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Reconciliation :
What things have helped you the most in your reconciliation journey

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 gainingclosure (original poster member #79667) posted at 6:59 PM on Friday, July 22nd, 2022

Just as the title says, I thought it would be useful to ask the forum what things have helped you the most in your R journey. Anything at all, like any rituals, things your wayward partner said to you or did for you, meditation, etc. My current struggles are with obsessive, recurring thoughts that lead me to negative emotions: sadness, anger, humiliation, rejection, disgust and shame to name a few. My WW is as close to a model for R as you might get, but some of the things she did during her A are just so beyond the pale, it's still incredibly difficult. Currently seeing two ICs, had been going to CC but stopped after we had nothing left to talk about (this also didn't help with my recurring thoughts). Looking for more concrete actions to take.

D-Day: Sep 29, 2005Me: BH Her: fWW"The soul is dyed with the color of its thoughts" - Marcus Aurelius

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id 8745921
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tushnurse ( member #21101) posted at 8:17 PM on Friday, July 22nd, 2022

One of my ground rules for R was that my H had to be 100% open and honest w/ me moving forward.
No more minimizing of anything. No more conflict avoidance. No more lies of any kind ever again.

So we set the ground rules that we would be brutally honest with each other, and while we were kind we weren't going to pussyfoot around, and if we saw a behavior that was unhealthy we were going to call each other out on it.
We called it the bullshit rule. If we saw anything that was a triggering behavior, or an action that was unhealthy for the M we called each other out. We would simply say bullshit. That meant it's time to take a break, and a discussion needed to happen. For me I was called out on my CoDependent behaviors, so instead of saying what I wanted for dinner, I'd give the whatever you want nonsense. That would be a bullshit, those in particular were usually met w/ a wink and a smile, then I knew I had to make my own decision, and everyone would just have to be happy with it, and if not they missed their opportunity to make the decision.

For him it was embellishing a story, or being curt, or saying something that was not particularly helpful, but falling back into his behaviors of treating me poorly during his A. A simple bullshit would stop that and a regroup would happen. As we got better, and more comofortable with this dynamic it rarely led into a need for additional conversation. It was like hey I don't like this, so knock it off, and the other would and life would roll on.

But in all honesty the thing that made R work for us, was the complete and total honesty we had with one another.

Me: FBS
Him: FWS
Kids: 22 & 25
Married for 30 years now, was 16 at the time.
D-Day Sept 26 2008
R'd in about 2 years. Old Vet now.

posts: 19420   ·   registered: Oct. 1st, 2008   ·   location: St. Louis
id 8745929
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 10:02 PM on Friday, July 22nd, 2022

Honesty Honesty Honesty. Honest answers to every question I asked, and I still ask questions.

She adapted a Native American sage-burning ritual. She adapted a Jewish ritual bath. Most of al, she did psychotherapy, took confrontation in, and changed.

I looked as deeply as I could at what I thought I wanted to make sure I was as true to myself as possible.

I was lucky - W got us an appointment with her IC on d-day, and her IC was terrific. We did MC with her. Her approach included:

- Deal with the A first (our MC was all A, all the time for several months)...

- The A was about my W, not about me or our M...

- If my W wanted to R, as she said she did, she'd essentially have to answer every question I asked...

- W had to solve her problems, and I had to solve mine...

- Sex was up to us to figure out for ourselves, but it was a good idea for my W to say 'yes' unless she really didn't want sex ....

I let myself feel what I felt. I censored in the sense that I never called my W names, but I told her when I was angry, sad, hopeless, hopeful, etc., etc., etc. I stayed in the here and now. A few times I stopped sex in the middle of the action because I realized I didn't really want sex at that moment.

ETA:

But in all honesty the thing that made R work for us, was the complete and total honesty we had with one another.

IDK how I missed that. Nothing more needed to be said. I wrote a bit about how honesty showed itself in a few areas of life, but everything I wrote is about being honest.

[This message edited by SI Staff at 10:05 PM, Friday, July 22nd]

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.

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id 8745953
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Definedbygrace ( new member #80351) posted at 11:51 PM on Friday, July 22nd, 2022

I just read your previous post titled "Reconciliation Rollercoaster" and I must say it sounds like you recently found out some pretty big stuff about your FWW A that would put most BS right back at square one! I think your FWW needs to realize this and do whatever it takes for however long it takes for you to properly heal. If you don't get it right this time it will just fester under the surface and reappear down the road.

