I will do literally anything to earn her forgiveness. Every day I wake up hoping my life is a horrible dream. When I can fall asleep it is the only respite from mental torture. I know I deserve this. She probably has similar feelings undeserved.
I hate what I have done but unsurprisingly sorry is getting really annoying for her. I am desperate to do the right thing and be worthy of her trust.
What do you advise ? I have booked us into counselling. The knowledge that I have caused her more pain than anyone ever
Could destroys me. I'm sorry to every victim on these forums.
Is there any hope?
You may want to post and read some in the Wayward forum.
There are some amazing people who will help guide you through what the next steps should look like.
I applaud you for trying to get the help to overcome this.
It's a long, hard road, but do-able.
While here read what you can, the yellow box in the upper left has some great info and articles that you may find helpful.
I hope you are both able to find the healing you need.
there is always hope, you first need to work on why you chose to cheat.
Simultaneously you need to show your BW with actions how truthful you are to the R process.
Its a long hard road. I suggest you post over in the Wayward forum for specific ideas and support.
"I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel". –Maya Angelou
You made the first step byt looking for help. Come to the wayward side and read the Healing Library. There will lots of listening in all parts.
Just know if you are true and want to help your BS and your self, its going to be VERY VERY hard.
But keep posting, you may not like some of it but it is what will help.
At least that has been my opinion.
SI is a blessing and we all need that .
I'm moving your thread to the WS forum.
My tolerance for stupid shit is getting less and less.
Now understand this even aftr all that it takes YEARS to heal from this and it will never be the same so don't look for an identical relationship to measure your progress. It is a roller coaster for both the BS and the WS and the only way to the other side is through the shit storm you placed both you and her in the middle of. This takes a lot of strength to get through, a lot of work so if you feel you can do this buckle up and get ready for a lot of great advice, some really rough 2x4's, some hugs and shoulders to lean on as you traverse this road called infidelity. Please continue to post and perhaps telling your BW about this site so she can have support as well.
Things every WS should know
How much does my BS hurt
The life boat
Please read those, they are a wealth of information and advice.
[This message edited by Unagie at 1:43 PM, December 7th (Saturday)]
The first thing that comes to mind is to find a councilor for yourself and let your wife know that it is you that needs counseling, not her unless it is for her pain caused by your affair. Marriage counseling works for people who have to find an answer to common problems, not infidelity. The admission that you are broken would be a definite sign of self recognition. That way your wife won't think you are saying if only she acted a certain way you wouldn't have strayed, ie: blaming parts of the marriage.
Next as everyone has said, openness and transparency in everything! Don't defend the indefensible (your betrayal) and be ready for the roller coaster of emotions that you have opened up for your wife.
Don't let guilt play a part. Guilt is soul destroying and useless. Reach for real remorse which is active and healing. Own it and don't shirk for a moment. Be there for your wife, non defensive and ready.
Good luck and strength.
keep your promise
100% transparency with your phone and on line accounts.
Speak the truth
Don't omit parts of the truth
Don't continue destructive behavior
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
My best friend and I got married within 6 weeks of each other. She and her husband and I were in high school together; he was the only one she ever dated. She adored him, they had 3 kids and he was the best father ever. They had a great marriage and we spent a great deal of time with them as married couples. My ex and I were separated 14 years into our marriage due to his infidelity and my friends were wonderful during that time. They didn't take sides but were very supportive of me. After my ex and I got back together the four of us picked up our friendship right away.
She was always my touchstone and their relationship always set the standard for me in terms of how spouses should be with each other, how they should deal with all aspects of their relationship and how they parented their kids. She was strong and full of self-confidence, fun, adventurous and extremely optimistic.
When I caught my ex cheating yet again, 12 years after our earlier separation, I ended it for good. It was ugly and painful and I was a mess. These friends were there for me unconditionally, spent countless hours listening to me cry and rant, helped with my kids, and always included me in everything.
Then, one day, 2 years after my ordeal, I got a phone call from my friend. The husband of a woman he had worked with 15 years earlier sent her an email saying that her husband and his wife had an affair during that time. She thought it was a joke at first and laughingly asked him about it. He was shocked and immediately told her they had to talk. She told me she nearly died at that moment.
He had indeed, slept with the woman when they were out of town at a meeting. He said it only happened twice, he was devastated and never, ever did anything like it again. Like I said--as far as I knew he was the ultimate father and husband.
Even though it had happened 15 years earlier, she was totally and completely knocked off her axis. Even though he had been a model husband and father for all of the years since, she felt everything about their lives had been a lie since his affair. Even though he tried there was simply nothing he could do to unring the bell. She was as hurt, sad, disappointed and depressed as anyone I've ever seen. This was so not like her I was worried for her physical and mental health.
She was so angry about everything that had changed. She was resentful that she had to go to counseling because she didn't do anything wrong-she saw herself as a victim. Plus--because everyone thought he walked on water--their kids, their families, all of their friends, all his coworkers, she decided not to tell anyone but me. She chose to protect his image and his reputation while carrying the grief of what he'd done to her, to them, and to their history and future.
