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5 Years today....

MrCleanSlate posted 10/9/2020 10:38 AM

5 years ago my AP went all nuclear on my BW and exposed the A to her. I had ended the A a few weeks prior and was trying to build up some kind of nerves to tell my BW. I was way too chickenshit to face her.

For months prior during during the latter stages of the A I kept wanting to scream out to my wife "Can't you see how shitty things are? Look what I've done! I had a fucking affair"

Before My A I so wanted to fix things with my wife. I was too afraid to open a dialogue. I so regret that. No, instead I bitched and complained to another woman. Oh and she fed me all the lines I wanted to hear. I played my AP too. I was taking and taking. My AP made me feel important, and needed and she was willing to do whatever - what a power trip.

I clearly remember those first few moments when my BW called me all confused saying she had an email from a woman.....

That was the start of a journey of self examination, of truth, of learning how to be a couple again, how to communicate and deal with life's stresses.

I decided to blurt out everything. It somehow became easy once I started. The real hard part was trying to understand why I did the things I did, and even harder was accepting I had depression and other issues that I needed to work on.

The AP was the shit sandwich that kept on giving - she literally stalked us for about 6 months. Even after we blocked on everything digital I started to get notes on my windshield at work, mail to my house. With everyone of those I felt awful bringing it to my BW. But in a strange way those brought my BW and I closer. We circled the wagons so to speak. It made it easy for me and my BW to have a real united hate on for the AP.

For a long time I kept thinking about all the 'what ifs' in the years leading up to the A - If only I had accepted that I was depressed, if my BW had not been depressed too, if I tried to communicate with her, if we had sex more....Looking back now I understand that the 'what ifs' search was my way of trying to shirk accepting responsibility. For sure there were issues in our M and with me, but I took the wrong path to deal with things, or more to the point Not Deal with Things. What I did was escapism.

Today for sure there are still the odd triggers from the A, and I know there is a very short leash attached to any trust my BW gives me but I also have learned how to keep her apprised of where I am and what I am doing if out. We have cobbled together a new M with a much healthier relationship. This took work on both our parts.

I mention this time and again on posts - but learning how to effectively communicate was so huge for my wife and I post D-Day.

There is a lot of times I will complain to my wife about work, a neighbour, whatever. I get it off my chest. She listens. Sometimes she agrees, other times she calls bullshit on what I am saying, but end of the day I am communicating. We also don't let stuff build-up or ignore issues. We deal with stuff that bothers us head on now. It is much healthier this way.

I'm here still learning, and also trying to offer some advice along the way. At times I am in awe at some of the responses others put up with such insight.

outofsorts posted 10/9/2020 20:42 PM

Hi MrCleanSlate,

I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your experience and for your continued posts. Your story and your advice always resonate with me.

Onebiglie posted 10/10/2020 13:53 PM

How fortunate you are to have such a loving, forgiving wife who pushes through all the suffering you gave her, to reconcile with you. As you mentioned it took a lot of work on her part, which she didn't deserve to have to do. Unfortunately this is the life BS are given. It's worth mentioning her work was completely different to yours and as such it was more work.

Nice of you to acknowledge the anniversary today. Hopefully you'll be acknowledging her pain as well. Of course she deals with it every single day in ways you don't understand and are not aware of. Largely because as BS we are instructed to keep quiet after a certain time about triggers, to make it easier for WS. So she has more work than you realise. Trying to retain her self esteem for example. All of this is done alone even though all of the pain comes from the WS. Healing is done alone even though all the damage comes from the WS with no assistance. It's all so unfair. I hope you're making it worth it for your BW

Communication is great for a marriage but it doesn't take the pain away. Nothing does. No 'work' does that. BS have that for life.

HFSSC posted 10/10/2020 14:01 PM

My experience was different. My H has been actively involved in my healing and while there were times very early that I was alone (my choice at the time) or felt alone, we have done this together. And I donít live in pain. Reconciliation is possible. Restoration is possible. MCS Iíve watched your journey and seen you grow. Keep it up. Itís a lifelong process.

strugglebus posted 10/10/2020 19:47 PM

MCS- congrats on the healthier marriage you have today. You seem to realize the gift your wife has given you and you arenít squandering it. Keep working and communicating!

Like HFSSC I donít live in pain or think of the affair daily (not even weekly- maybe it will cross my mind monthly at this point. My triggers are rare and pass quickly. Iím happy and proud of my marriage.

Trauma responses and resiliency are different for different people, there are a lot of factors at play so a universal truth is impossible. So the best way is to check in with your spouse and see how they feel. Mrs MCS could feel any number of ways and only she knows what that is.

Onebiglie posted 10/13/2020 05:44 AM

And I donít live in pain. Reconciliation is possible. Restoration is possible
Keyword is you don't live in pain. For you, restoration and R is possible. Not for everyone. Adultery is abusive and many marriages and more importantly many lives, are 'less than'. That's why adultery is so wrong, because it's destructive. That's why it's the single acceptable reason to divorce in the Bible.

you arenít squandering it

I didn't say he was, but surely his BW is also is the only one who knows this just like she's the only one who knows how she feels?

