It helped us because we had devoted time really focus on us as individuals and as a couple. Our MC sessions are so non-productive sometimes that it would drive me crazy that I would have to wait another week or two before the next.
It helped me because you get to the spouse in a new light. Again, when I walked in, I felt WH was the enemy and evil. That changed by Sunday. You don't have to forgive or trust, I am still not at that point, BUT you do come out feeling lighter, like some of the burden and pain has been lifted. I would go just for that feeling again.
I started wearing my wedding rings after Retrouvaille. I had not worn them since DDAY and even took them to the jewelers to get ideas on what to do with them. I had ABSOLUTELY NO interest ever wearing them again. And here I am wearing them and thinking, I think we can do this. It's CRAZY!
We had 16 couples, all except a couple that live too far away, have been doing the post sessions. It is transformative, I think you at least have to try it. They all look happy and even like they are dating again.
Like the other member said, don't walk, run...
[This message edited by ILINIA at 7:49 AM, October 23rd (Wednesday)]
I was talking to SHM this morning about some of the posts and that I heard or read "fear" coming through. This is something I've never had. People always, even ones who don't know me well, describe me as fearless. I was a dancer for many years and still am. Just auditioned and performed at Center Stage in Baltimore last year at the age of 38. Going to an audition at that age is daunting but ultimately there was nothing to fear. No bodily harm would come to me and if I wasn't chosen, so what? Some people I don't know didn't think I was good enough. Do I really care what they think? No. They're not friends or family whose opinions I do care about. Just like when a stranger hits on me. I hate that shit especially when I'm wearing my engagement ring or when I was married before with my wedding rings on. That screams, "I think you're an amoral whore who doesn't give a shit about her marriage, wanna have sex?". That does not say, to me at least, that I'm attractive. It's an insult to me. I care about what the people closest to me think and worry about failing me and them, not people I don't know and will never see again.
I also travel to NY once every couple of months to take classes at Broadway Dance Center, a place that caters to models, dancers, actors, etc. I'm 5' tall and look like a shrimp next to most of those women but screw it, I go up there, take Voguing with Benny Ninja from America's Next Top Model or Broadway Jazz from a Broadway and TV choreographer and do the best I can all while not paying a damn bit of attention to anyone else in the room. I pay for those classes just like the others do and when I take them, it's me and the teacher. We are the two most important people in the room. Nobody else matters.
I'm with Ilinia, I wasn't "expecting" anything. I hated SHM last week and wanted to be done. What I really wanted to be done with was the pain and this helped. If you go into things with an open mind and little to no expectations, you just may be surprised what you come out of it with.
You'll never know unless you try and I'd much rather try than deal with what ifs which in my book are scarier unknowns than a Retrouvaille weekend.
When in doubt, stop over thinking and go with the Nike slogan, "just do it".
We arrived, checked into the hotel room and then proceeded to the first meeting that evening. I have to admit even I was a bit nervous of the unknown but wanted to start the event with an open mind and really give it a 100% effort. Without giving away too many details about the weekend and what is asked of each couple, I can say that when we were told that we were going to be talking a lot about feelings, I thought “oh crap”. You see, I have never really been “in touch” with my feelings. I have basically floated through life feeling surface feelings, like happy, sad, angry, etc. I never really dug deeper into my feelings and found how deep those feelings were or “am I really sad or am I depressed, disassociated, downtrodden, etc.” These descriptions provide several differing emotions that may be present inside us that we fail to truly analyze. This weekend gave me the ability to examine those emotions and then write them down. There’s something therapeutic about putting pen to paper.
