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Discovery and Uncertainty

ashamed7broken posted 9/11/2019 00:43 AM

I have been reading and listening to podcasts and videos of forums since DDay but this is my first time ever reaching out.
I had an affair last year and outed myself to my long term partner a little over a month ago. I did that horrible thing of trickling out information and kept making stings up and leaving things out until I was certain there was nothing left and came clean completely after a few days. After the initial shock subsided we went two weeks more connected emotionally and sexually than ever but it all came crumbling down when my BS realised that we were both just ignoring it and it was not dealt with. I've since moved to live with a family member while he stays in the home and looks for work (I was financially supporting us while he studied). Since then it has been a rollercoaster of ups and downs and I had this realisation of all the patterns, behaviours and coping mechanisms I have had all my life that eventually lead to the affair. At first, I couldn't reconcile with myself how different I was to who I thought I was. How could I have expected him to? We are in counselling now I am in private counselling and we are both in couples counselling. He was asked to write a detailed timeline of everything so we can both look at it objectively and be able to curb my behaviour in the future (if we have one). I just worry that in doing this that we are going right back to the beginning with the pain of discovery and that the recovery work we have been able to do will all need to be done again or it will damage so much that he can't continue to recover...

Any advice from WS or BS is welcomed, Thank you

thatwilldo posted 9/11/2019 01:46 AM


Welcome to SI. There's a great book that has helped me to understand the incredible pain that I gave my BS(betrayed spouse) when I made the many bad choices that lead to my affair. The book is How to Help Your Spouse Heal from Your Affair, by Linda McDonald.

Wool94 posted 9/11/2019 09:48 AM

Welcome to SI. I'm truly sorry you are here.

He was asked to write a detailed timeline of everything so we can both look at it objectively and be able to curb my behaviour in the future (if we have one). 

I'm not sure I understand this statement.

Why is he writing the timeline?

We usually advise here for the wayward spouse to create a timeline but it's so the betrayed spouse is able to have details of the affair.

One other question that I have, why does your betrayed spouse have to curb your behavior?

I hope that you realize that he had nothing to do with why you had the affair.

Not to sound harsh, but that's on you completely.

Keep posting and ask questions. There are many good people here that are willing to help.

Just learn to listen and take in the advice given to you.

If advice rubs you the wrong way, really examine it and see if it's really just hitting on something that needs to be worked on.

[This message edited by Wool94 at 9:49 AM, September 11th (Wednesday)]

FearfulAvoidance posted 9/11/2019 10:26 AM

I just worry that in doing this that we are going right back to the beginning with the pain of discovery and that the recovery work we have been able to do will all need to be done again or it will damage so much that he can't continue to recover...

Do it. Do it now.

You are right, it will feel like going back to the beginning in some ways. Yes, some of the healing will feel undone at the start. And true, maybe giving all the details lined up will end up being too much.

None of that matters. You are a month out from Dday? That is small beans as far as any kind of recovery or healing goes for your BS, or for you. So do it now. Full info and details. Give him everything you possibly can now. Give him the choice to do whatever he wants with the information, and then ride out the consequence of your past choices.

I promise you, it will be easier now than later. The healing that will have the opportunity to happen if you give him everything now will be worth the heartache and devastation that will follow. If you have any desire for a future, do what he asks and commit to it fully.

I did not do this. I kept my BS in the dark about details of my A AND from before we got married for 2 YEARS. I never made a timeline so I never gave her, or myself, the option to really see my A in its full form. I read everything on this site about the damage of trickle truth and how that is what ends up breaking the BS more than the actual A. I thought I was different. That the rules didn't apply to me, that I could control the damage and "protect" my BS from "unnecessary" hurt. I convinced myself she knew everything that was important to her healing and the minutiae of certain details didn't matter. I was wrong. So very wrong.

We have been trying to R for 2 years. I undid 2 years of healing and sent my BS back SO much. She had to find out 6 years after she committed her life to me that it was under false pretenses. 1 MONTH is nothing. And if you have any plans of marrying this person you must do so with an open heart and full transparency.

Please, take it from somebody who has literally just been through this and is living in the damage it causes. If I had made a timeline at the start and done so fully with all the things I didn't want to look at, everything would be different now. They say you have to be willing to lose the relationship in order to save it. It took me 2 years to fully grasp what that means. Knowledge is power, give him back the power you are stealing by not giving him the details he is asking for.

ETA: I just noticed you say HE was asked to write a timeline. No. Just no. He is likely trying to do that in his head everyday already. YOU write the timeline and then you can go over it together. Also, the only person who can curb your behavior is YOU. And either one of you writing a timeline is not going to be what changes YOUR behavior. That is your work that you do separately. Healing from the truama of infidelity abuse is a completely separte process than changing your behavior. That is your journey and yours alone.

[This message edited by FearfulAvoidance at 10:50 AM, September 11th (Wednesday)]

JBWD posted 9/11/2019 13:30 PM

I read “was” as a typo and believe it was “HAS asked.”

