Cookies are required for login or registration. Please read and agree to our cookie policy to continue.

Newest Member: Rony

Reconciliation :
Question From a (Evidently) Very Slow Learner: What Really is "Acceptance"?

Topic is Sleeping.
default

TwoDozen ( member #74796) posted at 9:58 AM on Thursday, January 5th, 2023

Posting as someone who did not R but can still fully appreciate all of the OPs statements.

So to R or not R has no effect in acceptance as far as I can see.

posts: 443   ·   registered: Jul. 6th, 2020
id 8772153
default

Luna10 ( member #60888) posted at 10:12 AM on Thursday, January 5th, 2023

Yes, it happened but some refuse to accept it in the sense that they leave their betrayer so they do not have to be reminded of it every day.

Acceptance needs to happen regardless if you reconcile or divorce. I agree that perhaps acceptance is reached quicker if divorcing (although it may be a different level of acceptance, a lot harder to process in certain cases).

But it needs to happen regardless. OP talks about his anger although he believes he accepted what happened on a superficial level. That anger will not automatically go away if he divorced. He’ll feel the same level of anger at the betrayal he suffered. He may be able to reach acceptance quicker (this is arguable though) but he’ll still have to reach it.

Dday - 27th September 2017

posts: 1822   ·   registered: Oct. 2nd, 2017   ·   location: UK
id 8772154
default

TwoDozen ( member #74796) posted at 11:07 AM on Thursday, January 5th, 2023

I think conversations like this are helpful because it at least helps on a basic level to know that we all struggle in similar ways so potentially what has helped one person might provide a nugget of help for those of us who still struggle.

Regarding acceptance, I like the OP have accepted what has happened. Can’t be changed (although I’d still love a Time Machine 😂) so I’ve accepted it but am I happy about it….. NO

Regarding forgiveness, I struggle with this even more so. I see it in the same way as I would forgiving someone who had stolen my life savings. Regardless of whether they were "sorry" or not unless they gave me back my life savings this is going to remain unforgiven.

So I’ve accepted that someone stole my life’s dreams but I haven’t forgiven it and probably never will.

What next ?

posts: 443   ·   registered: Jul. 6th, 2020
id 8772156
default

 Wounded Healer (original poster member #34829) posted at 2:12 PM on Thursday, January 5th, 2023

Good Morning,

I just want to thank everyone again for sharing pieces of yourselves, your stories, and your experiences with me in regards to "acceptance". I am sitting with much of this and trying to let it do what it does. One enilghtening thing I can readily identify so far in these exchanges is the notion that I might not be so far off/lost as I feel. Just the idea/possibility of that is really encouraging.

Thank you all again,

WH

BS - 39 years on DDay

DDay #1: 10/13/2010 - 4 month EA/PA with divorced OM from 10/2009 to 2/2010

DDay #2: 4/14/2021 - 8 month EA with married OM/family friend 2/2010 to 10/2010

Crazy about each other. Reconciling.

posts: 66   ·   registered: Feb. 15th, 2012   ·   location: Northern Indiana
id 8772169
default

OwningItNow ( member #52288) posted at 2:48 PM on Thursday, January 5th, 2023

I don't like to argue semantics because it feels like a silly waste of time, but I'm going to break my own rule because I think this is an excellent thread on healing. Is it different for everyone? Yes. Should it be? I'm not so sure about that. I don't believe we all fully heal from difficult things in life like we should, in a way that gives us the best mood, the best productivity, and the greatest level of peace in our hearts and minds. We may say we have, but we human beings are pretty good at lying to ourselves.

Regardless of whether they were "sorry" or not unless they gave me back my life savings this is going to remain unforgiven.

I would argue that if you need to get your money back to "forgive," then you haven't reached acceptance at all. Acceptance = peace, no emotional upheaval. You know you have accepted something when it no longer bothers you. You have accepted something when you can easily let it go from your mind, even if you don't like it. You can let it go and move along.

Acceptance = peace inside when the topic comes to mind.

In my view, there are two components to acceptance:

A. Frequency of upset

B. Level of upset

As we heal over the months and years--whether we D or R, we need to heal and let go of the emotional upheaval somehow--we find both the frequency and level of upset reducing. We think, then think of things in different ways, through a different lense, and then think again. This is where IC is so helpful. They help us find those alternate lenses and perspectives so that we can reframe the painful events and beliefs in ways we had not considered. It helps us adjust our view in a way that gets us unstuck from these painful ruminations and ingrained ideas that may not be helpful or even accurate (like that this is all our fault, for example. Or that we have to get even to have any self-esteem).

Do we need to get to 100% acceptance, zero emotional upheaval on the subject? That seems pretty unrealistic to me. But if we only control the frequency through D but never control (heal) the level of upset we feel when we DO think about it, we have not "accepted" that this happened at all! We've just run from the thoughts through D (or compartmentalizing or whatever).