My situation has some similarity in that the A was many years ago (FWH ended it in 1983 and confessed to me in 1986) and I was recently severely triggered and still recovering from that. I realize now that we both did rug sweeping in '86 and moved on with our lives. He made major life changes including giving his life to God, stopped partying and became a dedicated family man. He has never since given me any reason to doubt his faithfulness. Still last September something he said triggered me and I was instantly back in 1983, the year of his A and I was crushed under the pain of the reality of what he had done. I for the first time got mind movies, my brain had shut it down back then and I couldn't allow myself to face what he had done. Now I couldn't unface it, I felt like I had time traveled. My husband was worried about me because I was so off balance emotionally and he had never seen me in such turmoil. We also went thru HB which we had not done in 86. I ask questions for hours and hours, days and weeks, months. Its 9 months later and the questions have mostly stopped. Any new information I gathered was actually 'less' damaging than my imagination had filled in the gaps the past decades. This was the first time he saw how much damage/pain he had caused me, it was also the first time I saw HIS pain, which I desperately needed to see. We are both Christians so praying together and for each other has been HUGE in this process.

I am an obsessive thinker, I found myself thinking over and over every detail 24 hours a day. It was consuming and destroying me. I think I reached a point where the thoughts were making me physically ill. I realized I had to do something different. Would I walk away from my 43 year old marriage from my husband who has been faithful the last 39 years? I could. I have reason to. So the choice is mine. My husband has done everything I have ask of him, he writes down answers, he answers questions 15 times if I ask them, he lets me vent and he takes accountability for it all, he owns it all. He asks me if I need to talk about it, he hugs me when he can see Im struggling. I guess I reached a point where I was sure I had all the facts I needed, I had clear picture of what had happened, I let myself feel the pain, the anger, the devastation ( I still feel all this but not to the degree I was months ago). I ask myself, is this how you plan to live the rest of your life? My husband can only do so much for me. I am the only one that can stop the thoughts of the past from domininating my mind, my life, sucking away joy and happiness, I am the one who decides to chose to stop them or continue. And let me tell you this isn't easy as you know. Its not just saying "ok Im not going to think about it anymore", no it takes work to make the thoughts stop. You have to take control of your thoughts, it takes action, it takes consciously making a choice and moving in that direction. The more you think the same thoughts the more that path in your brain gets worn and it becomes the path of least resistance. You have to counter that by denying those thoughts time in your brain so that path becomes less worn. make sense?

So you do things to stop the thoughts, I literally say out loud sometimes "STOP" I also replace those thoughts, I tell myself things like:

He hasnt been that man for nearly 40 years

It happened I can't change that but I can chose to be happy

I can choose to give it no place in my life (its always part of your history but doesn't have to be in your face)

I give thanks for all the good things

I give thanks to God for saving my husband

I give thanks to God for forgiving ME of things I have done

I remember our children and grand children

In other words: gratitude

I recently found courses online that are helping me a great deal too, I can PM you with the name if I can figure out how to PM LOL

Forgiveness is important, it doesn't mean you are ok with what happened, it means you release that person from YOUR vengence.

I dont know if any of this is helpful, I havent written on here much so Im not good at putting my experience down for others.

I understand your pain and Im' sorry we are here

[This message edited by Definedbygrace at 11:53 PM, Friday, July 22nd]

Me: BW63 (24 at time of betrayal)Him: FWH66 (26 at time of Adultery)DD: 3/86 14 month NSA PA with married Co worker, 6x for lunch time quickies between 10/82-11/83Severely Retriggered 9/2021Reconciled but still healing from trigger

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BraveSirRobin ( Guide #69242) posted at 3:31 AM on Saturday, July 23rd, 2022

I have to mention (yet again) The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk. My BH found it so hard to forgive himself for not getting over my affair. He felt angry and humiliated that mind movies still preyed on him. That book was life changing, acknowledging that no amount of traditional talk therapy or mind-over-matter could overcome the lit-up trauma centers of his brain. Once he had scientific proof that his pain was not his fault and not due to weakness, he was open to other methods of treatment. Honestly, I wish he had tried EMDR, but the pandemic intervened, and now he says it's not the right thing for him. Still, his progress has been remarkable. Those grooves wore very deep in his psyche over the decades, and that book lifted him out.

WW/BW

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id 8745982
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 gainingclosure (original poster member #79667) posted at 10:29 PM on Saturday, July 23rd, 2022

tushnurse - I like the code word thing, I may try to adapt some form of that.

Sisoon - Interesting about the rituals. My WW did a similar thing for me, albeit it was a response to me being slightly sarcastic - that I wanted her to have a shrine to our relationship in our room. A few weeks later a literal small shrine came, she put a photo of us in it and burned incense.

