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Healing and Reconciliation on two different schedules

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mrplspls posted 12/18/2020 13:07 PM

Millions do, millions don't.

I knew of a disturbance in our marriage, we had a rough summer, the summer of 88, but we got through it.
Then we had three children, she dedicated herself to me. She would do anything to erase those terrible weeks from long ago.
She is in therapy, I am in therapy.
We are not alone in trying to heal a long ago, deeply regretted infidelity episode.
Yes I am her husband and defender. Every aspect of our story I share with you and others here..... it is from her. She does not share this story with pride, she shares it with shame, horror, remorse. She takes on too much responsibility
If we are to go on to a future, punishing her for a stupid past makes no sense to me

mrplspls posted 12/18/2020 13:11 PM

removed

[This message edited by mrplspls at 12:29 PM, December 19th (Saturday)]

Thumos posted 12/18/2020 13:13 PM

24 and 25 isn't that young. Without going into details, I already owned my first home at 25 and had a very high profile and demanding job with some national notoriety. I was dating my eventual wife at this time, and I was traveling all over the country.

I was surrounded by attractive women, several who were interested in me. One of those women did some things that would probably be considered sexual harassment if a man did them to a woman. I stayed completely faithful to my then-girlfriend in this period. We weren't engaged.

25 year old women aren't little lost girls in the woods. The late 80s/early 90s weren't the 1950s. Liberated women are equal and were at this time, and they make decisions as fully functioning adults.

[This message edited by Thumos at 1:14 PM, December 18th (Friday)]

Thumos posted 12/18/2020 13:17 PM

mrplspls I hope everything works out for you one way or the other. I won't return threats and violent language with the same. I'm a pretty big guy, so not many would try it, but you might get the better of me if you cold-cocked me. You're in pain. I hope your wife steps up. Best to you.

[This message edited by Thumos at 1:18 PM, December 18th (Friday)]

Butforthegrace posted 12/18/2020 13:51 PM

I knew of a disturbance in our marriage, we had a rough summer, the summer of 88, but we got through it.

Mr++. Your thread is unique, as is every thread here. My observation about "discovered years later" threads is that what seems to matter the most is the quality of the marriage in the years leading up to the discovery. It sounds like, in your case, this has been high.

I can tell that you love your wife and intend to sincerely invest yourself into seeing if R can work. I wish you well.

However, I need to point out that, based on a ton of amassed, crowd-sourced experience here on SI, rug-sweeping is the almost one sure thing that can derail R even against the most sincere efforts. The surest and best way is addressing the A head-on and acknowledging that it will be a permanent third party to your marriage going forward.

To that end, part of what is unique about your thread is that you "kind of knew" IRT when she was having a sexual affair with her "boss". You clenched up and looked the other way, for whatever reason you had at that time. This is why it's still and issue for you now, all these years later, and yet we -- strangers on the internet -- see you here now, years later, doing the same thing. We're all telling you: "don't do it; you'll only regret it later." But for some reason, rug-sweeping seems to be your default. Maybe you're conflict avoidant.

Which leads me to this:

I knew of a disturbance in our marriage, we had a rough summer, the summer of 88, but we got through it.

You were both in the same relationship, in the same rough summer. How did you deal with it? By having a sexual relationship with another woman?

Bigger posted 12/18/2020 14:26 PM

The main reason I suggested mrplspls move over here from JFO was to avoid “contributions” like some of the recent ones.
Reconciliation does require hard questions and making hard realizations, but there is no need to rub hard statements – even if they might be true – into the face of the poster. Mrplspls knows his wife had sex with OM and knows she talked about leaving him. Yet he’s here… In reconciliation…

Mrplspls – remember you CAN ask posters to leave your thread. They might not comply, but that will just confirm to you their caliber.

I’ll protect your from the hooded claw,
Keep the vampires from your door…

MangledHeart posted 12/18/2020 15:20 PM

mrplspls you have a private message.

mrplspls posted 12/18/2020 15:29 PM

Good bye Thumos.
I regret losing my temper and using violent words with you.

No need for you to participate in this thread anymore as I know exactly what you are going to say.

If rug sweeping bought me 32 years of married life and rug sweeping is going to give me another 32, taking me to the age of 95, then rug sweeping I am doing.... gladly. Happily, joyously.

I did not come her to argue, fuss and fight.

Please leave

longsadstory1952 posted 12/19/2020 00:29 AM

So you seem generally ok. When you first came on you were reeling in pain. Do you think you are now where you need to be?

You are going to have moments. I do once in a while. Over the years the moments went from rage to depression to mind movies to dull ache to flatness. Nowadays I just shake my head as “how could anyone be so stupid?” She risked everything. For what? I guess that would be called philosophical. Just comes with time.

