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Perspective four years out

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jlarson posted 8/5/2020 21:35 PM

I lost some of the good in myself. I hold a lot of my feelings back and deal with them myself. While I try to support her emotional needs she knows I will not be her emotional tampon anymore. Its her job to let me know what the issue is and put forth a plan to fix it which I will help to implement. I love her. I had to learn to love her again. Its different more realistic but intense nonetheless. As I said earlier, I feel I had to lose a part of the good in me so she can become a better person. And at this point in my lifeÖ.I am good with that.

This quote from thirymoreyears post is pretty good. And I think many of us feel that way. I personally, and biasedly, think that being one and onlies, especially when it was a very purposeful decision to be one and onlies, adds a weird different level of loss. I literally remember having that one of the most important things about getting married - being a virgin and hopefully marrying one. That was literally my brakes with girls before I was married. And it wasn't much of a religious reason. Maybe it originated there, but it was more of a commitment and sacrifice thing. Hence the feeling that it was a waste to do that IMO. I liked waggingthedogs experince and thoughts on sex afterward. That was helpful. I will say that her sexual experience with her AP was very devastating. I asked for all the details, and it was brutal. More humiliating and damaging for things they did and said and enjoyed, to not get too graphic.


You are having a commitment-conflict. On the one hand, just in this post you have said you did not, and you do want to divorce. You have said that you regret staying, and yet don't think you should leave. You are trapped in ambivalence, and you have to do something to get out of it. Either commit mentally to R, or divorce - either way you must talk to your spouse about how you are feeling.

I don't feel overwhelmingly that I should divorce her now. I think I should have then. Two separate things. Like the window for it to be helpful/healing has subsequently closed. I know I can still get divorced, but I think the extra damage and pain it would cause to me, my wife and my kids, at this juncture wouldn't out weight the benefit. Not sure on that though - so maybe that is ambivalence?


Are you questioning your commitment to R every single day (or close to it)? Is it permeating your thoughts and overshadowing everything? Do sometimes you feel okay about R and other times you wish you were free?

Definitely not. I go weeks without questioning it. This is DDay time and disclosure time for me (last half of July) and our 18 year anniversary was just Sunday, so I think that is why I've been struggling more recently. I am also, by nature, a second guesser.

You said that sometimes you wish your spouse would have another A so that you could leave. Think about that long and hard. If that is the case, then you at bare minimum need to have that talk with her. You MUST.

I always talk to her about everything. She read all my posts. Wasn't surprised by any of it. She just gets surprised that I am still struggling as much as I am. But, like thirtysomeyears, I don't like expressing my emotions that much with her regarding her affair. I don't like the feelings it brings up - part of the reason I initially mentioned how I compartmentalize (which I don't necessarily like, and dont think is the healthiest option).


I think that once you recognize life for what it is...the moving forward is easier. Life is a minefield of shit sandwiches, so accepting that, and focusing on what good comes your way leads to a better quality of life IMO (and let's face it, even the shitsandwich-to-happiness ratio for everyone is different - and seemingly unfairly so in some cases). Letting go - forgiveness really is freedom for you I think.

Letting go is one of those sayings that brings me back to my original point. For some, like Thisissolonely, it may be easier. For others, it is near impossible. Just like all sorts of things. So for people out there that are still having a hard time letting go, after hours and hours of counseling, reading, pondering, EMDR, etc etc etc, don't beat yourself up.

and Sisoon's comment - same thing.

I'm saying the way to recover from being betrayed is to face the pain with a goal of letting it go. I'm saying that holding onto the pain harms the BS and the people around the BS. And I'm against adding pain onto the BS's burden.

Sure - I agree. Letting go of anger and resentment and pain sounds amazing. So does being perfectly charitable and humble and wise and logical and (...add any of Jesus's attributes here). I get it. And maybe paying a counselor another $3-4K can help me be better at that, but at the end of the day, 20 years down the road, when I have an intrusive thought about my wife doing doggy style on my daughter's bed or straddling my fuckjob ex friend in my car or her car, or him going down on her in my bed while I was out of town - I am pretty sure that is still going to hurt like a mother fucker. Like I literally don't believe for one second that I will ever look at that and laugh, and say, "remember that honey? What a crazy thing you did, you silly girl. That sure made us awesome and stronger people. I am glad that happened."

