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Time, healing, helping him have hope, my epiphany

GTeamReboot posted 7/31/2020 00:05 AM

Laying here sleepless and mulling over the latest hard conversion. It wasnít a disaster, just hard. The antiversary (death of our wedding vows) is coming up - 2nd one but first one since I found out. Iím dreading it. The pain is heavy. Then for a month itís A season. Then 1 year since DDay not far behind. Just a hard phase for us!

But... FWH has been busting his butt to prove himself. He thinks I donít see, but I do. He feels really discouraged when that alone isnít enough for me (and us) to be ďall better.Ē I kind of had this epiphany in realizing that... he needs to stop trying so hard. No, scratch that. He needs to keep doing what he has been doing, but at the same time realize that while it is helpful and healing, itís not magic. The magic ingredient is... Time. Heís beating himself up to fill a gap in our healing that only time can fill.

One area he still needs work on is empathy. But these are related. When all his hard work seems to not be the magic fix, he gets very woe is me and defensive and next thing I know we are talking about his pain, not mine. He misses the chance at empathy because he focuses too much on the fix. He needs to work on that.

But I think it will help him to realize that he isnít doing much wrong except maybe lacking some patience. Heís doing many many things right. When he does, my heart sings. But it also still cries. When I need to still talk about my pain he thinks that means he has failed. He hasnít. Oh how I wish he could understand that.

And then moments ago I read something here that really clicked. I forget who said it, on another post....

It can take a long time for a WS to really grasp that every time we share our thoughts and feelings we release a little bit of pain.

Damn if thatís not exactly the truth. I want to release it so badly to make room for the much better marriage we are building. He sees my ongoing need to release the pain, to make more room for the joy, as a failure. Sadly itís a process that canít be skipped or rushed. He thinks it will be this way forever. I have hope that it wonít.

Who can relate or add to this? Iím hoping to help him see how very normal this is for a reconciling couple who is actually doing great overall.

[This message edited by GTeamReboot at 12:06 AM, July 31st (Friday)]

DaisyAnne posted 7/31/2020 05:20 AM

Iím hoping to help him see how very normal this is for a reconciling couple who is actually doing great overall.

I can relate to all that you said, especially this part.

My fwh also thinks because heís doing everything right, it should fix it like magic as well. The other day i had a mini breakdown and mentioned how I think of it everyday but Iím healing more everyday as well. He was truly surprised that I still think of it everyday. Thankfully it is lessening over time. I donít mention it to him everyday because there really is no point if we want to move forward. Yes I think about it but Iím not crying or breaking down. Itís just always there at some point on my mind. I truly donít think anyone can understand that unless they have been betrayed like this.

I donít have anything to really help you but just wanted you to know I can absolutely relate. Maybe others who have more experience and more time healed can add more.

MrCleanSlate posted 7/31/2020 12:06 PM

GTeam,

Wayward here who is almost 5 years out and in R so hope you don't mind my thoughts:

I ended my A before D-Day so I was already getting my mind refocused and I was all in for trying to R after D-Day and at about 8-9 months was wanting to move past things. I thought I had processed the A, etc and was wanting my BW to be there with me too. Oh, I was so wrong. It wasn't me wanting to rugsweep. I was feeling frustrated that my BW was not wanting to move forward the way I was. It took an MC session where my MC pointed out that it was like I accidentally shot my wife - I was sorry but moving on, whereas she is still bleeding from the open wound and it was my job to keep my hand on that wound until it healed.
As a WH I was barely scratching the surface of my whys, and my BW was just coming out of the initial shock phase. Yes we had processed much about the A as far as facts went, and our discussions were moving more to how we go forward and also looking back as to how we got to where we were - starting to look at why I went down the route to an A - and it was many years in developing, just I didn't know that then.
By 1 year out from D-Day we were moving out of post D-Day distress and into a true R stage which lasted probably the next 3 years.

Yes 3-4 years before we can feel like we are in R, and can watch a show about infidelity and neither of us squirms.

[This message edited by MrCleanSlate at 12:08 PM, July 31st (Friday)]

Thissucks5678 posted 7/31/2020 12:29 PM

My MC has helped me through that. My WH struggled with it as well in the beginning. It took him a long time to understand that it was two steps forward, one step back and that healing is not linear. Sometimes I had to remind him look how far I have come! Yeah, I may be crying right now at this moment, but a year ago I was crying every day! And now itís been two weeks since I last cried. When you are the one who has caused the pain (and have your own issues to unravel) it can seem like it will never end.

