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Reconciliation :
Why did you stay?

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HouseOfPlane ( member #45739) posted at 1:58 PM on Saturday, December 18th, 2021

"For better or worse"

It turns out that the worst wounds in a marriage are always self-inflicted. Cutting words. Ignoring. Looking outside. Affairs. Things like disease or disasters are trivial in comparison.

I’m not a quitter, so I threw myself into getting through to some other side. She did too, crucially. It was like walking through a dark room finding the furniture with your shins, as we were young but also stupid.

Frankly, it’d have been easier to do a reset and split, but who knows what fate would have held for me. I might have walked out of the courthouse and been run down by a tractor-trailer, so staying saved my life. wink

DDay 1986: R'd, it was hard, hard work.

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”
― Mary Oliver

posts: 2802   ·   registered: Nov. 25th, 2014
id 8704911
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alucard ( member #78796) posted at 9:58 PM on Monday, December 20th, 2021

When I say that people stay out of "weakness, fear, and lack of self-esteem," I realize that I am mostly projecting.
Sometimes I feel I stayed for those reasons. Perhaps is partially true. At the same time, I recognize. my strength and value, and I know that to stay, try to forgive, love again, and grow takes an exceptional amount of power, not weakness.

As every BS, I spend the day dwelling between opposite positions, but deep down I feel that the "right" staying and keep moving despite the betrayal is forged in courage, not weakness.

[This message edited by alucard at 10:35 PM, Monday, December 20th]

posts: 126   ·   registered: May. 14th, 2021
id 8705205
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BraveSirRobin ( Guide #69242) posted at 10:11 PM on Monday, December 20th, 2021

That's not crazy, suddenlyisee. It's very poignant and insightful about where you are right now.

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

posts: 2387   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8705210
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3yrwait ( member #29907) posted at 7:24 PM on Tuesday, December 21st, 2021

I stayed not because I was weak. Anyone who knows me would laugh at such a comment. I stayed because we had young kids who didn't deserve to be damaged. Their mother hurt them -- without them knowing it -- and I knew I was strong enough to eat that shit sandwich long enough for them not to be hurt by ME.

I was in a similar situation 15 years ago. My DDay involved learning WW could face legal troubles & loss of career credentials. The child could lose, in many other respects, a good mother. There were other instances of craziness where the most rational decision was to do what I could to repair the situation and absorb the insanity.

That makes me the hero, right? In the words of John McClane in some Die Hard movie: "You know what you get for being a hero? Nothing. You get shot at."

We are still together. I am certain my child’s life was impacted even though the events are a complete mystery to her. FWW is the ultimate rug sweeper; only recently has she acknowledged that she hurt me.

Rationally, I made the right decision: I fixed the legal issues, we have regular sex, we solve problems together, we are financially in a better place than most, everyone outside the marriage thinks we are great. Emotionally, I feel like a chump, doormat, fearful, weak, stepped on, manipulated, clueless. I already had low self esteem, and it remains low.

If I was in the same situation, would I do the same thing? I really don’t know.

[This message edited by 3yrwait at 2:23 AM, Wednesday, December 22nd]

Me: BH (early 50s)
Her: WW (early 50s)
Married 25 years
1 daughter, under 10
DDay July 2007

posts: 531   ·   registered: Oct. 21st, 2010   ·   location: 3yrwait
id 8705330
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Brew3x ( member #72052) posted at 7:46 PM on Tuesday, December 21st, 2021

for better or worse

I stayed so I’m Not knocking you but doesn’t this only apply when both people honor the wedding vows?

Someone said for better or worse to me a while ago when discussing the A and I was like she didn’t keep up her end of the deal.

[This message edited by Brew3x at 7:48 PM, Tuesday, December 21st]

posts: 239   ·   registered: Nov. 10th, 2019   ·   location: MA
id 8705334
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BreakingBad ( member #75779) posted at 1:21 AM on Wednesday, December 22nd, 2021

I'm staying--for now--because:

We are still communicating about the hard stuff & not rug sweeping

We have kids that are in their final years of high school

He never blamed me, but owned the blame (although continues to struggle with selflessness and not avoiding--his core "whys")

He has embraced IC and sees the good in it

He is making small steps in working through his own issues

I still love him

I still think we can get to a stable place of joy again

Lastly, I'm tough as shit. I'm a f***ing rock.
This will not break me...but neither would D.

