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Healing Time for the Betrayer

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Trying2013 posted 10/18/2013 10:22 AM

My Bf recently strayed and came clean immediately. We decided to reconcile and work on building the relationship. Communication and more time together are our first steps.

I know that I tend to be a strong, persistent, and upbeat person, so on the surface, even with him, I seem unharmed. I do talk to him about the fact that I try to keep a strong face because it not only helps me to move on (if I wallow, I will never function)but I feel like it expresses my support for us moving forward.
He, on the other hand, is still struggling. Understandably so, as he did the cheating and feels horrible (which I am glad that he does). But part of me would just like to see him smile. The night we met to discuss our future, he had some moments of normalcy, making certain jokes and such that would be his normal self. A few days later, we had dinner and I made the same types of comments and it almost brought tears to his eyes.

As the betrayer, and dealing with the guilt while trying to move past, how long did it take you to start to smile again? Or to even begin, even just slightly, to get back to your original self?

We are going out this weekend to spend the day together (perhaps the zoo, a museum, etc...we live in DC) and my hope in that is we can just be us, even a little, for a day. Have a few smiles, hold hands, and spark a little of the comfort and happiness we have misplaced.
I feel like once that starts to happen, we will have a much easier time communicating on the level we need to in order to move forward.

sisoon posted 10/18/2013 12:17 PM

I'm wondering if you're moving too fast and stuffing your feelings. That doesn't usually work very well. Being betrayed is usually a big trauma. If you've got feelings of grief, rage, and/or fear, don't ignore 'em.

Keeping yourself 'up' on the surface while you're 'down' inside seems like the opposite of what intimacy and true friendship calls for. Are you sure that's what you want to do?

Your BF just betrayed you. I'm not sure he has a lot to smile about when he's with you....

Recovery takes a while - a lot longer than any of us think it should take.

reallysad2012 posted 10/18/2013 13:34 PM

I felt compelled to respond along the same lines as Sisoon. You said on the surface you seem unharmed, which I take to mean you do feel some harm from this. Don't stuff it down.

I am similar to you. I hide things and am very good at denial. When fWH told me what he had done, an insane part of me almost made me say "that's okay". But I paused for half a second and reality hit me...hard. I started crying. (BTW...I kept it stuffed down for the rest of the one IRL knows about this other than my IC...who I had to start seeing to help me deal with this.)

What followed was one of the worst years of my life and his. Of course you don't want to go down that road. Of course you want to brush it off and just move on. If that works for you, fine. Just be cautious and really think...will that work for you?

He is feeling bad about what he has done and sounds like he is remorseful. This is good. I encourage you to think about what you need and to let him know. It is okay to let him know how you really feel and, like Sisoon said, it is really the road to intimacy.

It isn't easy. It is hard. It is awful. But I am telling you, from someone who understands the comfort of denial, it is worth really working through it.

To try to answer your actual question, the healing time for the betrayer is linked to yours, IMO. If you aren't dealing with it, he can't. Usually it seems it is the betrayer trying to speed up the process, but I think this rule holds true when the opposite is happening. If one partner isn't facing it, neither one can move on.

Hugs to you.

Trying2013 posted 10/18/2013 13:45 PM

Sisoon -

I understand your point. I don't think that I am stuffing them, because I definitely do feel them. I just know how I am and if I let them overtake me, I will drive myself crazy and not be able to get through the day.
Part of it I attribute to my serious lack of patience. I hate waiting for anything in my personal life, especially if I know that I want it. I always take things faster than most, but it doesn't make it worth for me. I am working on being more patient.
Also, I am a teacher for middle school so I have to spend all day with a happy face on. The more I do that, the easier it becomes. Don't doubt that I still feel terrible inside, but when I get home, I just think that I spent the whole day feeling half way decent. Why stop?
I discuss my feelings with him, so he knows that I am hurting...and I definitely am. I just also know that I love this man with everything I have and while I know things may never be the same, they could be, or even better, if we can use this to bring us together rather than tear us apart, I want to do that.
Trust me, I know it takes time.

