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Eight Years Out

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Aubrie posted 10/2/2019 10:25 AM

Hello friends. Been a while.

Eight years. Hard to believe its been that long. We were younger, bleeding out, terribly broken, lost, confused, and unsure of what our next steps would be. We didn't know if we could make it. We didn't know what a healthy relationship looked like. We didn't know how to properly communicate. We didn't know what one another needed.

Four days after our Dday, I was desperately searching the Internet, trying to find out how to fix the marriage I'd just dropped a nuke on, and landed here. People like DeeplyScared, tiredgirl, UncertainOne, MissesJai, authenticnow, DixieDevastated, stilllovinghim, met me on the mat, immediately ready for a proper buttkicking. They asked me questions that made me stop and really think. WHY WHY WHY WHY. Omg I heard that question asked so many times, in so many ways! But they saved my life. I am eternally grateful to them. They held the torch so I could find my way.

Fixing myself, my side of the marriage, became my life. For years, I read, studied, dug, cried, picked at scabs, tore my entire self down, and started to rebuild. It's all.I.did. Nothing else mattered. Nothing else was important. I had to figure myself out so that I would be the wife my husband wanted, the mother my children needed, and the person I longed to be. Layer upon layer of emotion, thoughts, behaviors, memories, it all was peeled back. I'd think I had it figured out, then another issue would pop up. Or the further I was out from a situation, I gained a different perspective than before. Which set off a chain reaction of peeling, digging, and changing all over again.

I used to save all my threads. There is a folder somewhere in the recesses of my email account that contains them all. I don't know if I could go back and read them. I shared way too much. I was way too open. At the same time, the advice and help I receieved saved me. In a way, SI was my IC. My group therapy. It's still a bit difficult to look back and read my words and thoughts when they were such a cringe-fest. At the same time, when I do have the nerve to peek, I can see the extreme growth.

This whole thing was the single most exhausting, yet rewarding experience of my life. To a BS fresh from dday, I can understand how awful that sounds. "How DARE you say that this is rewarding! Don't you CARE what you did? Don't you UNDERSTAND what you did to your husband?" Yes, I do. He is absolutely part of the reason why I have done what I have done. It's taken eight years to get to this point. If you ask him today how he feels about this, he would say, "It happened and it sucked for a long time. But it doesn't anymore. It's a faint thought occasionally. It still hurts at times. But what we have now is new. You have to move on at some point." (True story. I asked. Those are his words.)

About 5 or 6 years into my process, my husband started looking at himself and decided that he wasn't in such a great place. He realized that he was responsible for himself, his happiness, his path. I could only do so much for him. What I did to him wounded him greatly, but I could not be blamed for everything wrong and broken in his life. He started working on himself.

Around that same time, my health took a nosedive. I'm fighting an auto-immune disease. It'll never go away. For a while, I wondered if this would be the dealth knell for our marriage. Honestly, I begged my husband to leave, many time throughout this entire process. It's just not fair to him. First the Dday fallout, now this. He deserves so much more than this. He is young and can still live an incredibly full life, and I would completely understand if he was done. For any reason, at any stage. Sometimes enough is enough.

He has made the choice to stay with me. Oddly enough, my health complications have created a stronger bond between us and crystal clear communication. We. Talk. About. Everything. You old timers know how big of a deal this is. In a way, I think my deteriorating health actually pulled us closer together. It's created another layer of "us against the world".

Is our relationship perfect? For us, yes. We are stronger, more in tune with one another. We learned to fight fair. We are allowed to feel how we feel. (I feel X, you feel Y, let's find the middle ground.) We talk and compromise. We give and take for one another's wants and dreams. He learned to speak up instead of simmering for months and letting resentment build until he lost his mind. We are a team. Forged together from the flames of the hell our lives were for so long.

Y'all. Never ever did I imagine I would be able to look myself in the eye in the mirror and like who I saw. (Seriously. I couldn't look in the mirror for a long time!) Who I see is strong, capable, confident. She doesn't care about the opinions of others. She has grown up. She has healed. Ironically, the physically sick side of me is scared, worried, weak, cries in the shower, and fearful of people knowing just how fragile she is. Talk about a weird place to be. To feel both ends of the spectrum at the same time in different ways is bizarre.

My husband and I were talking recently and I told him that I have never felt more sure, confident, and at peace with myself and my life, than right now. It took to age 35, but I made it. We both agree that while not perfect, we have never felt more secure and safe in our relationship, than right now. Chaos may surround us, our schedules might be insane, but he and I are safe. We are one another's safe place at the end of the day. When I was new here, they said it would eventually come, but I didn't really believe them. Newsflash, it can happen!

