Newest Member: AcesEights

Wayward Side :
A Decade

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 Aubrie (original poster member #33886) posted at 3:45 AM on Wednesday, November 10th, 2021

Hello all. It's been a long while. I wanted to drop a line and see if there were any old-timers still around and maybe give newbies a bit of hope.

In early November a decade ago was one of the worst days for my marriage. (We're sitting here trying to remember the date, and we can't.) I snitched on myself and confessed to an EA with a married man. My husband was understandably devastated. Four days later I found SI and some wonderful people. Some of the best people on this planet met me in the wreckage of my marriage and held the light while I fought my way out. Some of those people I'm still friends with, some have passed away, and some floated out of my life for various reasons. But to each and every one of them, I owe a debt of gratitude. I don't know that I could have survived without them in those early years.

From being here, I came to the horrific realization that I'd had not just 1 but 4-5 EAs through the course of my marriage. It was one of those things where looking back when the scales had fallen from your eyes, you recognized the behavior for what it was. I was emotionally stunted, carrying suppressed grief, and an insane amount of anger and resentment. Boundaries didn't exist. I had zero self-awareness. And I had like, zero filter. I posted all.the.time. about everything. In a way, I'm grateful because this place was my therapy. But also, it's horrifying that I allowed THAT MANY PEOPLE into my marriage. Regardless of if they were trying to help or not. 20,000 people knew all my business.

There's been a ton of blood, sweat, and tears put into the work. It's not just flowery words or following a formula. I tried that. Honestly, the "formula" for everyone is different. We all have our own whys, our own personal traumas and issues, and we're married or partnered with people who are different. You can do all the right things, say all the right things, and at the end of it, your partner/spouse is just done because what you did is a dealbreaker. Surviving infidelity doesn't guarantee that your marriage/relationship will survive. You might come out of this alone. It's a gamble because of the choices that brought us to this site. Giving up control of the outcome was one of the greatest gift I gave myself throughout this whole process. Regardless of the outcome, if you do the hard work, you will be a better person. 

My marriage is in a place I never thought I'd see it. Stable. Happy. Content. Strong. Flourishing. We did the dang hard work and we've been reaping the benefits of it. We're approaching 20 years of marriage   We've got 2 teenagers. We've survived deaths in the family, including my closest pet companion earlier this year that I've still not recovered from. We've survived my auto-immune disease and disability with one of the kids. We carry positions of leadership within several areas of our lives. My husband has built a successful business. We're happy. We're content. We made it. 

If I could give any advice it would be: (Not necessarily in order.)
1. Don't lie. Ever. For any reason. Not even little ones. Post Dday, the slightest lie could be a death knell on your relationship. 
2. Drop the defensiveness. You screwed up, now own it and fix it. 
3. Be open with your partner about where you're at in your journey. What you're reading, what you're discussing in therapy. Communicate!
4. Learn your partner's (and yours) love languages. (Also apology languages. I discovered those a couple years ago and it's really interesting)
5. If you go to therapy, find one that is legit. Don't just go to the first therapist you find that will make you feel good about yourself. Find someone that is well versed in infidelity and will push you to do the hard work. Find someone who will hold you accountable. 
6. Find your whys. When you think you've found one, ask yourself "why?" again. This mess is like an onion. Layer upon layer. Peel them back. 
7.  Be transparent. If your partner requires passwords and keyloggers, just do it. It's the price we pay for what we did. 
8. Realize that this is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes years. We weren't on real footing till probably year 6 or 7. 
9. Be patient with yourself and your partner. 

10. Forgiveness. It's one I never thought I'd get to. And super controversial. "How DARE a WS forgive themselves." For me, forgiveness didn't end up looking like what I thought it would. It wasn't "Oh I forgive Aubrie for shredding her husband's heart strings out". I had to forgive the emotionally stunted me. The me who was abused as a teenager. The me who lost a child. The me who was hurt in a terrible way by someone I loved. Those traumas and hurts, those choices are what I forgave. Little by little. All of those shattered and broken pieces that made me, me. As I did the work, I had to find a sense of peace and forgiveness for each one. Some were harder than others. Some took longer than others. But I stand today a new woman. Confident in who I am, in how I've healed, and where I'm going.

Love and light to you all.

