Gracey, I’m sorry this thread is a slow one and even sorrier I don’t have any answers for you. I don’t know how to look back at the last 15 years of my life yet without getting vertigo. I’m still trying to make sense of everything. My 20-something kids don’t know because I haven’t told them and I am an excellent actor who pretended all her issues were menopause and arthritis related fallout and they don’t suspect any marital problems. They know their dad is a difficult personality and think I am a saint for handling him so well. If they only knew. I can’t add worrying about me or us to their lives and have many reasons for not telling them, mostly a gut response. Maybe someday I will give them the truth, but I don’t think it will be a gift for any of us.
I think you can check in with your son, ask if he’s doing ok or has any questions without opening the door to the existential angst of the reality shift infidelity brings to our lives. Try not to think of it as your whole life being a lie, just a piece of it. I’ve mentioned this before but the only part of my life that was a lie was the fidelity and honesty of my spouse - I have lived an authentic, honest and honorable life and modeled it for my kids and that helps me get over the hump of the pain of the lies in our past. It also helped me to make a digital photo album of those years without my H in it, as I had identified as his person, soulmate and spouse for almost 4 decades. It would never cross my mind to think of my life as mine, and not ours, but that digital album called Me lets me see hundreds of happy, meaningful authentic moments and memories, and a life filled with love shared with my friends, family, kids and pets and it is where I go when I am feeling confused or sad. I won’t lie, it felt good to edit him out of some of those pictures, even the ones that were trips he and I did alone. He edited me out of chunks of his life to carry on for a decade with another married woman, as well as trying to hook up with many others, so I feel pretty good about my photo album therapy. I told him about it, he said good, but didn’t ask to see it. He doesn’t really want to talk about anything in the past. He wants me to feel safe because he says I am safe, he wants me to feel loved because he says I am loved, but he ruined his credibility over and over with lie after lie to protect himself. I don’t know how to reconcile that with staying with him when he hasn’t put in the work to heal or understand himself or to earn my trust back. He is an acts of service guy, and he can do the dishes for the rest of our lives but my heart will still ache and my defenses will still stay up. For now, I stay because it is the choice I have made after too much analysis, and because currently the benefits outweigh the costs. I make sure the scale tips to my benefit every chance I can.
Like I said, I don’t have any answers. I’m still trying to find my way through this 5 years downstream, with a new ugly discovery or two trickling out every year because I can’t let go of looking or reaching out to MOW and getting truth bombs, and my H has issues with honesty and facing the consequences of his actions. He feels that anything he tells me at this point only gets him in trouble, and can’t understand the trouble isn’t from the truth, it’s from the lies to keep the truth from me. All he can offer is that he chooses me and he loves me and I think most of us here can agree that those are just words, and are not enough to repair the damage.
There is a very small group of LTA survivors who choose to stay in the marriage, and there aren’t a lot of success stories for obvious reasons. I don’t think we can ever feel truly safe again staying with our betrayers or in new relationships now that we know what people are capable of. The only thing you can be sure of is dealing with it from a position of strength and not weakness the next time. I can’t control what he does, only what I do, and the new, older and wiser me won’t tolerate getting played again, and I won’t play nice if I am. I know it is not the way I wanted my life to go, or the version of myself I want to be, but right or wrong it is how I am able to handle my life right now in the reality I find myself living. I try not to judge myself to harshly for any choice I’ve made since discovery.
Good luck to you finding your way through. It’s very hard to know the difference between a gut feeling that something is off and the after effects of being betrayed. I wish there were an easy way to tell the difference. They say to trust but verify, but I haven’t gotten to the trust part of the program in this new version of our relationship, and I may never get there. I just verify and reality check my way through my days and try to make th e best of what is left. Take care.
BW: 62 WH: 62 Both 57 on Dday, M 35 years, 2 grown kids. WH had 9 year A with MOW, 7 month false R, multiple DDays, years of trickle truth.
I got rid of her with one email. Reconciling, but the lies have piled up. Trying one more time, again.