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Positive Reconciliation Stories

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sunwillshine posted 10/11/2019 08:36 AM

I had been struggling with a trigger that hit me pretty hard. That has not happened in qite a while.
I talked with my fwh about it, posted on here, etc.
Yesterday, there was a letter from my fwh on the kitchen table. Here is what it said,
"My dearest Sunwillshine,
I just wanted you to know how much I love you and will miss you while you are away this weekend.
I'm very blessed to have you in my life and doubly blessed that we chose to stay together. I know I can't change what I have done, though I wish I could; All I can do is live my life in a way that honors my commitment to you and God, and practice recovery every day.
I'll always be here for you, to hold you and talk you through your triggers.
Have a great weekend and know where ever you are, you have my heart.
I love you, forever and always!
Mr. Sunwillshine"
We have come a long way! I am so grateful for recovery and that I stayed.

Thissucks5678 posted 10/11/2019 19:31 PM

I donít have a ton of time, but just wanted to give a quick update for those that read these:)

I have always been firm in my beliefs that cheating was a dealbreaker. When dday hit, I was devasted and heartbroken and a really big hot mess. I did a lot of things wrong. I drank too much, developed an eating disorder, I was barely surviving. It was terrible.

My WH and I just celebrated our anniversary. Weíve at least gone out to dinner every year on our anniversary since dday. This year we renewed our vows with just us at a chapel in Vegas and we did it on our anniversary. It was really nice and I told my WH ahead of time that if we were going to do it - I wanted him to plan it. Iíve done so much over the years in our relationship to make things happen - this one was on him and if it didnít happen, I would be ok with it because itís a really big deal for me to say those words to him again after everything weíve been through.

He planned it beautifully and we had an amazing time. It does seem like a fresh start on this new marriage we are building. Iím really happy in our marriage now. Happier than I was before dday. Our communication is so much better. We are so much more of a team. Iím really proud of how far weíve come.

If Iím wrong and he does it again, I will be ok. I wonít feel that Iíve wasted more years of my life or anything like that. I will know Iíve done the best I could with the situation I was given. For now, Iím at peace and happy. Three years ago I never couldíve imagined I could be in this place. It is possible.

SusanneH posted 10/14/2019 13:01 PM

I realize we're only 4 1/2 months into R, and it takes a lot longer than this to heal, but things are going so well, that I just want to share. Yes, I know it could change justlikethat!, but if it's been good now for the last three weeks *really good*, and I know if we hit a snag, it can come back.

Like so many BS's, I always thought cheating was a deal breaker. I adamantly said if my husband ever cheated on me, there wouldn't be a second chance; that would be IT!

But, when it happened, I just couldn't walk out or have him leave. I thought we had a good marriage before all of this (of course, most of it was a lie since he'd been looking for sex online most of it, and cheating for over 2 years of 15 yrs of marriage.) I figured I'd find more information, and, if he was remorseful (etc) enough, and wanted to R, then, I would too.

It's been a real roller coaster! But, I think it'll be worth it. When his attitude is in the right place, we do just fine. We're reading the books and discussing them and other items weekly. We're on to the Communication in Marriage books now...how to do so without arguing . need that!
Anyway, I NEVER thought I'd forgive him. I'd been working through it for awhile. It's not something you can just think about/ it's a process. I had to get rid of; reduce the anger first. ..Let go of it would be describing it better. I did a lot of reading to understand REAL forgiveness. I didn't want to do this lightly, too soon, etc. I finally realized I had forgiven him, and on our 15th anniversary (Oct 2nd, 4 mo's/1 day after d-day), I told him I needed to talk to him. He *worriedly* came over, and I told him it was important. It was a gift to him...and to me. a BIG one. I then said, "I forgive you". The look on his face is one I'll never forget. I've never seen him look so happy & grateful in the years we've been together. He hugged, kissed me, gave me a BIG thank you & thanked me again for giving him another chance after all he'd done.
Ever since then, the anger hasn't come back .We've been getting along for longer periods of time, not having misunderstandings like we were; I'm not snapping at him like I was, and so much more.
I know we still have a long way to go, but I had heard forgiveness also frees the person doing the forgiving, and it sure does!
(((((((HUGS))))))) to all, and all the hope to those still struggling.

[This message edited by SusanneH at 4:22 PM, October 14th (Monday)]

The1stWife posted 10/16/2019 14:49 PM

I posted in Reconciliation under See the Changes.

