Whiskeyjack wrote: ↑
Fri Dec 14, 2018 4:42 am
I determined that the cause of my LE was due to a degrading of the bond between me and DW. We had focused on external factors (some good, others that were crises) and had neglected our marriage. I had become resentful of some choices that DW had made in the past, and how she had been conducting herself at present. I had some legitimate complaints, but I minimized my own responsibilities for my role in her choices (this marriage is a partnership after all) and attributed her choices primarily to her character. BTW, this is known as 'Fundamental Attribution Error'. Don't do it, it's bad. This fostered a sense of entitlement, whereby I felt more and more justified in my resentment. DW and me weren't spending much quality time together, our conversations revolved around our problems and our DS, and we weren't having sex. Her neglecting to get me anything for Christmas last year didn't help either.
To compensate for a lack of intimacy and validation from DW, I started to fantasize about receiving both from LO. BTW my fantasies were non-sexual, although, had my LE gone on longer, that likely would have changed. I realize now that I had, in classic fashion, generated a mindset that would have made me vulnerable to an affair. The LE was, in a sense, a good thing as it indicated to me that something was seriously wrong here. I still had the presence of mind to attempt to solve the problem. So then, the first part of my "doing the proper work" involved me identifying the problem, and triaging so it wouldn't get any worse. I read extensively about infidelity and realized that's where I was aiming. I knew that I had a solid foundation with DW, and I trusted her to help me, so I disclosed to her. I didn't know about limerence at the time, but we knew that the cause of my LE lay in our marriage. We resolved to work on our marriage, and the result has been pretty darn good. Specifically, the work I did involved:
- Therapy. Specifically CBT to identify and correct the cognitive errors I had been making with respect to DW and some of the external factors that had been causing us grief. I had done this before several years ago during a bout of depression and found it effective for me. It helped with the intrusive thoughts of LO. FOO issues were not an issue here as they were relatively minor and I had dealt with them years earlier.
- NC/LC. LO was around the office a few times from January to July. Otherwise I had NC. When she was in the office, I avoided her and spoke to her as little as I could get away with. I didn't text her outside work, and I didn't search her out on social media.
- Reading. At first I read articles on, and stories of, infidelity to hammer home to myself the destructive nature of the path I was on (this was big part of the triaging I mentioned). I read Not Just Friends] by Shirley Glass, as LO was a coworker, and Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel. DW and I read The Seven Principals for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman. We did quite a few exercises in the book. Just for fun, I also read The State of Affairs by Perel. Been doing some online reading about mid-life transitions too as I recognize that this was a factor in my LE as well. I eventually discovered the term 'limerence', and this site, which showed me that I was not abnormal and other people were going through a similar experience. I have found the reading material here, as well as the links provided by other posters, to have been very helpful. It was a relief to have discovered that I wasn't abnormal. It's been very helpful to me to have gotten support here, as well as to have offered support to others.
- Repair. DW and I actively worked to reconnect. We talked about our issues and have resolved them, or are working to resolve them. We talk to each other every day, and try to talk about other things other than our life issues. We schedule date nights, and time to have sex. We've gotten back into ballroom/latin dancing (we let that slide which contributed to the problem) and we work out together sometimes. I feel love, attraction and lust toward DW. Definitely in a better place than this time last year.
- Self care. I'm in a regimented weight training program and I'm getting good results. I eat very well, and try to get as much sleep as possible. I make sure I have enough down time, and time with hobbies, to mitigate stress. Not too difficult as DS is an adult. I see friends, but I see the need to work on my social connections more. That's something I've started by reconnecting with old friends, with family, and entertaining more.
I have gotten to a point where my LE is simply, at worst, a minor annoyance when LO is around at work. I feel a little bit of inner tension and that's it. Rehearsal fantasies occur rarely and have no power to them. I have no longing for LO and haven't for a while. To emphasize where I'm at - about two weeks ago, I had dinner with LO, her boyfriend and another coworker. No ill effects at any point during, or after dinner.
Hope you can take something away from my experience. Keep up the fight.