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Newest Member: Crushedafter46years

Reconciliation :
Received an apology letter from my WW’s AP

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 gainingclosure (original poster member #79667) posted at 8:28 PM on Wednesday, November 2nd, 2022

Again, thank you all for the replies.

To be clear, I would not suggest anyone do what I did, and agree that there are myriad ways in which it could have backfired. I tend to be a fairly meticulous planner, and did consider all the ways in which AP could have reacted ahead of time. Fortunately I think it turned out in the best way possible.

Our marriage at this point I would say is quite good aside from the attachment wounds and we have a lot to fight for in the marriage. I mean part of why I think it hurts so much is that we are very compatible and if things weren't otherwise great and I didn't love her immensely, I just wouldn't care.

We have now gone through this cycle of attack/attack followed by making up dozens of times in the past year and it's exhausting. This negative cycle begins maybe half the time we discuss the affair, so it's tempting to just say let's not talk about it at all. Neither of us seem to have the communication skills to come out of it feeling any better despite therapy. As I told her yesterday, the affair is a "black diamond" topic and our skill level is bunny slope (skiing analogy).

For me, the urge to bring it up will many times begin when I get some thought in my head regarding some aspect of the affair. The motivation to bring whatever it is up, as far as I can reason, is the hope that she can provide some kind of soothing response and thus "pop" the thought OR that by bringing it up, she will understand how much damage and hurt I have from it and thus help prevent it from happening again (a very good insight from one of you posters).

I'll give a specific example. Our last "fight" and cycle kickoff started was when I told her I was tempted to ask the now (seemingly) remorseful AP questions to corroborate what she's told me, such as did he feel she was the more proactive one, how long was it really, etc. (I don't plan to do this) But I will fixate on some thought and in this case its the thought that it's entirely possible that my WW has been minimizing. It's just a very frustrating feeling to think that you don't know the full truth and furthermore likely never will, and I just wanted her to know that. Of course I also knew it wasn't a very good idea because all it could possibly do is set us back, plus AP could lie or not recall things accurately - a very real possibility given the amount of time thats gone by.

In response, she said she's not lied or minimized anything and she further countered with something like "So what if I was? Will that change anything now, will it change the 17 years we've been together and all the positive things we've done since then? Seems to me you're just looking for any excuse to get out of this marriage.". And she does have a point. But many times, her tone or response will just feel invalidating or dismissive and then I'll withdraw or tell her what I wished she'd have said which then makes her feel even more frustrated and upset. She's then got in her mind that holding the past over someone is a form of emotional abuse (and referred me an online article about it) and has even made a list of all the ways in which she's perceived me to be emotionally abusive, and it's full of extreme exaggerations, which is frustrating to say the least. I don't want to make her feel that way.

With this latest cycle, we are both really starting to feel hopeless, and yesterday I asked her what she thinks we should do about it. She didn't know what to do, and then I told her if this happens one more time within the next 30 days, I just need to move out and we need to see what a trial separation feels like. That we are one fight away from separating really upsets both of us and I had second thoughts about suggesting that, because I also told her I think the whole letter thing is a significant event and that we should both give ourselves grace to have big feelings due to it. I feel like besides the emotions that this latest development kicked up, things have been starting to feel more resolved. I have hope.

Reconciling BH. Full story is in my bio."The soul is dyed with the color of its thoughts" - Marcus Aurelius

posts: 93   ·   registered: Dec. 9th, 2021
id 8763305
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grubs ( member #77165) posted at 8:51 PM on Wednesday, November 2nd, 2022

GainingClosure, Are you seeing an IC? MC? with Betrayal background? Because I get it on resurfaced trauma from decades past. I did it to myself about a year ago by digging back into the correspondence with my ex pre-Dday after a trigger event. Found things that I had totally forgot and signs that I didn't clue into at the time. My current wife didn't deserve the impact that had on me and our relationship. In the end you have some major work to do to fix, re-fix, that damage whether you stay with your WW or not.

[This message edited by grubs at 8:53 PM, Wednesday, November 2nd]

posts: 1367   ·   registered: Jan. 21st, 2021
id 8763309
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Bigger ( Attaché #8354) posted at 9:05 PM on Wednesday, November 2nd, 2022


My current wife didn't deserve the impact that had on me and our relationship.