My H cheated 6 years ago and we were in the verge of a D. I got the ILYBNILWY speech and ďI want a DĒ demand more times than I care to remember. Anyway DDay2 revealed false reconciliation and I had enough of the crap. Very calmly I told him I was D him and I had nothing left to give to him or the marriage and he was free to go.

He begged to R and have another chance. I reluctantly said okay but it took months before I was convinced he meant it. He has shown remorse and makes amends constantly. We are happy reconciled.

Recently my H took a new job. I canít provide too many details but after being there less than 2 months he is in a toxic environment and has to leave. It is a racist prejudiced environment and every derogatory comment you can make about someoneís race, religion, gender etc has been made. In emails. In group meetings etc.

6 years ago my H had a mid life crisis Affair and was not happy with his job. Instead of discussing it he decided cheating and having an Affair was the answer

This time around he discussed it with me. He detailed what he has witnessed and how disturbing it is. Professional high level executives acting like a bunch of uneducated teens using racially derogatory terms about peers.

Point is I see a huge change in how he handled this. Iím not the enemy. He does not blame me for any of it or use me as a scapegoat for his unhappiness.

I can see the changes in him and our marriage.

It can happen. People can change. I have witnessed it.

iris2536 posted 10/18/2019 02:59 AM

Re-posting what I wrote on another thread:

I know how important it has been for me to read the positive stories on here, so I'm sharing my own.
I'm 8 months out from DDay2, and I've gotten nearly 6 months of consistent remorseful behavior. I'm beginning to feel happy again. It took me hitting rock bottom in terms of productivity and anxiety, but I saw a shrink, and a couple of enlightening sessions and some low dose meds, I'm feeling like myself again, and wanting to live and do things!

Weirdly, I realized I was massively overthinking this topic of infidelity as a way to run from other issues. It's strange that I was willfully thinking about this stuff that hurts me so much, to the point of exhaustion, instead of focusing on the other issues that affect my life and which I have more control over. But I was doing it and now that I've realized this I've been feeling way better and I'm working on those other things. I don't know how much the meds are helping, but I guess I'm gonna trust the shrink, as he's helped me a lot in a short time.

I sometimes worry if I'm rugsweeping, but I don't think so. I just want to live my life! I know I can talk to him whenever I want and I do, it's just that I don't want that as much. He'll ask me if I want to talk if he sees me lost in thought or aloof, and I know he actually listens. Much of what we've talked about seems to have really sunk and he's showing me deep changes on how he handles conflict and he's also not compartmentalizing his work anymore I think.

I am cautiously optimistic though I do still guard my heart and half expect the other shoe to drop. I don't think it will but it might... And I know it would be impossible for me to reconcile from another DDay or significant betrayal. I believe he'd have to be a deeply disturbed, maybe psychopathic, human being to pull off all that he's been doing and still be living a double life. I'd rather be single forever than be with someone like that, especially knowing all he's put me through. I hope not, I want this man I see now to be real.

It's so good to be back. It's possible. Change is possible. My world view has changed, I have changed, and I'm going to make damn sure I change for the better! And I'll surround myself with people who want to do the same.

I hope many years from now I can come back to this thread and post my story. But either way I will be happy again!

Chicklette posted 10/18/2019 06:43 AM

Last week was our 6 month 'anniversary' of the day WH came home to me, and he has been consistently remorseful. There have been a handful of horrible rows, but the truth is he has always been a horrible arguer, so I don't think it shows anything dodgy, just he doesn't know how to argue well. (Nor do I, but that's another story!). I also feel that he would have to be seriously disturbed to be living a double life at this stage. He is amazingly understanding about my feelings. For example, our wedding anniversary was 8 days before DDay, and he bought me a beautiful necklace. I wore it every day until June, when he bought me a new necklace that was very significant to our story. The new necklace broke a week or so back, so I took it to the jewellers and resumed wearing the anniversary necklace. But I could no longer wear it without being triggered. It is the most confusing present I've ever had - a beautiful necklace, which he'd obviously chosen carefully, but he was in the depths of his A at the time... I was rattled all week and mentioned it a couple of times. Last Friday I cried and explained my feelings. He told me to take the necklace off and give it away and went into town to retrieve the new one from the jeweller. When he returned he had not only collected the necklace, he'd also bought me a new one which is similar to the anniversary one, but significantly different. It felt very kind, and that he'd understood my feelings. He then took the anniversary necklace to a charity shop as he didn't want it to cause me any more angst.

