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Reconciliation :
what's left?

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 ladyphoenix (original poster Member #72766) posted at 9:36 PM on Monday, August 30th, 2021

I am doing my best to accept/adapt to this new life. I listen to/read books, I am doing EMDR to manage triggers, we spend time together, we are loving, helpful, kind. I have stopped physically attacking him. I am working on expressing myself with less contempt in my voice.

He is a different man than he was before. He is working on being the best version of himself. He takes responsibility for his A and regrets all of the choices he made during that time. I see all these positive changes, but the TT has made me skeptical and suspicious. I am waiting for the next shoe to drop. He assures me that I know everything. He always says that...

Some days I come up against a wall of mind movies or triggers. I feel deep sadness knowing that he didn't value our relationship enough to keep any element safe. Sometimes it's when he kisses me, I end up thinking of him kissing her. Or a place they went to. Or simply holding my hand. So far I have been powering through those moments, trying to be mindful and dismiss them as events in the past that are not happening now. We have made so many memories in the last 2 1/2 years, but they don't seem to override my negative thoughts. What's left if I say that I don't want to do anything that they did together? Not much actually.

So I can't say that, because in the end I want to R and have a better relationship. I read all these posts about how we get stuck on the details and can't get past them. I am afraid that is where I am. The betrayal is weighing me down.

M 23 years, together 29. DD1 Feb 2019, DD2(TT) June 2019, DD3 (TT) July 2019, (TT) March 2020, (TT) Sept 2020We have 3 children: 22,18, 13 and a grandson April 2019. We work daily on R and building a stronger relationship.

posts: 95   ·   registered: Feb. 8th, 2020   ·   location: Canada
id 8686292
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FairyTaleGone ( Member #79059) posted at 9:57 PM on Monday, August 30th, 2021

I have no advice to give on this, but know you aren’t alone. I could have written this post myself. I’m so sorry that you have to deal with these thoughts too! Love and big hugs are being sent your way!

DDay 1 - 2/19/21 (found out about EA)
DDay 2 - 5/22/21 (TT found burner phone)
DDay 3 - 6/9/21 (TT found out about PA)

EA/PA ended 3/22/21 -WH went NC
Working on R
13yr old DD at home - unfortunately knows way too much

posts: 52   ·   registered: Jul. 2nd, 2021
id 8686299
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redfish ( Member #71426) posted at 10:31 PM on Monday, August 30th, 2021

I could have written this post myself.


Ditto, I'll watch this thread for helpful advice. Hope it's helpful there are others in same spot.

posts: 110   ·   registered: Aug. 28th, 2019   ·   location: USA
id 8686303
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WTAF ( New Member #79274) posted at 10:36 PM on Monday, August 30th, 2021

I am so sorry for what you are feeling and going through. It really sucks to be in that stuck place with details. I have asked myself that exact question, feeling sometimes like so many things are tainted and lost to me and wondering what is left. I have been looking at those things and thinking about what I can reclaim and how to go about doing that, and what is gone for good. If I look at triggers individually it isn't so overwhelming, and I can focus on them one at a time to figure out what I can do to diminish and take away their power over me.

I have gotten rid of several articles of his clothing that were triggers. We replaced our cars (they were old and junky anyway). There are certain places (restaurants, a few stores, and an entire city nearby) that are dead to me. Texting with emojis is also out; we now use gifs and bitmojis. Someday these things may not be so triggery, but for now this is how I cope with them. Full disclosure: that is only a partial list, my current "dead to me" list is actually fairly long.

On the reclaiming side of things I am not doing so well. What has helped quite a bit is finding new things that are just ours. We got season passes to some local touristy type places, took a few trips, made some concrete plans for our retirement years, and have made plans to revisit places that hold good pre-whore memories.

I hope that you are able to reclaim some happiness and that your new memories overtake the awful triggers. Hugs.

posts: 24   ·   registered: Aug. 13th, 2021   ·   location: West Coast
id 8686304
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thatbpguy ( Member #58540) posted at 11:34 PM on Monday, August 30th, 2021

A thought...

One word, to me, that describes a marriage is "secret". A marriage is a sacred secret held between two people. Our inner most thoughts, our dreams, our fears, our joys, our intimacies..... all within the realm of this secret. When someone steps outside the marriage the secret is gone. It's wide open and cannot be closed back up. The security of the secret no longer exists. Without that security and the things that were within, we become insecure. We want that secret back, but it never will. That loss is sorely felt.