Totally 100% support this. I nearly wrecked my marriage due to infidelity I experienced in an earlier relationship. I got professional help and it only took 4-5 sessions to make me about as sane as I probably will get... laugh

[This message edited by Bigger at 9:05 PM, Wednesday, November 2nd]

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

posts: 11141   ·   registered: Sep. 29th, 2005
id 8763312
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swmnbc ( member #49344) posted at 9:24 PM on Wednesday, November 2nd, 2022

The motivation to bring whatever it is up, as far as I can reason, is the hope that she can provide some kind of soothing response and thus "pop" the thought OR that by bringing it up, she will understand how much damage and hurt I have from it and thus help prevent it from happening again (a very good insight from one of you posters).

You have created faulty feedback loops in your brain. There's nothing external, like your wife's perfect response, that can pop that or prevent it from happening in the future. You need to recognize it for what it is and find a way to "pop" it yourself (sometimes people snap a rubber band on their wrist). Personally I'd try tapping/EFT. I would say, "I wish I knew the unknowable. I grieve that I can't know it." Then say something affirming and reassuring to yourself. I think you need to get out of the loop before you can see clearly whether your spouse has empathy for you or not.

posts: 1822   ·   registered: Aug. 27th, 2015
id 8763313
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Dude67 ( member #75700) posted at 11:37 PM on Wednesday, November 2nd, 2022

You both need MC now, plain snd simple. If you don’t see a MC soon, my gut tells me that there is a expiration date to your M, sooner than later.

posts: 570   ·   registered: Oct. 21st, 2020
id 8763330
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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 12:09 AM on Thursday, November 3rd, 2022

Agreed with Swmnbc, you're going to your wife to have her control something that's happening in YOUR brain. She just doesn't have the kind of power it would take to regulate your emotions. Self-soothing is a must at some point for that very reason. In the early days of R, it does help to get some comforting from the WS, kind of like priming the pump, but after awhile it's just not enough without sourcing it for ourselves. When we self-comfort we create security. You're still looking to her to provide it but when it doesn't come from within it's not effective because it can always be withdrawn and on some level we know it.

Setting infidelity aside for a minute, at a certain stage of life, we begin to have fewer days ahead than behind. No one gets out of here alive, right? If we live long enough, we'll lose family and friends until maybe one day, we'll be on our own again. People can't help their mortality. We all leave one day. Your insecurity is focused on your fWW's history of infidelity, but maybe it's more complex than that. Abandonment wounds tend to get filed together in our brains so that one incident kind of links up to the others. Something to think about perhaps.

She's then got in her mind that holding the past over someone is a form of emotional abuse (and referred me an online article about it) and has even made a list of all the ways in which she's perceived me to be emotionally abusive, and it's full of extreme exaggerations, which is frustrating to say the least. I don't want to make her feel that way.

Let's say the shoe was on the other foot, but let's use a different incident where you've hurt your wife through reckless selfishness. Maybe you ran over her foot while you were angry and even though she's recovered well after many surgeries and extensive physical therapy, she still has a bit of a limp. Seventeen years have gone by and most days, life is pretty good and you get on like a house on fire. But every now and then, she gets in a total snit with you about that injury, that you hurt her while you were exercising your personal demons with no care as to what might have happened to her. Maybe she's the one who sets up little "tests" for you. Maybe she's the one who rubs your sin on your nose now and then just to make sure you remember it.

You can't change what happened. You have no way to fix it. All you can do is remind her that you've made a lot of great changes to become an excellent husband and you've put seventeen years into that effort. But it's a no go, because a month or two down the road and she's bringing it up to you again.

Don't get me wrong, I'm NOT saying that we should hold things in that we NEED to talk about. It's a matter of emotional intimacy that we not bottle up the really important stuff, but if what you're talking about is a more pervasive insecurity and inability to self-sooth, that particular conversation isn't happening. You're off on a whole different tangent, one that can't be changed. Further, you've maybe been dismissive of her concerns so that the only feelings getting shared are yours. She's invalidated. There's no emotional intimacy in that.

Your wife is telling you that she's feeling abused by your tactics and you're saying that you don't want to make her feel that way anymore. You're "one fight away from separation" at this point. Maybe it's time to come at this thing from a different angle and really dig into your insecurities with a mind toward resolving them. There is one person in your life who will always be there for you if you let him, and that guy is YOU. Whether you go on to enjoy many more years of wedded bliss or if it all ends tomorrow, that's the guy you're eventually going home with.

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: 6169   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8763333
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HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 12:18 AM on Thursday, November 3rd, 2022

Is there anything that can be said,or done,for you to finally put the affair in the past, and just move forward?

