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Why reconcile if you knew you wouldn't be able to get over it?

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ILINIA posted 7/15/2013 11:31 AM

Well, infidelity has struck our family and I am one of the newest members to the club. I am 1 month in from DDay (6/14/13). I figured it out the day after they slept together, so the affair was short-lived. We have two children who are 7 & 8 and we are acting as if nothing happened in front of them. At night, we talk for hours and I feel he is being honest, remorseful, and transparent. We have started counseling to work on our marriage, so I feel we are doing the best we can and are on the right path of trying to figure out our future.

I am giving the relationship a chance because we have a family and I think I still love him. I am hoping on whether or not we stay together or divorce becomes clearer as we go to counseling, but I have any questions while I am in the “grey area”:

1) How & when did you know what your path was going to be either “Yes, I am going to stay and invest everything into this relationship” or “No, I can’t do it and I need to focus and me and the kids and start building a new type of life.” Will I get a revelation of what to do? I know that may be too hopeful.
2) I have read countless stories of spouses who have been working on it for years and still saying it is hard and they are not over it. What makes it worth it to you to stay the relationship if you can’t get over it? Why wouldn’t you leave him and start afresh? I think I am looking for inspiration here.
3) Has anyone really “gotten over it”?
4) If you divorced and started new relationships, did this follow you into those relationships? If so, how?

I know some of these questions don’t fall under “Reconciliation”, but I figured that you would have insight, since you have been where I am today.

Also, I can see where a relationship gets better, as my husband has talked more and been more honest than he ever has, which has been wonderful, but I do feel that the beauty of our marriage is gone. I feel like my choices are 1) to invest in our marriage, but always have this black mark haunting us or 2) get out and invest in a new relationship.

Thank you for any information....I am just lost.

bionicgal posted 7/15/2013 11:42 AM

I think the danger of some of these questions is that you will compare yourself to others, and we are all so different.

I am also one month out, and I knew right away that I had to fight for my family. I also told him that after giving it some time and work, I had no intention of him living a life of unhappiness, so if it didn't work, it didn't work. But to me, there was too much good in the relationship to just walk away. .. . including a child.

Have you been doing any reading? It has helped me immensely to realize that I am not alone, and that everything we are going through is so typical. Also, are you in MC? That has helped us a great deal already.

From what I have read, you don't get over it in the sense that things were just the way you thought they were before the affair. But, I think they can be as good as or even better because weaknesses in the marriage are revealed and have to be dealt with.

Good luck - sucks to be in this club!

P.S. The books I have liked so far are After the Affair, Not Just Friends, and Infidelity: A Survival Guide.

[This message edited by bionicgal at 11:43 AM, July 15th (Monday)]

TheTooGoodWife posted 7/15/2013 12:04 PM

1) I am 14 months out and still in the grey area.

3) I.M.O. I don't think we ever "get over" it but we learn to live with it just as we have with any other trauma we have had in our lives.

In time with therapy it will "fade" and become much like anything else in your past. We intelectually remember the pain, joy, hate, fear we experienced but not so much the emotion. When my parents passed on, within 3 years of each other, it was incredibly traumatic as it was unexpected and at both those times I thought I would die with the pain of that loss but now I have moments of sadness when something significant happens that I wish they were still around to share. I was sexually abused from age 5-16 and I have the intellectual memory of the feelings but no longer the emotions associated and 99% of the time I don't think about it and when I do it is just another fact of my life. I know with time, therapy and my own experiences WH's A will be the same.

Gosh I sound so blasé and I am not...yet.

[This message edited by TheTooGoodWife at 12:07 PM, July 15th (Monday)]

numb&dumb posted 7/15/2013 12:24 PM

Unfortunately this is not all black and white. This early on you would be served to delay making any major decisions.

If I had done what I wanted to do at one month out, I would still be the middle of a messy divorce. Not saying R is the answer for you, but you have to get to a more lucid point before you make these big life changing decisions. You will change your mind several times before the choice you want is evident.

