Although I consider myself healed I still…
The idea of this thread came to me on Saturday. I have noticed that I still make sure I’m dressed for a potential ow encounter when I go to the local shopping mall. It got me wondering what other BSes (WSes too) still do affair related although they consider themselves healed.
I’ll start. As said, above each time I go to the local shopping mall (roughly a couple of times a month) I still have the fleeting thought of "if I bump into the ow do I look good" thought. Ow lives within 3 miles from us and we did bump into her several times. (She’s also known to follow us but that’s another story).
Now I don’t need to be told how I need to move on, how I’m not actually healed and so on. I don’t actually spent hours putting make up on, trying on 20 outfits, I just give perhaps an additional thought to "if we bump into her am I ok with the way I look?"
I don’t actually think this will ever go away until we move away which is planned for 2025 once dd finishes school.
So what’s yours? What residue have you got from the A, something that you still do because of it?
14 comments posted: Monday, November 28th, 2022
Some WSes really are terrible people
Granted I’m triggered so I needed to post this.
In the UK, during Covid, the ** NO POLITICS ** at the time was caught cheating and images from surveillance cameras of him groping his AP were all over the news. So whilst he was dictating the rules of nobody being allowed to see their loved ones, hug them or kiss them and people were dying alone in hospital, he was having an affair getting all the physical contact he needed.
He resigned, left his wife and two kids and he’s still with the AP (she was married with a successful businessman that looks three times the man this jerk is).
Fast forward to last week, in order to revive his career no doubt, he decided to go on one of those big brother type of tv programmes where he completes challenges and gains popularity.
He’s been held accountable at different times by all the other contestants, some being more willing to give him grace and some not so willing who keep challenging him. His justification is always "I am sorry and I did mess up, it was a huge mistake BUT I fell in love".
Today the news is that this jerk has cried and become emotional (on national tv, I don’t watch the show by the way so all this is in the news) because "all he wants is forgiveness".
I can feel my blood boil. This jerk is asking for forgiveness on National tv from whom? He has absolutely no consideration for his poor kids (and ex wife but that we knew already). Those poor kids were probably bullied and laughed at two years ago by all their "friends", your dad is all over the newspapers groping a woman haha. They probably saw their mum broken to pieces. They’ve been publicly humiliated. They probably just found some peace and normality lately and what does FATHER OF THE YEAR DO? He goes on national tv to ask strangers for forgiveness and state that he fell in love, right? He subjects them to new humiliation.
Who TF does that? Like, how can you be such a selfish prick and not allow those kids to heal?
9 comments posted: Saturday, November 12th, 2022
5 years Dday anniversary
So it’s been 5 years. I only remembered because I saw Strugglbus’s update below and I knew we were pretty much a year apart in terms of ddays.
We are in a good place. Very good place I’d say. The affair is still there and it will always be a mark on our marriage history. But it isn’t as poignant as it was in the past. It became an event in our life that we dealt with and still do if anything comes up but that’s that. We all learn to deal and cope with traumatic life events and the affair feels like such a(nother) event.
We’ve put in a lot of work, a lot, to be where we are. I can totally say I am proud of how my WH chose to use this as a change catalyst. He’s not perfect by all means but he’s now a new person who is able to work on any area of growth identified.
A few days ago he said something that will remain with me for a while "being given another chance to remain married to you is the best compliment anyone could have paid to me. I know I’m not on a pedestal anymore and I don’t need to be. But the fact that you gave me another chance meant that you believed in me, believed that I am not the jerk who cheated on you at my core and that I’m capable of change, that is very humbling".
I’ve changed a lot too. I’ve reorganised my life in such a way that if anything else comes up I will not become the wreck I was on dday.
And that’s the beauty of it, we, WH and I are not together because we need each other anymore. Financially we could both live independently comfortably. The kids are 15 and 21 so not a reason as such. We are together because we want to. Because we turned our lives around and it is pretty fun. We have individual hobbies and joint hobbies. We paint and draw together. We travel. We discover new places. We still discover who we are and who we can become.
Not everything is perfect of course. I do trigger sometimes if I feel like perhaps my WH did not work on certain traits that led to the affair, we usually discuss those areas.
I’m also still working on my abandonment issues. Last November I lost my brother and he was pretty much my last connection with my FOO (my mum is in a different country and has mental health issues). This means that from time to time I do get panicky feelings of being almost alone in the world and feeling that if my WH does something again I WILL be alone in the world. I do have mental chats with "little me" during those moments and I remind myself I am an adult capable to protect the little girl I once was. It seems to work as a coping mechanism.
