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1.5 years on...still no trust...advice please

hat18 posted 11/26/2018 01:16 AM

Hello, I posted this in the Reconciliation Forum but somebody suggested I should have posted in the Wayward Forum so here goes:

I am a WS and am writing this with my BH sitting next to me. I engaged in cyber sex with various men over a 3 month period. My BH discovered it and I stopped immediately. Our DDay was 18 months ago. I have destroyed our marriage and ruined my BH's life. We have gone to marriage counselling and are still together but seem to be stuck. We have discussed at length my reasons for cheating, the state of our marriage at the time and I realise and understand the pain and suffering I have caused. We have 2 kids together whom we both love very much.

Now, we are at a place that we live together and are trying to move forward together but my BH does not trust me, does not believe a word I say and is convinced that I am still cheating (which I am not). He says that once he finds proof of my cheating that he will throw me out. I am not cheating so he cannot find any proof but I also cannot prove that I am not cheating.

I do not engage in social media, he has access to email and phone and I am very aware of telling him where I am, who I am with etc. If I think I will be delayed I ring to let him know. He says I have not done enough to convince him that I am still not cheating. I honestly do not know what else to do. I listen to him discuss his pain, I apologise (not enough I realise) but if I apologise daily it sounds like a song. He does not want this.

Can anyone offer any advice to both of us as to how we can move on from here? This constant checking of my movements and replaying conversations over and over in his head to see if all I have said adds up is driving my BH crazy. it is not good for his mental health and I hate seeing him like this. I am willing to do anything to help him move past this. I do not expect him to believe me as I have destroyed what trust he had in me but on the otherhand neither he nor I see us continuing as we are. One day he will wake up and decide that he does not want to spend the rest of his life living like this. How can we prevent this happening?

I am sorry this is long but hopefully I have made sense. Thank you for reading.

foreverlabeled posted 11/26/2018 07:07 AM

Maybe a year and a half feels like a lifetime now, but it is often said it takes our BSs 2-5 years to heal. Trust is not easily regained even if we are consistent with our actions. Sometimes no matter how safe we are, now, trauma tells BS different. It will remind them of what we are capable of to protect them. Those traumatized feelings are hard to quiet.

As unfair as it sounds our BSs have to do some work too, they are in charge of their healing and like any process time and active work are needed, along with your work to remain safe and accountable.

I don't doubt that a quick fix runs through both BS/WS minds at some point. Plus the time involved in healing from this does seem daunting. These are sad turbulent times. That even a year 1/2 out there still feels no escape.

There are other ways to show how sorry you are without saying it over and over. My H was worn out with my apologies within the first year, hell 6 months even. Just simply stepping into his pain with him and showing compassion and ownership sends a positive message. Instead of saying sorry, say thank you. Do things to make his days easier. Tailor it to suit his needs.

EvolvingSoul posted 11/26/2018 22:07 PM

Hi there hat18,

The timeline for healing is pretty long. As foreverlabeled mentioned, 2-5 years is about normal. When I first came here and read that I was pretty sure that my BS and I would be different. Nope. It was more like 6 years and there are still times that he triggers.

Rather than focusing on trying to find a way to "move on", a better strategy is to work on yourself, in two ways.

1) Figure out how and why you were able to betray your BS. You mention marriage counselling but not individual counselling for you. You mention you and him discussing reasons for your cheating, might I inquire what those were?

2) Develop some tools for dealing with difficult feelings without having to shut them down or getting carried off by them. A lot of times when my BS was hurting my apologies were really a way to try to short circuit and shut down his expression of pain. Sometimes I tried to talk him out his feelings, sometimes I tried to tell him he no longer had any reason to feel that way. Sometimes I made it about me and how horrible I was that I had done this to him and how awful it made me feel. None of that helped.

What did help was the realization that he didn't want to feel this way, and telling him that I knew that. The apologies that helped were very specific rather than general. Keeping my defenses low and my curiosity high about what he was going through helped.

A mindfulness practice that had daily meditation practice as its foundation was a big help for me. Journaling and counseling also as it gave me a place to let me frustration flag fly. I have a lot of pages in my journal with just the words "FUCK THIS FUCK THIS" scrawled across in large letters. Saying it there meant I didn't say it to him.

If you haven't yet had a chance, I'd like to encourage you to read "How to Help Your Spouse Heal from Your Affair" by Linda MacDonald. Also, the post "Things Every WS Should know" by HUFI-PUFI on this board. I'll bump it up to the top for you.

I know the timeline seems daunting. I know what you are both going through is painful. Try to remember that infidelity imparts a psychic wound of trauma to the betrayed. If he'd had a major accident or a stroke, something that wasn't your fault, and he was still struggling with recovery at 18 months out, would you be thinking as you are now? Trauma has to be processed. It takes time and often requires professional help. I don't know if he's in IC but if not perhaps it's something you can bring up in MC.

Proceed with conviction and valor.

thatwilldo posted 11/27/2018 13:10 PM

ht18

I am a WS and am writing this with my BH sitting next to me.

Some believe that this is not a good idea, but I disagree. My BS and I read from here to each other and discuss what applies to us. We find it very helpful to both of us. After many years past my affair, we're still discussing and dealing with the pain.

I do not engage in social media, he has access to email and phone and I am very aware of telling him where I am, who I am with etc. If I think I will be delayed I ring to let him know. He says I have not done enough to convince him that I am still not cheating. I honestly do not know what else to do. I listen to him discuss his pain, I apologise (not enough I realise) but if I apologise daily it sounds like a song. He does not want this.

This is all very good. My BS says that the calling and letting him know when I'm held up is very helpful to him. May I ask, do you bring up the affair and talk to him about it, or do you wait for him to bring it up? I encourage you to not just apologize, but don't avoid bringing it up. Be proactive. Say when something triggers a memory for you. Ask if you suspect that he's being triggered. Ask him how he's doing every day.

EvolvingSoul and foreverlabeled are both so wise. They have guided many here through very hard times. We're so lucky to have their guidance.

I wish you and your husband the best in this difficult journey.

hat18 posted 11/28/2018 09:42 AM

Hello and thank you for you insightful replies. I have read them three times trying to take in what you are saying.

As to my reasons/excuses/explanation for cheating, these have changed over time. In the beginning I always maintained that I fell into cheating - I had ample time, opportunity and like Alice I fell through the glass however over time I now realise that I chose to cheat. I chose to lie. I chose to betray my BH in the worst possible way. I jeopardised our whole life together and our kids futures for some random guy online. The reason for this is that I am selfish to the core. I thought because my BH was out a lot and our sex life had become stagnant that I was entitled to some "me time". I lied to myself that I was harming no-one. The reality I realise now is very different. I was so stupid and am very well able to compartmentalise my life that I went against everything I should have held dear.

My BH has said often that I never bring up my cheating. In the beginning, I foolishly thought that if I didn't mention it then we could continue along with our normal day and not sink into depair which inevitably happens once it is mentioned. I realise now that I was wrong and even if my BH is not talking about it he is thinking about it. He thinks if I don't talk about it then I'm not thinking about it. In the beginning this was the case I admit but I realise now that it is always there hanging over us. So now I do try to mention it out of the blue. I still have to fight the feeling that I am opening up our evening to constant talk of my cheating but I am trying to overcome that. It is pretty hard to come back from a conversation that seems like a question and answer session and resume a "normal" evening with the kids.

The point about if he had suffered a stroke or such and was still struggling 18 months on has really struck home with me. Thank you EvolvingSoul.

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