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Reconciliation :
Feelings for former wayward spouse: before the affair and after reconcilliation

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 ZetaCephei (original poster new member #79378) posted at 12:15 AM on Sunday, December 26th, 2021

For those who consider themselves succesfully reconciled. Are your feelings towards FWS the same as they were before the affair? I guess the trust can never be quite the same, but how about love, being in love, feeling a special bond with your spouse? Is it the same or if it is different, do you feel it is less than you felt for them before?

What got me thinking is a quote from Thumos in another thread, that even in successfully reconciliated relationships, many betrayed spouses end up feeling ILYBINILWY. And I read the same or similar sentiment many times in this and some other forums. That something was lost and that the BS can't ever look at their WS the same way again.

Is it like that for you? Did you settle for less (regarding how you feel abouth your FWS, not anything else)?

I am nowhere near reconcilliation, I guess we haven't really started the process yet, but I hope we will get there some day. Today, almost 6 months after D-day, I can't say I love my WH any less than before, even with the enormous betrayal he put me through. I am still very much in love with him and while I hate what he did, I don't hate him. But the feeling that we have something special is gone and it bothers me. I always felt a special bond with him, from the beginning and throughout our 30 years together, but now I just don't know. I certainly don't feel I am special to him anymore, even though he claims I always was and will be. And I am afraid, somewhere along the way, because of the resentment of what he did, I might loose the feeling of being in love too. I don't think I would want to be with someone I am not in love with. Just liking the person, enjoying their company and preserving a life together is not enough.

.........

Edited to remove quote from another thread. Sorry I didn't know it was a violation.

[This message edited by ZetaCephei at 7:45 PM, Tuesday, December 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: 35   ·   registered: Sep. 8th, 2021
id 8706000
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Want2BHappyAgain ( member #45088) posted at 1:39 AM on Sunday, December 26th, 2021

The keyword in that quote is "THINK". I used to feel the same way...I didn't think I could ever feel that special feeling for my H after Dday. I am very HAPPY to say that I was WRONG!

In order for R to be successful...BOTH spouses have to be ALL IN. My H was that way almost from the start of our R. It took me a few years before I could really say I was all in. D stayed on the table for me...until one day it wasn't.

Another thing I learned was...DON'T EVER SETTLE. What you described in your last paragraph would not be enough for me either!!

I found that some things I thought I would NEVER get back...actually started coming back! As I gained more...the more I wanted to try and get back!

R is what you BOTH make it. So if you are going to try...go for what you BOTH want. I can personally say it is well WORTH IT!!!

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: 5815   ·   registered: Oct. 2nd, 2014   ·   location: Southeastern United States
id 8706001
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Chicklette ( member #70303) posted at 9:11 AM on Sunday, December 26th, 2021

Like Want2behappy my FWH was all in from the moment we started R, and I was too. I wanted to at the very least give us a chance. So it has left me feeling more love for him than before. I’d always loved him and been in love with him, but he could be quite distant, and never wanted to cuddle (unless he wanted sex), wouldn’t hold my hand etc. From day 1 of R all that changed. I remember one day we were out and I was triggered and he put his arm tightly around me IN PUBLIC and cuddled me as we walked along. In April it will be 3 years since we started R and that hasn’t changed. So I can honestly say I still love him more than previously. He a much better man than he used to be and a MUCH better husband.

Me: BS 59 at DDay
WH: 61 at DDay
Married: 27 years at DDay
Dday: 22 March 2019
In R since 11 April 2019
I love him and have forgiven him. He’s very contrite.

posts: 136   ·   registered: Apr. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Essex UK
id 8706010
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ISurvivedSoFar ( Guide #56915) posted at 12:11 PM on Sunday, December 26th, 2021

ZetaCephei - the love and bond morphs and changes. The depth of bonding after the two parties work hard to change and to overcome the horrible trauma infidelity brings is like nothing else. That said, the break in the bond from infidelity is like nothing else too.