I see people in my real life and on my socials engaging in behaviors that I recognize from a lifetime ago. It makes me so sad. I know what it feels like to be so lost, worried about what other people think, desperate for validation. I wish I could shake them and show them the way. But I think that each of us have to have our own kind of "come to Jesus" before we'll even think about listening to someone. (Oh! I can hug people without flinching now. That happened!)

The biggest influence I can have right now is on my children. I have a teenager and a tween. It's the most frustrating, yet fun thing in the world. I'm enjoying each moment. Each conversation. Each question. From a comment that makes no sense about a skin on Fortnite, to how to handle a situation in a small group. How to navigate heartbreak. How to say no to a pushy friend. What healthy boundaries look like. I'm holding the torch for my children to find their own ways.

If you've made it thru this novel of an update, pat yourself on the back. It's been ages since I've been here. Way back, I couldn't go a day without visiting. Now, my life is full and busy, and this bloody chapter of my life has healed and closed. Every blue moon I poke my nose in to see if any of "my people" are still around. I don't recognize very many names anymore.

Veterans, thank you. Know that you've made a difference in my life, in my marriage. Newbies, if I can do this, I know you can. Keep pushing thru. It does get better. You can not only survive, but thrive.

Aubrie posted 10/2/2019 10:30 AM

While I don't "know it all" or have some magic formula, these are things I learned along the way and thought I would share.

1. Healing is not linear. (Cliche, I know) They don't call this the "Reconciliation Rollercoaster" for funsies. There are times when you think you've got this beat. You're on a high. Then all the sudden, there is a trigger out of nowhere and you plummet into absolute dispair. That is completely normal. You may think you've conquered a trigger or a memory, only to be blindsided. Likewise, you may be bracing for a trigger, only to discover you've kicked its butt. Also normal.

2. Be. Patient. When you come here brand new and they start throwing out phrases like, "It's a process. It's 4-5 years." They're not lying. Some people are able to heal quicker. Some take much longer. Some never do. Every person is different. Be patient and walk your path day by day. Don't rush the process. You didn't wake up one morning and fall on a dick. It was a process. A series of choices. It will take as long, if not longer, to work thru why you made those choices and how to correct your thinking and behavior. Do not put a bandaid on a gushing wound. An affair is a terrible coping mechanism. It is a gushing wound. Heal correctly.

3. Not everyone's path is the same as yours. We all have to heal our own way. Sometimes the "standard advice" won't resonate with someone. We all come from different backgrounds, families of origin, belief systems, etc. Your path is yours. Hold yourself accountable. Be real. Find the courage to face yourself. Please, for the love of humanity, do NOT rugsweep this. That's the absolute worst thing you can do.

4. Find support. Here, in real life, in a safe friend, family member, clergy, therapist, whatever works for you. Do not isolate yourself. Talk to your spouse about what they feel safe with you doing. SI was "my place". Some people here wove in and out of my life in months or a couple years. Others are lifelong friends with whom I speak to almost daily. Find a healthy support system.

5. Find something for you. Alot of times when we get here, we feel like absolute worthless worms. And if you're anything like me, you felt that way even way before Dday. I had completely lost who I was. I had to find something for myself that gave me a sense of being. I had to find something to help me self-soothe. Something I could go to when everything seemed to be going wrong or falling apart. Find a healthy outlet.

6. Know that three things have to heal. You, your spouse, your marriage. You are responsible for you. You are responsible for your half of the marriage. You can only help your spouse to a degree. The rest, they have to do. Which is incredibly unfair and part of the crap sandwich that is infidelity. Either they will or they won't. Let go of the outcome. You may do all the things "right" and still lose your relationship. Real healing isn't "working the formula" just to stay married. That shouldn't be the main goal. Healing should be because you deserve it, want it, need it. You work on healing yourself, regardless of the outcome. Cause at the end of they day, married or single, you're going to have to look yourself in the mirror. Will you like who you see?

7. Be brave. My mantra was "Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." (A friend here actually sent me artwork with that quote. It's above my desk. I see it every single day.) This may be the most scary thing you will ever do. But you can do it. Be man enough, be woman enough, to face your demons. Face the consequences. Do the work.

[This message edited by Aubrie at 10:30 AM, October 2nd (Wednesday)]

thatwilldo posted 10/2/2019 11:42 AM

Hi, Aubrie,

I remember you. When I began lurking here, you were one of the people struggling. Your posts and perspective helped me to feel like I was not alone.
Thank you for these two posts. They give me hope.

maise posted 10/2/2019 11:44 AM

Amazing post, so happy to hear you and your husband have found healing thank you for sharing!

foreverlabeled posted 10/2/2019 12:19 PM

Aubrie, it's so good to hear from you. You sound great, you sound healed in your M. Fantastic. Thanks for popping in and sharing this with us.