All in all, this is a shit sandwich. And if anyone says eating a shit sandwich isn't painful, I will question their ability to be real with themselves. And I don't want to tell the most recent Jeremy Larson, who just had diarrhea all night because he found out about his wife's affair, and can't eat, and may consider suicide, and whatever else terribleness is coming his way, that if he is strong and works hard that shit won't stink in the future. I want to tell him that the sandwich still stinks 4, 10 and 20 years down the road, unless he get's covid and his sense of smell is permanently affected.

I want to be real with him. Tell him that somethings are lost forever that he may have cherished more than anything in the world, and that those things cannot be replaced. I will tell him that he will have happy days again, but there will always be a hurtful wound that won't go away. It will get better, but it won't go away. And that wound may cause him angst and confusion for years to come. It may cause him to second guess his actions and decisions. It may cause him erectile dysfunction at times, and unintentional weight loss, and developing a coffee addiction to stay awake during the day and on and on. And I will for sure tell him that other hurt people will make him feel like he isn't doing the right thing, isn't doing enough work, isn't being selfish enough, or isn't looking out for himself like he should. Because that way, he'll be better prepared for what's to come. And perhaps won't set up an unrealistic expectation of what his post infidelity life will be.

I get the idea of trying to give people hope, but let's temper it with some reality.

ShutterHappy posted 8/5/2020 22:11 PM

Even if your WW is the most perfect example of a remorseful ww, and does absolutely everything right, itís still ok to D. You can still D even if you love her.

Itís about having the courage of accepting what is it you can reconcile with and what you canít. And have the courage to decide what is best for you.

It seems to me you forgot to mention your biggest trigger... not the bed, not the cars, but your WW.

[This message edited by ShutterHappy at 10:12 PM, August 5th (Wednesday)]

jlarson posted 8/6/2020 00:45 AM

SH - very good point. And we both acknowledge that. She hates that she is my biggest trigger.

Bigger posted 8/6/2020 04:37 AM

I donít get the ďitís OK to divorceĒ comments as if thatís some new truth.

From the day you decide to marry your spouse you ALWAYS have the ability to decide not to remain married.

Marriage isnít a sentence or a fixed-time contract. Itís a DECISSION.

Maybe it turns out to be a bad decision, but itís still a decision. Just like I can DECIDE to divorce for any real or imaginary reason I give myself. Once again Ė just like the decision to marry Ė divorce is a decision.

I can decide that a spouses infidelity is enough for me to divorce. HeckÖ I could even decide that my wifeís new hairdo was reason to divorce, or her new blouse, or her constant reminder that sitting while urinating is healthier Ė also for men. I can decide to divorce because the winds are southerly. I can decide to divorce because she broke the top of my favorite fly-fishing rod.

At the same time I can decide to remain married for any number of reasons Ė even if she did break the top of said rod.

Itís ALWAYS a choice.

We have options. The options might not be clear 100% misery or 100% ecstasy, but we have choices and if we choose correctly the choices we make getís us closer to happiness. That in turn might get us somewhere where we have new choices, one of which might bring us even closer to happiness. And so on and so onÖ
Therefore: "If, therefore, any be unhappy, let him remember that he is unhappy by reason of himself alone."

Jlarson Ė You can (and should) sit down and evaluate whatís making you and keeping you unhappy. I think (solely based on what you share and that is undeniably very flimsy ground to base any life-altering evaluation on) PTSD is a key factor. In my case I might have left the relationship but I took my PTSD along with me. It nearly wrecked my present marriage and I eventually had to deal with it.

If Iím correct, then one could put your situation into this scenario:
Iím not happy. I can DECIDE to remain unhappy or I can decide I want to be happy.
What do I need to be happy? What reasonable and surmountable step can I take to get me away from unhappiness?
I could divorce. That would remove me from what I perceive as the creation of my unhappiness. D would create new basis for happiness but also new basis for unhappiness. Would one outweigh the other?
This online guy Bigger suggests that even if I divorce I would take my emotions and problems with me. Yes Ė I would definitely get rid of some problems, but others like my PTSD would still be there. In order to progress EVEN FURTHER and to make personal progress I could DECIDE to handle my PTSD.

