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Reconciliation :
Are there any truly happy reconciliations?

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 Disillusioned2 (original poster new member #79738) posted at 11:39 PM on Tuesday, January 4th, 2022

I’m wondering if there is any hope for my WH and me. I’ve been reading reconciliation stories and the ones I’ve read don’t seem that happy. Just wondering if it is even possible to recover from this kind of betrayal.

BW, 30 year marriage as of D-day on 5/8/2021, Trying to reconcile but need to figure out how to get past pain and anger.

posts: 8   ·   registered: Jan. 4th, 2022   ·   location: PA
id 8707475
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Oldwounds ( member #54486) posted at 11:54 PM on Tuesday, January 4th, 2022

I do think it’s rare, but my happy story only happened because of the members here, who found there way through, one way or the other.

Your personal recovery has to happen first. At least that’s how it went for me. Once I found my strength, my worth, my value, I figured out what I wanted my life to be. Then I figured out if I was going to stay, I was able to outline what I needed my M to be.

That’s two years plus right there.

Years 3-6 have been better every year since.

Hope is a dangerous word in the early stages of recovery, that didn’t really kick in for me until I knew what I wanted.

It certainly takes both people wanting the same goals for the relationship, and that is where the work really stared for us to get to happy.

Infidelity is always, always a dealbreaker. You just have to decide whether you want to work on a new deal or be done. Being done is very normal!

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 8707490
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 Disillusioned2 (original poster new member #79738) posted at 12:10 AM on Wednesday, January 5th, 2022

Thanks so much for your comment. It just helps to hear from someone who has been down a similar road.

BW, 30 year marriage as of D-day on 5/8/2021, Trying to reconcile but need to figure out how to get past pain and anger.

posts: 8   ·   registered: Jan. 4th, 2022   ·   location: PA
id 8707496
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This0is0Fine ( member #72277) posted at 12:11 AM on Wednesday, January 5th, 2022

What I've said before is still true.

I'm happy. I'm married. I am not happily married.

I'm happy with the progress we have made in R. I'm happy with many changes I have made and my wife has made.

I'm also only two years out.

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

posts: 1652   ·   registered: Dec. 11th, 2019
id 8707497
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src9043 ( member #75367) posted at 12:34 AM on Wednesday, January 5th, 2022

I just read your story. I am so sorry for what you have gone through. It is not hard to see why you are having a horrific time recovering. The loss of your son, compounded by your WH's antics is truly soul-crushing.

To answer your question, infidelity changes everything. Are there some BSs who recover quite satisfactorily and move forward with the marriage with little or no scaring? Some even claim that the relationship has improved. I suppose so if you believe what some of them say on these blogs. Having been a BH, I find it hard to swallow, but everyone is different. Details concerning the infidelity and subsequent events do play a role in the potential recovery by the BS. Trickle truthing, continued contact with the AP, and further indiscretions such as in your situation make recovery that much harder to achieve.

But, let's face it, WSs throw their spouses and the marriage under the bus for their own desires. We simply didn't mean much to them at that particular point in time. All BSs get to live with that undeniable fact. We didn't sign up to share our lives with someone so callous, uncaring, shallow, and selfish. Do people change? Sure. They can also change back to what they were and we know it. No amount of bull crap from therapists, friends, family, or the WS can guarantee that they won't do that and we know it. After being cheated on, guarantees are what you deserve. But no one can give that to you. Our MC "guaranteed" that my ex-WW would never cheat again. She should have backed it up with a complete refund of fees paid to her for her services.

You can't make the marriage what you thought it once was in your mind. Can you sufficiently recover where leaving is a worse alternative than staying? Sure. People do it all the time. If that is what you are aiming to do, it is quite possible. Will you be happy and feel secure? Can you bury your WH's acts of betrayals to where it does not interfere with going forward with the marriage? Will he sufficiently change and will you trust your judgment in recognizing whether he did so? Can you handle policing him indefinitely? Are you strong enough to leave if he reverts back to his old habits? If you answer yes to these questions, you can sufficiently recover to make it worth your while to stay. But, it will never be what you signed up for when you married him.

