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Positive Reconciliation Stories

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ff4152 posted 12/6/2020 14:58 PM


[This message edited by SI Staff at 8:17 AM, December 8th (Tuesday)]

Want2BHappyAgain posted 12/6/2020 18:03 PM

THANK YOU ff4152 for contributing your story on this thread !!!

As a person who has followed your journey from the beginning...I would like to add something that really struck me as a BW.

Most of us Betrayeds KNOW that something is wrong with our M...even though we may not know WHAT it is. My H was an ocean away when he had his A...but I KNEW. There was a distance between us that was more than just the ocean.

One of the posts you made that really struck me was when you and your wife were at a park once. She told you that she had her husband back . She KNEW that whatever it was that was wrong...was in the past...and y'all were connecting again . Judging from your posts on here...she was right!

Oldwounds posted 12/7/2020 12:11 PM

ETA: Promised W2BHA I would add my fall update to this thread — this same thread that inspired me to join SI. I didn’t know R was a thing until finding this place and this very thread in particular.


A day in my life.
Around four and half years later, mornings are still the toughest part of the day. It’s that quick mental inventory that yes, indeed, the nightmares weren’t imaginary, they were real.

My wife understands this, every single morning since she confessed her A, she wakes up 90-minutes before me, works out, showers and crawls into bed with me. She cuddles beside me, rubs my back and shoulders, runs her fingers through my hair. If I have questions, I ask them. I don't ask many questions anymore. Sometimes her kindness leads to fooling around, other times just a hug.

But she works on our connection every - single - day.

Based on current world events, we have breakfast and go to our respective home offices. Our youngest son had moved back in for a while, found a new job and moved back out a couple months ago. We miss him, but it’s back to empty nest.

Based on meetings and schedules we try to time it out to have lunch together everyday, and then back to work.

In the evening, we wrestle eternally with the ‘what’s for dinner?’ dilemma, and found a couple in-home cooked meal programs we like a lot.

I should be walking more, old Marine Corps knee injury has slowed me to the point I should probably get it looked at. But sometimes we get a walk in, sometimes we read together, and a lot of nights we watch some of our favorite movies and shows.

It’s as normal as life can be in area covered in smoke the last three months because of wildfires, and a pandemic that limits a lot of our normal choices.

We’ve overcome adversity we didn’t think we could. We learned love wasn’t enough — or at least the word love as we previously understood it. We’ve learned that a healthy relationship is about giving, not taking, about kindness and not competition for the attention of the other.

We definitely used to live in a ‘what have you done for me lately?’ environment.

She’s grateful for this opportunity to show me that the worst version of herself — is not who she wants to be. In that sense, I still believe the first person a WS betrays is themselves and their own standards. I’ll grant a number of WS never own or understand their actions, or the pain they caused, but some do.

I’ve seen recent, thoughtful threads regarding the abusive nature of infidelity. I agree. The key for reconciliation is that the person who made those choices has to learn a lot, including how to help the relationship heal from that lack of empathy that happens during every A.

We can’t control our spouses, we can’t control much of anything in life but we can choose how to respond to trauma and adversity.

I’ll never care how people get clear of infidelity, be it a quick divorce and a new start, or those of us who find a way to restore their marriage. I just want people to make it to the other side of the pain.

There is a lot of projection about those of us who stay. It ain’t easy getting back to happy, but it happens. This entire place is founded by a couple who reconciled. Their love and care for each other inspired me and others to find a way back as well.

R is hard because marriage is uphill a lot of times without infidelity. It’s extra tough to get back on the same page once one person has hurt the other.

No magic, no rainbows, just a lot of hard work for two souls who aren’t ready to give up on the other. And no one ever deserves a second chance, but in my case, I’m glad I offered grace.

DaddyDom posted 12/7/2020 14:56 PM

As ISSF and I walk into year five of R together, looking back, I realize what a long and hard-fought, but also rewarding, process it has been for us both. Early on, we glommed on to the phrase, "Reconciliation isn't for wimps". Nothing could be more true. We cried. We argued. We fought. We were ready to throw the towel in many times. Mistakes were made. We took steps forward, then took some back, over and over again. We leaned heavily on IC and MC to help guide us, and of course, SI and the many good people here who offered advice and support throughout.

Both of us have been on a journey of self-discovery. While I would never argue that infidelity is desirable to any degree, it does have one benefit. It forces you to look long and hard and yourself, your life, and your relationships with everyone in your life. Nothing is done blindly anymore. Nothing is unconditional. Nothing is beyond reproach. Everything we do, both individually and together, is done with eyes wide open and with our motives, intentions and desires having been examined and justified.

It is an incredibly painful process to take such a critical look at yourself (into your heart, your mind, your feelings) without the protections of a rosy self-perception, and harder yet to have the strength and bravery needed to face your fears and to accept and own who you really are, and the trauma that you created, or that was foisted on you. You have to be prepared to jump into the fire with both feet. You have to accept that you can and will fail, make mistakes, misunderstand, grow, learn, hurt, heal... and there is simply no other way around it. More than anything, you have to be prepared to lose the relationship if it comes to that, and accept that what once was, is no more, and will never be again. Anything that exists moving forward is a product of your own hard work and willingness to not give up. Holding on to preconceptions will ultimately fail.

As a WS, one of the biggest hurdles I personally had to overcome was the pit of shame and guilt that I allowed myself to sink into. It took over my life and overwhelmed me completely, and I cannot begin to state how much damage it did to my wife and our efforts at R. It's impossible to reconcile with someone who cannot face themselves. It is also impossible to offer any kind of support to your betrayed spouse when you can't even move past your own pain and "see" them and understand their trauma. I lived in that pit for probably three years, and still struggle with it now and then. At the end of the day, I had to let go of my identity as a victim (of my FOO), and accept that I had become the abuser now instead (in my infidelity). I had to learn to love myself, which is a work in progress but a necessary step if you are to ever have the ability to truly love someone else. And I had to find a way to forgive myself, because living with my head in the sand was just doing more damage to everyone involved.