In the stages of grief, which this process is, the final stage is accepting and letting go of any negative emotions. Our goal is to rarely think of it, and when we do, to not be very upset anymore. Hell, some people become so healed they can joke! I'm not there yet, but maybe eventually. It would be nice to be that detached from the whole thing!

I guess my point is that healing thoroughly, both with the frequency of thoughts and level of pain of the thoughts, is more of an ongoing process and goal as opposed to a yes or no. How do you progress toward that goal? Learning. Growing. Reframing. IC. Books. SI. Time. I wish I could say that time would do it all by itself, but that's not always the case. But you sure can't heal without time's help! We all need time to process the pain. THAT is where the infamous 2 to 5 years comes from that people quote here. But many of us need more than time; we need challenges to our ingrained beliefs, some of which are unhealthy. We need help reframing. We need new perspectives. We need people to force us to think of things differently. That is how we begin to let go of some of it--by changing our views.

Where does the WS fit in all of this? Hmm. They don't really. It's an inside job. Yes, they can cause you more pain or gaslight the heck out of you. But those are relationship issues that need a whole other level of work. Does this R work for me? Do I want to keep this person? Are they a good partner? That is totally different work than, "Why did someone hurt me like this? Am I unlovable? Do I even like myself anymore? Do I respect myself?" That pain has to be processed and beaten into submission before the relationship can be properly assessed.

Each partner heals themselves.

Then they heal the relationship...if they both still want it.

[This message edited by OwningItNow at 3:17 PM, Thursday, January 5th]

me: BS/WSh: WS/BS

Reject the rejector. Do not reject yourself.

posts: 5856   ·   registered: Mar. 16th, 2016   ·   location: Midwest
id 8772173
default

OwningItNow ( member #52288) posted at 3:09 PM on Thursday, January 5th, 2023

One thing that people frequently don't tease apart is relationship damage vs. personal damage.

Acceptance is about the personal damage.

The relationship impacts us personally as all of our relationships do, but we are not defined by our relationships. Some members here think we are thus define themselves as their relationship status. "Healed because I'm D!" Or "Happy because I'm with a new person!" That is superficial stuff and has nothing to do with true acceptance and peace. That's like a WS thinking they are happy because of the extra ego kibbles they get from an AP. Smoke and mirrors stuff. We are our own relationship with our own selves. Acceptance is about making peace between you and your painful thoughts.

After you make peace with your ugly or hurtful thoughts, then you enter healthier relationships--with your same WS in a new M or with a new partner. But your choice of partner does not define your jnner peace and acceptance.

I think, Wounded Healer, that you may be trying to heal through your relationship instead of doing battle with your own hurtful thoughts. If you are not able to battle with them through new perspectives and lenses, then keep reading and working with therapists and journaling and posting on SI until you do. The battle is your painful beliefs about what happened vs. your desire to live with happiness and respect. Keep battling. Keep re-thinking. And give it time to change and heal.

Good luck to you!

[This message edited by OwningItNow at 3:18 PM, Thursday, January 5th]

me: BS/WSh: WS/BS

Reject the rejector. Do not reject yourself.

posts: 5856   ·   registered: Mar. 16th, 2016   ·   location: Midwest
id 8772176
default

DaddyDom ( member #56960) posted at 3:41 PM on Thursday, January 5th, 2023

I'm curious what, in particular, you struggle the most with accepting? I know that may sound like an odd question, I mean, it's an infidelity site, right? But infidelity isn't simple like a broken window. You can't just just "fix it" and move on. It's trauma, and trauma is complex and multi-faceted.

I'm a WS. The concept of acceptance is interesting as a WS because we struggle with it as well (well, if we're doing "the work", we are). For a WS, we too must come to terms with what we did, how and why we did it and the outcomes of our choices and actions. That much is clear. But what can be less obvious, while being the larger struggle, is in accepting the fact that WE (ourselves) are people that are not only capable of doing great harm, but who consciously and knowingly made that choice and did so. We have to accept, at a much deeper than "lip service" level, the fact that the vision we had of ourselves as good and decent people, was never really true. We have to accept that we were selfish and abusive, and we have to accept that what we did, we did on purpose, because it is truly "who we are".

I suppose that may sound odd to someone outside of the influence of infidelity, and who doesn't understand the depth of shame and disgrace that is required to come to terms with the harm and damage we caused because of our choices. If a person breaks a window, they own up to it, pay for a new window, and move on. But with infidelity, it's a different story altogether. On the surface, the topic seems to be about "what we did". The real struggle however, is in accepting "who we are". The heart and mind will fight like all hell to prevent us from defining ourselves as anything other than good people, that's just human nature. Even the worst people in history, such as dictators and criminals and extremists, believe themselves to be doing "the right thing" even though all evidence points to the opposite. Cognitive dissonance is a real thing, and often, finding our way past what we "want to believe about ourselves" and accepting the actual truth about both the situation and ourselves, is near impossible. It takes an amazing amount of courage, humility and responsibility to drop the rose-colored glasses and see who is actually looking back at us in the mirror. Admitting to yourself that you just decimated the people and lives around you is terrifying. Accepting that you are not the person you've always seen yourself as, is a trauma within itself. It is interesting... it often takes more trauma to recover from trauma.