"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." - J. Wayne

posts: 7926   ·   registered: Nov. 11th, 2011
id 8697798
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DaddyDom ( member #56960) posted at 4:01 AM on Wednesday, November 10th, 2021

Thank you for this entire post really. So much of what you said and experienced speaks to me on a personal level. This journey takes some serious courage, humility, and a willingness to fail. But if you do the work, you'll find the answers, as you said, regardless of the outcomes.

I had to forgive the emotionally stunted me. The me who was abused as a teenager. The me who lost a child. The me who was hurt in a terrible way by someone I loved. Those traumas and hurts, those choices are what I forgave. Little by little. All of those shattered and broken pieces that made me, me.

Thanks for this. This is still one of the hardest pieces for me. I know that, at the end of the day, I ended up revisiting the horrors that were inflicted upon me, and inflicting them on the people I love. I can never make those things okay, they are already a moment in time. But I love the idea of going back and forgiving myself for the things I had no control over. Doing things like that was a big part of learning to love myself as well.

Honestly, the "formula" for everyone is different. We all have our own whys, our own personal traumas and issues, and we're married or partnered with people who are different. You can do all the right things, say all the right things, and at the end of it, your partner/spouse is just done because what you did is a dealbreaker. Surviving infidelity doesn't guarantee that your marriage/relationship will survive. You might come out of this alone.

Truth. And to be honest, in my opinion anyway, the only way to survive this is alone. I don't mean that in the marriage sense... I mean that we each have to heal from trauma in our own way, and after D-day, both the BS and WS have trauma a-plenty to deal with. I only wish I had realized BEFORE infidelity how much therapy I needed.

Me: WS
BS: ISurvivedSoFar
D-Day Nov '16
Status: Reconciling
"I am floored by the amount of grace and love she has shown me in choosing to stay and fight for our marriage. I took everything from her, and yet she chose to forgive me."

posts: 1176   ·   registered: Jan. 18th, 2017   ·   location: Marblehead, MA
id 8697801
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Pleaseforgiveme1 ( new member #70845) posted at 6:01 AM on Wednesday, November 10th, 2021

Thank you so much for this. It helped me remember that even though things seem doomed at this moment that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The light might not be exactly how I imagine it but it's there. Things will be ok, no matter what happens.
Thanks again. I am very grateful to you.
P.S. I'm glad that you and your husband are doing well 😊

posts: 8   ·   registered: Jun. 24th, 2019
id 8697818
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marriageredux959 ( member #69375) posted at 6:40 AM on Wednesday, November 10th, 2021

Solid. damned. post.
Much respect given, much respect sent.
Good for you, and for yours. <3

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 8697820
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BraveSirRobin ( member #69242) posted at 11:26 AM on Wednesday, November 10th, 2021

Thank you for checking in, Aubrie. It's nice to "meet" you after seeing your name so much in the archives.

Every word of your post resonated for me. At three years out, I sometimes feel like an intern masquerading as an executive. Little is written, at least from wayward perspective, about the stage where the glue is finally starting to set. It's not just newbies who benefit from voices of experience and hope. smile

WW/BW 50s (Me)
BH/WH 50s (TimeSpiral)

posts: 2136   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8697828
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WalkinOnEggshelz ( Administrator #29447) posted at 11:56 AM on Wednesday, November 10th, 2021

I’m glad to see you check in Aubrie. smile

I hope your health is good and I am happy to hear that things are going well otherwise.

Me: WS late 40’s
Him: BH (HoldingTogether)
D Day: 7/24/2010
If you keep asking people to give you the benefit of the doubt, they will eventually start to doubt your benefit.

posts: 14481   ·   registered: Aug. 27th, 2010   ·   location: Texas
id 8697830
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MrsWalloped ( member #62313) posted at 2:33 PM on Wednesday, November 10th, 2021

Hi Aubrie.

Thank you so much for posting. I am happy to hear that you, your BH and your M are doing really well.

Forgiveness. It's one I never thought I'd get to. And super controversial. "How DARE a WS forgive themselves."


I am 6 year from DDay, in R, and I still struggle with these thoughts. I feel like how can I forgive the unforgivable? Isn't that conceited of me to bestow forgiveness on myself? And if I do, will I then somehow let my guard down in other areas like communication and transparency? Sort of not being as vigilant?

Those traumas and hurts, those choices are what I forgave. Little by little. All of those shattered and broken pieces that made me, me. As I did the work, I had to find a sense of peace and forgiveness for each one. Some were harder than others. Some took longer than others. But I stand today a new woman. Confident in who I am, in how I've healed, and where I'm going.