This isn't something I made up. It's all over the R and general and Just found out forum. You two are fortunate but all you need to do is read to see that what I said is true for the majority of members. Adultery does on fact cause BSs to live in pain forever with less than marriages where they have to sleep with one eye open. This is NOT the BSs fault anymore than the WS deserves to be 'reminded' their whole life. Seems to be a double standard even amongst BWs where WS are supposed to not be judged forever and are allowed to make mistakes, but BS aren't. They have to recover perfectly just because BSs with remorseful WHs like yourself were able to. We aren't all you. The majority of us aren't you. Statistically. Even those of us who think we're like you are still being played. And some have remorseful husbands and it's still not enough. And it doesn't have to be. That's why they shouldn't have cheated. Because it's not forgivable. Sometimes you take something from someone you can't give back and you don't get to say sorry and have it be all better. That's on the cheater. Don't ruin people's lives if you don't want to see the result.
It's not that difficult to not put your wife's sexual health in danger and shatter her heart. WSs aren't the victims.

Sorry it hurts you that the truth is you're the lucky ones but the rest of us are still trying with WSs who haven't made it worth our while. It's not our fault just because it makes other BSs better to think we can just magically make our lives better even though we lost so many things. You were able to get them back. Good for you. Not other's fault they couldn't. Let's have some empathy for the BSs like we do for WSs.

HFSSC posted 10/13/2020 06:41 AM

I do have empathy for BS. I lived in that pain for 12 of the first 14 years of my M. But this is the Wayward forum, where most of the WS are here because they recognize how horrible their choices were and are working toward being better partners, better people. And so maybe itís not necessary to beat them over the head with how horrible they were every single time they post. I get it. I do. As a BS, itís understandable to feel afraid that if you donít keep reminding the WS they will forget. Or that maybe you will forget how bad they hurt you. But this isnít your WS here. And at some point you need to let go of the need to punish every single WS every time they speak. Not for them, but for you. Because thatís a hard way to live.

MCS, I am sorry for the T/J.

MrCleanSlate posted 10/13/2020 08:23 AM

As a WS I post to both help myself and also help others - both WS and BS.

Once in a while we need to share the good things, the successes.

My favourite forum these days is Reconciliation. I also spend time responding to BS's questions on the I can relate forum. Maybe some of what we write helps someone. I know I come across posts that speak to me and sometimes shed a new light on something. That is the value in this community.

It is a lifelong process of healing and improving and more importantly tending to our M. I forgot that along the way.

HFSSC - NP on the T/J .

doninvaun posted 10/13/2020 10:09 AM

As a WS I post to both help myself and also help others - both WS and BS.

Glad to hear your R is going well MrCleanSlate, and thanks for sticking around to help new people.

Pippin posted 10/13/2020 16:55 PM

Good work MCS, i hope you have many happy returns of today with the change to mark even more progress.

JBWD posted 10/14/2020 12:07 PM

Worthwhile discussions.

Congratulations on the continued progress, MCS, and most importantly donít ever let up- The greatest threat to any personís continued growth is believing itís done(!)

strugglebus posted 10/14/2020 17:24 PM

Onebiglie my comment about not squandering it was to MCS and said

You seem to realize the gift your wife has given you and you arenít squandering it.

The word ďseemĒ was intentional- from the outside with only MCSís post to go on, he seems to understand the opportunity he was given and is not squandering it. I even suggested that he ask his wife how she was feeling because sheís the only one who would know so Iím confused by your response. It was written to the OP, not in response to your comment.

However I did chime in with a personal anecdote because you said

Of course she deals with it every single day in ways you don't understand and are not aware of
. Which was a generalization thereís no way to know without asking her and Iím proof that not every BS feels the same way you describe 4-5 years out.

But if you think Iíve recovered perfectly or that I havenít had plenty of strife and pain in the process itís only because you donít know me. Thatís okay. Iím not around much because it doesnít take up as much of my life as it used to. I think itís common for people who have recovered to move on eventually.

To clarify:

Thereís no such thing as a ďperfect recoveryĒ. Recovery is messy and looks different for everyone.

I definitely donít think anyone should stay married for any reason at all and that it is never the betrayed personís fault that they were cheated on or experiencing trauma because of it. Ever.

Infidelity is trauma. It is abusive. It is terrible.

I did a lot of work for my personal recovery. Lucky for my husband he did a lot of work on himself so Iíd give him the chance to stick around. I let him try because I wanted to and his efforts made me feel ok in doing so- not because he deserved it. I still have the child custody agreement I filled out in DDay it I ever need it for any reason at all.

I wouldnít say Iím lucky. I was betrayed by my husband and a close friend who I traveled with and who babysat my kids and spent every holiday with. I lost a lot of friends. If anyone is lucky itís my husband for getting a shot to prove himself.

Your trauma and feelings are valid. I would never say you made them up because I have lived those feelings.

But my feelings and experience are also not made up- Iím authentic. I still talk about triggers when they happen to my husband and I would never tell someone to keep quiet.

Healing takes time, itís not a race and everyone is different. Speaking for all BSs is not possible because we are all unique humans.

HardKnocks posted 10/14/2020 18:02 PM

Thank you, MCS.

Your posts have been very helpful to me.

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