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3 years

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hikingout posted 9/1/2020 12:26 PM

So, I hadn't planned to make a post about anything today (today is 3 years post DDAY) but H inspired me. If you are a new WS here and you hope to reconcile is what I learned in the past 3 years:

-Work on healing yourself. This is the number one thing you can do. Hand wringing, shame, all of these things are holding you back from being your best self. This also holds you back from being the best husband or wife that you can be.

-Read how to help your spouse heal from an affair,and read other things - listen to podcasts. Read about trauma. Make a mindful practice to help your spouse and your relationship every single day. Become curious about them and their needs. Be aware they may not know what it is they want or need right now and that they will sometimes lash out as a result. Keep trying, pursue them, be consistent and relentless. I feel as if the how to help your spouse heal is important while you are working on yourself - but the goal is to BECOME that person rather than just doing things that others have suggested. The work a WS does in becoming whole, healed, with new skills will make them a better spouse. But, some of those suggestions are more from a fake it until you make it perspective. It's every bit as important to prioritize your spouse, but I say that the WS working on themselves supercedes everything or you will never be a safe partner. You may save your marriage but I feel without the work on yourself it's a temporary save.

-Don't lie. You build trust from day 1. It's tempting because you are afraid. You don't want a divorce. It's counterintuitive to you to give them all the info all at once. You want to still seem redeemable. But, you are most redeemable when you are truthful and I think eventually the BS's truth/BS meter tells them. If you haven't been truthful no trust can be built therefore no R can be gained. Also, by practicing integrity, self respect can start to build. You will feel more solid.

-Bring up the affair. Do not leave it to them. They will try and carry the burden on their own and will resent when they have to bring it up. Making it an open topic at any time will be the best path forward. Getting acclimated to having it as a never ending conversation will serve both of you well.

- Figure out your whys - the whys are your motivation. Then figure out your hows - the hows are your background (like FOO) that enable you to be comfortable with it. Any counselor will steer you in that direction anyway. The reason you cheated and how you were able to do it are internal to you. Do not blameshift.

-Get in IC first, MC comes second.

-Self care: Get enough sleep (Melatonin helped me), avoid alcohol (it's a depressant), exercise (important for mental toughness and happy chemicals, combats depression), take vitamins, eat well. If you want to be able to be your spouses rock, then you need to establish these things so that you are prepared. It takes a lot of mental stamina and resilience to not only get through it but to do the growing you need to do. Self care is also an act of self love. WS are notorious for not having self-love, self-worth, self-respect.

-It feels better to live a wholesome life than whatever it is you have been doing to avoid that. Align your thoughts and actions with that and appreciate when you exhibit those changes. Notice how you feel versus when you use your old patterns.

-Meditation was helpful to me, as was the book "The Power of Now". Our thoughts are not truths, and we base so much on our thoughts. Learn to be a conscious objective observer of your thoughts.

-Work towards the traditional steps of self-actualization. This one is longer term, but it helps to develop other healthy relationships over time. The first year you may not have time for this. It helps to develop hobbies and interests. Bored people are boring, and I think sometimes this is a contributing factor of an affair. A well rounded, self-actualized person is far less likely to cheat because you have learned to fulfill yourself.

There are no guarantees, you can try your hardest but the damage is already there. These are things I think have helped us make it to year three. This and what my BS has worked on combined.

You have to look at this time as bottom, but you CAN go up from here. And, even if you are not going for R, many of these things still apply. You still need to do the heavy lifting because your future still depends on it.

Now, we are off to make a memory.

[This message edited by hikingout at 12:50 PM, September 1st (Tuesday)]

gmc94 posted 9/1/2020 12:53 PM

Thanks HO.... I'm gonna synthesize what resonates for me as a BS:

Become curious about them and their needs…. Keep trying, pursue them, be consistent and relentless.
The curiosity piece is soooo important to me and many BS. We were invisible to our WS during their A(s). Feeling invisible after dday is a killer.

