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Positive Reconciliation Stories

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Walloped posted 4/19/2017 19:47 PM

For W2BHA.

Well, seeing as how W2BHA posted recently, I thought I’d contribute a positive update regarding our R and my daughter’s upcoming wedding.

First, it’s been night and day comparing how my wife acted while preparing for my oldest daughter’s wedding vs this one. With the first wedding she obsessed over every detail and my lack of involvement was a major issue, which she used as an excuse to complain about me…blah blah EA...blah blah PA). This time we did hire a wedding planner and relegated most of the work to her. In general, my wife has been completely relaxed and casual. Touching base with the planner every now and then, but really letting go and being positive and upbeat.

Well, the planner came over two days ago to discuss the menu options. My wife happened to be on the phone when she showed up so my daughter and I started perusing her materials. My wife walked into the dining room, said hello and I mentioned that we were looking at menu options and she said, “Looks like you’ve got everything under control. Why don’t you guys have fun and let me know what you choose?” And then she left. Can I say jaw-dropping? So we did – great bonding time with my daughter. After, the planner had some questions about the floral arrangements and I (wisely) knew my limitations so I called my wife in and said that this was more her speed. And so I left my wife and daughter together so they could bond over that.

I know it’s small, but you guys know how much this engagement and upcoming wedding was a massive trigger for me. And I know what my wife told me when I expressed my concerns and feelings. But to see her put those words into action, to actually live by them. And it wasn’t a show thing. She’s been super calm. I swear this will be the most chilled wedding other than if my daughter decided to elope and have Elvis marry her. So for her to put me first, make sure I was able to be involved and spend quality time with my daughter for the preparations and let go…to me that’s huge.

Second thing. Last week was Passover. We had family over and we did the traditional thing. I try to make the holiday personal and in reading the Exodus story connected it to our personal lives and commented how we all have our own things to work on and break free from. And the Passover story is one of hope, that ultimately we can grow and overcome. Whether it's serious things like addiction issues, to things along the lines of poor character traits like anger, selfishness, etc. We all need our own personal redemption from whatever issues we have and are dealing with. And I know that we here at SI know that all too well.

Well, last night my daughter came over to me wanting to talk. She said that my wife had a long talk with her over the weekend. Apparently she sat down with her and had a long discussion about her affair. Not the specific details, but the things that were going on in her head at the time, her FOO issues, the miscarriages, and a number of things that she responded to in the wrong way by reaching out to another man. And she referenced what I had talked about during the Passover meal. And she linked it to her personal journey of redemption and the hard work she's doing to get there, and that I too am on my own path out of the trauma that she inflicted. And how my daughter needs to learn from her poor choices and our situation. How important it is to communicate effectively with her future husband and to lean on him, no matter what. How life will continuously throw challenges her way and that it’s the way she responds to them that matter. My daughter said that there was a lot of crying and hugging between them, and some yelling too (daughter to mom), but my daughter got to unload some of the burden and fears she’s been carrying (how do I know I won’t screw up like you mom?) and my wife apparently really opened up to her and shared some things about her affair that I never thought she would.

Apparently she had asked my daughter to keep their discussion private and my daughter said it took her a few days before deciding that it was important for me to know about their conversation. I wasn’t too thrilled about the breaking of confidence, but understood why she did it and the spirit in which it was done. Anyway, by all measures, my wife has been remorseful for a long while. But this was the first time that she owned her affair in the most real and important way I can think of. Using her own failings as a lesson for our daughter. To open up, present herself in a very unflattering light, be honest and authentic about what she did but turn that into a guidepost for my daughter as she heads into her own marriage and will face her own life issues…is it weird for me to say just how much that means to me and how much hope that gives me for the future? I still have a ton of stuff to process and many days it’s not easy. I know I have a lot of anger and sadness in me about her affair and I do not say we are reconciled. I say we are working at R. Because my feelings haven’t settled. And we are far from where we were before the A. But this gives me the most hope I’ve had in a long while.

Maybe we have a shot.

HowIsThisReal posted 4/21/2017 07:12 AM

Doing pretty well in R lately, I'm not going to type a whole long post about it, but we are 17 months in, and things have changed for the better. Mind movies aren't around as much, triggers are still here and there but don't bring me down as far. The anger definitely still hits here and there.

FWH has been working hard, I can truly feel happy sometimes when I take a step back and watch our family interact during dinner or days at the beach, or whatever... I realize this is something that wouldn't have happened if I hadn't tried and if HE hadn't tried. I have a new appreciation for watching him interact with our children, knowing we almost lost it all.

