The kickass survival site for anyone who's ever been lied to, cheated on and left for dead.
You made me tear up I needed this today because I had a meltdown last night :( it's all been so much. And I was told I was so negative now and I'm trying but sometimes it's really hard to be positive when all the yuck us in your mind. Love you girls - Ann from Texas
Ann from Texas,It's Herculean to be positive when going through this. Please...give yourself a break even if others can't. It's a lot of pain to wade through because we can get to shore.
Excellent words. I didn't even realize that I had let others dictate my value until this entire mess. Those days are gone now, but unfortunately, bad habits die hard. So I continually remind myself that my worth and value is between me and God and no one else. If someone fails to recognize it, then that's their loss. Practice makes perfect.
Anne, I just wrote you a long reply and lost it with airport WiFi ... Arghh!You are entitled to your feelings. Period. You are entitled to express those feeling as you wish. Period. I found that there were times that I was behaving in a way that I didn't like. I was gentle with myself and worked forward to behave as I wanted to. With that, and ongoing encouragement (thank you ladies) to concentrate on myself. I wanted to introduce more positivity into my thoughts and life. I am determined to make this a positive growth experience in my life ... because I can. How have I done that so far? I discovered a depth of love and support from my family and friends which has astonished me - I am so blessed and grateful! I have always told myself I suffered from fear of abandonment - I was abandoned - I survived! I can change my story! And ...
Continued ... I have learned sooo much about affairs; I am determined to volunteer to help others in some capacity as soon as I am able. (Perhaps organizing a BAN group in my area.). I will continue to learn and grow in life - and yes, my husband's affair is a part of my life - and hopefully I can help others in my journey. I love you Anne.
i was told at work i was so " depressive" by a young 24 tr old no one knows at work what i have gone through when i tried to explain sometimes life is not all roses and i was ok for me i was told i was no " tinkerbell" !!! if only people knew i thought i am 49 and next week is my year anniversary of d day so my head is all over the place as you can imagine , but as i walked away from said 24 yr old i thought come and see me in 20 yrs lets see what life has thrown at you and if your still standing!!! luckily i am just !! and so i continue to stand a tiny bit taller every day thank you for allowing me a place of hope xx
Ha! Don't ya just love the narcissism and rose-colored glasses of relative youth! The sad truth is that by the time that 24-year-old makes it to 49, she or he will have gone through heartbreak of some form or another. Buried a parent or a child or a sibling or a spouse. Lost a job or two. Dealt with a health scare or two. Been divorced and dealt with infidelity. Knowing that, try to hold that naive person in compassion even as they sit in judgement of you. That way, you take back your power.
I love this! I struggle with reminding myself that none of this is really about me. I've been bombarded since I found out by intrusive thoughts. My therapist suggested the elastic band technique to try to rid myself of them and now I use that also as an opportunity to build myself up. Every time I have an unpleasant thought, I snap the band and replace it with something good/positive about myself. Almost a week of doing it and I see results. Last night I had a dream about confronting the OW in which she said something along the lines of being able to see why my husband would be with her when I was the alternative. But then throughout the rest of the dream, she showed that even attempting to try to get her to "get it" was pointless because she is not a mature, rational person. I woke up feeling strangely peaceful. As hard as it is, I think we have to keep reminding ourselves that the affair wasn't about us nor does it define us. I also choose to believe it doesn't define my relationship. Hugs to each of you having a rough day!
That dream was the perfect opportunity for you to work out what's going on in your brain. She doesn't get it because she sees it as a competition. She doesn't have empathy or maturity to understand that anyone with self-respect wouldn't be complicit in the deception of another person. So, in a way, you've been able to "confront" her...and see the futility in that. Time to let her go, like a cancer.
Elle,You said it beautifully and it takes Herculean strength to get through betrayal and the years of it's shattering aftermath. I believe that my survival lies in intrinsically knowing that my worth is not determined by his view of me.Sweet Ann I've been singing all morning a song maybe you know? Old Bluegrass song with they Lyrics "Everybody wants to get to Heaven....but nobody wants to die?"That song stuck with me as a young woman and I took it to heart. I'm not afraid no Sir....Somehow I realized all along that I had to fly solo....go rouge...go down under.. it's my very own "inside job," and up to me to find independence and way beyond this horrific pain. Another woman's letter struck me down..... and have changed it to fit my husbands thinking.....if he'd written a letter upon our marriage? - at the beginning. Instead he DID this.... in real life while never consulting me.This IMAGINARY letter is for all those years my husband lived a parallel life THIS IS HOW HE VIEWED ME.....Dear Valkyrie (wife)I married you because I loved you and knew you loved me. I trusted you and felt safe with you sexually and more importantly emotionally and expected you to heal all my wounds and attend to all my needs. You validated all my experiences even when I was sad, entitled or felt worthless you affirmed, and appreciated me and I expected you to gratify all my unspoken needs. I needed you to always do what I wanted when I wanted it and be the woman I needed you to be for me because your represented me and my worth depended on you and our children being an extension of me....my humor....my intellect....my power my attractiveness to all other women. I want you to read my mind and without me asking give me everything that I needed (and even when I didn't know exactly what that was) you needed to figure this out without me ever asking...... you must read my mind..... or I become outraged..... for me.....because you vowed you loved me unconditionally, and your my mommy, daddy, and baby Jesus, Mary and (I will find myself hiding some faceless whore and further resenting you because you didn't figure out what I was doing behind your back all these years that made me so angry you didn't catch me I needed you to stop me).....And if you don't read my mind or do what I want I will be really-really angry, or depressed, You can't get mad at me I hate female emotions, I may have to destroy you, even leave you, but certainly blame you and cheat on you I need constant attention and validation, because my needs are more important than yours. I need you and the children to be constructs and other people act as my objects in order for me to do what I ever I want when I want to. And the only way to stop me is by catching me. Even then, everyone will blame you for everything that's wrong with me. P.S. I Don't want to hear about your needs and who you really are. Your Hard Working husband
-2"Everybody wants to go to Heaven and nobody wants to die...."I did not mean I'm not afraid to die as in wanting to but rather no longer living in that horrible fear and Infidelity fog, and more willing to speak my truth to power, it's where real passion lies......
