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Newest Member: Daughterofthemosthigh

Reconciliation :
A reflection one year later

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 AintDatSpecial (original poster member #83560) posted at 1:31 PM on Tuesday, July 2nd, 2024

When I was relatively new here, I searched and searched for a timeline for healing. I looked here and all over the internet. I NEEDED to know how long this was going to take, when I would feel better, etc. The general 2-5 years consensus around here felt unbearable. I told myself that if I made it through, I’d post about what my first year looked like in hopes that I’d help someone lost, scared, and heartbroken as I was in those early days. This will likely be lengthy.

Background: WH had an affair with a married coworker that lasted about 2-3 months. They made out a bunch of times but did not have sex but were planning to. He had been acting distant and we had been arguing more and I cannot explain to this day why as I had no evidence whatsoever, but I asked "is there someone else?" He confessed, on the phone while I was at work. Brutal.

D-day: I drove home (no idea how) in massive thunderstorm telling him he needed to end it. He said he wasn’t going to. He didn’t outright say it, but he was talking like it was over. "We can still be friends", crap like that. I felt utterly helpless. Who on earth was this person? When I got home and we talked, he had cold, dead eyes. It truly felt like I was with a total stranger. After several hours, he broke down and said he would end it. He sent AP a text saying it was over, but I hated how polite it seemed (he did later give a letter that I approved). We agreed to start marriage counseling and had our first appointment a few days in.

The next two weeks were strange. I felt like a zombie. I rarely slept, rarely ate. I was numb. I was crying a lot but able to attend family events and get through them ok. I would questions things over and over. I demanded a lie detector test because I didn’t believe there was no sex. WH agreed and passed it.

I think it all truly hit me 3-4 weeks in. I started having panic attacks. I couldn’t even attend family events. I felt anxious and sad. My nerves felt completely exposed. I couldn’t even watch tv or listen to music. For months, it was all game shows or sports, everything else was too triggering. Then the anger. I had never felt anger like that in my life. It was pumping through my veins. I am not proud to admit it but I need to be real here- I became verbally and physically abusive to WH. I hated who I had become. I knew I needed help. I made my first individual therapy appointment 5 weeks in. Shortly after that, I started reading "Living and loving after betrayal" by Dr. Steven Stosny. I give SOOO much credit to these 2 things. I would love to give credit to the poster on here who mentioned that book but I cannot recall who it was. I didn’t just read the book, I did the exercises daily, faithfully. I’d also highly recommend the audio book. There was something so very soothing about hearing that voice say things I truly needed to hear. WH had also started his own therapy around the time I did. He was resistant to it at first and kept trying to blame our fights in our marriage for him cheating. Our marriage therapist helped him see the need for his own therapy.

About two months in, trickle truth started to come out. Nothing major but he had lied about certain details. And every lie is a direct hit. I would ask questions over and over. He would lie, then it started eating at him and he would later tell the truth. It was awful. Then one day, he needed to tell all the truth. He had been saying from the beginning that it was just an ego boost, it just made him feel young again, blah blah. Turns out that was a lie. He admitted that he felt out of control and was trying to get her to have sex with him at work and she wouldn’t. Which is why he snapped and told me on d-day because he was driven to act it out. We later discovered with the help of his wonderful current therapist that he’s a sex addict- but I did not know this at the time. This was one of my worst days. Thankfully, my amazing therapist squeezed me in for an emergency session that day. Then, the following day he again needs to unload. This time, it’s a long history of sexual abuse throughout his childhood and awful acting out behaviors throughout his adult life, before we were together. Now knowing so much more about sex addiction and childhood trauma, things make more sense but at the time I was lost and confused.

The first month or so after that revelation were really bad. WH had a mental breakdown and I’ve never seen him like that. He had what his now therapist calls "OCD tendencies" and he felt like he needed to tell me every single detail because he could no longer hold in lies- even though I had only wanted details on specific things. When I say every detail, I mean every stupid thing like "she asked me if her hair looked nice and I said it did". It was so painful but looking back, I think it now helps me empathize with WH. For a while, I thought "he got all the fun, I got all the pain". But he certainly suffered too. He was eventually diagnosed with PTSD (from his childhood trauma) and still sees a therapist and psychiatrist. I felt so torn like I needed to decide between leaving and staying. My therapist helped me see that my actions showed I was staying- and that was ok! She helped me realize that I could always change my mind if anything else happened, I had new information or really any reason. This took a huge weight off me. Seems obvious from the outside but when you’re in a dark place you can’t see much.

Around four months after, I slowly started to see light. I continued doing the daily exercises from the Steven Stosny book, journaling every day, seeing my therapist weekly and also attended a support group for wives recovering from infidelity. I also begin re-igniting my spiritual journey which had been dormant for many years. I begin praying daily and even returned to church. If you had known me before all this, that was a big surprise even to me.

By month 5, I had slightly more good days than bad. I still had plenty of bad moments but they weren’t taking me down for a whole day or even several. Our anniversary hit me really hard though, I sank into depression for a few days after that. The holidays were approaching after that and I had this terrible fear that they would put me down again. My therapist helped me come up with a plan and the holidays went pretty well. Slowly, painfully slowly, the good continued to outweigh the bad.