[This message edited by HowIsThisReal at 7:14 AM, April 21st (Friday)]

iamanidiot posted 4/24/2017 03:09 AM

As a couple we had grown into a really good space.
Approaching 60 and planning for retirement. We looked forward to our yearly camping trip together.
Spending 21 days in each other's faces was no problem.

2014 DDay. In the middle of that camping holiday my wonderful wife told me that she had cheated on me 30+ years ago. With 4xOM.

It has been a helluva roller-coaster ride since then.
We went into HB mode. That started to wear off & I was left in limbo. With nobody to talk to or confide in.
My feelings were all over the place.

SI. - I asked 'How can I think of retiring with this person?'

Reading here I started to learn and to understand.
About her sexual abuse at age 12. Over protective but emotional distant parents. The dreaded fog.
That there is EA & PA. And there is TT. And selfishness etc.

And the most important is - THAT IT WASN'T ME!!

To move on I had to understand how it all evolved - how do you do that after 30+ years?
By making a time line I was able to put events & memories into an order. That helped me figure out A LOT.
One of her big reasons was that we always fought.
The fighting was probably as a result of her being with OM.
Understanding that helped me come back to life. I slowly got control over my thoughts, my outbursts. Slowly understood!!

Thank you to ALL those people that make up SI.
You have answered my questions, offered your insight, given encouragement as well as opened my eyes.
Thank you all for caring and taking the time to respond.

Reality hit me the day I got an eye-opener vulgar posting telling me this-is-how-it-is, this-what-she-wanted.
But I needed that.
I needed to understand that the person I have loved and cared for all my life, DID NOT CARE FOR ME ONE LITTLE BIT at that time.
That ALL she wanted was the warm feeling of somebody else's one-eyed monster.

Right now we are good to go.
She still gets very emotional and sad about what she did way back then. Considering it has all been buried in a box all these years, that is a big improvement.

Lately she has started to say sorry specifically for what I went through. I see the empathy and remorse starting.
No longer blaming me anymore.
I feel we are going forward.

Still a work in progress, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Still a few ups & downs but I don't get so tied up emotionally any more.

AND now I feel that I can grow old and retire together with her.

Oldwounds posted 4/24/2017 23:43 PM

I'm starting to understand why the T-Shirt slogan, "Once a Marine, always a Marine," fits into my modern approach to any difficulty in life. I see a problem and attack it until I understand it. I take the high ground, hold it and then once the threat is ended, I move on.
Of course, anything is an oversimplification when combating infidelity. But this place has done what it promised to do. It has helped me to survive some of the worst pain I've ever encountered. Like your life, mine was never easy. Including the loss of loved ones (my father among them), tragedies and child abuse, I have to say betrayal topped the pain charts to this point in my existence.

You all got me through, directly or indirectly, with your kind advice or simply sharing your own grief in this hellish process. Originally, I started a long list names to thank in this message, but it got super long and I would likely leave out a key member or two along the way. So, I'll simply thank anyone who trips across this note among the many here exploring for a way through this unpleasant chapter in life.

And no matter how much it hurts, a chapter is all it is. At least all I will allow it to be. A dark and horrible part of my story for sure, but now it is literally time to turn the page.

I have also turned over every possible rock and witnessed a side of humanity up close I had hoped to avoid altogether. Unfortunately, betrayal has been part of the human experience since the dawn of time and will continue long after we're gone. It is way, way too common.

After 13 books, 10.5 months of IC, MC, 1000+ messages posted here on SI interacting with all of you and an extended armistice with my wife, I've learned quite a bit attacking this issue.

Infidelity generates intense fear - from devastated personal esteem to an understandable lack of trust, and a host of other emotional trauma that takes a permanent toll, that will leave at least a few noticeable scars after I'm healed up.

I can either conquer that fear or let it own me. So, the biggest lesson I've learned? Rebuild your self worth - know you are a very worthy prize in this world - a prize who must constantly be earned in order to keep your company. In any relationship, standing up for ourselves, knowing how valuable we truly are is the golden key. Whether you reconcile or divorce, always demand to be treated with dignity and respect. Once you realize that infidelity isn't on you, and you get your proverbial feet back underneath you, the swagger returns and the world of possibility opens again.

The second part, is if you're going to attempt reconciliation, you must have a partner who is completely dedicated, all in, all the time. If after a few months your have a partner who continues to avoid blame, shows no remorse and does nothing to heal or repair themselves, then get thee the fuck out. Run, don't walk to the door.

But if you do have someone trying to become a safe partner for you, then you need to let go of a couple things too. If you only believe or see the worst in your partner, that's all you will ever see. If you believe once a cheater, always a cheater -- you need to move on, because you will never give your partner the chance they need to earn some or most of your trust back.