PTSD is internal Ė itís YOU. Your WW might be a trigger or aspects in your environment and/or marriage might be a trigger, but part of treatment is learning how to deal with triggers. My biggest non-infidelity cause for PTSD was when as a police officer I volunteered to crawl under a truck and collect the remains of a young child. The body was terribly mutilated, and I still have recollections of gathering brain and bones. For nearly two decades I would turn away at pictures of brains and even avoid cauliflower. Part of my PTSD treatment was learning how to handle these triggers so that now I donít trigger just by walking past the veggies at the grocery-store. I do occasionally think about this event, but it no longer controls me in an unreasonable way.

I would fear that you take your PTSD and your triggers along if you decide to divorce. I fear that your PTSD and triggers hold you back from progress in reconciling. IMHO I would focus on the PTSD and see what that getís you. It might help you on forwards with reconciliation Ė it might help you see that this is not the woman you want as your wife.

I guess some will come along and bash me as being pro-reconcilation. I prefer to call myself pro-we-always-have-options. If you had shared with us that despite the hard work you state you two have done you were completely miserable and cant stand your WW I would probably be telling you to leave. But you donít come over that way. It does sound like you want progress Ė that you are unhappy where you are. Iím suggesting one reason for the present stagnation and suggesting a way forward. That step forward might give you a new view and that new view possibly new options. Once again Ė those options might be towards D or towards R. Either way IMHO they would be based on firmer ground than you have now.

T/J
Thatbpguy:

I am sure there are some betrayed who R'd and are willing to state all is forgiven, forgotten, they don't even remember it happened.... but I'm not sure I really believe them. My guess is they simply gained an acquired taste for shit sandwiches.

IMHO that statement doesnít reflect reconciliation. There is NEVER any goal to forget or try not to remember it ever happened. In fact thatís a key risk-factor for a repeat. Couples that successfully reconcile NEVER forget the infidelity and even possibly donít ever forgive the WS. What they do is not let the infidelity control their lives. What you describe is whatís called rug-sweeping and I donít think I have ever seen anyone on this site seriously recommend that as a solution.

Donít agree? WellÖ the founders of this site claim to have fully reconciled. Yet daily for the rest of their marriage they go online to a site about infidelity. Ever think they forgot and claimed never to remember why? How about the site admin Wifehad5? He and his wife Brokenhearted are reconciled. His user-name is a constant reminder of what he reconciled from. BTW Ė his wife is a valuable and cherished contributor too. Think MH and WH5 start their daily meeting about site activity with a plate of shit-sandwiches? I mention those two but there are a number of couples here on SI that claim to be reconciled. I doubt you know what their daily calorie intake is based on.

ShutterHappy posted 8/6/2020 06:59 AM

I donít get the ďitís OK to divorceĒ comments as if thatís some new truth.
From the day you decide to marry your spouse you ALWAYS have the ability to decide not to remain married.

Getting in a marriage implies a certain degree of commitment. If one looks at a marriage as solely a contract, then that contract can be dissolved anytime, for any reasons or none. Most (more than 50% I would guess) donít have a fidelity clause.

But there are some unwritten principles in a marriage. It is generally accepted that adultery is a no-go, generally accepted that disagreements are worked out as much as possible, and that dissolution of a marriage is not done for trivial reasons, such as breaking a fishing rod. It is expected that there some good level of commitment.

There are no clause in the marriage contract that says: ďyou shall not go party every Friday night with members of the opposite sexĒ. But yet... most of us adult know itís a behavior that is frown upon. Are you married and committed or single?

A big component of marriage is safety. How can one feel safe in a marriage in a hypothetical society where people D at a drop of a hat? I would venture that men (rightfully or wrongfully) see themselves as the protector of their (W or not) W.

I suspect that is part of jlarson dilema.

Most (non wayward) people will enter a marriage in good faith and with a high level of commitment.

What Iím saying is that, given the situation you are at, jlarson, it is OK to consider D. It might be better for you and your WW. You are not taking that decision lightly, itís not as if you are D because of your WW hairdo.