Don't lie…..you are most redeemable when you are truthful….If you haven't been truthful no trust can be built therefore no R can be gained.
Also sooooo important - and the primary reason I'm not "in R". Even a little lie - WHOLLY unrelated to infidelity (eg your butt looks like an 18yo cheerleader in those pants) is a trust killer that can set the trust meter back to zero (or negative).

Bring up the affair. Do not leave it to them. They will….resent when they have to bring it up. ….. Getting acclimated to having it as a never ending conversation will serve both of you well.
Good Lord would I be thrilled if my WH could ever acclimate himself to talking about the As or any other uncomfortable subject. To me, it's the primary way to try and rebuild any emotional intimacy. As a BS, I do not feel safe with a WH who cannot be proactive in this area.

the whys are your motivation…. the hows are your background (like FOO) that enable you to be comfortable with it. The reason you cheated and how you were able to do it are internal to you. Do not blameshift.
To me, this is Freshman WS 101 level, and yet so many WS just can't seem to grasp it.

It takes a lot of mental stamina and resilience to not only get through it but to do the growing you need to do. Self care is also an act of self love. WS are notorious for not having self-love, self-worth, self-respect.
This is one that can be hard for a BS to see/accept. In those early days, it can be so frustrating when the WS wants to engage in self care when the BS is suffering so badly. I resented that my WH could even sleep. I see this as something that is super important for both WS and BS -we all need to practice some self care and self love. And it's funny to me how it can be so elusive. I still have days when I have to remind myself that washing my face in the morning is something I "deserve" and is an act of self love (this is a post Covid thing, but still applies in that it's INTERNAL that I wash my face FOR ME).

even if you are not going for R, many of these things still apply. You still need to do the heavy lifting because your future still depends on it.
A lovely way to reinforce the concept of "let go of the outcome".

I hope you and your husband are making amazing memories today.

Godspeed.

[This message edited by gmc94 at 12:54 PM, September 1st, 2020 (Tuesday)]

Buster123 posted 9/1/2020 17:31 PM

Excellent post Hiking and congratulations to you and your BS for your ongoing path to a successful R, OTOH, knowing how open you have been on SI, I was a bit surprised that you haven't written a summary of your story in your profile for the newbies to read, of course that's your personal decision and if that's the way you want it, or if your BS reads here and it's a trigger, I understand and that's ok too.

[This message edited by Buster123 at 5:32 PM, September 1st (Tuesday)]

waitedwaytoolong posted 9/1/2020 18:06 PM

This is a great guide as to what to do. Congratulations on your progress.

I always look at posts from WW that talk about how great their marriage is now with a grain of salt. In fact I have had more than one betrayed man tell me how miserable they are, while their WW thinks their marriage has never been better.

In your case it seems to be the real deal. It has to do with the work you both did

Darkness Falls posted 9/1/2020 18:18 PM

What’s hard is when you have a BS who just wanted to rugsweep, bury, not communicate, stonewall, etc. I don’t recall a post in all my 10.5 years on SI in which the WS is the one who wanted to bring stuff up but the BS is the one who told them basically to STFU about it and move on.

I’m happy for your successful R and hope others have a better experience than I did.

Jameson1977 posted 9/1/2020 18:48 PM

Excellent post hikingout. As a BH, there are so many things you listed that I wish my WAw had done Post dday.

Rose2206 posted 9/1/2020 20:25 PM

Thank you for posting this as I will read this multiple times in the future. You listed so many important things that I as a WS need to continue telling myself.
May I ask, the book you mentioned- who is the author?

Sayuwontletgo posted 9/1/2020 21:55 PM

Thank you for posting this. So happy for you guys and your continued work/presence here. Great advice for any wayward trying to turn their life around.

EvolvingSoul posted 9/1/2020 23:06 PM

May I ask, the book you mentioned- who is the author?
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.

I just finished listening to this book. Hikingout has recommended it so many times that I decided I needed to give it a listen. It took me maybe 3 months to work my way through it. It's not long, but it's dense. And really, really good.