It will never be fair, there is no balance and no amount of revenge or punishing will fix anything. Accepting the injustice of it all is certainly one of the toughest steps to take.

A lot of folks make it to the other side, and a bunch more do not. It takes just as much strength to reconcile as it does to move on from all of this stuff, support your fellow members here however they choose on their path to survival.

Most of all, be true to you in all of this.

As for me, there is still much healing to be done. Reconciliation is going extremely well and I have hope for the future. I do need a bit of a hiatus. Hanging out here everyday, there is so much pain to witness, and my two cents only goes so far. I hope to be able to return sometime soon to help the place that helped me, but the hours spent here are taking away from some work that needs to be done offline. The good part is SI got me to here to this page turning moment. I will check in when I can, and I wish you all well in your journey, wherever it takes you.

Much love!

Even OldWounds heal...

iamanidiot posted 4/25/2017 02:17 AM


Most eloquently said - as always.
My best wishes for you.

Till we meet again....

PABetrayed posted 4/29/2017 12:21 PM

Hang in there. It does eventually turn into a positive story.

I've been struggling for a week to the day today. I found about what she did last Saturday and I've been a wreck of emotions since then. She's been doing what I know is the best she can think to do... pretty much letting me vent to her any time I need to, letting me rage and call her names without getting mad back at me... answering all my questions no matter how painful the answers are for her. She drops everything to be there if I bring it up in conversation or if I'm visibly upset, but otherwise she goes about her life and, as far as I can tell, doesn't really think about it unless I'm throwing it in her face. I think she feels like this is something I have to work through on my own, but that she's happy to help if I ask.

Anyway... last night in the middle of one our long sessions of talking about it she offered me a "free pass", to go and have a fling of my own. I told her that I'd already resolved to be open to sleeping with someone should the opportunity arise, but that I had no intention of going out and looking for it. My thinking has mostly been that it wouldn't be "revenge". It would be for my own self esteem since for our entire relationship she's been the dominant player who can easily risk losing me, while I'm the doormat who blames himself, rolls over and keeps letting it happen. I figured if I could convince myself that I'm not so horrible that only she could ever want me, then maybe I can claw my way up on the respect chain. I can feel like she's not the only one who has that power. Either way, I don't exactly have women throwing themselves at me, so I figure it'll be a moot point either way.

That's when things started to change in the conversation. We talked about the sort of people I could see myself free-passing... and remember, for me this was mostly rhetorical for me since I'm 99% sure it'll never happen anyway. But it clearly wasn't rhetorical for her. She started becoming visibly sad, and even started tearing up, seeing me seriously considering sleeping with someone else. Then I pulled up a photo. A few years ago I had my own indiscretion. I had briefly and admittedly inappropriately entered into an online conversation with another woman. My motive was just to get a look at her boobs, but eventually she started talking about coming to meet me. She started talking specifically about how we could get together and have sex, and that's when I shut it down. I told her I'm wracked with guilt and that I love my wife and we should have never done any of this. and I later confessed the whole thing to my wife, but that's neither here nor there. In my conversation with my wife, I pulled out a nude photo this other woman sent me... that, yes, I kept kind of as a memento (I never said I'm a saint) and I showed it to my wife, who already knew I had it. Then I reminded her that this obviously beautiful woman offered me free no-strings sex and I turned it down because I love my wife.

At that moment she broke down completely in tears and came over and flopped down beside me and wrapped her arms around me. "I'm so, so sorry that I hurt you," through her sobs. We sat there for half an hour like that, with her apologizing every way she knew how. "I want to spend the rest of my life making up for it", she said. Arms wrapped around me crying into my neck and wracked with sobs.

This was the first real cry she'd had over the whole situation and the first time I could sense genuine and intense remorse on her part... and the feeling was magical. It felt like she just scooped out half of my pain and took it on for herself. Ever since that moment the constant pain, and pictures in my head, and random spontaneous fits of intense rage, confusion, sadness, shame that I'd been going through suddenly turned from this huge spinning monster in front of my eyes taking up every inch of my brain and heart for the past week into to a dull roar somewhere in the background, or at the very least not always front and center. I still get that swelling chemical feeling in my belly from time to time, but now most often it just fades if I just put the slightest effort into it.

And now when I think of some awful painful thing she told me in regard to what she did, and it starts making me lose control again, I can now draw on the memory of the beautiful thing she said later and it helps to sooth me.

