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Reconciliation :
Did anyone have a lot of false R than finally changed when you left?

Topic is Sleeping.
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 MintChocChip (original poster member #83762) posted at 12:47 PM on Wednesday, September 13th, 2023

I feel like R didn't work for me and exWS because I was the only person doing anything to repair what he broke. I eventually stopped trying and eventually left around a month ago.

There's an amazing post on the wayward forum by DaddyDom. He sounds so much like by exWS, but he's a version who did the work.

He basically thought "old us" still existed and if he just waited enough time and endured enough tears and anger that he would get it back.

He didn't "get it". He didn't "own it". He just kept saying he loved me and thought it was enough.

I'm not saying there wasn't heaps of positive changes because there was, but ultimately he hadn't got to 101 of accountability.

I properly left, and this time meant it. I didn't run if he cried or begged or got sick. I didn't send him links to websites or ask him to start therapy. I was sad, but also just done.

He had used the time to finally slow down. He finally wrote the timeline and at least started a road to actual accountability (although tinged with self pity).

He's spent his nights and weekends reading it over, and he says imagining he was me and finally realising how bad it was for me. The fist seeds of authentic empathy and sitting with the pain rather than avoiding.

He's addressed some of the things I'd asked for, and more and it feels like he's actually taking time to feel what he needs to feel and think about what he needs to think about.

I dont know what to think.

I'm scared to invest in any hope of healing as it feels like such a mess.

Advice would be appreciated.

Right now, we speak, but I've told him that for me things feel over. I dont really feel able to believe that he might really do the work.

D Day: September 2020Currently separated

posts: 273   ·   registered: Aug. 20th, 2023   ·   location: UK
id 8807600
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EllieKMAS ( member #68900) posted at 1:16 PM on Wednesday, September 13th, 2023

Just my 0.02, but I believe that the ws's who do the work aren't actually doing the work FOR their BS, I think they are doing that work for themselves. And that is as it should be, because if they're just doing the things to cross of a BS's list then they aren't committing to that work for the right reasons. IMHO, a FWS like DaddyDom is one that did his work because he wanted to change, because he wanted to get better for himself and ultimately both he and his wife benefited from it. DD is someone that I don't think would ever cheat again, not only to spare his wife pain (tho that's part of it) but primarily because HE has changed and couldn't live with himself if he let himself down like that again. THAT is what doing the work is about.

So for your wh... you don't have to make a decision either way right now. If he's serious about doing that work, he'll keep on doing it no matter what happens with you and him because he wants to be better for himself.

It's like that part in finding Nemo with the turtles... remember when the little turtle falls out of the current and Marlin freaks out, but the big turtle Crush says "let's see how squirt does flying solo"? For you, just be like Crush. Observe, let your wh fly solo and see how he does. Cus to me it sounds like he's maaaayyyybe starting to do his work. I'd say give it a set time frame and reevaluate where he's at. If he seems to be leaning into the process then maybe you decide to stick around for a while. You can change your mind any time so there's no rush for you to decide anything.

In the meantime, work on you. Really get into your needs and wants, pick up a new hobby, practice self care, do things that make you happy and nourish your soul. Whatever shakes out with your ws, your relationship with you isn't going anywhere so take time investing in yourself.

"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 8807602
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 MintChocChip (original poster member #83762) posted at 2:12 PM on Wednesday, September 13th, 2023

So basically: leave him to it, keep a distance and see what he does, but in the meantime take this time to look after me?

D Day: September 2020Currently separated

posts: 273   ·   registered: Aug. 20th, 2023   ·   location: UK
id 8807605
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 MintChocChip (original poster member #83762) posted at 2:26 PM on Wednesday, September 13th, 2023

The space really has given me time to elucidate in my own mind what my problems with R were, and they are:

1. He invested absolutely no time in thinking about it or sitting with the pain. He was scared of upsetting me or dealing with hard things.

2. He had very little empathy for me - he hated me being sad but never really got what he'd put me through because he never thought about it. (This is the one he's now doing)

3.He drowns in self pity and feeling sorry for himself and can't see this is an extension of the selfishness of the A

4. He doesn't understand his true "whys", and still reverts to trying to blame outside circumstances OR self pity (eg: I am sorry I am such a terrible person. He admits he made 101 bad decisions but doesn't know "why".

