My story as a former BS.
June will mark three years of our journey together as a couple who decided to reconcile and reunite after his cheating.
It’s been a while since I visited this site and I gave myself a time out to regroup my thoughts and feelings as a former BS and I’d like to share my story. Thank you for reading.
SI offered so much information, advice and support for the three years 🙏. I was healing from my husband’s past functional alcoholism, his infidelity and the final injury of leaving me to live with his affair partner. My story is not unique. My healing is not unique. But I am unique. And what I think is also unique was the timing of COVID in our lives as we struggled to live together again.
In the most strange way, and I never thought I’d say this, but the COVID restrictions while creating social distancing and lockdowns, obliged my husband to face his internal insecurities, his boredom with life, his selfishness, and his fear of aging and more. He had to rely on himself and on the conversations we had together to prop himself up. It worked pretty well for him and for me. I lost my anxiety that he would cheat on me again or begin drinking heavily during our confinements. It would have been really obvious from his behaviours if that was going on in secret.. There were no behaviour changes related to secrecy and I relaxed as time moved on. During the confinements, I read lots of books on infidelity, self awareness, happiness, philosophy. I took online courses on managing emotions and the science of well being. Eye openers for me. As I gained knowledge, my self awareness increased as did my confidence in myself.
At first I was sceptical of my husband’s motives for returning to me. Was he sincere? After all, he fooled all the people in his family with his cheating ways during his 14 month affair, as he was painting me as a boring, uncaring wife and mother to his family and our adult kids. He truly believed that I was like that. He hid his functional alcoholism from all, except me. I lived with horrid alcohol and cheating induced arrogance and abuse. And I withdrew all care, love and respect for this broken man. Yet, I had my reasons for giving us the second chance.
My senior age and life experiences, health issues and general life outlook for the next ten years are the driving forces that hold me to this marriage at this moment. We both do not wish to live alone nor live with anyone else for that matter. So with that in mind, the biggest change from our truly messed up past is to maintain caring and appreciative daily actions for one another. Every day without fault. This commitment of ours holds us together and we both know that. We deserve what we put into our relationship, and ourselves.
His daily alcohol intake had annihilated all good will I had for him during those years of heavy drinking. I don’t know why I stayed in this marriage but stay I did. I did not believe him capable of infidelity and when I found out, I was in shock. All I had to do was give him a shove out of our home and he willingly left me, to live with his affair partner in her house. We separated.
But then things changed. I think the best way to sum it up is to say that the grass is never greener on the other side. Not for me and it obviously was not for my husband. We were both quite broken at the time of our separation. I remember feeling lost, relieved, lonely, sad, happy, scared. I missed companionship. I made new friends. I went to therapy. I kept quite busy. I was living my life, no longer fearing walking on eggs. I smashed those eggs. I kept no contact, except for legal matters. I was realigning my life. Moving on.
I proved to myself that I can live by myself and that I was not boring. And my husband saw that. And he wanted to return. He missed me he said. He loved me he said. He was lonely, he said. I said, no. You are living with your wonderful affair partner, the woman who is exciting, sexy, interesting and interested in you. Like what more do you want? She is perfect for you. Hell, she is a traveller, activity driven like you and the perfect drinking partner. I recall throwing the same words he used on me back to him....and I am boring and uncaring. Leave me alone I said. You are toxic to me.
He gently persisted. I laid down conditions. I know that these are also called boundaries. He accepted and met all the conditions without balking.
Our relationship today is based on a solid familiarity from our 43 plus years together. And I like that. I’m at peace and feel a quiet sort of joy in my life. He has eliminated his excessive drinking from the time we got back together after our separation. He has admitted to being a past functional alcoholic. He wrote letters of apology to me and to our family members, including his mother for the fallout of his cheating. His actions to date show the sincerity of his apology.
Gone today are the intrusive thoughts of betrayal, of his lies, of his double life and of his past attachment for the other woman. Gone is the intensity of trigger memories. They are now but fleeting thoughts that no longer occupy my life. I think the COVID pandemic helped me to appreciate and be grateful for what I have and not what I wished to have. Due to the restrictions in place, my husband and I learned to live together in harmony for most of the time.