What happens after D? It varies.... some stay very traumatized, some a bit less, some recovers quickly. For me, once I got divorced, the triggers almost stopped (it happened maybe once in the last 10 years).

Bigger posted 8/6/2020 07:33 AM

If the hairdo or the fishing rod bother you enough then it could definitely be cause for deciding to divorce. The main reason I used those examples was to emphasize that the participants in a marriage do not need a reason that passes anything more than THEIR reasoning for being in a marriage and/or for not being in a marriage. It would definitely make you a shallow person, but itís still your choice.

I do not accept the message implied by some that since she had an affair itís OK for jlarson to divorce. It was OK to divorce before the affair and itís OK to divorce now if he doesnít think this marriage can be better. We all have our boundaries and limits and we are allowed to define where they lie. We have free choice, although undeniably the options might seem limited and their benefits or risks not too clear.

Marriage IS a commitment. Itís a two-way commitment. You give some and you get some. But itís also a contract, as becomes evident when the contract is picked apart in divorce. Like all contracts it shouldnít be entered lightly nor should it be discarded lightly IMHO. Is infidelity a good reason to divorce? Yes! Definitely. But itís not an automatic one-answer reply to all infidelity. Some of the posters on this thread have several hundred or even thousand posts, yet you would have a hard time to find a single one where they think a situation has a salvageable marriage. To me thatís limiting the OP options and forcing him along a path he might not be ready to go along.

I guess they would counter that Iím too pro-reconciliation. To which I could quickly point out that as of writing there are at least 2 threads on the front page of JFO where I am encouraging BH to force their issues along the path that is open to them right now Ė namely divorce.

Jlarson Ė Maybe the biggest advantage of divorce is that it leaves you in control of your personal recovery. If you detach from your wife Ė the cause and the trigger Ė you can focus solely on personal recovery. A pretty valid rule-of-thumb that seems to apply to most personal trauma (death, divorce etc) is that in about 12 months you will be feeling better and at the 2 year mark you will have accepted your decision as the right one. I for one chose to end MY relationship and was emotionally OK within a year. Maybe because I never had any doubts it was the correct decision. But like I have shared: I took my demons with me into my next relationship Ė namely the PTSD.

If you want to D then go that path. But deal with the PTSD too.
If you arenít sure if D or R is your path then fine, but deal with the PTSD.
Create an environment where you are more contend and more certain on your decision.
Maybe the only wrong thing you can do is do nothing and expect improvement.

HouseOfPlane posted 8/6/2020 08:33 AM

I think for now what you might want to do is this. Sit your WW down and open up to her how much you're still hurting. Say that you need time away from the house yearly to have just time to focus on you. Tell her about the billboards and how they effect you. Say you need to get out of town and get space away from all of this a few times a year for an extended time each time. Then go do it. Reconnect with you.
I spent 30 years in the military, 7 active and 23 reserve. In 2009-2010 I mobilized and deployed for a year. Physically gone.

To this day, the closest I've ever felt with my wife is when I was standing outside at 2:00 AM, at a base in Africa, talking to my wife over a satellite phone. We would run out of things to say, and then just let the static hang, that electronic connection from one side of the world to the other.

Space can be a good thing. It gives you perspective and room to breathe.

Sanibelredfish posted 8/6/2020 09:12 AM

Bigger, I donít want to threadjack, but Iíd like to inquire about one of your points. Since I think it is germane to the overall discussion I think itís relevant. You said:

I do not accept the message implied by some that since she had an affair itís OK for jlarson to divorce. It was OK to divorce before the affair and itís OK to divorce now if he doesnít think this marriage can be better.

While I follow the second sentence with no problem at all, the first one leaves me scratching my head. Reading the whole thing together, it seems youíre saying that an A as a reason to D is no better or worse than any other reason to D. Is that correct? If so, I think thatís overlooking that an A changes the dynamic between two people far more than petty annoyances you allude to. Will you clarify this point for us?

Seneca posted 8/6/2020 10:24 AM

3 1/3 years out for me.

You wrote that after 4 years, you think of it every day. I do too.

Much of your story is parallel with mine.
Sadly, I guess we are brothers in pain.