5. He still can't be honest with either me or himself. He still denies he wanted an affair ("I just wanted a friend!") Obviously if you just want a friend you don't have sex with the person

6. He reverts to anger and self defensiveness if he's criticised and can't just sit with it.

7. He can't fully accept that he killed our relationship and on some level tries to blame me for being sad and angry

8. On some level he feels entitled to forgiveness or me meeting his needs and he struggles to be humble and selfless if he's feeling like the bad guy


As I said, there's a whole heap of good progress but those things were huge stumbling blocks for me and resentment was growing in place of love.

DaddyDom said something along the lines of "love is murdered when you seek to meet your own needs at the expense of others.

I think that's a lesson.

It's a huge set of hurdles on that list to overcome, so three years into it, I just don't feel optimistic.

I do still love him though.

D Day: September 2020Currently separated

posts: 273   ·   registered: Aug. 20th, 2023   ·   location: UK
id 8807609
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 MintChocChip (original poster member #83762) posted at 2:36 PM on Wednesday, September 13th, 2023

I want to add here in the interests of balance, because he's not here to participate, that some of those things i listed are not black and white.

For example, he'd frequently say he was sorry I was so sad and I was entitled to be however angry I needed to be. He'd ALWAYS offer comfort, stay up with me until I felt better, support etc.

But he would *also* get self defensive and say "your anger has damaged me too!!! Why can't you accept some responsibility!!!"

And that would ruin all the good work. Because, no, I don't think I am even 1% responsibile for being angry or sad.

Nobody asked me before they took their pants off.

Which is what I mean by him not "getting it".

He's always been an avoider. Since the day we met he was kind, loving reliable but he'd completely avoid any emotional discussions.

It worked okay though. I'm not very "needy" and felt like he always listened and my needs were met.

Obviously the affair created a need for a lot more from him.

This behaviour of sitting home alone, writing the timeline, WANTING to do that, letting me know he was crying, admitting he'd never really thought about how bad it was for me, letting me know how sorry he is for his decisions and that he didn't protect me.

He even went through sentimental items that had been bothering me and said he cried realising what he had done. And he googled explanations for some of his behaviour and then tried to discuss it with me.

This is big and new behaviour from him. He doesn't normally ever do this

D Day: September 2020Currently separated

posts: 273   ·   registered: Aug. 20th, 2023   ·   location: UK
id 8807611
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SacredSoul33 ( member #83038) posted at 8:10 PM on Wednesday, September 13th, 2023

So basically: leave him to it, keep a distance and see what he does, but in the meantime take this time to look after me?

YES. This exactly.

This is big and new behaviour from him. He doesn't normally ever do this

Be still, watch what he does, and try not to get too involved with his work. It's easy to get fired up for a hot minute, but let's see what he does after some time with no outside validation. Like Ellie said, he must do the work to better himself for himself - not for you or because he's trying to win you back - or it won't stick.

Remove the "I want you to like me" sticker from your forehead and place it on the mirror, where it belongs. ~ Susan Jeffers

Your nervous system will always choose a familiar hell over an unfamiliar heaven.

posts: 1298   ·   registered: Mar. 10th, 2023
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stubbornft ( member #49614) posted at 8:31 PM on Wednesday, September 13th, 2023

Sounds like he does what is needed after you LEAVE. Dday 3 years ago. Man that sounds brutal. Leaving is the hardest part and you already did that. Keep moving on with your life.

Me: BS 40 Him: WS 51 He cheated with massage parlor sex workersDday 01/19/2021
Kicked him out in 2021 - life is better on the other side. Moved on with the help of a wonderful therapist.

posts: 852   ·   registered: Sep. 14th, 2015   ·   location: TX
id 8807668
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Bor9455 ( member #72628) posted at 9:25 PM on Wednesday, September 13th, 2023

I agree that as painful as it may feel to you to let go and walk away from him, that is exactly the prescription that you need. He needs to do the work for him and his personal growth and healing. Yes, Waywards need to heal too, because the first person they betray isn't you (the BS), but rather themselves. I don't say that as a defense of waywards, but it is something that can get lost in the mind of a BS, especially with a fresh wound, but yours is not so fresh.