You seem so..tortured. And,in return,you are torturing your wife. I'm typically in the camp that a BS can bring the affair up,for as long as they need to. But it's been 17 years. If you haven't been able to heal by now, maybe it's because this was a deal breaker for you. Not all marriages should be..or can be..saved.

posts: 4854   ·   registered: Jun. 20th, 2017   ·   location: The Midwest
id 8763335
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Luna10 ( member #60888) posted at 12:44 PM on Thursday, November 3rd, 2022

I’ve just read your profile story to try and understand better where you are at. I have a theory about this now.

When reading your story it is clear to me that you perceived (and still do as you’ve written that story recently, since you joined this forum) the AP as the sole aggressor who manipulated your wife into an affair.

Every sentence shows how much accountability you attribute to the AP and how your wife is the victim.

Now I’m not saying there wasn’t an element of manipulation, in fact affairs are about two participants manipulating each other for personal gains (physical and emotional). However you placed the AP in the main aggressor role and your wife as a victim.

Now in the usual reconciliation process most of us reach a point where we realise that whilst our tendency is to place all fault on the AP, our spouses were willing participants and manipulative as well. (I could for example tell you that your wife was manipulating her AP into believing there was a future for them when she moved out, only to then decide to return to the more suitable partner for her, you).

When we start realising the above we start holding our WSes accountable and understand that whatever we believe about the AP, a stranger a lot of the times who made no commitments to us, applies twice as much to our spouse who did make said commitment.

I remember when I realised this. "Ow is lacking integrity because of her intrusion in my marriage" erm… my spouse lacks integrity because he brought a stranger in our marriage.

In effect when you start recognising your spouse needs to address their flaws and you’re asking them to do so stating that you’re willing to continue your relationship with them, you’ll learn to balance your anger at your aggressor (your spouse) with your desire to build a loving relationship with them. Not only that but at that point you also learn to manage your anger at a stranger who made no promises to you.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no desire to become best friends with the ow, I don’t wish her to die (never did, I have enough emotional bandwidth to think of her kids, she’s a single mum) but if she could disappear in a puff or smoke that would be great. I’m looking forward to the day when we can move away so I can close the door on her for good (she lives around 2 miles away from us).

At the same time though, once my anger and accountability was focused in the right direction (my spouse) and I created my own narrative which helped us save our marriage, the AP became insignificant.

My narrative looks like this: I had to accept my WS is a flawed person, one that at a certain point in time lost all his values and morals and set on destroying his own life by taking actions which made no sense. Once discovered, he was willing to work hard in identifying why he made those poor decisions and provide me with constant reassurance through the actions he’s taken and continues to take that he is a different man, one that is aware of the trauma he inflicted on all of us, including himself. We have worked hard to rebuild our marriage, one that is more suitable to living an authentic life accepting his affair as a traumatic event in our relationship history.

Now once I created this narrative, true to me, can you see how I had to accept that the AP is none of my concern anymore? Because if I kept focusing my anger on the AP the narrative above would not hold, I’d have to apply the same semantics to my WH (ow is a manipulative person, so is my WH, ow lacks morals and values, so does my WH, so on and so forth) how can you rebuild a relationship with such a horrible person?

My point is that if you decide to reconcile and offer grace to your spouse, I’m afraid you’ll have to at least allow the AP to fade into insignificance and I say this as a BS who had to deal with a really horrible ow post dday.

Good look and I hope you find peace, it must be horrible to live in this constant anger and hatred towards a person who wronged you massively no doubt, but 17 years is such a long time to live that way.

[This message edited by Luna10 at 6:54 PM, Thursday, November 3rd]

Dday - 27th September 2017

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Luna10 ( member #60888) posted at 12:58 PM on Thursday, November 3rd, 2022

Just to add: I’m not saying you need to get angry at your spouse now. In fact I do believe that the reason you are where you are is because your narrative is conflicting, you’re angry at the AP, focused on them, but looking to your wife to offer some sort of magic formula to soothe you although you positioned her in the victim role.

I think you need to balance your narrative: if you’ve accepted your wife is flawed and brought a traumatic event in your marriage, SHE did so, not your AP (although he was a supportive party) then you should also accept the AP was a flawed human being, a stranger to you and you can let go of him. And thank goodness you don’t have to have that shitty human being into your life.

It may take a bit to balance your narrative and accept your wife as your aggressor rather than a victim, but once you get your head around that and decide you still want her in your life (if you do), then you could both move into living a happy life together.

I highly recommend MC to help you two navigate all this but more so IC for you, I used to go to my appointments and have conversations around "who did I marry" topics whilst my counsellor kept me grounded and helped me see that life isn’t so black and white after all.