So if you are just embarking on this road know this: true reconciliation is possible. Your life will change forever and if I may say so, this is an opportunity to turn it around and build the amazing life and relationship you always wanted.
On dday (or thereabouts, perhaps once I woke up from the shock of my life) I knew that the only way I could remain married was if my life and marriage will become what I always wanted it to be. No more compromise, no more conflict avoidance, no more power grabbing, an equal partnership where we discuss each arising issue with an aim to resolve it. And we do all that whilst also having fun, life is short.
You do need a willing participant to build that though, don’t compromise on that, define your boundaries and requirements and stick to it. Good luck to all of you and I hope you all find peace.
9 comments posted: Tuesday, September 27th, 2022
The gift that keeps on giving…
Almost 5 years past dday. We’re doing well mostly. But that’s not what this is about. This is a long story that I just need to get of my chest as it triggered me like hell.
Here it goes…
Ow has done a huge amount to maintain her importance in our life. I will not list it here as it may be repetitive. Overall we/I squish her presence although she keeps succeeding to make another appearance somehow once every few months like a nagging reminder of everything. Intentionally may I add, these appearances aren’t coincidental.
But onto this specific story: about two years post dday (so around 3 years ago), just as we were reaching some sort of calm, I got a call on mistress Valentine’s Day (13th Feb) listening to my voice and hanging up. This is/was OW MO based on her past behaviour (I won’t get into all the details but she used to call with a hidden number, listen to me and hang up) and it unsettled me hugely. This time though there was a mistake: the phone number was not hidden and it appeared on my screen.
I called back a few times for a few days, both displaying and hiding my number, and they never answered. I saved the number in my phone and moved on.
Fast forward to a year later approximately. Quiet evening for WH and I. My phone rings. Guess what: same number, now saved as X in my phone, pops up on my screen. I listen. Quiet. They hang up. I call back, no answer.
My WH tells me not to call anymore and leave it. The next evening he calls it from his number. The person answers. A woman (not ow). My WH tells her that she called his wife’s number the night before and hanged up, asking her to explain. She starts telling him this story of how she must have misdialled my number. My husband is then telling her it is the second time my number has been "misdialled" by her, a year prior I had another call from it, can she explain that? She claims that she knows nothing about it as it is a work phone and she only got it assigned to her a month prior.
My husband literally starts laughing and asks her if she is for real: so two different people misdial the same 11 digits phone number approximately a year apart. You get the gist… the conversation gets nowhere.
That is one of the many stories stories. Being stalked and followed by the ow repeatedly as this is only one of her antics examples. In fact that’s not even that bad, I’ve got worse stories.
Well here comes "closure". The gift that keeps on giving…
Today I got one of those "check if your contacts are on FB to add more friends" notifications so I went "yeah why not" and allowed FB to suggest friends based on my phone contacts.
A second later friends suggestions come in: my daughter’s piano teacher, my daughter’s maths tutor, a business owner who installed our kitchen (and I have his number saved in my phone), and… OW’s mother. I almost dropped my phone.
Sometimes I feel like there will never be a time when I’ll be allowed to forget the rawness of it all. It literally feels like every few quiet months are followed by some sort of a reminder of the affair.
If you got this far thanks for reading. I just needed to write this down somewhere where people may understand how flipping crazy and triggering it is.
8 comments posted: Wednesday, July 6th, 2022
Is 5 years out some sort of milestone?
We are coming to 5 years since dday. In fact this is now affair season till September (A started May).
We are in a good place. I don’t think there is any stone left unturned in terms of doing the work on both sides. Our life is actually pretty amazing. I have a WH who still does things to show me he hasn’t forgotten, who acts grateful for being given the chance, who is in love with me and I believe it, who actively works to show his commitment to me and our family.
I worked hard to heal myself too and I feel safer than ever, not necessarily because I don’t believe my WH will ever cheat again (although I do believe he isn’t that person anymore and he wouldn’t even dream to go there again), but because I remembered who I was, what I’m capable of and I know now more than ever that I don’t need my WH to make me "whole". I love my WH and I do not regret my decision to stay.
Together we have a fantastic relationship now, we talk often about how we feel and have lots of fun together.
And yet, in the last month or so, the A is back actively in my mind. I trigger through the day like during "good" old days when I just sit there and memories of what I know about the A (facts) come and bite at me again. The anger is returning. I feel like I want to snap at my WH several times a day. The little sarcastic silent voice in my head is back. I wake up in the middle of the night again. I even dreamt of ow.
