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The Trigger and the Fallout


The Other Man / Woman The other side of the story: Support and discussion for those who find themselves involved with a committed partner.

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Old 26th September 2017, 4:30 PM   #1
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The Trigger and the Fallout

Hello all,

I don't usually throw temper tantrums, but found myself doing just that these past two Sundays. You see, a family member was admitted to the hospital, and Sunday was the day I had planned to visit. When I found out the location of said hospital, I felt panic, because it is in a part of the city I have no reason to travel to... and in addition... it is literally in walking distance to xMM's home (I've never been there, just know the address).

I felt the panic when I learned the location, but that panic was nothing compared to the actual TANTRUM I threw - especially on the first Sunday I visited. I was whining like a child, like a combination of bargaining, toddler-type crying, complaining about having to go at all, and falling to the floor (as in, you'll have to drag me kicking and screaming)! I could hardly believe my own behavior! Of course, I had to parent myself... Well, Vivir, you are certainly acting like a small child, but you still have to go. Now, why are you so upset about this? Can we talk about it?

So. I came up with the following:

1. I felt ashamed to go on "his" side of town - for any reason; I literally did not want to show my face.
2. I felt that if, by chance, he were to see me out there, he would think I was trying to stalk him.
3. It brought both my jealousy, bitterness and loneliness directly to the surface and I felt inadequate and angry.
4. My anger tended towards violence. I imagined myself with a bat in my hands, and in later imagery, the bat was ablaze... and I stood in front of a bridge. I think I meant to burn the bridge down, severing our connection.

This happened again, though with less intensity, on the second Sunday - two days ago. On this particular Sunday, I was also met with a massive trigger that came in song form: "Malibu" by Miley Cyrus. It was the lyrics! While xMM and his BW did not meet in Malibu, they did meet in a tropical location, and I imagined that perhaps this song is representative of how she feels towards him. And if he felt the same, I would like to know why he wanted to play with me. I would like to say that he used me, knowing what he had with her. And knowing he wasn't going to leave her to be with me.

And while I can hardly imagine what she must feel like, it is one of the only times I have considered her feelings, to be honest. You see, I realized over the last six or so months that I feel jealousy to the extent of hatred towards wives, in particular. I often wonder what is so special about them; why do they get someone to love, who loves them, and I don't? I admit it, it is wholly unfair and generalizing and ridiculous, and it is not something I am proud of, but I think it derives from my terrible history with building romantic relationships... my perception of being unwanted by the opposite sex- you know, except for being used and thrown away by them. And then, I am mad at myself for allowing it. It has been a slow-going process away from such a negative place for me. But it is said that the first step is admitting that there is a problem.

Which brings up another issue. I had been reading between pages 310-320 of this forum and found a thread about a guy finding out six months down the line that his girlfriend had been an OW for four years. girlfriend had 4 year relationship with MMHe decided to dump her, as she "disgusted" him. And then, on a recent thread, there was the discussion about how a past OW status would be like a death knell to a blooming relationship. I realize that people's circumstances and criteria and opinions vary wildly, but it didn't occur to me until last year that my status further tarnished me. I had been feeling unworthy of what I really want (mutually fulfilling monogamous relationship)- specifically for having been involved with a married man. I think that the opposition sentiments of posts like those brought this to the surface for me.

And then today. As I was awakening, I felt a tickle in my muscles. I imagined myself immovable on the shower floor. Paralyzed by grief. I had Love once. She is my mother, and she died. I am devastated. This is the fourteenth year. I had lived without Love for so long. I think I was desperate. When I saw him, I thought he was The One. He seemed to want me, too. And I let myself get carried away by it all, perhaps conflating the possibility of friendship with the possibility of romance... trouncing all over his boundaries and mine. Hurting us all.

So, that's it. That's me today. Any thoughts?

