"Advanced R": Steps to Stop Obsessing & Heal
Disclaimer: This is not my post. It's a repost of a post called "Steps to Stop Obsessing & Heal" from a member named W3IRZ who, last I heard, is happily reconciled. At the time she wrote it, she was about 2 years out and estimated herself to be probably 95% healed and fully reconciled with her fWH. The post is something I came across when I was very new here, far too new to be ready to apply these steps myself. That said, it was exactly what I needed to hear at the time and I flagged the post as something to refer to and come back to when it was (hopefully) applicable (and I did). I came across the post again recently and felt that it was worth sharing with our current community. I know it wont be applicable to everyone here (and I have no doubt some people will have quibbles with it) but I hope someone else finds it as helpful as I did.
This advice that I am going to say doesn't apply to the people in the first year after DDAY or there abouts. This applies to the people whose spouse has recommitted to them. Their spouse is trying to do right. They might fail sometimes (not cheating) because they are human, but overall they are becoming exactly the spouse you want. They may even have some trickle truth, but they are shedding their deceitful layers and are truly trying to serve you. You MUST feel safe in order to follow these steps, so don't attempt this too soon. But if you feel that you mostly have the details you need and that you feel mostly that your partner is now truthful and committed, then you can do these.
First remember YOU are in control of your healing. YOU - not the WS. The WS can certainly help things out by listening non-defensively and always being transparent. That is a must. But ultimately it takes you deciding to heal.
1) I remind myself of my current truth right now. I remind myself that this happened to me and isn't happening to me now. So I put it in perspective anytime it comes up. I remind myself that my current life is safe. Simply I don't dwell on the past, but acknowledge it as something that is shame, but that happened. People go through shit every single day and still persevere. My shit seems worse than their shit because I am going through it. There are people out there going through worse shit and they move on with their lives without it controlling them. Become a survivor. It is a choice and it is possible. So when you have a trigger - don't spend loads of time on it. Acknowledge it as valid. Admit that it did happen, but isn't currently happening and then refocus on the present or the future. In the beginning, plan what you will divert your thoughts to instead of obsessing. For example, something your kids are doing that is really awesome or something you are really thankful for -- like your parents being alive still or working on a class to further yourself. The idea is to limit the time you are obsessing by replacing it with positive thoughts of something else. It takes a lot of practice.
2) Draw a line in the sand. I know that there will always be some detail I can draw up that I haven't learned. There will always be some little thing that I forgot to ask during discovery and I can ask it now and then it will feel like trickle truth, right? But why? Why are you really doing that? I mean you might for a while, but it doesn't mean your spouse has deceived you. It might mean you hadn't asked that question before or in that detail. So at some point, you have to ask yourself why you are asking questions. What purpose do they serve. I'll be honest with you, my husband sometimes says why are we talking about this and it snaps me back to my reality. The details are fascinating in a sick, Jerry Springer kind of way. It's easy to get caught up asking details. At this point, my husband has told me enough details. I KNOW he isn't harboring secrets anymore and I know that he isn't reminiscing about the A. In fact it makes him sick. So when he says "why are we talking about this" I am good with dropping it. The OW doesn't deserve anymore time. With that said, my husband would entertain conversations if I asked him to. He just sees that I am starting down a path that isn't going to help me heal. It only sends me to a place that I don't need to go any longer. I am not rug sweeping. We've covered everything and it just doesn't need anymore attention. Or at least not rabbit hole attention. So if you have a question that you really want to know (again this is beyond your discovery stage. this is after you know most details), then ask the question, but don't dwell on it. Ask it like you are asking the grocer what product they recommend. It is an inquiry, not a "lets drudge this up and ruminate on it for a long period of time" thing. Get the information that you need and then remind yourself that it is in the past. Truthfully now I realize that when I ask questions is the ONLY time my husband even thinks about her. I mean he is remorseful and all, but he gives HER no attention in his mind. Why do I want to make him think of her anymore? I have discovered that mostly I don't need anymore details as long as I stay focused on my wonderful present and future. So I ask my question. He answers. I ponder it for a few minutes and then I say o.k. lets talk about something else. I simply move on. The details just aren't as important as our current life is now.
3) Get off the fence. I mean it. Some people fence sit as a way to punish their spouse. Some just can't decide. But ultimately fence sitting makes YOUR life miserable. Fence sit in the beginning while you are accessing for sure, but there comes a time to make a decision. Otherwise your healing is delayed. Fence sitting makes you have to go over the details again and again because you need to justify the fence sitting or you are still trying to decide so if you just go over the details one more time maybe you will find some magic answer. Could this happen again? Sure it can but no amount of fence sitting will prevent it. You want to prevent it? Go all in. You have a better shot of it all working then. Of course your spouse needs to be all in too. Take a risk and decide to go all in or all out.
