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Before You Say Reconcile...

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Fighting2Survive posted 4/29/2011 19:41 PM

Too often when BS's first come to SI they are desperately looking to reconcile (R) with a WS who isn't as desperate as the BS.

True reconciliation is about far more than agreeing to stay in the marriage, but this gets lost to many BS's trying to regain their footing after D-day. The Pillars of Reconciliation have been posted here before, and veterans cite them often.

To that end, I thought I would make a simple contribution that highlights the difference between true R and rugsweeping (i.e., just staying married without healing).

I hope that as new BS's come here, they can see the difference and take stock of where they are. Doing so will go a long way toward avoiding a false R, a lot of unfulfilled expectations, and multiplied pain.

* Actions match words.
* Accepts full responsibility for the affair without blaming the BS, a bad marriage, or other outside factors.
* Expresses sorrow for hurting the BS and the M.
* Shows compassion and actively assists the BS with handling triggers.
* Does not become defensive or shut down when BS brings up affair-related emotions, issues, or questions.
* Answers questions honestly and completely.
* Does not avoid the BS or become frustrated that the BS is not “healing fast enough.”
* Contributes at least 60% of the joint effort at rebuilding the marriage.
* Actively works to understand why he or she made the choice to have an affair and shares insights with BS.
* Does not think solely about himself or herself. Considers how actions impact the BS.

Remorse is so important to R. It's the conerstone that everything else is built on. Without it, the M can not heal.

Remorse involves far more than just saying "I'm sorry." It's conveyed through consistent actions. The above list is not comprehensive, but it is meant to be an example that the FWS's behavior should be clear sign that he or she understands the pain the A caused and is committed to healing the M. Simply hanging around the house is not remorse. And it is not R.

7/20/11 ETA: I don't want to give the impression that a BS is stuck in limbo if a WS doesn't agree to abide by these conditions for R. Staying stuck means the A continues. If a WS won't agree to R under these necessary conditions, I encourage the BS to:

* work the 180
* use the Tactical Primer here on SI
* and see a divorce attorney to feel out their legal options

Living in limbo while an active A is in progress is tacitly agreeing to share your spouse. Operate from a position of strength. If the WS says no to R, you can not love them out of the A or wait for it to end (it won't end).

10/29/11 ETA:

Below is a list of threads that are recommended frequently to new members. These threads provide more information about the 180 and how to deal with an unremorseful WS while attending to your own healing:

Tactical Primer:

Boundaries and Consequences 101:

Setting Healthy Boundaries:

Understanding the 180:

Great Posts for Newbies to Read:

Emotional Detachment: What is it? How is it accomplished?

Codependency in the Marriage: A BS’s common mistake

20/20 Hindsight: What I Should Have Done When I JFO

eta: 6/8/13 to include more links.

[This message edited by Fighting2Survive at 9:01 PM, June 8th (Saturday)]

bent44 posted 4/29/2011 19:49 PM


Thank you so much for postimg this!

Unfortunately, my WS is nowhere near any of this, but it is so helpful to know what to look for if he ever comes out of his fog.

Thank you again.

purplebreeze posted 4/29/2011 20:02 PM

Thanks for posting this. It allows us to see how far we have come and how far we still must go.

bestbecameworst posted 4/29/2011 20:30 PM

so what do i do if he's says he's remorseful, but in actuality 3/4 rug-sweeping????

Fighting2Survive posted 4/29/2011 20:39 PM

so what do i do if he's says he's remorseful, but in actuality 3/4 rug-sweeping????

That is typical early on. When I went through it, some very wise SI veterans encouraged me to state my needs for R (the four pillars I listed above along with some others specific to our situation) and to tell him what the consequence would be if he could not rise to those expectations (I would decide that our M could not continue).

Then work the 180- not to change him but to protect you. By creating distance, you shield yourself from worse pain. It will still hurt, but every day you do it you get stronger and you are able to make more clear-headed decisions.

In my case, following this advice saved my M. I was very tempted to settle for less than a fully remorseful spouse, but I am so grateful that people here kept encouraging me to not sell my M short.

bestbecameworst posted 4/29/2011 20:46 PM

don't know if i can but i'll read about it... where on this site is the "180" described???

jimbo25319 posted 4/29/2011 20:50 PM

Well done.

LosferWords posted 4/29/2011 20:53 PM

bestbecameworst - Info about the 180 can be found in the BS FAQ in the Healing Library.

Fighting2Survive posted 4/29/2011 20:56 PM

And I just bumped a thread on Understanding the 180 in this forum.

LosferWords posted 4/29/2011 21:02 PM

Excellent post, by the way, F2S!

browniegirl posted 4/29/2011 21:09 PM


Thank you for posting that. I thought I was in a true reconciliation and now I see we aren't quite there. We're getting there; however, I am not sure I have it in me to completely forgive him. There, I finally admitted it, I am not a forgiving person! I don't think that makes me a bad person.

