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Just attended Retrouvaille

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velvethammer posted 10/22/2013 11:39 AM

I highly recommend this to everyone.

Last week I was pretty much done with this shit and wanted no more to do with him. We had already booked Retrouvaille and it took some pleading but I went.

I was cranky and volatile Friday and Saturday. I was listening to the presenters but negative thoughts were running rampant the entire time. Sunday morning we did an exercise that changed everything for me. We had a breakthrough of sorts. It was the breakthrough and something one of the presenters said that humbled me...basically I felt bad about myself for the things I had been thinking and the way I had been acting. I'm not going to say it'll be smooth sailing from here on out but we were one of those couples other SI's have talked about showing a total change by the end of the weekend.

Going into the weekend I was cringing at the slightest touch from him. By Sunday afternoon, we were holding hands, he had his arm around me, would put his hand on the small of my back, hugging, kissing, etc. and I experienced zero triggers.

I can't talk about details because they ask us to encourage other couples who are having troubles but not to divulge too much so you can experience it without any preconceived notions. We are doing the homework and will be attending the post sessions.

We still have work and there will still be bad days but things that were triggering me before the trip are now just a numb tingle now. SheHatesMe (my wayward) to his credit has changed jobs and gotten a part time job to make up the money he spent on his affairs, changed phone numbers, shut down email accounts and made one that is shared between us, given me his password to facebook and allowed me to delete friends I didn't think were good for us, sent the NC letter, called OBH and confessed and apologized to him, gotten on ADs, has been working out, is going to IC religiously, is journaling and reading constantly, is talking to me every day about everything, has planned day trips for us and is managing his anger. He really despises the monster he became and is working overtime to change it.

I also am in IC, never stopped working out, am eating better/more, sleeping better, managing my response to triggers better and we both have worked to get to a point where we end fights on a good note as opposed to one of us retreating. I'm currently working on accepting what has happened and putting it in the past where it belongs. I'm also working on allowing myself to be vulnerable again. As you all know this is incredibly difficult but none of us will get anywhere unless our walls come down. I am sick of being angry and sad. I want my old happy, goofy self back who laughed all the time so I am choosing to not give the whores one more second of my time, energy and life.

I realize this all sounds fine and dandy especially after a retreat weekend but I honestly do feel I now have the strength, tools and support to combat upcoming bad days.

The feeling that I'm accountable to others is paramount for me. Again, I don't want to divulge details so I'll leave it at that but that was an a-ha moment for me and changed how I was looking at everything.

I hope this post helps someone.

SisterMilkshake posted 10/22/2013 11:53 AM

I am glad you went to Retrouvaille. I feel it is a fantastic program. Happy that you are feeling that you are able to let your walls down.

The feeling that I'm accountable to others is paramount for me. Again, I don't want to divulge details
I wish you would expand more of this for me, velvethammer.

I also attended Retrouvaille and it really was a turning point in our reconciliation. However, I don't buy into their "keeping secret" what goes on in Retrouvaille. It is almost disingenuous, imo. We are adults. We should be able to make choices with full knowledge. I feel people should walk in with their eyes wide open. I wish I had more information on what was going to happen on this weekend before we went.

cantaccept posted 10/22/2013 12:01 PM

Just emailed them this morning for info on Jan. 17 weekend.

How expensive is it?

I really want to try this, could use all the help I can find. Just hoping it is attainable.

heforgotme posted 10/22/2013 12:08 PM

How expensive is it?

The registration fees vary from about $75 - 150, depending on your location. At the end they ask for donations, but it is very low pressure and completely anonymous. Totally voluntary. And it's quick...they don't go on and on about it.

We just got back too, velvethammer. Wouldn't it be wild if we were at the same one?????

SisterMilkshake posted 10/22/2013 12:10 PM

cantaccept, I would encourage you to go.

As far as cost, that really shouldn't be a deterrent. They will ask you for a deposit upfront. I don't know if it is the same everywhere. For us it was $150.00. At the end of the weekend they will tell you how much it costs for them to have you there for the weekend. Then it is up to you to pay what you want/can. It is done privately. No one will know what you paid or if you paid. If you cannot afford anything other than the deposit, that is fine. Other couples attending often pay for other couples that couldn't afford to pay more.

eta: The couples who donate for other couples don't know who they are donating for. It is all very private and anonymous.

[This message edited by SisterMilkshake at 1:22 PM, October 22nd (Tuesday)]

velvethammer posted 10/22/2013 14:07 PM

heforgotme - Ours was $200 so I doubt we were at the same one - I wish it was $75!!! But yes, that would've been crazy and I was actually wondering if anyone in our room was on SI.

Sister - I had typed out a whole response that got wiped out when the servers just crashed. UGH. Let me see if I can make it shorter. I believe that people in general, definitely me, learn and GROW best when we are out of our comfort zones. We basically had to roll with the punches in there and in doing so my walls started to crumble and I was able to be vulnerable which is scary but necessary to rebuild. Vulnerability is something I don't typically show and need to work on.

