Newest Member: AcesEights

Reconciliation :
What was lost, even with a successful reconciliation

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marriageredux959 ( member #69375) posted at 4:15 AM on Thursday, October 28th, 2021

^^^
P.S.
OldWounds, waitedwaytoolong,

Solid posts. <3
Thank you.

I was once a June bride.
I am now a June phoenix.
The phoenix is more powerful.
The Bride is Dead.
Long Live The Phoenix.

posts: 497   ·   registered: Jan. 9th, 2019
id 8695363
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Luna10 ( member #60888) posted at 10:07 AM on Thursday, October 28th, 2021

Some great posts here.

In my case I focused on the loss a lot for the first 3 years. I still do sometime. Of course there is a loss, for me it is mainly a skewed belief system, an illusionary concept loss: the belief that I married the only man that walked the earth who wouldn’t hurt me, his spouse, who would have me at the forefront of his mind in any actions he took (what would my spouse think?). These beliefs that I manufactured and projected were deeply rooted in my childhood, in effect my standards with regards to the man I married were pretty low: he had to be a non drinker and a non cheater. That’s all.

The man I married had his own ghosts as well. He did not drink and he did not cheat for a long time. Ideal man for me. But he also had a wall around him preventing him to be truly authentic and vulnerable and a skewed view of relationships due to what he saw at home growing up. Attraction and love had to "just happen" in his view, no work had to be put in. The woman had to constantly be admiring and treat the man like a God. (His mum was the ow to her current husband and my WH witnessed all his mum’s manipulative behaviour during the years of the affair). Bottom line, we were perfect for each other.

So until dday we both had what we both believed a very happy marriage. My WH only admitted to being routined on dday but otherwise happy. He basically cheated out of boredom, or at least that’s what it looked like on the surface of it. Oh and because "it just happened". Because of our low expectations standards, it truly was a happy marriage in our view. I was getting the non drinker and non cheater with the added bonus of a husband who helped with chores around the house (lucky me!) and spent time with us, and he got the wife who tolerated his lack of vulnerability and his desire of control treating me as a guest in his life when it came to big decisions. This of course built resentment on both sides more so as the marriage aged and things such as attraction and love didn’t just happen anymore, you had to work for it. Some interesting facts are that our sex life was pretty good and I was the one accepting less as I thought he was tired (contrary to the belief that women don’t want sex and men go and cheat), also on dday my WH tried to convince me he loves us both, after all he didn’t want to lose the docile wife, although the woman he chose to cheat on me with had even lower expectations.

With all this in mind I still felt I lost everything on dday, we were happily married, everyone said this, people around us, extended family and friends were shocked hearing about his betrayal. Until we started unpacking the load, on both sides, we kept believing our marriage was happy pre dday.

I then realised the only way R could work for me (and this has been mentioned by someone earlier in the thread), the only way to remain married to a cheater was for more, not for less.

So WE started working on this. In the early days I remember my WH’s entitled reactions to my demands. His docile wife found her standards and high expectations. He fought letting go of it for a while. In IC and later MC he realised he treated me as a nice addition to his life but never as a true partner. He realised marriage is hard work you put in, the grass is always greener where you water it. He realised that giving is more fulfilling than receiving or keeping count of who gives more.

I won’t detail everything we changed or all the hard work. But I can truly say we do have a much better marriage now, we communicate so much more, we live more authentically.

What was lost for me ultimately was something, an idea, that kept me stuck in an unequal marriage due to my own FO issues. I wouldn’t go back there even if you would offer to give me a time machine and take away the cheating. I like the new me. I can’t guarantee WH will never cheat again but I can guarantee I’ve built a new me that will be able to move on with relatively low impact. I like being loved and treated the way I deserve, I like having high expectations from the person next to me.

Don’t get me wrong, it would have been great to get here without the cheating. I don’t know how that would have been possible though. We, both of us, had to experience trauma in order to look deep down and enable growth. I’m not grateful for the cheating, I am proud though of what we are both achieving one day at a time.

BW - 38 at the time of the A
WH - 45 at the time of the A
Dday - 27/9/2017

posts: 1412   ·   registered: Oct. 2nd, 2017   ·   location: Europe
id 8695376
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ZetaCephei ( new member #79378) posted at 10:12 AM on Thursday, October 28th, 2021

It is still very early after d-day for me and we are by no means successfully reconcilled, I am not even sure if I am capable of R with him. So I can't talk about how our marriage will be, but I already know, what I lost and I don't think I will ever get it back. The old me, the one who believed in true love conquers all, in soulmates, even in fairytales a little bit, for whom trust was a default setting, is gone. The one who used to wake up sometimes and just feel such joy and happiness and gratitude for all I had. Who loved with all my heart and believed was loved back the same way. Now, everything is meh at best.

