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Reconciliation :
Is this normal/typical in the reconciliation process?


 Humbled123 (original poster member #62947) posted at 7:11 PM on Wednesday, December 22nd, 2021

Is it normal to have thoughs of regret at or around the 4yr+ mark for staying and not divorcing?
I regret I did everything wrong. I played the pick me dance way to long. I didn't file for D after the second dday and burner phone incident. I regret I tolerated her her shitty wayward attitude for a year after D-Day blaming me for her actions. I regret it took me years to become non codependent and fall out of madly in love with her that I am making the choice to stay based on logical reasons.
Love is not enough, marriage is simply a contract.
I have tried everything to try and get back sexually what we used to have now I trying to come to terms that's never gonna happen. Sure she thinks it's great but most times I can't"escape" my thoughts.
Shortly after D-Day I was told my attribute was that I was"comfortable".
Being someone's comfort isn't feeling real good right now, definitely not exciting.

posts: 216   ·   registered: Mar. 5th, 2018
id 8705494

This0is0Fine ( member #72277) posted at 7:18 PM on Wednesday, December 22nd, 2021

I'm only at two years. Sometime I do wish I had *asked* for a divorce sooner, though I really don't think I could have because I didn't *want* the divorce yet. I eventually did ask for one, and then things actually changed enough for the better that I was happy with R.

Do you feel trapped or do you also accept that at any point you could just decide to leave?

Recognizing that you are actively continuing to choose to stay should give you some relief from this regret. It does for me.

For me, the marriage vows (til death do us part) are broken. My wife and I actually had this conversation recently, about choosing each other every day. But that one day either of us could change our mind. She said, "yes but we kept choosing each other through some pretty tough shit, so if either of us does change our mind, it's probably for a damn good reason".

EDIT TO ADD: I also think that those features of a BS willing to R, also make the BS unlikely to make the best decisions as it relates to R. Empathy, compassion, patience, grace, etc. all allow the WS to continue with poor decision making and foot dragging. It's only through continued pain that the BS is motivated to make better decisions. A BS that is truly capable of the "shock and awe" technique so often recommended here, is just going to walk anyway. We look back and wish we had the strength to do that, but if we did have that strength we might not have gotten to R. Which, you should be happy with. Saving your M and your family and having a loving, safe partner again. If you aren't happy with the results, allow the pain to motivate you further.

[This message edited by This0is0Fine at 7:37 PM, Wednesday, December 22nd]

Love is not a measure of capacity for pain you are willing to endure for your partner.

posts: 1652   ·   registered: Dec. 11th, 2019
id 8705496

Thumos ( member #69668) posted at 7:49 PM on Wednesday, December 22nd, 2021

Is it normal to have thoughs of regret at or around the 4yr+ mark for staying and not divorcing?

You are not obligated to remain shackled to the source of your pain.

"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 8705500

Seeking2Forgive ( member #78819) posted at 8:55 PM on Wednesday, December 22nd, 2021

I would say that it's normal for people who aren't happy with the outcome of R. If you're not happy with the outcome you should focus on the why you're unhappy in the present. Maybe that has something to do with your past choices, but focus on what you can do about it today.

Has your FWS done enough to support you in healing? Is she walking the walk of a remorseful FWS or is she just using you to maintain a life that she's comfortable with?

If you really no longer love your FWS and you don't think that you can rebuild that then you owe it to yourself and her to D and move on so that you can both be happy in the future.

Me: 60, BS
Her: 59, FWS
Dday: 11/15/03
Married 37 yrs

posts: 200   ·   registered: May. 18th, 2021
id 8705512

ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 11:34 PM on Wednesday, December 22nd, 2021

One of the things that helped my the most with R was taking ownership of my choice. I chose to "try" for R, so I brought my best effort to that. I reminded myself frequently that after all the facts were revealed, I had made an active choice as to where to stand, and... that I'm free to remake that choice if for whatever reason it stopped suiting me. It was remarkably liberating. I wasn't trapped. I was where I chose to be and I was no longer a victim.

I do think it's normal to have moments where you're full of doubt after four years, but here's the thing... you can still change your mind. We can't commit to reconciliation. Not really. We don't know where our R journey might lead. So, we commit to "try". Now, if you've tried as much as you feel like you wanted to and if it's still not providing enough satisfaction for you, you're free to make another choice. People divorce for all sorts of reasons and certainly less than what you've been through. At minimum, you really can say you tried.