4) Change your mindset. I am not a grudge holder. I never have been. I feel that it is wasted energy. It is energy I could spend doing great things instead of thinking of wrong someone did me. I'm not telling you to forgive, but instead remind yourself that no amount of resentment will change what happened. That is out of your control and accept that you can only control your reaction to it. Remind yourself that you are too good to spend anymore energy holding that grudge. Let it go. When you start feeling resentful, remind yourself that you are doing everything you can to be the best spouse possible and that no matter if you hold onto resentment or not, you can not control your spouse. Try to have a list of good qualities your spouse has. There have to be some or why would you want to reconcile. Then refocus on their good qualities. Is your spouse a good parent or thoughtful in certain ways. Hey my husband does all of our laundry. That right there is pretty damn amazing. What is it that your spouse does that you can focus on to make you refocus on their good parts rather than their bad parts?
5) In addition to changing your mindset about holding a grudge, also start deciding to be a survivor instead of a victim. I find that when I get most upset is when I am thinking "I can't believe this happened to me". Well of course this shouldn't happen to anyone. It shouldn't.
I don't wish this on the worst person in the world. No one deserves this. But staying stuck in the "why me" place causes you to stay in victim mode. When I started with the attitude of "this shouldn't have happened to me, but it did. Now I need to persevere" I began to really make huge strides. I no longer wanted to ruminate on details because that was the victim who wanted to ruminate, the survivor wanted to stand up, dust myself off, adjust my crown and walk with my head tall. The survivor emerged and wasn't going to let something that she had no control of hold her back from the wonderful life she was missing out on because she was upset about "how could this happen to me". Next time you are completely crying and upset and on the verge of the rabbit hole, ask yourself "am I thinking why me?" I bet anything you are caught up in that moment in those thoughts. While I actually think it is o.k to shed those tears and acknowledge those feelings as valid, I think healing begins when you give those feelings a time limit. So once you've cried and let it out, then say to yourself "time is up, time to adjust my crown and be wonderful again".
We were victims. That is absolutely true. I am no longer a victim, but someone who can hold my head high and realize that I have overcome the hardest thing I have EVER been dealt. I have learned lessons that I might not have wanted to, but man do those lessons now help me to help other people in ways I never knew before. I have taken lemons and made lemonade. But that was a choice. Sure I could still wake up every morning and cry and go to bed every night and cry, but my life is so much more dynamic than that. I could dwell on the past and keep it alive. But that keeps me from what is going well in my current life. I have so much to be thankful for and to live for. I don't want to waste another minute. So I won't.
Basically to stop obsessing, I have had to change my mindset from the past to focusing on the present and the future and to do that, I practice refocusing in the ways above. I acknowledge my feelings as valid, but then I switch gears or change the channel. I do it for me because I deserve peace. Good luck
10 comments posted: Saturday, February 18th, 2023
iphone tips and tricks (for monitoring your spouse)
I saw a tiktok or something recently that was showing off some lesser known features of the iphone, some of which I thought would be helpful for those who monitor their spouse's phone for signs or confirmation that they are (or are not) being faithful (or at least doing what they say they are doing). I'm no tech expert so I'm sure there are many more, feel free to share your own.
1. See who they are messaging. Go into messages and create a new message. In the "To:" box, type the plus (+) sign. A list of the most recent contacts will pop up (apparently this works regardless of whether the messages have been deleted or not).
2. Recently deleted messages. On the Messages homescreen there is an "Edit" button in the top left-hand corner. CLick it. A menu will pop up, at the bottom is a button that says "Show Recently Deleted". Press that. Up will pop any message chains that have been deleted in the past 30 days (and have not been "double-deleted"). There is an option to recover them or delete them (I'm calling this double-deleting as it appears that once they are deleted from this trash bin, they are gone). If your WS knows about this and is careful, this trick may not be useful, but even careful waywards get sloppy sometimes.
3. Frequently Used Emojis. Go into messages and create a new message. In the text box press the emoji icon in the bottom left of the screen. On the far left will be a list of "Frequently Used" emojis - I have no idea how this list is populated becuase for me it tends to be made up mostly of recently used emojis, but anyhow, a screen of emojis will come up for you. If there are any that seem out of place or raise flags you may wish to do some more digging. Pre-d-day I had been on my H's phone and seen the eggplant emoji in his recently used emojis. Having no reason to question him, I joked "who are you sending this to??" Sigh... I wish I would have dug.
4. Screen time. This didn't exist when I was a new BS but I wish it had. It allows you to see when your spouse is using their phone and what they are doing when they are. Go into Settings. Click "Screen Time". You will need to ensure that screen time is enabled. If it it will have a box at the top showing the daily average time usage (haha yikes - mine is high). Underneath that is an option that says "See All Activity". When you go into that you can see which apps (and even websites if they are frequently used enough) they are using on any given day, as well as how many minutes they are spending on each. You will have some idea of whether your spouse is doing something they should not be (I'm thinking secret dating or messaging apps, a lot of messaging that is not otherwise accounted for, etc).
4 comments posted: Friday, January 27th, 2023
Tiny little pizza legs
When I found out about the A, my husband and I were childless and I had been trying to get pregnant for about a year, without success.