R and my M is something I still have to "choose" everyday. My W has to understand the fact that I am still here says it all. I still have the same choices today that I had on Dday. No need to rush. I got nothing but time.

In analyzing my own situation, I have to say that my W has worked very hard to ensure that I won't have to heal new hurts. It is something broken in her that brought me here. If she wants to stay my W she has to own that and fix it. She has to work very hard to show me that she cares about my emotional well being. She is worthy of my trust again and that she chooses me each day too.

I have to accept that and tell her when she is not doing that. I try to provide the same for her.

I consider this my second marriage. It has the same people in it, but it is my second M. If this does not work out, then my third is not going to have my current W in it. Chances are that third M would come with the same risks that I have today and all the hidden ugly that a new person would bring.

Is the devil you know worse than the one you don't ? It is a toss up and still a risk no matter how you look at it.

The painful emotions start to recede and you gain the clarity again. It take some patience and working through these feelings. How ? That is the rub isn't it. You read books, you go to IC, you ask your WS questions. You monitor their actions to see if they are worthy of taking a risk on them again. Staying consistent, one day the choice that is right for you will become clear. You just need to clear out the distractions.

ILINIA posted 7/15/2013 12:26 PM

Thanks for your response! I knew when I posted that everyone would have a different story and reasons, but I think that is what I need.

For example, I am impressed that you knew that you were going to fight almost right away. My initial reaction was to take the kids on a long vacation around the US, but obviously, that was improbable.

I just hate being in limbo. One minute I am going to give it 100%, the next I feel he should be living somewhere else, and then the next I am indifferent and exhausted by it all.

We are in MC and my To Do for this week is to create my manifesto for my marriage. Basically, it will be a list of my needs and the family needs that need to be met before we move forward. My biggest hurdle is that they are coworkers and have daily contact. Ideally, I would love him to leave his job but of course, brings other tensions into our family...

I have spent a small fortune at the books stores and it is funny, my favorite has been "After the Affair", it even made me laugh, twice! I also have her "How can I forgive you?" and I am thinking the same survival guide as you along with a Gottmans marriage book and a Covey book about trust. I feel that everything is so "text book"...his affair, his reasons, my reactions, etc.

Argh, it does suck to be in this club. It would be nice if each city had a face-to-face support group. I just want to chat with someone who has been there and stayed. We all know women/men who left, but there has to be as many neighbors, coworkers, and/or friends that have gone through this and stayed, but no one talks about it.

Here's to a better second month!

SorrowBhindSmile posted 7/15/2013 12:48 PM

I am only 7 months out from i cant answer all your questions, but i can share how things are for me.

In the beginning, i didn't know if i had it in me to R and get over the betrayal. The one thing i did know is that i had to give myself time to process, to understand, to take a long hard look into myself. I have been married over 20 years and i knew that if i threw in the towel immediately, i might regret it. A 20+ year history is a lot to just discard. I spent months on a rollercoaster of day thinking i cant live without him, the next making plans for him to pack his stuff and leave. I can most certainly tell you that this is the most painful thing i have ever been thru. I can also tell you i am still on that rollercoster. Every day is a struggle. But i take it day by day.

But i can also tell you that i did have that revelation....something clicked in me and i knew "yes, i am going to stay and invest everything i have into this relationship".

In my case, my WH is very remorseful. He "got it" immediately and started making changes in himself instantly. He has made tiny surface changes, but also big deep down changes. I really feel that this was a life altering event for him, and seeing the catastrophic aftermath has awoken something in him. He is not the same person he was, he does not want to ever be that person again, and he works every single day to prove to me that he can be the husband i deserve.