I think BS's have a similar struggle that they must face during recovery. Yes, just like the WS, they have to come to terms with the infidelity itself, that much is clear. But what of themselves? One might think, "Well, the BS didn't do anything wrong, so why would they need to look inward during recovery?" But that's exactly what happens. Much in the same way that the WS has to accept their part in "having" the affair, the BS struggles with being the victim of the abuse. "How could I have allowed myself to be fooled?", "Why am even considering R with someone who betrayed me?", "What's wrong with me that I picked this person to marry and allowed this to happen?", "How do I explain what happened and how I responded to my kids?", "Was I a bad spouse? What more could I have done?", "Am I dead inside now?" and so many other thoughts often haunt the BS. In other words, as ass-backward as it sounds, the BS often blames themselves for the outcomes of their spouses affair(s), or more specifically, they become angry and disappointed in themselves for allowing this to happen to them in the first place. They feel duped and manipulated, and to that end, blame themselves for "being a sucker" to their abusive and betraying spouse. They struggle with their own self-worth and what is "right and wrong" now that the context of right and wrong has been demolished. If having an affair was "wrong" then is having an RA also wrong, or is it justice? Many things just aren't clear. In order to accept something, we must first understand it. We cannot accept that which we cannot see, or cannot grasp. (Or if we do, we're rug-sweeping and fooling ourselves).

As "Grieving" posted earlier, you are still early in this process (Sorry, I know it feels like an eternity). Similar to a broken bone, healing from trauma takes time, and cannot be rushed. A broken bone's recovery is measured in weeks or months. Recovery from trauma is measured in years. At two years in, the scars of trauma are still forming. And any lingering trauma (TT, lies, gas-lighting) that happens during that time (and it often does) simply rips the scars open and the whole damn process has to start all over again. So give yourself some grace. Acceptance will come in time and with work. In the meantime however, focus on what you CAN accept and do. What's done is done, it will never "be okay" and you will never "get over it". What you CAN do however is focus on your own choices moving forward. You can choose to be okay with not accepting anything for right now. You can focus on joy. You can focus on loving yourself and being the kind of person you want to be, living the life you want to live, and being someone you trust and love and respect. We can laugh and hurt at the same time, it happens every day, so allow that in your life. Acceptance will come when there is a better path to be taken. We have to build that path by hand, like building a bridge over a ravine. The ravine is uncrossable until the bridge is built, but once it is, crossing over is easy and joyful, and you always have the option to go back and forth as needed.

Best of luck to you.

Me: WS
BS: ISurvivedSoFar
D-Day Nov '16
Status: Reconciling
"I am floored by the amount of grace and love she has shown me in choosing to stay and fight for our marriage. I took everything from her, and yet she chose to forgive me."

posts: 1434   ·   registered: Jan. 18th, 2017
id 8772181
default

 Wounded Healer (original poster member #34829) posted at 4:28 PM on Thursday, January 5th, 2023

OIN,

Thank you SO much for taking the time to share all of that. There's a lot there to consider and it resonates up front. Just a few random stream of consciousness initial stirrings...

It seems as if you are advocating that acceptance IS pretty much healing. If I am understanding correctly. That, when you realize that the depth and frequency of pain/upset and their relationship to the "facts" get to a place where peace can still be maintained...then you have reached acceptance...and by virtue of that...it would appear healing will have been reached. So, ultimately, acceptance=healing.

I find this interesting as I have pretty much been treating acceptance as a PATH TO healing. You know, if I can just "accept" that this happened, I can't change it or alter it etc., that doing so will advance my healing. And that actually was part of the motivation for this very post. Because...I did that. Tried very hard to make sure I wasn't in some form of denial over it. Even considered doing some pretty extreme/borderline self abusive stuff to make sure I WASN'T in some form of denial over it happening (I was very close to booking an overnight stay in one of the rooms where this happened on the date I knew it happened) to make absolutely certain I wasn't denying the reality of it all. I say all that to say that (because of sooo much advice of the necessity to "accept") I went to great lengths to do what I thought was "acceptance". It happened. It really did happen. Can't change it. It's a permanent part of my reality etc...and so I DID that. And then....I waited (admiteddly naively) for some magic door to open or a yellow brick road to healing to appear as a result. And, of course, none of that happened. And so, hence me setting out to do more exploration on acceptance.