=========
Although I understand how some feel that staying made them feel weak, I truly believe that I chose the harder path for myself.

For my kids? It was probably the easier path.

For my WH? It was initially the easier path. Now that he's deeper into his own work, and it's really hard, and I've done a soft 180 for the last 4 months, and we are approaching the 2 year antiversary, I don't think it was the easier path for him.

For me? Staying was hands down the harder path overall. D might have been harder initially, but I would be WAY more healed by now. But I am making progress too.

Me=BW
WH had online affairs
Married 30 yrs now
2 kids, both in HS
Dday#1=2/7/20
Dday#2=2/12/20
Dday#3=2/17/20
Dday#4=11/25/20...1st A with cOW was actually 2 1/2 years
BW & WH in IC & MC. Working toward R, but day

posts: 108   ·   registered: Oct. 31st, 2020
id 8705382
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HouseOfPlane ( member #45739) posted at 1:59 PM on Wednesday, December 22nd, 2021

stayed so I’m Not knocking you but doesn’t this only apply when both people honor the wedding vows?

Well, as I noted in in my post, and this is ultimately one guy’s opinion, the worst of the "worse" is always self-inflicted in marriages. They pretty much collapse from the inside out.

It would have been a hell of a lot easier for us both to go our own ways, to call it a day, quit, and start anew. But we are surprisingly stubborn, both of us. Talk is cheap, and you really don’t know what you are going to do until you’re in the situation. That’s one reason why I grimace whenever I see a post here that has "If I were you…" in it. You’re not him.

I remember going to a job interview and the guy asking me what I was most proud of. I was unprepared for the question, and blurted out "my marriage, it has taken real, hard work by us, and I’m proud that we fought for it."

Then I thought that maybe the guy is on his 3rd wife and thinks I’m a knucklehead. smile

DDay 1986: R'd, it was hard, hard work.

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”
― Mary Oliver

posts: 2802   ·   registered: Nov. 25th, 2014
id 8705444
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Repossessed ( member #79544) posted at 10:36 PM on Thursday, December 23rd, 2021

I just don't have it in me to put myself out there again, ever. She will either be the last person that will ever experience my devotion, or she will be the last person to hurt me in this way.


This so very speaks to me. Its where I was just before our split 9 months ago (this after miserably trying for 5 years to reconcile).

And now when I feel a woman reaching for more than flirty banter, I feel myself internally recoiling.

Here to keep myself mindful that I don't always see what actually is. I certainly didn't when I married her.

posts: 122   ·   registered: Nov. 1st, 2021   ·   location: Chicagoland
id 8705665
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Brokenbeyondrepair ( member #60725) posted at 1:23 AM on Friday, December 24th, 2021

It’s been years since I have posted. I do still visit the site often. I had to ask myself this question over and over after I saw this. I don’t know why. Someone else said it best, love is not a reason to stay, if my WH had loved me, this would not have happened. I am still paying the price. If I could go back I would have left. It would have been better than humiliating myself doing a stupid "pick me dance" a dance I didn’t even really win at. My WH did nothing right, no empathy, still sneaky. Please do yourself a favor, if your spouse is not sincerely sorry and doing all of the work, leave!!! The pain never goes away. It’s buried but always pops back up.

posts: 184   ·   registered: Sep. 21st, 2017
id 8705680
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lostindenial ( new member #79420) posted at 1:57 AM on Friday, December 24th, 2021

I have been thinking a lot about this. d day was 3.5 months ago so I am swinging hard between multiple emotions and all I can do is feel them and let time pass. I said to my WH the other day- staying with him is self deprecating for me as it reduces my self-worth and what I think of myself and what I deserve. Any normal human being deserves a partner who is loyal, loving and honest with them and I don’t have it. He offers me nothing and I offer everything from financial security to loyalty to social network to kids’ stability. So why should I be with him?
Recon is on ice until he goes no contact with AP and finds another job. I refuse to do MC until then. And sometimes I wonder, I can coparent, I can be a roommate but I don’t see him as my romantic partner. It is too far gone for me and in place of love, I feel betrayal. I feel no safety, no stability and no attraction and future with him aside from parenting where we seem to be on the same one as usual. I feel no respect but the best I can feel is pity or at the worst I feel contempt and anger towards him. I am not a person who compromises easily and every time I think that if it weren’t for societal pressure or my kids, will I stay with him- and the answer comes a resounding no. How do you get your heart to compromise? I see no sign of him reforming other than talks but even emotionally he is devoid of empathy and avoids and parrots what he must have read that day.