On D-Day, after the initial confrontation, i remember sitting by our back window and processing what it all meant. I got really quiet (I’m shockingly calm in a crisis), and I started to think out loud about what this meant for our lives. I remember turning to my husband and commenting, "I always pictured us having little kids and taking them up the mountain and teaching them to ski, with their tiny little pizza legs….. I can’t believe we’re not gonna get to do that…." My husband, realizing the gravity of it all, dropped to his knees and whimpered, "I wanted that too…" and he put his head in my lap and we both cried together about the loss of our marriage.
Today, almost 6 years later we took our 4.5-year-old and 2-year-old skiing. The little one wore a harness held by my husband, but was so proud to be doing it. My eldest, whose only fear is not being the fastest on the mountain eschewed the pizza legs in favour of bombing straight down and stopping only when she tipped over. She was buzzing the entire trip home. It was a good day. I am so incredibly grateful.
18 comments posted: Sunday, January 1st, 2023
So the other day, I asked my husband to grab something out of my wallet for me as I was cooking dinner. He did, and in doing so he commented, "Do you know you still have this old hotel key card in here? Do you want me to throw it out?" The key card was from a hotel chain (think, the Four Seasons) that we had stayed at during a weekend away together several months prior. I guess I had shoved it in my wallet for safekeeping and forgotten about it. The whole thing was a total non-issue for him.
It got me to thinking that if the tables had been turned and I had found a hotel key card in his wallet, it likely would have caused me to question things. Even though I knew we had stayed in that chain of hotels several months ago (and therefore there was a perfectly reasonable reason for him to be in possession of such a key card) we live in a city where one of these hotels is located just down the street from his office building.
Basically, I am afforded the benefit of the doubt and he is not (despite having given me zero reason to suspect him of doing anything offside in the past 5+ years). It weirdly made me feel grateful. A kind of reverse trigger, if you will.
2 comments posted: Tuesday, November 22nd, 2022
For the past two days, when using the site from my phone I’ve been getting pop up ads that cannot be minimized and interfere with my ability to see most of the text on the page. I absolutely understand the need for ads but this is making the site completely inaccessible. Is this a permanent change? Does anyone know?
7 comments posted: Wednesday, June 29th, 2022
Today is the 5 year anniversary of D-day for my husband and I. 2-5 years seemed unimaginable back then, both because it was SO LONG, but also because the hurt was so bad I couldn't imagine it ever not being there. I think I was 50 % healed at a year. Maybe 75% at 2. By 3 I was 95% of the way there. At year 4 I forgot entirely. I'm not sure when I healed, but I'm healed. I wouldn't think about the A most days if I wasn't regularly posting here. It doesn't hurt me the way it used to. Now it's just a thing that happened.
I texted my husband to remind him when it occurred to me this afternoon. His response:
Ugh... f*ck. I'm so sorry honey. I love you so much. How are you feeling? Sometimes I can't believe I did that. I mean, I know I did, I am just ashamed to have caused you that much pain. Thank you so much for sticking with me. I didn't deserve that and I am so, so grateful for you and our family.
When I didn't respond right away he called to make sure I wasn't upset. I wasn't - I was busy with work. I told him he was right, he didn't deserve me back then. I'm glad I stuck around though. He does deserve me now.
9 comments posted: Saturday, February 12th, 2022
A Christmas Miracle!!!
Tonight is my husband's annual work holiday party for work. Because my husband and his former COW still have the same employer, they are both invited to attend. It is a spouse free event.
The first two years pre D-day, my husband simply did not attend. Year 3 he did as I felt comfortable with where we are and I was tired of "letting her have" these spaces. As with every other work event they have had to attend, everyone kept their distance, he texted me throughout the night to make me feel comfortable and it was fine. I have zero concerns there is any ongoing A or contact that is not absolutely necessary. Last year, due to Covid, it was a non-issue. This year, I gave my H the go ahead again months ago - he was in charge of organizing a portion of it this year. At the time, I kind of figured OW would not be attending as she is on mat leave after having twins this past fall, however my go-ahead wasn't contingent on that. Unfortunately, he let me know a few weeks ago that he had seen her name on the "yes" RSVP list. He confirmed I was still okay with his attendance. I was.... mostly.
I guess I've triggered lately as tonight has approached. Triggers are far more low-grade this far into R I suppose. Intellectually, I know I have nothing to worry about but yeah, I have been thinking about OW and the A a lot more in these past few weeks than I'd like and it kind of sucks. I haven't posted anything about it because a) I am truly not actually worried; b) I know I can handle it (I had plans to have a fancy cocktail and bougie takeout after my kids are in bed tonight and let myself feel sorry for myself); and c) every time I post about my situation, someone inevitably shoots off some quick insensitive/ unhelpful remark about how my husband has to quit his job immediately or that I should ask to get OW's DNA tested even though everyone has been happily in R for almost 5 years. (So if that's your instinct here, please just scroll on by!)
Anyhow, my husband texted me a screenshot of an email he received this morning which indicated that OW had cancelled last minute because she is sick. Yay!!! A Christmas miracle!!!!
1 comment posted: Thursday, December 16th, 2021