Immediately following dday, I did feel like I lost a lot of "rights". I lost the right to privacy of my wallet, car, phone time, computer time, hobby time, personal time and anything else that may have upset my wife. Initially, I didn't like it and refused to be under a microscope. Over the course of a few weeks, I realized this is what she needed to heal. Since healing her was my ultimate goal, none of this other stuff seemed important. Also, I wasn't hiding anything-- that she could go through any of these things at anytime without asking or warning me seemed to help her tremendously. I still feel slightly triggered around birthdays and holidays, when I'm hiding things for a good reason --don't want her guessing her presents and all--:). But that's the only time I get secretive. And to be honest, half the time I tell her up front what's going on, ultimately spoiling the surprise... oh well....
Which lead to a removal of pride. Like most WSs, I was prideful (nee arrogant) up to and following Dday. I was gonna do this or I wasn't gonna do that and you're gonna do this and you're not gonna do that--stupid stuff. Again, I realized I didn't need to be this way and again, it was something to get rid of in order to facilitate her healing. I often hear BSs being told on this board by their WSs to "get over it". My suggestions to the WSs who don't get it would be "get over yourself."
My BS and I both have the right to check up on each other and read whatever the other writes/posts on this site, emails or the like. My PMs are open to her, but I will not read her PMs (just to let everyone who does PM her know that they are safe with her.) We're responsible not just to ourselves but to each other as well. We check not because we have to or because our egos are on the line, but because sometimes we can express our thoughts better when written down as opposed to talking about it. The marriage is more of a loving partnership. We are united together in all fronts.
We have the right to talk to each other without getting defensive or angry. She can say whatever she needs to in order to heal --this came really helpful during the anger stage! :) and I will take it. Not as a personal attack no matter how nasty it may get -- which it never really did-- but again because she needed to express it. I also have the right to talk about things that were upsetting me with a promise from her that she would listen. For the longest time prior to dday, I didn't feel like I could vent to her about work related issues, or things that I was feeling with getting her upset. Now, even though my instincts say otherwise, I let her know what I'm feeling for good or for ill, and why.
As a FWS, I tried not expect too much from my BS in terms of physical or emotional intimacy. When she felt like she could give these gifts back to me, she let me know. I did not expect instant trust and forgiveness. It shouldn't happen immediately and may not happen for a long time, as far as I was concerned. I was prepared to give up friends, and activities that can upset her, especially if the activity is what lead to the affair. I know this gets muddled with co-workers and such, but everything should be eliminated for the BS to heal.
With anything that happened in the months to follow, I asked myself "Is this helping my BS to heal?" and then tried to respond accordingly. If the answer was no, then I looked for something else that wasn't as threatening to her. Remember, as a FWS seeking reconciliation with my BS, my first goal is to help her heal this wound I had inflicted on her, even above my own healing. Ideally, healing was accomplished together. Sometimes that was possible and sometimes not. I was prepared to work my hardest to show my BS without a doubt that I regretted my actions and words, and was striving to be someone she could love and trust again. At some point I realized that all of this was being done with one important fact in mind:
Reconciliation may be impossible.
Some BSs cannot recover from this trauma. That doesn't reflect badly on either party-- just that everyone is different. The BS will decide if they want to reconcile or not. It may take months, weeks or years. It doesn't matter, as grief has no timetable. But a remorseful FWS should be willing to put up all of this hard work even if the relationship ultimately fails. Because again, this is what the BS needs to heal.
What does a FWS get for all your hard work if the relationship fails? First and foremost, itís a chance to atone for this horrible behavior. Redemption is a very powerful motivator, just like guilt and love can be. Most remorseful WSs are filled with self-hatred and disgust for themselves. "How could I do this to someone I love? How am I capable of this? What can I do to make sure that it doesn't happen again?" These questions should be answered as part a journey into the soul to make sure that this doesn't ever happen again.
Helping the BS heal can also greatly help a WS heal. The BS is hurt, angry and betrayed, and the FWS are responsible. So take that responsibility seriously and help them gain their sense of self and family again. The WS has brought the BS to the lowest point of their life--- now try bringing them back to them to the highest. Get them to smile and laugh and be genuine about it. Again, it may take a long while, but in the end it will be worth it.
If a BS can see love for a FWS, the FWS should accept that gift and start to see past their mistakes. Deciding to never ever to go down this dark path is another indicator of healing. I'd kill myself first before betraying my wife like this again. A FWS can begin to accept themselves -- and their BS -- more as people, complete with flaws, and not as icons or who they thought they were. Look at your spouse with open eyes and love them for who they are, flaws and all. Finally, you get a little of your own self-esteem and self-worth back.
As a FWS, focus on your initial commitment to the BS. Then let God and fate take their course. Know too, that even if the relationship fails, you did everything you could and them some to regress your mistakes and help the one you love heal."