This is going to sound weird, but when I got here to SI, I kept seeing this quote of "two-five years" for healing. And I really took that to heart. I didn't want to be someone who was still feeling stuck in adultery and betrayal decades later. I needed an end point... a goal. So, I set out to get it done in R or to get out in that time frame. You're still within that time frame, arbitrary as it is. So, there's that at least.

BW: 2004(online EAs), 2014 (multiple PAs)Married 38 years; in R with fWH for 7

{edited for typos.. again}

posts: 4888   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8705547

Butforthegrace ( member #63264) posted at 1:40 PM on Thursday, December 23rd, 2021

There is a long-time poster here on SI who divorced his WW after 5 years of trying to figure out how to remain married. There is no "statute of limitations" on deciding to divorce after infidelity. A lot of us make "beginner mistakes" in the first year or two following Dday. My AP dumped me for another man. There was more than once where I found myself at her house -- which used to be "our house" that I moved out of -- blubbering like a baby and begging her to take me back, even as she was preparing for an evening with her new man.

As to your feelings, there is a state that many betrayed spouses enter referred to generally as the "plane of lethal flatness" (or POLF). This is an emotional place in which the BS is calm enough, and clear-headed enough, that he can step back and survey the whole awful mess, the totality of it, and it begins to sink in: "This is my life, forever, if I stay married to this person." That's where you're at and, yes, you are correct. That is your life, forever, if you stay married.

You say

Empathy, compassion, patience, grace, etc. all allow the WS to continue with poor decision making and foot dragging.

You frankly come off as a highly co-dependent man. I say that from the perspective of myself being a highly co-dependent man. My cheater cheated on me for months, all of the classic signs, and yet I lied to myself by telling myself that I was showing "empathy and compassion". Be careful. "Empathy and compassion" are euphemisms men like me (and possibly you) use to lie to ourselves.

[This message edited by Butforthegrace at 2:53 PM, Thursday, December 23rd]

"The wicked man flees when no one chases."

posts: 3812   ·   registered: Mar. 31st, 2018   ·   location: Midwest
id 8705614

This0is0Fine ( member #72277) posted at 4:05 PM on Thursday, December 23rd, 2021

You frankly come off as a highly co-dependent man.

I appreciate the concern, but I assure you that's not my problem.

I did ask my therapist and he thought I didn't really show signs of it.

Love is not a measure of capacity for pain you are willing to endure for your partner.

posts: 1652   ·   registered: Dec. 11th, 2019
id 8705627

woundedbear ( member #52257) posted at 5:15 PM on Thursday, December 23rd, 2021

I think we who are on the reconciliation journey have been there more than once. We ask the "what if's."

One way I deal with it is to come back to me and what I can control. She did not deserve R. She did not earn it. She never could. I gave it as a gift. To me and to her. I am in control of my end of reconciliation. And I can make it end or go on for me at my discretion. While our R was far from text book perfect, we have gotten to many milestones that tell us that we are far along the reconciliation journey. (I don't believe there is a point that you say "we are not reconciled, and there is not more work to do.") (I could be wrong) But you can look back and see how far you have come and the milestones that you have passed. The pain will never leave you. They feelings of loss will never leave either. You will always feel their weight no matter what happens. But as you build new memories and experiences, those feelings of loss and pain will become smaller and less significant. I believe it takes more than just a few years, but it happens. Sometimes slowly, sometimes in big leaps.

If that is not happening, like on any journey, you have to sometimes get your bearings and look at the map and ask yourself, is the journey I am on where I want to go. If the answer is no, then you have to be honest with your spouse and tell her you are going to take a different route. She can come along, or she can stay on her path. But you have to do what is best for you.

I have had to do that. I told her this is where I am going, if you don't want to head that direction, lets part ways. She has said the same to me too. We then found a new route together and that was good too. But that does not mean that as we travel together, I don't wonder why or what would happen if I struck out on my own. No one is immune from that.

Me BS (54)
FWW (54)
DDay 3/10/2015
Married 30 years, together 34
2 kids, college and grown

posts: 233   ·   registered: Mar. 14th, 2016   ·   location: Midwest
id 8705636

sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 5:47 PM on Thursday, December 23rd, 2021


You always seem to express regret, and that's not normal in a successful R.