Do you ever get over it? I doubt it. I dont know if i ever will, its too early to say. But i do know this....i am not the same person i was before. This has forever changed me. I also know that i dont want the marriage i had before...i dont want the man my WH was...i dont want to be the person i was. I too, feel as tho the "beauty of our marriage is gone". I look back and see some good, of course, but i see so many cracks, so many bruises. My goal for R is not to go back to the way things were before, not to try and recapture that feeling of innocence, purity, beauty of what once was, because that will never goal for R is to build something new, better, stronger and different than what we had. My WH shares that mindset as we are working together to make that happen. Working together to forge new memories and build a new life together based on transparency, open communication and respect.

Your DDay is still so very fresh. Give yourself time. I used to get SO pissed when people would tell me that....but they are right. This doesn't get fixed over night, in a week, month or even a year. You need time to go to MC, work through all your emotions and process what has happened. You need time to sit down and really think about what you want for yourself for the future. God willing, you and your WH will be on the same page as to what you see for the future and you can make it happen.

hugs to you.

ILINIA posted 7/15/2013 12:53 PM

TheTooGoodWife - Thank you! I think your post helped me gain a better perspective. You are right, we have many traumatic moments in our lives. When it is happening it is all consuming and hard to see beyond. I do hope the emotions attached fade, as every song, movie, and/or newpaper article can evoke any sort of emotion in me. I just don't want to be a bitter person. And don't worry you aren't even close blase :-)

numb&dumb - You sound so in control, I'm a bit jealous. You are right, I do feel like we are back on square one and that our 1st marriage has ended. I cannot even fathom wearing the rings. I know I need to go day-by-day, but I have these timelines in my head, because if we D then there is a good chance they may have to move school districts, so I feel I have this summer or have to wait until next summer. I should just tell myself we are going to work on it for this school year and go from there.

womaninflux posted 7/15/2013 13:28 PM

I'm 4 months out from D-Day. If someone were to have told me you will feel better about this in a few months, I would not have believed them. But I DO feel better. That is not to say I have forgiven SAWH, but now that I know what is behind the A (childhood trauma, early exposure to porn, attachment issues, dysfunction in family), I feel a lot better about it and know there was nothing I could have done to prevent it from happening. SAWH said he wishes he would have gotten help sooner, realizes he's caused a lot of pain, etc. I guess I will have to see if he can continue in his recovery. He's just in the early stages of it.

I feel better because I feel empowered. I have started taking better care of myself. I have informed myself (went to a lawyer to figure out what my case looks like if we divorce, talked to older women who went through divorce decades ago, joined a support group of women going through similar circumstance). I have also looked into getting a PT job after being out of the workforce for more than a decade to raise children.

You WILL get through this. Always give everyone the opportunity to surprise you. MOST OF ALL yourself. You are a lot stronger and wiser than you are giving yourself credit for. Also, this is probably happening to more people around you than you could ever imagine. It's a freaking epidemic.

Make sure your H gets tested for STDs. Also, read the books (he should also read) "How to help your spouse heal from your affair" (it's a quick read) and "After the Affair." Also, don't be so sure that this has been the only time at the rodeo for him. Wayward spouses think they are doing you a favor by sparing you from the entire truth. THey think you are better off not knowing. Sure you are better off not knowing every intimate detail, like what kind of perfume she wears and how firm her body was, but you should know about her and anyone else he's been with, including strippers/lapdances, etc. You can't reconcile if there is still secrecy on any level going on. You have to wipe the slate clean. I hope he is willing to do that. You deserve to know the truth.

Stay strong. Empower yourself. Act in your own self interest. You will get through this...I know it sounds like a platitude but you will.

ItsaClimb posted 7/15/2013 13:46 PM

1) How & when did you know what your path was going to be either “Yes, I am going to stay and invest everything into this relationship” or “No, I can’t do it and I need to focus and me and the kids and start building a new type of life.” Will I get a revelation of what to do? I know that may be too hopeful.

I'm 11 months out and I am still not totally 100% sure, but I am leaning towards R. For me personally, until the roller coaster fully stops I don't think I will be able to make a fully committed decisions. (I posted on "Just Found Out" about Things I Wish I had Known (on D-Day) and I kind of go into more detail about this there.)

