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Reconciliation :
Madhatter healing

Topic is Sleeping.
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 Fret05 (original poster new member #83036) posted at 6:12 PM on Friday, March 10th, 2023

June 19,2020 I confessed to my husband of an affair I had 10-12 years prior between me and my married boss (it started when I was 19). The weight of guilt was so heavy on me and I felt like I needed to come clean to my husband. We did some programs through affair recovery but my husband didn’t care to do any real therapy. I believe he ultimately stuffed it without truly dealing with it.

January 4, 2023 he was caught sneaking around with a coworker. It was an emotional affair that last 4 months (they told each other they loved each other) and was also physical with making out and oral from her but never made it to sex.

My husband is devastated about what he’s done. He is doing everything necessary to help me. He cut off contact completely when they were caught. Over-the-top transparent, going out of his way to be accountable for every move he makes, found himself a therapist, answering any and all questions I have nomatter how many times I ask the same questions. He is groveling at my feet and cannot believe he fell into this. He says he never truly loved her and was just telling her what she wanted to hear.

My question is.. since this is something we have already gone through a few years ago with the roles reversed and since he is working so hard to show me true remorse, do you think healing could happen? I almost wonder if our situation will help us heal faster since we’ve both been there and can understand where each other are coming from. He has told me that the reason why he did this was because he never healed from what I did and he knows now that he needs to work through that.

My emotions are crazy right now. I will have a few bad days and then a few good days. But him helping me without getting angry or irritated is really helping and making me feel so much better. And I do believe I understand the reason why he did this and I know what needs to be fixed.

Any experience with this? I need hope.

posts: 9   ·   registered: Mar. 10th, 2023
id 8781631
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Uxoragain ( new member #83025) posted at 6:48 PM on Friday, March 10th, 2023

@fret.

I can’t speak to the structure of your experience. It wasn’t mine. It sounds like the category is a much much latent revenge affair on his part and that you both believe it was because he never actually dealt with his own pain.

And I like that you are trying to find hope in having navigated prior infidelity issues and that you believe you understand why he didn’t heal. I like it because hope is needed to find pathways of coping with hard things that life brings us.

Own your hope, even if the reasons behind ir change. Always keep finding hope toward better and healthier ways.

As said above, yours are are not a good enough match to my own experiences, so I don’t want to lead you down any wrong pathways.

I am mostly posting so that it stays in front of others as they come on the forum. They may know the best tools to pick up to survive this situation.

But most of all, I want tell you I am sorry for your pain and that you have to be here. To give you support that you are heard, and hope others with similar situations might chime in.

Me: Mrs. Uxor, BW, 50's

Mr Uxor, WH, 50's

DDay Summer 2013

Currently Married almost 30 years.Reconciled but working on ripples so we stay that way.

I was here before - read about it in my story.

posts: 43   ·   registered: Mar. 8th, 2023   ·   location: here
id 8781637
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This0is0Fine ( member #72277) posted at 10:56 PM on Friday, March 10th, 2023

I think it gets really complicated because he ought to know better, he knows the pain first hand. This is almost "revenge is a dish best served cold".

While maybe it's not fair that your affair would educate both of you, that should be the case. He shouldn't have been able to be "blind" or "forget about you" or "never mean to hurt you". There is no way he wasn't thinking of the pain you are now in as he made his decisions to engage in this A.

Love is not a measure of capacity for pain you are willing to endure for your partner.

posts: 2631   ·   registered: Dec. 11th, 2019
id 8781660
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cedarwoods ( member #82760) posted at 1:33 AM on Saturday, March 11th, 2023

I nor my WH are madhatters so I do not speak from experience. However, i do want to say that healing is possible. For sure. If you both want to work hard at it. From what you wrote, it is clear that your WH never healed from your affair. He probably carried a lot of anger, resentment, and hurt inside of him. He also probably felt disconnected from you. Those voids in him could have caused him to look outside the marriage-he may have wanted to feel desired, wanted, loved-that he didn’t think you did. I am not saying any of this justifies cheating. Not at all. I am just trying to see it from his side. (Or my side as a betrayed if I had not healed properly) We all have weak moments, especially when we have been hurt so badly.
It is a good sign that your WH is showing remorse and doing all the right things.
You both have a lot of healing to do. Help each other heal and take one step at a time.

posts: 211   ·   registered: Jan. 20th, 2023   ·   location: USA
id 8781678
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BraveSirRobin ( member #69242) posted at 1:35 PM on Saturday, March 11th, 2023

Hello, Fret. Welcome to SI from a fellow madhatter.