Bad news, unlike wine, gets far worse with age. Read MacDonald. Recognize that the “more connected than ever” wasn’t really- It’s referred to as hysterical bonding (HB) and there’s very different unconscious motivations in it, but with the same goal that you recognized: Rug sweeping.

If you’ve been lurking you know that the mantra here- which is universally accurate- is that your healing needs to begin individually. Same for him though his is far more acute management following the shock of discovery. At 1 month there’s likely very little progress TO undo, but regardless if you’ve disclosed everything then there’s ZERO risk in a timeline. If you HAVEN’T disclosed everything then all you risk is lying to a person you’ve sworn to honor above all others. The risk of loss is a consequence of your actions and may be a favorable outcome for your BP. Understand that the uncertainty is your doing and acknowledge as a person of integrity that the best future may be one without you as an intimate partner.

You’re getting advice from folks who have faced this same fear- Good job posting as it shows personal strength and character to acknowledge this. While the days/months/years ahead appear scary and uncertain, you will at least come out the other side knowing you did the right thing. Strength and honor. We’re with you.

NoMoreRugSweepin posted 9/11/2019 15:07 PM

I know in the book After the Affair, it advises both to sit down and timeline things even pre-affair. I feel it helps in digging into the Wayward's why's. A month won't really undo things. Your BP will likely need to revisit things to feel like he got the truth. Don't omit anything.

ashamed7broken posted 9/11/2019 16:06 PM

Thank you all so much. Yes it was a typo He has asked me to do a timeline especially focusing on the lead up to the A. It has been helping me a lot to understand my whys and how’s.
I know that I need to get everything on the table and he does know a lot of gory details already.

I do very much appreciate having really people to talk to rather than just a video or reading words off a screen.

I’ve started to read Not “Just Friends” and I think it will really help me understand the boundaries I need to put in place for the future.

I in absolutely NO WAY hold him responsible for curbing my behaviour or my past behaviour. I think he feels like he wants to be involved in my personal recovery because it gives him hope.

I reject the idea that you can justify an A with anything. It is 100% my fault I made the choices. Now it’s about figuring out what lead me to make those choices or have those unhealthy and destructive coping skills and break myself down to be able to build myself back up.

ashamed7broken posted 9/11/2019 20:01 PM

We aren't married either, we have been together for just over five years. Throughout that time I did things like acting out when I was unhappy, not realising how immature I was. He has kissed someone else at a club one night and I found out the next day. A few months later I wanted to move in with him but he said no and rather than being an adult and understanding his reasons for not wanting to I felt like he didn't want me and I went out and got drunk and kissed two people at clubs on two separate occasions. I was 19 when we met and was already on this self-destruction path where I didn't acknowledge my own feelings or that of anyone else and just did whatever I wanted to numb myself or whatever I thought would make me feel better. the full realisation of these being behaviours that I had blocked out or assumed was not relevant any more when I started to exclusively date him was my biggest mistake. had I been able to see the patterns and acknowledge my flaws I could have done the work I need to do so that I wouldn't have put him through so much pain for me to finally realise it.
It's not fair that he had to be hurt for me to finally realise my issues.

I keep seeing posts about if you're in a committed relationship when you have been betrayed rather than if your married that peoples advice is to just cut and run. not being married does not mean that there aren't feelings there, that there isn't pain. If we were married I wouldn't want the only thing holding us together is that we would have to get a divorce otherwise. the pain is still there, the love is still there the loss is still there.

FearfulAvoidance posted 9/11/2019 21:53 PM


I keep seeing posts about if you're in a committed relationship when you have been betrayed rather than if your married that peoples advice is to just cut and run. not being married does not mean that there aren't feelings there, that there isn't pain. If we were married I wouldn't want the only thing holding us together is that we would have to get a divorce otherwise. the pain is still there, the love is still there the loss is still there.

I'd just like to say, as someone who only gained the legal right to get married 6 years ago, that I agree with this sentiment. If my BS had come here the first time she discovered my porn use before we married but after nearly 5 years together, I'd be sad to think that her desire to R would have been met with "run" because she wasn't legally bound to me. It was bad enough when she did get here and seemed to confuse people as to why she would stay when there were no children involved.

Pain is pain, no matter the status. Does it carry a little more weight if there is a marriage? Of course, because you vowed to your beloved in front of other people and the legal system to love them and be true to them forever. And kids? Absolutely, those are individual tiny humans that will be forever altered by any decision you make. I just don't like the idea that if those 2 things aren't present the idea of R should immediately fly out the window.

End t/j

gmc94 posted 9/11/2019 22:11 PM

BW here - DO it and do it NOW. My WH and I have been S for a few months. One of the HUGE reasons is that he never did a detailed timeline. He is JUST NOW doing it, and there has been a giant mountain of resentment that I have built for myself because of the delay.