((V)) I shall do that again ((V))Have you heard this Omar M podcast? http://www.westcoasttraumaproject.com/podcast/omar-minwalla-psyd/ I know you like his work. Ignoring the labels (some of which sound frankly odd to British ears) we'd do well to remove the word 'disorder' and concentrate on behaviour. Sexual acting out; covert, compartmentalised, within an intimate relationship or family system, causes trauma to the deceived spouse. What's shocking from his experience is the lack of understanding or support for partners. It's a human rights issue.
Shout Out to Iris! and the UK..Yes I respect Minwalla's work and will watch this podcast We are saving up to have my husband attend a clinic this coming fall.That LETTER above that I spewed out was inspired by a book I just devoured called "The Men On My Couch. True Stories of Sex. Love and Psychotherapy." By dr. brandy engler with david resin. p26 (oh yeah we can all write this letter and add our personal details) Why do I like MInwalla and what does it have to do with the "letter." It's the pervasive NARCISSISM of sexual deceit and the impact upon unaware victims. Something our culture COLLUDES with and I am sick the fuck of it.Another passage from this book curled me up into a ball of recognition, pain and outrage... here a betrayed wife comes into a therapy session sensing (from years of being gaslight assholes!) and desperately wanting the "TRUTH."p268-269. "A few weeks later Bil told me that his wife was suspicious that he might be cheating and had asked if she could attend one of our sessions. I encouraged my patients to include their spouses in the treatment process. I also wanted them to be honest, but Bill had FUDGED THE TRUTH (my highlight) already. He'd told Natasha that he was in therapy to treat a low-grade depression. (my husband did this too by the way when he wanted to "end his affair, after 7 years!) "It's tough enough to meet a wife, and more so when she doesn't know what's really going on.'
2-"Natasha didn't speak often during the first few minutes, but her eyes held an intense conversation with me. She'd scan me then avert her gaze toward Bill if I looked at her. Sometimes she'd look down her nose at both of us, then retreat eyes VACANT (mine), lost in some thought. "Tell me what you talk about here," she asked Bill, softly."Depression.""Is it helping?""Yes.""You're so distant at home, if you are even there. You spend so much time away. Have you forgotten your children? Natasha burst into spontaneous tears. I pushed the box of tissues toward her."I'm there every night to tuck them in." Bill said"Then you leave." She had placed her hand on top of his as if to hold his hand, but he wasn't holding her hand back. She was looking at him, with a look that said so much; IT WAS THE LOOK OF A WOMAN WHO KNOWS - AND IS BEGGING TO BE TOLD THE TRUTH; THE LOOK of desperate fear combined with a deliberate attempt to convey a kindness that would open him."
3-"Bill looked quickly around the room. "I spend time with friends. I want to enjoy my retirement. I WORKED HARD. Let me have this time.""I don't have a good FEELING about this," she said.Then they sat silently, at an impasse. Bill offered no real answers and didn't respond to his wife's attempts to reach him. That moment was painful to witness. INTUITION, this DIVINE gift POSSESSED by women, had now become a source of torment in the STOLID FACE OF BILL'S (LIES) leaving Natasha confused by her own INTERNAL COMPASS. She looked at me with imploring eyes and a slight glance of contempt as if she knew that I knew something and resented that he would tell me, this stranger, this young woman, this therapist, everything that mattered most about the FATE of her life. I couldn't stand it. I wanted to tell Natasha everything. But I couldn't. I was also angry at Bill for the COLLATERAL DAMAGE HIS SELFISHNESS HAD CAUSED. I felt as if I was witnessing a woman's SELF-TRUST DISINTEGRATING, HER PERCEPTIONS STRIPPED THE TRUTH LOST IN HAZY DISTORTION. " p270I capitalized all that pertained to ME in my experience with my husband.Validated that case study is me..... just another victim of sexual deceit and narcissism what a deadly pathology.Val
Val,That certainly sums it up for me...and I suspect for so many of us on this site and anywhere. It's one of the reasons I constantly urge women to start paying attention that intuition. To learn to trust themselves again after weeks/months/years of wondering if they're crazy. I'm convinced we "know" things before we KNOW them. And it's that "knowing" that can keep us safe when we're feeling too scared to be vulnerable again.
Iris, I listened to the Westcoast Trauma Project podcast today. It was amazing. I suggest every single woman on this website listen to this podcast. I also went out to their website and read all about PTSD. It was so enlightening to read about this in detail. I recognized myself in so many ways. Thank you, Iris, for posting this link. I sent it to my husband to listen to, as well.
Thank you Merilee x
Iris and Merilee,I was also deeply moved by this podcast and left the following response which will probably not be published:As a betrayed spouse for almost 2 decades I can attest to Minwalla’s brave and bold work. He is the only one seeing this as a Human Rights issue. (For the most part I view this as, the “Men’s Club Mentality.” However woman are rapidly catching up in this cowards – race. There is (a vast sea of betrayed partners, men and women) conveniently socially made “Invisible.” I see an undeniable Darker Side To Human Sexual Deceit which is willfully ignored. This fueled by individuals narcissism, sense of sexual privilege and entitlement which justify making unilateral decisions for unaware partners and without their consent. And a perverse and pathological need to hold their partners/spouses as victims – betrayed partners held hostage? Why? New Rule of the Land is “I can do onto you what you can not do unto me.” “I’m having my cake and stealing yours too, and the children’s also if there are any.”We all believe that as free people we should have wonderful sex with who ever we want – Agreed!With all this sexual freedom what will we do and how will we regard others? What is this land of secrecy and sexual deceit and far reaching cowardice? It is not fear of sex or talking about it – because it’s everywhere. It’s human narcissism for the select and sexually privileged. What is an entire population/industry doing, “Under the Sheets?” While “Proudly,” holding unaware victims hostage to their sexual deceits? Believing we (ALL) take our sexual secrets to our graves (Like Cosby’s Ghosts) and that Bourgeois Hubris supports “Seeking ‘release’ through causal vice and infidelity. And the “Conspiracy of Silence that all of us participate in when it comes to our erotic Antics.” (Rophie/Wurzel)What have we become and who are we really?As Rabbi Hillel said so wisely:“That which is hateful to you do not do to another. This is the whole Law. The rest is commentary. “
Valkerie, You took the words right out of my head and said them more eloquently than I ever could. That is exactly how I felt--as though I was held hostage to their sexual deceits. I told my husband that he deemed my life to be nothing more than garbage to be thrown away. I didn't get a choice in this; I didn't have any say-so whatsoever in my own life. I feel raped and violated by the person I loved and trusted more than anyone in the world. It is very difficult to wrap my head around the fact, and even more difficult to validate staying in this marriage after such a violation. And, as if that weren't bad enough, the OW was pretending to be my best friend. We hadn't known this couple very long. She and her husband were neighbors. We had both recently moved to this area from other states. My husband met her husband at the local fishing club. I knew they were not good people--I sensed it and told my husband that many times. But he insisted that I was being silly.Now, as I look back, I realize that she planned her mission and knew exactly what she was doing. She told me throughout our "friendship" during her affair with my husband that my house was supposed to be her house. She wanted to buy my house but we had already presented a contract to purchase it. She told me that she wanted my grandchildren, and that she wanted a close relationship with her daughter like I had with mine. She was a nut case! This OW was in and out of my house almost daily. She even let herself in when she pleased. Talk about feeling violated! And, what's more, she was a nurse!! Someone in whom people placed their trust! One day I wasn't feeling well and was lying down for a nap. I woke up because I felt a presence in my bedroom. I turned around and it was her!! She let herself in when she knew nobody would be home but me. She was standing in my bedroom motionless staring at me. I will never forget the odd expression on her face. I asked her how she got in. I never heard the front door open and I didn’t hear any footsteps into my bedroom. She said I had left the front door open, but I never left the front door open. My husband traveled every week and I was very careful about locking the doors. I presume she had a key made to my house at some point. My husband swears he wasn't aware of it. I don't know, but this woman was definitely pathological. I am in search of a good therapist--one who specifically deals with PTSD after infidelity. I have written West Coast Trauma in the hope that someone there might be able to recommend someone in my area. I hope to hear back from them soon. In the meantime, I am immersing myself in as much material as possible in order to help myself through this. Thank goodness for Elle and you and everyone here on this site. I might have lost my mind had I not found the BWC.