I also have a LOT of thoughts on just how "fully" we can truly "accept" and even heal from this. I am wrestling a good bit with how much less-than-full healing/acceptance is...well...acceptable to me. But my working assumption is that there will be a significant degree of "less than full" for me. I just can't get around the indignity. I don't know what it is. I just can't "de-personlize" what my wife did. I have read and tried ad nausuem to really embrace the setting aside of ego, and the fact that it's not about the BS but the broken-ness of the WS. I get that stuff I guess on a conceptual level...but just can't get there on (for lack of a better term) "heart" level. Again, I will reiterate, if the tragedy were one of a random nature (horrific accident, disease, crime etc.)...I could (relatively) easily go to those places where I know I'm nothing special in terms of suffering. Not exempt etc. And also that the suffering had nothing to do with me. But...man...in the deepest of intimate betrayals I can't ever imagine being able to totally depersonalize the grave injury of infidelity. I mean, on a level, it does not GET more directly personal than that. It's never been "How could this happen to ME?" But always..."how could YOU (WS) do THIS to ME?" You know? This injury in not generic. It's certainly not random. And I don't think I would ever be capable of viewing the damage done as "collateral" damage as suggested upthread. It's personal. As personal as it gets.

Whew! All of that to say...it's the

INIFINITELY PERSONAL nature of the soul wounds that I think I am not able to "accept"...at least now. I just can't separate it out and deal with it as some stand alone things all by itself as if it were just a random happeing in the universe without all these infinitely complex and delicate and possibly irreplaceable things involved at its core.

I take encouragement from the thoughts of a process of continual reframing to get to greater acceptance/healing. It gives me hope. And I have already personally felt the legitimacy of this as I have been able to do this in some areas of this nightmare to significant relief. But, if I'm being brutally honest, a lot of the things that I see used as reframing (i.e. - infidelity is not about the BS in any way..and if ego can be set aside then that makes healing possible etc.) at the very least SEEM like at very least a DEGREE of self delusion. I'm concerned about that. It's like, if I can just get myself to believe XYZ then THAT will open the door to healing. Well, if we could all just get ourselves to believe that there's a little green man who lives on the dark side of the moon that is going to rain down magic moon cheese on us someday soon that erases all of our problems and pain...we'd all be a lot happier and "healed" perhaps? No? I know that's an extreme illustration, but with a lot of infidelity healing directives, I sometimes feel a twinge of that concept at least. Just believe it had nothing to do with you..and healing can come. Just set aside your ego...you're not so special as to think you can avoid suffering...and healing can come. And I don't mean to pick on those, and I'm not even arguing against them being true, it's just embaracing those particualrs has still been elsuive for me...and it seems like at least a possible form of self delusion to me....hence...another roadblock to acceptance.

Well...I have completely off the rails rambled again and better step aside for a bit.

But THANK YOU again OIN (and ALL of you again) for continuing to share here.

Appeciative,

WH

[This message edited by Wounded Healer at 4:29 PM, Thursday, January 5th]

BS - 39 years on DDay

DDay #1: 10/13/2010 - 4 month EA/PA with divorced OM from 10/2009 to 2/2010

DDay #2: 4/14/2021 - 8 month EA with married OM/family friend 2/2010 to 10/2010

Crazy about each other. Reconciling.

posts: 66   ·   registered: Feb. 15th, 2012   ·   location: Northern Indiana
id 8772188
default

 Wounded Healer (original poster member #34829) posted at 4:31 PM on Thursday, January 5th, 2023

Hi DaddyDom,

I haven't read your post yet but saw that we cross posted. Thank you for your investment here. I will read your reply soon.

Thank you again,

WH

BS - 39 years on DDay

DDay #1: 10/13/2010 - 4 month EA/PA with divorced OM from 10/2009 to 2/2010

DDay #2: 4/14/2021 - 8 month EA with married OM/family friend 2/2010 to 10/2010

Crazy about each other. Reconciling.

posts: 66   ·   registered: Feb. 15th, 2012   ·   location: Northern Indiana
id 8772190
default

Luna10 ( member #60888) posted at 4:47 PM on Thursday, January 5th, 2023

Great posts OIN!

Some members here think we are thus define themselves as their relationship status. "Healed because I'm D!" Or "Happy because I'm with a new person!" That is superficial stuff and has nothing to do with true acceptance and peace.

People do struggle with concepts such as acceptance and forgiveness. And that’s why R is often reduced to "WS is doing everything right but I can’t get over it, how do I get over it?" You then dig deeper and find out that WS doing everything right is actually minimal work and it means transparency of devices whilst also demanding the BS stop talking about it.

I believe acceptance is constantly confused by both camps (BSes and WSes) with rug sweeping. I remember in the early days telling my WH that I am willing to R and then not understanding myself why I could not "get over it" (aka stop ever mentioning it again).