Last edited by Vivir; 26th September 2017 at 4:36 PM..
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Old 26th September 2017, 7:56 PM   #2
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I'm guessing you have never been married. I'm a wife, loved by one, but I've also been thrown away like garbage by xmm and many other guys. So you can easily be both. The secret is to be thankful for what you have, show gratitude and go towards those who treat you with love and don't make you hide, feel bad. It's taken me a very long painful road to get to that point. Sunlight is always better than shadows.

It's okay to be mad. I'm mad. You just use it to learn and move on. As for your future, anyone who judges you, you don't want anyway. Because life and marriage is a long, messy road. Better to find out upfront who someone is so you don't get hurt down the road. Plenty of people out there do not care about your past. My H knows of my past and I know of his. The past is the past.
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Old 26th September 2017, 8:44 PM   #3
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Be kind to yourself. Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Purpose to never again accept less than you deserve. Non of us are perfect. I wish you well in the future.
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Old 26th September 2017, 9:07 PM   #4
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You had me at "I don't usually throw temper tantrums..." Best opening phrase ever. You've taken some Dale Carnegie public speaking courses, haven't you!?

OK, opening hook aside, you sound like an extremely intuitive woman, which is great. I think scheduling some therapy sessions would probably serve you well. Everything you've already worked through in your mind is all good stuff, and natural to feel all of those feels, but it sounds like you might need some help in the self worth department and maybe talking to someone could help you get there.

BTW, I'm a former wife and I have many close friends or relatives in less than happy unions....it is not always greener on the other side, trust me.
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Old 27th September 2017, 12:22 AM   #5
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Vivir, i also think counseling or therapy would be good for you. My counselor said that I could walk into a room with a thousand men and not notice anyone except the "type" I'm attracted to. Something that has to do with my family of origin.
And it's probably true. Because I see my sister and my mom doing the same. In our cases we've been cheated on. I'm working on myself and hopefully I'll be a better picker. ��
Well actually we are working on our marriage, and if it doesn't work out I hope I'll have worked enough on my codependency to not even want to pick someone else in a long time!
And if someone is worried about your past, they probably have their own issues.
Good luck, I hope your friend in the hospital gets well.

Last edited by Onedaysoon; 27th September 2017 at 12:24 AM.. Reason: Spelling
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Old 27th September 2017, 3:08 AM   #6
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why were you at the hospital? who is in the hospital?

you have a right to go anywhere you want. any side of town you want to be in.

they don't own the world.

imo, if you are throwing yourself on the floor you need anger management.

as for the fact that you haven't found love yet and the worry that your next prospects for a LTR might judge you, first, "dont borrow trouble" and next i wouldn't reveal anything more about the relationship other than the fact that " the last man i was with took advantage of me" and "i went to counseling to learn how to handle my emotions and move on".
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Old 27th September 2017, 8:02 AM   #7
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I want to thank everyone who has read (I see you, jah526) and especially those who have responded thus far (MidnightBlue, BTDT, CautiouslyOptimistic, Onedaysoon, and Miss Clavel).

:-)

I was surprised; I fully expected to be slammed, both for my hatred comment and for letting my perspective of xMM's possible thoughts get the best of me.

BTDT, the Bible verse you quoted gave me an unexpected relief. Thank you for your advice and well wishes.

CautiouslyOptimistic, I do have a book by Dale Carnegie! Haven't taken any of his classes though... but have been told that I think waaaaaay too much. This is one reason I like to get the opinions of others so much. I think my thoughts are far too narrow because I spend a lot of time alone.

MidnightBlue, no, I have never been married. In fact, the closest I've come is a couple of guys proposing marriage for financial comeuppance as opposed to love. I didn't take them seriously, but have since learned that lots of people marry for many different reasons - and love is one of the most recent in human history. Did not know that at all.