Trying2013 posted 10/18/2013 13:51 PM

ReallySad -

I agree that his healing time is related to mine. As I said in my response to Sisoon, I am not stuffing it down so much as just not completely losing it. We spend time together, and I keep my self calm while I tell him how I feel. It does bring up some tears on both ends, but I just can't sit and think about it all the time or I become a basket case. I still have a job to go to, friends to be with, and a relationship to rebuild. I want him to know that I am hurting, and I am sure to tell him how I feel. I just try to approach it in a way that isn't out of control.

TheAmazingWondertwin posted 10/18/2013 16:21 PM

Every time I read your posts I see a little bit of me in them.
I know everyone else has already said this, but just be careful.
I too can be impatient for things to be okay and try to remain upbeat. I didn't believe that I was stuffing my feelings- I really didn't.
But you were betrayed. That is hurtful. I remember (and still am dealing with) being so happy that we were working on things. I was so happy just to be able to be there for him. I felt so strog because "look at me! I got this thing handled."
What I realized, and am still realizing, is that processing through my real feelings was so important.
It was so hard. But I had to give him some hell for what he did. Ad I felt bad being the downer, the one that ruined the mood. And I wanted to follow "steps" To make it all better and just move on. We love eachother, right? What else matters?
What I didn't realize was all the little things that his betrayal would effect. They were eating me up on the inside. Saying sorry and doing the right things now, does not fix the problem that caused the A.
We are doing well, but I take each day as it comes. I am compassionate and I listen when he is struggling, but I always remind myself to be on my guard. He was untrustworthy, unfaithful, and had intimate moments with someone else while I sat by trusting him. That is goin to take a lot of fixing.
I am glad to hear that you are functioning at work (a struggle for a lot of us) and that you are able to stay so upbeat. Just pleas don't let this hide or cover up the real damage that was done.
If the work is not being done to fix this, if things don't change, you may find yourself in the same position further down the road. You cannot be the one that is holding you both together.
Hugs to you during this difficult time.

Trying2013 posted 10/18/2013 20:25 PM

Wonder -

I feel the same when I read some of your posts. I feel like you get where I am coming from and my feelings, as I don't think I handle things the same as most.
I am definitely taking time to be sure to not hide my feelings. Even though I may be smiling, or not crying, I am sure to tell him what is on my mind and how I feel.
He went out to meet some friends tonight and I told him...I hope that he simply has some good friend time, but it makes me uncomfortable and that I wanted him to know how I felt. I asked that he text me while he was out and call when he got home. He immediately agreed, said he understood, that he was sorry and it sucks that I feel this way.

We are slowly taking one day at a time. I feel okay at work, partly because I have to. I didn't want to be alone after, so I went with some friends for drinks, though I just had water (I knew alcohol would loosen me up and I'd probably cry). I couldn't help but think about him being out with friends, but it helped to be with friends and think about other things. I certainly wasn't myself, but it was better than going home alone and thinking/waiting. He indeed texted earlier in the night to check in with/check on me.

I have always been someone that keeps my major emotions a bit inside, though not as much as he does. A past serious relationship, unfortunately, taught me to just suck it up and deal with it...quietly. I'm trying to find the middle ground between "being strong" and just going on with my day and being a complete basketcase.

ontheslope posted 10/18/2013 20:48 PM

I knew alcohol would loosen me up and I'd probably cry

Read: you've put up walls, but they are weak walls and all it would take is a drink or two and they'd come crumbling down.

Trying2013. I know what you are saying. You are putting on such a brave face. And I know you truly think that you mean what you say. So did I. Many of us did.

I hope this doesn't come across the wrong way. These feelings are so hard to deal with, so foreign. Please...let the feelings come through.