Ohmygoodness Merilee, that gives me chills. That is positively pathological. I hope you've had your locks changed and a security expert take a look at your house. Scary!
Wow, Valkyrie! I think I need to print this out for my husband. This will give him a better understanding of how he's been living all these years and how absurd it was to live in such a fantasy world that only revolves around his ego. However, imagine how it must be to live your life caught up in the "me, me, me" world. So empty and meaningless and nothing is ever enough to satisfy your hunger. I would never want to live a life like that--so limited and worthless. I can't even fathom it.
Hi, I've been reading for a few weeks now. I've been married for 16 years and have 7 children. The first time I found messages between my husband and another woman, we had been married 2 months and I was pregnant. I was crushed to see him signing his messages to her "Your lover" and telling her that our bed was warm. When I confronted him, he swore it was all online talk. I was too scared to leave; I had been pregnant when we got married and felt like I HAD to make this turn out alright to prove something to my parents (and myself). This little story (I discover he has been acting unfaithfully, confront him, he is remorseful....) has played out probably over a dozen times in the past 16 years. I've lost count. He has always said nothing happened physically. We have done loads of counseling, both individually and together; he has attended SA meetings; he has met with priests (we are Catholic), we have done a weekend retreat for hurting marriages. Shortly after our last baby was born, I again discovered messages between him and another woman. At first, he told me he had just been texting her. I asked him to stop talking to her. He said he would. A few months later, I find messages again. This time, he admits that he kissed her. So, now we are back in counseling and I've asked for a full disclosure. I gave him a list that I made of all the times I can remember that I've caught him and he gave me an explanation that I didn't think was the whole truth. I'm really worried about what he's going to tell me. We're working with a counselor for the disclosure...ugh. I am just so worn out by all this bullshit. I want us to stay together and raise our children together, but I don't know. I am working a 12 step program and my priest is helping me with some spiritual exercises and I am seeing my own counselor...I'm trying to surround myself with the support I need. I don't have any friends IRL who have gone through anything like this and I think the friends I have wonder why I stay in my marriage. I wonder myself. The truth is that I am stuck financially. I'm a stay-at-home mom and I haven't had a job since my oldest was born. We have struggled a lot financially, until recently. He got a really good job a few years ago and we're pretty comfortable now. I really hate being poor and I don't want to go back to that. Which means that I'm stuck living with him until I can go back to school and finish my degree and get a good job. So...that is my story in a nutshell. I am glad to have found all of you. Dee
Dee,I think you'd be surprised to know just how many people are going through exactly what you're going through.I think, unless you're willing to completely shake up your situation, you're in for more of the same. You and he have created some sort of pattern that, in a bizarre way, has been "working" for you. You, however, had clearly had enough. But it's going to take you making a firm stand that will change your marriage...or give you the courage to leave.At the very least, I think you should sit down with a lawyer and figure out what you're entitled to financially. What's more, you could create custody arrangements that allow you the time to finish your degree. I fear that you're handing over your life to someone else. You can only ever control yourself. So that's where you start.Do you want this marriage? If so, it's time to draw some very clear boundaries. He has violated your trust repeatedly. Which means he's given up any right to privacy. You get access to him phones, computer, etc. He is accountable to you for his time. It sounds brutal and demeaning...well, guess what, so is being cheated on and lied to.What's the story with his SA counselling? Has he been diagnosed with sex addiction? Is he working a program? Does he have a sponsor? Or is he simply faking it?Dee, the only way this situation is going to change is if you create it. And you create it by installing boundaries around what you will not tolerate. You want a marriage based on honesty and respect. You don't have it right now.In the meantime, please visit a lawyer and explore that option. It will give you a far greater sense of possible outcomes and perhaps mitigate some of the sense you have that you're trapped. As long as you feel trapped, you're going to put up with far more bullshit than is healthy.