MrsWalloped posted 9/2/2020 06:59 AM

Wonderful post, hikingout! Even for people who are years out it’s important to keep a lot of your points in mind. A lot of these are life long things. Like “work on healing yourself,” “don’t lie,” “bring up the affair,” and “self-care.” They don’t end and really they become incorporated into your M and who you are as a person.

T/j
waitedwaytoolong,

I always look at posts from WW that talk about how great their marriage is now with a grain of salt. In fact I have had more than one betrayed man tell me how miserable they are, while their WW thinks their marriage has never been better.

Why do,you think that is? That sounds like a really big lack of communication and understanding of what state their M is in. Do you think that maybe a WW is projecting positivity while the BH is being very realistic? Like during different stages, I was grateful for wherever we were at in our M because we still had an M, but I wasn’t under any illusion that it was hanging by a thread. But if someone asked me about my M I wasn’t going to say it stunk and we’re miserable. I was hopeful but realistic. But this sounds like two different extremes. The WW saying it’s better than ever and the BH being miserable is a massive disconnect. I don’t get it.
End t/j

MrCleanSlate posted 9/2/2020 08:25 AM

Hikingout,

Very well written post that covers a lot of the things waywards should be striving for, and it really resonates with advice you provide on other posts.

I think many of us waywards discover it really is a new life long journey of self improvement we are on. (How many of us thought in those early days after D-Day that we can deal with this and carry on like nothing happened?)

Getting to R and moving into year 3 I found my BW and I started to move past the A issues and dealing with more family and M issues on a much better level than we ever did before. The growth and improvement will continue. Hopefully you are moving in that direction as well.

And - a personal word of thanks for some of the insights you have provided, they have helped me, and I am sure many others too.

hikingout posted 9/2/2020 08:51 AM

This is one that can be hard for a BS to see/accept. In those early days, it can be so frustrating when the WS wants to engage in self care when the BS is suffering so badly. I resented that my WH could even sleep.

I didn't sleep a lot in the early days. It took me 5 or 6 months to start doing some of the things on this list. BUT, the reason I highlighted this one is because I think it's important for WS to know that sometimes what you need to do can be in direct opposition of what the BS feels you should do or what it seems like the marriage needs. Those are tricky situations. I found that the best way to get through them was with transparency. Being open about what you are working on and why. I was told by my counselor to stop doing everything for everyone. I was like, "Look lady, my husband has just learned I cheated on him and now you want us to change our domestic roles?" But I talked to H and we hired some help and I added back slowly. This was to do kind of a wipe out of my over doing and rewire me to be more reasonable with myself. It also was a firm way for me to see I wasn't loved just for what I could do. It was one of the best things we did in that first year even though it seemed to fly in the face of what I should have been doing. The old me would have just taken on more as penance for what I did.

I was a bit surprised that you haven't written a summary of your story in your profile for the newbies to read, of course that's your personal decision and if that's the way you want it, or if your BS reads here and it's a trigger, I understand and that's ok too.

He is fine with my openness, in fact I think sometimes it's helped us discuss things we would not have thought to. In my earlier days I had filled it in but it probably was still wayward sounding. I found sometimes it became weaponized. I should probably revisit putting something up.

I always look at posts from WW that talk about how great their marriage is now with a grain of salt. In fact I have had more than one betrayed man tell me how miserable they are, while their WW thinks their marriage has never been better.

I think this was a big precipitator as to why I learned to bring up the affair. A lot of my items I listed I learned the hard way - by not doing them. Having read here it's apparent some BS's, and it does seem to be particularly the BH's more often - they seem to describe feelings that they are not sharing with their WS. I have participated in a lot of the BH threads and have noticed that many of the complaints they had were unvoiced. I have decided males are not as practiced with sharing their feelings, deciphering their feelings. I think it's social conditioning. But, this made me very aware that couples are often not on the same page after infidelity.

