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Wayward Side :
Like ripples on a pond....

Topic is Sleeping.
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 MrCleanSlate (original poster member #71893) posted at 10:17 PM on Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023

About nine years ago I set off on my affair.

It lasted about a year.

Here we are all this time later and the effects of that affair are still like the ripples on a pond when you drop a stone into it. They subside ever so slowly but you can still see them.

I am a much better person today than I was then. I wish I could have done this growth and fixing my M without throwing such a massive wrench into the works. But I did. And I am more sorry every day for going off and having an affair.

A few days ago my wife and I were talking and the conversation turned to my affair and how we have changed since. We can speak of it in some matter of fact terms these days, but a part of me still wants to crawl into a corner and cover my ears to avoid it.

I root for those waywards that come here looking for help and advice, but I also recognize that we come here broken, and fixing ourselves can be a long process when some of us are not even ready to be honest with ourselves let alone others.

I've lost what my original intent of this post was, but some posts on I can relate got me thinking.

I feel that my real question of our community is how long did it take you to really feel you had grown past the affair and become a better person and partner? And how many missteps did you have (because none of us are perfect).

WH 53,my BW is 52. 1 year PA, D-Day Oct 2015. Admitted all, but there is no 'clean slate'. In R and working it everyday"
To build may have to be the slow and laborious task of years. To destroy can be the thoughtless act of a single day

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WalkinOnEggshelz ( Administrator #29447) posted at 3:28 PM on Thursday, May 4th, 2023

I feel that my real question of our community is how long did it take you to really feel you had grown past the affair and become a better person and partner? And how many missteps did you have (because none of us are perfect).

First, I have used the same analogy of ripples in a pond many times myself. You never know how far those ripples will go and it takes time and patience to see the end.

To answer the question, I would say it took me a good 2 years to feel like I/we were making progress. There are several stages to healing. In the beginning, you are both dealing with the initial trauma and shock. I believe this process lasts about a year. In the second year, you are dealing with the reality of it all and what it means. I think somewhere between year two and three is when the real work was able to begin. That is when I was able to truly own my actions. I think it is one thing to say it, mean it, and another to really internalize it.

I wanted to be on the "fast track" to healing, however I had to realize that in order to be authentic in healing there is no fast track. Often when you process one thing it can lead to another, thus the ripples.

Every now and then you have to come back and re-examine areas that you may have already worked through as healing isn’t always linear.

I don’t think there is ever a finish line. You are always a work in progress and we should be seeking progress and not perfection.

If you keep asking people to give you the benefit of the doubt, they will eventually start to doubt your benefit.

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ff4152 ( member #55404) posted at 12:21 PM on Friday, May 5th, 2023

I am a much better person today than I was then. I wish I could have done this growth and fixing my M without throwing such a massive wrench into the works.

This really struck a chord with me. When I reflect and look at who I was before/during the A and now, I have the same thought. But if I'm completely honest, part of that follows a pattern that's followed me throughout my life. Things start going well for me and I intentionally throw a hand grenade into the works. Not really clear if its because I enjoyed chaos or being happy was just an unnatural state for me.

I feel that my real question of our community is how long did it take you to really feel you had grown past the affair and become a better person and partner? And how many missteps did you have (because none of us are perfect).

I guess I would ask, what do you mean when you say "Grown past the affair"? IDK that we can ever grow past it in the sense its always going to be part of our history and must acknowledge that.We must always be aware that we have the capacity to cheat. Certainly that doesn't mean we will do it again but I don't think we can become complacent either.

My growth started the day I ended the A. At the time I felt I was making a huge mistake but knew it had to end as I finally started to develop a conscious. But I would say it took me a solid 4-5 years before I felt "better". I have firm boundaries in place; in fact I can really see how my mindset has changed and it doesn't feel forced.