I also worry about rugsweeping, but I want to live my life. I could argue and shout all day and throw accusations at him, but my life would be miserable. I am still beset by triggers every day, particularly in the middle of the night, but I want to try to move on.

Another thing that really helps is that WH tries his best to help me through the difficult times. We have a game called 'bunch of fives' which we use to ground me through the panic attacks. He gives me a subject, such as 'five things you'd find in a bathroom', and the act of thinking of things really helps me. He even does it in the middle of the night when I'm panicking.
So, all-in-all I'm managing remarkably well just 6 months (and a week) out from the beginning of R. Keep on keeping on.

SusanneH posted 10/18/2019 12:49 PM

Iris & Chicklette, I'm so glad to hear y'all are doing so well, too. Isn't it nice when the total consumption of all of this stops, and it just becomes a negative in your life rather than 'everything'? I forgave my FWH Oct 2nd, 1 day afte the 4 month anniv from dday. I never thought I would be able to do that, but I started working on it (it had been part of the assignment in one of our affair books), reading everything I could, praying, and: got over the anger first. THAT was a biggie! After everything he had done, it took all I had to do this, but it's the BEST thing I've ever done in my life! It's been so freeing; not just for him, but for me, too. I no longer have those terrible all day thoughts & 'affair feelings'. I know it's early, but I'm enjoying it. I know we aren't rug sweeping anything. We're still reading & talking together.
Best of luck to you both..and everyone!
((((HUGS))))

Chicklette posted 10/20/2019 09:18 AM

Thank you SusanneH. I do agree- itís great to not be fully consumed by the affair all the time. I still have many bad times but Iím doing my best to power through them.

I wish you all the best. Powerfully, happy days ahead :-)

Charlotte77 posted 10/24/2019 06:08 AM

Wonderful to read so many positive stories. Thank you for sharing. It gives me so much hope!

Simple posted 10/27/2019 02:06 AM

It's been a while since I wrote in this forum. It's been 12 years since Dday. Next year, we will be celebrating our 20th anniversary. Our true reconciliation is doing well.

Even now, though, my FWH still communicated every detail when he's in certain situations. He's still diligent and I am still appreciative of all his efforts as well as learned to separate my old feelings from reality. For example, within this same month, he's got a young woman calling him handsome and a co-worker who kept pushing him to go to a strip club. In both situations, "I'm married" and "no" are the first things he says. He then fully divulges everything when he gets home. On my end, I listen attentively, tell him exactly how I'm feeling (happy, triggered, whatever) and thinking calmly and while holding each other (hard to fight or be mad when you're both in a loving embrace). We both ensure we end on a positive ending acknowledging our own hard work we've both done. This is our positive reinforcement to ensure we continue to behave properly.

He remains vigilant about his behavior and I do the same. This is what made our reconciliation work, so far. I always say "so far" because we're always working on our marriage to keep it positive and loving. The day we stop is the day we start having problems. It's not always perfect, but what's important is pure honesty and willingness to call out issues right away.

Good luck to others out there trying to work on your R. I hope my story helped.

SusanneH posted 10/28/2019 14:27 PM

Simple,

Congratulations! Sounds like you two have found what it takes. I know it's not always great. But, it sounds like you and he know how 'it works' .
We're just reaching the 5 month anniv on Nov 1st. Things go really well for even up to 2 1/2 weeks now (that's as long as we've gone without a trigger or something causing about a week of awful. He's been totally faithful now for over 1 1/2 years, but lied to me up to June 1st of this year. I found something was up March, 2018 *my story is on pg 25 in ICR, spouses w/same gender AP's, and investigated until I finally found 'it' June 1st, and he had to admit it. whew. SO, I've been in agony over all of this since March, 2018. And, we're trying to R.
Again, keep it up! lookin' good!

MrsWalloped posted 10/28/2019 14:32 PM

Being a WW I never thought this thread was for me. Like this was a place for BSís to talk about how their R is going and provide encouragement for other BSís. I also thought that a WW coming here to talk about their positive R story could come across really wrong, like kind of bragging or that by saying that since life is positive now it somehow means my A was a good thing even if those thoughts were totally not there. I guess I thought me posting here would be insensitive to other BSís.