Definedbygrace - Your struggles are mine almost to a tee. Going on year 16 here. Maybe 14 of those years were ok and I was able to push it out of mind. Im going to read my WW your response, because I think it shows that Im not some outlier here. I feel like she views my inability to let go after seemingly letting go as an abnormal trauma response . Im a bit jealous of your H, even though my WW has been mostly good about helping me, she gets frustrated (has been going on in waves for the past 9 months) that I sometimes ask the same questions over and over, and that when she has a sub optimal response, I tell her what I think I want her to say, she says in frustration that she's said that exact thing hundreds of times. I told her to strike that response from her vocabulary last time she used it.

BraveSirRobin - Im getting that book on audio book and hope it helps - thanks for the recommendation.

D-Day: Sep 29, 2005Me: BH Her: fWW"The soul is dyed with the color of its thoughts" - Marcus Aurelius

posts: 74   ·   registered: Dec. 9th, 2021
id 8746056
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Oldwounds ( member #54486) posted at 6:53 PM on Sunday, July 24th, 2022

I attacked the nightmares, the horror show imagery head on.

You quote Aurelius, and it is a good one.

Eventually, after some time to get our feet beneath us, regain some strength and understand our value, we do have the power to focus our thoughts.

The PTSD aspect of our trauma is real.

We have the thoughts over and over again as our brains try to do several things:

1. Reassemble reality. Our life was NOT what we thought it was. Putting the puzzle back together of what life really was, takes time.
2. Protection. Fight or flight mode, we are not sure we’re safe (for damn good reasons), and our brain reminds us to keep our head on a swivel.
3. Preemptive prevention. We spend many hours where our mind works to find out if there was a way the trauma could have been avoided. Did we have a chance to see it sooner/stop it/avoid it?

What I learned was, there wasn’t a damn thing I could have done different.

Then, what I though were actions my wife wasn’t capable of — we find all WS make choices we couldn’t imagine — because we didn’t make those same choices.

As long as my wife was working on why she acted against her own best interest, and understanding why she needed that kind of validation, it was the kind of progress I could eventually trust over time.

My own rituals were tackle the thoughts as they come in. Why is my brain reminding of THAT moment? Generally, I accept that it is trying help and protect me, but over time, I realize the past belongs in the past. Bad shit happened, but it isn’t happening now, today. Who I am today, who my wife is now, those become the focal points.

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: 4371   ·   registered: Aug. 4th, 2016   ·   location: PNW. The adventure continues.
id 8747047
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Want2BHappyAgain ( member #45088) posted at 8:28 PM on Sunday, July 24th, 2022

What things have helped you the most in your R journey

Finding this site was a Godsend grin . I learned so MUCH from the people here...both Betrayeds and Waywards. I didn't take EVERY piece of advice...but it sure HELPED to know I wasn't alone in this infidelity hell.

Another thing that helped me was relying on the POSITIVE smile . I have always been an optimist...but my H's A sure put me in a very negative mindset. The more negative emotions that I dwelt on...the more negative my life was. I had to find SOME WAY to get back to the positive mindset. One of the ways that HELPED me tremendously was to have my H finish his words once he was OUT of his A fog smile . I wrote about it on page 9 of the "Positive Reconciliation Stories" thread grin . I based it on the famous quote..."You can’t go back and change the beginning but you can start where you are and change the ending". My H couldn't go back to Dday and unsay what he said. But he COULD finish the sentence in his own words with how he felt NOW smile .

Ironically...I found that by healing from THIS A...I was able to heal from the A my 1st H had almost 30 years earlier. I THOUGHT I was healed...but so many things surfaced while I was facing another infidelity...and it was like a double whammy for me. I couldn't get closure from my 1st H like I did with my 2nd H...by talking to him. We hadn't been in contact for YEARS. But I WAS able to revisit that time and forgive myself for doing things that I did back then. MY situation with my 1st H ended in D...but I APPLAUD you for coming here to do as your username says...gain closure smile .

I believe though that the thing that helped US the MOST in our R journey was getting to know God better smile . We had strayed very far off of the path of LIGHT...and we both ended up in some very DARK places. Thank God that He gives many second chances grin !!