I'm still not whole again. Not by a long way... but last night through sharing the weight of this burden... by taking on her share of the pain and managing to convince me that she truly deeply regrets what she did, she was able to put me back to a place where I can think and function again, at least a little bit.

Today has been my best day by a mile since I learned what she did. Yesterday at this time I was counting the minutes until I could talk to her again, obsessing over every detail of what she did and half-convinced it might even still be going on. Today... I'm mostly okay. I'm still looking forward to seeing her and talking to her. I'm still scared and angry and confused. But still... that tiny gesture on her part made all the difference in the world. It's so much better now.

countrydirt posted 5/3/2017 11:24 AM

This morning I wrote my wife a long letter explaining that my trust level was below low and that I knew it would take time to rebuild it. The blatant lies after dday 2 were just too much for me to believe anything she says for a while. But, dday 2 resulted in remorse and not regret for being caught, in genuine care and concern for the pain and anger caused by her actions and a real recognition that we can't be in a threesome and be married. It took 10 months to get to this spot, but I can say that the journey seems to be worth it. She had to make the choice to be married or not. She would have grudgingly gone NC if I demanded it and continued to hide it, like she tried to do and remain "friends". It took the courage of me letting her know that I was done with trying to hold something together that only 1 of us was committed to for her to understand that she had to be either all in or all out.

She made the break from the AP and told me that she felt so much relief at giving up what she finally understood to be so wrong. The sex we had last night was not HB. We went through that 7-10 months ago. What we had last night was her finally being fully there, with me and me alone, in her mind and it was phenomenal. I've never seen her so turned on and she actually gave me a hickey on my shoulder - our first hickey in 30 years.

Stick with it if that is your goal. Be brave and expect your spouse to be brave. Expect your marriage to be stronger than it was before. You might be surprised.

strugglebus posted 5/3/2017 14:01 PM

I posted this as my own thread, but I figured it should be here too. (Let me know if that's not allowed, mods!)

It has been 7 months of IC, MC, daily meditation, journaling, countless heart to hearts, difficult conversations, fights, days spent in bed unable to do anything but cry, dating each other, reading ALL the things, working on ourselves, holding each other accountable for the people we want to be, watching and waiting, I felt like I was ready for something more concrete.
We planned a handfasting ceremony. As is traditional, it is a marriage that will last one year and one day - at which point we can decide if we want to continue on. We each prepared our own vows, simple "I promise" statements. I embroidered a piece of silk with symbols that are meaningful to us for the actual hand tying. I made myself a dress with a design that looks like the one I was married in (a very simple cowl neck dress with a watercolored rose pattern). He wore flowers in on his lapel and I wore some in my hair. Our exchange was quick, done on a bridge in the middle of a lovely nearby park over a sweet little stream.

He did not expect the ring. I haven't worn my wedding set since DDay. It was his grandmother's and he had been very sad but understanding when I said I didn't think I would ever wear them again. He has been wearing his original ring since DDay (we had replaced his temporary ring with a nicer one which is what he was wearing during the A) but I haven't worn anything at all. My naked finger felt awkward but my rings felt heavy when I slipped them on for a visit with his mom.

I love those rings. They are the most perfectly me set. I was heartbroken to feel like the A took them away from me.

Over the weekend on my way home from a trip with my sisters I stopped in the place we were married. Meditated holding my rings there, cried some tears. Then I brought them home and did a little purification ritual of my own devising. Then I took them to a jeweler and had them rhodium plated (they are white gold) and cleaned so they shine like they never have since I have had them (the plating wore off years ago when they were still his Nanny's).

After the vows were exchanged, we had tied our hands and kissed on the bridge, I said, "There is one more thing" I took the box out of my purse. He thought it was going to be a new ring and teared up at the sight of them. He said, "These rings have always been a symbol. Before, they meant my love for you, but now they are a symbol of the promises I have made today. I never want to give you a reason to take them off again."

We kissed again. Took some silly pictures and then went off to our favorite restaurant. We had steak and chocolate mousse and champagne. We laughed and made doe eyes at each other.

And my rings didn't feel a bit heavy. In fact, they felt just right.

W3IRZ posted 5/4/2017 19:05 PM

Strugglebus- that was beautiful! I love it

Skan posted 5/11/2017 18:31 PM

5 years ago today, my FWH took an early lunch, went to a local hotel, and had sex with a stranger he had met on AFF. She was looking for some action after her divorce. He was looking for anyone willing to meet up with him so he could “make himself feel better,” They met for coffee a week before, evidently to assure themselves that neither of them were axe-murderers, and passed each other’s sniff test. So he researched an inexpensive room, they went in “dutch” for the room, he got the key, met her out front to show her where to park, they went up to the room, undressed, had sex, and while he showered, she called her High School daughter to check in. Then he left, went back to work, and later that night we helped our athletic team get setup for a race on the next morning. He was distant, but that wasn’t too uncommon. We spent the weekend at the event, working together, laughing together, and then going to our separate corners at home. Me to read alone in bed alone, him to watch porn until he fell asleep downstairs. As usual. On June 10, all of this, and more, would see the light of my day.