Your story resonates for me because I also had a "years later" D-Day for an affair that happened when I was 19. In my case, it started out above board; my then-BF (now BH) and I were in a long distance relationship, and we had agreed that I could date the OM very casually. Unknown to me, BF only consented to this because he was hiding a drunken make out session with his sister's BFF. He was hoping this would lessen the impact when he finally came clean, while I thought it meant he was one foot out the door. I gradually escalated the emotional and physical intensity to cheating level, making no mention of that progression to BF, who thought things with OM had fizzled. I finally broke it off and confessed about the sex, but I minimized the full intensity of the A. I also refused to go no contact because I had promised OM we would always be friends. My BF was devastated, and in response to my clinging to the "friendship" with OM, he openly had an ONS with a girl at his college -- more for self-validation than for revenge, I believe. He also came clean about the BFF, but in his mind, what I had done was so much worse that his initial transgression was irrelevant. There is a strong argument that we should have cut our losses at this point. Instead, we rugswept the whole mess and got married.

Over the years, I believed we had put our respective infidelities in the past. Unknown to me, he was still having depression and mind movies. Every time there was other stress in his life, the memories of the affair would pop up, triggering what he thought were irrational fears that he didn't know the whole story. He started asking more detailed questions, and I went into a blind, lying panic. If I had just come fully clean all those years ago and gone NC, I could have avoided so much damage, but I held on to the idea that my lies were protecting him. Really, they were protecting me. All his worst nightmares turned out to be true: the emotional and physical specifics were more extensive, more intense, and more frequent than I had let on.

Anyway, this is a long winded way of explaining that I have seen the years-later side of affairs and understand the nature of the damage they do. The BS can find it hard to get support. "It was so long ago," people say. "Why does it still matter? Are you really going to throw your marriage away for something that happened years in the past?" They don't grasp the impact of discovering that your life was a lie. The length of time can actually make things worse. For all those years, the BS was unaware of the reality of their marriage and was deliberately denied the agency to respond to that reality. My BH didn't understand that he had untreated PTSD from the months that I stayed in contact with OM. He blamed himself for not being able to let it go.

I also understand that none of that would have made it ok for my BH to cheat on me after D-Day 2. He knew the impact that it would have. He knew where the door was and that he could walk through and slam it behind him, whether I told the truth or not. You don't have to reconcile with your WH. You also do not have to walk away. All you need to do is behave ethically and in what you believe is the best interest of your own future health and happiness.

It's a good thing, IMO, if you can use your own experience to help build empathy and compassion for your husband. It's not so good if you use it to let yourself off the hook, entitle yourself to behave badly, or stay in a toxic situation out of obligation and guilt. Unfortunately, I've seen a fair number of people in those latter situations lately, but that doesn't sound like where you are.

I can give you hope. Four years out from D-Day 2, my husband and I are in a really good place. We love each other -- really love each other, with both passion and compassion -- and we have some wonderful plans for the next stage of our lives. There is another member whose husband had an almost two year affair while she was here on SI doing the work of a WS. She isn't posting much anymore, but that's because she and her H worked through it and are living their best life together. She would have been within her rights to decide on D, and it was absolutely on the table if he hadn't done his own work to her satisfaction. But he did. I hope you'll get to hear from her, too.

I'm glad you found us here and that we can be a valuable sounding board. Only you and your H can decide whether you'll be able to heal from mutual betrayal. At two months from D-Day, it's probably too early to even guess. But from what you describe, I believe it is a viable path for you.

[This message edited by BraveSirRobin at 12:15 AM, Sunday, March 12th]

WW/BW

posts: 3627   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8781704
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lrpprl ( member #80538) posted at 2:01 PM on Saturday, March 11th, 2023

Your story reminded me of a thread here in 2020. The Original Poster on that thread was Aching44giveness. It was posted in the Wayward Side forum.

[LINK REMOVED]

If your story is anything like that one, then all your husband did is Rug Sweep your affair. It festered inside him until he started his own Revenge Affair.

I believe you guys can heal and start a new marriage. I doubt that 100% trust will ever happen for either of you. But, you can both try hard to rebuild a new marriage from the ground up. You both need to cry together, talk, talk, talk it out over and over, and do the best you can. A new rebuilt marriage can be had and maybe, just maybe, it will be a better marriage than the one before your confession to him. You did not give your ages, children info, etc. If you two are still relatively young, I believe both of you can, with a ton of work, live a long happy life together.