I try to stop falling into my old habits…and that is hard to do…some habits are so ingrained, so automatic that many ‘oops’ moments occur. I have learnt to apologize. He has learnt to accept. He apologizes, I accept. This really works in holding us together.
We fight. We argue. We make up. We don’t listen, we listen. We laugh at our silliness, our weirdness. We try. We try hard. Not always with 100% effort, and that’s ok for the two of us. We do more small things together, compared to previous years. It’s the small things that are important. It’s those daily attachment actions that glue us together.
I feel good. I have a good life and I know I can have a good life without him. And as a couple, we have a good life together. No regrets. No wondering about the ‘what if’s’ either.
There is a promise I made to myself once we reunited after our separation. Should he ever hurt me again, we are done for good. No other second chances.
I’d like to think he remembers that.
Our journey as a couple continues.
I wish you all the very best from my heart! 🤗
9 comments posted: Wednesday, May 18th, 2022
The past has returned.
Hi everyone! I need to get this out…
I was unsure of where I should post, general or here..it can go both ways.
I am triggered by my husband’s recent heart problem diagnosis. He has a congenital heart disease that was "repaired" in his youth, but time caught up and at his age of 68, there is a concern.
There is a surgical intervention that may help.
I remember clearly how during the year of his affair, he put me down, criticized me for my "little" health concerns. He also would criticize anyone who mentioned their health concerns. His mindset was one of "I am the healthy one, I am great compared to you all.."
To add, and I don’t even know if this is relevant, his ex AP was of the same mindset…
So with that in mind, I find it hard this morning to reconcile those past feelings with "empathy" for him. What I am thinking as I write this, is "well buddy boy, now you know what it feels like to be anxious and concerned about your health." It’s like payback time for him for all those hurtful snide comments from the past!
That is not how people who want to be kind to one another should think, right? He has been looking drawn lately and now we both understand why.
I will support him, of course, and be there for him. But I find it hard to feel empathy for his condition and his feelings.
Has anyone felt this way?
11 comments posted: Wednesday, February 2nd, 2022
Once a coward, always a coward?
I read the posts on "once a cheater, always a cheater", and that got me thinking about posting something else that is on my mind.
Generally, I've read in many articles, books and on SI, that the wayward behaves in a cowardly way in the sense that he/she will not tell their spouse about their affair for fear of spouse reactions, consequences and reprisals.
I look at my husband today in a different light after our separation due to his affair. There are great efforts for change on his part and not so great ones. Me too, I believe I made great changes and not so great changes. We are together about three years, post separation.
I know him to have been the coward during his affair. And what is on my mind is a nagging afterthought...should he choose to find another woman, will he have the courage to tell me before hand that he is unhappy and wants out?
I know that maybe this question is unanswerable but I would really welcome any thoughts on this.
2 comments posted: Saturday, November 6th, 2021
Throwing this out to you all, I am thinking of putting together like a list of all the things that do trigger memories of my husband’s adultery and showing it to my husband. It’s been 2+ years since our reconnection after a separation following him admitting to his 12 month affair.
We have talked about my triggers in the past, he is aware I have many and he does support me through actions and words to help me deal with them. His approach is not perfect, but his intent is and most of the time I feel better after we talk.
To give a recent example…he trashed his "infidelity brand X" car and bought a new car. We are picking it up this next monday. He even changed the make of the car, so I would feel safe. He has been a loyal brand X driver for 35 years.
So I’m not sure of my reasons nor of my feelings for wanting to do this. And I'm not sure if it will serve to better our relationship if I show him my list.
Maybe I don’t talk to him enough about my triggers, I just don’t know. Maybe I want him to be very aware of the kinds of triggers I am still experiencing. Maybe I feel he is taking my healing for granted? Is this even possible?
Heck, I don’t even know why I’m writing about this. But thank you for reading .
9 comments posted: Thursday, September 23rd, 2021
Intrusive thoughts about the past.
In reading about how the mind occasionally likes to reside in the past, I found this helpful hint, and I tried it and it worked for me, so I'd like to share it with either the ex-betrayed or the ex-waywards, when we have those negative intrusive thoughts...