Dee, you are so not the only person. Out of 12 of my friends when I found out that decided to check on their spouses 6 found out the same stuff. It's happening all the time. The smart phones make it so easy and the millions of emails you can have makes it easier.... But do not lose hope because this is an opportunity to live in "TRUTH" you now have the power to make choices that make change happen! ,) you now are able to put your foot down, say not no but "HELL NO" and learn to live in truth. It's the new beginning. Thank you for sharing because it gives us the ability to understand your situation and tell you that you my friend are never alone in this. People never say it but many of us are right there in your shoes. Stay strong!!! Love you - Ann from Texas
Elle, he has done a few different kinds of counseling over the years. He attended SA meetings pretty regularly for 2 years about 10 years ago. I know he saw a counselor who was trained by Patrick Carnes for a few months about 8 years ago. The counselor was about to retire when husband started seeing him, so he was only able to do a few months of counseling. He did/does have an SA sponsor, but I don't think he is talking with him much right now...he says their schedules don't match up very well right now. He does have a man who is a permanent deacon (this is similar to a priest in the Catholic church, but they can be married) who is counseling him and acting as an accountability partner right now. This man survived an affair (where he was the unfaithful spouse) in his own marriage. Husband is also seeing a counselor for individual counseling. I don't think he has ever been formally diagnosed with SA. He didn't appear to be faking recovery, but typically, he does not share much with me without a lot of questions from me. I have always felt like I was pulling teeth trying to get him to share with me about his recovery. Rather than faking it, I think he doesn't follow through. He has ended counseling too soon and not kept up his recovery work. He is a lone wolf type of person and likes to think he can handle things on his own. He has given me passwords to his devices, but he has done a lot of deleting old messages, so there is not much for me to find now. Honestly, I feel conflicted about checking up on him. I thought that was a codependent behavior that I needed to give up? And when he deletes incriminating messages, what's the point? I was able to see the messages from his most recent affair because I caught them as they were coming in on his phone and the ones that I saw that proved he was still in contact with OW because he forgot to empty the trash file on the account he was using. The compulsive checking drives me crazy (I have done plenty of it over the years) and eats up tons of time. It makes me feel like I'm his mother and I hate that. I want to know that he I being faithful and honest, but how can I be reassured when I know he just deletes things he doesn't want me to see? He is being very attentive and helpful, in general right now, but he always is post-discovery, so I am skeptical. He is also more forthcoming with information about what he is doing for recovery. That is a change, as I have felt like I was dragging information out of him in the past. Will try to type more later. My kids are up and wanting breakfast. I really appreciate your response and will see an attorney to find out what my options are. Dee
Dee,Yes, I think checking up can become co-dependent over a long period of time. For some, in the early days post D-Day, it can help build up trust. The idea is that, of course, you WON'T find anything...and that helps rebuild trust.But it sounds as if your husband is being a typical addict who's slipping. It's no different than an alcoholic who's admitting to taking "one sip". Doesn't matter. He can't minimize his way out of this. He's playing with fire and he knows it and you know it. The pattern, however, has always been that he repents, you forgive and things carry on.so I guess you need to ask yourself how much longer you're willing to live like this. I'm curious: What would you tell a daughter or son who's dealing with this in their marriage? I suspect you would tell them to get out and rebuild a life of honesty. It's a question worth considering.Dee...life shouldn't be this difficult and this painful.
I don't know that I would tell a child of mine in a marriage like mine what to do. I think, in my heart, I would want a better life for them. But I don't think I could give them answers that I can't find for myself. I feel stupid for staying in this marriage for so long, but I kept hoping that IT (lies, unfaithfulness) wouldn't happen again. I want to stay married, but without the lies and unfaithfulness. Dee
Ann, thanks so much for your reply. I love what you said about living in the TRUTH. I am working on setting boundaries for ME that help ME feel safe right now, based on the TRUTH of my life, which is that (unfortunately), my husband is compulsively dishonest and unfaithful. I heard a song on the radio yesterday called " Fight Song", by a singer named Rachel Pellen. (not sure if I spelled the last name right) I wrote down the lyrics in my journal and I'm going to read them or listen to the song every day to remind me of my power to care for myself. Dee
Dee,I too heard that song recently and thought it should be our anthem!As for your desire to be in a marriage without the lies/deception: I know we all want that. But you can only control yourself, unfortunately. Ultimately, if he won't change, it's up to you to determine whether you're willing to live life as it is or if you need to leave. Staying with the constant hope that he'll change (with little evidence that he even wants to change) seems untenable to me.
Hello all,Everyone here gets a great big (((HUG))) from me. You gals sent out so much love last week when I was reeling from the 20 year reveal - I can only say THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!! The word hug is warm and comforting!! Thanks Elle!!Made appointment with new therapist "group" today. I will keep the last two sessions with Madam Current Therapist - just to talk. Getting dressed up and going out is part of the therapy in my mind. I usually stop for a cup of coffee before returning home. The new group works with social workers, nurse practitioners and psychiatrist - women's psychiatry - it is a team effort sounds like. Never heard of women's psychiatry but looking forward to find out if they are a "fit" for me. This "group" also has a once weekly support group - will find out if it is 'for' me when I go for first consultation. Must get away from Madam Current Therapist because she is too pushy - not in a good way. Valkyrie,Love that letter. I will print it out and give to HIMSELF - the grand master lying machine living under a rock pretending to be human.Love you all!!
Thank you for always being here to let out all those secret hurts inside. Valkyrie thank you for that letter. I didn't know how to put all that in words. It is perfect. I can't fathom how anybody can be such a horribly selfish jerk and still be able to eat without throwing up from an extreme dislike of who they are. Literally we have spouses that were living the mirrored opposite of us. When I look into the mirror I want to see the Jesus in me. Not the grouchy jerk I feel I become when I withdraw. That's my goal. I'm beautiful inside and out. Smart as can be if I'm constantly learning. Kind as can be if I realize what is going on around me and make an effort to help with a true smile of happiness. I'm me the perfect me. Nobody else is quite like me and that's ok. Who wants the "same ole"? I know I don't. I won't settle because "boys will be boys,"....... "Not no, but Hell no".... :) that's what I've become. A more aware, loving woman who is now 2 years 3 months past dday. I get up really early every morning now. So that means I can fall asleep for extended amounts of time again. ;) then I run and walk to get the "yuck" out and say thank you God for helping me through to this day. Some days I'm angry or frustrated and I go for almost 7 miles, stewing away. Other days I'm so sad and exhausted a mile to a mile and a half wears me out. I've realized the resolve to get up and let it out has helped me get through this physically, and all of you have helped get through this mentally. I love you guys more than I can say. You have truly opened up my heart to healing inside me. Stay strong, be kind, love again, and my all time favorite saying, "LIVE REALLY LIVE". That had been my mantra for years before I was pummeled ;) love - Ann from Texas
Wow Ann from Texas. That's incredible. You've inspired me to start getting up early to run again. It really is a great way to work out the "yuck" before opening my heart to the day.
