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Reconciliation :
Reconciled 7 years later/what a way should look like

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 ToastedOats (original poster member #49617) posted at 2:05 AM on Sunday, November 28th, 2021

I'd like an opportunity to share my own experiences.

I had a rough background. Like worse than most. Molested, abandoned as a teenager, homeless, stolen from, hurt, cheated on, etc... All before I turned 20ish. I started a life change around 21. I started to believe there was a God (became a Christian), became more moral and grounded. I stopped jumping from relationship to relationship and became more self-secure.

I met my wife in my early 20s. After a whirlwind relationship that lasted 3 months and resulted in a pregnancy. We moved in together and got married. I thought it was all just going to be magical. We had some communication issues, sex wasn't an issue, and felt we were ok. Well, my wife started acting strange around the 7/8 year mark. turns out she was becoming emotionally attached to a classmate in her master's class. I was struggling massively with My health at the time. I broke. It hurt. I was frightened, struggling with abandonment, wondering what I should do. I reacted horribly. I rug swept in our marriage but I started talking to another woman online to fill the gap. When the other woman begged to come and pick me up, I told my wife. It was like a child trying to do a tit for tat type thing. I cut off the other woman. After confessing to my wife, which hurt her, we reaffirmed our relationship and moved on. Again we rug swept. We didn't want to really deal with the issues but wanted just to be...

7 years later all hell broke loose. My wife started acting strange again. I knew these signs. When she came to talk to me, my defense mechanism kicked in. I went crazy. I affaired down with a slutty woman. It went on for 3 years. It was a revenge/exit type. Well during the time I felt horrible. I don't why anyone can live this. That feeling like you had to hide in front of the world, the lust without love, the cheapness of it all. The longer I was there the more disgusting I felt. I couldn't resolve my feelings and I definitely didn't deal with myself or my own issues. I felt like a crazy person. Numb on the inside and smiley on The out. I was a liar, a cheater, and someone who didn't care. I was disgusted with myself, and I felt trapped. My affair partner was a loose cannon. Ready to blow my world apart.

My wife finally approached me and I ended it. I was tired, lost, and done. I was like an alcoholic or drug addict that had hit rock bottom. I was pretty disappointed and disgusted with myself. I got IC and we both worked hard on our issues. I learned I had developed survival techniques that didn't work if I wanted a good life. If I wanted to grow. Read books. Read forums... Did everything I could that sounded sane. Lots of prayer and meditation etc....it was hard work, terrifying work. Being vulnerable and real with yourself is counterintuitive for people like me. It was easier to hide the real me, to not make waves. I had to learn to say what I really felt or meant. Admitting that I needed outside affirmation. Wanting to be spoiled. Oh, the list goes on. I found out like many of you, I would look at other people I found attractive as an escape to dealing with my own sh1t. As a child, I learned that being honest can warrant a belting, as an adult I had to learn that if I didn't be honest I couldn't grow and would die inside. It took years of self-motivation, self-drive, and hard work with accountability on both of our sides to fix this.

It's been 7 years. I went on a trip to see my son. I didn't look at women. Didn't delve into porn or Harbour strange thoughts. When I got home my wife was discussing openly how far we've come and where we are going. I didn't have the drive to get my ego stroked on the outside. I work on my self-security and not put up a front. Every day I wake up and reaffirm my attraction to and how beautiful my wife is. Really when you put it all together, she is the most beautiful woman. She can be honest with me now. She can be open. The sex is great. We can hope for a future together. How can I not want that!? She does the same. We hear how covid has been horrible to some couples, ironically we have gotten closer. It is not all roses and unicorn poop. It's hard work. I work hard on being honest at all times. I work hard at reminding myself what I can and can't control. I work hard on just being ok. sometimes this causes conflicts. Conflicts weren't the problem, it was resolving them that mattered. I work hard on loving my wife, enjoying her company in its entirety. And I found love, real love, not feelings are hard work. Feelings can come and go, they are not always real or based on reality, but love continues to grow if you labor with it. Love, to me, is also the most rewarding work.

Btw. We have up everything that could lead us back down this road. We left our careers, cut out friends, even minimized family who was not friends of the marriage. The result was an environment that encourages us to rely on each other, talk to each other, and love each other. We both make more money now than ever before. Work fewer hours in our new careers. Even better yet we both own our own businesses.

Be brutally honest with yourself. Take criticism. Grow from your bad choice. If you hide from it, your growth will become stunted. It will happen again.

Hope this helps a bit with people who are on this journey.

posts: 65   ·   registered: Sep. 14th, 2015
id 8700554
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Stevesn ( member #58312) posted at 2:44 AM on Sunday, November 28th, 2021

I’m glad you found that openness and honesty and expecting it in return can make all the difference. And it makes you feel better about yourself.