ME: BHHer: WWDDay 1, R; DDay 2, R; DDay 3, I leftDivorcedRemarried to a wonderful woman

"There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind." C.S. Lewis

As a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool repeats his folly...

posts: 4454   ·   registered: May. 2nd, 2017   ·   location: Vancouver, WA
id 8686319
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13YearsR ( Member #58259) posted at 11:39 PM on Monday, August 30th, 2021

Sometimes I handled triggers by imagining how jealous the OW would be if she saw how attentive my H is, how into me he is, how much fun we have together. Especially triggers during sex.

She thought she had her hooks in him and was going to take him from me. Instead, I'M the one singing "Boom, I got your boyfriend" and thinking of her. blink

Flip it. grin

The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off. ~ Gloria Steinem

DDay 2004 Successful R and going on 33 years married

posts: 444   ·   registered: Apr. 13th, 2017   ·   location: TX
id 8686322
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Thumos ( Member #69668) posted at 11:55 PM on Monday, August 30th, 2021

Not sure I have comforting words. My WW dragged her feet on a timeline and poly for three years. When I finally got a timeline, it had new information and then she failed the poly. I don’t feel I have the truth, and it has steadily eroded my affection to the point where I feel about her as a FWB (never thought I’d feel that way about a woman, to be honest). I think many betrayed spouses ironically find themselves genuinely feeling "I love you but I’m not in love with you" (while that was just an untruthful throwaway line their wayward spouses used). This aspect isn’t talked about much in reconciliation and it probably should be more: what percentage of reconciliations end up with a stasis more akin to a FWB relationship?

"True character is revealed in the choices a human being makes under pressure. The greater the pressure, the deeper the revelation, the truer the choice to the character's essential nature."

BH (me): 50, WW: 49
Married: Feb. 1996
DDAY: Dec. 20

posts: 4229   ·   registered: Feb. 5th, 2019   ·   location: UNITED STATES
id 8686326
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jaynelovesvera ( Member #52130) posted at 12:00 AM on Tuesday, August 31st, 2021

I think many betrayed spouses ironically find themselves genuinely feeling "I love you but I’m not in love with you" (while that was just an untruthful throwaway line their wayward spouses used). This aspect isn’t talked about much in reconciliation and it probably should be more: what percentage of reconciliations end up with a stasis more akin to a FWB relationship?

That is pretty much where I am. I'm 5 years out. I got a long list of DDays and TT. She finally got it and confessed it all, poly to confirm. I actually feel like I do have the story. But it took too long. I've been at the ILYBINILWY place for three years now. I feel bad for it too. My WW is very much in love and it shows. And I'm not able to reciprocate.

BH

Freedom is what you do with what's been done to you. Jean-Paul Sartre

posts: 387   ·   registered: Mar. 5th, 2016   ·   location: United States
id 8686327
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Thumos ( Member #69668) posted at 1:33 AM on Tuesday, August 31st, 2021

Just this week I learned about the phenomenon of trauma bonding and the profound implications it has related to betrayal trauma, the abuse of infidelity, and why so many faithful spouses find it hard to leave but also hard to love as they did before. I started another thread on the topic which may interest you.

Also ladyphoenix, have you read the book “Cheating in a Nutshell”?

[This message edited by Thumos at 1:36 AM, Tuesday, August 31st]

"True character is revealed in the choices a human being makes under pressure. The greater the pressure, the deeper the revelation, the truer the choice to the character's essential nature."

BH (me): 50, WW: 49
Married: Feb. 1996
DDAY: Dec. 20

posts: 4229   ·   registered: Feb. 5th, 2019   ·   location: UNITED STATES
id 8686342
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 ladyphoenix (original poster Member #72766) posted at 2:20 PM on Tuesday, August 31st, 2021

FairyTaleGone, thank you for your kind support. It touched my heart to read your words. Your timeline is very similar to mine, two years later. It took my FWH another year to disclose the remaining details. Resetting me to the start each time. We are in a way better place now than two years ago. I see so much progress. It's a slow, slow process to healing.

Redfish, you are right, so many others in this same spot. Many of us suffering in silence but for this forum.

WTAF,

If I look at triggers individually it isn't so overwhelming, and I can focus on them one at a time to figure out what I can do to diminish and take away their power over me.