All I can say is that I understand.

Namaste

thatbpguy posted 8/6/2020 10:27 AM

T/J
Thatbpguy:


I am sure there are some betrayed who R'd and are willing to state all is forgiven, forgotten, they don't even remember it happened.... but I'm not sure I really believe them. My guess is they simply gained an acquired taste for shit sandwiches.


IMHO that statement doesnít reflect reconciliation. There is NEVER any goal to forget or try not to remember it ever happened. In fact thatís a key risk-factor for a repeat. Couples that successfully reconcile NEVER forget the infidelity and even possibly donít ever forgive the WS. What they do is not let the infidelity control their lives. What you describe is whatís called rug-sweeping and I donít think I have ever seen anyone on this site seriously recommend that as a solution.

Donít agree? WellÖ the founders of this site claim to have fully reconciled. Yet daily for the rest of their marriage they go online to a site about infidelity. Ever think they forgot and claimed never to remember why? How about the site admin Wifehad5? He and his wife Brokenhearted are reconciled. His user-name is a constant reminder of what he reconciled from. BTW Ė his wife is a valuable and cherished contributor too. Think MH and WH5 start their daily meeting about site activity with a plate of shit-sandwiches? I mention those two but there are a number of couples here on SI that claim to be reconciled. I doubt you know what their daily calorie intake is based on.

Well, not to T/J your T/J, but there is always that 5%.... I suppose.

Bigger posted 8/6/2020 10:37 AM

An affair is undeniably a very good reason for divorce as I state in my response to ShutterHappy:

Is infidelity a good reason to divorce? Yes! Definitely.

I have always been on record as stating R or D are BOTH good paths out of infidelity. I also point out that divorcing for a reason most would consider minor is shallow and probably reflects more on you than the marriage.

However, it doesnít matter as far as the outcome is concerned if you file for D because your spouse had sex with the local college football team or because she makes bland coffee. You end up equally divorced. Itís more an issue of how comfortable YOU are with your decision.

Thumos posted 8/6/2020 11:19 AM

Even if your WW is the most perfect example of a remorseful ww, and does absolutely everything right, itís still ok to D. You can still D even if you love her.
Itís about having the courage of accepting what is it you can reconcile with and what you canít. And have the courage to decide what is best for you.

It seems to me you forgot to mention your biggest trigger... not the bed, not the cars, but your WW.

This is very wise set of observations, jlarson. Might re-read this a few times.

The ďitís ok to divorceĒ might not be a terribly original observation, but who gives a flying f**k at a rolling donut if it also happens to be TRUE?

Yes you can divorce for any reason ó including that you donít like a particular wart on your wifeís face or sheís cross eyed ó but some reasons are more equal than others. If youíre not a relativist then divorcing your wife because she has an annoying wart or sheís cross eyed would objectively make you a shit bird. Itís a free country and you could do it, but come on, youíd be a shit bird for doing it.

Now if your WW ó oh, gee, I donít know, for example, ripped your heart out, gutted you and stabbed you in the back all at the same time ó then SHE is the wart itself, and thatís objectively a BETTER reason than if she has an annoying wart. In fact itís the best reason of all. If sheís a walking wart who willfully dropped a radioactive dirty bomb on your family, well thatís an even better reason.

In other words there IS a hierarchy of reasons to divorce someone ó some reasons are objectively better and some reasons are overwhelmingly confirmatory and practically compel most people at most times in human history in most cultures ó and pretending otherwise is a silly word salad game.

Your wish she would just end it already and cheat again is more than a clue. Itís a radioactive warning flag. Your mind is tricking you. I played the same game with myself. You donít need another reason. The reason you have is laying next to you at night and every morning. Your mind is just doing a funny little feedback loop to make you think you need more.

Itís not about choking down the shit sandwich If your wife IS the shit sandwich.

In that case, yes, of course you would be the same divorced person as if youíd divorced over something as trifling as your spouse being cross eyed. But the arrival point would be objectively different. You would be much better off than staying with the living walking gigantic wart. We canít say the same for the hypothetical shit bird who divorced bc he didnít like cross eyed women.