I'll give you my example: yesterday my husband drove in the neighbourhod of his ex affair partner, to pickup an online grocery order. It is the grocery store where once upon a time, they both shopped in. I knew about this, and my though went into the past, to haunt me with "is he going to meet her there?" I could not shake that thought off as it chained onto, what a cheater he is, why did I take him back and on and on...I was not having a great day.
I remembered the helpful hint of asking myself this question;"what evidence do you have today that....." I asked myself these questions: "What evidence do you have today, that your husband will meet her there?" Answer to myself, "well, no evidence whatsoever."
"What evidence do you have today that your husband is a cheater?" Another answer to myself: " There is no evidence."
I felt immediately better, no great but better.
And maybe, just maybe this will work for you.
4 comments posted: Tuesday, April 13th, 2021
Two years later, there is hope.
The SI posts on Reconciliation helped me navigate my own reconciliation. I am so, so grateful to all the people who posted.
And so I’d like to add my story to this wonderful site that SI is. Here goes:
Two years ago I threw my cheating husband out of my life and home and he moved right into his affair partner’s home. My husband told me during year one of R, that she welcomed him into her home telling him she “was very happy” that he’s moving in with her and he, himself was convinced that that is where he wanted to be. I believed him. I believe that he did in his own way love her and not only how the affair made him feel, he genuinely felt care and love for her.
During the time they lived together as a couple, I experienced recurring anger, hate, deception, envy etc.etc. We’ve all been there as BS’s. At the same time, during my calmer moments, I found out that I felt pride at my accomplishments in life, I found out that I am stronger than I believed, I found out I am resilient. I found out I could and I liked living by myself.
There’s a lyric in the Kelly Clarkson song “Dare You” that stopped me in my tracks. It is: “People let you drown cause they don’t know how to stay above water ... when they’re too broken to know what they’ve put you through ...”. I mean, that reminded me that we are all going through stuff, and that I can be more forgiving.
And so, fast forward to today. My husband and I are living together and reconnecting. The reasons for R would be for another post, I think. Enough to say he dumped his ex, she never saw it coming and it was not a smooth break up for either of them.
Today, I feel calmer, quieter and more secure than I did one year ago. We laugh together, we text one another little messages, we cook together, not always, he’s the good cook, we clean up together and we hug , we argue, we clumsily apologize for unkind behaviours (we are learning here) , and so much more...Which brings me to say that I feel good about my life right now.
I did a lot of self work. So much, much more than my husband. But you know, it matters not that I did the work, because I did it for me. Not for him. .One thing I do admire in my husband today, is that he listens to me, after 40 years together, he truly listens. Maybe I finally learnt how to talk to him LOL. Or he picked up on how to listen better!
I have reached acceptance of the past events that so nearly destroyed my very heart and soul. I still get twinges, don’t get me wrong, but it’s a far cry from those huge powerful emotional triggers. I accept the twinges. They may very well be with me forever. Another big change for me is I no longer feel this desire to talk about my twinges; I handle those twinges on my own And when I cannot I have options: talk it out with my husband or with my best friends.
I’d like to add that I never thought my husband would betray and lie to me, but he did. I never thought I would take him back, but I did. I never thought that his ex would reach out to him after two years of silence, but she did, and my husband maintained the no contact at her failed attempt. I never thought my stomach would knot in anger when I saw the unanswered FaceTime log from her, but it did. I am sure there will be more of her attempting contact in our future. I know that his feelings, emotions towards his ex AP and his behaviours with exAP will be with us for the rest of our lives and that I will never fully know the whole story.
In ending, as an ex BS, I don’t know what will happen in our future. We are both in our very late 60´s. I now have an iron resolve that should my husband resume contact with his ex affair partner or find another AP, or revert to his damaging behaviours from the past, we are done for good. No third chances.
I survived his infidelity. I survived our separation, and I bear another set of scars. All my life scars I bear proudly, for I lived through them all. When I put all my life into a perspective, these infidelity/separation scars were not the worst time of my life and I have so many more great times to remember. And my life perspective gives me hope.
Hope that the rest of my life is a blessed one with my husband and our family at my side.
I put myself first because no one else will do it for me.
5 comments posted: Tuesday, April 6th, 2021