2) I have read countless stories of spouses who have been working on it for years and still saying it is hard and they are not over it. What makes it worth it to you to stay the relationship if you can’t get over it? Why wouldn’t you leave him and start afresh? I think I am looking for inspiration here.

I think, as with most things in life, it's never black and white. I don't believe I will ever "get over it", there will always be scars, but I certainly hope that eventually, with a lot of work on both our parts, the pros of staying in my marriage will out-weigh the cons. What makes me WANT to stay is that fWH and I are so comfortable together, we live together really well and enjoying doing things together. I hate to sound sappy, but in the ways that really matter he is the one I want to be with

3) Has anyone really “gotten over it”?
As I said in (2) I think there will always be big, ugly scars, but many people a lot further out from D-Day than I am, say that their marriages are a much stronger eventually

4) If you divorced and started new relationships, did this follow you into those relationships? If so, how?

Not quite answering your question, but: A friend of mine, who is older and wiser and has been married a lot longer than I have, came and saw me a couple of months after D-Day when I had filed for divorce. He pointed out to me that if I divorced and found someone new, that person would probably come with their own baggage, that person could cheat on me further down the line, that person may have an ex who would complicate our lives...etc etc The point he was making is that no "new" relationship would guarantee happiness and a pain-free existence.

I think it was Sisoon who posted on here that statistically a remorseful former WS who has worked on their issues, is less likely to have an A than a person who has never faced infidelity.

Bottom line is, I think it all depends whether the relationship we are currently in is worth saving. Is the spouse really remorseful, willing to do the work? If the WS is genuinely remorseful and willing to do what it takes, if you feel that you COULD continue in the relationship, then IMHO it is worth at least TRYING, giving it some time, watching the actions of the WS, seeing how you feel once your emotions have settled somewhat.

Missymomma posted 7/15/2013 13:46 PM

I agree with the others. There is no "getting over it", only getting through it! It does get better but it takes 2-5 years and that means 2-5 years of hard work. Not just passing the time. Those that don't work through it usually have an unremorseful spouse and/or some untreated trauma. Both spouses need help in dealing with this. The spouse for the trauma and the WS for their FOO issues. Then the two need help to renegotiate their marriage. All of this takes time.

2 years out, I don't trigger often. Maybe once a month. My SAWH is transparent, working on himself and has a support system. I work on myself and have a tremendous support system. We have a fabulous MC for us. All of these things take time to get into place.

As early as you are the main advice I would give is to focus on yourself and what you need! If you can figure out what you need and ask that of your WS, it will go a long way in your healing. Learn to be a little selfish. Many BS have had a long history of not getting their needs attended to in their marriage (I know this was true for me). Sleep, exercise, eat right and spend time with people that are supportive of you.

WIF has great advice, that book is a must read for every WS!

numb&dumb posted 7/15/2013 14:53 PM

Honestly you are about where I was a month out. The only reason I did not move out was my kids.

You are looking at this too far into the future. You need to narrow your view to focus on more immediate things. Work on yourself now, heal yourself now, working on getting through the week, etc. Looking at the future of this thing gets too overwhelming. Too many unknowns right now to plan that far ahead. Things change. It is best just to keep your options open.

What is your WH doing ? Is working on himself ? Are you looking to snap him out of a fog ? You can always consult with an attorney. Even if you begin the D process you can stop it at any time.

One day my wife opened a bill from my attorney. She asked me what it was for. I told her I consulted him about a divorce. Until that moment she did not grasp that I prepared to divorce her over this. It started a process that took a long time to get her to where she is today.

Working through these things take time. You measure progress in months or years. The progress is so subtle and it is like two steps forward and one back so often it is discouraging to look at on a small time line.

Be a little selfish and begin to work yourself and your self esteem. Everything else will come into focus the further you get from Dday.