One thing replaces the other. I will never have the same feeling for my husband that I had prior to infidelity. However, the growth we've both experienced is like nothing else. And we worked hard independently and together to get to a better place. It is still a process and the healing for me continues. I didn't think I could get feelings back for him - he put me through a lot trying to be a good recovering WS but honestly not capable and ended up doing all the wrong things (blame, defiance, steeped in shame you name it). I thought it hurt my ability to care for him forever. I was wrong as my feelings came back and grew into a new place.

Gently, if I may, I think the important part of our healing comes from letting go of the outcome. That's the hardest part for us to accept. I had to get to a point where I didn't care if we stayed together or not. I had to heal. I had to take care of me because he kept showing me that he couldn't. It was the best lesson from this mess I could learn.

Once I could let go of the outcome and he could as well, the real healing together began. It sounds crazy I know.

Infidelity changes everything - it is a deal breaker in my opinion. The real question is can a new deal be made. Understanding this is perhaps the hardest part of our recovery.

YMMV.

DDay Nov '16
Me: BS, a.k.a. MommaDom, Him: WS
2 DD's: one adult, one teen,1 DS: adult
Surviving means we promise ourselves we will get to the point where we can receive love and give love again.

posts: 2727   ·   registered: Jan. 15th, 2017
id 8706016
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 4:08 PM on Sunday, December 26th, 2021

After the A, I still loved my W and was still IL with her, although I did cycle through some brief periods of ILYBINILWY. (I've about concluded that 'IL' is about sexual desire.) My concern was that I didn't want to be M to someone who didn't love me and wasn't IL with me.

I made some distinctions in conducting life after d-day that I hadn't really thought of before d-day. I've written about separating want from do - the fact that I wanted R was very different from deciding to actually do R.

I guess I separated love from R, too. Love and lust were reasons to want and to do R, but I thought my love and desire were not sufficient to sustain R. After all, they weren't sufficient to prevent an A.

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 8706024
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HouseOfPlane ( member #45739) posted at 5:31 PM on Sunday, December 26th, 2021

Are your feelings towards FWS the same as they were before the affair?

A marriage is a living, breathing thing, constantly evolving, but never cycling back. It’s always new.

There have been periods where our relationship has been far, far deeper, and others where we’re just going through the motions. An important thing we’ve learned is that a lot of that is controlled or influenced by us. You aren’t just along for the ride.

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 8706032
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Gottagetthrough ( member #27325) posted at 11:38 PM on Sunday, December 26th, 2021

I do not love my husband as much (i do not love him now). We are functionally separated. Live in different rooms, just roommates basically.

After the 1st affair, i was hurt and still loved him a little, it was different, but divorce sucked and so did custody wars so we reconciled. It was never the same.

There is a part in lady gaga’s telephone video where she says you can fix a broken mirror but you can still see the mf’ing crack. (Or something like that)

That was true of my marriage.

Another EA affair and learning about 4 PA affairs while we were separated in 2010 because he was with ow, this marriage is DEAD. But between 2013-2019 - i would have said we were successfully reconciled. It was false R

[This message edited by Gottagetthrough at 11:30 PM, Monday, December 27th]

posts: 3674   ·   registered: Jan. 22nd, 2010
id 8706063
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Bigger ( Attaché #8354) posted at 11:49 PM on Sunday, December 26th, 2021

Wouldn’t someone that has successfully reconciled be better qualified to make that statement?

"If, therefore, any be unhappy, let him remember that he is unhappy by reason of himself alone." Epictetus

posts: 10178   ·   registered: Sep. 29th, 2005
id 8706066
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Ladybugmaam ( member #69881) posted at 12:35 PM on Monday, December 27th, 2021

Still working on reconciliation here.
I loved my FWH prior to the affair. He says that he never stopped loving me, even during…but obviously let his commitment to only me go. He was cake eating.
In some ways, for me ILYBINILWY was prior to. We didn’t know that we had to take care of our marriage. Neither of us had the tools or knowledge. We weren’t living as roommates- but definitely were taking each other for granted in very unhealthy ways.
Blind is trust is no longer something I have. But likely, given this experience, I’ll likely never blindly trust anyone again.
In some ways I’m more in love with him now, because I see the work he’s willing to do. Our marriage is a living thing that we have to make an effort to care for. That we’re both willing to show up, makes me feel more connected.