There comes a time when you decide that you are not going to let this take over your life. You decide it’s not worth fighting over every trigger. After a while you adjust and live your life.

This is a good place to vent as you get there.

Booyah posted 12/19/2020 03:54 AM

You might not like what a poster has to say but threatening them, saying you'd "punch them in the face" and "SPIT on them" and "stomp your face" is freaking WAY OUT OF LINE and you should be called out for saying this.

And bigger your reply to this is he can ask the poster to leave the thread???


Bigger posted 12/19/2020 05:44 AM

Booyah – Since this is off topic this will be the only post I will write here on this subject. If you feel a need for more then we could either go to PM’s or you could start a thread about it.

Disciplinary action is handled by the mods and admins – not us members. If you think I overstepped some line then report me and they will deal with it as appropriate. Just like they did with Mrplspls and his comments. I don’t know the content of the PM Mrplspls got from MangledHeart, but I’m guessing it was pointers on behavior. Maybe I will get one.

This thread is about Mrplspls and how best to help him. He moved out of JFO as per my suggestion because the Reconciliation forum does have guidelines including “the goal for this forum is to reconcile“. I was hoping the posters most negative about mrplspls chances of R on JFO would respect that and stay away OR contribute in accordance to the guidelines.

Regarding ignoring posters. I have several times offered to leave threads if the original poster isn’t happy with my advice. I often leave threads if I sense they don’t like what I say and/or are not listening. Doesn’t mean I think I’m wrong or offering bad advice – it’s rather that I realize I’m not helping in THAT situation. It's not about us but about the person seeking help.

Booyah posted 12/19/2020 12:56 PM

My apologies bigger as I thought you were a mod.

Stand by my comment that threatening someone with violence has NO place here on SI.

HouseOfPlane posted 12/19/2020 16:54 PM

Bleep

[This message edited by HouseOfPlane at 8:19 AM, December 20th (Sunday)]

wifehad5 posted 12/19/2020 18:56 PM

It was dealt with. Let's move on please.

Bigger posted 12/19/2020 19:43 PM

Mrplspls
To get this thread back on topic I’m sharing some thoughts about your situation.

The reason I asked about OM was to better understand the dynamics behind the affair.

Now – let’s be totally clear on one issue: No matter how, why, when or whatever a spouse cheats the fault lies totally 100% on THEM.
Get it? Even if I was the only male stranded on an island with a dozen nymphomaniac Ms. Universe candidates and there was no hope of rescue then it would not absolve me of my responsibility to remain faithful. It might give a better understanding of why I might break my vows, but never justify it or even minimize my blame. Let’s be very clear on that.

Now if you had shared that the manager was in his late 30’s, charismatic, successful and a reputation as a womanizer then we might be having an aha moment and realizing how your wife was possibly groomed or led into an affair. But even if that was the case… Still 100% accountable.
It’s like now there is a thread in the Wayward forum by a guy who basically describes his OW as a femme fatal who enticed him step-by-step. He’s getting hit pretty hard over the head to assume accountability. A charmer/player, incubus or succubus – not the real issue. It might help us better understand the why and how and maybe even the depth of the affair. But… at each and every step your wife had the possibility and ability to prevent it and/or end it.

Let’s be clear on her accountability because that accountability is one of the basic building stones for TWO factors: Your WW ability to become a better person AND the base your reconciliation can be built on.

Frankly – I don’t see any “aha” factors in your WW affair… The OM is of a comparable age. Granted at 24 then 5 years older is a lot, but still – comparable ages. He isn’t the successful top-manager, just a striving boss. Based on what you shared then it’s not as if he was doing your wife one week and then Debby in stocks the next. This was just a plain old affair. I don’t know who ended it or why it ended or if there was ever any real intention on his half to take this further. But then I don’t know if there was any clear or real intention on HER part either. Yes – I know she said she thought of leaving you… But she didn’t.


If you can then hold her accountable. I don’t expect you to like the OM, but he really has little role in any possible reconciliation. Your wife had an affair and there is no real explanation or any mitigating information that can make you think that maybe part of the reason or blame lies elsewhere.

Holding her accountable and her acknowledging her blame creates a milestone to work from. Since you want to reconcile then you try to adapt a stance of “despite your actions and without ever approving or dismissing them I want to work on our marriage”.

One basic in human behavior is justification. It’s easier to justify to yourself cheating by calling it love and all that rather than calling it what it generally is: validation and cheap thrills. It’s a lot easier to say “I thought I loved him and that he was really what I wanted” or “you were so distant” or “the sex with him was so great” than saying “Well… He made me feel important and grown up and I knew I was cheating but those ego-kibbles were like heroin”.
I have a feeling that the later statement would be closer to the truth…

In your thread on JFO I was big on a poly. The reason for that is I think that at some point you need to feel like you have the truth. A poly would be a great tool to get that base. You can also decide you have the truth. I’m fine with that too.
You probably have the truth that she had the affair and is accountable for it, irrespective of who flirted first, initiated the first kiss or whatever. You probably have a detailed-enough timeline. I think 33 years can cloud memories. You have the truth about the last contact.

