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ItsaClimb posted 12/4/2013 00:17 AM

I read a death notice this morning, for a man I once did some work for. In the notice were the words "Barry, devoted husband to Jillian, loving father...."

It unexpectedly tore me up.

I sat there, in tears, thinking "I will never be able to write a death notice for WH, because what would I say??" "WH, adulterous husband of Gillian"?? "WH, unfaithful husband to Gillian"??

This situation really sucks.

OptimisticWife posted 12/4/2013 05:51 AM

I hear ya! I sobbed just last week after watching an episode of John Edward. He told a grieving wife that her H was coming through. He said her H was telling him to tell her that she was always enough. That he never had to look elsewhere because she was always who he wanted. I cried and cried and cried while my WH lay in bed snoring his head of without a care in the world.

wanttogoforward posted 12/4/2013 08:28 AM

I feel your pain..... there are times that at 4 years out this month I feel he is my best friend ever and that he will always have my back (well from now on) and that he really gets what he did..... and yet, I feel the distance sometimes and feel that he may still be hiding things here and there occasionally- I truly wonder if I am just paranoid or if he has gotten super good at hiding his behavior. Everyone knows what it is I truly pray for in those options.

Seeing a death notice like that always tears me up. To have that level of commitment to someone for many years is just amazing. I hope they realize how lucky they were to have that in their lives. It is what we all desire deep down.

bionicgal posted 12/4/2013 08:32 AM

I am going to challenge this a little. First of all, I am holding out hope that my H actually has the capacity to be a devoted husband. He certainly has been since dday -- and was for many years before. So, if he dies at the ripe old age of 88, is he still going to be defined by a 2-month mistake? I hope he does all the work so it isn't so. I believe, or I wouldn't be here. Most people who live authentically will admit that they have had some major fuck ups in their life; it isn't black and white.

So, you are looking at this from the lens of now. If he is able to redeem himself, doesn't that make him even more "devoted"?

2married2quit posted 12/4/2013 08:43 AM

bionicgal - I've thought about this. How can you refer to your wife from now on? Most people say "devoted" "faithful". Can we use those terms anymore? I certainly don't think so. At least not now. Not for a long time.

RipsInMyChest posted 12/4/2013 09:10 AM

Oh, do I struggle with this! I try not to let a mistake define an entire person in my mind. I look at my past mistakes and know that I learned from them and I am a better person from that growth. But having said that, I've never made such a hideous mistake as infidelity. I've never hurt anyone like that.

Some mistakes are big enough to be a component of the character of a person. I know infidelity isn't murder but in my mind it murders a marriage. If you murdered somebody in the past, can you ever say "I'm not a murderer"?

A "loyal husband", except for that time he cheated.

I hate the things that rattle around in my brain....

bionicgal posted 12/4/2013 09:29 AM

Mr. bionicgal and I have actually been talking about this, because it is very hard for him to see himself as "that creep" or "that guy." He's always been the good guy - the guy who didn't do anything wrong. The helper, the volunteer, the hard worker, the Boy Scout. Unfortunately, there was a lot stewing underneath there that wasn't healthy.

When he was in the fog, he could tell himself that he was doing what he was doing because he was "in love', but now that that has been thoroughly dismantled, he has to face head-on a really ugly side of himself. And, I guess I have to face it, too. (Not there yet, but working on it.) But, I do not think it defines him. Isn't that what redemption is all about? If we didn't have the ability to redeem ourselves, what kind of world would we live in?

I think we are judged by the sum total of our actions, and most importantly, how we respond when we fail. I am so proud of my H and how hard he is working, and how much he wants to be the person he and I both deserve him to be. I don't know if he would have been able to make these important changes, had he not crashed and burned like he did. I am not happy it happened, but I will reap the rewards.

[This message edited by bionicgal at 9:30 AM, December 4th (Wednesday)]

plainpain posted 12/4/2013 09:33 AM

I think there are probably a lot of people with 'Faithful Husband'/'Devoted Wife' written on their gravestones, who weren't actually.

What do you call them now? Maybe I'll call my H, 'Husband'. Just that. Maybe he'll get a 'Beloved' in his death notice, depending on how the next 18 years go. That word 'Husband' carries a full meaning all on its own for me, because it expresses my commitment to him, as much as (maybe more than) his commitment to me. For better or for worse, he is my husband.

What kind of a person is he? Sometimes he's been a pretty sucky human being - but I don't want his entire life defined by his actions towards me.

I'm with bionicgal, in that I pray for the day when I don't define our marriage by the last two years of it. So far, except for the last few months, my entire marriage feels like a write-off in my mind.

SisterMilkshake posted 12/4/2013 09:54 AM

I need to remind myself to live in the present.

It is so easy for me to slip into the past and dwell on all the pain in my life (not just the infidelity), but that is such a waste of my time, energy and emotions. I need to remind myself of all the good that is happening in our lives now and to enjoy and live in the present. If you can do that, the future will take care of itself and the past is just that, the past.

I feel if FWH died today, I would be able to write "MisterSister, devoted husband to Milkshake, .....etc." because that is who he is today.

Don't be so hard on yourself, though. If your registration date is around the time of your d-day it has only been a year for you to process all of this. Of course you are still triggering and going down the rabbit hole.

It will get better. ((((ItsaClimb)))))

lordhasaplan? posted 12/4/2013 10:10 AM

Sister has it,

I need to remind myself to live in the present.

Once you get there these questions to ponder make no sence. Who the hell knows what I might write years from now.

Rebreather posted 12/4/2013 10:19 AM

I agree with Plain that there are a whole lot of obits out there which aren't terribly accurate. I wrote the obits for FWH's dad and stepmother. I jumped through some pretty narrow literary hoops in order to do so.