The true test of whether he is a changed man or just putting on a show is you continuing to remain steadfast that you are done and headed for divorce. Since it appears you are headed towards a divorce, you could have him served with divorce papers, another step showing him that you are dead serious about it being over and see how he responds. If he is genuine and serious about the work he is doing and work to repair things, the divorce should upset him to be sure, but it shouldn't derail his progress. If serving him divorce papers stops him dead in his tracks of progress, you will then learn his true motivations weren't personal growth and progress, but rather to go through a rather elaborate manipulation to get you back into the fold.

Myself - BH & WH - Born 1985 Her - BW & WW - Born 1986

D-Day for WW's EA - October 2017D-Day no it turned PA - February 01, 2020

posts: 667   ·   registered: Jan. 21st, 2020   ·   location: Miami
id 8807675
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 MintChocChip (original poster member #83762) posted at 11:06 PM on Wednesday, September 13th, 2023

That actually sound like a good idea. For me too. I'd like there to be a sense for both of us that things are over.

D Day: September 2020Currently separated

posts: 273   ·   registered: Aug. 20th, 2023   ·   location: UK
id 8807692
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The1stWife ( Guide #58832) posted at 12:10 AM on Thursday, September 14th, 2023

IMO it’s not the affair that kills the marriage but the behavior (by the cheater) that causes the marriage to suffer irreparable harm.

I don’t know if you should D — that is only something you can decide.

But now is the time to decide what YOU need and what makes you happy. In some cases an affair just kills the marriage and there is just no turning back. Maybe you have reached that point that your marriage is just beyond repair. And if that’s true for you then you need to face that and make the decision that you need to D, but in the most amicable way possible.

Divorce doesn’t have to ugly. It doesn’t have to be acrimonious. You can come to a resolution and walk away with with respect.

Whatever path you choose, you need to put yourself first and make sure you are fulfilled.

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled. 10 years out from Dday. Reconciliation takes two committed people to be successful.

posts: 13947   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
id 8807703
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 MintChocChip (original poster member #83762) posted at 12:15 AM on Thursday, September 14th, 2023

Things are at least not remotely acrimonious

D Day: September 2020Currently separated

posts: 273   ·   registered: Aug. 20th, 2023   ·   location: UK
id 8807705
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HellIsNotHalfFull ( member #83534) posted at 11:54 AM on Thursday, September 14th, 2023

I see this a lot from so many BS, the never ending chances and attempts to save a relationship post affair. It’s been 3 years, and now that you’re gone suddenly he sees the light.

I’m guessing he never thought you would leave, and he could do just enough to "show you the work" so that he could placate you. You left, and suddenly he isn’t special anymore.

What is an affair but the absolute proof that the WP will put themselves above everyone else? It’s like "Look at me, I matter more than anything and what I want is mine". That mentality doesn’t just form as go away for an affair, it’s there the entire time. During R, did he ever demand forgiveness, demand that you get over it, insist that he’s better and you are the problem? If so, that’s still wayward thinking.

My opinion, you left, go no contact. I mean full No contact. If you really think there is still a chance then tell him clearly your expectations. "We are still married, but I need to be away from you, I expect you to act as though you are still married, we are not together but we are not seeing other people either" or something along those lines. If he really wants to save this, then he will act like a man who wants to keep his wife. If you go NC and he decides to cheat again, or stop working on him self, you will have your answer. Plus, and more importantly, NC Will give you space and time without him. And it will show you that you are just fine without him at all and will give you the clarity to make a real choice.

Me mid 40s BH
Her mid 40s WW
1 year EA/PA

"Just" a friend.in R, getting by

posts: 396   ·   registered: Jun. 26th, 2023   ·   location: U.S.
id 8807748
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 MintChocChip (original poster member #83762) posted at 12:10 PM on Thursday, September 14th, 2023

What is an affair but the absolute proof that the WP will put themselves above everyone else?

I think most of us recognise this quality in our WS s :) along with much else you've said.