I think that when you're out of your comfort zone, you have an opportunity to learn something about yourself and gain some confidence. If you go in knowing or thinking you know what all is going to happen, you potentially set yourself up for failure if you find you're not grasping the communication style and rob yourself of the chance to successfully navigate the discomfort zone. I also wonder what someone would get out of it or miss getting out of it if they go in with preconceived notions.

That being said, the communication style is awkward and frustrating - they said it would be but I'm finding through doing this weekend and the homework that being awkward in front of SHM is intimate. I'm a classic type A overachiever so I'm usually good at everything. This is requiring a good amount of effort on my part and I'm not so good at it yet but I find the things in life that I'm not good at and require something more from me, are the very things I need most and help me learn and grow leaps and bounds.

The part about me being accountable is this...we learned on Sunday that another couple who had gone through Retrouvaille, suffered their own marital discord and made it through, were assigned to be our prayer couple. They were assigned to us a couple weeks prior and were praying for us everyday. I'm heavy into charitable work and to learn that another couple that doesn't even know me was taking even a minute out of their day to say a quick prayer for me was humbling. I felt disappointed in myself for acting like a brat for the first two days. We got a card from them at the end and their email address should we need anything. They didn't have to do that. They didn't need to volunteer time or their email for possible future communications from strangers. Side note, I'm not religious but I am spiritual.

I think another part of it was just the negativity surrounding all of this. I was never a negative person before and I've been feeling so out of place with all of the bad thoughts in my head and the people around me saying to just get rid of him like he's just a piece of garbage and it's so easy. None of that felt natural to me. What felt natural, finally was to find a place where there was guidance from couples who had been through it before and believed so much in the process that they volunteered their time and energy to come present and share their stories. Not therapists, not friends and family who haven't been through this or other major marital problems, not clergy (although one was present it was not religion heavy), real couples who were now joined, stronger and better than before.

I hope this makes some sense. I'm so beat and have been in the middle of cancer testing for a couple of weeks so I'm battling 2 major life issues right now. I have a cystology exam next Monday. Fingers crossed.

One thing I liked that the priest said, "you can fight to be right, or you can fight to be happy".

Again, I hope this helps someone and thanks for the PMs. Keep them coming if you want to discuss more in private.

velvethammer posted 10/22/2013 14:27 PM

2 things I forgot.

My triggers now are a dull buzzing. Certain things that were infuriating before are just a minor annoyance now like a fly.

Also, doing the math they are either losing money or just breaking even if people give more when asked to. For that alone I would have honored their request to not divulge all the details.

Interesting facts/history - Retrouvaille began in 1977 and is all over the world.

SisterMilkshake posted 10/22/2013 14:35 PM

Thanks, velvethammer, for explaining the how you felt accountable. It just wasn't a big take away that I got from the weekend, so I was wondering what you meant by that. I think I understand what you mean.

As far as keeping the "secrets" of Retrouvaille, I understand your point on that, also. However, I have a big problem with secrets and not having all the information when one makes a choice.

eta: I am so sorry about your cancer issues. I sure hope all turns out well. Sending healing mojo your way. ((((velvet))))

[This message edited by SisterMilkshake at 2:37 PM, October 22nd (Tuesday)]

velvethammer posted 10/22/2013 14:44 PM

Thanks, Sister! I have zero risk factors but every other test has come out clean for infection and stones so the next thing to check for is cancer. I've peed blood with blood clots a couple of times in the last two months. Cat scan, urine culture, urinalysis, blood tests all clean and no other symptoms. Urologist says it's most likely a bad UTI that resisted the first round of antibiotics and turned into a bladder infection but we need to be sure because I have no signs of infection in the tests. Just a shitty year. Can't wait for 2014.

rachelc posted 10/22/2013 15:54 PM

if I have to make the decision to forgive and trust, this is not for me....

velvethammer posted 10/22/2013 16:07 PM

You don't need to make any decisions. There's no pressure to do anything.

I hate this 2 year minimum time line for feeling like crap so I'm going to seek out and try almost anything to feel better in a shorter amount of time. I don't enjoy anger, sadness or feeling stuck and especially when I'm feeling stuck, I try a new approach because clearly what I'm doing isn't working.

I'm just saying it helped me so far and a ton of other people and across the globe since 1977. Lots of people get something out of this. No need to make a decision now either. I think most of the upcoming dates aren't until January.

rachelc posted 10/22/2013 16:23 PM

velvet - I just posted on the 2 year stuff. Thank you for explaining that more...

you're so brave to try this! I'm glad it went well for you.... and that you came back here to share your positive experience!!

Crushed18 posted 10/22/2013 17:45 PM

Thanks for posting about your experience! WS signed us up a few months ago. He heard about it from his IC, did the research, registered and booked our flights. I agreed to attend and to hold off on filing for S/D until after we go.

Now that its the week of...I'm scared and very nervous!!! I've never done a marriage retreat and not sure how I feel about being in a group setting with our marital issues.