My husband is still avoiding discussions or not so much avoiding, but he gets real uncomfortable when I bring it up. He asked me today why we can't just move on and put it in the past and look at our future together? Well, because I'm not ready!!!

he has also given me some misleading information or what seems like misleading. He seems to legitimately not be able to remember some details such as whether or not the affair started before or after a close friend of his died. That is very hard for me to believe. I figured it out last night that it was before his friend died, or at least the emotional affair started then. He did tell me the affair started at the end of October/early November, but the phone bill says otherwise. It pisses me off so much that I am back to being angry with him and ignoring him and sending angry texts and e mails which I know are counterproductive. Actually what I am telling him is I do not know whether or not I want to have a future with someone who disrespected me, with someone who thought so little of our marriage that he had to cheat. I don't know if I want to spend my life with a man who doesn't seem to share the same values and morals as me. a man who would fuck the first skank who showed interest in him. Seriously! What was this man thinking? I mean, seriously? I have her pegged as someone who has cheated on her husband before. I just know she has. As I have told my husband numerous times, women know women and men do not know women the way a woman can know another woman. Men know men and can peg a player immediately, but men don't know women the way women do. Just my opinion on that.

isadora posted 4/29/2011 21:56 PM

This is a good post. Patience is the key too. You really have to watch their actions. I want to R, my WH is making some strides but it is no where near what I want.

He did the first four things I demanded before I would even consider R. Right now I am watching his actions and making sure they are more than just one or two months of changed behavior. I want to see consistency. I don't want to waste my time if he can't do the work.

horseluvr posted 4/30/2011 02:51 AM

Great idea to post this. When I first found SI, I went into the R forum. i thought R meant you weren't getting a D and were still together. Boy was I wrong. I was quickly informed that my WS was not in R mode. Don't know if I will ever get to go to the R board

mama2five posted 4/30/2011 03:48 AM

Wow -- great post!! Thank you for writing that. What struck a cord with me was WS saying you "aren't healing fast enough" ..... That is what my WH keeps saying to me and it truly bothers me because that says to me he really doesn't get the horrible pain he caused me. Working towards R takes patience and tremendous effort by the WS to recognize the emotional rollarcoaster they have put you on and the damage it has done to the marriage.

hurtbuthopeful12 posted 4/30/2011 07:44 AM

Thanks for posting this. It is very helpful for me.

shattered123 posted 4/30/2011 09:10 AM

Dear F2S,
Thank you for a great post. I always cringe when I see new members saying they are in R. I was a victim of false R, and even though I know FWH is showing true remorse, I refuse to say we are in R. He periodically looks at my sig line on SI just to see if I have changed it. I will change it when I am good and ready, as I know this is a long process and I will not be fooled again.

SoCalGuy posted 4/30/2011 09:26 AM

Fighting2Survive - THANK YOU! this is an excellent & useful summary for many of us going through this ordeal.

I personally struggle with the patience aspects since my WW seems to be inclined to sit on this fence, saying she is not ready yet to attempt R ... wants more time to deal with her IC but has totally ignored my needs to heal from this betrayal. I filed for D about 6 weeks after D-Day and still no remorse, WW just wants out of M, which is even more painful sometimes than the A itself after this 20-year relationship.

Thanks for adding this R guide to SI.

AppalachianGal posted 4/30/2011 11:36 AM

So glad you posted this. I printed it out & gave it to WH when he came home from work. Well, I didn't get the result I had hoped for. Instead, I get told that he has done EVERYTHING on that list. (Excuse me while I laugh). I pointed out the things that he hadn't done and the fact that he gets defensiveness and gets tired of me asking "the same questions over & over." Then, of course, he goes on the defense again and runs and pours himself a glass of bourbon.

I told him last night that I don't think this can work out. Its been 8 months since DDay and I'm worse now than I was then. Of course then I had a suicidal, abusive nut job to deal with so maybe that took all my emotion and now that has settled down thanks to some great psych meds, I'm starting to really deal with the EA.

I hate this!

Fighting2Survive posted 4/30/2011 17:24 PM

@ browniegirl:

He asked me today why we can't just move on and put it in the past and look at our future together? Well, because I'm not ready!!!

He seems to legitimately not be able to remember some details such as whether or not the affair started before or after a close friend of his died

First, your D-day is recent. At 2 months out, I was lucky to get out of bed. I don't know anyone that has "moved on" in that length of time. It sounds like he's more focused on rugsweeping- trying to reduce his discomfort at having to clean up the mess he made rather than giving you what you need.

Have you told him that the typical time to recovery from an A is 2-5 years, and many people take longer. The more he tries to speed you up, the longer it will actually take. He can either buckle down and do the real work if he wants to promote healing.

As far as the details he can't remember, I wouldn't buy that with a three dollar bill. FWH "forgot" alot too. Then I started finding things on my own. Suddenly he would remember. A 3 week A turned into a 2 month than 4 month one.

You will be obsessed with finding the truth until you are sure that he has fully disclosed. Again, if he wants you to "move on," he needs to give you what you need for that to happen. That's where honesty comes in.


((((isadora))) I have you in my thoughts.

((((horseluvr)))) Hold the line. Don't settle for less than you deserve.

((((mama2five))) The advice I gave to browniegirl is for you too.

((((shattered123))) You've given me very good advice in the past. Somehow, I think you guys will make it.

((((SoCalGuy)))) I've followed your story. I'm so sorry for where you are right now. Take care of yourself.

((((AppalachianGal)))) I replied on your thread in General so I don't want to repeat it here. I do hope you take the advice about alcoholism to heart. FWH struggles with this as well.

Fighting2Survive posted 5/2/2011 09:20 AM

bumped to the front page for the weekday posters.

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