I maintain that you judge a person's character not by their failures, but how they react to them. We are all going to fail in this life, in one way or another. Are we to be remembered for that? Or for picking ourselves up, dusting ourselves off, and growing and learning and not repeating those same errors?

ILINIA posted 12/4/2013 17:21 PM

Disclaimer: I have a hard time even saying the word "husband" these days BUT...

I look to the all knowing source of family values, Duck Dynasty, to help guide me. (Yes, I DVR it )

I was hesitant to watch the wedding episode that Miss Kay and Phil renew their vows after 50 years, but after I listened to her vows I felt ok about the future. (Early in their marriage Phil was an alcoholic and unfaithful for years.)

Her vows: ďAll I can say is from the time I was 14 years old, I loved you. We been through some good times and some hard times. I loved you when we were poor and you were not so nice. Now youíre really nice. And kind. All I can say about that is, Iím not going anywhere.Ē

It was really touching. Now, the term faithful may not be applicable for him, but he woke up, realized what is important, and then stood by it. There is something redeemable about owning it and making it right, maybe even better than what it was before.

Totally recommend the episode if you haven't seen it!

scangel3 posted 12/4/2013 18:52 PM

I struggle with this too. I get teared up at times when cards are given. None of the cards for anniversaries say "happy anniversary, I'm glad we've made it through the tough times..." no they are all about how wonderful the spouse is, how much love you hold for them. Valentines is the same way. Then came father's day, all the cards say something along the lines of I hope our kids grow up to be just like you, and how wonderful you are. Hell No do I want my kids to grow up to be just like him!!! Not now at least.

But to say he's a devoted loyal faithful husband, I don't think I will ever be able to. But I fake it now to others around me so why wouldn't I if something happened to him?

LA44 posted 12/4/2013 19:11 PM

The posts by bionic and Sister resonate with me the most. Interesting...when I was struggling in January with what to do - R or not, I had this vision of him (I am a visual learner) laying in a hospital bed. I heard the vow, "in sickness and in health" in my head, "till death do us part". I thought, 'LA, if he were laying in a hospital bed on death's door right now would you sit beside him and WANT to hold his hand. Want to comfort him as he lay dying?" And the answer was a simple, 'yes'. Because in spite of his incredible, two year, royal fuck up, the REAL H, is a kind man with a good heart.

I won't be writing a'cliched' obit anyway! I will probably mention how I am now a true, golf widow!

ItsaClimb posted 12/5/2013 02:12 AM

It's been so interesting reading the varied responses to this. Having read them and given the matter a lot of thought, I think it comes down to whether we believe a WS can truly redeem themselves. Redemption seems to be the key.

I suppose it's a personal thing really. Some seem to believe that the WS (through work on themselves, dealing with FOO and other issues, consistently being trustworthy, being the spouses they should always have been etc) can redeem themselves to the point where the slate is wiped clean and the WS can again be viewed as the "devoted" or "faithful" spouse. Others seem to feel that even with all the work, the infidelity will always be there and the WS will never again be able to claim the title of "devoted" or "faithful" spouse.

For now I sit in the latter camp. To me it's a bit like losing your virginity - once it's gone, it's gone... No matter how virginal your behaviour after the event - you may be celibate for the rest of your life - but the fact is you are no longer a virgin.

I hope with time my feelings on this will change.

Lowlow posted 12/5/2013 03:48 AM

Well said, IAC. I hope one day WS can redeem himself, but right now, I too am in camp#2. "Devotion" is a moral value. Devotion is not an apt descriptor of my WS's feelings toward me during his A. Can you earn devotion back? I'm silently hopeful.

But like LA, if WS was on his deathbed, I would be there, holding his hand right at this moment, because despite all the despicable things he has done to me, I'm still devoted to him. I hope one day he becomes devoted to me. I guess maybe that's the problem it is not my decision, it is WS's decision which determines devotion.

SisterMilkshake posted 12/5/2013 08:43 AM

That isn't what I said, really, ItsaClimb. I do believe in redemption. I also want to live in the present. That is the important part for me. Living in the present.

I don't believe virginity and fidelity can be compared. If my fWH is devoted and faithful to me today, I have a devoted and faithful husband. His past has nothing to do with his present. There are no "but's", he is or he isn't. KWIM?

OTOH, I don't know if I felt this way at one year post d-day or this has evolved for me.

Bikingguy posted 12/5/2013 10:21 AM

A close friend of mine who is also a BS, recently learned that his WW's #2 OM died at a fairly early age. He was a police officer and according to all the messages left on his memorial web page: A devote husband and father, blah, blah, blah.

My friend had to endure fundraising car washes and a dedication ceremony at a local high school event. He SO wanted to yell to the world what OM was really like (I had the change my words as we are in the R forum). He wanted to tell the widow what her H was really like. He never did as that would punish the wrong person. And he would end up looking the crazy one. He does however admit a huge sense of relief of knowing he will never run into OM#2.

struggling16 posted 12/5/2013 11:10 AM

Boy, does this resonate, ItsaClimb. I don't take death notices and obituaries at face value. We're too complex.

My Dday was Dec. 27, 2010 so I'm still in the process of R and the roller-coaster is currendly dipping down. Most of the time, I appreciate the work my WH has/is doing and I allow myself to be optimistic about the future. However, when things dip I have a hard time thinking of him as anything other than "the adulterer". It's so sad that he chose to handle his emotional crises the way he did without considering the long-term consequences. Now we are left to pick up the pieces and deal with a damaged, scarred legacy.

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