Tell me, from her side what has she done to make you feel safe that she won’t again start down that wrong path with someone else after another 7 year itch? And what have you do t to ensure you won’t rug sweep and self medicate with an affair of your own if she does?

fBBF. Just before proposing, broke it off after her 2nd confirmed PA in 2 yrs. 9 mo later I met the wonderful woman I have spent the next 30 years with.

posts: 3269   ·   registered: Apr. 17th, 2017
id 8700555
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ISurvivedSoFar ( Guide #56915) posted at 10:51 AM on Sunday, November 28th, 2021

Very good post ToastedOats. Congratulations on working through some very tough issues in your past that negatively impacted your adult life. I am married to someone with a difficult past and saw firsthand how it bled into adult life until it finally blew up in the form of infidelity.

This in particular interests me.

And I found love, real love, not feelings are hard work. Feelings can come and go, they are not always real or based on reality, but love continues to grow if you labor with it.

Relative to some posts recently I think this is priceless. As BSs we lose our feelings for our WSs when we have to heal ourselves and change the dynamics in our relations with our WS. I've been wondering how I lost my feelings for my WS and am getting them back - albeit different than before. This explains it very clearly. It also explains how a WS can have feelings for the AP but not really love them.

Very good stuff TA for me to ponder; thank you and congratulations again!

DDay Nov '16
Me: BS, a.k.a. MommaDom, Him: WS
2 DD's: one adult, one teen,1 DS: adult
Surviving means we promise ourselves we will get to the point where we can receive love and give love again.

posts: 2733   ·   registered: Jan. 15th, 2017
id 8700566
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The1stWife ( member #58832) posted at 11:34 AM on Sunday, November 28th, 2021

Thank you. This reaffirms that the "once a cheater always a cheater" saying is false.

People can — and do — change.

I hope you are happily married for a long time. You both deserve it.

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled.

posts: 11183   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
id 8700569
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 ToastedOats (original poster member #49617) posted at 7:50 PM on Sunday, November 28th, 2021

Stevenson,

Let me answer in reverse order lol. I'll will start with me.

1. Through counseling I've learned why I reacted like I did. I struggled with a mature method processing of my feelings. I was a doer not feeler per say. It was easy to mask my feelings by acting out. When I was growing up, the dynamic between my parents and I was When I was good they ignored me, and when I was terrible (like setting a state forest on fire lol) they belted me. This was hard to break. Getting rid of my childish sense of entitlement was a hard step.

Going to intense Ic, reading books, and Surrounding my self with mentors to who hold me accountable, and rebuilding my personal boundaries further from the cliff Abbey all helped. I have regular check-ins with my support peeps. Unmasking my ego and working hard at building my sense of self worth and self esteem has been paramount to this change of heart. I won't react that way because I don't need to. I'm worth more then then that. I feel like affairs are a form of abuse, and those who participate in them are abusing themselves. At least that was so in my case.

Honesty is the key of all of this working. I've reached a state (haven't arrived) in my maturity where I can be honest, because my honesty is worth something. I don't have to hide or be ok if I'm not. When I recognized that I was my biggest problem and needed to get over myself, it was easier to be honest. Honesty about n my emotions and state of being. That I was some who has the capacity to cheat. I wear my scarlet letter and own it. I don't feel guilty about it. Its just a character flaw that I have and need to be viligent and vigilant about.

Cont jn the next post lol

[This message edited by ToastedOats at 7:51 PM, Sunday, November 28th]

posts: 65   ·   registered: Sep. 14th, 2015
id 8700598
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 ToastedOats (original poster member #49617) posted at 8:42 PM on Sunday, November 28th, 2021

2. Building these foundations meant I have to HONEST about my weaknesses. I cannot be around other women in inmate capacity. I realize I can't really have sex with someone without a emotional connection or bond (demi-sexual?). That's who I've become. By making sure I keep my limited friendships with women very surface, hey how you doing, etc.. I make sure that I stay out of the woods. When they do open up, and they tend to, I just say sorry to hear that and I'm not qualified to give or really participate. Before I would try to jump in and be a friend, now that's a new boundary. Its made me aware of my own codependent need to be a fixer and to feel wanted. This makes me keep my distance. I keep track of how I'm doing by reading ,posting and journaling. This also meant I had to be careful of literature, movies, and media that might encourage this mindset. I cut out porn and other vices that would encourage this numb out. This also meant that my wife became the focus of my lust, my love, my issues, and my real self.

My wife:

To sum it up She went through the same steps as I did. She became more honest and didn't gloss over her discomfort or issues. Put in a support system. At first with both of us being honest with each other we had many a fight and clashes. I never failed to bring my wife wife to climax, imagine my ego getting wounded when she tells me that's not what she really wants or I wasn't doing it right(just one of many things) lol.

Our first step was learning how to diffuse arguments and create a safe environment to talk. We have signals and rules. We take turns explaining and signaling when we can't take anymore. We also figured out there was no fight to win. When we fight we both lose because of bad feelings and being to angry to not being heard. We start now by re-affirming our love for each other. A ruled that helped this was any day we have a boiling over argument and fight we don't have physical intimacy. I know I hate that and se does too. In serious conversations we out ourselves in vulnerable positions. Like laying my head on her lap or her in my arms. Its a reminder that we are in each other's hands.