This spoke to me so much. And I can see the benefits and actually the need to take this path, but it's so damn scary. Some of the other work I put effort into was in a way easier because it was focused on "fixing" me and our M and helping my BH. This is a whole other level and I'm scared to death to go on that journey.

How did you do it? What gave you the courage to try?

Me: WW 47
My BH: Walloped 48
A: 3/15 - 8/15 (2 month EA, turned into 3 month PA)
DDay: 8/3/15
In R

posts: 723   ·   registered: Jan. 17th, 2018
id 8697856
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Chili ( member #35503) posted at 4:13 PM on Wednesday, November 10th, 2021

Hey there Aubrie - so glad to catch this post.

Not sure if you remember me from our wacky days here (we also were part of that one GTG in that one city many years back). I float in and out from SI trying to offer support to those just starting their journey. Hearing from old-timers really help lift me up during those early days to show me there was a way out of the mess.

You put in so much work and supported so many around here - it's lovely to hear how you've thrived even with all the hard stuff life always throws our way.

Best to you and hubs - glad you checked in!

2012 pretty much sucked.
Things no longer suck.
Loving flying solo with the co-pilot chili dog.
"Life teaches you how to live it if you live long enough" - Tony Bennett

posts: 2145   ·   registered: May. 2nd, 2012   ·   location: Reality
id 8697872
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sisoon ( Guide #31240) posted at 5:04 PM on Wednesday, November 10th, 2021

What a pleasure to hear from you! Especially with good news.

I'll ask - but feel free to ignore the questions: how is your health? Were you able to get your energy back?

I'm glad you forgive yourself. IMO, forgiving oneself frees up energy that can be used to identify and do the 'next right thing' and makes it easier to stay authentic and honest, again IMO. Forgiving oneself is really hard work, but it's something that probably all of us can benefit from.

fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.

posts: 26262   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8697882
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Never2late ( new member #79079) posted at 5:25 PM on Wednesday, November 10th, 2021

Don't lie is always a good idea. I've always been this way in general not having anything to do with infidelity. This is just a bedrock fundamental life lesson. If everyone were more honest many of these problems could be avoided or at least minimized.

posts: 32   ·   registered: Jul. 7th, 2021
id 8697885
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gr8ful ( member #58180) posted at 7:10 PM on Wednesday, November 10th, 2021

Realize that this is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes years. We weren't on real footing till probably year 6 or 7.

Sobering how much work this took and 6 or 7 years of recovery for an EA. Kinda trivializes the motto "It takes 2-5 years to recover from a PA". Has anyone ever recovered fully in 2 years?

In any case I appreciate the post.

posts: 103   ·   registered: Apr. 6th, 2017
id 8697895
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MrsWalloped ( member #62313) posted at 7:22 PM on Wednesday, November 10th, 2021

Sobering how much work this took and 6 or 7 years of recovery for an EA. Kinda trivializes the motto "It takes 2-5 years to recover from a PA". Has anyone ever recovered fully in 2 years?


Recovery and R are different things.

The 2-5 year recovery timeline is pretty accurate from what I've seen and based on my BH's experience. YMMV.

But the health of our M and our R process is different and it is still ongoing (and it's been more than 6 years for us). But there are levels. The work I, and to an extent we, do is very different now than it was 4 years ago. Personally, I don't think the kind of work we do now should ever fully stop. Marriage takes effort and I imagine that effort will be an ongoing thing for as long as we are together. We're cool with that.

Me: WW 47
My BH: Walloped 48
A: 3/15 - 8/15 (2 month EA, turned into 3 month PA)
DDay: 8/3/15
In R

posts: 723   ·   registered: Jan. 17th, 2018
id 8697896
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DragnHeart ( member #32122) posted at 7:32 PM on Wednesday, November 10th, 2021

Aubrie. I was just thinking about you and wondering how you were doing.

Thank you for the update. So happy to hear you are BH and the family are well.