No, acceptance is not pretending it never happened. It is not forgetting about it. It isn’t not ever bringing it up for conversation with the WS.

On the contrary, if you decided to try and reconcile, talking about it helps both the BS and the WS to reach acceptance. Processing all your questions with the WSes support takes you to a stage when your brain ACCEPTS the information it is given and realises you cannot change it. IC is highly recommended as well regardless if you divorce or are attempting reconciliation.

Acceptance doesn’t mean you condone the event, doesn’t mean you reach some sort of happiness on day two because you accepted the facts.

Acceptance for me is beyond the logical part of it. I mean of course we all accept it happened, logically, from the moment we find out about it. We KNOW it happened. But we then go through the stages of grief up and down those stages like a yo yo. Acceptance only comes at the end when we’re done with denial, bargaining, anger and so on. And all these stages happen regardless of divorcing or reconciling. You have to go through them in order to reach acceptance or as OIN called it so rightly, PEACE.

I know it sounds crazy but peace does come if you give yourself the chance to grieve and process all this, if you allow yourself to feel the pain and grow.

I know a lot of users will telling you it is your choice to reach acceptance. What I believe they mean by it is that it is your choice to engage in the process which will lead to acceptance. I don’t think you need to convince yourself you have accepted the betrayal but to allow yourself the growing pains knowing that these will lead to a new you who will be happy again.

Dday - 27th September 2017

posts: 1822   ·   registered: Oct. 2nd, 2017   ·   location: UK
id 8772192
default

TwoDozen ( member #74796) posted at 4:50 PM on Thursday, January 5th, 2023

I was very close to booking an overnight stay in one of the rooms where this happened on the date I knew it happened)

I’m sad to say I actually did this. Room was booked, bags were packed, letters to loved ones written…..

No one knew my plans.

2 days before the booking I had my very 1st IC session and didn’t make the (one way) journey.

That was 2 years ago this month.

I’m sorry you went through this too !!

[This message edited by TwoDozen at 5:43 PM, Thursday, January 5th]

posts: 443   ·   registered: Jul. 6th, 2020
id 8772193
default

Luna10 ( member #60888) posted at 4:59 PM on Thursday, January 5th, 2023

We have posted at the same time. smile

You know, if I can just "accept" that this happened, I can't change it or alter it etc., that doing so will advance my healing. And that actually was part of the motivation for this very post. Because...I did that. Tried very hard to make sure I wasn't in some form of denial over it.

You are talking about logical acceptance, not emotional acceptance.

According to the stages of grief acceptance is described as "don’t expect to wake up one morning with a beaming smile on your face and a spring in your step. The past has been forever changed, you may have to reorganise roles, you start the process of reintegration and you learn to live"

What that means is that you shift your focus, after processing all the pain, from the trauma you have suffered to your life, your future. You incorporate it in your life. It exists. It happened. It forever changed you. But you move on. It’s not the main event of your life anymore. It is now part of your history and you’re ok with it. It doesn’t torture you anymore. It doesn’t feel suffocating. It doesn’t hit you in the face first thing in the morning anymore or every time you look at your spouse (if you decided to reconcile).

But, if I'm being brutally honest, a lot of the things that I see used as reframing (i.e. - infidelity is not about the BS in any way..and if ego can be set aside then that makes healing possible etc.) at the very least SEEM like at very least a DEGREE of self delusion.

Nope, no self delusion here. I struggled with that too. But ultimately how can it be about the BS? I mean nothing I could have done should have given my WH the green light to cheat. Nothing. He could have raised any problems before deciding to cheat. (He didn’t). He could have divorced.

You know what his early motives for cheating were? He wanted a work wife. Someone to fan over him at work, bring him tea and chocolate and tell him how great he was. How was that about me? I had my own job. His other motive was that I didn’t make him tea once whilst he worked all night. I kid you not. I, the woman who fed him every day, did his laundry, gave birth to his kids and so on, did not make him a tea and for that I should be cheated on. I’m not even going to get into a description of the person he cheated on me with. It’s utterly ridiculous.

How is that about me?

Regardless, he could have brought up serious marriage issues. Lack of sex, me being an abusive bitch, whatever. Still not a reason. Divorce is always an option. And you know what cheaters don’t do? They don’t divorce, they prefer to do some window shopping first.

Cheating is about the cheater no doubt about it. Can there have been underlying issues which supported their narrative of being entitled to cheat? Sure, but that still does not make it the BS’s fault.

When you start having a small print next to your morals and values, when you think integrity is optional and deceit is allowed under a certain narrative, then you are the one with the problem.

