For those who are further down the road than I am, do you ever get to "reclaim" those memories and put them in the proper context, or does thinking of the past just re-open the wound? I'd love to believe that these past 11+ years aren't all just triggers to remind me of what I lost.
My kids and I now discuss things that happened when we were a whole family. And we can laugh about them. My ex-w is a mess and I want nothing to do with her. But all that stuff, good and bad, is what delivers you to where you are now.
The other stuff - all those things that happened while you were a married couple do seem to, in a way, sort themselves out. Vacations, funny and sad moments, life events - you will see them in a different light but, for me at least, mostly with a smile.
Her: WW/57 Me: BS/63 24yrs M
3 great kids, now 22, 20, 17 b,b,g
D-Day 8/14/08, D 1/13/11
It's part of my ( and my kids) history. Some times were funny and good and those memories reflect that. My kids are not allowed to discuss past history around NW. So they do a lot of talking about the past around me, it's part of who they are. I'm glad they have good memories.
Time will bring its own peace, although you will still have random small things pop up from time to time. Case in point: my middle-schooler wants to join the tennis team. I abhor tennis, because NPDex was a tennis player. So far I haven't really triggered, but I've thought to myself, "I'll go to your track meets and your dad can go to your tennis matches. I never want to see a court again."
The reality is that I'll be courtside, cheering my kid on, sitting next to the man who I married and made me believe the world was safe again. Not NPDex. A new beginning.
I asked for them back. I told her that I wasn't interested in sitting down and reminiscing with them, but that since she had made choices about my history over the last four year (her affair years) for me, I at least wanted control over the previous 14 years of my history with her.
She said she would put the pages back. I don't know whether I will ever get to being able to think about our marriage in a positive light again, but for now it is what it is. I have my kids from it, and that, at least is a positive.
It does get better. I can look on those things and enjoy it for what it was, despite his involvement at the time.
DD(21), DS(18, PDD-NOS)
6 Furkids (4 Dogs, 2 Cats)
WXH (serial cheater, 12+ OW)
Legally married 18yrs, together 16.5yrs
Note: I edit often for clarity/typos.
For me it's been a gradual process, but what I've discovered is that while XWH and I were living our lives together, we weren't experiencing things the same way. He was functioning very much as a "man behind the curtain" fake self, while I was being real. Being me. Always.
Sooo... I can still live in the x-marital house, because I love it, and I would have loved it regardless of who else lived here.
I can look fondly back on amazing trips and vacations, because they were incredible experiences, and would have been even if XWH hadn't been there too.
It's been a revelation for me, really, how much of the happiness in the those 8 years came from ME, from the authentic, genuine life I was living. *I* did those things, *I* had those adventures, *I* went to those amazing places. The happy memories didn't disappear when he did, because they were never tied to him, they were tied to ME, and I'm still here.
Very specific couples memories are harder, obviously. Our beautiful wedding on the beach, the first time we met, the first time we kissed, etc. Those still sting, and I think they probably always will. But when you're talking about cars, trips, houses, friendships, etc... I think you'll find those memories are far more connected to you then they are to her. And as more time goes by, you'll remember them that way: part of YOUR life that's going strong, rather that part of the marital life that is now over.
Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life. ~ JK Rowling