I want you all to know that I realize my subjective hatred of wives is unfair and unfounded; people have the right to choose the person they want to spend their time and lives with. And all it takes is one - one person that we click with, one who "does it" for us. Maybe I passed that person over; maybe I have yet to meet the person... who knows. But I definitely agree with MidnightBlue that thankfulness and gratitude go a long way in realizing and appreciating what is right in front of us. I don't want to be that person, and I am usually NOT that person that hopes others relationships fail or suck just because I haven't experienced one at the level in which they have. I don't care how much pain the affair or any other bad break up has caused me. I don't want to be *that* person :-(

Onedaysoon, I have realized that fixating on a particular type is the fast track to limiting ourselves from the wider pool of potential dates. I have instead stepped out of my comfort zone and entertained guys that didn't immediately catch my attention but ended up offering something far more valuable. But I, like you, have to catch myself, because I fall for certain people, but I love to assert that I don't have a type...

I really appreciate your responses and think you all have given excellent advice. Thank you.

************************************************** **********************

If you all don't mind, I have a question I would like to pose to you and anyone else interested in answering:

At what point should one disclose such a personal thing as having been the OW or the OM? I have a strictly platonic male friend who was once an OM. I believe the relationship had been over for a year before he married his wife, and they have been married for five years. He has never disclosed the information. He says it is in the past... his thoughts are very similar to what Miss Clavel has written: "don't borrow trouble". I often wonder that if the whole truth came out one day - let's say 20 years from now, wouldn't a significant other felt that he or she had been lied to for the entire relationship?

By the way, CautiouslyOptimistic, Onedaysoon, and Miss Clavel, I sought out help from a mental health professional specifically for anger and self-esteem issues. I have found that I do not want to discuss the affair with the therapist, perhaps due to shame.
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Old 27th September 2017, 8:24 AM   #8
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op,
please don't be so hard on yourself. You are ding fine, and even better than that, you are using your experiences to learn and grow. Be proud of that.

As you can likley guess , I am no fan of affairs in any way shape or form, but what's done is done. You are taking the tack that you want to use your experiences to learn what sort of relationship partner is right for you.

About worry how a future relationship partner might view you because you were once part of an affair? try not to let that get yo down. think of it like this. All your experiences, including the A , have made you who you are. If someone is in a relationship with you and cares about you, they'll understand and accept that it was part of creating the person they care about...You! It doesn't mean you are going to cheat on them.
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Old 27th September 2017, 8:46 AM   #9
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Vivir, I'm in the 'don't tell' camp. Is disclosing this information beneficial to the new relationship? We all have a history of good, bad and ugly. I wouldn't want to know the explicit details of my (future LOL) bf's past RL, nor would I want to share mine with him. The past is the past.

If I'm on a date and am asked about prior relationships, I just say was seeing someone but we had different goals. Didn't work out. Simple (well not really but you catch my drift ;-) ).
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Old 27th September 2017, 9:19 AM   #10
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I had a relationship with a guy who had been the OM in his last relationship before me. I didn't initially judge him. When I met him his affair had ended about 3yrs earlier. The whole story is the MW who he was seeing left her husband after a year long affair, moved in with him (guy I dated), then went back to her husband, then strung both of them along for a bit, then left both of them.

Okay, so since the guy I was seeing had been out of that mess for a few years and since he appeared quite normal and level headed otherwise, I had no problem getting involved with him. However as time went on I soon learned that he took zero responsibility for his own actions and saw himself as being the biggest victim, not the BS, not the OW's kids, whom she moved right in with her OM as soon she left their father, then took them back to their dad, then moved them out again, supposedly to live with yet another OM (poor kids). Nope, the guy I was seeing had no empathy for anyone else but he felt sooo sorry for himself. Normal, when one has recently had their heart broken and is trying to cope with their own overwhelming pain, but it had been 3yrs and he was still wallowing in self pity while he saw himself as completely faultless and without any responsibility in the matter.

I broke up with the guy, not because he had been in affair in the past, but because he had no personal insight and took no responsibility for his own problems, not just for the affair but in other aspects of his life as well.

