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Perspective four years out

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HouseOfPlane posted 8/6/2020 15:50 PM

Wise words, JL

sisoon posted 8/7/2020 11:21 AM

Thanks for the update, jlarson. I want SI to be honest about the difficulties of R.

We are born without a roadmap out of infidelity. It's natural to seek support and advice when d-day hits. It's really too bad so many counselors are so ignorant.

So here you are 4 years out. Unhappy. You were victimized by your W. You were victimized by the authors and counselors you came across. Maybe you were a little victimized by yourself and a desire to R out of being in love.

But today is a new day. You can put the victinmization off to the side and start figuring out what you want. You can put aside your preconceptions about how you think you should act and decide how you want to act. Then you can choose to actually do the actions that don't get you jailed.

As I said, I don't know what you really want, and you don't either. You've got at least 3 honorable possible solutions: R, if your W is truly remorseful, D, and being satisfied in an M in which others would not be happy.

The difference between what I'm talking about and what you describe in this thread has to do with taking responsibility for yourself, making mindful choices that best meet your requirements, moving on while monitoring yourself to see if your wants change.

Go for what you want, jl. Go for what you want.

ETA: The phrase 'take responsibility for yourself' is often - maybe even usually - a criticism. That's not how I mean it.

To me taking responsibility for oneself is getting aware of one's power and ability to choose.

So, yeah, when I say to someone, 'You're not taking responsibility for yourself,' I'm criticizing them - but my goal is to empower them.

I think I may look for another phrase.

[This message edited by sisoon at 11:25 AM, August 7th (Friday)]

HouseOfPlane posted 8/7/2020 12:15 PM

Hi JL, just some random questions to provoke some thoughts:

So this is basically a letter to myself in 2016, July 17th.
Assuming you'll post again come July 2024, right now what do you think would be the best/worst/most likely things you'd post?

I like to compare it to an alligator biting your leg off.
Have you thought about comparing it to getting a view behind the curtain of human behavior, ala Wizard of Oz? What is known (and was the truth before you knew it) cannot be unknown?

It's kind of like learning that a rainbow is actually just white light split up into its constituent wavelengths by little prisms, no gold on the other end, and in fact "the end" doesn't even exist. Or that Santa was actually your parents ordering stuff off of Amazon. The magic is gone, but you got The Truth of Things. You just got firehosed with it. There is no going back to LaLa Land where Happily Ever After is.

...and become a better marriage than before.
What defines better? Could it be a more truthful one? All of the bullshit got blowtorched off of yours. How can you keep it from re-accumulating?

Does truthful necessarily mean more happy?

How much lying actually goes on in a typical marriage? The difference between the internal thinking and what gets said? How much of what gets said is communication versus manipulation? What was yours like before and after the shitstorm? at this point, I don't really want to go back to the other road and go through that most painful early portion.
So as long as you are on the road you are on, how can you use it?

No one wants to have their spouse cheat on them, same as no one wants to get shot down and captured and held in a POW camp, or come down with cancer, etc. It is a brutal shock to the system, but it is also way of revealing to you that a hell of a lot of what you thought was right, was wrong. To the extent that you value the truth of things...

“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness.

It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.”

trynhard posted 8/11/2020 06:24 AM

I can say 4 years out I thought of my wife’s affair about every day. I can say my wife wanted to stay married to me and behaved like it.

Now 12 years out, it’s rare I give it any thought. The triggers seem to be gone. I’ve gone months. The pain is no more.

By year 6 I’d say my fears, my acceptance happened. I don’t have that “perfect” feeling I once had. It’s gone forever I suppose. But I now believe having that “perfect” feeling was a mistake.

I hope you peace.

[This message edited by trynhard at 10:35 AM, August 12th (Wednesday)]

FlowerPower posted 8/13/2020 20:18 PM


You are one of the most wise and honest people I have seen post on SI. I think you have a very high emotional IQ and have worked very hard to know yourself, be honest with yourself and your wife & own what you are feeling. I applaud you for sharing these posts with your wife. That takes vulnerability on your part and ongoing ownership on her part. I also applaud you for laying bare your thoughts, listening to input from others and acknowledging that you still have work to do. Don't we all?!

To me, you make perfect sense. I don't take that you are so unhappy that you should consider divorce. You are simply acknowledging that not every day's a perfect marriage day. It would be no different if you went down the divorce lane. That's life on this earth! Not every day is a 100% perfect day. God designed it that way, so we will really value the perfection of heaven!

I am especially impressed with your wisdom, self awareness and sacrifices for your family in light of seeing how young you are. If I read correctly, you were 36 when this happened and you are 40 now? WoW. Just wow. I am 20 years older and I wish I knew more men who have that sense of self.

One thing I would suggest you consider as you move forward ~ What do you want your marriage to look like when the kids are out of the house and you have the proverbial empty nest? Right now your home life has to be focused on the kids ~ time, money, energy, attention, etc. But in a few years, that will be over. Then it's just you and your FWW. The days of saying "I stayed for the kids" no longer apply.