I "graduated" from therapy after about 7.5 months, almost 9 months from d-day. I was terrified because A season was approaching. My therapist assured me that I could reach out to her if needed but she felt I was ready. The season came and went, including D-day antiversary and I really was ok. This by no means is saying there weren’t tough moments. I still have those. They’re just not that often and not debilitating anymore.

WH has been doing the work. He attends therapist weekly, a 12 step program for his sex addiction and regular follow ups with his psychiatrist. He’s on medication now and has been for several months. He never broke no contact that I’m aware of. He quit his job immediately on d-day and never returned. He took up a whole new career and has been really working hard in that. If you knew him before, that’s a pretty big deal. He’s always hated change or trying new things and learning anything new. He’s stepped up in helping with household chores and stuff with the kids. He’s done everything I’ve asked and more. This is not me bragging. He’s done so much wrong, especially in the beginning- but I do need to acknowledge what he’s done right.

We are both very different people today, but in a good way. I am kinder, more empathetic, more sensitive to others needs. He is actually working hard at supporting our family and to be a man he can be proud of and finally addressing all his past issues and mistakes. I HATE what it took for us to get here but am proud of the path we choose after the fact. I knew somewhere along the way that I could come out of this better and stronger or bitter and resentful- but I got to choose.

I don’t believe I’m totally healed. I have triggers, bad moments, etc. It’s quite possible I’ll always have them. They just don’t take me to the deep depths of despair as they did before and I recover much quicker. I am realistic and know that the road ahead is not easy but I also know that I can get through hard things. As my therapist taught me, so far I’ve survived 100% of all my bad days.

Again, I wrote this not to brag but to offer some hope. A post like this would’ve helped me in my dark days and I certainly hope it could help someone in the throes of it. Hugs to anyone on this horrible journey. Thanks to the many here who offer kindness and support despite going through such awful pain. You all meant so much to me in those days, even if I didn’t comment much.

Me- BW/ Him- WH, both early 40s/ D-day June 2023/ working on healing me

posts: 58   ·   registered: Jul. 6th, 2023   ·   location: United States
id 8841324
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user4578 ( member #84572) posted at 4:35 PM on Tuesday, July 2nd, 2024

I’m so glad things are going well for you. It definitely gave me a sense of hope, you’ve tackled such big issues!
I’m interested in the book you’ve mentioned but was wondering if it has a religious angle to it? Just because I’ve tried a couple that did and it throws me completely off!

posts: 52   ·   registered: Mar. 7th, 2024   ·   location: UK
id 8841348
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 AintDatSpecial (original poster member #83560) posted at 6:50 PM on Tuesday, July 2nd, 2024

The book does not have a religious angle. A big focus is on your core values- one of them is spirituality but not a specific religion. He specifically says what that means to you- could be God, the cosmos or basic humanity. I will say I was NOT ready to engage in my religion when I read it and did not feel like I was being pushed to. That came a bit later.

Me- BW/ Him- WH, both early 40s/ D-day June 2023/ working on healing me

posts: 58   ·   registered: Jul. 6th, 2023   ·   location: United States
id 8841358
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AdLarue17 ( new member #84917) posted at 4:40 AM on Wednesday, July 3rd, 2024

This helps me so much. I too kept seeing the 2-5 year information and thinking I’ll never make it that long. So hearing how much progress you’ve made gives me so much hope. Thank you!!

posts: 17   ·   registered: Jun. 7th, 2024   ·   location: Virginia
id 8841404
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user4578 ( member #84572) posted at 1:18 PM on Wednesday, July 3rd, 2024

I bought the book on kindle yesterday. I’ve only read a little so far but I’m already finding it really interesting, I’ve highlighted so much already laugh

The way he explains why we get into the cycle of feeling waves of rage/anger is really interesting.

The reviews are great too. Thank you so much for mentioning it! smile

posts: 52   ·   registered: Mar. 7th, 2024   ·   location: UK
id 8841415
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user4578 ( member #84572) posted at 1:45 PM on Wednesday, July 3rd, 2024

I bought the book on kindle yesterday. I’ve only read a little so far but I’m already finding it really interesting, I’ve highlighted so much already laugh

The way he explains why we get into the cycle of feeling waves of rage/anger is really interesting.

The reviews are great too. Thank you so much for mentioning it! smile

posts: 52   ·   registered: Mar. 7th, 2024   ·   location: UK
id 8841416
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 AintDatSpecial (original poster member #83560) posted at 12:01 AM on Saturday, July 6th, 2024

@user4578-
That part about the anger cycle made so much sense to me. It did have the numbing effect and give energy. I remember writing in my journal that I much preferred the anger to the depression. I sincerely hope the book is as helpful to you. I did the exercises daily, even though they were torture at times. It took some time but it really did help. I wish you healing.

Me- BW/ Him- WH, both early 40s/ D-day June 2023/ working on healing me

posts: 58   ·   registered: Jul. 6th, 2023   ·   location: United States
id 8841690
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