[This message edited by Luna10 at 1:03 PM, Thursday, November 3rd]

Dday - 27th September 2017

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swmnbc ( member #49344) posted at 6:58 PM on Thursday, November 3rd, 2022

Yes Luna, very well put.

I do believe that most people want and try to be good people. A few people who are born without consciences don't, but they are more rare than people who have affairs so they can't account for all of them. Many people struggle with FOO issues, unhealed trauma, poor self esteem, etc. It's not an excuse but it helps us understand why someone would make a seemingly irrational choice.

When I apply that to the AP, I also have to apply it to my spouse, and actually more so because I know him. I expect better of him. This AP is a stranger to me and I have no idea what issues she's dealing with, but my husband is a known quantity whose character I thought I could trust. No matter how much the AP threw themselves at or manipulated our spouses, our spouses are grown people with agency who are responsible for their own choices.

I've never agreed with the claim that BS are incapable of cheating because of some kind of superior character or whatnot. I think that cheating can present a heady mix of happy hormones, escape from life's stresses, a possible short-cut to happily ever after, etc. I may be less susceptible to those things given my risk averse nature and higher level of self-awareness, but I'm still a human and I can imagine how addicting and exciting an affair would be. I'm able to step outside of the very personal aspect of the trauma and just look at my husband as a person who was flattered and intrigued and who let himself slide down the slippery slope. Infidelity is just . . . so very human.

I hope that whenever we make a shortsighted decision that hurts ourselves and our loved ones all for a few moments of fun, we will step back and take stock to figure out how to avoid doing something so self-destructive again. If our spouse has done that after infidelity and we can do the work to forgive them, then we have a chance to have something beautiful together.

From your positive reaction to receiving a long awaited apology from the AP, I sense that you are a person who tries to view other humans with grace, but you're stuck viewing your wife's affair in a simplistic way. Maybe you derive value from viewing yourself as a "knight in shining armor" and your wife as a damsel in distress, but the truth is that she is an autonomous person. If she allowed some stranger to get close to her secretly and then lost all your money in a con, yes, you would be mad at the con artist, but con artists con. The question is, why did your wife keep this interaction a secret and keep making bad choice after bad choice until great ruin resulted? You can't possibly lock up or reform all the potential con artists/cheaters out there. Your safety comes from your spouse figuring out why she was susceptible to that kind of attention.

It's also possible that the horror of her considering a future with AP and trying it on for size has been so traumatic that you just unconsciously did the "pick me dance" to keep her. And part of that is absolving her of the harm she caused. But that has come back to bite you, obviously, because you find yourself not healed. And then you read advice that's geared towards couples in the early "deciding" days about how the spouse needs to do everything they can to make the BS feel supported and heard (which of course is just part of being a good spouse in general). But for your wife, it's been 17 years and she sees the length you will go to to harm the AP and get his attention, and how her reaction to your triggers is never right no matter what she says, and how you are stumbling in the dark looking for something to ease your pain. I hope she can view your misdirected attempts to soothe yourself with empathy, while I also hope you can start putting that energy into shifting your perspective and healing yourself.

posts: 1822   ·   registered: Aug. 27th, 2015
id 8763445
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 6:12 PM on Friday, November 4th, 2022

You've clearly held onto anger for almost 2 decades. So far, it's eaten you up for these years, and you most lately used your anger to do something that you had to know or should have known would hurt his W and kids, who were not in any way involved in the guy's A with your W. That type of lashing out is consistent, perhaps, with the days after d-day. How long do you want to keep yourself there?

You have said and shown that you're very unhappy. As Epictetus and Bigger have said, you - and only you - have the power to change that. To heal, IMO, you need to look underneath your anger to heal the wounds you've been unwilling to face so far.

Working with a good IC can help you a lot, but only if you are willing to do the work to change your self. I hope you choose that for yourself.

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: 27878   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8763665
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HUM1021 ( member #6222) posted at 3:19 AM on Wednesday, November 16th, 2022

The wordsmithing being posted here is too much. Take what you get: every phrase may not be parsed right. I hope you find healing and growth in these words, quibble about them as we may.

