Long story short, I betrayed her, hurt her, lied and cheated and through IC and MC we’re working. It will be years before I’ll ever think we’re back on track, but I am still here, not kicked out and I am devoting my everything to providing her an environment that is consistent, one she can depend on. I have to be trustworthy, depended on which I am doing. And Of course the family and the kids are my priority. I say thank you every day that I was given this chance and I am not going to blow it.
I was hoping someone could shed some light on the “stain” all this causes as despite my actions, my focus etc....the memories are still painful as is the realization that she never had/got the “princess and prince” marriage she was hoping for.
The stain of what I’ve done will likely never go away and this is what is hard for her now and perhaps prevents any further progress. She can’t doesn’t want to reconcile the past, she just wants to forget it.
I’ve been feeling more and more shame for this recently as I can see and feel how hard this is for her. It’s one thing to accept how I am now, but the memories of the lies and actions are hard to put away, especially when other people know as well. She told some friends what I did back then, and her perception of herself takes a hit when she realizes that she took me back and they k now it too I suppose. She feels “ashamed” I suppose that she didn’t kick me to the curb.
We were at a birthday celebration in a nice blues bar on the weekend, and a friend she had not seen in a year, asked if we were still together as I guess she had heard either what I did, or that simply we were apart or struggling. It hit her again then. She with all her friends, she was the one with the wayward husband. She gazed across the dance floor and saw all these husbands lovingly holding their wives and dancing, yet she got me. I wanted to dance with her, and asked and she said no. I wanted to hold her, but in front of them, I think she just didn't want to. I feel for her. Though I am committed, and perhaps I’ll even be better than I have always been, just accepting/reflecting that she got a marriage filled with lies and infidelity, makes her incredibly sad and maybe ashamed to be with me in front of her friends.
We’ve had our problems throughout the marriage. And we both had to work on things to make the relationship better. But I chose to cheat, lie and seek things outside the marriage. This is 100% on me. However, through IC, I have learned that it was never really about her. It was about my need for approval. I am happy to have learned all this, but this does nothing for her, nor does it address the “Stain”
Anyone has insight specifically for the stain that all this creates? A person may change, but their actions live for a long, long time.
[This message edited by permanentchange5 at 2:22 PM, June 10th (Monday)]
That said, I don't really have an answer for you about the "Stain" other than to remind you (and your wife if she reads this) that you have NO idea what is going on in those other marriages. They only look perfect and loving because you're on the outside. You two are going through hell, and it sounds like everyone knows, which makes it feel even more raw because you feel the judgments of others. The reality is that only people who have experienced infidelity and reconciliation can understand that something good (maybe something even BETTER) can come from the other side of this mess).
Hang in there, pc5. It sounds like you're doing everything right at this point, and your consistent patience and effort will, over the long run, eventually drown out the noise of the "stain." I like to think that WH and I will get to a point where the few people who know what's gone on will think "Damn - the love they share is beyond amazing to have survived something that breaks most other people."
[This message edited by ms521 at 6:22 PM, June 10th (Monday)]
I will never stop trying... because when you find 'the one' you never give up. (Cal Weaver)
How you want to hold her on the dance floor, how you will continue to work on yourself and how very sorry you are.
Is she in IC? It is helping me sort out the A and deal with my own personal issues.
I personally don't believe people should spend their lives being defined by their mistakes. We are more then our worst moments. Even when those moments last two years.
As for those other marriages....everyone has their shit. We could have easily been on that dance floor having fun, laughing, holding one another and yet he had just screwed someone the week before.
Focus on living an authentic life. Hold her up. Cherish her. The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman goes a long way.
I appreciate the positive comments, however I have made my share of mistakes and then some to put it mildly. However, I do know my intent and my desire to make things right is true. The past though, is something that is not erasable and that's the sticking point right now.
I really relate to the whole "bubble" analogy. I feel like I was in one for so long. For years really. I wanted/complained for so long that I needed us to be closer, yet never made the connection I was contributing to us being apart. I lied, felt entitled, needed attention....all things I am ashamed of. She really is the one I love, through her I can be happy and I want to make her happy but I just didn't see straight for so long. But it took work to get here, to get to this and many realizations. I always wanted to be happy, but others around me paid such a price over the years as I sought poor ways to achieve it.
I can understand my wife's situation. Why the hell would she believe months of work over years of pain? Why didn't she leave she is thinking. It makes her sad I think because she knows she is a good person and didn't deserve much of what she got. I made her doubt her sanity, I made her doubt if she was right or not all that time. And now that I am acting and behaving more wholesomely, perhaps it is vindication for her. It seems she is mourning the past and I am so sad for. So much lost time.
I suspect there is a certain amount of resentment that comes when I am being who I needed to be finally...in her eyes, why did it have to come at such a high price for her to pay? It's yet another act of selfishness. Only when I discovered the problem in me, on my terms (I never listened in the past), through therapy, through my desire to finally get at the unhappiness that was inside me, did I decide to change. Much of what she wanted is finally here, but again only because I decided to get there....and I think she is hurt by that in some ways. Not sure if this makes sense.
I hear what you are saying about me not knowing other people's shit. It's easy for her to think that our marriage is the worst, and every one of her friends got their Prince Charming, but I can't relay that to her.
It makes me angry and sad because growing up I never expected I would be "that guy". Even my friends who I told have changed how they are to me. I am that guy. The guy who cheated on his wife, the guy who lied, the guy who dishonored his kids' mother. I see those husbands on the dance floor holding their wives, kissing them and smiling and I want that. Yet, I destroyed that it. You know, deep down I just wanted to be happy, but in trying to do so, I destroyed the people most important to me. It is the reflecting the I am ashamed of the most. My wife also wanted what I wanted. A fulfilling marriage with a man she could lean on. And I ripped her heart out. I don't get all these WH who think after confession and a few nice acts that they are entitled to forgiveness. I am worried she will NEVER heal and I am responsible for that. To think I may have affected my kids because of what I did breaks my heart.
I am off on a tangent here. I thank you all for the advice. I tell my wife I am sorry every day and yes I will write that letter in the hopes it helps. I just don't know how any stain like this can be coped with. I say coped because I know it can't be erased. But handled at least in some way so she can be happy, at ease and maybe settled and optimistic for the future. Again, it's one thing to change your behaviour, but even if I do, she remembers the lies...and I don;t know how to help with that.
If anyone else has thoughts regarding the stain and how you combatted it, or dealt with it, I'd appreciate hearing it.
Anyway, is there anyway you can connect to the specific fears and struggles she's having? Maybe that will help....
I'm 2 + years from dday. My husband is doing everything he is capable of to help me heal but even more he tries to help my future. He promises me the best possible future I can dream of. He has worked so hard to change himself and he's done a great job. The only reason I would leave him now is because I can't let go of the past. That doesn't seem to make enough sense to me to destroy our family, company...our lives because I can't let go. I hate what happened, he hates what happened. We can't change the past. It IS hard to accept and it takes time.
I feel for your wife. It's not easy...even with a spouse who mans up and gets it, it's still not an easy road.
I guess my only advice is to concentrate on making her today's and tomorrow's so good that the yesterday's will start to fade...like stains sometimes do.
Btw...his stain was a 12 year LTA, complete with STD's, during one of my pregnancy's, a false reconciliation, TT, and it was with a woman who worked for me...that's a hell of a stain...even it's starting to fade.
[This message edited by 0115 at 10:46 PM, June 11th (Tuesday)]