[This message edited by Luna10 at 5:12 PM, Thursday, January 5th]

Dday - 27th September 2017

posts: 1822   ·   registered: Oct. 2nd, 2017   ·   location: UK
id 8772195
default

Oldwounds ( member #54486) posted at 5:12 PM on Thursday, January 5th, 2023

But...man...in the deepest of intimate betrayals I can't ever imagine being able to totally depersonalize the grave injury of infidelity. I mean, on a level, it does not GET more directly personal than that.

All this.

It is impossible to not take it personal. It’s not called betrayal for nothing.

Initially I was hurt because of the ‘stuff’ that happened, but then the truth was, it wasn’t ‘against’ me it was worse than that, I was invisible and non-existent during the A. The justifications were I wouldn’t find out, so I’m not a part of the shitty, selfish choices.

Hate the sin, not the sinner is not an easy way through, but it is really how I got here.

It doesn’t help that infidelity is as common as it is. It doesn’t help process the pain and help us heal.

However, after a 2-3 years, I did see it was aberrant fall from grace that haunted my wife for years — a secret she was determined to take to the grave. Owning it all and deciding to finally allow me to see the reality of the M doesn’t excuse a damn thing, although I am glad to have some truth to work with.

That said, at the end of the day infidelity is trauma.

I think every trauma we face is something that can be conquered. Every loss, every setback, every horrible thing in life so far, I have learned, healed and moved on. As I said, I am comfortable hating that it happened. I can still see the good in the person I am with, and if the relationship somehow takes a bad turn, I will be great either way.

I agree with others, I think we have to find some level of acceptance regardless of the outcome of the M.

Married 35+ years, together 41+ years
Two awesome adult sons.
Dday 6/16 4-year LTA Survived. M Restored.
"It is better to conquer our grief than to deceive it." — Seneca

posts: 4699   ·   registered: Aug. 4th, 2016   ·   location: Home.
id 8772196
default

Oldwounds ( member #54486) posted at 5:26 PM on Thursday, January 5th, 2023

Just set aside your ego...you're not so special as to think you can avoid suffering...and healing can come.

I see how some healing can be viewed this way.

My wife is a good witness who would note, I took it all very personal, and my 5 billion (emphasis on billion) questions have left little room for rug sweeping any aspect of her A.

My ego wasn’t set aside, it was obliterated. I suffered plenty. I think it is an inherent part of the deal.

Delusion can’t heal a damn thing.

Reframing can’t heal a damn thing.

After I healed, after I processed the anger, the pain, a couple rounds of depression —- that’s when I decided I wasn’t defined by what my wife did. That’s not a reframe, that’s truth.

I am not my wife’s shitty choices.

Or her good choices.

I am not my marriage.

I came into the world alone and confused and I am fairly sure I am going out the same way.

I’m also not going to stay hurt forever. I can’t control life, my wife, or much of anything else in this world, but I do get to eventually choose how I react to the trauma. And that’s true of every trauma.

[This message edited by Oldwounds at 5:27 PM, Thursday, January 5th]

Married 35+ years, together 41+ years
Two awesome adult sons.
Dday 6/16 4-year LTA Survived. M Restored.
"It is better to conquer our grief than to deceive it." — Seneca

posts: 4699   ·   registered: Aug. 4th, 2016   ·   location: Home.
id 8772197
default

sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 7:31 PM on Thursday, January 5th, 2023

I tend to respond to posts more than to the context of the posts. I usually note posters' details like the profile comments, tagline, and recent posts, but sometimes I forget those details in my responses. I've done that in spades to you, Wounded Healer.

I urge you to reread Grieving's post above.

You're less than 2 years out from a d-day. I suspect you've been asking more of yourself than anyone can get. Recovering from being betrayed is a set of tasks that always takes SI members longer than any of us think it should take. When you add R to the mix, you're committing yourself to expending even more energy and taking more time.

What have you done so far to heal? What are you doing? What successes and failures have you experienced? I think you'll find those questions to be more fruitful than focusing on stuff you haven't done. You've got nothing much to lose by trying that approach.

*****

One might think, "Well, the BS didn't do anything wrong, so why would they need to look inward during recovery?"

Here's the thing: recovering from being betrayed is a process of feeling the feelings, letting them go, and rebuilding one's sense of self.

It's pretty straightforward work - except that traumas replay themselves. Feeling the feelings bring up memories of previous traumas - and we've all experienced them to some extent - and they bring up old weaknesses in self-esteem. Unless the BS deals with those older issues, it's impossible to deal with the trauma of being betrayed.

*****

IMO, people can't heal completely. I believe we always have some lingering pain - we can process 90% out of our body, and then 90% of the remainder, and 90% of that remainder ... but there'll always be some residual effect of trauma. We don't totally forget things like the fall from the swing that occurred in kindergarten.

As OIN says, however, we can get to a point at which the memories are infrequent and low intensity. My W's birthday is today, 3 weeks or so from the date of d-day, and I can genuinely celebrate with her. I certainly didn't celebrate with her 12 years ago.