During R, did he ever demand forgiveness, demand that you get over it

Not outright, but he thought, time, love, kindness would fix things and then claimed to be helpless when they didn't. He's desperate for my forgiveness but I don't think he understands how to get there. He needs to figure it out.

Insist that he’s better and you are the problem?

Gosh no. He assured me day after day that I had never done anything, that I was always enough. That it was all completely his fault.

I'm not going completely NC right now. We're on good terms. I'm peaceful. If we divorce I think we will always be on good terms.

I don't think he'd ever cheat again. I'd rank that as actually unthinkable, so obviously these past three years weren't a total bust.

I think that's the absolute last thing on earth he'd ever do. Although if that was what he wanted - he's free to.

D Day: September 2020Currently separated

posts: 273   ·   registered: Aug. 20th, 2023   ·   location: UK
id 8807750
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HellIsNotHalfFull ( member #83534) posted at 12:27 PM on Thursday, September 14th, 2023

Well I have misread your situation completely, probably a bit of projection on my part then. I’m dealing with a lot of those issues, and seems to very common.

I don’t really have any advice based on your last post. I hope you find whatever it is you’re looking for. I do want to say good for you for leaving and meaning it, that takes strength and shows that you are on the right path.

Me mid 40s BH
Her mid 40s WW
1 year EA/PA

"Just" a friend.in R, getting by

posts: 396   ·   registered: Jun. 26th, 2023   ·   location: U.S.
id 8807752
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 MintChocChip (original poster member #83762) posted at 12:49 PM on Thursday, September 14th, 2023

I don't feel like I have strength and I suppose a lot of us feel or have felt like that.

I suppose there's all sorts of failed R, but sometimes the person can be on the surface being a really great spouse, no more cheating, completely changed behaviour- but it's still not enough.

Rug sweeping and trying to go back to the old M or a new, improved version without the ugly and difficult work - just doesn't work.

There probably doesn't exist a more loving, sorry or devoted spouse than mine but he hasn't done what he needed to do and in the long run you can't sustain


I really hope things are going good with you. We're all on a tough journey here. For me, it's just acceptance now that my spouse is his own person and R isn't something I could do alone

D Day: September 2020Currently separated

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Bor9455 ( member #72628) posted at 2:59 PM on Thursday, September 14th, 2023

He needs to figure it out.

You got that right. You know what he didn't know how to do...have an affair. Yet, when he wanted to, he figured out, didn't he? Well, if he can figure out how to have an affair right under your nose for as long as he did, he can damn well figure out how to repair the damage from his affair. It is just a matter of desire and as I said in my last post, he may very well lack the desire to actually fix it, hence his lack of effort.

Myself - BH & WH - Born 1985 Her - BW & WW - Born 1986

D-Day for WW's EA - October 2017D-Day no it turned PA - February 01, 2020

posts: 667   ·   registered: Jan. 21st, 2020   ·   location: Miami
id 8807777
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ThisIsSoLonely ( Guide #64418) posted at 5:28 PM on Thursday, September 14th, 2023

I am in your precise situation - false R (twice) totaling about 15 months. I left about 2 years after the last discovery of the ongoing A (the first year was to save money and get myself sorted out and the second was due to COVID or I would have stuck around about a year as opposed to two). Fast forward almost 4 years, WH has been in IC for him - we are no longer married, but we are reconciling our friendship and date occasionally. I moved a 20+ hour drive away and have not moved back so our dating is not frequent but neither of us are dating anyone else (we can but we agreed to inform each other if that happens - I have not and I have no reason to believe he has). I have no plans to move back at this point, and I am not making "all" the effort to see him - in the last year it's been much more his effort than mine, and I will admit that the fact that he has custody of 2 of our 3 dogs (I have the other along with a foster) is part of my motivation to go to our former house where he still lives.

I have posted quite a bit about his/our journey. He is definitely a different person that the person he was, which at the end of 2019 when I originally was scheduled to start actually moving away, was very similar to this that you described (with exception to #5 below - my WH admitted that he wanted the A as he liked the attention etc and that eventually he felt like he was in love and wanted to run off with her sometimes):

1. He invested absolutely no time in thinking about it or sitting with the pain. He was scared of upsetting me or dealing with hard things.