But I just found out that I have a wonderful and sweet and gracious aunt (who also happens to be the coolest aunt in the whole world ) and she showed me a different way to look at this thread. She ďinvitedĒ me to post (thatís my nice way of saying she basically twisted my arm!). She said WSís need to read about positive R stories too and it can help them if they hear it from another WS. So this is directed mainly at WSís who read here, but if it helps BSís too then thatís wonderful. Here goes.

Iím not going to repeat my whole A story but this past summer was 4 years from DDay. I had an EA that started around spring of 2015 that turned into a full blown PA two months later that lasted for three more months until I was caught. It took time, but ultimately my BH offered me the most generous gift anyone has ever give to me. He offered to work on Reconciling with me even though I certainly didnít deserve it. Weíve been working at it since then individually and together. We each have things we need to work on and heal from. His are from what I did to him. Mine are what I did to myself, him and my family, plus those things that were broken in me from before. Thatís what I wanted to talk about. I donít have a specific positive story that I wanted to mention. I mean there are plenty, but thatís not my point. The past 4 years as a whole has been one big positive story. We are in R. We are doing well. I love my BH and he loves me. We are building a new M together and a new life with the family that I nearly destroyed. Not everything is perfect and we have many downs to go along with the many ups. There have been setbacks and there are still issues we are dealing with. Weíve shared many of those things here on SI. Itís not Fantasy Land like my A was. Itís real life. And in many ways itís a more real M than our M was before my A because I am more real. I show him me. Heís always known everything about me but not necessarily how it affected me inside and how it affected my thinking and how I perceived myself. I am basically an open book to him now and because of that when heís with me heís with the real me. Not someone I present to him.

So I said this was mainly directed at WSís who might read this. The reason I said that is because I want you to know that R is possible. Yes, you have to be very lucky like I was to have a BS whoís willing to offer this amazing gift. But my BH who always said an A was a dealbreaker, still offered me R. The thing is, my A was a dealbreaker. It still is a dealbreaker and betraying your spouse will always be a dealbreaker. But that doesnít mean you canít have a new M together. So why didnít he divorce me? A lot has to do with our shared life before my A and of course our children, but heís told me many times that all of that wouldnít have been enough if he hadnít seen real remorse and constant effort to work on myself, on our marriage and be there for him and support him. (This is the part where Iím uncomfortable because I donít mean to promote myself or say Iím wonderful in any way. I mean how stupid would that be of me? Look at me! I cheated on my husband, arenít I great?) But what Iím trying to say to you WS is that R is possible, but youíre going to have to do a lot of uncomfortable things, hard things, to even have a chance at it. Not a guarantee, but a chance, and then if youíre given that amazing gift you grab it and do everything you can to keep it. That means you lay yourself bare. You be honest and transparent. You answer everything over and over again as long as he needs to hear it. No TT. He already knows you had sex with someone other than him. Stop protecting yourself. You start working on yourself, on your empathy that was so sorely missing. You find out whatís broken in you and you pull up your panties and get to work. It is hard and it is scary, but if you love your BS and you want R then it is nothing compared to what youíll lose if you donít. Get rid of your pride and ego. Itís not about his faults or the issues you had in your marriage. That can come later if there even is a later. But your job is to own what you did and start becoming a healthy person and a safe partner for your BS so they can make the choice of whether to offer R to you or not.

The point of that whole lecture is that if you do this and you empathize and work on yourself and really dig deep and show through your actions that you are changing and becoming the spouse you promised youíd be when you got married, then R is possible. My BH and I are slowly building a new M and a new life together. We laugh and cry, we have fun, we enjoy our family, we share moments and quiet times, we work hard and we deal with our issues authentically, we communicate, we donít always do things right or very well but we always try, we share sadness and joy. We share love. And most importantly, itís real.

There are no guarantees. We gave up any right to that when we crossed that line that we had no business crossing. But we can have hope. By itself, hope is just a fantasy. But hope followed by action and hard work is something else. And sometimes that hard work is rewarded by a successful R. I know my work isnít finished and our R journey isnít either, but for now I am grateful to God and to my husband that I have this second chance at life. I do not take it for granted and my goal is to be worthy of this gift they have given me.

I wish you all only the best in your R journey.

Infidelity0217 posted 10/28/2019 19:24 PM

One of the more touching and meaningful things my FWH regularly says to me now is not just, "I love you," but he looks me straight in the eyes and says, "I really love you, Lostworld...I mean I really and truly love you with everything I am."†And, I believe it

My WH and i are working on R. In the very early stages of it. Took 8 months to get here.
I am encouraged to see those posts of spouses in love again. Right now, just can't see how we ever get that back.

