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Living with it...

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hikingout posted 9/4/2019 10:05 AM

I am thinking this question is probably more for the WS further out from me but it's open to anyone.

I had a quick exchange this morning with a BS, and that person articulated something I have been feeling but I couldn't put my finger on it. It's different because I recognize that I am the perpetrator in my situation...They basically said and I am paraphrasing: I kept expecting to get over it, but I realized at some point that instead it's more like something you live with and kind of grow to accept.

So, not the same thing for a WS exactly, but I keep thinking this will occupy less and less of my life and my thoughts. And, I think it definitely has. The first year was a terrible amount of pain (and I'm not dismissing it was worse for my husband), confusion, shame, you name it. The second year was hard in it's own regard - it was the one I feel I made the most strides of change in. And, I think it was the one that we worked hard to regain our connection and through our discussions I believe we both feel we have.

So, we just passed our 2nd Dday anniversary, the A has been over for 26 months. There has been a lot of therapy, knowledge gained, change, effort, and a lot of growth and healing I think for both of us. We are rebuilding slowly but surely, and I really do believe he and I are on the same page about that. I think in some ways I keep it alive more than he does, but I am not really sure that's true. That's probably just a perception I have as I come here more and I bring it up more.

I don't think the question is when does it end, because I see people ask that on both sides of the forum and I always agree with the answer - things have been changed irrevocably. But, do you WS longer out go any time without thinking about it? I don't think H or I have ever gone a day without thinking about it, and very rarely does it not come up at least daily at least in passing. We don't discuss it at length nearly like we used to, that's maybe a few times a month now.

I guess what I want to know is what does it look like for you now? And how far out are you? It's not that I can not accept the consequences of my actions, or that I am looking for a reprieve. It's more out of a general curiosity?

[This message edited by hikingout at 10:08 AM, September 4th (Wednesday)]

oldtruck posted 9/4/2019 11:31 AM

Recovery takes two to five years.

You have just entered two months into that time

I lost a job. A job that would of given me an upper
middle class income for 30 years. A 3/4 pension with
health benefits. 3 bedroom house, 1/2 acre.
A modest second/vacation home.

I do not blame anyone else for me losing that job.
It took me 10 years before I could drive by that
place and not get upset for what I had lost.

Now the pain for what a FWW and a BH had to go
through is so much worse to go through than the

I do not get pain anymore. Though from time to
time I find it sad when I remember what was lost.

It is true you forgive, but you never forget.
The WS has to forgive themselves for their affair.
A WS can forgive themselves and regret their

No one can be in a healthy place if they keep
punishing themselves.

I think about what happened to me all those years
ago, 30+, everyday. Because I never got my
questions answered. 6 months ago I sat my wife
down and told her so. She finally agreed to talk.
Back then she was the master trickle truther.

Mostly I got was I do not remembers because it
was so long ago. I wish I had realized how
important it was for you to talk and have your
questions answered.

I want to tell her 6 - 12 months later that her
bad memory did not help. That if I had been told
everything back then I would of gotten past it
the same as losing that job.

Maybe it would of taken me 10 years. Then as with
that lost job I would not think about it in a
daily basis, and when I would trigger it would
pass quickly.

Add: we cannot undo our mistakes. We can
make sure that we do not repeat them and take pride in that.

Evertrying posted 9/4/2019 12:49 PM

Though I am the BS in my situation, you and I have the same dday. We too just made it to the 2 yr mark.

I am going to post in the R forum, but looked here first and saw your post.

I have to say, my H and I are reconciled now. It took 2 yrs of hell, but I have to say the A was the best thing that could have happened to us. It made us really look at ourselves, our misgivings, faults and neglect to each other and made the joint decision that we truly loved each other and wanted to stay together.

I don't think about his A much at all anymore. I don't look at his phone, email or investigate as a private eye like I did right after dday. I don't have to. He isn't doing anything wrong. Our relationship is the best it's been in 15 yrs.