This time last year I didn’t even remember it was affair season. Now I’m fully aware that, because I don’t know the exact date when the affair technically started, 5 years ago he was flirting and moving towards his decision to cheat. And my mind actually imagines it, the jokes, the smiles, the loving eyes…
I don’t have anything else left to process. I’ve been through everything with a fine tooth comb. We’ve spoken about everything on and on and on. In fact I didn’t even tell him I’m triggering now because I don’t think it’s his fault and it isn’t anything he did (now).
So… is there something in the water at 5 years out? Should I be aware of anything?
PS please don’t tell me we BSes never get over it and I should divorce because I am clearly unhappy and I can’t heal, because that’s really not the case. This time last year I couldn’t care less about dates and I was pretty much over it. In fact my WH was reminding me of these A anniversaries such as ddays by apologising and I was feeling bad that I didn’t even remember.
22 comments posted: Tuesday, May 24th, 2022
Today is the 4 years anniversary of dday 2 (yes my WH liked to keep it simple so he kept traumatising me on the 27th to make sure I remember it).
To put it into context: dday 2 was for me more traumatic to a certain extent than dday 1. On dday 1 although the shock was horrendous and my reaction visceral, I had this belief deep down that he got a sudden realisation of what he has done and he "woke up", with us being such a strong couple we can "fix it" and move on.
I was wrong: on dday 2 he sat me down and admitted to what I already suspected but could not prove, he remained friends with his ow for a further 4 months, he felt responsible for her pain and whilst I had my visceral reaction at home she had a similar reaction at work. The betrayal suddenly took a new huge dimension for me and at that moment in time, 4 years ago, I believed that was it and there was no way forward as a couple.
Here I am today, I forgot about it! I was on my lunch break (we both wfh still), decided to continue work on a hobby I just started and my WH came over, told me he loves me so much, he knows what day it is, he’s grateful I’m still by his side and grateful that I look happy.
I was puzzled for a second and then I realised the date. He obviously gets bonus points for remembering it and I do hope he’ll remember it for the rest of his life (or a few more years at least).
I wanted to post this to give some hope to those of you who are at the beginning of your recovery journey, to tell you that those obsessive thoughts, those horrendous dates who turn your life upside down year after year won’t be there forever.
One thing I know for sure, this date would have faded into insignificance with or without R. I’m glad it did with us being still together.
And on that note I should probably tell my WH I’ve decided to commit to Reconciliation seeing that 4 years ago I told him I make absolutely no commitments going forward and I’m taking it day by day.
15 comments posted: Friday, January 28th, 2022
What does true R look like for you
I was T/Jing like crazy on another thread further down so I thought I’d open a new one. What does true R look like for you? I’m rambling a bit further down with my view of it.
I hope you don’t mind me quoting you here Thumos.
If we are empathetic, I think we should avoid the usual "well maybe it's just a dealbreaker for YOU" or "maybe you just haven't worked hard enough" and try to delve a little deeper. Especially given the recent spate of research suggesting talk therapy has limited efficacy and a limited shelf life or sell-by date.
I find this conversation constructive so I hope you don’t take it as a total disagreement. 🙂
I don’t view the "BS work" as only a series of various therapy sessions to teach them to suck it up or swallow the shit sandwich.
IC for me is a form of self discovery to ensure that the right coping mechanisms are activated and used as a reaction to trauma and to replace my previous shitty coping mechanisms which included suicide ideation post dday (and more).
But beyond that, beyond IC, I had to define what I REALLY wanted from life. Marriages are sometimes miserable without any infidelity attached to them. In fact I can think of two marriages now, at this moment in time, that in comparison with mine, infidelity and all, I’d rather have mine. And theirs has not experienced betrayal (of that I’m sure).
I understood fairly quickly that I will not be able to settle for less or the same as before dday when it comes to our relationship because in the initial stages my WH kept offering the same like all WSes. Naturally for their universal reaction, he wanted things to go back to normal (with a few crumbs on top). But the same marriage, in the context of infidelity, meant less. So for me it had to be better or not at all. That enabled me to define what "healing the marriage" looked like and state my new found boundaries (beyond the "no more cheating" ones).
And then me… healing myself… I can totally own up with spending the first 6 months revenge plotting. How I’d cheat on him too. How I’d lead him to believe that I’m over it and then bam! he’d find proof of my affair. In fact a certain user here to whom I communicated by PMs can testify to all this and my erratic thinking.