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: 6170   ·   registered: Oct. 2nd, 2014   ·   location: Southeastern United States
id 8747053
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Definedbygrace ( new member #80351) posted at 9:07 PM on Sunday, July 24th, 2022

My husband initially thought I was ‘stirring the pot’ unnecessarily and resisted joining me in trying to heal this. It fell to my shoulders to bear the burden and heal myself. But I needed answers, I needed to see his pain and he needed to see the scope of devastation he had caused. Apparently I had compartmentalized it away back then because it was too painful to deal with. But now it was out and there was no sweeping it under the rug this time. I went to a counselor a few times in September and she said I had been retraumatized by the trigger and this a chance to get healed properly this time. I got the book "how to help your spouse heal from your affair" and we both read it a few times. It helped my husband tremendously to understand why I was behaving this way. He then was fully committed to do what ever takes to get us properly healed this time. His attitude changed and I felt safe approaching him with questions. Your wife needs to understand that she’s just keeping you in pain or delaying your healing by not being 100% on board as a team. She caused this and trauma can reappear at any time thru out your life from this. Sad but true.

Me: BW63 (24 at time of betrayal)Him: FWH66 (26 at time of Adultery)DD: 3/86 14 month NSA PA with married Co worker, 6x for lunch time quickies between 10/82-11/83Severely Retriggered 9/2021Reconciled but still healing from trigger

posts: 13   ·   registered: May. 25th, 2022
id 8747062
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Grieving ( member #79540) posted at 1:56 AM on Monday, July 25th, 2022

My husband being an honest, committed (if imperfect) partner in recovery +

Having detailed information about his affair and facing it squarely and unflinchingly +

Self care and taking responsibility for my own happiness +

Time +

Eventually working to discern the difference between memories and thought paths that signaled the need for more work, and those that were repetitive, fruitless, and needed to be consciously replaced with other, healthier thought patterns.

It’s a work in progress though. I’m not "there" yet, wherever "there" is. I have good and bad moments. Not many wholly bad days anymore though. (D-day was two years ago).

[This message edited by Grieving at 1:59 AM, Monday, July 25th]

Married for 20 years with two kids when my husband had a six month emotional and physical affair with a coworker. DD1: 6/2020 (soft evidence followed by a month of lies). DD2: 7/3/2020 (hard evidence, truth, started reconciliation journey).

posts: 190   ·   registered: Oct. 30th, 2021
id 8747094
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whatisloveanyway ( member #66450) posted at 8:00 PM on Wednesday, July 27th, 2022

gaininglcosure,

I hope the IC helps you with the thought spirals. I struggle with them too, and think compartmentalizing or rugsweeping them isn't going to help me much, so I dig into my fears and my whys. My WH is not the model R type, and I have a lot of unresolved issues and little R traction or progress in the past few years. So I use a lot of rationalizations to get through, the biggest is reminding myself that the danger of the MOW is long gone and far away, and he'd have to be a magician and a fool to betray me again. I keep telling my brain the present is safe, the past is my problem to let go of. There have been no new revelations for over a year, but I forgive myself for the setbacks my multiple DDays have caused me. Understanding the nature of relationship betrayal and trauma and realizing my brain is doing predictable things, and figuring out what they are and why they are happening helps me through the rough patches. I try to remind myself how I want to live in the present and use it as a goal or a touchstone to envision the future I want. I also do a lot of calculating the risk/reward of staying in this relationship and try to pay attention to the things that are good now. I'm not sure there is anything that will take the hurt away from how he disrespected and disregarded me in his selfish choices, but I do have a sense that he knows what he risked and what it could have cost him, and I believe he is relieved I stuck it out.


I won't lie, there are times I wonder what a new beginning for me might feel like, but I'm not sure ending the relationship would solve any of the negative emotions that come with this program. So I try to live my best life, in spite of it all, and remind myself that as messed up as all this has been, it could have been so much worse in so many ways. Staying, trying, honoring our years together, keeping my family intact, reaping the benefits of our decades of hard work, it just makes so much sense on paper. It helps that we are compatible and share so many interests, to keep the friendship part of the relationship strong. The tricky part is stopping the sorrow of not being loved as much as I thought I was, or as much as I bring to the table. I'm sure your IC is giving you techniques to try, and I mostly use the stop it, knock it off self talk when thoughts or emotions spiral. I also tell my WH when I am struggling, to share the burden of the emotions he has left me with.

I do a lot of reading to understand and validate my journey and my emotions, to stop the judgement that comes with all these unwelcome feelings. Dr. Stosny's Living and Loving after Betrayal has been very helpful and I keep returning to it and gain more insight with every visit. Good luck to you on your journey and let us know what you find that works for you.

BW: 62 WH: 62 Both 57 on Dday, M 35 years, 2 grown kids. WH had 9 year A with MOW, 7 month false R, multiple DDays, years of trickle truth.
I got rid of her with one email. Reconciling, but the lies have piled up. Trying one more time, again.

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