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

posts: 198   ·   registered: Feb. 26th, 2019
id 8706113
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taken4granted ( member #61971) posted at 5:22 PM on Monday, December 27th, 2021

Obviously, I can’t give you good pointers on reconciliation since I divorced my WH. I can say that for some of us BSs it’s really hard to imagine what a remorseful spouse looks like since our WS was never remorseful. Thumos makes great points, and I enjoy his point of view. But you always need to think about the point of view of the poster.

That said, no matter if you decide to reconcile or divorce, you still must heal yourself first. Good luck in reconciliation.

"If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything." - Mark Twain
Me: Living life! Him: Not my problem anymore
Married 15 yrs.
1 LTA, Many EAs from 2009 - ?
Dday 1 = 6/16/17
Last Dday = 1/4/18
Started loving myself 2018!

posts: 347   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2017   ·   location: OH
id 8706151
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This0is0Fine ( member #72277) posted at 4:47 AM on Tuesday, December 28th, 2021

My feelings are different.

A key wording change I would put it before affair and IN reconciliation. I don't think there is an after. It's as long as it is. Maybe for life. Maybe not.

That alone is a big change in how I feel in R.

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

posts: 1652   ·   registered: Dec. 11th, 2019
id 8706235
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Oldwounds ( member #54486) posted at 12:38 PM on Tuesday, December 28th, 2021

The quote or the idea of simply hanging out with someone and feeling ILYBINILWWY — isn’t R to me.

It ain’t even living in my mindset.

It’s misery.

And for a while, I think all R is misery.

But my favorite quote from a member here is, "We tend to hit what we aim for."

If both people in any relationship are both working toward and aiming for better, ANYTHING is possible.

That said, if you feel like you would be settling, don’t do that. Move on.

I didn’t settle.

I asked for more. From my wife and from me. If we were going to make a run at staying together, it had to be better.

Of course it’s different, but our feelings for each other are stronger than ever.

I see my wife as the imperfect soul that she is, and that her worst moments don’t define either one of us.

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 8706247
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cheatstroke ( member #67708) posted at 6:17 PM on Tuesday, December 28th, 2021

If both people in any relationship are both working toward and aiming for better, ANYTHING is possible.

If this were true, then there should be a way for the WS to repay the debt of infidelity. To right the wrong. To fix it somehow.

Yet time and time again on SI you read that there is NO WAY the WS can repay the debt. That the wrong can NEVER be righted. That the BS just has to WRITE. IT. OFF.

I think this is a MAJOR reason why BS's get to ILYBINILWY, and NEVER get back.

ANYTHING is possible? Not repaying the debt of infidelity.

posts: 173   ·   registered: Nov. 1st, 2018
id 8706290
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 7:15 PM on Tuesday, December 28th, 2021

I have a different understanding of that, cheatstroke.

IMO, an A is time taken away from the relationship. The energy my W spent with and on ow is time that violated our contract with each other. I think we have a better M that we would have had without the A because of the work we've done. If we had done the work before the A - and we theoretically could have done it - we would have reached today's M much earlier than we did. That is tantamount to lost time.

Time, once gone, can never be retrieved. As far as I can tell, the best approach is to write that loss off and start from where one is. Otherwise, one is going to lose still more time.

'Start from where one is' doesn't mean rug-sweep or R or D. It means figure out the way to maximize your joy. Then go for it.

[This message edited by SI Staff at 7:16 PM, Tuesday, December 28th]

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 8706296
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Oldwounds ( member #54486) posted at 9:10 PM on Tuesday, December 28th, 2021

ANYTHING is possible? Not repaying the debt of infidelity.

I know there is no way to repay the debt — but what if a WS tries to do that anyway?

It always goes back to where people live in their heads — some people live where the damage happened — FOREVER.

That person can’t be helped if they R or D.

I don’t live in the debt or the damage. I KNOW it happened, it’s just not my life, it’s not my marriage, it’s not a payment I’m looking for.

I love how my wife tries to make up for lost time anyway. She does this by making everyday better.

I could focus on the pain, and I did for several YEARS.