My therapist tells me that he needs to step up and meet my conditions and prove worthy to start the MC and time will help. But how long can I continue to feel this way? Why am I doing this to myself? Am I avoiding short term pain and shame to suffer a long term lonely and loveless life? Don’t know, can’t say until I can find my own feet underneath myself. All I know is I will never take back my WS as my husband in his current state and behavior. He will need to develop selflessness, shed lying and manipulating, develop empathy and love for me before he can even be a contender. Will I have patience till then? Who knows

posts: 43   ·   registered: Sep. 20th, 2021   ·   location: FL
id 8705682
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Repossessed ( member #79544) posted at 2:35 AM on Friday, December 24th, 2021

to suffer a long term lonely and loveless life


I felt this intensely as long as she was in my orbit. I think loneliness is actually amplified by their presence.

On my own without her I've felt something akin to loneliness, but 9 months out, I realize that its actually sadness instead. Its sadness at the loss of the life I'd counted on and how I self-identified. But I sure don't miss the her that I've come to finally realize that she is.

Here to keep myself mindful that I don't always see what actually is. I certainly didn't when I married her.

posts: 122   ·   registered: Nov. 1st, 2021   ·   location: Chicagoland
id 8705688
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landclark ( member #70659) posted at 2:51 AM on Friday, December 24th, 2021

I stayed initially because one, I didn’t know the extent of everything, and two, I believe I was in shock and wasn’t in a state to make the decision to divorce, mentally or financially. I continued to stay through TT and multiple ddays for a number of reasons. Family, financial, convenience, taking time to get my ducks in a row, etc. Now I’m no longer in shock, ducks are lined up, and if he screws up again, there will be no stay of execution. Honestly I’m still fairly certain this ends in divorce. One thing i was very sure of right out of the dday gate is that this ends on my terms, when i know I’m ready. All the well meaning advice to run never would have worked for me until i was sure those ducks were doing their bit.

For now, marriage is better, working on financial independence, very detailed post nup, no longer fighting or triggering all the time, etc. I know a lot of people say they stayed for love. My reasons are much more practical, and I own that and am ok with it.

I don’t feel weak for staying. It actually made me realize how strong I am. It did make me realize that I took financial independence for granted. That was sobering for me.

Me: BW Him: WH (GuiltAndShame) Dday 05/19/19 TT through August
One child together, 3 stepchildrenTogether 13.5 years, married 12.5

First EA 4 months into marriage. Last ended 05/19/19. *ETA, contd an ea after dday for 2 yrs.

posts: 1948   ·   registered: May. 29th, 2019
id 8705689
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alucard ( member #78796) posted at 2:52 AM on Friday, December 24th, 2021

I am sitting alone in an empty house isolated with COVID. This is how my holidays are going to be.

I spent the last week like that.

Going over everything and everything again and again.

I can't take this anymore. I can't live in this reality anymore. I can't shake off the feeling of betrayal, of being lied to of being vilified so very much. I can't take another instant of mind-movies anymore.
I think betraying your life partner has got to be the vilest thing a human can do. If it would have been my choice, I would have rather she (they) murdered me. That would have been more merciful and more honorable.

[This message edited by alucard at 2:53 AM, Friday, December 24th]

posts: 126   ·   registered: May. 14th, 2021
id 8705691
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Grieving ( member #79540) posted at 3:54 AM on Friday, December 24th, 2021

I’m a year and a half out.

I have good reasons for staying. We have over 20 years of good life together. We’ve always gotten along well, had a good sex life, had similar interests, have fun together, are mutually supportive. We have two great kids together, and we’re a good parenting team. We have a unique and idiosyncratic history together that creates a bond we are unlikely to find with anyone else. I don’t think either of us felt any ambivalence after D-day. We both had clarity about wanting the relationship and being willing to do what it took to preserve and repair it. We both love each other and have always loved each other.