The closer we get to leaving on Friday, the more nervous I feel.I'm seriously considering not going. Plus, I'm pretty sure I don't want to stay married to WS. I've lost a lot of respect and admiration for him. Not sure what I want to do.

SisterMilkshake posted 10/22/2013 19:09 PM

I've never done a marriage retreat and not sure how I feel about being in a group setting with our marital issues.
No one at all will know what your marital issues are. There really isn't a group setting where you all share. We stayed pretty much to ourselves as most of the other couples did also. The "exercises" they have you do are all private and only shared between you and your spouse.

I think a couple of times they did something like we had to say a word about something they asked us about. They go all around the room, but it was pretty impersonal from what I recall. We never felt pressured about anything. Everyone there is pretty much in marital crisis so it isn't like this big happy time. We interacted with our meal time companions, but you don't even have to do that. The whole weekend is very structured and there isn't any
free time.

And one or two times they asked if anyone had anything they wanted to share. One or two people did, but, overall most people remained very private. Until the final presentation on the last day. Then they got us in a circle and asked if anyone wanted to share. I was shocked that my FWH decided to share. He was adamant that he was not going to be doing any group sharing. He still didn't say what our issues were, but he shared how much he felt like Retrouvaille really made a tremendous difference in his ability to communicate, open up and be vulnerable to me. Many shared the same feelings. Many tears, in a good way. It was really awesome for the lack of a better word.

Be prepared to work hard. Bring comfy clothes. We wore our slippers as did many others and most wore very comfy casual clothes. (We went in deep winter in the tundra here!)

This is what I told myself, Crushed18. If I or FWH or both of us really disliked it we could leave. But, you don't even have to leave the hotel. You can just stop going to the presentations. Enjoy your hotel room (since you are flying there). When I gave myself permission to be able to back out if I didn't like it, I was a lot more comfortable about going.

Crushed18, you have absolutely nothing to lose except a weekend and everything to gain. Go with an open heart and mind. Give it a chance. It could be life changing. Best of luck!

eta: Now I remember what they asked us. They went around the room and asked everyone to give one word how they felt about going to Retrouvaille. It wasn't intimidating at all. I don't know if they do that at all of them, but that was what they did with us. Also, one of the presenting couples were 1 week away from signing their divorce papers, literally. They had been separated for at least 6 months and didn't even really speak to each other. They both went to the same church that sponsored Retrouvaille. The wife really didn't want the divorce but her husband was determined. She was able to talk him into going. They arrived separately. They were barely speaking. Retrouvaille saved their marriage. They are now presenters.

[This message edited by SisterMilkshake at 7:18 PM, October 22nd (Tuesday)]

blakesteele posted 10/22/2013 19:25 PM

I just got info for one in our state in February...$650 is the total cost...this includes 2 nights in the hotel and all meals, plus the 12 follow up sessions. This seems very reasonable to me. MC sessions run $75 each...and that is for 1 hour of pretty low-intensity exercises.

The information I received did say that their goal is to save marriages, to save if you cant pay the full amount, they are willing to work with you.

My wife and I are considering it...have not signed up yet, but I would like to. But I have also learned that if either one of us are not fully in we don't get as much out of an exercise as we could.

It was encouraging to hear you (velvethammer) talk about going with a bad
attitude...and it still do something for you.

February seems like a long time telling what emotional state I will be in then....but sounds like registering is a gamble worth taking.

God be with us all.

blakesteele posted 10/22/2013 19:30 PM

Praying a specific prayer for you Crushed18 and Mr. Crushed18.

You owe me nothing...but if you are up to it, could you please post a thumbs up or thumbs down on your experience post-trip please?

bionicgal posted 10/22/2013 20:11 PM

There's one where we are Valentines weekend. How fitting! Seems so far away. . . Won't we be fixed by then?

[This message edited by bionicgal at 8:11 PM, October 22nd (Tuesday)]

bionicgal posted 10/22/2013 20:12 PM

Crushed 18. . . What is the worst that can happen if you go ahead and go?

Crushed18 posted 10/23/2013 00:31 AM

Thanks for sharing your Retrovaille experience Sister..Feeling a bit more positive about going.

I sincerely appreciate everyone's prayers and encouraging words. Just in a place where I'm emotionally and mentally exhausted dealing w/ my WS myriad affairs. Just feeling hopeless and wanting to move on with my life.

Retrovaille may be the miracle we need, and maybe...just maybe I'm afraid to get my hopes up.

Prayers and peace to us all!

Crushed18 posted 10/23/2013 00:43 AM

Thanks for sharing your Retrovaille experience Sister..Feeling a bit more positive about going.

I sincerely appreciate everyone's prayers and encouraging words. Just in a place where I'm emotionally and mentally exhausted dealing w/ my WS myriad affairs. Just feeling hopeless and wanting to move on with my life.

Retrovaille may be the miracle we need, and maybe...just maybe I'm afraid to get my hopes up.

Prayers and peace to us all!

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