Many recommend (and I'm in this camp) doing TWO written timelines: one that is x-rated, and one with everything else. Your BS may not want the sexual details (or may not want them now), but I believe it is imperative that the WS do the timeline - even if the BS does not ask for it. It is something that MANY therapists recommend for the WAYWARD's therapeutic process, completely separate and apart from the BS (my WH says he's "working" on his timeline and told me last week doing so has been "helpful" to him)

Another poster on SI said they did it with three columns: one was the when/where, one was the "what" and the third was the FEELINGS they had about it. That made such complete sense to me as a BW.

So, do it, do it now, and do NOT leave out ANY detail - no detail is too big or too small. If you remember that your AP wore flip flops, you write it down. If you remember you talked about both liking ketchup on your fries, write it down. You should not be able to control the flow of ANY information that your BS wants. So, write it all down, and THEN ask what kind of detail your BS wants - you can always make a copy of the "big" timeline and then edit out stuff your BS doesn't want to know (while keeping that written record in case your BS changes their mind). Not all BS want the gory details - but it's up to them to decide - it is NOT up to you to determine what is (or is not) "significant enough" to disclose to your BS.

Suggestion - take or leave as you wish: Not Just Friends is a really good book, IMO, and I think all WS and BS should read it. But in the immediate aftermath of dday, I would recommend pausing NJF for MacDonald's How to Help Your Spouse Heal. The 2nd book (HTHYSH) is only about 100 pages or so, takes an afternoon to read and I felt gave more immediate, action steps (vs Glass' more long term, contemplative steps). I bought How to Help, but I'm told it's available in PDF online for free.



I think he feels like he wants to be involved in my personal recovery because it gives him hope.
I would pay close attention to this. It could be that, it could be other things. Ideally, you two would talk about it and ensure that the lines of communication are flowing. Others may have different views here, but as a BW, I would prefer my WH ask me rather than make assumptions. Just my $0.02 on this one - and again, others may have different views.

ETA: On the t/j re: married vs not married. For folks like FearfulAvoidance who were precluded from being married (and I'm thrilled that status quo is no more), I think you have a really good point that should be considered when making such comments.
I've been cheated on while living with my partner in a committed (and- i thought- monogamous) relationship AND I've been cheated on as a wife. For me, there was a huge difference being a wife. My suspicion is that it has more to do with the fact that I was M >23 years on dday, vs "together" for a few, rather than whether I did or did not have a wedding, but I could be missing the mark. Just my $0.02.

[This message edited by gmc94 at 10:27 PM, September 11th, 2019 (Wednesday)]

ashamed7broken posted 9/11/2019 22:36 PM

Yes that's what I'm doing the timeline at his request. It was way too painful to do it in the first weeks. It's still so painful doing it now. I'm saying every detail I can remember about our interactions. I hadn't thought about the 'flip flops' level of detail but I have been putting in what I was wearing etc. but I will start going through everything thing I can remember. I now am struggling with trickle truth, while I did it on purpose in the beginning now I genuinely don't remember things and when they pop up in my head I feel like I have lied to him all over again by not remembering sooner and needing to disclose again. I'm hoping that I can finally feel some peace on some level knowing that it is everything I can remember every detail and I won't have to disclose again and drag it out any further.

While I'm writing it I have to keep taking breaks as it's so painful I remember something else and have to go back. I know we can't heal until he knows every second I can remember.

Selfish me wants us to be able to heal from this and recover together but what I actually want is just for him to know he can be happy again whether it with me or by himself or with someone else that he can be happy. He deserves so much happiness and so much more love than if I cant have the chance to show him myself that he does get it from someone/where else in his life.

Lifeitself posted 9/26/2019 03:06 AM

Hi A7B

On your other thread, you mentioned you gave him the timeline. How did he react? Does he believe that the timeline is accurate?

ashamed7broken posted 9/26/2019 18:12 PM

Yes, however, there are other issues that have stemmed from it.
I was too in my shame to reach out to other people to check things I was unsure about. I also began remembering other things after I had given him the timeline and would tell him about it to be honest and transparent.

Every time I remembered something new it took him back to D-day and felt like he was starting all over again. It also made him feel like he couldn't trust me as I was still in his eyes ommitting things and trickle truthing later. He also felt like how could he trust me when I can't remember half of it and the worst case had had multiple A and just blocked them out.Or that because I didnt ask people about what they remebered I wasn't taking the timeline seriously.

Of course he felt all those things how could he not!

Although I am trying I am not always going to get it perfect I just have to do my best.

We have actually had a very good last day or two probably the longest we have gone while now living back together without flooding. He is in a place now where he can start to get help and accept help to start looking after himself.

I am so proud of him and so appreciative that he is looking after himself. I do love him so much and I will fight every day to look after myself and support him but ultimately I want him to be happy or be able to at least see that he can be happy, it is possible whether it's with me or without me.

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