I would never sit and claim to have a perfect marriage. I think for decades prior to the A I would have probably said that it was. I do think we had faired well in comparison to what I knew of other marriages. After the affair, I think we have become more brutally honest with each other. And, that aspect is both good and bad at times but it's a net positive. Being present and the work involved causes a lot of fatigue on both sides. I think it can actually kill some of the joy of the marriage. We have really had to work on recallibrating that sometimes we just enjoy each other and keep it simple to give each other a break from the fatigue. I do agree with Mrs. Walloped I think I am keenly aware of what is happening in our marriage and I do think that we are moving in the right direction. But, just like she said a lot of these things are life long endeavors. I struggle still with some of the things on this list. It's never going to be perfect.

What’s hard is when you have a BS who just wanted to rugsweep, bury, not communicate, stonewall, etc. I don’t recall a post in all my 10.5 years on SI in which the WS is the one who wanted to bring stuff up but the BS is the one who told them basically to STFU about it and move on.

Yep. And there are a lot of abused women who land here as well. I wrote from my experience but if anything I think most WS can benefit from the working on yourself part of the list. Just like we tell BS, healing is not contingent on R.

Thank you for posting this. So happy for you guys and your continued work/presence here. Great advice for any wayward trying to turn their life around.

Hi Sayuwontletmego, I haven't seen you in a while glad to see you are still around.

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.
I just finished listening to this book. Hikingout has recommended it so many times that I decided I needed to give it a listen. It took me maybe 3 months to work my way through it. It's not long, but it's dense. And really, really good.

It took me 5 or 6 months, and I had to reread some of it again. He has great podcasts too. I read a lot of books since DDAY and I would say this one helped me the most in terms of understanding thoughts and in reinforcing coping mechanisms and the importance of mindfulness. I am glad to hear someone took me up on that recommendation. I am thinking of re-reading it again just to see what else I could gleen.

Wonderful post, hikingout! Even for people who are years out it’s important to keep a lot of your points in mind. A lot of these are life long things. Like “work on healing yourself,” “don’t lie,” “bring up the affair,” and “self-care.” They don’t end and really they become incorporated into your M and who you are as a person.

Thanks. I am not sure I ever told you this but when you came here your posts were game changers for me. I know that post went on forever of the question asking, but it for certain changed my view of how to be able to talk about it and look at it. There was a lot of bravery there and I saw how much it was needed by my BH.

hikingout posted 9/2/2020 08:53 AM

Getting to R and moving into year 3 I found my BW and I started to move past the A issues and dealing with more family and M issues on a much better level than we ever did before. The growth and improvement will continue. Hopefully you are moving in that direction as well.

I think so. I will say I always think that we have done something or made it to something only to find there is always another level. I get a lot out of your posts too.

waitedwaytoolong posted 9/2/2020 08:57 AM

Mrs Wallopped I wanted to respond to this, but not on this insightful post. I started a topic in general to discuss

pinkpggy posted 9/2/2020 10:36 AM

Congrats! You are lucky to have a BS that was willing to put in the work and wanted the marriage to work, and not just punish you for your affair. Its a hard road to walk but if both parties are willing it can be done. I hope you had fun making new memories.

hikingout posted 9/2/2020 10:43 AM

Congrats! You are lucky to have a BS that was willing to put in the work and wanted the marriage to work, and not just punish you for your affair. Its a hard road to walk but if both parties are willing it can be done. I hope you had fun making new memories.

Thanks, Pink. I am acutely aware I am very lucky.

I am glad that you are doing what you need to do to heal and be happy too!

Oldwounds posted 9/2/2020 11:06 AM

Good update hiking — I hope you both continue to make some new memories.

And that’s a big key to recovering a marriage in my mind, to focus on the good new memories and build from there.

I wasn’t as quick to a mindfulness response as your husband. The first two years of R would have gone much better for me if I had that sense of detachment — not from you, but from your actions — that he seems to have.

I did eventually get there.