SusanneH posted 11/2/2019 10:39 AM

Infidelity,

Thank you (and your wonderful Aunt!) for sharing. It's MORE than okay for you to post here. I'm going to show your post to my fWH, who will be glad to see it. He's trying hard, too, and I'm trying to show him that I appreciate his efforts as well. It's ALWAYS great to see positive R stories, and yours really is a true one. We're only 5 months & 1 day past dday, and doing pretty well. Yup, the ups and downs are still pretty big, but we're working through them (we've worked through the after the affair books, and are working on the communication in marriage books ....we NEED that!). He is going to start IC next week to help anger issues as well as possible SA.

Best of luck to you, your H and family.
(((((HUGS))))) and peace

[This message edited by SusanneH at 10:41 AM, November 2nd (Saturday)]

looking forward posted 11/4/2019 08:37 AM

@Want:

Reposted from page 9...

SusanneH posted 11/4/2019 11:17 AM

Lookingforward,

GOOD ONE!

BraveSirRobin posted 12/23/2019 00:19 AM

Today was a good day.

I ordered a Christmas gift for my BH that I was initially excited about, a kintsugi bowl. For those who aren't familiar with it, kintsugi is the art form of repairing broken pottery with gold seams where the break is rejoined. The philosophy is that instead of discarding the piece or trying ineffectually to hide the cracks, the repair acknowledges the damage and hopefully creates an art form that is still beautiful in a new and different way.

My BH had written recently about how one of the most painful memories he had to get past was a story I confessed about OM and I looking into each other's eyes. I hated telling him that story, but we had agreed that for him to heal, I could not hide anything. So when I was looking at kintsugi bowls online, I couldn't believe it when I found a studio that names each of its pieces, and there was a bowl entitled "Her Eyes." It was the same shade of blue as my eyes. It was my BH's bowl.

So I ordered it, and I was really grateful that I had found something meaningful to give him for Christmas. At this time last year, we were 8 weeks post-D-Day 2 and hanging on by a thread, so it was too soon to give him anything sentimental. This year, things are much better; we've been rebuilding intimacy and having moments of actual joy amidst the struggle. I wanted something that would celebrate how far we've come together, as well as acknowledge my role in how far we have left to go.

But when the bowl arrived, I had waves of second thoughts. What if he hated it? What if it was just a constant reminder that the eyes he loved were forever flawed, never going to be the same? I wanted the message to be that no one else has ever looked into my eyes and seen the authentic me inside them. I have shared things with my BH in the last year that I never told anyone, never thought I could tell anyone, not even him, after 34 years together. Those are the cracks inside me, and I have been working hard to forge the gold.

If he hated the bowl, I would be crushed. I would ruin Christmas. I started to look into returning it before BH knew it existed.

But in the end, I decided that part of my work is putting myself out there and accepting the risk of rejection. BH's role is to decide whether to accept what I'm offering. I didn't quite have the nerve to give it to him on Christmas Eve as I had planned (there was never any chance I would spring it on him in front of our kids on Christmas morning). So I gave it to him today, hedging with disclaimers that he didn't have to keep it if it wasn't the right thing, and then explaining the idea behind kintsugi.

When I got to the title of the bowl, he started crying. I honestly couldn't tell for a few seconds what kind of tears they were... and then he hugged me and said it was absolutely perfect. At which I started sobbing, too.

I'll keep the rest of what we said just for us. It's too personal to share. But I wanted to post my positive reconciliation story, because I'm feeling such gratitude. It was a good day.

looking forward posted 12/26/2019 18:23 PM

52 years ago today, my H asked me to go steady with him (I was 16).
We don't celebrate today, or our anniversary any more, quite understandably; however we do quietly acknowledge the day we met in high school: December 4th, 1967.
Earlier this past week he posted, in part, "Somehow I've managed to find forgiveness for my wife after 'so many years' of lies and betrayal."
And this is the card he gave me on December 4th:

I love my husband and am blessed to be forgiven and loved by him.

[This message edited by looking forward at 7:54 PM, December 26th (Thursday)]

thewalruswaspaul posted 1/12/2020 10:12 AM

I was having a horrible time with mistrust, always wondering when another indiscretion would come to light, thinking that it would never end and I'd always be bracing for another fall.

