Better late than never, right. Again, my apology for not getting back here sooner.
I had no idea that you lived with the "nothing going on" thing for so long. I had no idea that there were financial aspects to the affair. I had no idea you had to be a sleuth.
Our sitch wasn't unique, lying and using family finances to support an A are givens. The most important aspects I learned in the beginning about A's, was to not underestimate the depth of deceit by a WS, the lengths they would go to protect their A and how much harm they would allow to a M and family, emotionally and financially. Many of us here have read horror stories and many here have lived them, stories that seem so extreme yet they're true. It makes sense to arm yourself the best you can (#1 being get your head out of the sand asap to the possible degree of damage) to prevent further harm to yourself and the family.
Maybe the power in the polygraph had less to do with the "truth" you were getting than the fact that you were committed to creating some boundaries.
Yeah, more so with the second go round of still wanting the test. The first round was simply seeking some truth. Remember, I was learning about boundaries, not an expert at all about enforcing (do we ever get to expert levels with this???). The second go round of the test, you're right, it was about committing further to that boundary, verifying the truth I had and less about new truths I considered less important, all in that order.
I don't believe in the accuracy of polygraphs and was taught that they are pointless in law school. I revisited that issue here -- mainly because I was astonished that people were actively promoting passing a polygraph on MB as a requirement for reconciliation (yes, Dorothy, we have gone completely insane!)
It sounded crazy to me the first time I read it being suggested to someone else. It's not a tool I'd suggest lightly to use and it's not one I'd demean if a BS was considering one. If a BS decides to use this tool and follows through, unless they give the impression they are doing it vindictively, I would support them cuz I know how difficult the process is to wrap your head around. Aside from finding it unbelievable you are going to such lengths, you open yourself up to ridicule for resorting to a poly from anyone who has not been in your shoes.
I view MB like East Berlin -- you can't actually talk to anyone there but maybe you can influence the thinking a bit. I feared that those that followed that advice might break up their families -- impacting their CHILDREN -- based upon questionable science.
LdG, it's not the test that breaks the family up and impacts the children, it's the deceit and thoughtlessness of an A. We got past the poly episode fairly quick. The A/ deceit, took much longer to heal from and that damage was far more devastating to our M and our family than any test could be.
I found no independent studies that confirmed accuracy beyond mere chance. And I LOOKED. And Medc presumably looked WAY harder than me, but not a one did we find. All of the studies that support the accuracy are sponsored by polygraphers. They just ARE. I didn't make that up.
I don't believe you made any of that up. I also read a lot, spoke to some people who had experience with polygraphs and who also helped me find a reputable polygraph tester. I believed there was enough accuracy for what I needed. On the flip side, a WS sponsors his/her own truths, the person who willingly and convincingly lied to your face day after day. At the time, the accuracy of my H was zero so the poly's accuracy was miles ahead that point.
I can see, I think, using it as a tool to bring things to head. What I can't see is placing any merit in the report.
Yes, it can bring things to a head and cause a whole lot of conflict. It was that very conflict that led to squashing the elephant in the room which led to the steps leading to recovery. MaryEmma said she would take a poly if her H felt it would be helpful to him, just the offer to take one to relieve fear in her H shows more care and concern than what an actual test would confirm. Merit is measured in more than one form.
Marriage can suck the life out of you. I had a friend who said my family put a vacuum cleaner hose in my ear and sucked the life out of me. FTR, I had to go back and edit that sentence several times to make it honest. It's shameful, really.
Divorce seemed like the Holy Grail -- someday, maybe -- or something I earned by suffering X amount, except X was never defined.
An unhealthy marriage will drain both spouses. It may be obvious in one spouse the damage being done and not so obvious in the other yet there is still hurt on both sides.
You mention yourself not defining X amount of suffering before D was earned. In my case during the unhealthy years, I looked at it as my H's job to realize the hurt he was doing and change the dynamic. Why couldn't HE see X amount of hurt, hear my X amount of hurt. Looking back now, that was backwards. It was my job to do something about my hurt other than become resentful and continually move my line up with tolerable hurt and continue to blame him for it. Blaming him was a way to avoid taking responsibility myself.