To me, at some point if you decide to choose reconciliation, you have to develop some sort of empathy for your WS. How terrible (this only goes for a remorseful WS) must that be to know that you have caused this permanent damage to your loved one and that they are still in pain after all of these years? What would that be like? Wouldnít you want them to hurry up and heal? I feel like I would. I probably wouldnít understand what they were going through either because I would have no concept of it. So those reminders about how far I have come or how far heís come to me weíre just something I would want to hear if I were in his shoes. I didnít get to that place for a long time though - Iím assuming around 2 years? I donít know itís all a blur now.

I know some people will not like that response. But if you choose to reconcile, at some point in my opinion you have to look at your WS as your partner again. Reconciliation is so hard - by far the hardest thing I have ever done. Itís much easier if you work together. Honest and open communication will help you work through those struggles more than anything. Make sure your WS is truly worthy of reconciliation though. Have him read How to help your Spouse Heal from Your Affair. Even if heís read it - a re-read can be an awakening after time passes.

thatbpguy posted 7/31/2020 16:54 PM

Here's the thing.... betrayers can really only comprehend about 5% of what we go thru. So no matter how hard he may try, he is totally clueless to the physical, emotional and psychological trauma we suffer for years. But then again, I wouldn't expect them to understand. It's enough for you to communicate with him, tell him when he doing good and to let it go at that and just give you the years it takes to heal- if ever.

Also, I view betraying as a criminal/victim thing. The criminal has a wild time, creates good memories they will never forget and then have true sorrow over being caught. That sorrow (or remorse...) is a temporary emotion and soon enough they're ready to move on. That's natural and I get it. But the victim has had something(s) stolen from them they never get back. Things that matter more than life itself. And they grieve for that for quite some time.

He just needs to understand these things and to keep on doing what he is doing with the knowledge that it helps, regardless if he sees it or not.

GTeamReboot posted 7/31/2020 17:42 PM

DaisyAnne
I confess it stinks to read of someone further along who still has meltdowns and daily thoughts. Uuuugh. But it also does sound like youíve made progress. And I guess you arenít *that* much further along in the big picture. I truly mean it when I tell him that the only thing that makes this a tiny bit easier to stomach is my honest belief that we can have something better to show for it in the end than we would have had if I never found out (and perhaps of it had never happened but that is harder to accept). What I need more than anything is for him to believe that too and to keep at it. Have you felt that way at all?

MrCleanSlate
Iíve seen your posts before and I especially appreciate it here, knowing the similarities in our situations. Sounds so very similar. Thank you. I have use that analogy with him before, that he canít shoot me full of holes and then tell me when and where and how to bleed. (I read it here once, maybe even you!?). Because of his profession that analogy should make an impact. Intellectually, he gets it. But I know he is struggling with feeling like heís doing things either wrong or not enough or otherwise I would be all better. And really itís that he just needs to apply more patience and empathy to what he is doing. That was the epiphany for me, as I struggled to figure out what more I DO need. When he gets discouraged it hurts me and scares me. And of course both of us need time.

Thissucks5678
I donít think thereís anything wrong with your response at all! I relate and appreciate it, in part because Iím naturally a very empathetic person and in part because I have zero doubt of his worth. He has read everything Iíve insisted on, watched Affair Recovery videos Iíve shared, etc. Thatís part of what I was trying to convey, that I realize this is truly hard for a spouse who is genuinely remorseful. Sometimes I do get emotional thinking about how he must feel. I know his self-esteem has taken a huge hit. Although there were two APs, the A phase was pretty short-lived. But it involved friends of mine and so he took more from me than just his faithfulness. The friendships clearly were not healthy ones and so maybe he did me a favor. But it really magnified the pain. Thereís more info in my bio. Anyway thank you for sharing and the encouragement.

GTeamReboot posted 7/31/2020 17:50 PM

thatpbguy

Also, I view betraying as a criminal/victim thing.