I doubt you will get the truth down to minute details. I just don’t. I think truth to the level you need is the key, but due to the time since she might not be able to provide that. Plus – what does it matter now? Some of the details we need are relatively minute and/or relevant because there might still be infidelity-related mementos or enablers. Like if she had sex with him in your 1985 Ford Victoria and you guys were still driving it then that would be an issue…

Keep in mind that it’s OK for you to not need more info. It’s OK for you to realize that you can be OK with her having had an affair. That’s not the same as accepting or agreeing with her having had an affair, but much more like accepting someone that did wrong but has (hopefully) reformed.

I think marriages can never be more whole than the people in it. I can imagine a marriage where one is totally content but the other miserable. That would not be a good marriage IMHO. I also think that a marriage where one spouse was hiding such a deep and important secret prevents that person from being whole, and therefore impacts the marriage happiness. Basically – although it would be ideal, she never had cheated then since she did it’s better that it be in the open and known. I don’t think your marriage could reach it’s potential if she had been denying or hiding the affair for eternity.

I also get the feeling you might have of not having had the choice. The choice to R or D or whatever. Well… that’s true but it’s been true from the moment she decided to cross that line. It’s become more of an issue of time.
I’m guessing grown kids? Empty nest (or near empty)?
What’s holding you from leaving?

You DO have a choice. You CAN decide this in the past is a deal-breaker that you can’t deal with and remain married.
To me that’s quite important. I think a key to a successful marriage lies (amongst other places) in realizing that the ONLY thing keeping you married is the commitment of the partners. Either one of you could decide to divorce and there isn’t much the other can do about it. This fragility should keep us on our toes and make us take better care of the marriage.
Stop feeling like you don’t have options. You do, only they might not be the ones you want. In tough situations the options are sometimes based on selecting the least harmful one.

Keep in mind that she too has had options. I hate the plan A and plan B talk of many because it makes all stakeholders so shallow. There is no denying that while in infidelity your marriage was a sham, but there is no reason to think your wife was so limited in thought, looks or options to have settled for a B option for all these years. Least of all now when the kids are grown and divorce so easy.

I hope you might find something to contemplate or work with in the above text. If not – please don’t beat me!

Cooley2here posted 12/19/2020 22:58 PM

Don’t use the word reconciliation. Your marriage has lasted too long for that.
My husband says that the car he would love to own is an older Mercedes gull wing thingamajig. So, let’s use that car as analogy. You own it, love it, then someone puts sand in the gas and ruins the motor. You find another motor, replace it and to everyone else it looks like the original car. It drives perfectly, you maintain it and most of the time forget that isn’t the exact car you used to have. So do you sell it, junk it, or continue to drive and enjoy it? Life stinks sometimes. People do stupid things. We have choices and we weigh things. What would our lives be if we took another road. The one you’re on sounds like it’s been a good one until now. I hope you can get past what your wife did. I did the same. My husband won’t ever own that Mercedes and I know he cheated years ago. I love him and the life we have. That’s enough for me.

mrplspls posted 12/21/2020 09:53 AM

Bigger and Cooley2here

Wonderful contributions, food for thought.

I will respond soon, with hopefully a matching quality....

mrplspls posted 1/27/2021 13:25 PM

I hope this reads as clearly as I intend.

We have talked and healed. I have learned to listen and learn.

I have been able to repeat her words and observations back to her. I remind her that I am a husband, not a therapist. But I try to help in both areas.

I am convinced that there will always be a thread of responsibility that she will have to carry for the rest of her days, but I do point out to her that the level of responsibility of an "affair" versus a "abusive, manipulative, #badboss, #metoo, sexual exploitation" is vastly different. I remind her that she was drunk, pressured, groomed and isolated. She was invited to a party in 87 at the boss' house.... to be continued

Banjo posted 3/8/2021 10:22 AM

How are you doing Mrplspls? I hope reconciliation is going well for you.

mrplspls posted 3/26/2021 11:52 AM

We are still together, we have a great number of great days. Maybe R progress makes you over confident.
Thinks took a tumble this month. A beloved relative living overseas died suddenly while walking her dog at age 70 something. Healthy and the death was sudden and unexpected.
Grief affected mood for both of us. Hurt feelings came back. Some temperamental exchanges. Then our adult daughter aged 25 caught covid 19. So put aside dispute mood and rally together. Daughter in first days.
We have discussed going back to our couples psychologist for further therapy.
I am not sure of our path ahead.
We are together.

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