Him? I know he "remembers" the A, but I know he isn't thinking about it, her, any part of it as it's over, it's done, we have healed and moved past it. There is no place for it in our lives now as it served it's purpose and is no longer a factor in our marriage.

I believe in our hearts it does end. It was something bad that happened in our lives, but the most important thing is this:

WE, our marriage and our lives together is more important and more meaningful than the A. Because of this, we have released the bondage of the pain and suffering from it and made the move forward - together knowing we are in a better place AND we are together.

We have both grown, changed and have become the best people we ever been. As we continue to grow and evolve, we have chosen to do it together and love one another. I can only hope that my friends on SI someday feel the relief I feel now.

You eventually have to let it go and don't let it consume your life. Love each other.

Chaos posted 9/4/2019 13:03 PM

BS here Ė 2 years out of DDay1, Just passed 1 year of DDay2 and next month is 1 year of DDay3.

Iím wary. Watching, waiting, observing. Wouldnít say full on detached Ė but Iím at a distance.

The ironic thing is that WH is just [finally] seeming to get his act together. Intensive IC, full on transparency [I only thought I had it before], initiating conversations, giving insight to his thought processes, sharing his whys as he digs deeper into himself. Hard to explain, but it is different that before Ė what I thought was remorseful behavior was just ďdo enough to get her off my back so I could stay undergroundĒ behavior.

Delicate dance this year 2. Heís finally really showing that heís really getting it when Iím finally getting really tired of dealing with it [not a D sort of way Ė in a POLF sort of way]. And at the same time, being curious at what the future holds. I do believe if he doesnít stray [again] we can probably make it. Knowing this is part of our history is heart breaking. But the fear and self-preservation of accepting that he might Ė wellÖif he does thatís a death blow.

I spend a lot of my wakeless nights just feeling melancholy that this really did happen to me. He really did this to us. This isnít a nightmare. This is reality. And for 4.5 years this was my life Ė I just didnít know it.

I still love WH. I am still in love with WH. I think he still loves me. I think he is still in love with me. How the f*** he could do this and for so long is beyond my comprehension.

Iím cautiously optimistic. And at the same time very wary.

I know that doesnít specifically answer your question and may not even be helpful. But at 2 years, I can tell you, Iím exhausted from being exhausted with it all.

And that is hard to admit. To all of you and myself.

BluesPower posted 9/4/2019 13:26 PM

As a BS, from that side...

You never ever get over it, I really do not care what anyone else thinks or says.

You never get over it. You may learn to live with it, but I never did, and I never will.

MamaDragon posted 9/4/2019 13:42 PM

I'm way over 5 years and I have to say that it was worse the first three -

I have never forgotten, the hate, the rage and they why lessened and I've learned to live with not knowing everything...

I can live with what happened now without holding my breath or holding back rage. However, even now I have moments when my mind wanders and I start remembering things. It is just not as hate ridden now.

Lucky77 posted 9/4/2019 18:12 PM

Being an adulterer has felt to me like Iím either donning a gaping wound of some kind or a cinder block around my neck 24/7. Forever changed. Maybe my wound is scarring over a bit now and Iíve got a massive slash scar across my body for my eternal enjoyment.

Striver posted 9/4/2019 19:21 PM

For the WS out there:

If your BS asked for a divorce tomorrow, would you know why? Or would you be gobsmacked.

For Chaos:

My ex, who left me for someone else, said this to me once when I was expressing doubt.

"I don't love one way."

She had a point.

You think your WH loves you? If so, why do you
love him?

I say this in kindness. You are worthy of two way love. Not one way.

BraveSirRobin posted 9/4/2019 20:07 PM

If your BS asked for a divorce tomorrow, would you know why? Or would you be gobsmacked.
This is a bit of a threadjack, but I'm hoping hikingout won't mind, because she's always very accommodating to BS who have questions for waywards.