But once the mentioned above coping mechanisms did get activated (yes, in talking therapy) I understood what the real work meant. I won’t get into all of it but I’ll repeat this: today I’m with WH not because of the kids, not because I’m financially tied up to him, not because I’m scared to be alone (the moment I remembered that I don’t need a man to be happy for the rest of my life was revolutionary indeed), not because I’m scared to divide our assets, but because I like who he is today due to his own work and I WANT him in my life. And should he turn up to be a disappointment again I have worked bloody hard to be in a better position to cut the cord.
I was listening to a podcast recently on brain patterns and how the human brain actively chooses to return to what is familiar. If self sacrifice, abuse, pain, suffering is a pattern formed as a comfort zone for us, as a familiar environment, we will keep returning there again and again without a chance of really healing our wounds. I’m sure you’ve come across all this information too. Growth shows up only when we deny our brain the desire to return to the same negative familiar place. Therefore, for me at least, there comes a point where I actively had to draw a line and ask myself if I’m willing to accept the A happened and if I’m satisfied with still being married to my WH or, if not, what is my next step in order to be happy.
That’s what the BS work looks like for me.
To mix in some more metaphors, they are like Winston in "1984" - they know exactly how shitty things are and refuse to assent to the propaganda. They've seen the emperor has no clothes. They've seen this fact in all its ugly nakedness. And they will not accept the lie, even if positioned as a "noble lie."
They cannot sustain the cognitive dissonance that is required -- with all of the requisite emojis and exclamation points and happy clappy talk -- and so they "freak out" 10, 20, 40 years later because they are having a moment of true, awful clarity.
I’m gonna say it again, not sure if you omitted it on purpose in my previous post or not: I’m yet to find a thread where the WS did the REAL work, the BS did the REAL work, they rebuilt the marriage they desired to have and the BS returned years later to still state they are in the same place as years before and cannot live a happy life.
The fact that you use present tense in the passage quoted above in fact proves to me that not much work has been done on one side or both sides of the relationship.
34 comments posted: Friday, November 5th, 2021
4 years ramblings
4 years ago today I had the biggest shock of my life. I now know that I was completely unprepared for anything like it due to wrongly linking my entire human being, my physical and emotional health, my inner peace to another person, losing myself and becoming an extension of my WH. That was a huge risk and one that nobody should ever take. I know why it happened (past trauma), I still crave for that level of self abandonment, but I now know it isn’t real and it isn’t safe.
The trauma of my husband’s adultery also brought to the surface additional past trauma which I wasn’t able to push down anymore, suddenly I felt all the bad and the ugly, I ended up diagnosed with severe ptsd by my IC and spent years being pretty much a wreck.
Some of the events in those years post dday were traumatising themselves, I have flashbacks of laying on the kitchen tiles sobbing and just wanting to die. I have flashbacks of wanting to run, of getting in my car, driving aimlessly. I have flashbacks of hiding in my work toilet cubicles for minutes on end silent crying. Sometimes I’m quite embarrassed how low this took me down, how badly it impacted me, I was quite a badass before I married WH and somehow he chipped at my weariness, he chipped at my lack of trust, he chipped at my lack of full vulnerability, he chipped at my independence, he chipped at my healthy selfishness levels and got something that I never thought I’d offer anyone: 100% blind trust. Stupid really, nobody should have 100% blind trust.
This post will not be about how amazingly reconciled we are now although we’re doing quite a good job of it I’d say. Somehow during this journey reconciling successfully or not became a secondary goal.
What became a primary priority for me, once I was able to pick myself up, was my own recovery and reminding myself who I am and what I’m capable of.
To add to the hit of dday, a year later I lost my job as well, being made redundant from a company that later collapsed. Imagine having no confidence, because no matter how many times SI veterans tell you an affair isn’t about you, you won’t really believe it until you torture yourself for a while, and having to find another job because you feel even more unsafe being unemployed and relying on the man who was so readily willing to discard you a few months back.
It didn’t take me long to realise that my safety and confidence will not come from WH. Of course, to ease off ptsd reactions I needed him to take all the actions you see listed here as a R requirement, but what I needed long term was a plan B for myself and my kids only, was loving myself, was reminding myself I can make it on my own, not only make it, I can be successful at it.
I’m quite proud of what I’ve achieved since then on a personal level. I’ve done IC and whilst being a wreck I also assessed the level of earning I need in order to feel safe on my own if needed. I achieved that last autumn taking a role after I lost a second job due to the pandemic.
Last week I was offered another role, this time a step up and earning considerably more than my minimum threshold of making it on my own. All of these jobs, several interviews and assessments, all happened whilst also having a foggy brain.