*****

I don't think we differ so much over meaning; I think most of our differences are in the words we use.

Acceptance is multi-faceted. We give different descriptions in part because different aspects stand out for different people. More important, the acceptance that's necessary for healing happens at a gut level, and we haven't standardized how we describe that (as if we could standardize that...).

I think we just have to struggle internally until we get it. The benefit SI provides, I think, is that a lot of people have described how they have and haven't healed, and some readers will find some of those posts helpful.

[This message edited by SI Staff at 5:36 PM, Sunday, January 8th]

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: 29787   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8772212
default

Seeking2Forgive ( member #78819) posted at 8:27 AM on Sunday, January 8th, 2023

Sometimes words don't properly describe things. "Acceptance" feels wrong because it's not acceptable. Just like "forgiveness" feels wrong because it's unforgivable.

But I encourage you to keep digging into this. I couldn't conceive of how to forgive something so heinous but I desperately wanted R so I used "acceptance" as a way to move on.

In retrospect, I also used it as permission to rug sweep everything. I didn't have to keep digging to figure out exactly what I was trying to forgive. I could just reach acceptance as a kind of blank check, rug sweep and move on.

What's swept under the rug doesn't stay under the rug.

My therapist advised that another way to approach forgiveness was to forgive the wrong-doer as a flawed, remorseful person, without forgiving their specific acts. My FWW often said here that was what I had done, but I never got there. She was recalling that from our therapist.

At the time I resisted reading "How Can I Forgive You" because I hate reading self-help books. They're just so tedious for me to read. But it really does give some good guidance on how to think about acceptance and forgiveness. They're abstract enough concepts that you can decide for yourself what to take and what to leave, but the ideas discussed can help you order your thinking around this topic.

Best of luck to you.

[This message edited by Seeking2Forgive at 8:29 AM, Sunday, January 8th]

Me: 62, BS -- Her: 61, FWS -- Dday: 11/15/03 -- Married 37 yrs -- Reconciled

posts: 536   ·   registered: May. 18th, 2021
id 8772519
default

ChamomileTea ( Moderator #53574) posted at 5:22 PM on Sunday, January 8th, 2023

But, if I'm being brutally honest, a lot of the things that I see used as reframing (i.e. - infidelity is not about the BS in any way..and if ego can be set aside then that makes healing possible etc.) at the very least SEEM like at very least a DEGREE of self delusion. I'm concerned about that. It's like, if I can just get myself to believe XYZ then THAT will open the door to healing. Well, if we could all just get ourselves to believe that there's a little green man who lives on the dark side of the moon that is going to rain down magic moon cheese on us someday soon that erases all of our problems and pain...we'd all be a lot happier and "healed" perhaps?

That's exactly what helped me reach acceptance, no self-delusion or moon cheese involved. The earth does NOT revolve around me... and neither did my fWH, no matter what promises he had made to me. He's a completely separate, individual person, not an appendage. Yes, he had made a commitment to me, one which explicitly vowed to prioritize me in his decision-making process and then he failed to keep that promise, but how is that about me? Isn't is exactly about HIM?

Infidelity feels so personal because it involves breaching our most intimate trust, but it wasn't until I could allow for my fWH's separateness that I could begin healing and put the trauma in perspective.

BW: 2004(online EAs), 2014 (multiple PAs)
Married 40 years; in R with fWH for 8

posts: 7016   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8772544
default

EllieKMAS ( member #68900) posted at 9:48 PM on Sunday, January 8th, 2023

I also have a LOT of thoughts on just how "fully" we can truly "accept" and even heal from this. I am wrestling a good bit with how much less-than-full healing/acceptance is...well...acceptable to me. But my working assumption is that there will be a significant degree of "less than full" for me. I just can't get around the indignity. I don't know what it is. I just can't "de-personlize" what my wife did. I have read and tried ad nausuem to really embrace the setting aside of ego, and the fact that it's not about the BS but the broken-ness of the WS. I get that stuff I guess on a conceptual level...but just can't get there on (for lack of a better term) "heart" level. Again, I will reiterate, if the tragedy were one of a random nature (horrific accident, disease, crime etc.)...I could (relatively) easily go to those places where I know I'm nothing special in terms of suffering. Not exempt etc. And also that the suffering had nothing to do with me. But...man...in the deepest of intimate betrayals I can't ever imagine being able to totally depersonalize the grave injury of infidelity. I mean, on a level, it does not GET more directly personal than that. It's never been "How could this happen to ME?" But always..."how could YOU (WS) do THIS to ME?" You know? This injury in not generic. It's certainly not random. And I don't think I would ever be capable of viewing the damage done as "collateral" damage as suggested upthread. It's personal. As personal as it gets.