And for the record Iíve yet to see the ideal remorseful spouse and I read about far too many who are waaay off the mark. I think they are more typical. The more remorseful waywards are unicorns. They do exist but in small numbers. Some are better than others and you can read their perspectives here. Some of them are flat out awesome people and they have helped me here.

But have you noticed itís the same few WSís on this site who really seem to get it and have worked to develop true empathy? Iím not knocking them because they really astound me with their level of self reflection and insight. They work hard to post all the time and help people but you could could probably count them on your fingers.

Your wife doesnít seem much like that at all at least from what youíve shared. You have to be an amazingly selfish, self involved and short sighted person to conduct an affair in the first place. Thereís a proverb about unwise women who tear down their homes with their own hands ó and it is as true now as it was 3,000 years ago. If youíre someone who was capable of carrying out an affair itís far less likely you have the toolkit of courage, integrity, empathy and EQ needed to help your spouse heal. You might get there with a lot of work, but itís not a good bet most of the time.

It seems like from where I sit that youíre settling for shackling yourself to your source of pain and trying to grit it out.

Are you? If so, then youíre being a martyr, which I totally understand. And despite what others here may say there are actually objectively good reasons for being martyr and those reasons include your kids.

However it sounds to me like youíre walking around in a bit of a zombie state more than you might care to admit. I finally decided I would be a better part time dad than a full time zombie.

Just my take.

[This message edited by Thumos at 11:27 AM, August 6th (Thursday)]

ThisIsSoLonely posted 8/6/2020 11:48 AM

I get the idea of trying to give people hope, but let's temper it with some reality.

I do - it's just that my reality and others are different. Ultimately, that is what my posts were all about.

For some, forgiveness really is possible - for others, it's not or at least not the same thing. I am so thankful that I appear to be someone who is able to move through things easier - acceptance is easier for me - and even then it's often been really hard. Getting to where I am now - I would never want to do it again - and simultaneously understand that even that isn't completely w/in my control.

Letting go is all about moving through the shit and coming out stained, but clean, on the other side. Letting go isn't about forgetting - that's a pipe-dream, but it is about how much you allow the past to impact your future in negative ways.

It makes me sad that you feel like 20 years from now you will still not only imagine the sex your wife had, but that it will hurt YOU in that moment. I hope that whatever path you choose that you find away to take that hurt away from YOU.

Thumos posted 8/6/2020 12:01 PM

the only reason God says you can get divorced, if you believe in the bible, is for adultery.

Since you brought this up, jlarson, it seems like an important point and one that is causing you some pain at the very least.

I struggle with my faith too since DDAY. I empathize, jlarson. God is with you and He is hurting with you. Iíve realized part of the faith journey is to struggle.

Thatís kind of part of the point.

I did want to share with you that thereís a lot of mistaken thinking around divorce and adultery in modern Christian communities. Thereís a lot of implicit and explicit blame shifting and encouraging people to rugsweep. Itís unfortunate. And much of it seems aimed more at betrayed husbands these days.

A better way of stating the adultery-divorce conundrum and what Jesus really taught is as a positive affirmation and thatís the way the classic theologians saw it. In other words, Jesus wasnít scolding those who asked.

Instead he was was saying ďthe world is very messed up because of fallenness. Things arenít the way God meant for them to be. Adultery is one of the awful horrific things that happens in this fallen world. God gave you divorce as an imperfect solution in an imperfect world in that case because adultery is just too much of a burden. You donít need to carry it. God will carry it for you. Divorce and donít sweat it.Ē

Thatís my rather free translation but I assure you thatís how the greatest theologians saw it - they just stated it more elegantly. And that is what Jesus meant by ďhardened heartsĒ too. He wasnít talking about betrayed husbands or wives who just canít get over it. Because really, does anyone think that is how Jesus would approach heartbroken betrayed spouses? Of course not. He was talking about hardened hearts that allow adultery to happen or participate in it.

Thumos posted 8/6/2020 12:03 PM

For some, forgiveness really is possible - for others, it's not or at least not the same thing

Jlarson donít confuse forgiveness with a requirement to stay. They arenít the same thing. In fact forgiveness might come easier after a divorce. Just sayiní

Tigersrule77 posted 8/6/2020 13:55 PM

JLarson, I think your posts are well thought out and well written. I respect your intent to tell others about your experience and perspective. Your experience is unique (everyone's is), but I believe most imagine R attempts to be very clear failures or successes. You seem to be leaning towards a success, but not complete.