I loved the old me and I will always miss her. I don't know who the new me will be and maybe I will grow to love her too, but a part of me is gone forever and it is so sad.

[This message edited by ZetaCephei at 10:28 AM, Thursday, October 28th]

Me: BW
Him: WH, 9 years + 5 years LTAs simultaneously + 4 ONS
Dday1: July 2021, Dday2: September 2021
Just living from day to day, not capable for any major decision at the moment

posts: 18   ·   registered: Sep. 8th, 2021
id 8695377
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Ladybugmaam ( member #69881) posted at 3:38 PM on Thursday, October 28th, 2021

I would have called my marriage "awesome" pre-DDay, but truthfully....I had set the bar REALLY low.

Sure, I lost the naive belief that this would never happen to us. But, it was a naive belief system. Sure, I have lost blind trust. But, I have a much greater trust in myself. Sure, I've lost a former friend/OW.....but truthfully, I sensed something was off with her from the moment I met her.....I just tried to give her the benefit of the doubt - which she will never have from me. Now....if people feel "off"....I run in the other direction.

But, I've gained so much more. The trial of this whole, albeit unnecessary, drama and pain...is that I've gained a H who makes us a priority in ways he never did before. He's become so much more appreciative of what he has in our marriage and our family. I've gained a connection with him that I had lost. I've gained someone who is willing to do all sorts of heavy lifting for me and for us.

Do I hate that this had to happen for him to come to this realization? - 100 times yes. Do I hate that this had to happen for me to know that I deserved so much more? - 100 times yes.

At this point, and I don't think that this is the case, but if we didn't work out....I could leave him as a friend and co-parent well with him. I know that I'd rather see him happy with someone else, than miserable with me. But, I do think he must be all in...or we wouldn't still be here together fighting for us.

We mess things up on the regular, but I'm grateful of who we've both become....NOT how we got there.

Everyone has trials. Every relationship has trials. I'm glad about how we've grown together.

EA DD 11/2018
PA DD 2/25/19
One teen son

posts: 186   ·   registered: Feb. 26th, 2019
id 8695400
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Seeking2Forgive ( member #78819) posted at 5:45 PM on Thursday, October 28th, 2021

Do I hate that this had to happen for him to come to this realization? - 100 times yes. Do I hate that this had to happen for me to know that I deserved so much more? - 100 times yes.

I don't agree with this thinking. "This had to happen," is BS, in my view. Yeah, it may be really, really difficult for a WS to recognize and fix their personal issues, but so is overcoming the fact that someone who swore their fidelity to you lied and cheated.

This notion that there's no way they could fix what's wrong with them without hitting rock bottom releases them of responsibility for their choices. What if instead of cheating they had decided that their only way out was to murder you in your sleep? It's a rough way to finally figure out what's wrong with yourself but they had to get to that point to figure it out, right?

No. I think that's just giving your WS an excuse. Yes, that may help you accept or forgive what happened. I accepted what happened all those years ago. But I never fully dealt with it and that was in part because I bought into the blame shifting and excuses. I hope that soon I'll finally find forgiveness for that. Real forgiveness should be based on the fact that she made those choices because it was an easier way out than doing the hard work of fixing herself.

You may think that notions like "absolute trust" or "true love" are naive and foolish and therefore no great loss. But I would have been happy to have made it through life without having those notions destroyed. So it's untrue to think that's not a real loss.

And then there's the time they have stolen from you. However good you may feel now, it was not necessary for your WS to force you to spend months or years sifting through the rubble of your marriage and dealing with emotional trauma to fix their personal issues and maybe address some relationship issues.

Me: 59, BS
Her: 58, FWS
Dday: 11/15/03
Married 37 yrs
Reconciled

posts: 115   ·   registered: May. 18th, 2021
id 8695422
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Oldwounds ( member #54486) posted at 7:18 PM on Thursday, October 28th, 2021

This notion that there's no way they could fix what's wrong with them without hitting rock bottom releases them of responsibility for their choices.

I understand what you're saying -- but no one around this house was released from the responsibility of their choices.

I think there are WS who avoid that responsibility, but I wouldn't R with someone who didn't completely own their actions.

And then again is there is the 'what if' problem. Some people may have fixed things wrong with them before they hit rock bottom, but my wife is clearly not one of those people.

I used to call my wife's A an avoidable tragedy.

One of my good SI friends here called on me on that. He was certain SOME people DO need to fail this horribly in order to change.