Me -FWS

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Copec ( new member #79885) posted at 2:30 AM on Wednesday, May 17th, 2023

Such a good question. I think my growth started on Dday. Just started, like full in let’s figure this out. I had been "done" with the affair for a year but still had contact with the AP. DDay is when I cut off contact. I started seeing changes in myself after a year of therapy. I continue to see changes and acknowledge how much I’ve grown, but at this point, I feel as though this will stay with me forever and I will forever feel shame. I am a different person now, I had/have so many issues with self worth, self love, feeling valid. I still work though those and continue to learn and grow, but what I have done will always be a part of my story and journey and I can just be thankful I am not that person anymore. I know I am a better person and partner at this point but the damage is also done. So I don’t know the answer. I think just keep moving forward. And acknowledging the things that have changed and the ways you have grown. I have to do that otherwise it’s this shame spiral that benefits no one, especially my partner. And I continue to screw up with the recovery process as far as not saying and doing the right things, but I continue to show up and admit those mistakes and keep moving forward. That’s all we can do. That’s all anyone can do. Right now I’m reading "lighter" by Yueng Pueblo (sp)? And it’s lovely and soothing. There is hope for anyone that is broken and has to move through deep healing.

WS/mad hatter-2+ years post DDay.

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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 6:55 AM on Tuesday, May 30th, 2023

It’s affair season now, 6 years ago I was making horrific, callous decisions and I have been thinking about similar things to your post lately.

By the end of year one, I had made progress in therapy that allowed me to understand the whys and how’s of what I did. While I still swam in an ocean of shame, I had made enough space for him and his experience. I knew the shame was unproductive and I could sit with it. I was in a place I could start being an effective rebuilder.

By the end of year two I had made progress on the things about me that supported my how’s and whys. I worked on learning boundaries, but was still terribly burned out and needed to make some lifestyle changes. My marriage seemed better but I didn’t realize he was in the midst of his own affair by that point and that’s why things seemed better.

By this point I’d learned to make personal care a priority and was trying new things with a vision of creating a life I didn’t want to escape from.

Reaching year three, I discovered his affair. And my shame spiral was horrific. I couldn’t find my anger. But that year I think I came to terms with my attachment style and started seeing my codependencies. This was a seed that bloomed later into knowing people will come and go but I will always have my own back.

I made my requirements for him on my staying but leaned towards divorce for a good year after discovery. Not just because he cheated but because I lost hope reconciliation was possible. I had the mentality that I had soiled the marriage past the point of no return.

However, as he worked on himself in therapy, and things started to connect with him we did reach some mutual understandings. And I went through an intense anger phase. Looking back it was the first opportunity i felt safe enough to feel it and express it.

By the end of that phase, our marriage was at ground zero. We had burnt it to the ground, and the only thing we could do is start imagining what, if anything could be built in its place.

As we started year 4, we made the unconventional decision that I walk away from an extremely lucrative job and join him on the road traveling. I had concerns, most people following me here at the time had concerns. We sold everything, and went for it. In the back of my mind liquidating our assets would make divorce easier if the trip didn’t work out. He had the affair in our house so either way we needed to start fresh. And I wasn’t focused at all on my career anyway so that was compounding my feelings of worthlessness.

That year I began to heal my burn out. Being alone together traveling added both tension and relief at first. And slowly we began to rebuild our connection. I considered us reconciled by the year end.

And this past year, I can see:

- I clearly love myself and protect the things important to me, he does the same. No one sacrifices but we both give generously. We are back to truly making love, and are able to focus on each other.

-We go out and do the things we love, spending time out in nature has become a need rather than a hobby. It’s where I have developed peace of mind and it’s my reset.

-I used to feel so alone with him emotionally. He is opening up about things I have never guessed or heard him say in all our years together. We laugh, we are affectionate, we have fun, we value our relationship in a way we never have.

-personally I feel I am flourishing. I’ve started a new career where I can be creative, I have gained better coping mechanisms, and have peace of mind. I have stopped overthinking, worrying, know who I am and what I am worth. I take responsibility for my own happiness and I avoid passive aggressive behaviors. I don’t back down as easily or overly people please. I don’t self abandon and six years ago I had no idea what that meant or how it applied to me.
-the biggest change is I am very clear on things I want and don’t want. I don’t just go along, my passivity was a major factor in what brought me here. I don’t make a stance just to make a stance but I stay connected with myself and listen to myself, this was largely absent
-I now make efforts in all my relationships that wasn’t there before, and there are marked improvements in all of them.

With all that said, I think by somewhere in year two, I had become a better person/partner and became self aware. But I am light years different now, even though it felt like dramatic change back then. I know this will always be in the fabric of our marriage, but not all in bad ways. Like you, I sure wish I could have found a different way to flourish.

[This message edited by hikingout at 7:29 AM, Tuesday, May 30th]

7 years of hard work - WS and BS - Reconciled

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Topic is Sleeping.
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