I wish you both the best of luck.

[This message edited by BraveSirRobin at 2:27 PM, Saturday, March 11th]

posts: 280   ·   registered: Aug. 12th, 2022   ·   location: USA
id 8781709
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SacredSoul33 ( member #83038) posted at 5:45 AM on Sunday, March 12th, 2023

My question is.. since this is something we have already gone through a few years ago with the roles reversed and since he is working so hard to show me true remorse, do you think healing could happen? I almost wonder if our situation will help us heal faster since we’ve both been there and can understand where each other are coming from. He has told me that the reason why he did this was because he never healed from what I did and he knows now that he needs to work through that.

Madhatter here. Expressed remorse is a beautiful thing in affair recovery, and being able to sympathize is valuable, IMO. From what you've described, I think you're both good candidates for R.

I'm bristling at the last sentence, though. He didn't have an affair because of what you did. Most BSs don't go on to have affairs themselves. He needs to "go out of his way to be accountable" for this, too. This is his to own. Perhaps pain from your betrayal was a contributing factor in his decision-making process, but it wasn't what made him do it.

Remove the "I want you to like me" sticker from your forehead and place it on the mirror, where it belongs. ~ Susan Jeffers

Your nervous system will always choose a familiar hell over an unfamiliar heaven.

posts: 1287   ·   registered: Mar. 10th, 2023
id 8781789
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 Fret05 (original poster new member #83036) posted at 10:23 PM on Sunday, March 12th, 2023

Your story reminded me of a thread here in 2020. The Original Poster on that thread was Aching44giveness. It was posted in the Wayward Side forum."

THAT IS ME!!! I AM ACHING44giveness!!!! I couldn’t for the life of me remember my login information so I created a new account. And now I am a madhatter, unfortunately 😔. Never thought I would see the day.

"You did not give your ages, children info, etc. If you two are still relatively young, I believe both of you can, with a ton of work, live a long happy life together."

I’m 35 and my husband is 34. We’ve been married for almost 13 years and have two boys. I dont know if that’s considered relatively young or not. I’d like to hope so! 😬

"I'm bristling at the last sentence, though. He didn't have an affair because of what you did."

I know it’s not my fault but I DO tend to wonder if his affair ever would have happened if my affair never happened. He definitely doesn’t blame me and use that as an excuse for why he did what he did. But it is something we’ve talked about being a factor among other things he was dealing with when he stepped out. If that makes sense..

posts: 9   ·   registered: Mar. 10th, 2023
id 8781866
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MIgander ( member #71285) posted at 12:27 PM on Monday, March 13th, 2023

Hey Aching, welcome back. I think?

My H had a series of "escapism" fantasies (mostly emotional yearnings for me to be more like them), culminating in an EA with a very close friend before my A (I too used it as an excuse for my A). He then went on to have an EA with a coworker after my A.

We're in a better place now because we're working at it. My H is working much more slowly though as he doesn't do IC and isn't seeking mentors right now. MC is pushing him more and more in sessions. He asked me yesterday if I would have demanded a D (I did a year out when he was still explosively and abusively angry) had our M been in the place it is now. I told him absolutely not. He seemed to have taken that well. Kinda a conditional love, but he knows that if either of us is being treated poorly in some way, we can communicate and mend. Healing is possible.

What I see in H (and know now about myself) is that we all have faults/weaknesses and insecurities in our character. How we manage them is shown in our actions during high stress situations. The darkness will come out. Your H may have been triggered by your A, but he chose to engage in the fantasy of his own A rather than confront the resentment festering within.

That's what he needs to own- that he CHOSE to engage in an A. He chose it. Freely. Knowing what it would do to you. He basically said, "F-YOU" to you, and your M, and decided to nuke it. Ask me how I know- I chose the A route when my M was a dumpster fire rather than put it out of its misery cleanly (like putting a horse with 2 broken legs). D sometimes is the more merciful option.

The good news is, your H came clean, and seems remorseful. He's at the beginning "justifying" stage, just as I was with my A. There's potential for healing. IF he does the work, IF you guys are IC/MC - both of you. In fact, it's likely more healing will come out of this as he can no longer hide what he's allowed himself to become. He has to confront what allowed him to lie and fix that brokenness. Luckily his empathy seems to be in place (now he's been confronted with it) and he is willing to do the work. That's a huge help in being able to progress.

Maybe you both read the 2 standards- how to help your spouse heal and not just friends- together?