[This message edited by src9043 at 12:55 AM, Wednesday, January 5th]

posts: 500   ·   registered: Sep. 7th, 2020
id 8707509
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CaptainRogers ( member #57127) posted at 12:37 AM on Wednesday, January 5th, 2022

Oldwounds knocks it out of the proverbial park (because the owners have locked out the players, so we can't get to the real ballparks...but I digress..,).

The happiness within the relationship starts with you and your recovery. Be kind to yourself. Let yourself feel and process the emotions (yes, they truly suck). Find a good IC. Share with this group of internet strangers.

Rebuild YOUR happiness first. Without that, being happy in your relationship isn't going to happen.

From there, it is a long process for rebuilding & reconciling. Gottman talks about three aspects (atone - attune - attach) that are very helpful.

If you can find your happy, rediscover YOUR joy, then you have the needed building block for the rest of the journey.

It can happen.

And it takes a LOT of time.

Be patient with the process and be kind to you.

BS: 42 on D-day
WW: 43 on D-day
Together since '89; still working on what tomorrow will bring.
D-Day v1.0: Jan '17; EA
D-day v2.0: Mar '18; no, it was physical

posts: 3091   ·   registered: Jan. 27th, 2017   ·   location: The Rockies
id 8707511
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alucard ( member #78796) posted at 1:00 AM on Wednesday, January 5th, 2022

IMO No.
Infidelity poisons everything.
To reconcile you have to make a horrible compromise, a pact with the devil. One will lose his soul in the process, and I don't think you can ever truly forgive and forget.

posts: 126   ·   registered: May. 14th, 2021
id 8707516
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fareast ( Guide #61555) posted at 1:38 AM on Wednesday, January 5th, 2022

Raising my hand. Yes, in my case, we have built a M we are both very happy with. My fWW’s A occurred long ago and she totally led the way by her actions to change and rebuild trust. OldWounds and CaptainRogers are spot on. Take care of you and heal. Get stronger for you. It is okay to be selfish. Time will tell if your WH has the capacity and resolve, empathy and remorse to rebuild your trust. Always value yourself.

I am so very sorry for the loss of your child. But that is no excuse for your WH’s infidelity. Good luck.

[This message edited by fareast at 9:55 PM, January 4th (Tuesday)]

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 8707519
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HouseOfPlane ( member #45739) posted at 2:14 AM on Wednesday, January 5th, 2022

Sure there are. There are also lots of unhappy un-affair-tainted marriages.

It’s a crapshoot, you won’t know if yours can be a happy one f you don’t try, statistically the odds aren’t great.

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 8707526
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ISurvivedSoFar ( Guide #56915) posted at 12:22 PM on Wednesday, January 5th, 2022

Yes there is hope but if this new to you then hope is very hard to fathom.

My H and I are in R. It was a very long and very rocky road. The advice here, which I did not want to accept at the time, is to heal yourself first. Nothing could be more apt - at least for me. When I stopped turning my attention to him or to the M, I finally started to heal. It was the best advice and very unfortunate that I wasn't able to act on it for some time.

In your healing process, you first have to get a grip on what has happened to you and still try to function in life. Once that part is processed, you can think about what you want. I made the decision not to drastically change our family dynamics until such time that I felt more stable. I have no idea if that was the right decision - I just knew I needed to get through the most awful emotional part of the healing and I was in no shape to do anything else. But I tried. I tried to fix him. I tried to work on the M. And I kept coming here to get the same advice - work on you ISSF, don't worry about the outcome of the M.

You know what? For me every effort was futile until I concentrated on healing me.

So I would say that there is hope - actually a lot of hope - but it is highly dependent on each party's ability to heal and change. For the betrayed the change is foisted on us. For the wayward they foisted the need to change on themselves. Both have to determine how to move forward differently to avoid such a trauma again. It can be done. Many fine folks have done it here. Others have not.