Two things struck me as what may be hindering you substantially.

1. As you said, you are forced to see the AP and his family regularly. It made me wonder, did you ever confront the AP? It's clear that OBS knows and as you no longer associate with the family, that tie is severed. I'm wondering if it bothers you that, as a man, you feel you allowed this person who wronged you to walk away? As you said, he was considered a friend and betrayed you as well as your FWW. I can imagine that living with that would be very difficult.

2. You seem the type that if you were suffering FOR the sake of your FWW, you would be perfectly happy to deal with that, even be proud of yourself for it. However, you are suffering FROM your FWW, thus it isn't necessarily the noble thing. I imagined something like this: If you were protecting your M as this beautiful, shiny gold trophy, you would go out of your way to stop people from damaging it. You would suffer in order that it be maintained. However, now what you are protecting is cracked, faded, no longer so beautiful. And what is worse, the one who did the damage is your partner, who should have been doing the same. And now you look at that trophy and sometimes you see how it used to be, and that causes you pain. That also can be a very hard thing to deal with.

I may be off track, just thoughts that came to me.

One other question. You refer to traveling down the road to R and you feel it is too late to turn around and go back to the D exit you missed. However, I would suggest that the D exit is always there. There are no guarantees that the road down that way is any better or worse than what lies ahead of you. But it seems the road you are on is pretty bumpy, and has been longer than you expected. AND you have no real reason to believe it is going to smooth out. At what point do you say "I need to try another road?"

jlarson posted 8/6/2020 13:57 PM

First off - I really want to reiterate how cool I think it is that ya'll are on here trying to help others in a similar boat. I appreciate hearing your experiences, growth, struggles, etc. Differing opinions helps me question things I am thinking, doing, failing at etc. I agree with thisissolonely about how we are all so different and our situations really are very unique, even though they have certain similarities. You have helped me re-analyze or reassess things and consider my options and tools that I should or could be using.

I posted because I wanted to give my perspective at 4 years. Granted, I am struggling with some PISD, some anger, resentment, ambivalence, confusion, pain and whatnot. I know I need more work personally, and will always need more. If anyone doesn't, then you must have missed the call to be translated with Enoch.

SI didn't give me a sense of false hope as much as other sources. But, I still felt like I could recover from this relatively quickly if I "did the work" and used my time wisely. Some of you have done a better job at it than I have. And congrats to you.

But I just want newbies to know that it is quite possibly a very long road ahead (like decades) where you'll still feel the pain from this. R vs D is a hard decision FOR ME. For some of you it wasn't. For some of you it was forced by your WS's decisions. I know there are couples on here that have "successfully" reconciled, whatever that means for them. Let's say its 20 couples just for my example.

Just a quick google search said we have ~62 million married couples in the US. 120M people. Different books/studies say anywhere from 15-25% of marriages have infidelity. So let's say 20%. That would be 12 million couples or 12 million betrayed. If that number by "newest member" means how many people are on here, thats's 75,000 (wow). But let's be realistic. That's a fraction of a fraction of betrayed americans, not including non-americans, which would dramatically decrease that %, that are on a website like this. I know there are other sites, but the point I am making is that I think it is a small fraction of marriages that "thrive" after infidelity. I think a large % of humans deal with things in a suboptimal way. Rug sweeping, compartmentalizing or worse things. And that's sad. So when I posted, I was posting with the motive of giving a newly betrayed some perspective about what it might be like in 4 years. That's all. I wasn't trying to say the way I am doing it is ideal. That the way I feel is the norm or not. But, my guess is that it is more the norm than the exception.

Bigger - you referred to multiple successful couples on here (let's say 20), but that literally is a fraction of a fraction of a fraction. And those people felt like it was almost a calling to focus on this stuff, which has been tremendously helpful for many betrayed and unfaithful spouses.