2. He had very little empathy for me - he hated me being sad but never really got what he'd put me through because he never thought about it. (This is the one he's now doing)

3.He drowns in self pity and feeling sorry for himself and can't see this is an extension of the selfishness of the A

4. He doesn't understand his true "whys", and still reverts to trying to blame outside circumstances OR self pity (eg: I am sorry I am such a terrible person. He admits he made 101 bad decisions but doesn't know "why".

5. He still can't be honest with either me or himself. He still denies he wanted an affair ("I just wanted a friend!") Obviously if you just want a friend you don't have sex with the person

6. He reverts to anger and self defensiveness if he's criticised and can't just sit with it.

7. He can't fully accept that he killed our relationship and on some level tries to blame me for being sad and angry

8. On some level he feels entitled to forgiveness or me meeting his needs and he struggles to be humble and selfless if he's feeling like the bad guy

I would say now, after almost 4 years of IC and a lot of self reflection, I can say he has done a ton of #1 above, and doesn't do #3 at all anymore. As to #2 definitely has empathy for me, and seems to really grasp, to the extent anyone who hasn't been through it can, how his A, and more importantly all the lies during false-R affected ME. #4 and #6 are a bit of a lifetime work in progress but he really has accepted his flaws and is actively working to change them and he really tries to address his defensiveness and accepts criticism much better than he ever did, about anything, which is a major plus about the "improved" version of him generally now. He accepts he destroyed our relationship - like blew it into an unrecognizable mass and wants whatever we have going forward to be better. I forgave him so if he feels entitled he has my forgiveness anyway, but realizes that I have been changed by his lies during the A and False R forever, so to the extent he does not like some of the new me, he is responsible for some of that and I will not apologize for it (example, there are some movies/tv shows I just will NOT watch anymore because of the way they downplay and or glorify affairs - too bad that one of them is a movie we used to love to watch - not happening anymore for me and it's not up for discussion).

Right now, we speak, but I've told him that for me things feel over. I dont really feel able to believe that he might really do the work.

When I was getting ready to leave at the end of 2019, before COVID screwed up my plans, I felt just like you said above. I was DONE. He started IC for him, because he claimed that he wanted to understand how and why he did this - like what inside him allowed him to have the A to begin with and then treat me like his arch-enemy (he referred to feeling like he was a spy during false R - having to cover up how he "really" felt about me and not let on what he was doing because I might out him and ruin all of it - and because he thought he was doing me a favor by sticking around since I really seemed like I wanted to make it work shocked ). During 2020 when my moving plans (and moving for work plans) were delayed he was in IC and I started to notice a change - and in all honesty it was being present for that time that made me consider continuing to even talk to him once I moved. He even travelled to help me pick out the house and made getting things funded easier, drove one of the dogs down and brought other stuff, and seemed simultaneously happy for me and the awesome place I bought and sad that I wasn't going to be around everyday. Now he jokes that my place is much nicer than his, which is where he lives now and where we used to live (he's right it is WAY nicer), and that we can live at my place when he retires (which is like 10 years from now). Whenever he says that now I laugh and in honesty say "Maybe. Who knows?"

Had I left in early 2020 as planned IDK if we would be where we are today, as my plan was to leave and never talk to him again, not out of spite but because I really had nothing left to say to him. Because of COVID and the disruption of my work plans my plans to leave were delayed, and so I got to spend a year with the "really going to IC for him' version of Mr. TISL and the changes were all good - had he done this in the beginning, heck, even after d-day 2 and the year of false R, maybe I would have stayed, but he didn't, and my resolve was not broken. Once I was able to move for my new job, I left. It's still better that I did leave I think - I have been able to be me and am able to deal with things on my terms.

So I say leave - none of us here have any idea what will happen with you and your WS - but if you leave and he stays the same, then you have done yourself a favor. If you leave and he makes changes then YOU can decide if you want to come back, or you can be like me and end up in some sort of self-imposed happy limbo, or maybe you will find that you just want to move on. Whatever. Most people on here, after seeing years of my posts dealing with my WH congratulated me for moving. I don't recall a single person saying "maybe things will change for the better with you two anyway" but alas, it did. I can't tell you what will happen with you either - but from my experience, taking control of your life and moving forward on your own terms brings a peace that is very hard to obtain if you stick around.