You deserve to spend time on you. Do you have a therapist by chance?

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 8707582
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The1stWife ( member #58832) posted at 12:29 PM on Wednesday, January 5th, 2022

I am happily reconciled. One of the lucky ones.

Will it happen for you? I hope so but it depends upon your H doing the work needed to repair the damage.

I am so saddened to hear of your loss. Understand your child had pain and only saw one solution. Sadly the remaining family and friends carry the guilt but I hope you you know you all did your best.

I hope you can deal with all the pain snd grief and happily reconcile.

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled.

posts: 11162   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
id 8707584
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Luna10 ( member #60888) posted at 12:55 PM on Wednesday, January 5th, 2022

I could state I’m happily reconciled or that I’m through the process of achieving a happy R as I do believe R is a lifelong path.

But this isn’t coming magically. You first need a truly remorseful WH. They’re pretty rare I’d say. (Mine also took a while to be remorseful not regretful and I couldn’t really see the difference for some time). Without a remorseful WH you can’t really R successfully.

Then it’s all to do with your own healing. It took me a lot of time to understand that and how it relates to me personally. Healing doesn’t mean accepting the affair took place, stop crying, move on and keep hoping your WS won’t cheat again.

Healing, for me at least, meant rediscovering myself, reminding myself I’m an individual, redefining my boundaries, real ones, not empty threats. For example when my boundary clearly states "no more affairs", I made sure I am also able to stick to it in practice, I identified what scared me the most on dday and worked on addressing that. In my case I was earning a quarter of what my husband was at the time, I considered back then that this gave him the right to manage our savings the way he wanted and that I am not entitled to a voice in the family finances. An opinion perhaps but the ultimate decision was his at the time. 4 years later our savings are managed jointly, we’ve made financial decisions based on my rationale, and I’ve doubled my salary income (progressed in my career) which means that if I divorce tomorrow I don’t need his financial support and I can pretty much maintain the current lifestyle, with some adjustments of course but nothing major.

The reason I gave a couple of examples is that I always felt I wasn’t getting exact answers to my questions when posting on here. Not that posters didn’t want to help, they helped enormously in fact, but because our world changes so much, we don’t know what’s right anymore, some concepts are abstract and each journey belongs to the individual.

In a nutshell: I’m happy and I don’t regret I stayed. My happiness isn’t 100% linked to my husband though. I have grown and continue to grow my career (in fact I’m back studying this year), I discovered new hobbies and things I like, I live a good happy life as much as possible during a pandemic. None of what I enjoy now would be majorly affected if I divorce, I made sure of that. I love my husband dearly and we are happy together (most of the time), we truly rediscovered each other and went to Hell and back for each other in the last 4 years. Both of us.

Our life is pretty normal these days. We are both more connected and in tune with each other. In some ways I don’t think we would have ever achieved this kind of marriage without trauma, that’s not to say I’m happy the affair took place. We just rebuilt something pretty good once we recovered from the initial shock (which by the way, it was the best part of two years for us).

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

posts: 1415   ·   registered: Oct. 2nd, 2017   ·   location: Europe
id 8707590
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TruthIsPower ( member #75776) posted at 1:47 PM on Wednesday, January 5th, 2022

Absolutely, it is possible to recover. Both partners must heal though. In a way that suits each partner/lover, however, WS must understand that if they want to stay, they must want that change to become the best version of themselves (same for BS's - becoming the best version). And have a common view, standards, and belief systems for this new way of this new reunion. Both are /will be learning from and teaching each other. Each will become a gentle "teacher" and eager "student" with awareness and openness.

I read your story... and so terribly sorry you were having to go thru the loss of your Child and then the loss of your Marriage... Your story basically shows the common trait of some of the WS's (mine included) - on a surface: lack of coping skills and everything else that is linked to this.