And yet.

I stayed for a lot of bad reasons too. We were smack in the middle of an unrelated trauma that bound us together and made separating nearly impossible on a practical and emotional level. I couldn’t see a future without him, and I was completely naïve and in denial about how infidelity impacts relationships over the long term. I didn’t have the knowledge, experience, or a strong enough sense of self to demand that he do the things I needed him to do. In retrospect, I should have demanded a lot more, although I don’t know how realistic that would have been given the separate trauma we were trying to get ourselves and our kids through. I also felt like divorce wasn’t really an option, because I didn’t have the heart to upend my kids’ lives when things were already so hard for them. Also, my mother-in-law, whom I love and respect greatly, lives with us, and a divorce and fair distribution of assets would have meant upending her life and breaking her heart.

So for me, I was a combination of some really solid reasons that I feel good about, and some trauma bonding, terror, weakness, low self esteem, and practical consequences that I couldn’t face.

One of the things that I am trying to do in reconciliation is get rid of all the bad reasons so that I know for sure I am staying for good reasons.

At this point I don’t feel so weak or terrified anymore, and the other trauma and grief we were experiencing has subsided some. My kids will leave home not too long from now, and I can think of practical ways to disentangle ourselves in the somewhat near future without as much collateral damage to my kids and mother in law.

It is still hard to imagine a future without him. I want romance and sex and partnership, and I cannot see myself putting myself out there and trying to find a different relationship. Trying to find someone else to be with doesn’t interest or appeal to me in the slightest. However, the arduous road of reconciliation has made me realize that I can totally hack it alone if I need to, so I feel like that’s a little healthier and less needy and weak.

Basically, that is a long ass way of saying I have some really good reasons for staying, but that I also feel like I have to get past the bad reasons so that I know it is the healthy, empowered things that are keeping me here.

posts: 66   ·   registered: Oct. 30th, 2021
id 8705702
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Grieving ( member #79540) posted at 3:57 AM on Friday, December 24th, 2021

And I’m really sorry, Alucard. It does suck. It’s shitty beyond belief.

posts: 66   ·   registered: Oct. 30th, 2021
id 8705704
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jb3199 ( member #27673) posted at 11:24 PM on Friday, December 24th, 2021

Although I understand how some feel that staying made them feel weak, I truly believe that I chose the harder path for myself.

^^^^^^^^^This is what it really comes down to. We can lie to ourselves, and for a little while even 'get away' with it. But we know who we are, and we know what we do.....and do not.....stand for. Our conscious will let us know if we are at peace with ourselves. It doesn't matter if you stayed or left. As long as you KNOW that you took the right path, who has the right to challenge you otherwise?

BH-50s
WW-50s
2 boys
Married 28yrs.(together over 30yrs.)

All work and no play has just cost me my wife--Gary Puckett
D-Day(s): Enough
Accepting that I can/may end this marriage 7/2/14

posts: 3898   ·   registered: Feb. 21st, 2010   ·   location: northeast
id 8705935
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Thumos ( member #69668) posted at 1:10 AM on Saturday, December 25th, 2021

I am sitting alone in an empty house isolated with COVID. This is how my holidays are going to be.

Hey there, Alucard, I have COVID also. Just found out yesterday.

Again.

After having had it right after Christmas in early 2021, then getting fully vaccinated.

You're supposed to wait AT LEAST six months for a booster. So I did. I was on the verge of getting a booster, but my antibodies tested through the roof in November, so this is more than likely Omicron and it can get around all of that. I'm not sure a booster would have made a difference.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that out of the past 5 years post D-Day, I've had 5 what I consider really crappy Christmas seasons. Basically the entire holiday season is one long triggering festival for me -- from Halloween all the way through New Year's.

However, but, nevertheless, it's not that bad, really. It really isn't! I'm still here. I'm still in great health (aside from having two different COVID strains twice in a year). I had a false heart attack scare two years ago, but it turns out my heart is quite healthy.

So I have my health, I have my job, I have two beautiful kids (one is doing really well as a young adult and successfully launching). I have interests outside of work including gourmet cooking, camping, reading, weightlifting. I have great inlaws, including two awesome BIL's.