I am assuming that the A was physical. That he touched her. Not just grabbed her hand. Not just brushed her hair away. He touched her. In intimate places. They kissed. They moaned. They stripped naked. They did things that maybe he hasn't even done with you. His lips on hers. His hands on her skin. And she touched him. And he liked it.

Put that in your head. Part of processing this is understanding the act. Understanding it. Getting inside it. Really knowing what happened, the depth of it. I didn't. Back when it first happened and I first found out, I didn't ever process what really took place.

I'm sorry if that was harsh, but it needs to be. I'm worried about you, Trying2013. I know. I was you a few years ago. And I know what happened to me. I know how bad it was, how bad it still is.

You are here, on SI, for a reason. You tell us everything is alright, but you are here. If everything was okay you wouldn't be here.

I'm sorry, but it is coming. You don't know it yet, and it may not hit you for a while, but there is a monster inside you waiting to pounce. It is so early on that I'm not sure you even know it is there yet.

Infidelity ranks right up there with some of the worst hurts that a person can feel. It can trigger PTSD symptoms in some people. People have been committed due to suicidal issues because of it. There is an entire industry of books and counselors and the like because of it.

You don't just push it aside, say that you're all good, and move on. You just don't. And so I worry about you. The monster is still lurking, Trying2013. Those of us who have been bitten by it can see it. But you can't. It is standing right in front of you, and you don't even know it is there.

I am so sorry for you. This will get worse before it gets better. The roller-coaster spares no one. You are at the top of the peak right now. Everything is good. But you don't stay at the top. The bottom comes quickly.

Sending you strength. I am so sad for you.

Trying2013 posted 10/19/2013 08:21 AM

Ontheslope -

As far as the alcohol comment went, I was trying to have a brave face at work, in front of my friends/coworkers that don't know the situation. I knew that I needed to be out for a bit and not think about it, but the tears we welling up all day. I just didn't want to do something that would make them come out with that group of people.

I feel like I am dealing with the feelings the best I can. They change every five minutes. I go from angry to scared to hurt to disgusted to rejected and so on. I have cried, a lot. I call my bff every day and cry to her almost every time.

I have been angry at my bf, told him Im upset, have cried to him too. I just don't want to spend all day long, every day, stuck in what happened. And believe me, I have gone over in my head what has happened, over and over and over. It's the first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning and the last thing I think about before I go to sleep.

I know this is going to be a very long process, whether the relationship makes it or not. But I can't let it consume me. I have to try to get back to my normal life as much as possible so I can get through this.

I don't mean to give the impression that everything is ok, because it is not. By far. My life is nothing the way it was 2 weeks ago. And I know that it won't be for a long time. But I just feel like sometimes I need to have a strong face for my own sanity. I tend to do most of my thinking, crying, etc...alone. It's just how I do things. And I know that it will get better before it gets worse. Things always do.

TheAmazingWondertwin posted 10/19/2013 13:50 PM

Just hugs for you.
Ontheslope is right and said what I have been gently trying to (thanks ontheslope).

So, for right now.... Just hugs for you.
You have a place to vent, to fall apart, and even to celebrate the good.

Trying2013 posted 10/19/2013 14:41 PM

OnTheSlope and Wonder -

I have not forgotten what has happened. I think about it a lot. I am trying my best to not discount my feelings. But at this point, I cannot help to feel that I losing my relationship hurts more than the cheating. The first thing we have to figured out is if this is something that can even be salvaged.

But I feel like you all are telling me I should wallow and hide and feel sorry for myself. I don't do that. I never have. I have been through situations that have taught me to recognize what is my fault and what is not. His choice does not reflect me, it reflects him. I know that. I am hurt....more than I maybe express in my messages. But I know that I cannot hide away. I have to keep going. When I have a bad feeling, I tell him. He listens. When I want to cry, I do. I don't understand what else you are suggesting I do.

LA44 posted 10/19/2013 14:57 PM

oops. This post was not quite finished - did so below.

