don’t know about you, but I definitely do not have divorce number two in me! Even tho my kids are now adults neither I nor they can go through it again as far as I am concerned.
    And yeah….. you never know how FWB will turn out! 🙂
    hugs m.

  6. Susan Says:

    Funny thing about that scrutiny and being happy – I am afraid to commit to someone so fully. I think part of it is having gone through a miserable marriage and horrible divorce. You’re right, I don’t have it in me to do that again. I have a friend who is getting married for the 3rd time and she told her fiancee that she would sooner see him dead, than divorce him. 😀 Another part is knowing how fragile relationships are, do I want to be on the receiving end, do I want to be the “W”? Could I be the “W”? Once a cheater . . . him or me??? Or could I do it all over again? The whole thing makes me nervous. Time will certainly tell. For now, things are good, better than they’ve been, so right now, I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth for fear of getting my teeth knocked out. 😉

  7. melinda Says:

    yes all true! just enjoy it for now! happy thanksgiving! m.

  8. Hope Says:

    I have read this entire blogg and I have to say that it shocked me to my core. So much of your journey is the same as my own. I actually have some of the same phrases and thoughts written down in my journal! 🙂

    Hello. My name is Hope and I am an OW. I am the whore, the home wrecker, the slut. The disposable one. And I am in love with a man who chooses to remain committed to someone else.

    It’s a very special kind of pain isn’t it? I got the brutal double edged sword of betrayal because you see, I never signed up to be the OW. I was lied to and then he decided to make things work with his partner for the sake of his daughter. I couldn’t blame him for wanting the best for his daughter but I was furious that I had been brought into a situation that I would never have wanted to be in!

    Sucked to me at the beginning of this year I can tell you! And then I went strict NC and we had no contact with each other at all. Completely and utterly.

    7 months later he came back. He was desperate to see me and be a part of my life. I didn’t want this…the hurt was too much the first time. I couldn’t go through it a second time. But the heart was stronger than the head and I sensed that he really had changed.

    Instead I am left in limbo land. The dreaded hell on earth for relationships. He tells me that he loves me yet he is willing to watch me suffer as he makes up his mind between the saftey and numbness of an unhappy rut with the devil he knows or to a leap of faith into an uncertain future with me.

    To be honest, most of the time it is about him trying to find the courage to do what his mother, friends and family have been telling him to do for years and leave his abusive partner.

    My affair partner is a coward.

    He is a people pleaser. He cares what other people think of him and he is a worrier. He wants people to make the decision for him and tell him what to do. He wants his partner to leave him but I know him well…if she makes the decision he will be begging her to change her mind and to make things work. It’s exactly what he does when I attempt to leave. Oh yes, he is closer to leaving his partner and completely exploding his life than he ever has been before BUT he is a coward…. and I am a fool.

  9. Susan Says:

    Hi Hope. My name is Susan and I’m a junkie/fool/whore/etc. too. I think that no matter how far we get from our situations, we never really leave them. I’m surprised that your AP has so much support to leave and move on and yet he hasn’t. Cowardice is ugly. Weakness is ugly. I know. My xMM/BF is weak. It takes a lot of time and energy for them to change that behavior – if they ever do. If they ever really want to do it. The funniest thing is that my BF/xMM sued his x-wife recently and he told me and a couple of his friends that the reason he did it was to prove to me and to himself that he wasn’t weak and wouldn’t be bullied anymore. He said that he wanted me to respect him and was afraid that his actions were leading me to another conclusion. It was an interesting turn of events. And yesterday he got the verdict – he won.

    So, Hope, what are you going to do? Limbo is the worst of all situations to be in. Not moving is horrible and debilitating. You’re not a fool. What caused you to break NC? 7 months is huge!!! Does his W know about you? If he explodes his life for you, I’m sure, like my xMM he will “try and make it right” with everyone but you. If he’s a pleaser, it will certainly suck. The pain is unbearable. Life draining, air sucking, punched in the stomach horrible. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. You do have a choice. Inaction is as much a decision as action. You can chose to move on or accept the situation and what comes with it. I hate to be blunt. But, unfortunatley, “been there. done that.” I wish I had an answer for you. Come back. Write. The blogs are super supportive. Got me through some really miserable times. There are some really great people out there. Write more. We’re here for you.

    I’m sorry for your pain – past, present and future. No one signs up for that.
    (((hugs)))

  10. Hope Says:

    Hi Susan,

    Yep…I know exactly what you mean. How clearly you echo my own sentiments. My AP is weak and yes, I believe that he will do everything to please other people.

    Sure he has the support of his friends and family but he looks to the internet for advice because his friends and family are ‘too close’ to the situation to give an objective opinion. Yay. Have you read the internet advice out there? Scary in the extreme. Most people are saying to stay and work things out particularly if there are kids involved because your partner deserves that given the years you have spent together.