How long should any of us live there? As long as it takes to heal, one way or the other.

After a while, I decided to focus on the good we had today.

It’s personal agency.

At some point, three to five years, 10-years, at some point we don’t have to live in the past or the debt or the pain.

We get to choose.

Because of that, ANYTHING is possible.

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 8706316
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fareast ( Guide #61555) posted at 10:41 PM on Tuesday, December 28th, 2021

I can not say it as well as Oldwounds, but he articulated my experience as well. I made the conscious decision not to live in the past and stay in the pain, as I watched my wife work hard over the years to make everyday better. Anything is poss8ble, indeed.

Never bother with things in your rearview mirror. Your best days are on the road in front of you.

posts: 2948   ·   registered: Nov. 24th, 2017
id 8706322
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cheatstroke ( member #67708) posted at 11:07 PM on Tuesday, December 28th, 2021

Ok I guess I see what you're saying. The phrase "ANYTHING is possible" is true, as long as "ANYTHING" does not include something that is impossible, like repaying the debt caused by infidelity.

It sounds like you agree that a debt DOES exist after infidelity, but at some point, because nothing can be done about it anyway, it just needs to be put into the past along with everything else. Not ignored. Not rugswept. Just put into the past.

I guess I don't understand the machinery involved in doing that. It sounds like one day, it just magically happens.

[This message edited by cheatstroke at 11:14 PM, Tuesday, December 28th]

posts: 173   ·   registered: Nov. 1st, 2018
id 8706329
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Oldwounds ( member #54486) posted at 6:00 AM on Wednesday, December 29th, 2021

I guess I don't understand the machinery involved in doing that. It sounds like one day, it just magically happens.

No magic in recovering from trauma.

And it’s the same machinery we use to recover from most human trauma. Whether it is loss of a loved one, financial disaster, or the horror show of infidelity.

Whether any of us R or D — we don’t magically heal. It takes time, effort, healing and calculated choices of what we want our lives to be.

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 8706375
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 ZetaCephei (original poster new member #79378) posted at 8:39 AM on Wednesday, December 29th, 2021

Thank you all for your points of view. I really needed to hear from those who walked this path before and it is good to hear that the doubts and insecurities I have are not unique and can resolve in time and if we both do the work it can lead to a great and fullfiling new relationship.

Right now, I am just a mess and the problem of unrepayable debt weighs heavily on me. I love my WH, am in love with him, I still after so many years together have this butterfly feeling in my stomach when I see him, when he touches me. But now these feelings are intertwined with so much pain and a growing anger and resentment for what he did to me, to us, that I just worry that the anger and resentment will prevail. He is working hard to repair the damage he has done and I love him for that. But at the same time I can't shake the angry thoughts that he wouldn't have to try so hard if he just hadn't been so selfish before. And I do feel this debt of infidelity can never be repaid and I just hope I have in me to let it go some day. I know it is still early for that and sometimes I just want to make him suffer like I do, but in my mind I know, there is nothing I can do to him, that would hurt him in the same way, but wouldn't hurt me too in the process. Even an revenge affair crossed my mind, but it is just not somethnig I could ever do, casual sex was never my thing and besides using another human being to hurt my H would make me just as bad.

So at the end of the day, I just hope we will be able to get through these hard times together and that nothing else gets lost in the way. I believe we both want to reconcile and we are both prepared to do the necessary work and I hope we get through on the other end feeling it was worth it. I have this image of successful reconcilliation in my head, probably read about it here somewhere. An old and grey couple, sitting on a porch, happy and in love after a lifetime together, she looking at him thinking, thank god I stayed with him back then when he hurt me more than I ever thought possible. And him looking at her, thinking, thank god she stayed with me, after my unforgivable betrayal. That is what I want for us.

[This message edited by ZetaCephei at 11:09 AM, Wednesday, December 29th]

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: 35   ·   registered: Sep. 8th, 2021
id 8706382
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HouseOfPlane ( member #45739) posted at 3:38 PM on Saturday, January 1st, 2022

It sounds like you agree that a debt DOES exist after infidelity…

What is the currency of your debt? What is owed, for you, that can’t be paid back?

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 8706900
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