IC, reading, introspection got me to the point where I don’t put up with shit anymore, compromise is limited to small areas of my life. I’m not rude. I’m still struggling with being a people pleaser at times. I’m working on it. I am though able to tell people around me: I will not allow you to treat me this way. I will not allow you to turn me into a victim. This isn’t just my WH, this is my wider family too.
I also started exercising, I jog, spend a lot of time in nature, I walk. It helps so much with mental health. Anxiety still exists and I believe it will stay with me forever, I just know how to control it better.
When it comes to R: once my WH got his head out of his ass (and traumatised me some more with a second dday) I think we both understood that there is no compromise to be made. The only reason I had to remain in the same house with him was my daughter for a short period of time.
It’s weird what a wake up call is for the WH the moment they realise the game is over and they have potentially lost the only person who loved them not for who they pretended to be, but despite of who they really are.
From that point WH has done all those R requirements and more. He set on a path of showing me he’s worth it and up to date he’s done pretty much that: IC, transparency, accountability, MC later, discussing the A from all perspectives at any time, empathy. That’s not to say everything was great from then on. For example he did continue to work with the AP (same company, different departments) until she lost her job at the beginning of the pandemic, I agreed to it as my job situation was so volatile, all in all it was probably the right decision although we both took the cost of it. I don’t know how we lived that way. His manager knew about it and supported our measures otherwise I don’t think it would have been possible. It involved informing me each time he sees her, FaceTiming me, not ever missing a call from me no matter what he was doing, his manager vouching for him if he had to work overtime, all measures put in place by him, nothing imposed by me. It’s doable but it’s also traumatising.
Now: we are in a good place. Great place. We talk a lot. Not so much about the affair anymore but about everything affecting our marriage and if it requires mentioning the A we (both) do. He still apologises often. Mostly whilst expressing gratitude. I don’t think any WH will fully understand what they did to the BS but I do believe some can gain a huge amount of understanding through IC and a desire to participate in the healing and growth of both spouses and the marriage. We don’t allow resentment to build. We talk about it as it happens.
Trust… do I trust him? I recently noticed the sarcastic voices in my head have become quiet. They don’t rush to finish his sentences anymore ("I love you!" My brain: "for now at least"). I do believe him when he says he loves me. I do believe him when he acts lovingly although for around 3 years I suspected him of putting on a show. 100% trust? That will never return and that’s how it should be. In fact the idea of trusting someone blindly again gives me anxiety now.
Love? I love him, that’s why I’m still married. But no, he won’t be on the pedestal again. He knows this. I don’t think I’d put anyone on the pedestal again ever. In fact I’m on my own pedestal.
We have a lot of fun, we have designed a life that we truly wanted. We are each other’s cheerleader and a few days ago I thought about what a great team we make, how we were able to achieve everything we wanted since dday by knowing each other’s strengths, by supporting each other.
The sadness still comes here and there. Dates come and go these days and I only remembered today due to a friend asking me on Saturday how I was as she knows September is a tough month for me. In actual fact I woke up today struggling to remember what was it that gave it away 4 years ago, what made me start digging. There were a couple of weeks before dday when I was aware something was wrong before actually catching him, when I begged him to tell me if he was cheating, when I "danced" quite a bit . So what was it? I actually don’t know, I can’t remember. That’s a good sign, I don’t dwell on that anymore.
It is possible to heal. The signs of my brokenness will always be with me no doubt, but these signs and scars won’t prevent me from becoming a stronger woman.
It is possible to R. No, not to reason with an WH to get them to want to R and do what is required of them. I’ve been there. There is no reasoning in an affair and in a WS’ mind during an affair and on dday. The only thing you can do is to state your boundaries and sit and watch. That includes transparency, IC, talking about the affair whenever needed, getting the details and learning empathy. They need to take the lead in atoning the damage they have inflicted on you, the marriage and themselves. Only then you can truly R.
Again, that’s not to say that my control freak character didn’t try to take over. I’ve spent many nights researching R reading material. However at one point my focus shifted on myself. WH was doing pretty much everything right however I was still emotionally bleeding as my focus was on him not cheating again. That’s never going to make a BS feel safe whilst they’re still married to the WS, safety comes from knowing you’ll be ok either way.
I don’t consider myself successfully R. I consider that reconciliation is a long process, lasting for the entire remainder of our marriage, as long as we keep that in mind we should be ok.
Thank you to all of you who supported me through what I remember as the most unstable period of my life. You have been amazing! You know who you are.
11 comments posted: Monday, September 27th, 2021