So I would say I don't think the right guy will judge you OP, provided that you are completely over the affair and don't come across as feeling sorry for yourself and blaming everyone else. After a certain age we all come with a certain amount of baggage. It's to be expected but when I start dating a guy I don't want to hear him whine and complain about awful his exes were. Sure I'm interested to hear his perspective on why he thinks his past relationships failed, but if all he wants to do is talk about is awful his ex was then that is a turn off.

As for when and how much you disclose, that's a personal choice. If a guy didn't wish to discuss his past with me early on in our relationship I would be okay with that. I don't have some God given right to know just because I'm dating the guy. However if he never opened up to me about his past then I'm not sure how we would advance to the next level of intimacy in our relationship. I think your guy friend who has never told his wife about his past must be lacking a degree of intimacy and trust in his relationship that most people long for. You know more about him and his past than his own spouse does. That implies that he hasn't really let his spouse in and let her see all of him and that will spell trouble for them down the road.
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Old 27th September 2017, 11:27 AM   #11
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Regarding the idea that you are "tarnished" for future relationships. For some people, a prior A will be a dealbreaker. That's a fact. However, if you can show how you learned from your choices, how you changed and grew, I think for someone who truly cares about you that will have some weight. Because it shows you have self-refection, a willingness to accept responsibility for your actions, a capability for change. And those are all valuable things to have.

As a wife myself, my H watched me do all those things...face myself, take responsibility for my choices, slowly change and grow positively. And while I am now still "tarnished," the actions I took after the A showed a lot of who I was and wanted to be to my H and to myself.

Many people say "people can't change." I don't believe that. Is change easy? Heck no, it's incredibly difficult to rewire oneself, and accept and learn from choices from the past. But the work is worth it and I think you are on the right path.
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Old 27th September 2017, 11:48 AM   #12
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I recently started seeing someone, it's not exclusive and very new. But we had the "ex" talk. He's gone through a divorce. Although with other people i've gone out w, the ex talk stays to a very minimum. "I was married...x yrs" "going through a divorce" for some reason with this person it came out, not all the gory details but yes was married, yes involved in an A, this long etc. There was no judgements no questions. He said you can share as much or as little as you want when you are ready.

Who knows what will happen, but I think with the right person they understand the past is the past we all have things we've gone through things we bring with us etc.
It's a part of who you are but doesn't define who you are. Have you learned? Have you grown? That's what's important.
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Old 27th September 2017, 5:32 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vivir View Post
I want to thank everyone who has read (I see you, jah526) and especially those who have responded thus far (MidnightBlue, BTDT, CautiouslyOptimistic, Onedaysoon, and Miss Clavel).

:-)

I was surprised; I fully expected to be slammed, both for my hatred comment and for letting my perspective of xMM's possible thoughts get the best of me.

BTDT, the Bible verse you quoted gave me an unexpected relief. Thank you for your advice and well wishes.

CautiouslyOptimistic, I do have a book by Dale Carnegie! Haven't taken any of his classes though... but have been told that I think waaaaaay too much. This is one reason I like to get the opinions of others so much. I think my thoughts are far too narrow because I spend a lot of time alone.

MidnightBlue, no, I have never been married. In fact, the closest I've come is a couple of guys proposing marriage for financial comeuppance as opposed to love. I didn't take them seriously, but have since learned that lots of people marry for many different reasons - and love is one of the most recent in human history. Did not know that at all.

I want you all to know that I realize my subjective hatred of wives is unfair and unfounded; people have the right to choose the person they want to spend their time and lives with. And all it takes is one - one person that we click with, one who "does it" for us. Maybe I passed that person over; maybe I have yet to meet the person... who knows. But I definitely agree with MidnightBlue that thankfulness and gratitude go a long way in realizing and appreciating what is right in front of us. I don't want to be that person, and I am usually NOT that person that hopes others relationships fail or suck just because I haven't experienced one at the level in which they have. I don't care how much pain the affair or any other bad break up has caused me. I don't want to be *that* person :-(

Onedaysoon, I have realized that fixating on a particular type is the fast track to limiting ourselves from the wider pool of potential dates. I have instead stepped out of my comfort zone and entertained guys that didn't immediately catch my attention but ended up offering something far more valuable. But I, like you, have to catch myself, because I fall for certain people, but I love to assert that I don't have a type...

