I fell for my W 57 years ago last week, we got married 55 years ago last week, W cheated almost 12 years ago. She committed to R, and we set out on our path to R on d-day, but I didn't commit to R until 90 days later.
We were at a wedding last week, and I mentioned to someone that the wedding was 4 or 5 days before our anniversary. I was asked, 'How long?' A lot of people were floored by the number 55. For me, it just seems normal ... if you get married, stay married, and live long enough, you'll get to big numbers. When I was in love with W2b, desperate with desire for her, I thought 40 years would be enough. When we hit 40 years together, I realized it wasn't. If I outlive my W, I think I'll be satisfied and very grateful with all these years past 40 together. But I want more - not so much from her, but with her.
Her A fits in somewhere. Because I'm on SI, I'm always aware of the A. If I weren't on SI, I think I'd forget about it most days. When I do think about it, the pain is only residual ... the body never forgets. It's no longer the worst pain I ever experienced - not because I've experienced greater pain since the A but because time has put it in perspective. I had an almost fatal illness about 57 years ago, and that seems worse than the A now. Come to think of it, we're in the middle of A season right now. That was a big deal for the first few years after d-day. Now it's not even a blip on our path.
Was it worth it? Hell, yes. Our health has held up pretty well, and that's a big, big help. We can still travel, we can still **TMI**, although that has changed a lot - some ways better, some worse, but mainly worse, IMO. Waking up together is always a pleasure for me.
It's been worth the effort for 2 reasons. First, we both wanted to R. We didn't try to control our outcome much, but we both went for what we wanted. Second, we both did our work. I faced my pain and worked to let it go. I worked through my resistances to doing that. My W worked effectively to build her boundaries and to stop generating self-talk that allowed her to cheat. For her, that was and continues to be mainly replacing self-hate messages with self-nurturing ones.
(The corollary is that R is not a good choice if one or both partners don't want R or if one or both partners won't do the necessary work. If you want D, not so BTW, my advice is to accept that and go for D. The goal should be, IMO, to live a good life after being betrayed, to survive and thrive.)
So ... we're old now. We're tired. We don't have the energy we had even 10 years ago. But life is still worth living. We're not done yet - I hope to write 58/56/almost 13 next year at this time.