The test was initially offered up an opportunity to reassure me that I was safe from lies in the M regarding the OW. No brow beating, no demands. I was posting on MB at the time and brow beating/demands over this was NOT encouraged, very much frowned upon actually.
Well, that's astonishing. Are you sure? Browbeating, judging and demanding seem to be the three rails on which MB rides.
Yes, I'm sure on that. My vulnerability as a new BS put me in a spot of doing something I'd normally not do but I'd still had enough sense to rationalize out the pros and cons of what was posted to me. When you separate emotions from logistics (understanding A's help with this), goals and the means to them become more clear.
The second go-round re: poly was stated in the same manner but the focus was specific and life altering cuz it had to with me remaining in a M having doubts about the extent of what he'd disclosed.
What possible difference did it make? Why did you need to know?
You might have a hard time understanding this one cuz I know that honesty is not (or didn't use to be) high on your EN's list. It's #1 on mine and for as long as I can remember even before knowing about EN's. It's always been the most important. I needed to know my H was telling me a very important truth, was he even capable of that. If he wasn't able to give me one truth, what would make think anything that came out of his mouth was true. Envisioning a M of always looking over my shoulder, being afraid of the other shoe to drop, was less than appealing. I'd be miserable with growing resentment (btdt) and in turn be miserable to him and myself.
I'm glad for y'all -- and I am being sincere.
I'll take your word on this, thank you.
I wouldn't do it for a whole host of reasons, one of which is that what we have is so tenuous, it wouldn't survive me being hooked up to a machine being asked about orgasms.
Those types of questions weren't ever suggested to me by the forum or the tester and I don't remember reading suggestions like that on internet poly info. You figure out what truth is most important with guiding your decision to remain in the M, and go with it. It's not about how much can I humiliate my WS or make him squirm.
It's all past history now. Could it have been solved a different way, I'm sure there are several ways to approach it in hindsight. It was what it was.
No doubt. Have no idea what that better way might have been but it seems to be always elusively out of reach.
The best scenario would have been a confession before d-day and that's second to no A. Elusively out of reach, as long as we learn from experiences, better ways become obvious and very reachable.
My IC said, "turn on your 'Find my iPhone' and show him how to use it so he can see where you are." And I would have had to show him how to use it.
No, absolutely not.
My IC said, "sit down next to him one night, show him what your posting and talk to him about it."
No, absolutely not.
My IC said, "give him all your passwords to everything."
OK, fine. FINE.
Who actually knows all their passwords? I made a token effort. Hell, if I had to list all of my passwords today, it would take hours to retrieve them.
My husband used the info he got to control me.
It sounds like your IC understood transparency measures to put in place in early recovery. It's not hard to see the resistance you put up against these measures with how you've written it out. From a BS viewpoint, your interest was more in protecting yourself than relieving your H of fear and ongoing secrecy. That's the purpose of transparency in early recovery, avoiding incidents that fuel more fear/anger/mistrust. I don't know if your H used the info to control you or if he used it to control a part of his life he'd realized was so out of control and in turn you viewed it as controlling you. When independent behaviour goes from 100% to zero (or feels like it) and honesty and transparency is supposed to go from zero to 100%, I get how those drastic 'supposed to happen' transitions can be insulting. From a BS viewpoint, resistance to those transitions scream 'unsafe and dangerous'.
I don't think you meant "undermines" A's but what is it that I do that you perceive is inconsistent with supporting recovery and marriage?
I've thought about the impression I get from some things you write and undermine is the word I come up with. I could go through your posts over the past several years and find examples but what would that prove since I'm not so sure at times you realize what you're saying is undermining aspects of A's. You believe what you think, doesn't mean it's correct or respectful towards someone who spouse had an A. All I can do is ask that you consider not all BS's are like your H (or how I perceive your view of him). Consider asking yourself when you argue for WS's rights in R (aside from physical safety), is any of it at the expense of the BS? Does any of it justify the WS's thinking for having an A or is it solely theirs to own despite how crappy the M was?