What can you do to prepare for that? What can you do so it doesn't creep up and surprise you? How can you and your wife work together to create a new vision for your time, interests, and money?
Maybe it's a vacation home, maybe it's a move to a new place, maybe it's a new hobby or volunteer cause. Try to work toward a vision that you can look forward to. You don't want to see the last child pull out of the drive, and then look at your wife, and think Who are you & Why am I here?

Thank you for your honesty and integrity. You are a very good man.
I wish you Godspeed.

jlarson posted 8/29/2020 20:00 PM

Thanks for all the thoughts. I know it comes from many painful experiences and that makes me sad to know so many have and are struggling through this.

This last month was a fairly hard one for me with this "recovery".

We are going to move to another city and hope that it helps decrease triggers and a provide us a pseudo "fresh start". We are also going to find another counselor. I'll consider IC and MC at this point.

I hope everyone out there can weather their own storm in a way that is as healthy as possible. And give yourself grace, because this road is full of booby traps, and all fall victim to them.

I'll follow up down the road. I wish ya'll the best on this path of surviving infidelity.

LostInTheDesert posted 8/29/2020 22:06 PM

I do believe the 10 commandments are pretty good guides to a decent life.

My XWW treated the 10 commandments as a bucket list.

I am glad I did not get a chance at reconciliation. She had one admitted affair, but the evidence hints at a second one preceding it. All up I think there was a first affair that went about a year and a half, and a second that went about 10 months, and possible some one night stands.

Somebody who does that makes the choice to be that person who is selfish, a liar, and a betrayer. The lack of capacity for empathy is probably intrinsic, but the other things are choices. They are choices made repeatedly and deliberately over an extended period. A person who would choose to become such a person is not a person with whom I consider it safe to be in a relationship. Even if they "change", they have shown they are prepared to discard all principles for self-interest when it suits them, and I do not see how they can be relied upon to stick to the improved version of themselves.

Nearly 3 years on things are much better than they ever were in the marriage. I have a relationship which is far, far better than the marriage ever was. The government has made XWW pay child support, and I no longer have to spend money subsidising her lifestyle. Even though my income was reduced after separation, I had more money for myself (even before the child support payments). Getting that parasite out of my life was the best thing that could have happened to me.

glassofwater posted 8/30/2020 06:55 AM

I am sorry for what you have experienced but I admire you that you have the courageous decision to write it down and share with us.

It is the greatest post I have read so far in this forum!

src9043 posted 9/11/2020 17:19 PM

I will try to be brief, but it will be difficult. My ex-wife had an affair in year three of our marriage. Six months of gaslighting went on until I finally broke her and she confessed. The lousy therapist kept us together. I tried to forgive, but I felt dead to the marriage. I play-acted the rest of the marriage, hoping some feelings would return. Part of my failure to move on, I assume, was because my ex-wife continued with suspicious behavior not long after D day. Our marriage limped along for six-plus years until I caught her playing footsies under the card table with the husband part of a very close couple. I accidentally dropped my playing cards, went to pick them up and there I saw their feet intertwined under the table. They were doing it in front of me and his wife. Still, I had trouble processing what I saw. After one day I confronted my ex-wife and that was that, marriage over. Amazingly, we were trying to have a second child (her idea completely) when all of this was going on. She said her playmate had a vasectomy so there would be no problem with him fathering the child. What a mench. I felt absolutely liberated. She even said to me that you are taking all of this quite well. We made a concerted effort to do a good job co-parenting. My son turned out well. The difference between your situation and mine is lightyears apart. Your wife sounds like she is really trying. But, to be honest, I think I would have been miserable with my life even if my ex-wife was perfect after her first affair. But that is me, not you. As a postscript, I am thirty-five years past the 2nd D day and I find myself here venting. Of course, when you have a child that eventually turns into grandchildren, you never completely disengage. Her limited presence in my life still fosters angst and disgust even though we have both moved on a long time ago. Of course, she still attempts to do junky stuff to me. Totally undeserved. I find it humorous on one level but also bewildering. The stuff that she has done over the years and why she continues to do it would take too long to go into. Good luck. Your story is a textbook case of why spouses shouldn't cheat if they wish to maintain their family.

Yana posted 9/13/2020 11:58 AM

I just wanted to hop on here and say that 4 years out I was still pretty darn hurt, ruminating and felt as if I was worse off than the first 6 months. Still really painful. I chose R because honestly I guess it was the best of the two evils. R is a long hard road. Period. I still wasn't totally ok even 6 years out and sought therapy again with my husband. And then ...I don't know what changed but about 7 years I realized that time had healed me mostly. It's true that time heals. I don't really think about it and I'm not triggered really. Now, looking back I think those that go through infidelity suffer a massive broken heart and that takes years to heal. I guess I came to 'acceptance' and I never thought forgiveness should be a part of this equation. There is no forgiveness for the atrocious reality that I got put in but over time I came to accept what happened and that my husband wasn't the awesome dude that I married. We are far from perfect I try to enjoy the things that I can. I realize it will never be the same but we had issues before the infidelity and I guess the good news is that betrayal basically blows the lid off everything and you get to clean house so to speak. And thats the best I can do. I guess a good way to put it is that the whole thing sucks and.....we have no choice but to embrace the suck. And not harbor any illusions otherwise. Great post OP....

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