The weekend was not easy. It took a huge effort from both of us. Saturday night, Velvethammer was so done and emotionally drained that she wanted to give up. We had the ability to drive home that night because we lived less than 2 hours away to let our dogs out. That trip home was highly emotional. Frustrations, anger, and tears flowed from her during the trip. I did my absolute best to remain calm, collected and apologetic. At that moment, I realized how helpful this weekend had been up to that point. The environment was calming and self-reflective. I couldn’t get angry or frustrated back like I had in the past. I had no right and it wasn’t in me. I “got it” at that moment. She asked me if I was getting anything out of it. I told her “yes” and explained that I have been able to really search my feelings and truly analyze them for what they are. I pleaded that she stick it out one more day. We’ve come this far. I reassured her that I understood that she did not have any requirement to return and if she wanted to stay home she could, but I really wanted her to return and give it this one last day. When we got home and she exited the car without her cell phone and purse, I knew she was going back. That warmed my heart. I thought at the moment she was doing this for me, even if that wasn’t her real reason. You see, we weren’t really talking at that point so I didn’t know her real reason. But I thought, if she was doing this for me, how selfless is that?
Sunday was the breakthrough that I needed. My emotions flowed like a raging river. I expressed so many heartfelt feelings and cried so many tears for how much I’ve hurt Velvethammer. I am so lucky to have this wonderful woman after the torment I’ve put her through.
Since this weekend, we’ve continued our homework even though the communication style is a bit awkward. Regardless, we are pushing through it together. Relationships are hard work but are so worth it when you put forth the proper effort. I have to say that the intimacy that I feel toward Velvethammer is stronger than I’ve ever had with anyone in my life and even more so than even the first couple years of our relationship when things were so good. I am so grateful to her and to all the couples that shared their stories this last weekend. To know they volunteered their time, unpaid, to help others because they believe in the program and are proof that it works, it’s comforting to say the least. I’m humbled at their compassion toward us. Who am I to think that I’m better than anyone else and can get through this process without help?
I have always been a God believing man and a spiritual man but have really lost my way. Even though the seminar is God based it is not heavy. Real basic information and beliefs that even the everyday person has at some point been exposed to in his/her life. I know that these couples and Retrouvaille is a Godsend. At the end of the seminar during optional sharing, a young lady stood and read scripture from Matthew. She read quite a bit but the words, “the meek shall inherit the earth” rings so true to me today. Humility is a fundamental trait needed to survive relationships. Stop the pride and ego. Stay humble and true to yourself, your spouse and God. Stay meek because you will inherit the world. Velvethammer is my world.
(ETA to fix punctuation and returns for easier reading. sorry for the length)
[This message edited by SheHatesMe at 10:32 AM, October 23rd (Wednesday)]
the humility thing: that is difficult!
me (WW/BS): 48
4 kiddos in mid 20's
The conditions we face do not define us. They remind us of who we are and who we want to be.
Finally this is R 8/14/13
"Forgiving is a journey; the deeper the wound, the longer the journey".
rachel - About the 2 year thing...I don't choose that. I don't choose to spend two years unhappy and irritable over worthless skanks. Part of it is my personality from before this mess, part of it is the fact that that seems like such a waste and I'm sure part of it is due to the cancer testing I'm going through. If I am looking at limited time and let's face it, none of us know when we're going to go, I'm damn sure not going to spend it ruminating on sluts. Not saying I won't have bad days again but I am saying I'm going to fight against my triggers and I'm going to fight against that awful place I was in and I'm going to fight to be me again. The me that was positive and productive and loved life and laughed all the time. SHM can't fix me and he can't make me happy. Only I can do those things but I have to want them and fight hard for them and this past weekend gave me that boost I needed to get back into fighting shape.
I was hoping we could just come home for the night. I don't mind leaving the kids home during the day with my oldest but don't think I could do it overnight. :/
Also, after speaking to SHM on the phone just now about some other things he noticed over the weekend, I remembered something post weekend that might be helpful. I became pretty irritated doing the homework Monday night. I'm not good at it yet and I resented the fact that SHM put us in a position to have to do any of this. I started going to the awful place and could literally feel the darkness taking over my body and I sat for a second and told myself to breath. Then I told myself to fight against it and asked, "do I want another bad night?" No. "Do I want to have a nice evening with SHM? Yes. So let the bad crap go - I said that to myself. Within a couple of minutes I was feeling much better and we had great evening.