So this is what it feels like to survive the first year. Mind you, DD#1 only revealed the emotional affair, that she had a male friend with whom she was sharing our marital troubles, for whom she had "tender feelings", but she claimed they never became physically close. I found out about it when I was looking at her browser (she had asked me to make it run faster) and the most recent entry said "Deleted Facebook Message". I clicked the link and it led to his page. Two DD's later by Nov 7, and I finally was aware that she had lied and the affair was fully romantic (I love you) and physical, for over two years worth.
So here I stand, 364 days later, and I feel great. So here's what it took:
1) IC: my therapist put me in touch with fact that I don't express my needs and don't put myself first. That my self esteem leads me to be co-dependent and constantly try to prove my self worth. I don't connect with others, because I suppress how I truly feel and don't trust anyone, other than myself, to take care of me.
2) Did the 180: got in shape, meditated, read countless articles and 4 books on relationships, affairs, emotions, including: "Hold Me Tight", "Not Just Friends", "After the Affair", "Radical Acceptance" and currently "What Makes Love Last". Also Athol Kays' books "Married Men Sex Primer 2011".
3) MC: settled on 3rd therapist and did about 8 sessions. She was good at getting us to see how our relationship dynamics could improve. She ensured my fWS heard loud and clear: "monogamy is not bullshit", as she had concluded before starting her own affair, as her FOO was torn up with affairs, and her friends and clients were all either miserable or having affairs or both.
4) Cried: ALOT!!! Almost NEVER cried before. Still cry about every other to third day. But now, realizing that mourning who we were and who I was is pointless. Our relationship was fake and causing both of us to suffer. We were unconnected and arguing all the time. She was lying to me for years and cheating on me. I don't want to return to that EVER. Now, I realize I still am sad she could hurt me this profoundly, but her finding and fine tuning her remorse to exactly what I need to move past has been a boon to my healing.
5) Hysterical bonding to Tantric Sex: The initial weeks past final DD were intense with both of us trying everything under the sun to make sex so hot we'd melt the bed. But all those positions and fantasies and games didn't lead anywhere real, except to prove that we still had chemistry and lust for each other despite the affair. This has slowly evolved into a more connected, slower, more intimate experience, which although still intense, now feels more holistic and deep. We experiment less, but feel more satiated and more deeply in love.
6) IC for fWS: She has dug deep. Her IC didn't go far because she was still numb and deeply in the Fog, mainly coming home from each session telling me how to be better in bed, how I broke her heart first before she ever had affair and how my porn use, to extent she didn't know about it, was also cheating. This was leading us nowhere. Finally, I found SI and stood up for fact that blaming me in any way for affair was not legitimate. All couples have problems, both share blame for, but having an affair is a toxic, unhealthy, reprehensible response. It adds to the problems 10 fold, and is really based on selfishness and entitlement and lack of empathy. By stating my position, it opened her up to deeply exploring the true "why?" of how she could do that. She sees now how numb she was and how sorry for hurting me this way she feels. Now, when I cry she reminds me of this remorse and comforts me until I feel truly loved, as if I'm the only man in the world.
7) We talk like never before. No longer do we argue in toxic ways. No longer are we blissfully unaware of each other's raw spots. We have learned each other's language of love: for her 'words of appreciation' for me 'touch'. We have decided together to take a break from MC and just enjoy each other's company as much as we can. We date, we chat over wine, we listen, and no topic, including the affair and AP, is off limits. Our emotional inner life is naked to the other. We bare our souls and treasure the chance to show we earned our right to keep each other safe.
8) We have started to look forward to the future again. No longer are all plans on hold. I can't say anything forever, because this experience has shown us that is never something we can truly promise, but we feel deeply invested in fully healing these wounds and can see how all this pain has yielded wisdom and strength that guarantees more than ever that we have a real shot at surviving this infidelity.
I will continue to come here for support in my second year, and especially as the DD#3 for the physical part of the affair is still coming up (for me the physical part was the most gut wrenching and the source of mind movies I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy), but I think I will need to less. I want to thank all of those of you who helped me on this journey and feel confident I will personally survive this in large part thanks to the support and wise words I found on these forums.
From the bottom of my heart: THANK YOU!!!