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Years out

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onlytime posted 5/5/2020 12:23 PM

Before I respond to your original questions I just wanted to touch on a couple things from your follow-up post:

You said:

I am always afraid for what the future holds for us. Sometimes answers seem so clear and other times they donít.

It sounds to me as though you are trying to find some certainty, or as Pema Chodron would say, "trying to put ground under your feet". The thing about life is that nothing is static. People change. Feelings change. Everything changes. Nothing is permanent.

Pema Chodron has a book that I think you might benefit from reading, it's called The Places That Scare You. I also have a mod-approved link to a YouTube video of hers with a similar title in my profile that you may want to consider checking out.

The reality of this lifelong pain is almost unbearable at times

I'm not sure I understand what you mean by this. Could you expand on it please?

Now onto your original questions:

Do people truly find their marriage is better after an affair (obviously with work)? How or why? What makes it better?

Better is such a subjective term with many definitions. If you define it as I do, which is "improved in health; healthier than before", then yes. Our M is "better", because we are healthier as individuals, and as a result our relationship is healthy as well. We have become more authentic as individuals, and so our M is more authentic too. The healing we did on our individual selves provided the foundation for our M to heal from infidelity.

For the betrayeds, do you ever feel like youíre lying to yourself or burying your feelings in order to reach R? What makes R real or fake for you? What was it that finally made it a place where you were ok? Maybe not healed or great, but ok.

I am not one to bury my feelings or lie to myself - what you see is what you get. There was never a moment where I held back on anything I was feeling - if I felt sad, angry, hurt, vengeful, or any other emotion, it was out there front and center. My H lost his job shortly after dday and we were together 24/7 for about the first year and a half after I discovered his A. I had severe PTSD and could not regulate my emotions at all for a very long time. To his credit, my H learned to stay with my hurt and pain, anger and triggers. He faced the damage he had caused and didn't try to avoid it. He showed me compassion, understanding, and empathy. He consistently validated that what I was feeling was normal and to be expected after what he had done. That said, it took some time for him to get the place where he was able to do all of that consistently, but the key for me was that he didn't give up working on it.

What made R real for me was seeing him balancing supporting me in my healing while simultaneously working on himself; seeing him stay with all of the discomfort and no longer running away or trying to change it; and, seeing him mature, grow and transform himself (psychologically).

Is happiness after an affair a myth? The numbers are clearly against any marriage surviving that has had cheating. The reality of staying together, even with work, seems like such a fairy tale. Is love just not enough?

No, love is not enough, and there is far more to it than "staying together". Marriage requires work, and effort, and patience. It requires authenticity, vulnerability and understanding. It requires mutual compassion and empathy. These things are even more important in a relationship recovering from infidelity.

Personally, I place more value on feeling peace and contentment than I do on feeling "happy". And I can tell you that I feel a complete sense of peace and contentment in my relationship with my H.

TimSC posted 5/6/2020 15:38 PM

I kinda get the feeling that a sucessful R is related to the length of marriage prior to the affair and the length of the affair. And the ability of the WS to be open and honest.

The night I found out my wife was walking out of the house dressed up supposedly to go to her aerobics class end of session party. That struck me as strange. She had never dressed that way for any of the previous parties.

When I questioned that, she admitted that she was going for dinner and drinks with one of the "guys" from her class who was having trouble in their marriage and wanted to talk to her since we had been married 20 years.

Further questioning revealed that the "guy" really was a guy. I told her my wife was not allowed to go on dates with OM. She said this is not a "date". I said dinner and drinks alone with another man was the very definition of a date.

After a lot of her trying to justify it, I told her that the choice was simple and up to her. But if she left, I would have no choice but to do what I thought was best under the circumstances.

She stayed and quit going to the gym without me.

If she had not been somewhat truthful and tried to lie, I would have divorced her.

If we had not had kids together and spent the last 20 years building a marriage and raising the kids together......divorce.

If she had left to keep her "date" that night...divorce.

sundance posted 5/7/2020 21:29 PM

From IAT:I just want to know what was it that made R possible. I would guess it is many things, but did you ever feel you had to bury your own true feelings and pain to make it happen? Do you ever feel like the only way to get to R is to live with soul crushing pain for the rest of your life?

For me, what made R possible was the simple act of just pulling up my boot straps each and every morning. Not allowing pain to win. To fight the "tapes in my head."

Soul crushing pain for the rest of your life?? No! That's just wrong. You get one life. It's a celebration, not a funeral.

Did I bury my true feelings and my own pain to make R happen? At times, absolutely! Not every thought needs shared out loud with a spouse. Some feelings (and maybe the pain resulting from those feelings) are counterproductive and should not be given light of day. Those thoughts and feelings can be acknowledged in therapy or self-reflection for personal growth and healing.

By the way, you are not trash. Thinking that about yourself is not productive. Change the tape.

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