I am one that believes that if as far as you get is the generic acceptance that's okay. I accept that my xwh cheated on me, used me, lied to me, and hurt me terribly while doing all of that. I accept this because it is factually accurate, so I can't NOT accept it. Emotionally? Yeah, I will never be 'okay' with what he did. Ever. What he did was unacceptable and didn't deserve it, and no amount of mental wrangling on my part would ever make it BE acceptable. But you know what? Accepting the facts as they are is all I personally need to do to move myself forward.

I will also say that when I was on the R train still, I was really struggling with this whole concept. Turns out that for ME, infidelity was just a deal breaker. I have a lot of man-based trauma in my life and getting this from my spouse who I chose to trust... yeah, there was no coming back from that for me. I think that was the underlying rub under a lot of my R struggles - my gut knew that long before my head or heart did, and by trying to R when there was no way I ever could, my entire being was fighting with itself. I was trying by sheer force of will to fit a square R peg into a round I-refuse-to-stay-married-to-a-cheater hole, and ultimately there was just no way that was gonna happen for me. It was terribly exhausting in every way.

I know early on, I really couldn't even think of splitting (and didn't know that was what I wanted yet), so it took me time to figure out what I needed to do for my own self and to stop watching him.

"No, it's you mothafucka, here's a list of reasons why." – Iliza Schlesinger

"The love that you lost isn't worth what it cost and in time you'll be glad that it's gone." – Linkin Park

posts: 3901   ·   registered: Nov. 22nd, 2018   ·   location: Louisiana
id 8772563
default

rambler ( member #43747) posted at 2:55 AM on Monday, January 9th, 2023

Is the OP looking for acceptance that the affair happened or acceptance that his wife loves or respects him.

I feel that the issue is that he is second best to OM1.

making it through

posts: 1412   ·   registered: Jun. 17th, 2014   ·   location: Chicago
id 8772579
default

sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 5:53 PM on Monday, January 9th, 2023

You may have hit the nail on the head, Rambler.

But, if I'm being brutally honest, a lot of the things that I see used as reframing (i.e. - infidelity is not about the BS in any way..and if ego can be set aside then that makes healing possible etc.) at the very least SEEM like at very least a DEGREE of self delusion.

Yes, that's a real possibility.

I tend to stay away from absolutes, but I've written 'infidelity is not about the BS in any way.' I've done so because it helps countermand the 'I'm responsible for my WS's A' thinking that so many BSes start with.

But it's also the truth, in at least one very important way. I found out in our MC sessions that my W was not dealing with me. She was, in fact, dealing with her image of me. She held onto some very wrong ideas about what I thought for a long time, even after being confronted in MC, and even though she had mounds of evidence that I was not the way she pictured me.

So , to the extent 'I' was part of her decision to carry on her A, it wasn't 'me' - it was the 'me' she constructed out of her false assumptions and lies she told herself about what I thought, felt, and did.

IOW, in a very real sense, her A wasn't about me at all.

When I write about myself, I usually hope readers consider if what I've written applies to them and/or their sitch. When I write about how I've healed, for example, I hope and assume people will ask themselves if the approach I took will work for them. I don;t know if the approach I took will work for someone, but it's possible.

In this case, I hope readers will agree with me when I write: a lot of WSes use their false images of their BSes as enablers for their As.

False images - IMO, that in itself makes the A all about the WS and not at all about the BS - 100% WS, 0% BS.

*****

OTOH, I think you've misread the principle if you think ego has to be set aside to heal.

I think it's essential that ego must be satisfied for healing to occur.

The primary reason I consider myself healed is that I'm comfortable with virtually all of what I've thought, felt, and done WRT healing from being betrayed ('virtually all' because I'm a perfectionist in some ways, so I carry a lot of self-doubt, although that doesn't always show up in my posts).

IMO, if you're uncomfortable, do what you need to do to get comfortable - and I mean the opposite of 'suck it up'. If you're uncomfortable, figure out what you need and do your best to get it.

*****

I have no doubt that the reframing gets us to a more accurate view of the world. The problems that I see come from applying the general rules to specific sitches.

That is, I believe my W came clean, and I built my part of R and my healing based on that belief. I have lots of evidence that she did come clean. But I don't know with total certainty that she did.

I believe she loves me. I even believe she changed in part because she loves me. But I don't know with total certainty that she does.

If I'm wrong, maybe I'll find out, and maybe I won't.

I doubt my reading of the real world, but I don't doubt certain principles. smile

[This message edited by SI Staff at 6:25 PM, Monday, January 9th]

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: 29787   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8772657
Topic is Sleeping.
Cookies on SurvivingInfidelity.com®

SurvivingInfidelity.com® uses cookies to enhance your visit to our website. This is a requirement for participants to login, post and use other features. Visitors may opt out, but the website will be less functional for you.

v.1.001.20240412a 2002-2024 SurvivingInfidelity.com® All Rights Reserved. • Privacy Policy