This morning, I don't care anymore whether it was avoidable or not. Infidelity happened. Now what?

I'm not going to be able to enjoy the huge changes my wife has made if I live only in our worst moments.

Again, I could I focus on the horror show, and punish my wife until the end of time, but that's not really the life I'm looking to live.

I chose this R.

I gave this gift of a last chance.

I know it ain't easy, or fair, but there are people worthy of redemption (although again -- we don't owe them this chance) and my life is freakishly improved with the changes we've made individually and as a rebuilding team.

Married 34+ years, together 40+ years
Two awesome adult sons.
Dday 6/16 4-year LTA Survived
Restoration takes time.
"Circumstances don't make the man, they only reveal him to himself." ― Epictetus

posts: 4217   ·   registered: Aug. 4th, 2016   ·   location: PNW. The adventure continues.
id 8695441
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Seeking2Forgive ( member #78819) posted at 7:40 AM on Friday, October 29th, 2021

I'm not going to be able to enjoy the huge changes my wife has made if I live only in our worst moments.

Again, I could I focus on the horror show, and punish my wife until the end of time, but that's not really the life I'm looking to live.

Recognizing that your spouse didn't have to cheat in order to figure out what was wrong with them doesn't mean that you have to do any of that. Neither does accepting that there was real loss, and real harm done.

I appreciate all the work my FWW did to get emotionally healthy after Dday. Those changes made it possible for us to enjoy nearly 20 years of love and happiness since then. But I can accept that she made terrible, selfish choices that did real, lasting damage without rationalizing it as something that had to happen to get where we're at now.

Me: 59, BS
Her: 58, FWS
Dday: 11/15/03
Married 37 yrs
Reconciled

posts: 115   ·   registered: May. 18th, 2021
id 8695539
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Ladybugmaam ( member #69881) posted at 2:44 PM on Friday, October 29th, 2021

I agree with some of the previous posts that it didn’t HAVE to happen. Problem is that it did. I can’t change that. It was wrong, no doubt. It was wholly unnecessary - but it DID happen. Maybe it did have to happen for my FWH to reach the conclusions he did. Nearly 3 years out from DDay, and I’m struck. I honestly can’t say that I don’t know of a relationship that isn’t touched by some kind of infidelity. That doesn’t excuse the choices made. It certainly doesn’t belittle the pain caused. It stinks all around. I’m not at all holding him harmless for what he choose.

But, it did happen. I’m glad for where we are now.

EA DD 11/2018
PA DD 2/25/19
One teen son

posts: 186   ·   registered: Feb. 26th, 2019
id 8695640
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Oldwounds ( member #54486) posted at 7:10 PM on Friday, October 29th, 2021

Neither does accepting that there was real loss, and real harm done.

I don’t know anyone here who doesn’t see real loss or harm done.

For me, and I only ever speak from where I’m at and my experience — it’s about where I want to be and that’s focused on that joy and happiness versus living in the loss.

I’ll always KNOW the damage is done, and the scars will NEVER go away.

My only concern is for members who may live more in what was lost than what was gained. That can be an anchor on any R.

I lived in misery a long time in life, focused on some other personal tragedies. Infidelity may be worse than all or most of them. I have just found putting my energy into where I am today serves me far better than where I was yesterday. Or six years ago.

Face the loss, wrap your head around the loss and then if you’re rebuilding something, focus on the what is going well — has worked for me.

I appreciate all the work my FWW did to get emotionally healthy after Dday. Those changes made it possible for us to enjoy nearly 20 years of love and happiness since then. But I can accept that she made terrible, selfish choices that did real, lasting damage without rationalizing it as something that had to happen to get where we're at now.

I’ve always loved the concept by author Robert Heinlein essentially noting, ‘man is not a rational being, but a rationalization being.’

That aside, I noted my friend here suggested SOME people need to fail that far, and my wife seems to be in that category.

Maybe she is, maybe she isn’t.

The only reality I have is that she did what she did.

Ultimately, the reasons or lack or reasons really don’t matter to me. Despite the four years I looked for reasons and tried to understand what I’ll never be able to fully understand, because I haven’t made those same shitty choices.

As long as my wife understands as much as she can about the damage caused and isn’t interested in causing MORE damage, I got someone who I can work with.

I had my chances to cross the line. I found a key reason was I didn’t want to hurt my wife with that choice. Not the only one, but the thought crossed my mind over the years. I also always wanted to make the best choice possible for me and mine.

