This is part OYS, part FR, and the inspired result from u/thefamilyalpha's Day5 challenge: https://www.reddit.com/r/marriedredpill/comments/5xjz1e/men_of_march_day_5/
I'm posting this here to hopefully show the guys freshly finding these painful truths that there is a light at the end, and doing the work does get you there.
Prologue - I found out a year ago wife x 10 years cheated on me, more than once, with more than one person. I was devastated, and it threw my entire existence into question. In this time, I’ve devoured sidebar, pursued MAP, advanced at work and in gym, and have moved past the anxiety of trying to determine all the circumstances and details omitted or truly forgotten. I still wake up thinking about it. I still feel anger and hatred, but not all the time anymore. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I’m starting to find myself.
For various reasons (fear of divorce rape, kids, logistics, etc. as well as poor frame, uncertainty, etc), she’s still in my house. Which makes moving through this much harder, however it’s kept me honest and my eyes held wide open to the reality of my/our past.
Why am I still tied in knots over such a predictable (well-described by female hypergamy) and common thing? I’m beginning to realize it’s much more than the physical act of her cheating, lying and omission. It’s the change of status in my mind - mine, ours and hers. I'm reclaiming the pieces of myself from the debris and doing forensic analysis.
It’s not just the commonly referred trope “loss of trust”. I used to consult her, to empower her, to lift her up in spite of herself. I no longer have the strength or desire to do so, and don’t plan to return to that place. Maybe this is anger phase, maybe it’s my fledgling boundaries… IDGAF.
I looked to her for approval, for permission, for validation, input, perspective. It’s disgusting to me now. I gave her my reigns, and basically asked her to think for me, to make decisions for me, mistakenly believing this deference was LOVE. Sometimes she ate it up, like it made her feel important, but I was a drunk captain and I ran the ship aground by having no vision, no leadership, no presence.
Sacrifice has been most aptly defined as trading something of more worth for something of less worth.
By sacrificing myself, taking the name of love and generosity in vain, I neglected to develop my own boundaries and values - I became worthless. I lowered my own value, put-down hobbies, neglected friendships, and lost myself in work and drinking. All while putting her on a pedestal she never wanted. I made myself need-less, castrated, and weak by going all-in on the nice-guy [non]game - expecting gratitude, affection and validation in return.
I ran out of myself to give. I became passive, resentful, clinically depressed. I erased myself through my own best efforts, instead of building a strong foundation and structure for my family. I mistook this self-sacrifice as love. I failed myself and those I claimed to love, then sought to avoid the problems I cultivated through distractions, alcohol, etc. because I was overwhelmed, drowning and hopeless. I thought about suicide every day - not that I wanted to die, I just wanted to relieve the pressure I buried myself under.
The upheaval from her infidelity gave me cause and motive for painful introspection. My confusion from her hampstered rationalizations and truly awful circumstances inspired my full revelation that we’re not this (Disney) couple of special people, with a special connection - I’m just a voluntarily enslaved beast of burden with no real sense of self, and she benefited from that. My best efforts propped her up at best, and eventually enabled/facilitated shitty behavior which I continued to tolerate.
Of course she wants to revive that relationship, to maintain her status as benefactor of my efforts, but there's no going home.
I cultivated and maintained a primary relationship by giving everything of myself; my time, commitment and my efforts all in the name of love and generosity, with the expectation that it was mutual (covert contract: give away everything and I will inspire the same and get love, affection, everything in return).
It’s not all negative. There were several things that I did succeed with and I’ve been rebuilding myself. It’s been a long hard road out of hell, but well worth the struggle of owning myself.
By grabbing my eviscerated guts off the floor and peering deeply into the disaster that I allowed to become my life, I found clarity in a hard to swallow pill (I could have added another metaphor or two).
My partial list of successes -Consulted my attorney about options ⁃Powerlifting 3-5 days per week ⁃Transitioning to BJJ and boxing, loving it ⁃Picked up music again, studying and learning more seriously than last 15+ years of playing ⁃Feel no more guilt about stupid shit: having needs, traveling for work, being unavailable, etc
TLDR: fuck you. do the work.
EDIT 1: changed LTR to wife, was purposefully trying to be vague, but this detail seems necessary.
EDIT 2: added reasons for why she's still in the house, and consultation of attorney