    Makes me sick to my stomach in so many ways. You see, I left an horrific and abusive long term relationship. Took me 3 years to work up the courage to finally leave and everyone was telling me to stay, suck it up, to work things out, to stop being selfish, to give him a chance since he deserved it for all the years we had been together etc. They never had to live my life. They never understood that every day I woke up and didn’t leave him was a “second” chance. I was the queen of giving second chances, third chances, eighthundred and ninety third chances…

    I think that is why I stare at my AP and understand what he is going through. It doesn’t matter what his friends and family say because he is judging himself against an impossible ideal he has in his head about what a family should be. He wants the perfect family and he can’t understand why it hasn’t happened no matter how hard he has tried. Then he gets advice to make it work because he can do it if he changes his communication style etc. He gets told to work at it so he will. He gets told that a real man honours his commitments so he will. He gets told to be make changes and be the man he would want his daughter to marry – so he will. He forgets that sometimes relationships aren’t supposed to work and that two people may not always be compatible in the longrun. He forgets that the responsibility for a relationship lies with the TWO people in it.

    I know exactly how well you can ‘change’ the situation when only one of you is really trying. I also know that he won’t leave until he makes the decision for himself in his own time. He had seven months to do that and still he came back to me crying but NOT SINGLE! Why the hell am I still here? I love him but this is absolute toture to me! You see… he didn’t tell me he had a partner in the first place! As far as I was blissfully concerned he was a single father. When he finally worked up the courage to tell me after 8 MONTHS I was furious and so heartbroken. A couple months later he couldn’t make up his mind and I walked and started NC. I told him never to contact me again. He respected that.

    Until he came back after 7 months. Took him a hell of a lot of courage to do that to given what I know of him but what did he have to lose really? I question my sanity in this entire situation.

    I try to leave but he always finds the right words to say. I don’t even sleep with the man so if anyone suggests that he only wants ‘sex’ I can laugh in their faces! In some ways I wish it was just sex and not just the little everyday things. Sex would be easy. Love is not.

    He worries he will lose his daughter. With his partner telling his daughter that ‘daddy doesn’t deserve love’ and ‘you won’t love daddy when you are older’ I think that he is focussing on the wrong things. But what would I know? I’m just the home-wrecking whore who is trying to steal someone else’s man.

    Sure…but how many people know that he lied to me about his ‘single’ status and then came looking for me after seven months of NC? I never went looking for him. He has kept seeking me out with tears and saying “I love you”.

  11. Susan Says:

    Hope – What a mess for you. And unfortunately, I can relate to so much of it. I too, was in an abusive, albeit emotionally abusive relationship for almost 20 years. I too, felt that everyday I woke up and didn’t leave was a 2nd, 3rd, 3245th chance. The queen of second chances, I dub thee m’lady of second chances. 😉

    Your MM sounds alot like my xMM – from the pleasing to the ideal of “family” to the fear of losing his kids. I told my xMM that he needed to come to the realization of what he wanted without my influence, yet no matter what, I was always the proverbial “elephant” in the room. And finally i told him, that I was moving on; I couldn’t take it anymore. Funny that I thought I should be the one to disappear while he made his decision. In hindsight and during that time, I thought that was insane. Everyone should be a part of his life except me and he was going to decide about my life without me having any input? Really??? Since when would I have ever abdicated so much control to someone else? Why would you do that?

    I understand you loving him, wanting to be with him and his inability to make a decision that is so frustrating. He can’t have it both ways because YOU don’t want it that way. YOU deserve more. But bluntly, his decision is to do nothing. I’ve said it a million times – inaction is as much as decison as action. It just isn’t bad enough for him to do anything. It’s amazing the amount of pain these MM seem capable of living under. Or do we just delude ourselves into think that it is so. I can tell you that I have learned things since my d-day about what went on during “no contact” between MM and his w and trust me, it didn’t sound all that horrible – vacations in the carribiean, black tie holiday parties, fancy hotel nights, babysitters, sex in Florida, sex at ‘home’. Sounds like he was in utter agony.

    I think your MM is weak. It was weak of him to come to you after no-contact with NOTHING CHANGED. I hate to be blunt about it, but what did he do to deserve you? Nothing. He misses you, he loves you and yet . . . he’s still married. The cold hard truth is that he’s not going to lose his child(ren). Life doesn’t work that way. Children are smarter than we give them credit for. My MM was afraid that he would lose his children too and now he’s closer with them than ever. In fact, they want to live with him and send as much as time as possible with him, not their mother. Your MM’s family and friends support his decision to leave/to be with you and yet, he does nothing. He’s a coward. He smells like my xMM – weak. (I’m in a bad way tonight, sorry.)

    Yes, I know about the boards too. My xMM’s W wrote on them. A lot of bible thumping, stick it out, repent and see the light kind of talk there. Not very realistic. Let’s beat the love out of you. Let’s put you through detox so you can leave a passion-less existence. Don’t be happy. We don’t want you to be happy because no one is happy. The boards talk about happiness like it’s a disease. Shame on them. Sometimes the horse is laying dead in the dirt and no matter how hard you whip him, he’s never going to get back up. Those boards would have you saddle him up and pretend to ride him anyway.

    He loves you? I’m sure he does. But actions speak louder than words. What do his actions say to you about that?

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