Married 34+ years, together 40+ years
Two awesome adult sons.
Dday 6/16 4-year LTA Survived
Restoration takes time.
"Circumstances don't make the man, they only reveal him to himself." ― Epictetus

posts: 4217   ·   registered: Aug. 4th, 2016   ·   location: PNW. The adventure continues.
id 8695738
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Tanner ( member #72235) posted at 7:28 PM on Friday, October 29th, 2021

The thing that hurts the most is being her one and only sexual partner. She took something so precious, ripped it away from me and gave it to a stranger, he didn’t give a shit, it was another conquest for him.

No matter how great R is going, that will always be stolen from me.

Dday Sept 7 2019 working toward R
BH 54 WW 48
M 30 years, 4 kids 2 grown 2 grandkids

posts: 873   ·   registered: Dec. 5th, 2019   ·   location: Texas DFW
id 8695745
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Thumos ( member #69668) posted at 7:50 PM on Friday, October 29th, 2021

The thing that hurts the most is being her one and only sexual partner. She took something so precious, ripped it away from me and gave it to a stranger, he didn’t give a shit, it was another conquest for him.

I can relate. I do not understand the disrespect and dishonor. My WW then compounded this by telling me I was "sexually immature" bc I couldn’t understand sex with her AP was "meaningless" and because I had only ever slept with one woman, her. This was so toxic and egregious on top of all the betrayal and gaslighting I had already endured up to this point. A door shut in my mind and heart after this and it has never opened back up since. She grieves my inability to open up to her now, and I tell her that was the moment the door slammed shut.

"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: 50, WW: 49 Wed: Feb.'96 DDAY1: 12.20.16 DDAY2: 12.23.19

posts: 4387   ·   registered: Feb. 5th, 2019   ·   location: UNITED STATES
id 8695752
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Dude67 ( member #75700) posted at 2:35 PM on Saturday, October 30th, 2021

Thumos - what is her response when you tell her this?

posts: 175   ·   registered: Oct. 21st, 2020
id 8695867
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Tanner ( member #72235) posted at 5:15 PM on Saturday, October 30th, 2021

She grieves my inability to open up to her now, and I tell her that was the moment the door slammed shut.

My W just said to me today “I know I’m not special to you anymore”. I told her “there are some things that will never come back mainly the pedestal you were on”.

She tells me often I’m her soulmate, I don’t believe in soulmates because if I did, I never found her. I’m not trying to be cruel just brutally honest which is something I gained from infidelity.

Dday Sept 7 2019 working toward R
BH 54 WW 48
M 30 years, 4 kids 2 grown 2 grandkids

posts: 873   ·   registered: Dec. 5th, 2019   ·   location: Texas DFW
id 8695887
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Grieving ( new member #79540) posted at 7:47 PM on Saturday, October 30th, 2021

I'm new here, but this thread resonated with me. I found out a little over a year ago that my husband of 20+ years had been having an intense emotional and physical affair for six months. Up until that time we would both have said we had a healthy and happy marriage. Not a fairy tale, but a solid partnership where we enjoyed each other's company, had shared interests and values, worked well together, enjoyed raising our children together, and had a good sex life.

I'm no longer in the terrible place I was for most of the first year after finding out. Neither of us has seriously considered divorce; he's worked hard to make amends, and we've dealt with the messy aftermath as best we can together.

But I feel an overwhelming sense of grief and loss that he doesn't understand or share. I still value our relationship and think it has many strengths, but I've lost all sense of it as special. This experience made me realize how much I had always held close in my heart a sense of our relationship as special and unique and romantic and safe. That's gone now, and I grieve it like a death.

posts: 15   ·   registered: Oct. 30th, 2021
id 8695909
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Tanner ( member #72235) posted at 8:20 PM on Saturday, October 30th, 2021

That's gone now, and I grieve it like a death.

You are exactly right, we grieve the loss of what was. The WS does not fully grasp the idea of something lost. My W recently told me “but look at us now, we’re good”. Yea I agree, we’re good but could’ve been great.

Dday Sept 7 2019 working toward R
BH 54 WW 48
M 30 years, 4 kids 2 grown 2 grandkids

posts: 873   ·   registered: Dec. 5th, 2019   ·   location: Texas DFW
id 8695914
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irwinr89 ( member #42457) posted at 9:24 PM on Monday, November 8th, 2021

My WW then compounded this by telling me I was "sexually immature" bc I couldn’t understand sex with her AP was "meaningless" and because I had only ever slept with one woman, her.

Thumos, you can always tell her you can easily change your inmaturity about her being your only one, it's an easy fix for you....and you can make it just as meaningful or meaningless as you want.... :)

posts: 60   ·   registered: Feb. 14th, 2014   ·   location: Miami
id 8697595
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