Today, we met in our former MC’s new office. Sitting side by side on the same couch. Discussing, together, the logistics for our upcoming vow renewal ceremony. Talking about what the verses that we chose to have read, met to each of us. Setting our intentions for the day. Laughing together, tearing up a bit with each other, and most importantly, being truly together.

In all honesty, when I chose this date to meet with the Pastor (our MC is a pastor with a degree in counseling), the significance of the date didn’t even register with me. It wasn’t until a few days later that the memory surfaced. And I probed that memory, like you would probe the area where you once had a toothache so bad, that it would bring you to your knees. A little tentatively, then with more assurance. And I felt, nothing.

Except a profound sense of gratitude, that that was then, and this is now. I’m enjoying, living in our now.

Skan posted 6/8/2017 19:57 PM

And as a follow-up to the above post:

I wasn’t here a lot this last weekend. Some very dear friends of ours from NYC flew in to stay the weekend with us. They have been through this journey of infidelity with us since about 4 days after DDay. And we have been with them through their own journey of a different, but also hideous time in their marriage. From each coast, we’ve been each other’s sounding board and support.

So on Monday, at 10:30 in the morning, on a windswept beach, the four of us, our former MC who is a pastor, and a photographer met together as Mr. Skan and I renewed our wedding vows, had rings blessed, and recommitted ourselves to our new marriage. Mr. Skan was given his father’s wedding ring, when he passed, and wears it as his new ring. My grandmother gave me her diamond ring the day before she passed, and I have been wearing it on my ring finger. Both had long, stable marriages. Additionally, we went to our local jeweler and bought a brand new wedding band for me, which I wore for the first time yesterday.

We laughed, we cried, we cracked jokes, we teased each other, and basically just had the most wonderful day. Then the four of us went out to lunch and did some show & tell for our guests, then headed back home to make our last dinner together before they flew out this morning. To go home to celebrate their 34 years of marriage on Wednesday.

Life is very good, right now.

strugglebus posted 7/4/2017 08:52 AM

Skan - I am so so happy to hear about your renewal and the lovely rings! You deserve all that happiness! Congrats on your new marriage!

psychmom posted 7/10/2017 13:29 PM

Just received the following text message from Mr Psych:

Hi, I was thinking about you and it occurred to me how thankful I am to have you in my life. I love you. I love our life together. I just needed to let you know that you matter more than anything else in life.

Nearly 3 years out and he's still working it. It's taken nearly this long for me to read those types of words from him and REALLY believe his sincerity. Early on I felt he stayed to prove that he was not such a bad guy - if I could forgive and stay with him, then others would not think as badly of him. If I allowed him to stay in my life, our daughters would more easily forgive him and he could more easily rebuild his relationship with them. But now, I believe he chose to stay and work toward R because he truly does love me and our life together.

For us, I do believe he felt cut off from the life he wanted, the relationship he wanted with me. We both contributed to our marriage problems pre-A, and he was unable to ask me for what he really wanted and needed. Yes, he SHOULD have done so rather than search outside our marriage for affection and love and a better life, but at the time he lacked the awareness and skills he's gaining since DDay. Our R will be successful because of the changes he is making in himself, as well as the changes I am making in myself. And together, we are actively engaged on improving our marriage and re-writing old scripts that have tripped us up in the past. We will be working on this for quite some time; this quite possibly will be an ongoing endeavor.

But it has had its benefits. We have traveled together more than ever, share dreams of future travel and activities, and have been making improvements on our home as a sign of our commitment to build a solid foundation in both home and relationship. We are treating one another with more respect, contacting one another throughout the day, look forward to spending time together on a regular basis. We are enjoying the marriage we now wished we always had. We have mourned the past, identified our failings and are working to make peace with all that is behind us. 25+ years of shared history; we have a lot to work with. We recognize that while it is easy to point out all the flaws of our marriage and identify all the things we wish we had done differently, we also are working on building upon the positives. And as time has moved on, it has been easier to see the positives rather than immediately see all the "bad" things that defined our early marriage and his affairs.