It's this exactly. When they bottleneck and come at me at once I am at a loss.

What has helped quite a bit is finding new things that are just ours.


I wholeheartedly agree with this and we have. I will try to focus on these new things instead. It's hard to let go of the pain of the past and grasp the joy of the future.

thatbpguy, I agree. The secret safe place has been violated. The loss is immeasurable.

The security of the secret no longer exists. Without that security and the things that were within, we become insecure. We want that secret back, but it never will. That loss is sorely felt.


Was there every really security, or just the illusion of security? I believed that we had a strong bond and deep lifelong commitment. At some point my FWH believed that bond was broken and then abandoned the commitment. Can we not re-establish the bond and re-affirm the commitment? Create a new secret? If so, how do we let go of the remains of the old secret and embrace the new?

13YearsR, I wish I could flip it. I want her to see us together and know that we are happy. And then I feel pathetic because I am fairly certain that she doesn't care at all. And why should she? She had a brief fling with a married man. She doesn't care about anyone but herself. She also knows that the married man didn't view his wife as someone to be valued and protected. She knows that he is a man who willing snuck out on his family to be with her.

I feel jealous of her and the time he spent with her. Jealous that he shared himself with her. Jealous that he turned to her and saw her with more value.

She thought she had her hooks in him and was going to take him from me.


I thought this at the very beginning too and three weeks after confronted her. I told her what a disgusting despicable human she was for pursuing a married man. That was before I knew everything. Before I was able to look at the actual betrayal by my H. I convinced myself that he was led into a trap. But, she didn't take him from me. In actual fact, he willing walked away.

I have a hard time convincing myself that he willingly stayed with me in the end. My inner critic is strong.

M 23 years, together 29. DD1 Feb 2019, DD2(TT) June 2019, DD3 (TT) July 2019, (TT) March 2020, (TT) Sept 2020We have 3 children: 22,18, 13 and a grandson April 2019. We work daily on R and building a stronger relationship.

posts: 95   ·   registered: Feb. 8th, 2020   ·   location: Canada
id 8686403
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numb&dumb ( Guide #28542) posted at 3:16 PM on Tuesday, August 31st, 2021

One thing that helped me was going to an IC to learn to figure myself out more. What worked for me might not do the same for you. EMDR helps with the involuntary mind movies, but honestly the voluntary mind movies were worse for me.

My IC indulged me for awhile before shifting the focus from my M or my W. It was very helpful to disentangle my indentity from my M. I was co-dependent and because of that I had trouble expressing my emotions in a vaccuum without using something else to describe them.

Tending to my physiological needs helped too. Plenty of rest, exercise, eat healthy, etc. I also started leaving the house more to foster friendships and hobbies outside of my family.

I figured since WW had time away from kids, family and me I was due the same. It was ok to be self focused more that I was confortable doing.

I know some would read that as having an A, but that is not what I am saying. It was about being ok with just doing things for myself by myself. I had to reconcile a lot of things within myself. I needed time and space to do that.

I hope that helps you find what works best for you. Please keep in mind that you can feel better and be happier than you are today. If nothing else just knowing it is possible got me through a lot of dark days.

Dday 8/31/11. EA/PA. Lied to for 3 years.

Bring it, life. I am ready for you.

posts: 4970   ·   registered: May. 17th, 2010
id 8686419
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13YearsR ( Member #58259) posted at 3:32 PM on Tuesday, August 31st, 2021

It's hard to let go of the pain of the past and grasp the joy of the future.

I remind myself frequently, and often aloud, to "Get in today." Sometimes I even shake my head to rattle the bad thoughts out and exhale loudly to blow them away, then say it. I think it's hugely important to work at letting go of the past, not living in thoughts of tomorrow, and really being present in the moment.

Before I was able to look at the actual betrayal by my H. I convinced myself that he was led into a trap. But, she didn't take him from me. In actual fact, he willing walked away.

Yes, that's very true. HE did this. She was an accomplice. I'm lucky in that my WS confessed and, once he had committed to R, he never TTd me. That made all the difference in the way that I was able to handle triggers. Once he was back, he was in and he was on my side, so she was the clear enemy. The call wasn't coming from inside the house anymore. I totally understand that your experience is different.

I feel jealous of her and the time he spent with her. Jealous that he shared himself with her. Jealous that he turned to her and saw her with more value.