Not that long ago I made my own list of folks who helped me when I needed it the most, you were on my list. That's the way of this land isn't it? Those before us help lead the way and those before them. Each carrying on tried and true methods to get the hell out of infidelity and then heal.

Glad all is well, wishing you the best!

Want2BHappyAgain posted 10/2/2019 12:36 PM

OMG!!!!!!!! It is so GOOD to "see" you on here again...and what an AWESOME post too !!! You were someone I looked up to...and I really admired your thoughtful posts. I can't even begin to tell you how MUCH they helped me !!!

I am sorry to see that your health issue isn't going to get any better...but to turn this around to being a STRENGTH for the two of you...that shows the awesomeness of YOU!!!

You know...this post really belongs in another thread as well . The "Positive Reconciliation Stories" thread could sure use a POSITIVE story like this !!!

ChanceAtLife35 posted 10/2/2019 13:21 PM

Wooooow. No words. This is beautiful and happy for you both.

SisterMilkshake posted 10/2/2019 13:47 PM

Aubrie, dear Aubrie. I am astounded by the serendipity of this.

I have been away from SI quite a bit. Months at a time, and then will come and post for awhile and leave. But, for some reason today I felt I needed to look at SI. I was actually composing a post for Reconciliation and the topic title of "Eight Years Out" caught my eye as that is kind of what my post was about. Kinda. Low and behold it is dear Aubrie. Missed you so much, girl.

When you first joined I wasn't even reading in Wayward. Too upsetting. But, after awhile I was able to read Wayward and watched and read your posts. Saw your growth and saw that you were a good person who made terrible choices. Don't forget how much you helped others here, Aubrie, both WS's and BS's. You really were such a support and had much wisdom to share. A real inspiration for many.

I am so sorry to hear about your continuing health issues, but at least it sounds like you finally have a proper diagnosis.

Thanks for the update. I am so happy for you and your husband, Aubrie. Sounds like where MisterSister and I are at. To quote your husband:

"It happened and it sucked for a long time. But it doesn't anymore. It's a faint thought occasionally. It still hurts at times. But what we have now is new. You have to move on at some point."
That is exactly my feelings and thoughts, also.

Wishing you much Peace and Serenity on your continuing journey, Aubrie.

edit: to remove sentence that was redundanat

[This message edited by SisterMilkshake at 1:49 PM, October 2nd (Wednesday)]

Aubrie posted 10/2/2019 14:17 PM

Thank you for the kindness everyone. It's good to see you again.

foreverlabeled, hi! I remember you! I've actually been remembering names all day that I'd previously forgotten. Mel66 mailed me a book. BaxtersBFF was around. HUFIPUFI would make an appearance every now and then. wincings_sparkle was here and there. Brandon808 was the Yoda of SI. DarknessFalls was a regular, but I remember her name being something different. Oh! Does anyone remember OktoberMest?

W2BHA, I'll copy/paste this post in the positive story thread, just for you.

SMS! Friend! I've missed you too. It's good to see you again. I'm so glad that you and Mr. are in a good place as well. Funny how we get a "feeling" and end up bumping into "our" people. You are a good one.

*sigh* Man the nostalgia. I miss DS. I'll never forget her. Her warmth, her love, her willingness to listen, her patience to give you a chance to change, even when you kept screwing up. She was a lovely person and I'm forever grateful to her for fighting for a place for us waywards to work thru our madness.

Want2BHappyAgain posted 10/2/2019 14:37 PM

Thank you so much !!! This post is truly inspirational!!!

SerJR posted 10/2/2019 21:12 PM

Good to "see" you again Aubrie.
You are absolutely right that these situations (whether BS or WS) present us with the opportunity to cut out all the crap, figure out who we truly are, and to grow and develop into the people we want to be. It's about making choices and taking those steps... and who we become is our reward, for good or for bad.
I'm glad to hear that you're doing well, and am confident that you will continue to meet and overcome the challenges that life brings your way.

VioletElle posted 10/2/2019 21:22 PM

That was very beautiful. I feel quite emotional reading it. Inspiring.