Me: BS 44 nowWH: 35 almost 36 (BrokenHeart911)Four little dragons.Met 2006. Married 2008. Dday of LTPA with co worker October 19th 2010. Knew about EA with ow1 before that.Full disclosure March 8th 2019 four AP's.

posts: 22354   ·   registered: May. 10th, 2011   ·   location: Canada
id 8697898
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 Aubrie (original poster member #33886) posted at 8:21 PM on Wednesday, November 10th, 2021

Hi Dom and Woes! Good to see ya'll. I remember you Chili. Lots of shenanigans back in the day! laugh I remember seeing your username, BraveSirRobin. smile

Sisoon, I'm doing ok. I found a great doctor and the right medication. Energy kind of comes and goes depending on life stressors and weather. The cold is brutal so I kind of hate this time of year, knowing winter is breathing down our necks. Living with this is just my "new normal". Good days, bad days. Kinda like the reconciliation roller coaster.

MrsWalloped,

How did you do it? What gave you the courage to try?


Well. I didn't actually set out on a "mission" to forgive. It just kind of happened over time as I dug into my whys and flaws.
It started when someone asked me why I was holding myself responsible for things beyond my control.

If we would never dream of holding a victim of abuse responsible for their abusers actions, then why in the world would we hold ourselves responsible? It's beyond our control. It's not my fault he did those things. I had to give 17 year old me the same grace that she so readily gave to others. She did nothing to merit the isolation, being held against her will, being screamed at, and him threatening to unalive himself to keep her locked in.

There are things in life I've done that I'm responsible for. There are other things far beyond my control. Yet I assumed the responsibility for ALL those things, because carrying them and not looking at them gave me a false sense of control. If I didn't look at them, I didn't have to deal with the re-opening of wounds, processing the emotions, and repairing the hurts.

There comes a point in life when you have to lay down the burdens. Don't be carrying them around just for the sake of carrying them, you know? If the whole point is to reconcile and rebuild, then why in the world would we carry in a bunch of baggage with us? It's like building a brand new dream house, and bringing in 2 storage units of crap just because you can't let go of it. You know you're not going to use any of it in the new house, but you just don't want to look at it, go through it, and get rid of it.

Maybe start with the things you couldn't control. Things you were victim to. Then slowly move to the things that you could have, but didn't. Baby steps and all.

Isn't that conceited of me to bestow forgiveness on myself? And if I do, will I then somehow let my guard down in other areas like communication and transparency? Sort of not being as vigilant?

I don't view it that way at all. I had to make the choice on whether I was going to let these events define me forever, or move on. My husband was moving on, so do I stay in neutral beating myself up for forever, or do I allow myself to cruise with him into the new life we built?

Once you build real solid boundaries, they're there. Once you build real communication, it's there. You use them every day. It's not like you're going to wake up with amnesia and forget what they are. As you do the work and healing, they become hardwired and automatic to you. So for example, back in the early days a BS would never dream of letting their WS communicate with someone without their knowledge, maybe even tagging in the conversation, whatever.

We're at the point where I'm working one on one with a guy, we communicate via text/call/in-person and it's a non-issue. I get a text from the guy and I'll buzz my husband, "Hey I'm talking to dude about blah, blah." And his response 100% of the time is, "So? Do what you need to do Babe. There's no reason to tell me." I've asked my husband if he'd like to be looped in. Nope. He doesn't care, he's not interested, I'm to take care of business.

Now I understand that maybe not every BS will get to that point. Some do, some don't. It's where we're at. I have the courtesy to tell him, even if I'm no longer required. It just further cements his trust. It further builds our communication. Forgiving and giving oneself grace doesn't mean our guard slips or communication disappears. It frees us from the burdens of the past to move more freely into the future.

gr8ful,
There's a ton that's missing in my story. It took that long because about 2/3 in recovery, my husband decided to do something dumb. A mutually agreed upon boundary was crossed. He considered us reconciled at that point. But emotionally he was parked. He was packing some real anger and resentment and he crossed the boundary simply because he could. He literally said he didn't really care if it hurt me. He felt completely justified. I told him that I completely understood his anger and resentment. I understood what I put him through. But at this point, if HE considered us reconciled, yet wanted to cross boundaries, this was no longer 100% my burden to carry. It's time to figure himself out, work thru it, or we get out of this. We dealt with the bulk of that off-site because I'd posted about it and some people were pissed that I had the audacity to be hurt. I didn't have the mental energy to fight through this with my husband and on site. It was also then my health crashed. We essentially crawled under a rock and worked through it all quietly on our own.