You mentioned PTSD in a recent post. My heart goes out to you, but you're the only one who can change your sitch - you've got to ask for help in real life. Maybe all you need to do is adjust your attitudes, maybe you need to D, but probably you need to recover from PTSD. You haven't been able to do that on your own. Have you worked with a good IC who has skills in helping trauma victims?

Empathy, compassion, patience, grace, etc. all allow the WS to continue with poor decision making and foot dragging.

True. At the same time, it's a way of giving the WS enough rope to hang themself. If they do, great - it's time to end R. If they don't, great - maybe R will succeed.

Not so BTW, IMO D is not the only alternative to R. Staying while protecting oneself can be another alternative. It's not as definitive as D, but it seems to work for some people.

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: 26518   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8705641

tushnurse ( member #21101) posted at 6:15 PM on Thursday, December 23rd, 2021

After the betrayal and trauma of being a BS I was really unwilling to accept anything less than perfection and happiness when it came to R, and rebuilding.

We stripped ourselves bare, set some new boundaries for both of us, and rebuilt. As I have been known to say around here the first and last rule of R was no more lies, half truths, or omissions of truth of any kind were tolerated from either of us ever again. We were brutally honest with each other as we rebuilt. We worked hard to respect, and honor each other, while still honoring our own selves.

So NO. At 4 years post Dday life was pretty freaking awesome. The trauma had been dealt with, the triggers were rare, and the choice to discuss the A was occasional. We had healed ourselves and our M at that point.

There were points early on in R within the first year that I didn't like the direction, and would call it out and together we would regroup and rebalance the scales. But again it took that brutal honesty. It took understanding that we may not agree about everything but we could definitely work through the disagreement to reach a point of being mutually happy/accepting of the situation.

There is absolutely no mandate that says you have to stay. Even if everything went absolutely perfectly the damage and pain, and the trauma change us and sometimes it is a real deal breaker, and there is not a damn thing wrong with that.

I can tell you from both personal experience and as 30 years as a nurse, life is short. It can be really short for some of us, and I will be damned if I spend a minute of miserable because I am unhappy with my current situation, especially if I have the ability to change it.

Him: FWS
Kids: 21 &23
Married for 28 years now, was 16 at the time.
D-Day Sept 26 2008
R'd in about 2 years. Old Vet now.

posts: 19103   ·   registered: Oct. 1st, 2008   ·   location: St. Louis
id 8705645

The1stWife ( member #58832) posted at 8:35 AM on Friday, December 24th, 2021

If you are unhappy with the status of reconciliation and the work your spouse has or has not done, then you are in limbo.

Limbo is like living in hell. I know. I was there.

Despite a 25 year marriage and kids and a mortgage I could not afford, I planned to D. Dday 2 was my breaking point (his second affair).

I deserved better.

He begged me to reconcile. I told him he was on his own and if we succeeded-/ we were lucky. If not, he’s to blame for being a liar and cheater.

He either met my expectations (which I never articulated but made him figure it out) or we D.

Life is to short to live unhappily. You deserve better.

Heal yourself. With or without your marriage being good. When I stopped focusing on my marriage being the center of my universe — I gained independence, a world outside my marriage with activities and things I I do without him (nothing suspicious or anything disrespectful lol).

Point is you can stay married BUT still have a happy fulfilling life. Don’t make your marriage or your spouse your #1 priority.

Make yourself your #1 priority. Every day.

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled.

posts: 11162   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
id 8705728

Oldwounds ( member #54486) posted at 4:48 PM on Friday, December 24th, 2021

One of the things that helped my the most with R was taking ownership of my choice. I chose to "try" for R, so I brought my best effort to that.

This from CT.

And that was me. I chose my path. I choose it again every day.

I also know where the front door is, and can leave any time I want.

No regrets for choosing what I want every morning I wake up.

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: 4269   ·   registered: Aug. 4th, 2016   ·   location: PNW. The adventure continues.
id 8705886

jb3199 ( member #27673) posted at 11:13 PM on Friday, December 24th, 2021


Right now, today, are you afraid of divorce? Be very, very honest with yourself here.

If fear is a legitimate concern, then I understand why you may still be here. But if you are not, then why are you staying right now? Out of obligation? Commitment? Some other specific reason(s)?

There's no right or wrong answer if you answer honestly with yourself. THEN you can go to the nest step.

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 8705932
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