I feel sorry for her that she settled for being his dirty little secret. That she knowingly accepted sloppy seconds. That he didn't value her enough to take off his wedding ring while he was touching her, or leave his wife to be with her. #FlipIt

I have a hard time convincing myself that he willingly stayed with me in the end.

He's not hogtied in the basement, right? He has free will. smile

The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off. ~ Gloria Steinem

DDay 2004 Successful R and going on 33 years married

posts: 444   ·   registered: Apr. 13th, 2017   ·   location: TX
id 8686424
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13YearsR ( Member #58259) posted at 3:34 PM on Tuesday, August 31st, 2021

It was about being ok with just doing things for myself by myself. I had to reconcile a lot of things within myself. I needed time and space to do that.

Yes. This. I always say to take care of yourself first and everything else will fall into place.

The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off. ~ Gloria Steinem

DDay 2004 Successful R and going on 33 years married

posts: 444   ·   registered: Apr. 13th, 2017   ·   location: TX
id 8686425
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 ladyphoenix (original poster Member #72766) posted at 3:43 PM on Tuesday, August 31st, 2021

Thumos,
I read many of your posts and find them thought provoking. I empathize with your experience of your WW dragging her feet. It's horrible when the one you love the most betrays you and then tries to bury you in the quicksand of their lies. After 25+ years you think you know a person..

what percentage of reconciliations end up with a stasis more akin to a FWB relationship?

That's a good question. I would think many do.
I love and am in love with my FWH. My love for him has remained strong through all of this. What I am struggling with at the moment is knowing that he replaced me so easily at that time, that his love for me was lacking. That nothing was sacred or important enough to keep safe and just ours. Also that he is unaware of how often the A intrudes in my thoughts.

I will take a look at your other thread for sure.

I have not read that book. I am not sure that it's the right book for me. I am committed to R and from what I have read, it is not optimistic about R. Perhaps I am burying my head in the sand a little. I have read many books and got a lot from The Body Keeps the Score. I am currently reading complex ptsd as recommended by another poster.

I know I need to adapt and let go of the past. It seems to me there is a fine line between rugsweeping and moving on. How do I know if I am not just rugsweeping and it's going to come back and bite me in the ass in a decade from now?!

M 23 years, together 29. DD1 Feb 2019, DD2(TT) June 2019, DD3 (TT) July 2019, (TT) March 2020, (TT) Sept 2020We have 3 children: 22,18, 13 and a grandson April 2019. We work daily on R and building a stronger relationship.

posts: 95   ·   registered: Feb. 8th, 2020   ·   location: Canada
id 8686428
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 ladyphoenix (original poster Member #72766) posted at 5:05 PM on Tuesday, August 31st, 2021

13YearsR,

He's not hogtied in the basement, right? He has free will.

Well... look
Thank you! I actually laughed out loud.
He definitely has free will. He always did. My logical side agrees, my skeptical side says "how long will he choose me".

I remind myself frequently, and often aloud, to "Get in today." Sometimes I even shake my head to rattle the bad thoughts out and exhale loudly to blow them away, then say it. I think it's hugely important to work at letting go of the past, not living in thoughts of tomorrow, and really being present in the moment.

I will give this a try, thank you.

M 23 years, together 29. DD1 Feb 2019, DD2(TT) June 2019, DD3 (TT) July 2019, (TT) March 2020, (TT) Sept 2020We have 3 children: 22,18, 13 and a grandson April 2019. We work daily on R and building a stronger relationship.

posts: 95   ·   registered: Feb. 8th, 2020   ·   location: Canada
id 8686446
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 ladyphoenix (original poster Member #72766) posted at 5:32 PM on Tuesday, August 31st, 2021

numb&dumb,
I am working on my own healing. I think that's why I am able to look at the whole picture periodically. I have made changes in my life and taken steps to improve myself as well as our relationship. I am a work in progress.

I wish I could just snap my fingers and be healed. This day by day business is overwhelming! Taking care of me is hard to do when everyone else has to be taken care of too. I am learning what real self care is about.

In the past I would put my own needs at the bottom of the list. I am now able to honour my needs as well as those of my family.

I hope that helps you find what works best for you. Please keep in mind that you can feel better and be happier than you are today. If nothing else just knowing it is possible got me through a lot of dark days.


Thank you for this, I think what it may come down to for me is to stop immersing myself in the pain and negative thoughts. Take time for me. Let go and enjoy the life that is in front of me.

