My update here in Reconciliation was locked today, with the message that it was a duplicate post and directing people to respond to the post in General. However, I have no post in General and only posted my update here in Reconciliation.
Can my post be unlocked please?
3 comments posted: Tuesday, November 22nd, 2022
Update: Clarity & Being OK with What I Don't Yet Know
I don't know how long exactly, but it's been a while since I posted an update. I tend to update little bits of process, or progress (or lack of progress), or thinking as I respond to the posts of others.
Several months ago I reached a point of clarity about what I need from my husband to ultimately stay in my marriage. Mostly it centers around him doing his work consistently and authentically. Some of his work needs to be demonstrated to me: conquering avoidance and regularly initiating deeper and potentially difficult conversations with me (and others, like our kids). In his conversations with me, I like to know what he's reading, watching, journaling that challenges his past perceptions or gives him insight into his own thinking or behavior patterns. I don't need to know everything, but I do want to see him working on openness and vulnerability.
This clarity about what I needed to see was good for me. What's been tough is the delivery on his part. It's hard mental and emotional work. It's uncomfortable. But that's why it's growth and that growth is needed...at least for me to stay in the marriage.
Demonstration of the work has been inconsistent. This was a red flag for me.
I spent time soul searching, discussing with my IC and discussing with my H about the inconsistencies. Were my needs/expectations clear? Yes. Were they reasonable? Yes.
Was my husband not willing to do the work?
Was he not capable? (Was this the best he could do?)
My ultimate answer: I don't know and it doesn't matter.
What I do know is that I need these things to want to stay in the marriage. Whether he can't do it or won't do it isn't my issue to resolve. If it doesn't happen, I won't be married.
So, that was Clarity 2.0
And it was also helpful to me. I pulled way back emotionally and, thus, also sexually.
Since then, the work has been much more consistent.
It's helpful to see that more consistent demonstration of initiative and effort.
How do I feel about the fact that it took me pulling WAY back to see that effort? I'm hurt. It would have been great to see that effort because he knew I needed it. Now it's tainted by my perception (understanding?) that it happened because he needed it. He needed to do it to get what he wanted. He did it because it cost him if he didn't to do.
And isn't that still selfish thinking and motivation when what I really need to feel safe in this relationship is empathy and selflessness on his part?
So, I don't know how this "ah-ha" will sway my actions ultimately.
The other part of the inconsistent work conversation with my IC was about timeline: Was I expecting my H to work at my pace instead of his own?
The answer, again, is: I don't have to resolve that. I just have to know what I need.
Our kids are both in HS and both will likely be out of the house in a couple of years. So that's my loose timeline to watch his actions and make decisions for myself.
Right now, I'm still living a version of 180 in some ways because the more consistent effort I've seen hasn't lasted long enough for me to trust that this is a "new normal."
Yet, I live in peace and even joy within my house. Truly. My H and I like each other. We function on the day-to-day comfortably. We love each other too. (Even if we divorced, I believe would love him and wish him well.) I also believe that we both honestly would like to find true joy together again. I don't know if that will happen.
But I am at peace with what I know about what I need, and I'm at peace with what will still be resolved as time moves forward.
3 comments posted: Saturday, November 19th, 2022
Faced a Trigger
My first Dday was in Feb of 2020.
Once I had more pieces of reality (Ddays #2 & 3 following closely on the heels of #1), I knew that my fWH had begun his betrayals with a coworker. I discovered this by seeing a pic (on his phone) of a message from her on their work messaging system emphasizing that certain other men in her life were "only" friends. That message was dated Dec. 17, 2019. Shortly after this messaging exchange, their relationship ended and my fWH moved on to other APs.
When I discovered and verified the timing of this break-up with the first AP, it totally made sense with how my fWH was a complete jerk to me during a trip with extended family to a family-owned vacation home over New Year's in 2019/2020. The affair that had sustained his ego for about 2.5 to 3 years was over and he hadn't successfully monkey branched to the next OW yet. Any comment from me over that holiday, no matter how small, was taken by him as extreme criticism and he reacted like a jerk. The more he reacted like a jerk, the more I actually did push back and he got some real criticism from me...which perpetuated the ongoing negative cycle in our private interactions over that whole family holiday. I was mystified by his behavior and wondered through Jan 2020 if we were needing a major reset in our relationship and wondering how much distance there was between us.
I slept on a couch just outside of our bedroom that vacation. And I later realized that my choice of sleeping arrangement gave him more time and privacy to go prowling for the next OW on FB--which he quickly found. When I imagine him tapping away on his tablet, friending new women and messaging them like he's casting out a baited hook to see who bites...it seizes up my chest.
Since then, coming up to this family-owned property for extended family get-togethers has been triggering for me. Fortunately, it's a big enough house that we've been assigned a different bedroom since then...which helped. Until this trip.
Guess where I'm sitting right now? In a recliner right next to that couch that I slept on in 2019/2020. My fWH is currently snoring away in that same bedroom from 2019/2020.
And I'm okay. Truly okay.
Feeling some feelings and having some memories and some imaginings, but not in a flooding or overwhelming way.
Didn't look forward to having to face this trigger, but I feel empowered that I did.
So glad for this network of supporters who really get what this is like. Thank you all.
3 comments posted: Monday, September 5th, 2022
Do you ever regain pride in the relationship?
As I was driving and contemplating today, it occurred to me that, even if we successfully reconcile, I'm not sure I'll feel "pride" in our relationship like I used to. Is pride just one more casuality of betrayal?
I used to be proud to say that I was "happily married"--even as we approached the 30 year mark in our marriage before Dday.
In the months following Dday (now about 2 years ago), I stumbled across 2 different comments I'd made on other advice columns (one comment was written about 5 or 6 months before Dday and the other only about 1-2 months before Dday). In both comments, I'd mentioned that I was in a long-term and happy marriage. I was truly proud that my H and I still had a happy marriage at year 29 of marriage (and year 35 of being together). Happiness in the relationship was a goal we'd discussed multiple times--like a lot of couples probably do. We wanted to work to stay TRULY happy and joyful together and not just take the slow slide into becoming married roommates (like his parents were then...and like mine are now) or not like disgruntled roommates (like my grandparents were) living in a silent truce of war.
So, pretty much right up until Dday, I believed and I publicly characterized my relationship as happy (not perfect, but happy). And I was so proud of that.
Now this....and the all in all that betrayal entails.
Are those who find true reconciliation proud of their marriage? Maybe differently proud because they had to claw back out to happiness together? More proud because of who and what they've become?
It's hard to see that from where I stand right now. It feels a long way off and maybe unreachable.
I'd love to hear the collective wisdom of the reconciled--BS and WS.
39 comments posted: Wednesday, July 27th, 2022