Once we found what worked for us. We talk now about everything. About how certain traits are attractive to us but not worth what we have together. We feel safe to say were not ok. We need to talk to someone. We need to get something out. At first I set the pace in this. She eventually followed my example and just let out how or where she was at. Like if she felt I was too distant, busy, wanted more intimacy not related to sex. It was like she started blooming in a way I had never seen before. I started to hunger for her lol it was different from before, not the lustful type, but a more vulnerable type. The more I expressed the more she felt safe to reciprocate. I didn't do it because I was hoping for something back. At first she didn't trust this, but then she started to relearn me. the trust came over time. She told me she didn't trust me after the affair when I told her she was beautiful. Now she can't get enough hahaha

Its nor all roses and rainbows. We still argue and have tiffs but we do defuse and listen afterwards. We both have agreed that if we feel like we are getting the itch we can just say it, get help, and stay open. We had been propositioned with swinger and open marriage s with other couples. We both politely decline then talk about it afterwards. I tell my wife I don't have the capacity to separate my feelings from the physical, and she reminds me she doesnt want to jeopardize what we have now.

You ask a good question about what would happen if she did it again. And if she did, that's if, she would have to: to ignore our new found intimacy, honesty, openness, and realness. The new found sex would be trashed and our bonds cut. I am worth more than that, and could recognize its just not me. I'd foto my support network and just cit it off. I'm sure it would be hurt but I would be ok. I would just walk and see what life has to offer me.

Hope that was a complete amswer. Sorry for the wall of text.

[This message edited by ToastedOats at 8:53 PM, Sunday, November 28th]

posts: 65   ·   registered: Sep. 14th, 2015
id 8700601
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 ToastedOats (original poster member #49617) posted at 10:30 PM on Sunday, November 28th, 2021

First wife. Thanks! People can change. I guess in my case I wanted to change felt disgusted by my immaturity. I'm just glad we were able to hang through it to get to this place.

ISSF. Yeah that was a hard one for me. Learning that I hadn't really mature and acting out my coping mechanisms. You can't really love unless your self esteem is intact self esteem is killed by ego. hiding behind your ego creates a dependency not love.

[This message edited by ToastedOats at 1:19 AM, Monday, November 29th]

posts: 65   ·   registered: Sep. 14th, 2015
id 8700606
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Stevesn ( member #58312) posted at 5:46 PM on Monday, November 29th, 2021

Wow. Thanks for the detailed response of what both you and your wife have done to better affair proof your marriage. I’m glad to see you really took a systematic approach to fix what was broken in each of you and your relationship.

It seems so simple but yet it’s so hard for many to understand that open honest communication is the basis for a good relationship. Not hiding your head in the sand and letting your basest instincts prevail.

I do hope you never stop discussing what happened in the past and how you feel about you going forward. It still makes me nervous the pattern your wife has shown when someone new and Interesting comes into her life. I hope her new found skills will prevent her from ever hurting you like this again and in response from you retaliating.

I have performed a few wedding ceremonies. And in my short speech on marriage I emphasize the key to happiness is communication. It’s actually so hard for especially young and new wedded couples to conceive of and understanding, especially coming from single life where you only have your own happiness to focus on.

I hope you can continue to share what you both learned with others. And I wish you both happy decades to come together.

fBBF. Just before proposing, broke it off after her 2nd confirmed PA in 2 yrs. 9 mo later I met the wonderful woman I have spent the next 30 years with.

posts: 3269   ·   registered: Apr. 17th, 2017
id 8701642
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HardKnocks ( member #70957) posted at 6:07 PM on Tuesday, November 30th, 2021

Thanks so much for your honesty and willingness to share, Toasted Oats.

Your experience sounds like an example of real healing. It's often so much more than simply being "remorseful". Real work, but it has its rewards.

Best wishes for continued success and a happy, meaningful relationship, and life.

[This message edited by HardKnocks at 12:08 PM, November 30th (Tuesday)]

BW 30-year marriage.
DDay2 2/20 5 month EA/PA
Recovering

posts: 364   ·   registered: Jul. 7th, 2019
id 8701830
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 ToastedOats (original poster member #49617) posted at 10:32 PM on Wednesday, December 1st, 2021

Your experience sounds like an example of real healing. It's often so much more than simply being "remorseful". Real work, but it has its rewards.

In my later years, I was teaching a class to some inmates. A question came up "I am a good person, why do I keep ending up in these situations." I responded "Let's say you spent 20k and went to a top-notch furniture school. Learned woodworking from a well-known artisan. Graduated and did nothing with the training for decades. Can you call yourself a woodworker?"

The reward is putting what you learn into practice. It's when a piece of wood turns into a well-crafted chair. Remorse is a state of being that requires positive actions. The positive actions become life-giving habits. Life-giving habits are priceless and can never be taken away.

Thank you Hardknocks.

posts: 65   ·   registered: Sep. 14th, 2015
id 8702026
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