See my signature line below...

[This message edited by ThisIsSoLonely at 5:31 PM, Thursday, September 14th]

You are the only person you are guaranteed to spend the rest of your life with. Act accordingly.

Constantly editing posts: usually due to sticky keys on my laptop or additional thoughts

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ANewPerson ( member #83728) posted at 12:38 AM on Friday, September 15th, 2023

But he would *also* get self defensive and say "your anger has damaged me too!!! Why can't you accept some responsibility!!!"

And that would ruin all the good work. Because, no, I don't think I am even 1% responsibile for being angry or sad.

This specific blame shifting is a particular sore point for me with my STBXWW. Now that I've filed, I find this tactic to reverse of victim and offender disgusting. I'm very sorry you were betrayed, but I'm more sorry about false R. It's insult to injury. Please, take care of you and do what's best for you. The framework for the conversations that waywards often establish handicaps us. Waywards have a special talent for minimizing, deflecting, and bullying our thoughts and feelings into places that are not helpful. It's up to us to find a way to see clearly and think clearly. IMO, I believe this is the task in front of you, just to find a way to think through your own boundaries and your decisions without manipulation. It was very challenging for me and didn't actually occur until after I filed.

As to the OP, my WW did make a final plea after I filed, but it was nothing I hadn't heard. Perhaps if I'd given it another part of my life, I could have found out if it was still false R. I reached the point where I didn't care if I ever got an honest answer to anything, I don't want the truth anymore, it was her life, and has nothing to do with me now.

BH 54 Divorcing

posts: 55   ·   registered: Aug. 13th, 2023   ·   location: Heartland USA.
id 8807864
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 MintChocChip (original poster member #83762) posted at 1:06 PM on Friday, September 15th, 2023

Well. Yesterday he spent about six hours with me talking by phone. He was not self defensive, he didn't minimise, he didn't blame shift and I was able to discuss things and get some really helpful insight and empathy. It felt really good and was healing. So after he went to sleep I sent a nice message saying the above.

I woke up to a message from him saying

"It's only possible to have these conversations when I feel like you are listening. So often I have felt dismissed, blamed or criticised. When in order to give you what you need is for you to listen and accept and understand. Because you say only your feelings and needs matter"

And my heart just sank.

First of all, none of that is true

I always listen. I always care about his feelings. Far too much actually, and often at the expense of my own.

I was just telling him that his needs dont come first. That I don't owe him calm and stability. That he isn't entitled to appreciation. He just can't understand this. He still feels I need do DO something in order to make him able to answer questions. He just needs to DO IT.

I begged to go to counselling. He refused. I begged him to do all the things I needed for R and he refused.

I feel like he's just again avoiding true accountability and trying to gaslight us both into thinking I'm partly to blame for R not working, when honestly I really do not believe this.

As for the "so often I feel blamed and criticised", I really don't ont get this. How does he expect to feel when talking about his cheating?

Sigh.

I just feel so disillusioned today. As everyone said I should just get on with me and my life and stop being invested in him and what he does.

I had my first IC session today and it was good. I've got my own little cottage now and maybe I can nest and try and build a little safe space for me.

D Day: September 2020Currently separated

posts: 273   ·   registered: Aug. 20th, 2023   ·   location: UK
id 8807904
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SacredSoul33 ( member #83038) posted at 3:05 PM on Friday, September 15th, 2023

Well, at least you got a clear message that he's still not even remotely R material. Oof. What a dolt. I'm sorry for your pain, but it's also a gift that he's not able to snow you into thinking that he's changed. He's showing you who he is and he doesn't want to improve himself, thankyouverymuch. He's just fine the way that he is. rolleyes

Remove the "I want you to like me" sticker from your forehead and place it on the mirror, where it belongs. ~ Susan Jeffers

Your nervous system will always choose a familiar hell over an unfamiliar heaven.

posts: 1298   ·   registered: Mar. 10th, 2023
id 8807980
Topic is Sleeping.
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