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Reconciliation :
Reconciliation Re-boot

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 DoingGreat (original poster new member #72008) posted at 9:38 PM on Tuesday, July 26th, 2022

I can’t believe I’m here. I discovered my wife was having an affair back in 2019. I never properly dealt with it with proper reconciliation and it just hit me like a ton of bricks that I don’t trust her, feel as distant from her as ever and I need to leave or have a real reconciliation. Kicking myself for letting it get here. We had started on the right path to reconciliation then I kind of dropped the ball and thought It would just work out but here we are 2.5 yrs later.

There’s of course much more detail here, but the basic feeling of "I should have done that right and I dropped the ball" is killing me right now.

posts: 40   ·   registered: Nov. 4th, 2019
id 8747322
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waitedwaytoolong ( member #51519) posted at 10:21 PM on Tuesday, July 26th, 2022

I should have done that right and I dropped the ball" is killing me right now.

What is it that you think you didn’t do right? In most cases with a strong reconciliation it’s the WS who needs to drive the bus. What has she done?

Are you both committed to restoring the marrige?

I am the cliched husband whose wife had an affair with the electrician

Divorced

posts: 1907   ·   registered: Jan. 26th, 2016
id 8747329
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BreakingBad ( member #75779) posted at 10:32 PM on Tuesday, July 26th, 2022

the basic feeling of "I should have done that right and I dropped the ball" is killing me right now

DoingGreat,

Do you feel like you dropped the ball because you "allowed" rug sweeping? Weren't clear on what changes you needed to see consistently in action from your BS in order to heal?

If so, I get it...to an extent. IMO, reconciliation isn't achievaable if either party wants to rug sweep.

Yet, the larger portion of the work to reconcile will be on your WS. She will need to be willing to have very difficult conversations (over and over), to dig down and work on her own "whys" and likely FOO issues, and to willingly put in effort to be transparent, to show focus on your needs.

Is she willing to improve the marriage...and at this point still save the marriage...by digging in to that painful past?

Have you shared your feelings with her? Was she empathetic?

[edited to improve clarity]

[This message edited by BreakingBad at 10:35 PM, Tuesday, July 26th]

"Don't you love it, don't you love it?
No, I ain't happy yet.
But I'm way less sad."[Credit to group AJR]

Me=BW; fWH=online affairs with 3 APs over 2.5-3 yrs
Both in IC & MC
Married 31 yrs now
2 kids-both in HS
Attempting R

posts: 179   ·   registered: Oct. 31st, 2020
id 8747330
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This0is0Fine ( member #72277) posted at 12:25 AM on Wednesday, July 27th, 2022

DoingGreat,

We all end up traveling our own path, usually not without some amount of wishing we had done better.

The good news is that it's never too late to revisit this if it is bothering you.

Something like this:

"I know it sucks to bring up your affair, but I don't think we ever dealt with it properly. The reality is that I don't trust you right now, and I haven't since I found out. I've been in denial and trying to tell myself it would get better, but it just hasn't. I want to make another attempt at rebuilding trust with you properly."

I didn't tell my wife straight up "I don't trust you and don't think I will" until about 1 year after DDay. It was only then that we started reconciling in earnest.

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

posts: 2028   ·   registered: Dec. 11th, 2019
id 8747335
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survrus ( member #67698) posted at 1:01 AM on Wednesday, July 27th, 2022

DoingGreat,

I guess a few baseline questions...

Was it an EA or PA, and if she states it was an EA do you believe her.

Did you get full disclosure or did she just give you superficial details.

STD testing.

Timeline.

Polygraph.

DNA for the kids.

Exposure of the OM.

posts: 1182   ·   registered: Nov. 1st, 2018   ·   location: USA
id 8747338
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 DoingGreat (original poster new member #72008) posted at 6:25 PM on Wednesday, July 27th, 2022

Thanks you everyone for your thoughts. So helpful to have this support.