[This message edited by LA44 at 7:46 PM, October 19th (Saturday)]

ontheslope posted 10/19/2013 15:02 PM

But I feel like you all are telling me I should wallow and hide and feel sorry for myself.

No, not at all. I'm sorry if it came across that way.

This is about processing what happened, and seeing it for what it is. If "losing the relationship hurts more than the cheating" then you have become dependant on the relationship for a part of your happiness.

Thing is, this isn't about the relationship. It is about 2 individuals, both of whom should be able to be happy with or without the relationship. If you "need" the relationship to be happy, then you have some work on yourself to do.

Think of it like alcohol. You can be happy without it, but a drink every now and then just adds that little something extra. As soon as you become dependant upon alcohol though for your happiness, that is where things go downhill.

I guess I'm trying to say that part of processing this is getting past the "I can't live without the relationship" part, and to a point where you are happy with you, and able to welcome him back into your life only because you want to, not because you need to.

This takes a unique type of strength, one which we seldom need to use.

So... mope around? No. Process and understand? Yes.

Sending you strength.

LA44 posted 10/19/2013 15:12 PM

((Trying)), I just read a post in General where you indicated that your bf wants some time apart bc he feels very embarrassed and guilty for cheating. My spidey senses went up. I am reading here that he went out with friends, and you are hoping to spend some time together this weekend at the zoo or a museum.

You seem to have a good heart - but watch your heart right now. He wants some time apart. He is going off to enjoy time with his friends. Do you know these friends? Can they verify?

Honestly, my H couldn't stomach being "out with the guys" for months following D-Day. In fact, he barely left me alone as he was afraid I would leave. I am not saying that is healthy but he was determined to hold on to me. I would just be very cautious right now as to his true intentions.

Again, I know you are hoping for a day out together but perhaps it is too soon to try to be "normal" or like it used to be.

Have a few smiles, hold hands, and spark a little of the comfort and happiness we have misplaced.

This seems very...romanticized. (gently) Has your happiness been misplaced or damaged bc he cheated?

I do believe from reading the last several notes of yours that you are in a place of denial right now. You are smoothing things over for him. Don't. Because to echo what reallysad2012 said,

the healing time for the betrayer is linked to yours, IMO. If you aren't dealing with it, he can't. Usually it seems it is the betrayer trying to speed up the process, but I think this rule holds true when the opposite is happening. If one partner isn't facing it, neither one can move on.

Take some time for yourself. Do not worry about when he is going to smile next or get some relief for his actions.


Trying2013 posted 10/19/2013 15:13 PM

He is going off to enjoy time with his friends.

This has always been the way he deals with difficult times. He friends have been there before me, and may be there after me. He is a man's man through and through. I am not meaning that he is going out and partying, but he needs to surround himself with people he knows and trusts and are there for him that won't remind him of what has happened. He is comfortable talking to them and I don't think there is anything wrong with that. Right now, I remind him of the pain he has caused and he needs to be with them to hopefully get past that initial reaction.

If "losing the relationship hurts more than the cheating" then you have become dependant on the relationship for a part of your happiness./quote]

I am not dependent. I have been in that place before and I know that it is like. I can find a way to live without him. What must be understood that, while there were clearly some underlying issues that I was not aware of, our daily relationship was by far the happiest time of my life. I love this man, pure and simple. I will always, in a way, love him. There is a bond between us that is special and what I believe to be rare. Unfortunately, it seems that I have loved someone that has more problems than what I can help him solve at the moment.

Trying2013 posted 10/19/2013 15:43 PM

LA -

You asked

He wants some time apart. He is going off to enjoy time with his friends. Do you know these friends? Can they verify?
Honestly, my H couldn't stomach being "out with the guys" for months following D-Day

I know his friends. We all spent time together. I know their girlfriends too. I don't doubt that he is with them. And since I posted, we have decided to take some time apart so the zoo/outing is not happening.
I agree that I was trying to smooth past a bit. I have always been a fixer with very little patience. I know that is not the best for a time like this.