I didn't realize how beaten down I was for the last several years. Husband, bosses, companies, mom, kids all hammering away. Bending, bending to everyone's will. It was the affair that finally broke the branch, tipped the scales and I fell a very long way down. Someone finally broke me all the way. I wasn't trying to save my marriage at first, I was trying to save me. I was afraid for several months that this time was the sucker punch of the grand knock out. I couldn't get up , I'm not going to rally, I can't see any light in the tunnel and it's so dark every day, there is not going to be any ladder to climb out. But I'm rebuilding "me" one value at a time. Your value is driven by you and no one else. Stop judging yourself for his affair. Stop attacking yourself for his affair.I can't get him to change into the person I want him to be just because I showered him with love and morals all these years. If I get him to change into how I want to be seen, it won't make me valuable. This is the wrong way of thinking so I never really learn to value myself. I get him to change so I feel better about myself, I'm valuable - NOT. I inflated my value because of this "see how good I can be". See how good I was to you. My value has nothing to do with him. He didn't make me valuable. He is a distraction as he made me an exception to his values. I'm discovering how to value myself and have boundaries, so nobody can give you a knock out punch so easily again. At least that is what I'm striving for each day and it is not easy when my self value is tangled up with him.
Lynn,That's really huge. That you can see just how much of yourself you've sacrificed for people who don't appreciate or deserve it is HUGE. That's step number one in changing the whole paradigm, which puts you at the centre and allows you to give when it feels right and say 'no' when it feels right. What a difference.
V, I love that letter. "Because my needs are more important than yours...and the only way to stop me is by catching me" I married a weak diva also. I had no idea he was so insecure or broken. It's now almost 8 months past D-day for me & H has finally come out of his "fog" at about month 6 & can say, unabashedly, that he loves me now & that he & the OW were "emotionally messed up" & "using each other" (she had just been cheated on/broken relationship, never meant to be an OW,blah blah blah). He had been spiraling mid-life emptiness, then horrible accident...us pushing each other away, etc etc. We will have moments, like a few nights ago, where we are on the couch & laughing so hard at something funny said or on TV (like old times) & it's like I hear deep in my mind....watch out! don't forget! And then, at least this week, the mind movies begin. This is what is constantly plaguing me. He has said "it was more emotional than physical," (how convenient to have a "friend" that happens to be 14 years younger, very attractive & his exact "type") but this actually makes things worse. Now I just imagine loving, caring sex. In fact I imagine everything we've done, words said, etc between us for the past 22 years & just put her in my place. I know this doesn't help me..or us; but I'm not sure why I keep doing this. It's like I want it to be different or to have never happened. It's like I want to know whether I am special, if I ever was special or if I am now...'cause I sure don't feel it. It's like I want to remind myself over & over that our old marriage is gone so I don't forget. I'm not sure if this is a deal-breaker for me. It doesn't help that I've never been with anyone else...& have past sexual abuse issues. I feel very confident that I will be able to forgive him; but way less confident that we will actually be able to rebuild anything new because of this.
I completely understand your questioning because he is the only man you have been with. That is me exactly. It is and had been a struggle. I just recent came to the realization that was to my benefit. With or without my h I was a whole person that held my integrity through and through. So no matter what happens that very thing about us would be something that would, could and will be cherished. My husband looks at me sometimes and knows now how important that gift is. He threw his precious gift in the trash literally and figuratively when he chose to allow those yuck women to become part of his story. I've told him that story isn't mine and it's not allowed to be. I can't be compared to that nonsense trash because it doesn't qualify in my life. Hold your head up high and know what a precious gift you are. All of us held our integrity and committed our hearts and our complete selves. Those foolish actions can make or break what we accept in our lives. At least know that you are now loved and appreciated, because "a stray dog that finally realizes there has been a safe home for them all along truly learns to appreciate it." love you girls - Ann from Texas
Queen B,I can completely understand what you are saying. I also struggle with wanting in some way distinguish my physical relationship with my husband from what he did with her. When I found out, I asked for details and now that I know them, I can't "un-know" them. And unfortunately, I have mind movies that pop into my head at the most inopportune times. As far as they go, I highly recommend the elastic band on the wrist. I'm pretty stubborn so sometimes it takes a couple of snaps before I can divert my attention. I find that when I'm consistent with it, their frequency decreases.So many times, I've asked him if there was anything that was kept sacred. While much of the "mechanics" of it was the same, I find some comfort in knowing that there is no shame in my physical relationship with my husband. It's nothing that has to be hidden. The same cannot be said for any part of his relationship with her. We are in counseling and I'm trying desperately to understand how he could have shared something I viewed as just between us. I'm learning that I may never truly understand it because my brain doesn't work the way his did during the affair. What I do know from the counseling and more open communication with my husband is that it was never about me. It was never a comparison between her and me. Hope it helps to know that others are experiencing similar things.
Thank you Ann & anonymous. Yes, I need to hold my head high & realize my value, which has never changed . And yes, there is no shame. I realized this today that our relationship is in the light of day for the whole world to see, not hidden in the nightime,secretive-with guilt, etc. That is the relationship I'd rather have anyway. Its a good reminder that the reason I can't wrap my mind around this is that I am using my rational, unbroken, faithful mind....this was not the mind he was using. I like the rubber band..or even snapping a pretend rubber band. I'm also starting to just imagine them covered in shit....rolling in it, totally filthy & stinking. Which is exactly what they were figuratively doing. Im not covered with this shit, though--i smell great!. And I don't have to get their--his--shit on me!
Oh, Queen B! I love that image! You just made me laugh.
This wonderful post is about values, OUR values not HIMSELF ( I love that by the way). Values. On bad days I look for anything I can replace in my mind with good instead of thoughts about psycho-bitch kinder garden teacher and the asshole. My BF yesterday said "even prisoners who have done terrible things to other people get paroled and for good behavior get out of jail". She also said, "Sex is so over-rated, Lynn, even dogs do it."
True dat! And it ain't sexy or pretty when dogs do it. It's like scratching an itch.
I just found this website a week ago and it has helped me a lot. My H has has a P and M problem for over a decade and we are currently separated in our home. We have been going to a Celebrate Recovery meeting as well and that has helped. I still feel like he doesn't put our marriage first. And ya know what? I told him I really don't care. My youngest will be a teen next month and I feel we just run around all the time. It's great they want to go to church, but we can't every night of the week. This problem has affected our children in so many ways. There was SO much tension in our marriage too. I found out around 2006 what was going on when I found a link on his puter. Right now, financially, I'm stuck. But, I'm just taking it one day at a time. He's been sober for 9 months now with only one slip. We have porn blockers on the one puter he can use and he has NO cell phone. Thanks for this site and for the "hug". When I talk to people who have never been through this, they just don't understand. BTW, how do I post my name w/o revealing anything else? I didn't understand how to choose, but my name is Anne.
