I’ve just read your profile story to try and understand better where you are at. I have a theory about this now.
When reading your story it is clear to me that you perceived (and still do as you’ve written that story recently, since you joined this forum) the AP as the sole aggressor who manipulated your wife into an affair.
Every sentence shows how much accountability you attribute to the AP and how your wife is the victim.
Now I’m not saying there wasn’t an element of manipulation, in fact affairs are about two participants manipulating each other for personal gains (physical and emotional). However you placed the AP in the main aggressor role and your wife as a victim.
Now in the usual reconciliation process most of us reach a point where we realise that whilst our tendency is to place all fault on the AP, our spouses were willing participants and manipulative as well. (I could for example tell you that your wife was manipulating her AP into believing there was a future for them when she moved out, only to then decide to return to the more suitable partner for her, you).
When we start realising the above we start holding our WSes accountable and understand that whatever we believe about the AP, a stranger a lot of the times who made no commitments to us, applies twice as much to our spouse who did make said commitment.
I remember when I realised this. "Ow is lacking integrity because of her intrusion in my marriage" erm… my spouse lacks integrity because he brought a stranger in our marriage.
In effect when you start recognising your spouse needs to address their flaws and you’re asking them to do so stating that you’re willing to continue your relationship with them, you’ll learn to balance your anger at your aggressor (your spouse) with your desire to build a loving relationship with them. Not only that but at that point you also learn to manage your anger at a stranger who made no promises to you.
Don’t get me wrong, I have no desire to become best friends with the ow, I don’t wish her to die (never did, I have enough emotional bandwidth to think of her kids, she’s a single mum) but if she could disappear in a puff or smoke that would be great. I’m looking forward to the day when we can move away so I can close the door on her for good (she lives around 2 miles away from us).
At the same time though, once my anger and accountability was focused in the right direction (my spouse) and I created my own narrative which helped us save our marriage, the AP became insignificant.
My narrative looks like this: I had to accept my WS is a flawed person, one that at a certain point in time lost all his values and morals and set on destroying his own life by taking actions which made no sense. Once discovered, he was willing to work hard in identifying why he made those poor decisions and provide me with constant reassurance through the actions he’s taken and continues to take that he is a different man, one that is aware of the trauma he inflicted on all of us, including himself. We have worked hard to rebuild our marriage, one that is more suitable to living an authentic life accepting his affair as a traumatic event in our relationship history.
Now once I created this narrative, true to me, can you see how I had to accept that the AP is none of my concern anymore? Because if I kept focusing my anger on the AP the narrative above would not hold, I’d have to apply the same semantics to my WH (ow is a manipulative person, so is my WH, ow lacks morals and values, so does my WH, so on and so forth) how can you rebuild a relationship with such a horrible person?
My point is that if you decide to reconcile and offer grace to your spouse, I’m afraid you’ll have to at least allow the AP to fade into insignificance and I say this as a BS who had to deal with a really horrible ow post dday.
Good look and I hope you find peace, it must be horrible to live in this constant anger and hatred towards a person who wronged you massively no doubt, but 17 years is such a long time to live that way.
[This message edited by Luna10 at 6:54 PM, Thursday, November 3rd]