WW/BW Dday July 2019. BH/WH- multiple EA's. Denial ain't just a river in Egypt.

posts: 1178   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
id 8781925
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lrpprl ( member #80538) posted at 2:05 PM on Monday, March 13th, 2023

Hi Fret (Aching44giveness).

As MIgander said "Welcome Back???".

To me you are very young. I am up in my 80s nearing 90. If you and your husband live as long as I have lived, then you two have another 50 plus years ahead of you. Unfortunately those years will pass quickly it seems, and then you two will wonder where they have gone. So, please make the most of them while you can.

When you were here before I got the impression that if anyone was truly remorseful for what she had done 10 years prior, then it was you. At times it seemed that you got raked over the coals, especially how you viewed your husband versus your AP, etc. But, you hung in there and it was admirable to me.

Now the roles are reversed and you know exactly what your husband was experiencing. Back then, if I remember correctly, some were suggesting your husband get secular counseling with a therapist who was experienced in treating trauma patients. If I have any more advice for both you and your husband it is just that. Each of you needs individual counseling with trauma therapists. You two are each only 3 years out from your husband's Discovery, and only recently from yours. You both need to be treated by therapists who truly understand what Infidelity does to both the human brain and the human psyche (mind, soul, and spirit). Both of you have had your souls nearly destroyed, and both of you need to be treated by specialists. You don't need therapists who will give you platitudes and place a band aid over a gunshot wound.

Five years ago this past week I had a major heart attack, and I was airlifted over 40 miles to a hospital that specialized in treating heart patients, even though I live only a couple of miles from a local hospital. Thank goodness they airlifted me to that particular hospital, and I was treated by a team of very experienced cardiologists, and not by orthopedic surgeons or general practitioners. I had 100% blockage in the heart's main artery (the Widow Maker artery), and 90% and 80% in two other arteries. After going through 4 months of cardiac rehab I am doing just fine. In fact, this afternoon I have an appointment with my cardiologist. I am sure I will get another clean bill of health. I have had to make a lot of changes in my diet and exercise. You two will have to make a lot of changes in your lives also. But, it will be worth all the effort you two put into your marriage.

So, that would be my advice. Each of you get individual counseling with trauma therapists, and communicate, communicate, and then communicate some more.

I am praying that you two have a great marriage the rest of your lives, and I believe God answers prayers and He will grant you this.

[This message edited by lrpprl at 2:09 PM, Monday, March 13th]

posts: 280   ·   registered: Aug. 12th, 2022   ·   location: USA
id 8781932
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SacredSoul33 ( member #83038) posted at 3:40 PM on Monday, March 13th, 2023

I know it’s not my fault but I DO tend to wonder if his affair ever would have happened if my affair never happened.

I get that. I had my EA right before H started his last A. The previous two had been strictly PAs, but the last one was a full-blown PA/EA. I wonder if it would have happened that way if I hadn't engaged in an EA myself. I definitely don't blame myself, but I do think it was probably a factor.

I doubt that 100% trust will ever happen for either of you.

Hmm. I trust my H to never betray me again, and he trusts me. We still have moments where our thoughts run away with us and we have to check our guts, but we trust each other. I kind of view putting 100% trust in someone as somewhat naive. When H asks me "You know I'll never do that again, right?" I answer, "No, but I believe you won't." 100% trust burned me hard last time. Won't do that again, but pragmatic 95+% trust feels pretty good.

Remove the "I want you to like me" sticker from your forehead and place it on the mirror, where it belongs. ~ Susan Jeffers

Your nervous system will always choose a familiar hell over an unfamiliar heaven.

posts: 1287   ·   registered: Mar. 10th, 2023
id 8781961
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lrpprl ( member #80538) posted at 11:02 PM on Monday, March 13th, 2023

One more thing:

Does your husband know about this website. If not, you might steer him this way. Especially to the "I Can Relate" forum. One of the topics they discuss is the conversation thread "For Those Who Found Out Years Later - Part 2". There, the spouses who were betrayed but didn't know about it for years, discuss how they handled the situation. Even though your husband is now a wayward spouse, like you, he never recovered from your betrayal 10 years prior to his finding out. He might find some useful information from others who are going through, and who also went through, what he is having to contend with.

Just a suggestion.

[This message edited by lrpprl at 11:04 PM, Monday, March 13th]

posts: 280   ·   registered: Aug. 12th, 2022   ·   location: USA
id 8782069
Topic is Sleeping.
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