At this point, I would be gobsmacked, because I think that if he was anywhere close to making that call, he would let me know. We've really been trying to be very open and honest about our feelings, and he has been definitive that he's committed to R.

During the trickle truth stage, especially at the end, I would have been destroyed, but not gobsmacked. I would have understood exactly why.

godheals posted 9/4/2019 21:35 PM

We are 3 years and 9 months out.

It get better with time.

H and I do talk about it but not as often. More healthier then before. We actually talk about it together. I know it still hurts him and he still thinks about it almost daily but his not so hurt by it anymore. His been sad about two times this year with tears but there was no anger. His past that stage. Most of our talks are good.

I think about almost everyday. But itís not ďoh my gosh I canít believe I did thatĒ. Itís more I did but we both overcome it together. Sometimes I do have that shock I did. Makes me sad that my H canít say his wife was faithful.

I guess where we stand, yeah I think about it almost everyday but I am not sad I am happy that we overcome and my H healed from my actions. H is healed but it still hurts him. We have very good talks about it when we do talk about it. A little sadness, a little hurt and pain but we are very happy. I know his happy because he tells he is. He tells me he thinks our M is better then ever. I also know he will never get over it. I donít expect him to. It will always be a part of our story and the past.

hikingout posted 9/4/2019 21:40 PM

Old truck - I think I have gained self compassion. You are right forgiveness is not there. The time wasted, the pain I inflicted, and the pain that I also put myself through, those things feel like they have left residue all over. I donít know how to describe it but I think you are speaking to the right things.

Evertrying- I am so glad to see you feel peace and I hope it is lasting and that your new chapter is beautiful. I do love him very much, and I know he loves me too. Itís not consuming as it was for either of us. I just wanted to see where waywards go with it. You see these questions more around bs forums and there isnít always a lot of info out there in the wayward side past those initial times. I donít know what it looks like for those who came before me?

Chaos, I can certainly appreciate what you are saying here. I feel when you say I am exhausted with being exhausted, that hit me in a different way. I am not exhausted exactly but sometimes finding now that things are better between us I have these moments of deep disgust with myself. Itís more like I am tired of that. Or of me somehow? I donít know I have hit a bad few weeks lately and I wish I could explain it better but I am always thankful for your support and honesty.

Blues power and mama dragon- I can understand how you would feel that way.

Lucky - I get it.

Striver - I have to admit I scratched my head a bit as to how this came to be the question for this thread. My only guess is that I said some things that spoke on behalf of how my h feels or by saying I thought he was growing and healing?

Anyway, I will answer - no I would not be gobsmacked. I know that there is the potential for tides to turn at any time and h could wake up and decide this was just a deal breaker altogether. That he may not express everything to me or he may not have reached a different unseen stage. It would not be bewildering to me at all. I hope that we can have a restored marriage and that time will pass and we will continue to be stronger because I do truly love him. I understand everything on a far different level than I once did and I will honor this marriage differently moving forward. But I donít think itís a given he wonít change his mind and I donít think I will ever take it for granted again. But even so, I donít want him to stay in a marriage in which he feels he could never heal or if he didnít feel he could love me the way he proclaims. I want the two way love that you mentioned and I am here and able to provide my part of that as long as he wants it and wants to return it. But if he doesnít then I would understand that it was me who broke it, not him no matter how far out. And I would love him still, but I would return him the graces he has given me and make things easy and manageable for him.

[This message edited by hikingout at 10:39 PM, September 4th (Wednesday)]

hikingout posted 9/4/2019 21:42 PM

Godheals -thank you. This is what I wanted to know.

sorrowfulmate posted 9/5/2019 09:14 AM

I think we learn to accept that the infidelity will just be there. It canít be forgotten, but it can be dealt with in the right ways where itís become a matter of record. Just like Iím an alcoholic and I need a recovery plan to deal with it so I donít go back to it. Likewise I think infidelity requires a recovery plan which is in the forefront of the mind so that, as a wayward, I donít slip back into the mindset which allowed me to have affairs.

