Within the first year of finding out, did you struggle with whether or not you wanted to R or D?
We had been married so long, had 4 kids and I had invested my entire life in him and our family, I knew I could go home to my parents with all the kids, so I never felt "stuck" in the M, but I did not really struggle with the decision to R, my H litterally changed who he was, he had a life changing event happen that so far is still happening, no regressing.
How long did it take you to decide you truly wanted to R?
I knew right away. My H changed about 6 weeks prior to D-day, (it is a long story) and he never had to tell me about the infideltiy, but he chose to, that meant a lot, he was willing to risk it all to become "honest" finally so he could become a new person. The change was super disconcerting for a long time because I did not trust it and he was so different, I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop ya know. But so far it has not, been over 6 years.
What did your husband do to prove he was deserving of R after years (and the depth) of betrayal?
Well, what I wrote above is part of it. But honestly he is not deserving of R, and he knows that (which also goes a long way), my name is about grace, I am a firm believer in it and R is really more about me and who I am than him, I do expect things from him, but it is not all on him.
Like everyone on SI, I want to be happy and I truly feel like I will be happier in the long run if I D, but I haven't taken the step to file for D yet. Honestly, right now I am staying for the kids (2 year old son and currently pregnant). I think my WH is also the type of guy who felt guilty, tried to stop, then "fell off the wagon", and was too proud to ask for help. I used to see him as a very patient and calm person but now that I see the real person under all of his brokenness I realize that he just compartmentalized all of his frustrations/stress/anger and the cheating (mostly sexting) was a very unhealthy coping mechanism during very stressful points in his life. Over time, I have come to better understand just how much this is about him and not about me.
Your H and mine sound similar, falling off the wagon, brokenness, etc. You need to follow your heard to be happy, only you will know if you should stay or go, kids or not, do what you need.
Part of me aknowledges that I will, eventually, be able to let go of some of the pain and anger I feel. Maybe then I will want to R? The question I keep coming back to is, "how can he possibly be faithful for the next 40 years of our lives if you couldn't be faithful for less than a year when we were dating?" The answer lies within whether or not he is able and willing to tackle his brokenness. I don't know if I want to sit around for a few more years waiting to see if I can forgive him and if he can actually be faithful.
This part I sooooo get, even though I committed to R right away, I too asked those questions, I looked at the risk of having the other shoe drop on me 1 year, 2 years, 5 years, 10 years down the road. I did start to get my ducks in a row because if the shoe dropped I wanted to be able to take care of me and my kids and I am still getting my ducks in a row, I do not plan to leave or anything just want the peace of mind to feel I have control of MY life should I need it. I now invest in me and H supports that.
How did you get to the point of forgiveness? How long did it take you?
There is sooo much to forgive, each thing has to be dealt with on its own and usually it touches on a new area I had not realized and that area has to be dealt with, so some things have been accepted and forgiven and some are still being worked on, I honestly have no idea when or if it will all be "done", we had basically 20 years where I lived a lie, where I invested in something that was not real, I was manipulated and taken advantage of, my life and health were put at risk, it was serious so I am not rushing it. It is a process for me.
I wish you well as you figure this out,
feel free to contact me this way or in pm later when you can,