The conversation I had with my WS at Christmas was a challenging one. I did what I said I would never do, and I gave him an ultimatum. To keep me from leaving, he had to compile every single bit of information, everything that was even the slightest disrespect to our relationship, and present it to me in full. I told him to go through his credit card statements, emails, every single messaging platform, to restore back ups from old devices he hadn't used in years. Leave nothing untouched.

The follow up wasn't fun for me. I read through every single message he'd sent or received from the woman he was emotionally involved with. I saw the credit card statements showing the one time he had lunch with her. I got to revisit everything I'd already seen before - his Tinder profile, his porn collection, his second Instagram account specifically set up to follow NSFW models.

But it quieted every question and every unproven image that had been percolating in my head. Nothing he showed me was as bad as what I was imagining. It was a humongous step for me and my healing, and I think for his healing too. No more secrets.

He has started going to Sex/Love Addicts Anonymous meetings, and he's been going to appointments with a CSAT. He tells me how helpful it is to be able to put a vocabulary to his feelings and behaviors, and to see that it's possible to overcome the things that drove him to be unfaithful.

This is the man I am going to marry. I've never been more sure of it.

findingjoy posted 1/21/2020 12:06 PM

5 years.

I havenít been around here in a year. Today we are stronger than we have ever been, more in-tune, more available, more compassionate, more respectful and just more loving and committed.

I truly donít think we could have this intense intimacy if we hadnít gone through infidelity, or something equally as traumatic. I believe that, as the strongest steel is forged in fire, the strongest marriages are those that have been tested in fire and re-created through hard work and pain.

Was it worth it? Oh geez, donít ask me that. Itís a moot point. While I wouldnít wish it one anyone, it happened and couldnít un-happen. So, we took it and made something beautiful out of it.

Sure, there are times we talk about it, but now itís without pain on my part, if you can believe it. A twinge of sadness perhaps, but itís fleeting. Mostly I look back and marvel at how well we came through this and how proud I am for the hard work we did.

Him? If it ever comes up, he instantly proves his remorse to me, sad that he put me through that. He is devastated still to think he ever caused me so much pain. There is never any defensiveness, or impatience that it can still be a conversation. He is 100% present if I am ever triggered, although this morning we agreed thatís happened probably once in the last year. Heís more likely than me to be triggered if he sees something that reminds him of what he did. And he shares that with me, apologizing again and asking if Iím ok. After all the work heís done, he can honestly look at me and say heís the best husband there is for me Ė and he undoubtedly is. Heís now the safest person imaginable.

What worked for us? To be clichť, the first thing I did, after I picked myself up off the floor, was strap my bitch boots on. I told him I was the best thing that ever happened to him and I was not putting up with this. I kicked him out of the house for almost a week. When I told him he could come back, it was to the spare room because I just couldnít imagine myself being vulnerable enough to be getting dressed in front of him every day after what heíd done. It would have been just tooÖ. normal. Nothing about surviving infidelity is normal, nor should it be.

I had demands. There were a bunch of accountability things I needed him to do for me regarding time, whereabouts, money etc to help me feel safe. Not that those things actually made me safe, but his willingness to do whatever I needed, for as long as I needed helped me believe his remorse. I asked him to apologize to me once every day, because I needed him to connect to my pain at least once a day, since I lived it daily. I asked him for financial restitution, plus some other you-did-this-for-her-so-now-youíll-do-them-better-for-me type things. We did a financial post-nup. With his full support, I put $5000 in a separate account in case I ever felt the need to hire a private investigator. For a previously-booked vacation 2 months after D-day, he agreed to rent a separate condo down the beach, so I wouldnít have to see him when I didnít want to.

Most important, I told him he needed counseling to figure his sh*t out. He had to figure out his whyís, learn what was broken inside him and heal it. It may not be recommended by anyone else, but I actually asked for a summary of every counseling session so I knew what he was working on. Sometimes, if we were at an impasse with something, Iíd write out my feelings and have him discuss it with his counselor. I didnít go to counseling because I felt pretty damn strong and I wasnít the one who f*cked things up. I wasnít broken. Thatís how I felt at the time, anyway.

Sometimes during this journey, I felt closer to him than others. Sometimes we would make love and sometimes weíd just f*ck, whatever I needed. Sometimes I couldnít finish because I was sobbing and sometimes it was beautiful. Sometimes he would be in such pain over what he did and it would draw me to him but other times I couldnít hear it over my own pain and Iíd tell him to share that sh*t elsewhere. It was a rollercoaster, but as long as I could see at least slow improvement, we continued.