On the one hand I understand that the reconciliation is mostly her work to do - to win back my trust, etc. But as someone pointed out, I was not clear enough at all about what I needed, and I allowed rug-sweeping (maybe I wanted to rug-sweep, I don’t know). I think I was afraid of pushing too hard, of driving her away, of demanding too much, of the chance reconciliation might not work…. On reflecting I remember worrying about her like "she doesn’t seem happy right now I don’t want to put her through this." I was also just lazy about it all. None of this was good.

But she has done little to no apparent work at rebuilding trust either, and she definitely doesn’t understand/empathize the deep pain she caused me and how much distrust is there.

A little more backstory: wife says it was an EA but I always thought it was a PA and still do to this day. She said from the start she was willing to take poly, but we never did it. This feels like it was a huge mistake.

I took someone on here’s advice and told my wife today basically we failed at rebuilding trust after the reconciliation, I don’t trust that you’ve told me whole truth of the past. I think I’d like to try this over IF WE ARE BOTH committed to the work and want to save this marriage. I am committed to doing this "right" on my end this time around - meaning I will be more clear with you about what I need from you to build trust and to have a happy marriage - but most of the work is for you to do.

Then I asked her to take a polygraph. She said ok and I could schedule one in the next few days. I’m nervous but really happy to go ahead with that.

Does anyone have any tips on finding a good therapist/counselor for my IC? I made a lot of good moves taking care of my self post D day (exercise, diet, new hobbies and time with friends) but never got into IC. What am I looking for in a therapist? Any good ways to search for the right one?

Ironically one of the big things my wife did after D day was start IC. Sometimes I wonder if her therapist is any good, is she really getting the help she needs? From my perspective, Never felt like she prioritized our marriage and R in her therapy. I suspect her therapist has allowed (or encouraged) her to minimize the A.

posts: 40   ·   registered: Nov. 4th, 2019
id 8747406
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survrus ( member #67698) posted at 3:15 PM on Thursday, July 28th, 2022

Did you ever get in touch with the other betrayed spouse?

This is very critical.

posts: 1182   ·   registered: Nov. 1st, 2018   ·   location: USA
id 8747504
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 DoingGreat (original poster new member #72008) posted at 7:32 PM on Thursday, July 28th, 2022

Did you ever get in touch with the other betrayed spouse?

This is very critical.

I tried back around D-Day (late 2019-early 2020) but never managed to get in touch with her.

posts: 40   ·   registered: Nov. 4th, 2019
id 8747535
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 DoingGreat (original poster new member #72008) posted at 11:58 AM on Saturday, July 30th, 2022

Hi - it’s me the original poster again. At some point reasonably soon after D day my WW started IC, which was the first time either of us have ever tried IC. I took this as a good thing.

One of the ways our R went off the rails is that I Think I expected her IC to help bring progress to the R. WW was never good at talking about herself and her feelings, and I think we both figured IC would help that - she could explore with the IC and hopefully would begin to share and open up to me more - about the A and about other things.

Instead, the IC felt like it drove a wedge between us. It’s not that I asked her what she talked about in IC or expected her to come home and share it with me… but it felt to me like she was the complete opposite of that - she was very defensive and guarded about IC, the few times it came up she immediately shit down like "my IC is for me" or sort of an attitude of "you think I go to IC and talk about you the whole time… I have so much else to talk about".

My WW’s A was an EA, and she actually says there was never any romantic talk between them, never discussed a PA, no words of affection betweeen them…. She makes it out like it was just a secret friend she would talk to. I may never know for sure (and I know all of you will say of course this is bullshit - I tend to think yoj are right). We are doing poly ASAP early next week.