Hi Anne,I think when you post a comment the only identifier that shows up is your name. And it does get confusing when there are so many "anonymous"s posting.I'm sorry for what you're going through. You sound kinda...done. Are you planning to leave when you're financially able to? Are your kids in any sort of therapy to help them deal with the anxiety/tension in the household? Kids, I swear, are like tension detectors. They can feel it in the air and then they internalize it and, often, take responsibility for fixing it or distracting their parents or whatever. In any case, it's not healthy.Hang in there, Anne. There are many on this site who have been or still are in your shoes.
My oldest was in therapy for a year. And I tell my other children they can come talk to me about anything. My son prayed one night that he's thankful to God that his dad gets to stay here. I just cried later on. I know neither one of us wants our children ( to live in a broken home. I think the separation is waking him up. He's a lot more open to letting me vent my hurt and pain. We're going to Celebrate Recovery and he's looking for a sponsor. We are looking for a good church too. He's come back to the LORD. However, it will take a LONG time before I trust him again. I was teaching piano for a while and then I had to quit b/c of my health. However, I do have a way to support myself if it comes to that. He lost his job last year b/c of an SOB boss so we're hurting financially. It's so stressful and the economy sux so it's hard to find a job to where he's making what he did with bennies. Even tho he has faults, he's always been a good provider who works hard. Thanks again for this site!
Elle, and everyone hereMy constant brooding for all these years and sense of outrage at my husband and toxic paramours has burst into my head this morning inspired by MR and Iris and ALL betrayed spouses around the globe women and men.I wished and wished and wished someone would have sent me an anonymous letter. How many YEARS did I lose?If there are any legal scholars out there I was told that I could never be taken to jail or court for telling the truth. We betrayed not only feel our own pain but have compassion for other potential victims and families.I am proposing we draft our own letter that any one of us could launch to perpetrators families with a duty to warn. Here for example is one draft:
2-To Whom It Concerns (Use Name when possible)Re: ___________________________(Name of individual/sexual perpetrator)Upon painful and shocking, “Discovery,” we have found that our spouses/partners have been sexually deceptive while conducting a secret parallel sexual life and one that we were completely unaware of.We are sexually betrayed women, men (spouses and partners) who have banded together in order to draft an anonymous letter for the families of perpetrators of sexual deceit and abuse. We hold all those people who willfully perpetrate and justify their compulsive sexual secrecy and deceit (while maintaining a marriage and/or primary relationship - accountable.It is to our knowledge and understanding that __________________(name of person(s)In your family) is sexually compulsive and continues to act out therefore impacting multiple victims and families. Understanding that most Infidels, commit Adultery, Infidelity and Sexual, “Cheating,” with multiple partners whether or not in a “monogamous, “ fashion without practicing safe sex and/and or using condoms. Therefore, submitting unaware victims to STD’S, silent criminal, and social shame. It is our “Duty To Warn,” Families and Potential victims that ____________________(Name of person) is someone who continues with impunity to act out with sexually compulsive behaviors impacting others no only his/her partner but also children.Again, We Hold These Individuals Who Perpetrate Compulsive Sexual Secrecy And Deceit Accountable.“The maintenance of deceptive compartmentalized sexual reality,” Justifications, and ongoing behaviors “Within existing relationships or family systems,” is criminal “Domestic abuse,” regarded by betrayed spouses/partners as intimacy terrorism. (O. Minwalla)This willful dark sexual deceit is narcissistic and pathological.We believe ___________________(name) has serious problems and will continue perpetrating and or /predatory sexual poaching, if not made accountable to their families, communities, and victims unaware of their relentless sexual deceit.
3- I would change one paragraph to something like the following:Understanding that most Infidels, commit Adultery, Infidelity and Sexual, “Cheating,” with multiple partners whether or not in “serial-infidelity-monogamous- fashion,” (with one, or with thousands) without practicing safe sex and/ or using condoms. Therefore, submitting unaware victims to STD’S, silent criminal, and social shame. It is our “Duty To Warn,” Families and Potential victims that ____________________(Name of person) is someone who continues with impunity to act out with sexually compulsive behaviors impacting others not only his/her partner but also children.
V - Truth in a lawsuit is a messy business. One difficulty with holding anyone to account is that sexually acting out is so pervasive, has always been so pervasive at least among men (as you've said as the balance of power shifts women are catching up) there would be few lawyers or judges who would not have been transgressors at one time or another. Most would ring-fence their behaviour as 'having an affair' (which is what ordinary people do) as opposed to 'acting out' or compulsive behaviour, which is what Others do. If it's compulsive it's a 'disorder' and in that sense a person may not be in control of their actions and may need treatment and you are harassing them (I get most of my knowledge of US law from 'The Good Wife'). It seems from reading many accounts that betrayed spouses get into trouble quite easily when they send fulsome letters to OW or tell their employers or write 'WHORE' on their cars. This may be because OW by their very nature are likely to be litigious assholes. I would stay as far away from the law as possible unless I had no choice; if you wrote 'WISEGUY' on my car I would take it quietly to a garage and get it sprayed. But then I am not going to mess around with your husband. I saw someone on this site using harassment legislation to take a OW to court, interestingly this did not seem to be the same as the 'alienation of affection' legislation some US states still have on their books. Harassment as a course of action is easier to prove (unwanted, stalking behaviour causing emotional harm and whatever else fits the criteria) but the OW has to have done something extravagant and the victim needs to have kept their head down, I'm guessing, to get a Judge on their side. I'd compare it in seriousness to the recent child abuse scandals that have broken in Britain. It was hard to find anyone to lead the inquiry into historical child sex abuse (which will be huge in scope) because most in a position to take this role were compromised by their relationship with former ministers, police superintendents and other members of the British establishment. In the end they brought in New Zealand High Court judge Lowell Goddard, who looks mighty intelligent and fierce. She has a weighty task ahead of her. For years we had in this country an acceptance of certain behaviours or at the least an unwillingness to confront them and a distrust of and even contempt for victims, all within the culture of a 'Boys' Club' with loyalty to its own members. Same with the Catholic Church in Ireland and America and elsewhere. Challenging the cultural attitudes towards abuse (and in my view sexual acting out, secret, compartmentalised, within the context of an intimate or family system constitutes a form of abuse) means challenging behaviour which is very close to home. Attitudes towards others. Complicity, entitlement etc. It is not something only Others do. Personally I would like to see the contractual underpinning of marriage taken more seriously since so much is trusted on the basis of this contract, not the least that a woman will make herself vulnerable by having children and should rightly expect greater protection. In the marriage ceremony there is generally a request for the community to support the new couple in their commitment to each other. There's no doubt we should respect the commitments of others (see previous post) but there is no penalty for disrespecting that ideal and we can generally convince ourselves that it wasn't our responsibility if we do: it was someone else's responsibility. And usually the fault of the resolute spouse. However the law does have a habit of forcing individuals to take responsibility for actions they somehow found themselves caught up in without meaning to (shoplifting, embezzlement, grand theft auto) and bearing in mind cultural changes anything is possible.Meanwhile I definitely think someone should sue the **** out of Ashley Madison. As always Val I applaud your passion.
