What does acceptance feel like? And what it doesn't happen?
Things have been going in the right direction R-wise since Dday 6 months ago. We're both in IC, we've been sharing our insights, and slowly we've been piecing together the meaning of the affair. I've had bumps in the road when anger's reared its head, but I'm working on it.
Here's the thing: I can understand how my WH might have got himself into the A, what his FOO issues were and all the other factors that created a perfect shit storm ready for the AP to step right in. I can even understand my role in creating the conditions in the marriage that were fertile ground for his betrayal. But what I'm really struggling with are thoughts of 'WTAF - he really went and did those things!' The feelings of sheer bewilderment and incredulity just aren't going away and in some ways may even be increasing.
I am just having a hard time accepting what he did, but I know that I don't want to separate. I know that forgiveness isn't necessary for R, but I suspect that acceptance at least is a requirement.
Can anyone relate? Does anyone have any sage words of advice?
Many thanks in advance
7 comments posted: Wednesday, July 5th, 2023
Letter from the OW (spoiler alert: unrepentant, self-indulgent pity party, devoid of any empathy or remorse)
So, I received a 3 -page handwritten missive from the OW on Friday. Before I start my rant about that, here's a bit of back story for context:
My WH went NC with his AP on 18th December last year and Dday for me was 23rd December. I agonised for months about how and when to approach the OBS, because I wanted to give OW time to come clean herself and I didn't want to be motivated by the need for revenge. I made a gentle approach to the OBS in March (I sent a text and he agreed to a phone call), at which point it was clear that he didn't know anything other than they had 'developed feelings for each other'. I was careful not to use the words 'affair' or 'relationship' but I implied enough to give him reason to challenge his wife. I followed up a few weeks later to see what he knew and he told me she'd admitted to some minor details, hugely minimised. I asked him if he wanted to know the truth, he said yes, so we talked again on the phone at which point I gave him a brief overview of the timeline. There's been no further contact and I have never attempted to contact OW. We pass each other occasionally in our cars but I just ignore.
Fast forward to last week. My WH wrote a letter to OBS accepting blame for his part of the affair, apologising unreservedly and expressing what I think was sincere regret and remorse (My husband and the OBS were work-related acquaintances before the A started). I advised him not to offer any kind of explanation, as this was just unnecessary and would sound like an attempt at justification. I felt a bit unsure about him sending the letter, but he felt a need to offer something. Well, didn't that kick the hornet's nest...
The letter from the OW addressed to me was hand delivered a few days later. I say 'addressed to me' because it was really written for my husband's benefit. She started by saying she had been denied the opportunity to get her side across. The rest of the letter was all about her and about how the affair was 'inevitable' given her past history of sexual abuse. She accused me of invading their privacy by telling OBS and implied that if I was kinder to my husband, he wouldn't have turned to her (she kept making a big thing about 'kindness' - I sense a projection there!). The whole tenor of the letter was that she was a passive victim of a predatory man, and that thanks to what happened we can all go off and learn some life lessons and have better marriages as a result. She made it sound like she'd done us all a massive favour! There was no apology, no remorse and no recognition that she had any agency whatsoever. I was angry for a about 5 minutes and then I just thought - righto then
I can disregard the letter as the ramblings of a damaged, narcissistic woman who has not the capacity for true introspection or empathy for the people she has hurt. What has been tricky is that over the weekend, the OBS has been sending long, ranty text messages to WH accusing him of nothing less than coercing his poor, vulnerable wife into having sex with him. A lot of what he says in these messages is hard to disagree with, and my WH is the first to admit the irredeemably shitty behaviour he engaged with. What he can't accept is that she (the AP) had no part in this at all. He has been trying to close the dialogue down without antagonising things further, by accepting a lot of accusations levelled at him. What he can't do (and what the OBS seems to be asking for) is admit he coerced a woman unable to give full consent into a prolonged sexual affair with the promise of 'happily ever after'.
I'm not sure what I'm asking really. Part of me is glad that my WH is being held accountable by the OBS and that he is suffering the consequences of his ego-fest, but I actually feel a little bit sorry for him at the same time. Has anyone else had to deal with this kind of communication from the OBS or OW? My strategy is to just not engage with it, but it really has me on a knife edge of nerves just waiting for the next tirade.
11 comments posted: Wednesday, June 7th, 2023
Feeling stuck 4 months in and losing hope
So we're 4 months from DDay and I thought we were doing well until now.
I have just hit some kind of wall, or maybe it's the end of initial shock and the beginning of something altogether more real. HB has well and truly come to an end and last night, I just had to stop sex because all I could think of was them together. The OW was obviously very eager to impress and I'm sure they got up to all kinds of stuff that we don't (or haven't for many years). I now just feel violated and really disgusted with it all.
I had the realisation this morning that if we were child-free, I would probably have bagged his stuff up and dropped it outside her door with a note saying 'You're welcome to him'. But we have a 3 year old and he's an excellent dad and we're tied together anyway for the rest of our lives. There is no escape from this, either together or apart.
Did anyone go through patches of severe doubt during reconciliation and come through them? I just feel so stuck
12 comments posted: Saturday, May 6th, 2023
How to respond/deal with WS's sadness
I have a question about navigating to my WS's sadness now that he's really facing up to some unpalatable truths about himself and his actions.
My WH will often be tearful and cry. I comfort him by giving him a hug, but generally don't offer any comments or verbal reassurance (he doesn't expect any). Sometimes, I feel a bit guilty - like, maybe I'm being too harsh or punishing him gratuitously. I know that I can't make any of this better for him, but I do love him and it's hard to see him in pain.
Has anyone faced anything similar? How do you navigate your WS's sadness and feelings of self-loathing humanely, while still holding them accountable?
4 comments posted: Wednesday, April 26th, 2023
Dealing with anger - how?
This is my first post on here. I've found reading this forum really helpful and I hope some of you who are further down the line can offer some advice. (apologies if I don't use all the correct acronyms!)
I'm just 3 months on from DDay. My husbands' affair was emotional for about 4 months and then it turned physical for another 10 weeks before it ended. I won't go into details but there was some pretty horrendous gaslighting from WH to me going on for a lot of that time. We've been doing really well since then; WH is having weekly therapy, totally committed to the work, read the books, done everything 'right' etc. I thought I was doing okay and I was hopeful for a full reconciliation. Until now...
Just this week it's like I've entered a new phase and I'm just so f***ing angry! At him, at her, at myself. I don't know what to do with these feelings of rage, some of which feel a bit self-righteous. We've talked about it together, so he knows fully where I'm at emotionally. I just want to scream at him, but I know that would be really damaging and maybe even a bit abusive. I'm just so incredulous that he actually did those things!
My questions are: is this normal? Is it healthy? Will I ever be able to let go of the anger?
I really, truly want this reconciliation to work, but I feel a bit hopeless just now
Thanks in advance
35 comments posted: Wednesday, March 29th, 2023