I feel I understand why he had his affairs. I understand him better than at any other time since I met him. I think he understands me better today as well. We are not perfect, but we're willing to admit our imperfections and help one another do better. I still wrestle with some lingering anger, likely covering insecurities and fears from my past, but even when I lash out at him as I occasionally still do, he "takes it" and reminds me that he's not going anywhere. Reminds me that he brought this on and passed this burden onto me, and it's job to help me manage it. His consistency in his support and commitment for the past 3 years has helped me heal.

For those still early in your journey toward R, I hope you take some hope in my story. There are so many stories of WS who don't seem to want to save their marriage, are not willing to do the work, who want to rugsweep and possibly continue their life of affairs and betrayal. But there are also many others who welcome this opportunity to shed that life. To own what they did, but work to make improvements in themself so they never become that person again. Yes, some cheaters can change. I think the difference lies in why they cheated and their motivation to change. We BS need to be strong and take care of ourselves. The stronger we are, the more value we have in the eyes of our WS, the more respect we will receive from them. And when we're strong, we also don't "need" a relationship that is unsatisfying for us. We choose to stay with a fWS because we feel it's a good option. That staying and working on the marriage/relationship makes more sense than leaving and possibly not knowing what could have been. We only know the strength and character of our WS when we give them the opportunity to prove themself. I believe my R is successful in large part because I gave my fWH the gift of a chance to prove who he really was. And to his credit, he is not wasting that opportunity or taking it for granted.

And at 3 years out, I can breath more easily. I have my life back (mostly; still a bit of work yet to do, but I'm clearly turned the corner). We're empty nesters now, so we have a lot of time to devote to us. And at the end of the day, I truly love the life we have together. In large part, because it is now a shared life. Which is in sharp contrast to the "living parallel lives" marriage we had before DDay and his affairs.

ISurvivedSoFar posted 7/11/2017 08:25 AM

Psychmom - congratulations! You are definitely on the positive side of a hard-won fight to R. I admire you.

So much of what you say rings true for me, thank you.

Nearly 3 years out and he's still working it. It's taken nearly this long for me to read those types of words from him and REALLY believe his sincerity. Early on I felt he stayed to prove that he was not such a bad guy - if I could forgive and stay with him, then others would not think as badly of him. If I allowed him to stay in my life, our daughters would more easily forgive him and he could more easily rebuild his relationship with them. But now, I believe he chose to stay and work toward R because he truly does love me and our life together.
You've validated my trepidation with regard to Mr. ISurvived's reasons for staying in the M. I know time and actions will tell me if he is in it for his love for me. I want to believe it but the A destroys my belief in him for now. Your words and experiences give me hope.

I still wrestle with some lingering anger, likely covering insecurities and fears from my past, but even when I lash out at him as I occasionally still do, he "takes it" and reminds me that he's not going anywhere. Reminds me that he brought this on and passed this burden onto me, and it's job to help me manage it. His consistency in his support and commitment for the past 3 years has helped me heal.
I am glad to hear he is strong for you. Oddly enough, I'm looking for that strength from Mr. ISurvived as well. It's kind of ironic isn't it? I want him to have the strength to comfort me for his display of his weaknesses that destroyed me. I want so badly to totally melt into him and to trust that he will protect me. But I cannot and I can see from your situation that time and efforts have given you back some of what was taken away.

We BS need to be strong and take care of ourselves. The stronger we are, the more value we have in the eyes of our WS, the more respect we will receive from them.
Yes, that's what definitely needs to happen. As I get stronger, I can feel some of my guard relaxing but the armor is up and so impenetrable right now. Did you have the same phenomenon? In what way did Mr. Psychmom respond to that strength?
We only know the strength and character of our WS when we give them the opportunity to prove themself. I believe my R is successful in large part because I gave my fWH the gift of a chance to prove who he really was. And to his credit, he is not wasting that opportunity or taking it for granted.
Yes, I see this now. The gift of R to our WS's on the surface is about allowing them to stay but the deeper gift has much more to do with allowing them to show themselves their own strength to rebuild their character into something respectable that in turn creates a more solid foundation for us.

Psychmom you deserve the happiness you've worked so hard to gain. So happy for you and thank you again for sharing such deep insights. You help so many.

psychmom posted 7/12/2017 21:21 PM

Hello, ISurvivedSoFar. Thank you for your kind words. This in particular struck me:

I want so badly to totally melt into him and to trust that he will protect me. But I cannot and I can see from your situation that time and efforts have given you back some of what was taken away.