But given the situation - even if I believed it was just a secret friend- it felt to me sometimes like she replaced her secret friend with another sort of secretive relationship which is her therapist. So defensive and guarded about her therapy. Sometimes I imagine her therapist is just helping her cope with me, helping her love with her lies or learn to accept me even though she doesn’t like the M, or helping her stay in the M til kids grow…

Any time I’ve asked about her IC always felt immediate walls come up. And since she talking to therapist I feel she needs to talk to me about feelings etc less. Finally I always wonder like you’ve been in IC for two years but what do you have to show for it in terms of our M and our R. how has it helped you with your issues that led to A and other issues in o it marriage?

So this was a long way of asking - how much privacy does she get with respect to her IC? How should I expect her to share what is going on in IC, or should I not? How can I get comfortable that the IC is good for our R, is a friend to the M?

posts: 40   ·   registered: Nov. 4th, 2019
id 8747754
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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 5:21 PM on Saturday, July 30th, 2022

how much privacy does she get with respect to her IC? How should I expect her to share what is going on in IC, or should I not? How can I get comfortable that the IC is good for our R, is a friend to the M?

IC isn't about the marriage. It's about the individual. If you're looking for someone to prioritize the marriage, you want MC for that.

This isn't to say that you and your WW shouldn't be talking. In R, talking is healing. You shouldn't need to get into the specifics of what your WW talked about in IC because you should already be having a pretty good, running conversation about what's going on in her headspace. At this point, it shouldn't feel like an interrogation either, but rather a more mutual sharing about how you're both feeling in emotional terms.

It kind of sounds like there's some sort of adversarial dynamic in play, and if so, how did that happen? The goal here is to improve emotional intimacy. Talking shouldn't be an either/or proposition like either she talks to IC or she talks to you. She should be doing both. If you two aren't talking enough, why not? What's stopping that from happening? What can be done to correct it?

Bear in mind that you are NOT trapped. If R isn't working for you, you can always file for D and be done. There's a certain amount of freedom in acknowledging that you've made an active choice about where you're going to stand, that you are past the stage of victimization, and that you can make informed choices about your future.

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

No one can make you into a liar but you.

posts: 5750   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8747774
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BluerThanBlue ( member #74855) posted at 1:40 AM on Monday, August 1st, 2022

Why is your wife in IC? That's the most important question with which to start. Just as one would go see a doctor to treat a physical malady, what type of resolution is your wife seeking in her psychological treatment? Or is she just doing it so she can say she's doing something that will appease you?

As for your other questions...

So this was a long way of asking - how much privacy does she get with respect to her IC? How should I expect her to share what is going on in IC, or should I not?

It would be very counterproductive for your wife to go into IC with the expectation that she has to tell you everything that she tells the IC and vice versa. In order for her to get the best treatment possible, she needs to be able to talk to the IC without having to think through what you might think or feel in reaction to whatever comes out of her mouth.

There's no way that you can be 100% sure that she is giving you the full truth of what she's saying and the advice she's receiving in IC anyway. Therapists often get a bad rap because waywards often lie about the advice they receive in IC.

For example, it's pretty common for waywards to say stuff like, "Dr. Smith said you're controlling and I shouldn't have to take a polygraph!" Meanwhile, it turns out that the wayward was lying about what the therapist said (in the hopes that advice from an authority figure will get their BS off their back) or that the wayward omitted or embellished certain details in order cloud the therapist's perception of the BS.

So if your wife comes back from IC with seemingly bogus suggestions or advice from the IC, or seems more hostile and defensive, that should raise your fed flag.

How can I get comfortable that the IC is good for our R, is a friend to the M?

Your wife is the IC's patient, not your marriage. The IC should be neither friend nor foe to your marriage because the IC's only interest should be what's best for your wife, whether that involves reconciliation or divorce.

Lastly, an IC is only as good as the time, effort, and willingness of the patient.

BW, age 40
Divorced WH in 2015; now happily remarried to a great guy

I edit my comments a lot for spelling, grammar, typos, etc.

posts: 844   ·   registered: Jul. 13th, 2020
id 8747856
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RocketRaccoon ( member #54620) posted at 9:01 AM on Wednesday, August 3rd, 2022

DG,

Going to be blunt, so skip reading if you are not up to blunt feedback.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You are doing yourself a great disservice, in that you seem to be trying to convince yourself to stay.