Some of what you say doesnít entirely true for us. I believe my husband when he says he has so much shame that he doesnít think back to the A with fondness. He cried about it long before I knew. He apologized to our daughter without her knowing why. He cried in the shower. Tears for himself, sure. But tears that he let himself and his family down. He is adamant he never gives the APs a thought. I doubt thatís entirely true. But his shame is deep to the extent itís sometimes an obstacle. He views what he did just as you describe, but he really struggles with seeing himself as the criminal. He always says itís hard to comfort me because it must seem insincere, the abuser comforting his victim. With his profession, this dynamic is especially hard for him to feel he is on the wrong side of. But I certainly agree only understand a fraction of what I have been through and am going through.

DaisyAnne posted 7/31/2020 17:53 PM

. How terrible (this only goes for a remorseful WS) must that be to know that you have caused this permanent damage to your loved one and that they are still in pain after all of these years? What would that be like?

This is such a great point. When he sees my pain, I do see his pain as well. The pain that he feels knowing his choice caused my pain. I unfortunately got HPV thanks to his A and he says he will never forgive himself for putting me in danger. Thatís something that he has to learn to live with forever

DaisyAnne posted 7/31/2020 17:59 PM

. I truly mean it when I tell him that the only thing that makes this a tiny bit easier to stomach is my honest belief that we can have something better to show for it in the end than we would have had if I never found out (and perhaps of it had never happened but that is harder to accept). What I need more than anything is for him to believe that too and to keep at it. Have you felt that way at all?

Absolutely. My fwh also feels this way as well, which helps.

I have definitely made huge progress in the last 6 months. I have only cried maybe a handful of times, compared to almost everyday the first few months. I do think about it everyday but I think thatís only normal at this point. Iím just happy I am seeing progress and know that as long we are both putting in the work, the progress will only continue.

thatbpguy posted 7/31/2020 18:05 PM

GTeamReboot, just read your story. Twice with trusted friends. That's really sad.

To me, that goes with additional loss of trust.

GTeamReboot posted 7/31/2020 21:30 PM

When he sees my pain, I do see his pain as well.
Iíve told my husband before that if it werenít for seeing him in so much pain and yet pushing through it and staying, I would have no faith at all. It seems twisted to say but his pain is reassuring in a way.

Yes thatpbguy! Well one of them was an acquaintance I never entirely trusted and didnít know well. Something always irked me a little. Holy hell, I should have trusted my instincts. And he gave up our vows for her. But the drunken ONS was a real stab in the back - not just because it happened but even more so because she felt entitled to keep her place in my life. In her mind it was a mistake they both truly regretted (I donít doubt that but it doesnít make it ok) so they just tried to pretend it never happened. She was there for me during a tough time months after it happened. Her support was important at the time. And I was the clueless fool.

DaisyAnne posted 8/1/2020 06:36 AM

Iíve told my husband before that if it werenít for seeing him in so much pain and yet pushing through it and staying, I would have no faith at all. It seems twisted to say but his pain is reassuring in a way.

Yes! Completely agree!

GTeamReboot posted 8/2/2020 14:01 PM

My FWH broke our vows two years ago *today* (but there was a year gap in me knowing so to me itís the ďfirstĒ antiversary). Itís a hard day. Heís handling it pretty well for me so far. Iíve been in and out of tears. He had been gentle and loving without asking me why. He knows why. Iíll be a mess later since it happened at night. He knows that. I anticipate a good show of support and empathy. Iíll be glad when today is over. Itís a painful but necessary step. It marks the start of ďA seasonĒ. Then will come the first anniversary of DDay (although there was just over a year gap between). I dread all of it yet I can see how far we have come. And the only way to the other side of this hard phase is through it.

I didnít want to make a new post but wanted to acknowledge the day and share some place safe and understanding.

DaisyAnne posted 8/2/2020 15:29 PM

Hugs to you!!! On hard days like these, I also try to focus on how far we have come.

JBWD posted 8/2/2020 22:28 PM

As a cheater who failed and arrived at meaningful truths too late, I would just like to thank you all for the empathy here-
Canít compare the pains by any means but the hindsight of seeing the devastation wrought and KNOWING a little bit of work up front could have spared our families this pain...
Itís a different pain and one that I appreciate you all ďreaching across the aisleĒ to discuss as you work to rebuild.

I hope the season goes as smoothly as could be expected and that your healing continues!

GTeamReboot posted 8/4/2020 15:19 PM

Thank you JBWD! Iím sorry your story didnít have the happy ending thus far. Your perspective is valuable and itís good you are around to share it. Wishing you healing, as well, even if life is going in a different direction for you now.

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