I think once we accept who and what we have done it becomes easier. To me itís just a fact. I cheated on my wife multiple times. I look at my actions on a daily basis as to evaluate how my boundaries are, and look at my interactions with others as to choose to act differently.

I also look at how Iím interacting with my BS on a daily basis to make sure Iím being open with her about all parts of my life and that Iím being honest with her.

Just my .02 cents worth.

Owl6118 posted 9/5/2019 09:34 AM

Living with the shipwreck of the self, and the damage it did to others, can be very hard. But as I said once to Mrs Walloped, we are sentenced to life, not death, and thus each day we have to choose how to live our lives.

I find the thing that helps me the most is to focus on what I am grateful for today and tomorrow. And something I am grateful for is what I have learned, however imperfectly, about humility and empathy.

I am less proud than I was. But the pride I had was brittle and untrustworthy. There is a hard bought peace in putting it down.

I am slower to judge and more empathetic. I see others who have made bad choices and done harm to themselves and others and know them to be my brothers and sisters. I love them and I help if I can, as best I can.

Those opportunites to connect with our fellow fallen souls are a gift -- an unspeakable grace, actually. Becuase they give us a chance to create moments of healing from what is otherwise mute borror. To rebuild purpose in our lives-- purpose that incorporates, and derives from, the worst of what we were and what did instead of denying them.

Edited to add: I know this isn't exactly the kind of living with it you really are asking about HO. But it is an idea that means a lot to me and I hope you will forgive the tangent.

[This message edited by Owl6118 at 9:54 AM, September 5th (Thursday)]

hikingout posted 9/5/2019 14:49 PM

I know this isn't exactly the kind of living with it you really are asking about HO. But it is an idea that means a lot to me and I hope you will forgive the tangent


Actually your answer was quite perfect and was a good reminder. The way you frame it is what I do try and keep in mind most of the time. The bigger picture is not just focusing on the ways that it changed your life for the worse, but all the things in brought into your life that were positive.

It's helpful sometimes to get that nudge that yes there are ill effects, they may last for a long time, but there are lots of things that we were also given the opportunity to be awoken to as well. To struggle and to thrive through it and to come out on the other end with new wisdom, a new lens, and better skills and softer around the edges - those are all things that can bring joy when you ruminate on those things. And above all else gratitude and mindfulness. Sometimes I will have periods when I am in my head and reverting to getting down on oneself for all the things you did and now cringe when you think about....but maybe I have to reframe those as reminders and prods too. I appreciate your post, and I do think that living with it is exactly what you did address and articulate very well.

And, Sorrowful mate - your words resonate, and express realistically, how could I expect differently? I do think that it will be another step to be able to just see them as facts. I don't think I am to that level yet. I am still untangling all the wires, I guess.

Owl6118 posted 9/5/2019 15:37 PM

Another idea has been very important to me, but it's hard to put into words.

It's the idea of living in, really owning and inhabiting, paradox.

As waywards many of us were overly concerned with representation of ourselves. We kept an inner self walled off, and created and curated an outer self or several selves to control how people perceived us. I think everyone does this to some degree. We did it to an unhealthy degree. And it created and fostered the compartmentalization that allowed us to give ourselves permission to become wayward.

Now, in the aftermath, we have seen the worst of ourselves, the darkness that was walled off in the compartments.

For us, tearing down the compartments is so, so important.

But that means owning and living in and with our paradoxical nature.

We seek our why's to understand, and make ourselves safe to others going forward. We may even find compassion for our former wayward selves. And yet we may not ever be able to forgive ourselves.

And that's ok.

We are forgiven, and we are unforgivable. We can choose now to be kind, and humble, but we also bear the sins of our past pride within us.

We are not all one thing, or all another, neither redeemed, nor unredeemable. We have to live in the space where we are both.