I am amazed what life looks like when two people are actually on the same page, working to make existence better for the other. I would never suggest this path to anyone, ever, but when adversity (in whatever form) is truly conquered, a relationship can get stronger.

[This message edited by Oldwounds at 11:48 AM, September 2nd (Wednesday)]

Evertrying posted 9/2/2020 11:26 AM

Congrats HO and as you know, you hold a special place in my heart even though I am the BS in my relationship. We share the same dday.

I am so happy that you were able to get through the infidelity and your marriage was saved. I have learned so much from you and appreciate all your wisdom.

My H and I have reconciled as well and we are doing great. There will always be some tough moments but we have really learned to cope with them better than before and we have put the affair behind us now.

I hope you had a great night and made a new memory, one that will forever change the Dday meaning to something created from love and commitment.

hikingout posted 9/2/2020 12:28 PM

I wasn’t as quick to a mindfulness response as your husband. The first two years of R would have gone much better for me if I had that sense of detachment — not from you, but from your actions — that he seems to have.

This is an astute observation. I think he did detach for some period of time. But, on the other hand, I think I pushed him there. I wasn't getting better, I wasn't getting it, I was just spinning in circles and didn't know how to stop. I think the detachment came from that. In your case, where you found out a few years later, your wife might have been in a different place. I imagine that to be just as disorienting, but just a different experience. I don't think H was detached at first, I think I pushed him there with my crazy and my own detachment early on. Hard to say.

I don't think he remains detached, but he doesn't feel he is responsible in any way and I think that's very healthy for a BS.

I am so happy that you were able to get through the infidelity and your marriage was saved. I have learned so much from you and appreciate all your wisdom.

It's funny, I consider us R, but I do not think our marriage was saved. I feel more like we have successfully gotten to a good point, and we will have to continue to work on that. There are so many people here who come back years later and are divorcing. I am thankful for where we are today and I am hopeful for tomorrow. Although I do feel like we have gotten through the worst of it, I feel also like if our marriage was over two years from now it would still source back to the affair. Sorry to be analytical on your well wishes but I felt like it was an opportunity to elaborate for others?

My H and I have reconciled as well and we are doing great. There will always be some tough moments but we have really learned to cope with them better than before and we have put the affair behind us now.

I follow all your posts of course, because as you said we share the same DDAY and I think sometimes while you can't compare marriages there is solace sometimes in seeing a couple at the same pace give or take. I am happy for you too! Though isn't that an odd thing to say? I do realize though you do feel like it forced you both to face a lot of things that needed to happen but we all understand this is not the route a BS would have chosen.

I hope you had a great night and made a new memory, one that will forever change the Dday meaning to something created from love and commitment.

Ah - yes. I didn't say what we were doing, H did. So, our plan is to sell our home and live in an RV full time for at least a year while we travel to different parts of the country. We have been planning this for about a year. We found the RV we wanted and went ahead and purchased it. The timing was working out so we purposefully decided to bring it home on our DDAY. We will not go full time until this time next year so our daughter can be about done with college when we go. So until then we are going to spend some times getting everything set up and taking some smaller road trips to get a feel for everything. If all goes well, we have talked about trying to leave for full time on our DDAY next year. I don't know if that will work out because it depends on the timing of selling the house.

In a weird way this is something almost like a vow renewal to us. I don't know if that would make sense to anyone else.

[This message edited by hikingout at 12:29 PM, September 2nd (Wednesday)]

wantstorepair posted 9/3/2020 09:28 AM

Thank you hikingout, this is a fantastic post and your guidance and help is very appreciated. Your point about the WS bringing up the affair resonated a lot, as it is an area I have failed at completely- it is the easy button to think that if you don’t bring it up it will go away or isn’t always there gnawing at your BS and hurting them more becuse you are minimizing their pain by not acknowledging it what what you did. It will not go away ever, and even when things seem “good” with your BS, it is still there waiting to come out, like pressure building in the pot. It is the WS’s job to bring up the affair and pain and release the pressure for them and their healing.

Thank you again.

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