Elle and All....Merilee I just read your above comment and felt myself growl........"Now, as I look back, I realize she planned her mission and knew exactly what she was doing....I felt a presence in my bedroom. I turned around and it was her! SHE WAS STANDING IN MY BEDROOM MOTIONLESS STARING AT ME."THAT is how I FELT also....as if someone was watching me.....waiting, wanting something....what? And my husband NEVER wanted to LOOK TO CLOSELY at who she REALLY was........What are the odds that these "pathological poaching women" will do this again? And to other families? Pre-DiscoveryDiscovery (D-Day,)Post - Discovery (P1,P2,P3,P4 - all depending on the cheaters - "Trickle Truth."Pre-DiscoveryWhat symptoms can we now look back and see can be attributed to the secrets, the deception the lies we were told?
Need a little help. My husband's had 7 affairs in our 19 yrs of marriage. 5 in the last 7 yrs. 2013 it was with my dearest friend. We our on our 21st yr of marriage now and he's been in recovery for his porn addiction, and chronic affairs. I was diagnosed a yr ago with PTSD. I don't know that that's 100 percent on but I'm still really struggling. Pain so deep wounds so deep. He's a good man and has a good heart but his poor choices have caused so much pain. I've considered divorce but still feel the pain is to raw and I'm still to broken to make that choice. My healing is very slow and I know that bothers him and at times he shuts down because I'm hurting. I get it but I just need love and he dies not give love freely. I'm in counseling mostly learing to deal with the trauma. How long do I hang on at what point will I feel ok to call it quits or decide the marriage is what I want. I'm having a really hard time. any advice or feedback is welcomed.
Jenny,I wonder how much of your lifetime you've spent understating your needs. I "need a little help" as you wrote in your first line hardly begins to describe the depth of your need right now. And that's completely okay and normal. Our need for safety and compassion and support, following discovery of a spouse's affair -- especially long-term deception -- feels bottomless. Can you and your husband discuss what you need from him? Are you able to lay it out for him in a way that he can really hear...and then respond to? I know it took our couples counsellor to literally give my husband a script. When I was feeling scared or anxious or insecure or sad, he was to say: "I'm so sorry for the pain I've put your through. I am working really hard to make sure I never hurt you again. What do you need from me right now?" At first it seemed a bit forced -- though I knew it accurately reflected his feelings. When faced with our pain, men who experience a lot of shame and guilt are often overwhelmed by it. Giving them something of a script can reassure them that they know what to do -- that they have a plan.As for your question re. when can you call it quits or decide to stay: I think that's something you get to decide whenever you want. You say right now you feel too raw. Well then, now's not the right time. Just keep taking it a day at a time. Keep your focus on you and your own healing and trauma recovery. The day will come when you feel the ground beneath you is solid and that you're better able to determine just what you want the rest of your life to look like. But if that time's not now, then don't worry about it. You are your priority right now. You want to make a decision from a place of strength and conviction. Trust that day will come.And Jenny...I'm so sorry for all you're going through. My husband cheated plenty too. But to have had your best friend betray you as well must be a big part of your trauma. We're here to listen and support and remind you as often as you need it that you will get through this.
Jenny,This is such a sad story and especially about the best friend who clearly wasn't. You don't say if you have children but if you do your plans include them of course. If I were you, I'd try to make sometime to get away to think by yourself if possible. Because of my husband's job, he was gone a lot and that helped in the healing. I also packed two suitcases in the closet with clothes, tickets, and money as my plan B that allowed me to leave at a moments notice. And everytime he came home from a trip he saw the suitcases. That seemed to get it through his head that I got to make choices, too and I wasn't asking his permission to leave or take the kids. We'd just be gone some day when he least expected it. Another suggestion is to read Frank Pittman's Private Lies. It helped me so much when going through the insanity of my husband's affairs. Wishing you strength to heal.
Jenny - it must feel as if the whole world has changed. And how a friend can act in this way is incomprehensible, destabilising. A year is a short time to recover or get your bearings, even if you knew which way was best for you.I don't know what your beliefs are, but I found the Buddhist Thich Nhat Hanh's books on fear and on love helpful when I was in a very confused and sad state. I hope you have someone close to you (mother, sister, faithful friend) who you can trust and who understands you cannot be hurried to get better. Someone who will listen to you with love.