I owe everything to my wife as well. She has/had every right and every reason in the world to kick me to the curb, and I know that option isn't off the table... it never will be again. She put up with more shit and more pain from me than I can honestly comprehend, and yet... even though she was the victim, MY victim... she still loved me enough to fight for us, which often meant just getting through one more day without losing her mind. I owe her everything. I know some of you have told ISSF how amazing she is, how strong, how focused, how empathetic and how... decent, humane and giving she is as a person. All I can tell you is, you have no idea just how much she is all those things and more. Sorry if this part sounds a little kiss-assey, but honestly, she deserves recognition for all she's been through and all she's sacrificed, or had taken from her by me, throughout this shit show. I think a little ass-kissing on my part is well deserved, and I give it gladly.

For the other WS's who may be reading this and looking for advice or answers, my best advice to you is to simply keep working on yourself and never stop doing so. You can't heal your spouse nor do the work for them, and they cannot fix you either. Stop asking questions and instead, start providing answers. For example, don't ask, "Will I ever win an argument again? Will my BS ever love me again?" In time, you'll begin to realize that nearly every question you've asked since D-Day was likely to be selfish or at the very least, and attempt to control the outcomes. Instead, be the answer. Make the changes you need to make in your life and in yourself to be the person you want and need to be. Want to win an argument with your BS? Then first understand that "winning" isn't the goal, the goal is to understand each other and come to an agreement that honors everyone. Learn to listen. Learn to understand. Focus on what's really being discussed rather than what your mind/triggers are telling you. You "win" by understanding the problem, and showing the care, concern and willingness to sacrifice that you were unable to show them during your affair. If you want to be loved again, then become someone worthy of being loved. If you want to be trusted again, become someone worthy of trust. Be vulnerable. Be honest. It's funny... it can be so very terrifying to accept who we are and what we did and the damage it caused... but in time, when you learn to own it, you instead become shielded from the pain. Dignity and decency are powerful traits to have. Honesty and accountability too. Once you own your life, you then own your feelings, and your responses. So make your life what you need it to be. Or stay stuck in the shame pit. It's your choice, no one else's.

Last thing... forgive yourself. Stop the black and white thinking and allow yourself to see yourself as more than one thing at a time. Yes, you cheated and were a POS in general. That was a bad thing to do, but it does not define you as a "bad person" unless you let it. Instead, see it as "part of your story". You peed your pants once but you still have self-respect. You got into a fight once but you don't identify as violent. We grow, we learn, we change, we adapt. You are what you do!!! So BE someone worthy of love, or respect, of forgiveness... and that is who you will be. Then you can move forward with rebuilding what was destroyed.

We are all broken. We are all healing. We are all just doing our best to survive the trauma. If you are reading this, then you've already taken the first step, which is reaching out, making an effort, and learning how to change for the better. Keep it up. You've got this.

Sunny69 posted 12/8/2020 12:18 PM

Hi ff4152, I have come to read your story, but it would appear I am too late. I will just reiterate I have found your experiences and input to be very useful to me during my journey. I can see why some betrayed spouses feel the way they do, but I also agree positive stories can take very many forms. People tend to turn to this site for guidance, to try to help them understand, to try to make the best informed decisions on how to move forward. Whilst your story does not conform to others, it still can have a positive effect on others on their journey. Since I have been on SI, I have been most interested in the opinions and evolvement of the Wayward Spouses, what they say and their journeys. Whilst I can empathise with the pain endured by a BS as a BS, I also see how they get caught up in their own pain and become blinkered to any other versions of the path from infidelity. I am glad you have 'found' your wife again and are being the husband she thought she always had. I wish you both the best of luck in your onward journey together.

wifehad5 posted 2/19/2021 13:05 PM


This0is0Fine posted 3/22/2021 17:10 PM

I'm in R, feel safe, and happy. That in itself is a positive story.

The path there has not been a happy one by any means. I had to get to the point that I truly didn't want to be married. Ultimately, I think that's what the advice of "You must be willing to lose your M to save it means". It doesn't mean deciding you are willing to lose it. It means really absorbing the negative experiences you have had and not wanting the M you are in. It's unfortunate that the characteristics of kindness, grace, and patience are needed for R, but also prevent it from occurring.

Things could have gone better. I could have gone into conflicts harder. I felt I was pretty open and honest, but the reality was that I would bring my feelings up in a way that minimized my own pain. I also gave up on R, and allowed the M to continue in self-imposed limbo for what amount to material reasons.

But importantly, we did reach an understanding. My fWW recognized the damage she did. She did take the lead in making repairs. She has stopped taking actions that make me question her motivation. She apologizes quickly and often. She gives me whatever reassurances I need, often without me asking for them.

I think the hardest thing for her was to find the "unhappy" middle ground of recognizing the amount of harm she caused, while still believing the damage to be repairable.

We have both learned a lot and are much better at communicating openly. We no longer avoid conflict. We are both able to be vulnerable with one another. And as I said, I am happy.

I'm not going to blow smoke up your ass and say our M is better than before the A. It isn't. I don't trust her like I did before, and never will. There is a parallel universe where we make similar relationship improvements without an A and without the associated betrayal trauma.

So I guess if you are new, and you are reading this thread for hope that you can come out of R happy, I will tell you yes. It is completely possible (it's also possible I'm in false R ). I just won't say it's better than before, or that the trust ever returns. You just have to be well and truly OK with that result.

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