WastedTime12 posted 10/2/2019 21:36 PM

Aubrie, it is so good to “see” you again !! I well remember your posts. You gave me strength when I needed it and were one of the original ones who helped me to be able to see clearly. I am sorry about your health but you sound like y’all are in an awesome place. Wishing y’all nothing but the best. I am forever grateful for your wisdom when I was in my darkest days.
Take care of you and yours 🥰

hikingout posted 10/3/2019 08:33 AM

Hi Aubrie,

I don't know you as I got here about 6 years later I guess. But, I wanted to say a few quick things to you. One, I think your list is very on point and I found myself nodding along. Two, I am very happy to see a happy reconciliation post on WW years out, often we don't get the benefit of ever knowing what happens to folks and the WS who come back have usually re-offended. Congratulations on all that hard work and that you and your husband found your way through to happier times. And, lastly, I just want to say we have a lacking of WS further out here, there is really not much of a road map for us after recovery period. So, consider popping in from time to time and giving us some of that further out insight. I know I for one would appreciate it if you think to and have the time!



Aubrie posted 10/3/2019 10:17 AM

WastedTime, I remember your name. Glad to see you again.

You know, in a way, my health has been a blessing in disguise. I'm a go-getter. Sometimes to my own detriment. Life has always been incredibly busy and full. It still is, but in a different way because of my limitations. The result is richer quality times together and memories. We make the best of the moments. I guess basically, we don't take anything for granted anymore, because we know things are different now and we never know the next time we'll have a moment like that.

hikingout, hello! You mentioned there not being much of a road map after recovery or further out insight. Can you explain what you mean a little bit? Is there something in particular you're thinking about or are there general questions? I'm a bit confused and probably way overthinking it.

numb&dumb posted 10/3/2019 10:26 AM

Glad to see you've come back

hikingout posted 10/3/2019 10:30 AM

hikingout, hello! You mentioned there not being much of a road map after recovery or further out insight. Can you explain what you mean a little bit? Is there something in particular you're thinking about or are there general questions? I'm a bit confused and probably way overthinking it.

No, I probably under-thought it. I will explain it better...

The majority of WS posting are new waywards who are in recovery that are navigating those early months/first year post dday. Those are ropes many of us here over 1 year have navigated. I am a little over two years out from the A. I feel there are perspectives that I can bring to new folks, but there are things I am still working on further out that when I get in a little struggle with something, it would be nice if there were voices on the other end that have been there done that. We have a few, very few here that are past me on a timeline, and probably half of them are guides with a lot of other responsibilities.

I get a lot of great food for thought from the BS side these days of my posts, and they give me a lot of what I need. But, I think a wayward can key in a different way.

The other thing I think this site kind of misses by not having many healed, further out WS is probably more general - hope that change can be long term and can provide insights for both WS and BS. And, I think sometimes having role models around can help us all see where is it that we are trying to go. What are we aspiring to?

I think I was mostly making a pitch for you to stick around, but I know that for some the passing through is really because this isn't as big of a part of their life any more, and I can understand why one would not wish to make a bigger place for it.

[This message edited by hikingout at 10:31 AM, October 3rd (Thursday)]

ff4152 posted 10/3/2019 11:19 AM

Hello Aubrie, I’m so very happy to hear things are going well for you and your H!

To piggyback on what Hikingout was saying, I certainly hope you stick around but completely understand if you don’t. Many of the “old timer” WS have gone and your voices are sorely missed.

Whatever you decide, I hope you continue to have a happy and healthy life!

Aubrie posted 10/3/2019 14:15 PM

Hi numb&dumb.

hikingout, I see what you're saying.

The other thing I think this site kind of misses by not having many healed, further out WS is probably more general - hope that change can be long term and can provide insights for both WS and BS.
Which is kind of why I poked my head in here this week. 1. My hubs and I were talking about how far we'd come. I felt it would be nice to jump on and tell anyone that remembers us, "Hey! We've alive and kickin' and thriving!". I know I sometimes wonder whatever happened to certain people. 2. But also, to let newbies or those a couple years out know, it can be done and to not give up.

I can't promise to stay. But I also don't see the harm in jumping on every once in a while when time allows.

SisterMilkshake posted in Recon yesterday about a sort of detachment. It made alot of sense, really. There comes a point where, life really does just go on. I think it takes an incredibly special kind of person who can stay in the trenches for years and years. I always wondered how Mods and Guides did it.

Hi ff. Good to see you're still around!

sisoon posted 10/3/2019 14:28 PM

I'd be happy to read any post of yours, I think. I'm especially happy to read this one, except for the auto-immune disease. I'm very sorry about that.

You're a peach, Aubrie. You light up any room you are in. I'm not at all surprised QS wants to stick around. From what I've seen and read, you're very well-matched.

And I think you're right about courage.

My best to you and QS. Please convey my best wishes to him.

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