Yeah, some people are 2 year healers, but some are longer. Ours probably would have been much shorter, if not for that big boundary thing. But it's ok. It's our story, our own timeline, and we still made it out the other side. grin

"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." - J. Wayne

posts: 7926   ·   registered: Nov. 11th, 2011
id 8697903
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BraveSirRobin ( member #69242) posted at 9:02 PM on Wednesday, November 10th, 2021

He was packing some real anger and resentment and he crossed the boundary simply because he could. He literally said he didn't really care if it hurt me. He felt completely justified. I told him that I completely understood his anger and resentment. I understood what I put him through. But at this point, if HE considered us reconciled, yet wanted to cross boundaries, this was no longer 100% my burden to carry. It's time to figure himself out, work thru it, or we get out of this. We dealt with the bulk of that off-site because I'd posted about it and some people were pissed that I had the audacity to be hurt.

Some things never change, I guess. Though I'm happy to report that not everyone reacts that way.

WW/BW 50s (Me)
BH/WH 50s (TimeSpiral)

posts: 2136   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8697908
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MrsWalloped ( member #62313) posted at 9:52 PM on Wednesday, November 10th, 2021

Thank you, Aubrie. That's a very healthy (and freeing) mindset.

Me: WW 47
My BH: Walloped 48
A: 3/15 - 8/15 (2 month EA, turned into 3 month PA)
DDay: 8/3/15
In R

posts: 723   ·   registered: Jan. 17th, 2018
id 8697918
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Want2BHappyAgain ( member #45088) posted at 10:30 PM on Wednesday, November 10th, 2021

It is sooooo GOOD to "see" you!!!!!!

When I first joined this site over 7 years ago...YOU were one of the people whose words I clung to for HOPE. I am so HAPPY to see this very POSITIVE post!!

I just want to THANK YOU for your words of wisdom that HELPED me more than you will ever know!!!

A "perfect marriage" is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other.

With God ALL things are possible (Matthew 19:26)

I AM happy again...It CAN happen!!!

From respect comes great love...sassylee

posts: 5633   ·   registered: Oct. 2nd, 2014   ·   location: Southeastern United States
id 8697926
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HFSSC ( member #33338) posted at 4:57 PM on Thursday, November 11th, 2021

Hello, Beautiful!!!!!

You have NO idea how much I've missed you.

Your children are absolutely not allowed to be teenagers. Nope! They are those cute younguns I met in 2015.

It's wonderful to see you here. And to read such a good update. We should catch up.

Me, 54
Him, 45 (JMSSC)
Married 24 years. Reconciled.

posts: 4625   ·   registered: Sep. 12th, 2011   ·   location: South Carolina
id 8697983
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sisoon ( Guide #31240) posted at 5:14 PM on Thursday, November 11th, 2021

I'm sorry you needed medical help, but I'm glad you found some.

T/J ...

Isn't that conceited of me to bestow forgiveness on myself? And if I do, will I then somehow let my guard down in other areas like communication and transparency?

I used to beat myself up for my weaknesses and misdeeds, real and imagines. Forgiving myself freed up all that beat-self-up energy for other things, like figuring out what my best next action was going to be. Forgiving myself allowed me to put more energy into honesty, compassion, love, and joy.

Forgiveness, IMO, has to be earned. Forgiving oneself means examining the things one attacks in oneself, determining whether the points of attack are real or imagined, deciding what to change, and changing.

Sobering how much work this took and 6 or 7 years of recovery for an EA. Kinda trivializes the motto "It takes 2-5 years to recover from a PA".

It's important to realize that recovery is one thing, and R is another.

Also, remember that change is incremental, and we can benefit from changes before they become permanent. I believe it took me 3.5-4 years to recover and R. I started feeling joy come back much earlier than that. R is a process of creating an M that serves both partners. Every issue that gets resolved builds bonds that are pretty pleasurable - the more resolved issues, the more pleasure.

Recovery is not a matter of feeling awful for 2-5 years and then magically feeling great. Rather, in the weeks and months after d-day, many of us feel awful 24 hours a day and have only vague memories of joy. As recovery progresses, one starts to feel less and less awful and more and more joyful. Joy comes back slowly, but it does come back, if you process your pain out of your body.

fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.

posts: 26262   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8697986
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Darkness Falls ( member #27879) posted at 6:32 PM on Thursday, November 11th, 2021

Hi Aubrie. smile I’m still here, although I read more than I post. Glad to "see" you, and glad things are going well.

WS - remarried to BH but not in R

D-day 2010

posts: 6327   ·   registered: Mar. 8th, 2010   ·   location: USA
id 8697993
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