This is very familiar. I, too, wanted him to just make it all go away, to hold me and create this safe little world where it was only us and the world just stopped and we were alone and nothing could come between us. That really was us and our HB that occurred for many months post DDay. I think because of our very dysfunctional pre-A marriage, it felt like a huge wake up call and we both just dove into HB like our lives depended on it. I wasn't thinking much of his motivations for doing so, because I didn't believe a lot of what he was saying, although I wanted to. I only knew how I felt, and at the time, I felt I had let him down (pre-A) and wanted to try to fix things, fix him, and believed that we could simply "love" our way out of this and back into a "better" marriage. Ugh! So naive!!

So yes, time and a lot of effort from him and working things out in my head for me, has given me back a sense that he and I belong together, that he is the man I married who once again has my back and wants to protect me from future harm. It's not perfect, and it's not "all the time" but for the most part, yes, I am breathing more easily again, feeling strong again, getting my confidence back, feeling trust in him again. In the world of psychology, it's all about consistency and reliability. And this has been evident from him from the start (with some lapses related to withholding truths that nearly destroyed all the trust I was slowly gaining toward him during the first 18-24months post DDay). But persistence has paid off. It's happening.

I wish you well and thank you again for your kind words!

Hopeful76 posted 7/14/2017 09:39 AM

When are there more ups than downs? My H and I are just a little over a year from Dday. I am at the point when I can go two to three days without a minor meltdown. There have been a few major ones.

My FWH's A lasted over 6 years. I am starting to see that our pre-A marriage had more problems than I wanted to admit to myself.

We are trying (He somewhat more than I) to build a new relationship. He has changed practically everything about himself that led to the affair. He just today accepted a transfer to another state for the sole purpose of starting over in a new environment - one with no reminders.

I do still love him and I truly believe that he never stopped loving me. He just believed that I did not love him because he did not love himself. He is learning how to love himself is to love others with all your heart and no reservations.

My questions for others who are further down this road than I: "When do you feel better more than you feel bad?"

Thank you for listening

W3IRZ posted 7/22/2017 08:04 AM

Hopeful76 - it sounds like your husband is really doing his work. I'm only a year further out than you and I'm apparently unusually more healed than most in this situation. My situation is different in that my husband's LTA was more like a year and a half so I have less tainted memories to work through, so I don't know how that translates in terms of healing. Truthfully I'd like to give you a direct answer to your question but there isn't one. It seems that everyone has different rates of healing and that's ok. The focus should be "are you doing better today than yesterday?" If overall the answer is yes, then keep going. I find a few things helpful. If you feel relatively confident that you are safe now, then don't dwell on the past. I'm not saying rug sweep because I'm very much against that. I have seen first hand what that does. I'm saying get your answers and reassurances and then shift your focus back to the present. What ever we focus on gets bigger.

Here's how our dialogue goes now. I have some question that pops into my head. Generally if I don't ask it, it disrupts my peace. So I say I have a question. He tells me to ask it. He answers it honestly and I process it. Then I ask him to talk to me about something good. He usually brings up something from our present or future or sometimes our past. I get my answer and then I'm reminded by him why I don't care to focus on the bullshit from our past. It is very calm and healing.

Don't try to rush healing. Just try every day to heal more. Don't expect your spouse to heal you. Expect your spouse to treat you with empathy and compassion, but healing you can only be done by you.

OrdinaryDude posted 7/30/2017 22:04 PM

R is going great!

We are beginning to complete each other's sentences again, have not done that in many years...even sharing the same ideas about things.

Say something nice about my wife? How about she gets sexier every day!

Yeah, that HB train is still rumbling down the tracks shooting black smoke and steam everywhere.


uxorpatricius posted 8/4/2017 16:03 PM

It was recommended I re-post my "Things We Did Right" story here. Keep in mind that this is from 4 years of reconciling and we continue to work. It does not address all issues, Certainly not all situations since it is only ours. in fact, it doesn't address what we did wrong. I am just posting in case it gives some helpful steps to others.

THINGS WE DID RIGHT (4 years later):

So, as a BS, in hindsight, what did I and we do that was effective and might be useful for other betrayed spouses?

1. We let go of the longing to just go back to "normal". Of course we both wanted to wake up from this bad dream, but we had to accept that things were never going to be the same, nor should they be. And we were both going to have to talk about painful issues for a long time.

2. We both did the work in the marriage recovery programs. The marriages that make it are the ones where all the cards get put on the table by both spouses. Those programs are made to do that. Hello emotional boot camp! Want a good marriage? Do the work.

3. I stupidly-not-stupidly asked what the OW had that I didn't. Then I called !bull-pucky! on the answers. Then, I realized it wasn't stupid that I asked and forgave myself. If I hadn't asked, I couldn't have pointed out the fantasy and illusions WH-DH was grieving in letting the affair go. Since no OP bashing here, the only point is that it made him talk out and face fantasy vs reality. His counselor was working on the same thing at that point.