When TISL said she feels bad that I may still have pain in 20 years, I am surprised. My arthritis is also going to hurt in 20 years. Probably more than it does now, so I should be grateful if the pain of infidelity is less in 20 years, and I expect it to be. But I don't expect it to be zero. EVER. I hopefully will have many happy things in my life over the next 20 years, in and out of my marriage, that will fill my memory and my happiness bucket, so that the infidelity won't seem so big in the life buckets. That's my assumption.

I am not ready to D. I am still going to try to R because it feels like the more appropriate choice, and not because I want to be a martyr or knight in shining armor. But because it seems like there's a smaller chance of hurting my kids and that there's hope that my pain will continue to slowly lessen over the years. Maybe more quickly, if I can only find that magic counselor to help me.

Maybe I'll take a walk about, albeit a short one. I think humans have an ability to "get used to" things. Such as a low level of pain. And if we had a way to measure that, my guess would be that all of us on here have gotten used to that pain to a point that you don't recognize it easily, and almost dismiss it as normal. Maybe the longer we are out from dday, the harder it is for us to feel what it was we felt before we were betrayed.

jlarson posted 8/6/2020 14:08 PM

Tigersrule77

I spoke to him early on after dday. I wanted to confront him, but my attorney brother, who knows me very well, strongly discouraged it. I've never felt such hate and rage (lots displaced from the WW) toward someone, and I'm not sure I could hold back. He really is pathetic (I'd only been friends for 5 months at Dday so I didn't totally know him), which I don't need to convince anyone of, so I feel like it's worthless at this point. Although, in a juvenile way, I still imagine revenge, which is immature I know. He did get off pretty scott free. Injustice.

Your second point is very real for me. I have struggled immensely with grieving the loss of my marital innocence. I suck at letting it go. I don't know exactly how to complete that process.

sisoon posted 8/6/2020 14:33 PM

My sense is that newbies who post in JFO get a lot of

1) advice to D right now,
2) advice to do the 180 and file, even though you may not follow through,
3) counsel that recovery is long and difficult, and
4) counsel that R is long and difficult and a high risk endeavor.

You started a thread on 9/22/2016. My sense is that if I were the OP in a thread like that, my takeaways would be something like the above 4 points.

In fact, when I was a newbie, that's what I got from SI - and I was sure I wanted to R.

What in your thread told you recovery was going to be easy? What in your thread told you that staying together would be easy?

Feedback might prevent others from getting the wrong idea.


jlarson posted 8/6/2020 15:02 PM

Sisoon,

I think more of my idealistic recovery thoughts may have come from bad counselors, AR, and several books I read. Examples of "recovered" or "reconciled" couples on here or AR that said they are "happily married" or "glad the chose R" or have an "amazing marriage" now. I was so desperate initially that I immaturely grabbed on to those things over the "divorce her and go F the OBS" recommendations. I am sure part of it was that I was so dead set on getting married once in my life. I also was much more religious at the time and thoughts of "forgive everyone" were in my mind. It's also hard not to group people in a pro R or pro D group and then separate the bad advice from each of those groups from the good advice. For example, when the one guy recommended I divorce, go have sex with the OBS etc, it gave me a bad taste in my mouth toward the pro D group. Unfairly on my part and to my detriment, but it is what happened.

That's why I said it was laughable that I chose R after 4 days when I look back. That is literally insane and so unnatural. Choosing D in 4 days is natural IMO and I think that's the way I'd lean in terms of my recommendation to newbies. It gets you out of the mud more quickly and gives your WS a shock of reality. Then if you get back together down the road, you can know both roads from your own choice, not because you were forced down one. Plus, it leaves less struggles on the justice/consequences side for the unfaithful.

Thirtysomeyears's example really hit home and made me regret my initial reactions.

Your summary:

1) advice to D right now,
2) advice to do the 180 and file, even though you may not follow through,
3) counsel that recovery is long and difficult, and
4) counsel that R is long and difficult and a high risk endeavor.

That seems about the best IMO. You can always R later if that WS shows they are willing to change and work on themselves, but in the mean time you had the chance to do it completely your way or explore both options. And I know, some will say I can still D, but it seems so much easier to do initially when the wound is fresh and your guts are hanging out. Now that my guts are back inside, it feels harder to pull that trigger.

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