Me: BS 34
Her: WS 33
M 5 years
dday with 1st OM 4/30/04 EA/PA
dday with 2nd OM 12/11/04 EA/PA
on the reconciliation rollercoaster

posts: 826   ·   registered: Jan. 13th, 2005   ·   location: Colorado
id 8765348
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Howcthappen ( new member #80775) posted at 10:48 PM on Thursday, November 17th, 2022

I need to know how you did the website.😉

Three years since DdayNever gonna be the sameReconcilingThe sting is still present

posts: 20   ·   registered: Aug. 30th, 2022   ·   location: DC
id 8765627
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OldBeachOwl ( new member #81048) posted at 6:01 PM on Friday, November 18th, 2022

Oflate I have thought a lot about what I would have done, or refrained perhaps from doing, if I had been aware of my wife's PA with a surgeon with whom she, an RN, worked at the hospital where the affair began and was consummated a good fifty years ago. However, I never trusted my gut instinct that something was going on, and completely dismissed the very idea that my very conservative, conformist, uttoned down, principled, loving and caring wife would succumb to the blandishment and flirtatious grooming of her immediate supervisor. She obviously crossed nevertheless all sorts of boundaries in the six months leading up to the affair which began in earnest while I was away on a cross country six week long business trip, and I now know that she enjoyed unprotected sex with her AP resulting in a pregnancy and the birth of a child which she successfully passed off as mine.
D day, just four months ago, brought a plethora of what ifs and more grief and deep incising pain than I have ever known before, it also created a all consuming desire to hurt her AP. In this I am thwarted however, because the serial adulterer and sexual predator with MD after his name had died fifteen years ago from untreated aggressive prostate cancer. Karma beat me to the punch so as to speak.
Yet I am certain had I known of his affair and setisl philandering that I would most definitely hsve pursued a course of action against him to have his California MD licence revoked on the grounds of moral turpitude, one of the specified causes for loss of licensure. In addition an attorney friend suggested that, given the affair occurred in a suite of rooms reserved for Residents, and doctors on call, the hospital administration should have better monitored the sexual proclivities of their staff and Residents with hospital privileges, giving me s cause for civil action and damages.. Had so simply knoen

posts: 16   ·   registered: Sep. 29th, 2022   ·   location: Tucson
id 8765829
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emergent8 ( member #58189) posted at 8:31 PM on Saturday, November 19th, 2022

I really encourage you to stop using the word "grooming" to describe the flirting/courting and boundary crossing and courting that preceded the A. The term grooming is typically used to describe behaviour of abusers towards their victims (often children).

II get that you believe the OM here was an instigator here, however by framing it this way, even if it’s just in your mind, you are NECESSARILY setting your wife up to be the victim in the story of the A. She was not. She was an adult married woman with agency and choice and she CHOSE to have a totally consensual affair. It may be that reducing her relative blameworthiness in this served you at a time because it allowed you to continue in your marriage but clearly does not serve you now. If she is some doe-eyed child who was vulnerable to the wiles of a slick "pick-up" artist, how can she possible be a safe partner for you in the future? How can you trust her to do the right thing?

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: 1026   ·   registered: Apr. 7th, 2017
id 8765983
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3yrsout ( member #50552) posted at 7:36 PM on Tuesday, November 29th, 2022

I understand where you are, I think. I never really cared much about the APs (there were 3, one whose name I know, the other two my WH didn’t even ask names or states he can’t recall them) beyond an obsessive curiosity about how fantastic they must be, what they must have that I don’t. I think my phrasing to WH was that their pussies and mouths must vibrate or something magical.

I’m still angry, ten years out now. Anger keeps me safe from becoming invested in the marriage, it keeps me from being hurt again. And he’s kind of a clumsy oaf with the feelings of those around him. I can’t change that. Not bad enough to divorce, not good enough to invest, and I’m too apathetic to leave. I guess I love him in my own sociopathic way.

I think what you did was fine, taking it down was fine, too. AP is a loser and remorse will never be in his vocabulary. It’s like you’re asking a low IQ person to do calculus. He just isn’t there, and never will be.

We all do mental gymnastics to stay married after this happens. Do what you need to do, it’s fine. Get what you can out of life without looking at your WW with a microscope. Chances are high that you won’t like what you see. I get it. It’s ok not to look. What can you do about it anyway? Not bad enough to divorce, and maybe she’s too oblivious or lacks insight enough to confront and hope that she develops insight.

You can love someone who is deeply flawed in your own way. No need to confront her, no need to draw out her passivity as a shit ass coping skill. But it is. It is a shit ass coping skill. Like saying "I’m sorry what I said made you upset."

That’s ok. There is more to life than our spouse, right?

PS the website- more classy than keying someone’s car. Noice.

posts: 663   ·   registered: Nov. 27th, 2015
id 8767238
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