Recovery (more so early R) has to be about the BS, it just does if the BS is going to want to continue on with R. Does a WS need to be made to feel like scum, no, I believe they do that quite well to themselves but the privileges they had before d-day, need drastic reeling in. As recovery progresses and healing happens, things change, mindsets of both spouses change for the better and a M of mutual respect unfolds. But, you gotta get through the lousy phases of early recovery, first.
Even if you can't imagine the pain and destruction a BS feels, consider having the appreciation for it.
I think there is a corresponding boundary of not punishing your spouse for honesty.
And honestly, I don't thing we will ever get there because he gets SO MAD when I express anything that could be remotely labeled at critical.
Perhaps I should have set a high bar, but I wasn't exactly in a position to do so, right?
I'm not sure what timeline you're talking about here, initially post d-day or the present, it seems like both. My little rant above about early R suggests that no, you weren't in a position to set any bar. Remember I also said as R progresses, this changes. While things may not have changed in your situation, a R where both spouses are on board, dynamics change, eventually. I agree with the boundary of not punishing your spouse for honesty. Post d-day and early R (let's say a year or so) we still had our fair share of rough moments where I'm sure my H could have felt punished for his honesty although he said nothing.
I do believe that poor boundaries allow affairs.
Don't ever allow yourself to be in a position where an affair is an option and you won't have and affair, regardless of how incredibly miserable you are. You can be incredibly miserable for decades ( I KNOW) without having an affair.
Agree poor boundaries allow affairs to begin, it doesn't stop there, I don't think. When a mindset of deserving happiness for example, shifts from fixing issues in the M to seeking happiness from someone outside the M, an A becomes an option when the opportunity arises. People can't live in a gated life forever, there will always be opportunities. Heck, internet forums are opportunities for someone who rarely leaves home.
I have a whole bunch of stuff from which to recover, and after about a billion hours of therapy I developed a highly sophisticated, color coded balloon system.
Sadly, I haven't seen a better approach.
I'm not sure tons of therapy would've helped me get anywhere more quickly. Basically, some junk I had to toss into the garbage. The past is the past, some of which I had control over and some not.
Recognizing my own role helped. While my H was in his A, I'd started working through how we got to such an unhappy state in our M. I went backwards with events one by one cuz I couldn't pin point when it started. I looked at things he'd done and then looked at the fact that with each crappy thing, I did have a choice with how I reacted. I couldn't beat myself up for choosing how I reacted (sometimes this choice was as simple as staying in the M) cuz that's all I was capable of at the time. By the time d-day came, I'd already started looking at my own junk and I was determined not to fall back into old habits.
From there it was recognizing how I coped and this was the hardest. It's that looking in the mirror and knowing what a jerk I could be even when I didn't want to. For as hard as my mirror looking was, accepting my part was like a weight lifted off. Doesn't make sense, does it. You'd think I'd feel better believing I had no responsibility for the state of our M. It wasn't that way for me with what I was processing. Maybe it had to with taking back control despite viewing myself in a negative light. Not sure.
Is autonomy lost, sure, and it's heavier on the WS side for a period of time. That changes as the M is rebuilt. The question is whether or not the investment is worth the change in mindset and lifestyle and it goes for both spouses.
It was not my experience that it went for both spouses. I'm 100% clear that nothing in his life changed. He still travels for work every other week and had since 2006. He still hunts through the winter months at his lease. He still places a huge priority on skiing.
It has not been my experience that that changes as the marriage is rebuilt.
Where R and a better M is the goal for both spouses, the BS loses independence too. I did a lot of stuff on my own, a lot. Now all of a sudden, we're having to spend time with each other, I'm having to ask him about all sorts of stuff which before I just went ahead and did or made a decision about something on my own. It was a big adjustment for me.
You know the only thing that has changed Vitt? The ONLY thing that changed? He stopped blowing up at me.
That is it. And it actually happened last March 9 at my father's 86th birthday party and if you missed the posts on that, since deleted, that SUCKED.
It won the "This sucks for 2013 Family Situation Award".
I'm kind of proud.
You have options, LdG.