I have agreed to the time apart, though we are still communicating. As I said it my last message, being with his friends (not for partying, but for comfort) is the way he has always been. I feel that we all have those that we depend on to help us through hard times. I have only really talked to one friend, in depth, about what is happening. I have not let my other friends or family know completely what is going on, because that is not the way those relationships are.

I know that some people would demand that he spend all time with me, not with his friends, etc... but I cannot do that. When he sees me, he sees pain and feels pain, as he should. But I feel that, for him and I, as I know how he is and I know how I am, in order for us to be in a place to really talk and really work, he needs to be past that initial constant pain. I can barely get anything out of him at this point because all he thinks about is the guilt and the pain. I can't have a conversation with him if his mind is elsewhere.
I don't see a problem with taking a little time apart for him to heal or at least soothe those initial feelings so that he is at least open to talking.

sisoon posted 10/19/2013 17:20 PM

I just know how I am and if I let them overtake me, I will drive myself crazy ....

Genuine feelings don't last long. If you feel sad and cry for a short while - usually less than a minute - or otherwise acknowledge your sadness and let your body feel it, you'll be done with that particular feeling. Major sadness may take several minutes to process - but then it's done for a while.

Of course, when you've been betrayed, you get an immense number of very sad, angry, and scared feelings, and you have to deal with each one, so it seems like it'll take forever, but it won't.

Part of it I attribute to my serious lack of patience.

Gently, it doesn't matter how patient you are - you've been traumatized. The best and quickest way out of the trauma is to go with the flow of your feelings.

You can try to speed things up, but I'd bet everything own and can borrow that you'll find that speeding things up will slow down your real recovery. In recovering from infidelity, slow is fast.

R takes 3 healings: you, your Bf, and your relationship.

You can heal no matter what happens with your Bf or your relationship. Your the only one who can heal you. Same for your Bf - you can't heal him. So focus on healing yourself.

Trying2013 posted 10/19/2013 17:25 PM

Sisoon -

The way you mapped out dealing with the sadness and such is basically what has happened. When I think about it on my own, I cry for a minute, and then move on. When I talk to my bff or someone (even though not many people know the full story), I cry for a bit longer, but eventually talk my way through it.

We are taking time apart for right now, though we are still talking. He is saying that time alone is what he needs to help himself repair the feelings of guilt and such. I know that's not how everyone deals, but it's his was. If I want the relationship to heal, I have to give him that. I just need to try to focus on making sure I am healing so that if we are able to come back together, we are both ready to take a step forward.

harrypotter posted 10/19/2013 18:05 PM


I understand the desire to make some normal stuff happen in your life. It is a little odd to me that your BF doesn't want to go with you even if it causes him some guilt and pain.

However I can tell you that what he is feeling is heavy, and if this whole thing hits you it is going to get a lot worse for him. Guilt is powerful it's wants us to feel desperation, pain and fear, it has to take us there to make a change in us. So for me as much as I hate it guilt is useful, but it hurts. It can take a longtime though, it has been a year for me and I am in the worst of it right now so far. Be patient, he needs to feel this, and then do something with it. Good luck

[This message edited by harrypotter at 6:08 PM, October 19th (Saturday)]

Alyssamd24 posted 10/19/2013 20:03 PM

In response to your original A lasted 10 months...My xAP and I have been NC since the beginning of September. So for me it is fairly new, and I deal with the guilt and anger towards myself everyday. Some days are easier than others....I am attempting to work through these feelings everyday and it's extremely hard.

I am trying to appear to be back to my normal self for the sake of our DD, but the truth is I have so many feelings of anger and disgust towards myself....for Not only hurting and betraying my BH, but also for being so selfish and making such horrific decisions.

My goal, and the goal of other WS is not to get back to the person we were before the A....but rather to figure out what is broken inside of us so we can fix that and become the people we want to be.

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