I guess I'm saying I try my best to count my blessings. It's not easy. Even five years out, I still have really bad days. I still trigger. Just the other day, I triggered hard when I saw a billboard advertising "The Polar Express" (a mediocre movie I never liked all that much but that is completely ruined for me now).

Just wanted you to know that aside from the empty house, I'm also sick here on Christmas Eve with Omicron COVID. You will get through this and come out on the other side. Stronger. Hang in there.

Yes, adultery is among the most vile of transgressions a human being can carry out against another. There is NO QUESTION. It is perhaps among the top 5 worst things a human can do to another human.

But you're here, Alucard, still standing. Merry Christmas! (and I mean that sincerely)

[This message edited by Thumos at 1:11 AM, Saturday, December 25th]

"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: 4528   ·   registered: Feb. 5th, 2019   ·   location: UNITED STATES
id 8705937
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jb3199 ( member #27673) posted at 6:59 AM on Saturday, December 25th, 2021

If it would have been my choice, I would have rather she (they) murdered me. That would have been more merciful and more honorable.

Alucard, I'm over 10 years out from first being hit with infidelity, and I remember the above mindset quite clearly. Luckily, I'm not a person with suicidal ideations, but man, I would have had NO PROBLEM if I just died back then. I specifically remember telling my WW that I wish that she would have just put a bullet in the back of my head. And back then, I meant it.

But you have to believe me when I tell you that it gets better. A LOT BETTER. But it does take time. And someday, you may even revisit some of the posts that you are making today, and realize just how far you have come. You really do have the ability to right your ship, and hopefully the drive to do that will come much sooner than later.

BH-50s
WW-50s
2 boys
Married 28yrs.(together over 30yrs.)

All work and no play has just cost me my wife--Gary Puckett
D-Day(s): Enough
Accepting that I can/may end this marriage 7/2/14

posts: 3898   ·   registered: Feb. 21st, 2010   ·   location: northeast
id 8705958
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Youknowit22 ( new member #75576) posted at 6:35 AM on Wednesday, December 29th, 2021

If I’m being completely honest, I haven’t really even said this to myself yet, but in all honesty I’m staying for my kids. They are very young and the thought of splitting time with them kills me. I am not sure I am in love with my husband anymore. There has been so much damage done I dont know if I’ll ever recover or be able to forgive him.
When things are good they are really good, we have fun and are able to act like we did before he had an EA followed by his PA. When I get to feeling down or insecure he makes it ten times worse by getting mad at me and acting like I should just be over it already (it’s been 4 months since he stopped talking to her.)
I love my kids and I know staying in a marriage where, at times, I hate the other person isn’t healthy but for now that’s what’s happening.

posts: 12   ·   registered: Oct. 1st, 2020   ·   location: Washington
id 8706377
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alucard ( member #78796) posted at 9:26 PM on Wednesday, December 29th, 2021

@thumos

Thank you so much for your support and for sharing your experience.
I found your voice one of the most powerful of this all community and I feel very aligned with your moral stand and perspective. Your advice and your journey resonate strongly with me
I am doing fine. (hopefully) Completely beat COVID and stay strong mentally and spiritually.
Merry Xmas to you too.
Hope you're finding some joy and relief too.

@jb3199
Thank you for sharing the wisdom you've acquired with your journey. I understand what you mean, and I can see myself getting there. I've made that choice of rising, and I'll stick to it day after day.
I am generally OK, I'm navigating the consequences of the betrayal, and trying to heal my would, and coming out stronger spiritually.
Overall my R is going well; I struggle with the feeling of betrayal and humiliation, but I believe that I'm the only one that can heal myself.
I usually post when I am REALLY struggling, either because of an argument or because I spiral deep into the mind labyrinth of pain, memories, betrayal, etc


I see the path out of this but some days It's harder than others.
My main issue is that, fundamentally, I cannot accept the betrayal, the lies, my wife conspiring against me with another man. I simply cannot accept. I am very "Micahel Corleone" about this. I am trying to R but a deep voice within me is screaming. I am realizing that I might not be " R material"
I am planning to spend more and more time alone, sitting with myself, and try7hiong to arrive at a final decision.

posts: 126   ·   registered: May. 14th, 2021
id 8706440
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