I personally live my life with spirituality (not religious). So, I used the tools to heal myself and my fWH pretty quickly thankfully, and we keep working together. I knew I would not be able to wait 2-5 years, almost 30 years was enough...even though we had a good enough marriage overall.

Please be gentle to Yourself. You'll be able to find YOUR way to heal and rebuild.
(((Disillusioned2)))

"Stop giving people the reasons to love you. Not all will see the beauty of your soul. Those who know, those who know who you are, will love you with something fierce and never let you go. Those are the ones worth holding out for."

posts: 159   ·   registered: Oct. 30th, 2020   ·   location: US
id 8707599
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Want2BHappyAgain ( member #45088) posted at 2:02 PM on Wednesday, January 5th, 2022

Are there any truly happy reconciliations?

YES there are grin . The ONLY way to go toward a successful R is if BOTH people are ALL IN. However...that doesn't happen FIRST. Like others have said on here...YOU work on YOU. Your WH works on himself. When you are healing and as you get stronger...THEN y'all can decide if y'all want to be all in smile .

First off...WELCOME to the BEST club you NEVER wanted to be in smile . This new journey starts off so painfully...but from your profile I see you have had a lot of pain to deal with sad . My deepest condolences and prayers for y'all on the loss of your son (((HUGS))).

The path to R is not a linear one. Some days you will feel that you BEAT this trauma...and other days you will feel like you just can't go on. Sometimes that happens within seconds of one another. You are on what is called the "emotional rollercoaster"...and it is a doozy at first. But those highs don't stay so high...and thankfully...those lows don't stay that low either. Just KNOW that one day you WILL recover smile .

You wrote that you read the reconciliation stories. Did you read the "Positive Reconciliation Stories" thread that is pinned at the top of this Forum? It is filled with 28 pages of people in various phases of R...and those posts may give you some HOPE...like it did for me when I first joined here. Although all of our paths toward R are different...you may find some similarities in those stories that will help YOU smile .

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 8707603
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gulty ( new member #79575) posted at 3:28 PM on Wednesday, January 5th, 2022

Disullusioned2,

Having just started my healing process, I am in no position to give you advice. Just wanted to say your story is heart wrenching. Losing a child is one of those few experiences that are more traumatic than spousal infidelity.

posts: 19   ·   registered: Nov. 8th, 2021   ·   location: Toronto, Canada
id 8707628
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lordhasaplan? ( member #30079) posted at 4:27 PM on Wednesday, January 5th, 2022

Yes, several have made my points, so I won't beat a dead horse. But I will say the reason you don't hear about them as much is we move beyond the affair, and like me, we don't poke your head in much. I was one who lived five years on here daily. Now, if I make three stops a year, I'm lucky. My guess is you would and could find more successes, but those couples are living life past the affair and no longer on the board.
LHAP?

BS- Me (45)
D-day: 5/18/10, lies and TT till (11/26/10).
Currently in R.
Don't carry others crap. It's your job to fix yourself, not your spouse.

posts: 2106   ·   registered: Nov. 10th, 2010
id 8707653
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emergent8 ( member #58189) posted at 8:14 PM on Wednesday, January 5th, 2022

It's absolutely possible - my marriage is proof of that. It's hard and there are no guarantees, but its possible.

I'm so (so) sorry for your loss.

Me: BS, Him: WS. Mid-late 30s.
Together 15 years, married 6 (11 m at D-Day).
D-Day: Feb 2017 (8 m PA with married COW).
5 years (and two toddlers) into R. Happy.

posts: 744   ·   registered: Apr. 7th, 2017
id 8707735
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 9:48 PM on Wednesday, January 5th, 2022

LHAP? Wow. Man, it's good to read something you posted. You helped me so much when I was a new BS.

Welcome to SI, Disillusioned2.

My W complained to me about the R forum a week or so ago - because it's about troubled Rs, not good ones. The thing is: this forum aims to help readers (and posters) get through the difficult parts of R. R isn't easy. You are bound to hit rough spots, some very rough.