3. The SMARTEST thing we did was redesign our life to spend time together. New marriage: We did errands together. We began to eat breakfast together, we didn't split up volunteer and attending family events separately to be efficient - we cut short the time at those activities and went to the next one together. What it revealed was stunning - it revealed the people who didn't want us to spend time together, and many were using good causes to keep us apart. We even found a way to do some work together. The dividers of our marriage were exposed as soon as we refused to be divided. People who were toxic to our marriage, didn't like us to spend time together.

* I recently learned a good technique to find out who your marriage dividers are. Next time you are with a friend, family, co-worker, client, etc, and you are unsure if they support your marriage - tell them something positive about when you and your spouse are together. Go on a reconciliation date, and really let the the possible divider know how great your spouse is. The person who doesn't want you together will either: A. Change the subject and avoid talking about your spouse at all. B. Belittle the compliment your gave your spouse or the time you spent together. C. Express jealousy because they don't get to experience what you are doing with your spouse. (single and resentful or bashing their own spouse). *

4. We both read a bunch of articles on affair proofing marriages. For me this was a huge recovery step. I already had many of the steps in place due to a work environment that already stressed them as being professional. My WH-DH did not have that at his. He changed his behavior with women completely. Never a closed door. Never a private lunch or dinner. Never a private ride in a car. And he invited me to as many work related functions as possible to define us as a couple. I learned very quickly which women wanted me there, and which were uncomfortable - were all after him? No, but I was now a boundary to him being manipulated in the work settings by flirtatious strategies.

5. "You become like the five people you spend the most time with. Choose carefully." This has been an effective quote for us! Who we spend time with does affect who we become as spouses. If you spend time with someone who is negative, doesn't match your values, doesn't value marriage, and doesn't really have your best interests at heart, why do they get to have your time and attention? What is motivating you? You may be required to (like an ill parent or disabled adult child), but if not - why do you want their time and approval? We all have to exist among people who are not good for our marriage, but why do they get premium time? That is not healthy.

6. Learning to NOT avoid conflict, but to manage it. For those raised in a conflict avoiding FOO, consider the pattern. If we grow up raised to love and honor our parents and siblings, but never disagree with them, what do we do when they disappoint us? If we grow up unable to confront them, or express and opinion, and to publicly tell friends or people who can help us would be to betray the family, then what is left to do? To secretly and covertly vent about them to someone else...and often that child bonds with someone else doing the same. BOOM! How many affairs are created by secretly venting about our grown-up family - our spouse! How do we undo this? We learn to manage conflict by trusting ours spouse to hear us and solve the issues with us.

Consider the logic - is it worse to argue fairly and honestly or to complain secretly to someone outside of our marriage? If the second answer seems more natural and comfortable, then avoiding conflict is a problem in your marriage.

7. When we do have to talk to someone else about issues not being resolved. Or people who know we have survived marital problems come to us for support, we have a rule, men talk to men, women talk to women. We do not speak one on one with a person of the opposite sex about finding solutions for marriage. (This is also a part of affair proofing your marriage.)

8, All electronics social communication is open and shared between us. There are no "secret" conversations or relationships. If you are married, why shouldn't your spouse have access to everything? You are not dating, you are married. That is what marriage means. Could WH-DH find a way to get around that? Sure, he is a smart guy. Could he hide the behavior pattern that were the clues that let me know the affair was happening? Probably, but definitely not forever. I didn't miss them before, I am even more vigilant now.

9. I asked WH-DH, why be married if he was going to cheat? (That was a scary moment - think of the answers I might have heard.) He said he always intended to be a faithful husband. He didn't marry me planning to cheat and did not for almost two decades (he wasn't a serial cheater). He said he married me because he always loved me and wanted a life together. As the world stole more and more of the togetherness from our marriage, he felt defeated. His favorite memories are actually of the two of us away together. We had lost that. No time left for us, in order to please those outside of our marriage. But he didn't want to confront the world to take it back (conflict avoidance) - he wanted me to MAKE the world let us have our marriage, and wanted me to MAKE the world be happy about it. Now he knows that is impossible thinking.

It is important to explore in depth why you want to be married, and what you want your new marriage to be like. Then fight for it together. Bond over the right kind of fight.

W3IRZ posted 8/12/2017 10:49 AM

Thanks for that post. Instinctively we have done much of what you say above and we are at a really great place that only keeps improving. Maybe not in leaps and bounds, but it improves none the less. Progress is still progress. So I highly recommend your steps above.

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