M 23 years, together 29. DD1 Feb 2019, DD2(TT) June 2019, DD3 (TT) July 2019, (TT) March 2020, (TT) Sept 2020We have 3 children: 22,18, 13 and a grandson April 2019. We work daily on R and building a stronger relationship.

posts: 95   ·   registered: Feb. 8th, 2020   ·   location: Canada
id 8686455
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numb&dumb ( Guide #28542) posted at 8:12 PM on Tuesday, August 31st, 2021

No worries. If you like to read there are some great books out there on mindfulness. Amit Sood is the I seem to relate to the best.

If there is a silver lining in all of this is that I learned self care is not optional and I refuse to compromise on that anymore. It really is something positive I gained in the midst of all the hurt.

Be kind to yourself. You are worth it :)

Dday 8/31/11. EA/PA. Lied to for 3 years.

Bring it, life. I am ready for you.

posts: 4970   ·   registered: May. 17th, 2010
id 8686492
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Notaboringwife ( Member #74302) posted at 10:11 PM on Tuesday, August 31st, 2021

He definitely has free will. He always did. My logical side agrees, my skeptical side says "how long will he choose me".

We had a 40 year marriage, prior to his affair. He had an OW for 15 months, including the three months of living with her when I dumped him on D-Day. We are reunited for 2 + years.

He has free will alright. So do I. He asked to return to me. My choice was to say yes with boundaries. Free will.

He can go anytime he wants to. So can I. Free will.

Oh those "cursed little" reminders/triggers. They do crop up unexpectedly. How to deal with them is personal. Somedays I choose to feel sad for a while, other days I "stick my tongue out" at the trigger. But I am by myself when I do that! laugh Then I giggle at my acting like a child... more grin

I am going to plan a trip with my new friend as soon as we can. Without my husband. She is newly divorced, we met at a woman's group for separated/divorced women. At that time I had separated from my husband. She is my support, my rock. We both are rebuilding our lives, sure differently but we are rebuilding.

I need to do stuff for me and that is what is left for me to do. Not necessarily all with my husband. I am not interested in reclaiming the places they had gone to together. I am interested in reclaiming my happiness and excitement in visiting those same beautiful places.

I care for my health and well-being first. Some people call it selfish. But after an affair, I call it surviving.

"Healing is not about moving on or "getting over it," it’s about learning to make peace with our pain and finding purpose in our lives again."

posts: 211   ·   registered: Apr. 24th, 2020
id 8686523
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HardKnocks ( Member #70957) posted at 3:59 PM on Wednesday, September 1st, 2021

I care for my health and well-being first. Some people call it selfish. But after an affair, I call it surviving.

I also call it "thriving."

I didn't want to have to be betrayed to widen my focus in life. I wish I had done that out the gate. For whatever reason, I didn't. Long marriages--easy to get entwined, perhaps to an unhealthy level. Two really good therapists helped me recenter. Despite the grief, it feels so much better. My future is not dependent on my relationship. If the relationship stops serving me, the relationship will go, but I will be OK. Fear is a MF and it will definitely keep you stuck. Freedom can be found from looking in and rebuilding your own foundation.

BW 30 year marriage.
DDay2 2/20 5 month PA
My Ducks are Aligned and I'm Good to Go! :)

posts: 307   ·   registered: Jul. 7th, 2019
id 8686613
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earlydetour ( Member #63207) posted at 4:33 PM on Wednesday, September 1st, 2021

My logical side agrees, my skeptical side says "how long will he choose me".

You need to flip this and internalize in yourself that YOU have free will to choose to be with HIM or not with him - the ball isn't in his court. This where the advice of "you need to be willing to loose the relationship/marriage" comes into play. Once you truly believe and act like you will be ok if R isn't working for YOU, and you DO have the right to decide this at any point, you'll find yourself in a better position to view these things in your life.

Your wh may know you are struggling with the "him continuing to choose me" and may not truly be concerned that you have free will to make choices. Also, you mentioned working on your M. You aren't very far out from your DD and need to be careful that both you and your wh may be focusing on the M rather than wh working on himself and you recovering from the betrayal trauma. It may come across as partly blaming the M for the A.

Aim for the best case & plan for the worst case.When you encounter a detour on life's journey, pick yourself up and MAKE the road YOU want to be on. Finding my own path.

posts: 249   ·   registered: Mar. 28th, 2018   ·   location: US
id 8686621
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