Unredeemed, so we never forget what we were capabale of and responsable for. Redeemable, so we can have hope to be better for those around us. Not either or, but both.

And as we live, and hopefully grow toward health, the way we live in that paradox changes. But the necessity to live in it never goes away.

sorrowfulmate posted 9/5/2019 15:39 PM

It takes some work to get to that level. My first instinct is to always try to paste the blame on others. I learned that in my Family Of Origin.

I removed myself from assigning the blame in this situation and work on reminding myself that I have no one to blame but myself.

We are coming up on five years and last week was bad for her, she was triggering. I know that we throw around the 2-5 year healing timeline, but I think its also good to remind people that when healing does come the scars still remain.

NotSureAboutIt posted 9/10/2019 14:18 PM

We just passed 30 years since DDay. She said nothing. I am here on SI reading every post so clearly I have not gotten over it. I am the WH. We divorced two years after my affair ended. We remarried three years later. Since the remarriage we basically started fresh. The affair very seldom comes up. But my guilt has not gone away. I will forever see myself as an adulterer. 25 years since remarrying I carry the guilt like a chain around my neck. I lost respect for myself and it has never returned. Sorry for the gloomy outlook.

hikingout posted 9/10/2019 14:29 PM


I am sorry to hear that. I heard a song over the weekend about how we shouldn't let shadows become mountains, meaning don't make the past a permanent fixture in the present. But, as I sat listening to it, I thought there are some things that are harder to do that with than others.

I talked once to someone close to our family. He committed murder and was sent to prison for 12 years. He's been out for about 10 and has restarted his life, has good income and a family. He married someone who already had kids and he was at the ballfield more than most biological parents I have known. He is definitely a reformed person, he let go of a lot of anger that he held as a younger man. He's probably one of the most easy going, happy guys I have ever met because he is so appreciative of his life and family now. I asked him how he goes on, and he said that he will always be sorry for what he did. That he feels terribly for the person's family. But, he also has found redemption in changing the way he has lived his life and he tries to do all the good he can. He also paid a penance in living in that prison for those 12 years and spent a good deal of time in solitary. He said there is not a fairness in trading 12 years for all of someone else's years but that he still has to go on and live his life.

I don't think he could understand but I was sitting there listening and relating to every word of it. Some things are irrevocable. They leave their marks. You learn to be a different person who can look back at the person you were and feel compassion towards them. You can hate what you do but hating yourself is a prison that will never move you forward and will serve no purpose. I can logically say these things, but I am still trying to emotionally accept and process them. So, I am not sure if you could actually add gloom and doom to where I am mentally with some of it. When we cheat, we not only ruin the relationship we have with our spouse but we ruin our relationship with ourselves. It's a very hard thing to explain unless you have done it but that's what I like about this site, there are people like you who understand that struggle because they have been living it too.

[This message edited by hikingout at 2:31 PM, September 10th (Tuesday)]

Notthishellagainplease posted 9/11/2019 08:38 AM

It's been 7 years for me since the A and Dday. I don't think about it daily, sometimes a couple weeks go by without it entering my mind but then something triggers me. I am a MH but I was the catalyst as I cheated first and then he had EA's that may have had a chance to go physical had he not left me. I think about my A far more then what he did. I wore/wear my actions around my neck like a weight pulling me down. I don't think myself as a bad person anymore, just a broken one glued back together haphazardly. I never stopped loving my MH partner in that level you see, even broken up, and that left me incapable of taking steps that may have helped. He has since input breakup slept with others and has become very jaded about life and people. We are attempting to reconcile and though we do not talk about it directly he has made it obvious that what happened 7 years ago is why he is like this today. I don't know if we'll make it as 1 year building took some huge steps back when I found out how scarred he is to the point where he loves me but doesn't feel capable of that deep true love again although that's how I love him.

Sorry I threadjacked a little unintentionally. To answer yes you may get to a point where it's not what you think about every day or every week but when that happens is different for everyone.

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