Jenny,I want to stamp around and raise my voice to the heavens in outrage.... because I'm so sick to death of double betrayals by "Friends." These Other women who stab unaware women in the back.Of course goes without saying that we all carry our own issues and little/big bucket of shame & need for inner work (and boy do we eagerly 'own it.')But somehow when we suddenly find out our spouse has betrayed us!a) They hand US their bucket of shame?b) The other woman hands US her bucket of shame? (oh and you can't say anything)c) The culture around us COLLUDES and dumps more shame on us It's a problem with intimacy and connectedness If a betraying partner has an ounce of interest and compassion for someone "other than themselves." Then there is hope. This can't be faked it must be authentic.They have to look at what they did and share that reality with the betrayed partner(it is the hardest thing they will ever do)Betrayed partners need a lot, lot, lot of self care and self nurturing. Finding ways to restore on, their, own....."inside job." I keep saying to myself, "work-around," keep moving, sink down into the pain, walk forward.....breath deeply. pain, pain, pain.....waves move up in me and through me.....I get through and each time I'm stronger...I trust my gut.There are days though when I feel like I've been thrown off my surf board and I'm swimming frantically and don't know which way I'm swimming, Down or up to the light.....Elle is so right we are all here together in this to listen and support each other through this and that is.......... enough...with great love as respect to allVal
Iris,Your brilliant passage is still working through me. Yes, "Sexually acting out is so pervasive," few lawyers, judges (the list is endless) would not have been transgressors at one time or another.And divorce law has the unusual tendency to fall on the side of the one with the most money.Society Colludes with sexual deception and deceit.As Ester Perel said "What's really going on under the sheets?" and her "Millions of people can't all be pathological."(ha ha ha the audience laughs)Yet she evades deeper exploration and discussion of the sexually privileged and deceptive elite among us. That darker side to human narcissism and the victims.So that I can sit in a therapists office as a loving devoted wife tending to my spouse sexually and emotionally. And my therapist knows my husband is acting out compulsively with multiple partners not using a condom or practicing safe sex. But the therapist has to "Protect the rights of their client." Over a duty to warn me....since I have no rights as the betrayed "Wife."I'm reminded of a true story I embellish for dramatic effect:A psychologist in family practiceOpens his lecture to a group of about 100 mixed professionals, social workers, MD’s, psychiatrists, therapist, psychologists and nursing staff, in a metropolitan hospital.He begins by asking how many people have couples in marital counseling dealing with issues of infidelity or cases involving cheating on spouses as the primary reason for treatment?Most of the hands raise up in the room. Then he says, “Good.” (Thanks of course that's why we are all here).Okay he says“How many of you have had and affair, are currently having an affair, or contemplating having an affair?Dead SilenceNo hands raise up like beforehand.A few uncomfortable moments passUntil someone in the audience starts to laugh and with a smile the speak says,“See why it's so hard to talk about infidelity?”
Val - respect, seriously :)'Society Colludes with sexual deception and deceit.' Yes, it's considered a private matter, we don't like to talk about it and yet we're curious what others might be doing. The Catholic Church wanted to deal with their problems internally until forced by victims to confront what was in reality a widespread abuse of power. In the 2012 documentary 'Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God' the role of the Priest is explained as to be so sacred in relationship to God that questioning the character of a Priest is tantamount to - well you can see that it threatens the entire edifice. Protecting the edifice means if not exactly sacrificing the victims (although it has meant that) finding ways to move the offenders on without allowing victims the proper recourse to justice. And it is hard anyway for children to get justice."Millions of people can't all be pathological."(ha ha ha the audience laughs)'You seen the episode early in 'Breaking Bad' where Jesse gets high? The look on his face when the drug hits him? Infidelity can be a kind of legal high. A cocktail of chemicals (naturally occurring). You could say millions of people feel most alive when killing themselves with drugs like alcohol, nicotine, boy did I enjoy the pethidine I had when I was in labour. This is the moment when the White Witch opens the box of Turkish Delight and tells you that you have always been misunderstood but she sees your worth, and you will be Heir to Narnia. The problems come when we blame the resolute spouse for somehow not being enough to contain all their partner's desire to alleviate internal pain or ennui, for novelty, risk taking, excitement and skimming snow wrapped in furs while everyone else walks. Why are we using the word 'pathological'? If we decide that human beings who are not in the grip of psychosis should assume responsibility even for addictive or compulsive behaviours, we could see the satisfying of sexual curiosity or urges (which we all share in our particular way) as a lifestyle choice. You know, that comment by 'recovering wayward' who I assume gets a thrill out of telling betrayed women that some OW choose to enjoy 'hot sex' with other people's husbands because they do not want the drudgery of commitment (perhaps the fun includes having a paramour nicely trussed up at risk of exposure). But in terms of a relationship, freely entered, of trust and mutual affection it's a choice for which others pay with years of suffering. Unfortunately, we in economically successful cultures are used to making lifestyle choices for which others pay. This rightly makes us queasy but acknowledging we're all on shaky ground need not mean giving ourselves or our fellows an ethical free pass to harm those who are closest to us and most vulnerable to our choices. We might like to encourage each other to behave better.
"We might like to encourage each other to behave better." Oh, how I wish... Years ago (pre-marriage) I "dated" a guy I knew from school (by dated, I mean we ran into each other at a bar and made out later at an apartment). We lived in different cities so he came to visit once, called sporadically. In the meantime, a friend of mine attended a wedding and this guy was there with a woman who called herself his "girlfriend". My friend asked further and they'd been dating for two years!! When he next called to tell me he "missed me", I told him I knew abut his girlfriend and that, from what I'd heard, she didn't deserve a creep like him in her life. He never called again.THAT is what I wish most people would do when approached by someone who's attached. Sigh...
Valkyrie: (preiously Anne here)"I want to stamp around and raise my voice to the heavens in outrage.... because I'm so sick to death of double betrayals by "Friends." These Other women who stab unaware women in the back."I love some of your sayings. This is exactly how I feel. OW was once a "friend"...close- no, but I considered her I guess more of an acquaintance/friend. After I said "friends don't do that to other friends" she told me that I wasn't her friend, that I took care of that and proceeded to tell me of an outburst that I apparently had on her and her husband (something that I KNOW did NOT happen). I believe her way of making it okay for her to have done what she did.
Wow. We get to the sleep with the spouse of anyone who ever does anything that we perceive as bad behaviour? Who knew? That's a helluva permission card, isn't it! Honestly, the moral origami of these people is impressive. Crazy...but impressive.
I'm going to shut up and go away to do something else for at least a few weeks, but I wanted to add to Pilots Wife's recommendation of Frank Pittman's 'Private Lies', which is very good and hilarious too, if slightly dated. I wish his daughter would update it because I fear his common sense disappearing when we need it most. His other related book is 'Grow Up! How taking Responsibility can make you a Happy Adult'. Pittman is very good on narcissism and on the absurdity of trying to be a middle aged adolescent. I wish everyone the very best.x
No, no, don't leave us!!!
Bless you! I will however be walking every day or actually running and on rough ground too, what a fantastic post! I run anyway so I can say it is all true. I stopped running with music a while ago because I associated every song I had with some feeling or memory I didn't want to dwell on. And because I wanted to be more 'present' and less wrapped up in my imagination. This was painful for a while. I will be back later. xPS - Sex with a friend's husband as revenge for some imagined slight or offence - that's bronze-age thinking.