If you really wanted to leave, you would have done it already, but from what you have posted, it looks like you are convincing yourself that you need to stay. Pro-tip: You don't.

Your WW (she does not deserve the 'f' in front) is still trying to control you, and you LET her. You let her keep secrets.

If your WW were truly wanted to R with you:
- all these issues would not be cropping up. Problem is, you let her continue to create issues.

- she would be telling you how her IC sessions went. Maybe not to a granular level, but at least to give you an idea of what was discussed.

Perhaps you should get to discuss with your IC why you let her control you. Perhaps it is fear of the unknown (which is natural), but don't let the fear rule you.

You cannot cure stupid

posts: 995   ·   registered: Aug. 12th, 2016   ·   location: South East Asia
id 8748116
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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 9:23 PM on Wednesday, August 3rd, 2022

I would recommend you start in IC. I think you are telling yourself narratives that aren’t true or healthy for you.

No one knows how to do this shit. It’s all trial and error. You couldn’t tell her what you needed because you didn’t know. No one does. You are to the point you have discovered what you have done hasn’t been effective. We all do that in some form.

What matter now is you are no longer willing to self abandon. That is the most important next step for you. Stop beating yourself and just accept this is where you are in your journey. You have decided not to give up on yourself, and you are now ready to step forward in a way that you weren’t before. And that is a GOOD thing!

5 years of hard work
Reconciled
WS & BS

posts: 6136   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8748169
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gmc94 ( Guide #62810) posted at 7:23 AM on Thursday, August 4th, 2022

Full disclosure: I'm not in R. However, learning about attachment theory did help me form a better understanding about my WH's seemingly endless need to keep secrets. Now, while having some understanding may provide a better path to empathy, it does not (at least for me) mean one condones secrecy (esp after infidelity) or remain in any partnership with someone unable/unwilling to work to change that habit/dynamic/learned behavior, etc.

May want to contemplate if you are beating yourself up for 'doing it wrong' in ways that are counterproductive to your own healing. I loved Rick Hansen's Resilient, and one of the things he speaks about early on is that we are our own best friends. So, maybe give yourself some compassion and empathy? We can do our best and still not get the outcome we hoped for. We can only control ourselves, and some of the things about which you speak seem to imply if you "coulda, shoulda, woulda" your WS would somehow have done the work on her side of the road. The thing is, you don't control that - she does. I think that can be REALLY hard to accept (it was for me). AND I found an amazing sense of freedom - like a giant load had been lifted - when I learned to accept that others - including my WS - are the ones responsible for choosing their behavior, not me. I can clearly communicate my needs, and then make my own choices when they aren't met.

I agree with HO, et al that IC is a good place to start. Personally, I look for folks who have graduated in the last 10-15 years, and who specialize in trauma (and I mean SPECIALIZE, not just listing trauma on top of every other Dx in the book, from anorexia to personality disorders). I found that in the RARE instances when the nuances or specifics of infidelity/relational betrayal were somehow important to the convo/topic, I could "educate" my IC on that particular front (not like I haven't done my own homework there). But it's really far and few between that has been an issue. The issue is the trauma. And for many/most of us, it's not "just" the infidelity trauma, but our own "baggage" that factor into the decisions we make post dday. It truly is a journey, and as much as I HATE the sh*tty choices my WS made that put me on this path, I'm grateful for the places it's taken me.

Godspeed

M >25yrs/grown kids
DD1 1994 ONS prostitute
DD2 2018 exGF1 10+yrEA & 10yrPA... + exGF2 EA forever & "made out" 2017
9/18 WH hung himself- died but revived

It's rude to say "I love you" with a mouthful of lies

posts: 3824   ·   registered: Feb. 22nd, 2018
id 8748192
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