At 9 months in, I started saying I love you. We began sharing our bedroom again. We bought a new house and moved. I felt somewhat secure, but I certainly wasnít all-in. He knew that and was ok with it.

He started to anticipate my triggers, which was a really beautiful thing. Maybe weíd be watching TV and something would come up that wasnít even about infidelity, but related to our particular situation, or Iíd see a photo that was from that time period for example, and he would stop and ask if I was ok. That meant more than I can relate. He wasnít afraid of my triggers. He was more than willing to hold my pain with me and share it. Damn, he loved/loves me.

We did counseling together periodically, mainly to deal with the inevitable crises that would be a part of the changing of our dynamics.

I finally did counseling on my own about 2 years in, when I knew it was time to let down my walls, decide to trust, and move on. I had a tough time with that, but she reassured me that there was good reason to move ahead with that step. THAT was pivotal. At some point, he needed to know that we were on solid ground, so he could stop walking on eggshells and just be himself. Seeing the real him starting to emerge for the first time in 2 years was amazing. We were able to be emotionally intimate in a truly vulnerable way again.

That doesnít mean the triggers were gone, but they lessened in intensity and frequency. I decided to stop looking around the house and thinking, ďIf we divorce, which things do I want to keep and which can he have?Ē I decided to look towards our future.

I can confidently say, that if there is a model wayward, itís him. Yes, we had frustrations and serious bumps but he didnít waver. We hit one big bump about a year in, when his alcohol use became a concern and it was decided he couldnít/wouldnít drink like that again (he still doesnít and appreciates the change). We hit a big bump about a year and a half in, when he apparently started to take it all for granted and his old behaviors of treating me like an adversary crept in. At that point he had to redouble his efforts in counseling with this new issue Ė which he did. We hit a snag a year ago when some behaviors of his triggered a suspicion that he was lying to me again Ė he willingly did a polygraph and passed. Today I trust him fully.

Like I said, he never wavered. If there were wayward sponsors, heíd make an amazing one (not that he would want to Ė ever) because he knew from day one what he wanted and was willing to do anything, for as long as was needed, to prove he deserved it. Even now, he keeps me updated about his whereabouts and spent money even though Iíve told him I really donít want or need it. He shares any texts with females in our circle, as I do with any males. We like open phones and mutual accountability. Itís healthy.

I asked him this morning what advice he would give, and he said that people need to know it takes 2. The wayward needs to know 100% that they are all-in on reconciliation and prove it. The betrayed needs to be willing to give it a chance. They donít have to know they are 100% in right off the bat, but they have to be willing to get there.

My best advice for a betrayed:
Accept if this is a deal-breaker. If there wasnít that much to salvage of the relationship, itís okay to be done. If you believe they are narcissistic and would do it again, be done. If you donít see remorse, be done. Save yourself the heartache of going through this again.
Be 100% willing to walk away at any time if your wayward isnít 100% willing to do the work, or continue the work, to become safe.
If you do decide to attempt reconciliation, donít feel the need to decide anything for at least 6 months to a year or two. Waywards need time to prove their remorse isnít just words.
Be ok with making demands if they help you feel safe. Your waywardís willingness or unwillingness to do these things signals their true intentions.
Try to avoid being punitive just to hurt back. Try to avoid shaming or name-calling, although in the early days, that may be impossible.
Donít be afraid to show them how much you hurt. My husband says that was the hardest thing for him to deal with, knowing how deeply he wounded me. It was serious motivation for him to never be that person again.
If you feel the need to forgive right away, do so, but acknowledge that doesnít mean you have to reconcile.
Insist that their work includes regular counseling.
Be willing to eventually forgive, decide to trust, and be vulnerable again. Intimacy cannot grow under a cloud of suspicion and fear. You cannot hold it over them forever or you rob your marriage of the chance for a healthy future.

MY ADVICE FOR BOTH:
You both read ďHow to Help Your Spouse Heal from Your AffairĒ by Linda J. MacDonald. Stat. Itís a quick, but absolutely essential read. Available as a Kindle download you can read on your kindle or even on a Kindle app. This is the best investment of a few hours in the early days after Dday.

He just sent me an email from work. Subject: Who loves you? Body: This guy!

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