I really appreciate your responses and think you all have given excellent advice. Thank you.

************************************************** **********************

If you all don't mind, I have a question I would like to pose to you and anyone else interested in answering:

At what point should one disclose such a personal thing as having been the OW or the OM? I have a strictly platonic male friend who was once an OM. I believe the relationship had been over for a year before he married his wife, and they have been married for five years. He has never disclosed the information. He says it is in the past... his thoughts are very similar to what Miss Clavel has written: "don't borrow trouble". I often wonder that if the whole truth came out one day - let's say 20 years from now, wouldn't a significant other felt that he or she had been lied to for the entire relationship?

By the way, CautiouslyOptimistic, Onedaysoon, and Miss Clavel, I sought out help from a mental health professional specifically for anger and self-esteem issues. I have found that I do not want to discuss the affair with the therapist, perhaps due to shame.
Concerning your question... I know my OM has not told his W of the last 16 years of our past-first relationship that ended roughly around that time mark. And we've been back at it again for the last 2 1/2 years. I do believe if she knew as Anika99 mentions...'it implies a lack of intimacy/ trust in their relationship.' I have told him that he should have told her then, as if she finds out later, yes, she probably would feel like she's 'been lied to the whole time.' He was of the ilk, that it was- 'better not to borrow trouble.' His main university friends knew about our relationship in the past, and I don't think they said anything to her either, upon marriage. He & her still visit his university friends that we knew. Thus, time around he has not told his friends we have been seeing each other again.

Personally, I think if you've reached the stage of a long-term relationship - with someone new, you should disclose your past.
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Old 27th September 2017, 8:51 PM   #14
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Vivir,

Your last paragraph was so poignant. I lost my mom last year. She loved me more than anyone ever has. After she passed, someone close to me placed his hand gently on my chest and said "she is still with you - you carry her in your heart". I think of that whenever I'm feeling lonely or unloved. She is with me. Yours is with you too.
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Old 27th September 2017, 10:08 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vivir View Post

If you all don't mind, I have a question I would like to pose to you and anyone else interested in answering:

At what point should one disclose such a personal thing as having been the OW or the OM? I have a strictly platonic male friend who was once an OM. I believe the relationship had been over for a year before he married his wife, and they have been married for five years. He has never disclosed the information. He says it is in the past... his thoughts are very similar to what Miss Clavel has written: "don't borrow trouble". I often wonder that if the whole truth came out one day - let's say 20 years from now, wouldn't a significant other felt that he or she had been lied to for the entire relationship?
Here are my thoughts. You are under no obligation to talk about your past, ever. It's your business. That said though, I'd want to know if the person I was with had a huge issue with something I did because my past is a part of who I am and if you have a big problem with my past, you have a big problem with me.

You can say, no I am not that person anymore, but thats not really true, is it? People rarely change that much and our experiences define us. I want someone who accepts me, warts and all. Because I'm going to screw up here and there over the next X years so I want to know now if a guy wants to be with ME or the version of me they have developed in their mind. If a guy wants a perfect Barbie doll without flaws or a past, it's best they move on now before anyone gets hurt.

In my own life, my husband and I told each other basically everything about a month into the relationship. So its not first date stuff but it was before moving in together. If someone has a huge issue with infidelity, they deserve to know so they can go find someone else. I can tell you that being honest and upfront in the first month or so rarely had any effect. In my experience, guys didn't care about my past and they also opened up, also having skeletons of their own.

But share what you like. There are some thoughts and moments I have always kept as my own. In the end, it is your private past.
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