I'm happy, married, and happily married, but I've been at this for 11+ years now. It took me 3.5-4 years to get to this point, with a W who consistently worked for R.

Shirley Glass wrote that, of the couples she saw in her practice who said they wanted R, only 20% ended up D'ed. I complained to our MC that 20% seemed like a lot of people. Our MC said the 20% were probably the people who didn't do the necessary work.

That wasn't meant as a criticism; it was just an observation. If one or both partners don't do the work, they can't R. You might decide, for example, that you don't want to be with your H any more, so you'll stop doing R work for a good reason.

The corollary is: if both partners do the necessary work, they will R.

For now, just keep in mind that you'll R if you both do the work. I recommend posting here about your specific uncertainties, questions, concerns, triumphs, failures (most of which will be in your mind), etc.

*****

You use the term 'recover'. I distinguish between 'recovery' and 'reconciliation'. 'Recovery is about my processing my anger, grief, fear, and shame out of my body. It's my W changing herself from betrayer to good partner. I heal me. She heals her. The nice part about recovery is that I can recover even if my W doesn't. You can recover even if your H doesn't.

Reconciliation is about rebuilding our relationship; this is something we have to do together. R takes 2.

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 8707774
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Thumos ( member #69668) posted at 11:38 PM on Wednesday, January 5th, 2022

For what it's worth, I've been able to talk in-depth with exactly one couple that felt they were happily reconciled. I don't say that to suggest that there's a dearth of happily reconciled couples, just that I myself only have had access to exactly one couple in real life that I could actually talk to in person and watch their facial cues and so on.

Anyway, they seemed genuinely happy with each other. I was around them for three straight days, because they were the facilitators at a Retrouvaille weekend. I had access to a lengthy time to sit and talk with them. Like I said, they seemed happy, and I don't think they were misrepresenting their situation at all.

As facilitators, they went in-depth into their story. This couple had divorced over the affair, and then remarried each other several years later.

So there's a happy ending for you.

What bothered me, however, was:

1. Just once again, how stupid and vapid and meaningless and senseless affairs are. The wife in this couple had the affair(s) and it was all just so dumb, frankly. I couldn't help but judge her a little as I listened to her talk. Like what was all that for? So much toxic abuse and pain inflicted on this poor husband, who was such a genuinely nice man that it was difficult to understand how his wife could be so selfish.

It was only after a couple of years of living in a crappy apartment that she seemed to wake up and realize just how unglamorous her Looking for Mr. Goodbar quest had become. And I was like, "yeah, no shit Sherlock."

2. There was a slight whiff I picked up of the wife STILL having some sense of entitlement. For example, she talked about how hurt she was that her husband had exposed her unfaithfulness to their direct families. I was like, "Wow, that's some nerve."

3. I couldn't shake the perception that the betrayed husband had compromised more than his wayward wife. It felt like he had settled. I didn't like that feeling. I was like, "Gee this doesn't seem ideal at all. Could he have done better with another woman or alone?"

That said, I also think the dynamic of a divorce first and remarriage later was probably healthier for the husband overall. He was able to be on his own, have a life of his own, and then choose to come back together with his wife only when she demonstrated true remorse, metanoia and contrition. That struck me as a healthier "power dynamic" that probably allowed the betrayed husband's head to be in an overall healthier place for the rest of his life.

[This message edited by Thumos at 5:08 PM, Thursday, January 6th]

"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 8707819
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alucard ( member #78796) posted at 5:15 PM on Thursday, January 6th, 2022

3. I couldn't shake the perception that the betrayed husband had compromised more than his wayward wife. It felt like he had settled. I didn't like that feeling. I was like, "Gee this doesn't seem ideal at all. Could he have done better with another woman or alone?"

Isn't this the exact core of the suffering that we BH all through? The pact with the devil, the horrible compromise that we need to accept.
If a BH deiced to R, he needs to deal with this for the rest of his life. that's where I can't wrap my mind around

posts: 126   ·   registered: May. 14th, 2021
id 8707957
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