I know a month out I did not understand this A stuff very well. I went to IC, read some, Did SI. I had to arm myself with that information before I could see the "big picture."

meplusfour posted 7/15/2013 16:15 PM

I am four months out. At one month, you do not need to make any decisions yet, especially with young children. Take the time to process your emotions and thoughts. I remember the obsessive thinking and the mental exhaustion of dealing with it all.

For me, I am reaching the realization that although I will continue to work towards R, I will also be strong enough to accept to walk away. fWH is remorseful and continues to work hard to address issues which caused his A. In IC, I was discussing this issue with my therapist and she helped me realize that even if I was to walk away from my M, my children are still young (10,8,6 and 6)and we would need to maintain a relationship so that we could successfully co-parent. She also asked me if I could see myself with fWH in the future, and whether we had a strong relationship in the past. Right now, I do see hope for a future with fWH but we still have a long way to go.

You mention going to MC but is WH going to IC and working on the reasons why he did what he did? Is he helping you heal from his acts? As time passes and if WH demonstrates that he is fully committed to you and your M, hope for the future may grow. Just give yourself some time.

RightTrack posted 7/15/2013 23:42 PM

I'm 15 months from Dday. If I think about everything he did, I won't be able to get over it. He was too terrible to me and to the kids when we were all going through the trauma of serious illness. He kept at it for two years. I am staying for the kids. My kids are 7 and 9. I figure that the longer I can give them an intact home the better. We are not fighting, if fact, my Wh is very happy.

What has changed is my attitude towards this marriage. It is no longer " for better or for worse". He set me free of that obligation. Now I am staying as long as he is nice to me and supportive of the family. If/when he goes back to his selfish ways I don't feel obliged to stay.

ILINIA posted 7/16/2013 12:18 PM

Thank you everyone. This was my first post as a member, so I did not know what to expect. All your responses, made me feel at home. I found a place where I can turn to with people who understand me and what I am going through.

I read your posts several times and I realize I just have to focus on me and take it day-by-day. Also, I realized it isn’t black and white and I don’t have to be in one camp or another (stay together vs divorce). I can be “grey” and that each day is my choice and I can walk out at any time. I do think I am going to consult an attorney and our financial adviser just to get more information and get our finances documented.

Also, I do feel that our marriage is “null and void”, so it was good hearing others who thought the same, but are trying to R.

One more question: We are in MC and IC, but we are using the same therapist for all the sessions. Do you think that is common? Or should we have separate therapists?

meplusfour posted 7/16/2013 15:38 PM

fWH and I have the same therapist for IC and for MC. Before we started MC, we had sessions with her individually to build separate relationships with each of us and to get a feel for each of us, outside the presence of the other. She also wanted each of us to feel safe expressing emotions and thoughts to her. After a few sessions, she suggested that it was time to begin MC, although if I was not ready, she was willing to wait until I had reached a stage when I felt I was ready to start addressing issues with fWH. fWH was extremely keen to start MC right away but I needed more time to process emotions and events and to be able to discuss them in a rational manner. Using the same therapist for IC and MC is helpful because I do not have the spend time "recapping" events that may have come up either in MC or IC. She also has given me insight into why fWH has done some of the things he does and because she is working with him personally, her insight is extremely valuable to me. On occasion, I will discuss an issue with her in IC that I want to bring up in MC. She often will work with me in exploring my motivations and needs surrounding the issue. Later, when the issue is brought up in MC, I find that the session is more productive. On the downside, fWH used to feel that he was being "ganged up" and that our therapist was on my "side." He addressed this with her in IC and realized this was not an accurate reflection of the reality and that it was based on his discomfort of having to face the amount of damage and pain he had caused to me.

Just as an aside, prior to commencing MC, we signed an agreement with her that the contents (discussion, written notes or any product as a result of counselling) of the joint MC sessions are in both of our names and as such, and can only be produced (in court hearings any other venue) with the express written consent of both fWH and I. We also agreed that the information from individual counselling sessions can only be revealed in MC with consent. So far, most of the issues arising from IC have been discussed and revealed in MC.

Hope this helps.

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