Her work suffered, her self-esteem took a huge hit, she lost her sense of hopefulness and optimism--all the things that had made her so wonderful. For that alone I don't think I will ever be able to see him the same way. And for the record, what he did sort of did a number on me as well. I had thought that he was a beacon of hope for women like me who had married badly. It turned out that he wasn't the man I thought he was either. Just another disappointment.
That was almost 5 years ago and although she has come a long way, she will never be the same person she was. She is still resentful about all that happened, even as she still loves her husband. He is totally and completely remorseful but still is discouraged that she will never, ever get beyond this--and that makes him angry. Which makes her even angrier--because she said he wouldn't be in that position if he had kept his pants zipped.
If you've read to this point--good for you! I'm sure you know that no two situations are the same and you and your wife's situation may have no resemblance to this at all. I don't mean to make you feel bad but just wanted to provide a little insight into what life is like for the BS, even when the affair is over and the WS is as sorry as they can be and willing to do whatever to make it better.
I hope you and your wife can work this out and make your marriage something wonderful for both of you. Best of luck to you.
Be steadfast and witness her pain, anger, whatever she expresses. Let her talk. Listen without anger or defensiveness, this is your job right now. Be a rock and stand strong as the waves of her pain, anger, etc crash and subside. She will be all over the place emotionally.
Take care of her, on your own initiative. Take on chores so she can rest. Make sure she is eating, drinking water, provide little things that comfort- her favorite foods, time alone if needed. If she can't sleep, help her get something from the Dr. She has had a horrible mental/ physical shock and must be cared for.
Proactively give her proof of where you are when you absolutely can't stay home. Stay home as much as possible if that is what helps her. Give her complete transparency and all passwords to email, Facebook, your phone.
Get thee to an IC ASAP. Show her that you own what you CHOSE to do and it is your priority to discover why you did it and how to be a safe partner and never do it again. Take 100 percent responsibility for your choice.
You stabbed her in the guts and now she is hemorrhaging everywhere. Now, stop the bleeding and help her begin to heal. The focus will be on this initially. If you stay together, focus on marital issues will come later after she has stabilized.
I wish you the best.
She rightly points out that nothing I do could make it better. If she lets me I will commit every fibre of my being to healing what I have done. I know that there are no guarantees. She says what is the point of prolonging the agony for 2 years or more if we might split up at the end of it? Why would it ever get better?
I spend a lot of time worrying that everything I do or say will make things worse, but I don't think I could not do anything.
will she have any moments of happiness at all in the next 2 years? I will only feel happier if she does. Weirdly, I had no idea how much I loved her until the prospect of losing her became a reality. I adore her.
She rightly points out that nothing I do could make it better.
There are many things you can do that will make a difference, even knowing that your BW's healing is in her own hands ultimately. It's great that you've found this forum, and it's wonderful that you've already booked a therapy appointment. There are also some great books to read; I've read that How to Help Your Spouse Heal from Your Affair by Linda MacDonald is a great place to start.
She says what is the point of prolonging the agony for 2 years or more if we might split up at the end of it? Why would it ever get better?
The accepted timeline on this site for healing is 2-5 years, and I agree with that estimate. It's been more than four years for me now, and I think I've healed as much as I ever will. The first two years weren't fun all of the time, but they also weren't horrible all of the time. Healing is a journey; you aren't in the same place everyday. Some days are better than others. Some days are hell. However hard those first two years were, I wouldn't characterize the whole time as agony.
You might split at the end of two years, or before the end of two years, or never. Only she can decide if it is worth it for her to find out, and that takes some time.
will she have any moments of happiness at all in the next 2 years?
I can't know what your wife will experience. However, I experienced a lot of happiness in that two years. We took a wonderful long road trip to the east coast, we went backpacking through Algonquin, our daughter was conceived and born. There were hard moments, but that made the happy ones more valuable and worthwhile.
Good luck, Elasticman, and welcome to SI. This is such a great place for support.
[This message edited by lost_in_toronto at 8:26 AM, December 13th (Friday)]
will she have any moments of happiness at all in the next 2 years? I will only feel happier if she does.
Yes - but, not gonna lie, it's not going to be an easy two years.
Weirdly, I had no idea how much I loved her until the prospect of losing her became a reality. I adore her.
This is a tough question, and I don't mean to be an ass, but do you think what you're feeling is real love, or the fear of her rejecting you? Really think on that, it's only fair to proceed down this road if you do love her and it's not a fear of losing her.
What do I advise? Answer her questions. Immediately, honestly, and with zero defensiveness. If you do get defensive, apologize. Get into individual counseling in addition to marriage counseling to figure out why you did this and a plan of action to keep yourself out of these situations in the future. Open up your phone, computer, email, facebook, phone bill, texts, EVERYTHING. Lay it out there and give her free reign to look at everything anytime she wants to.
There's definitely hope. My husband and I were on the brink of divorce last year, had finalized the custody arrangements, gone through the parenting classes, starting splitting assets. Now we're doing pretty great. There's always hope. You can't control what she ultimately decides, but you can do everything in your power to be open, honest and trustworthy.
I wish you the best, and welcome to SI.
Although I am sort of in reconciliation (I guess, not sure exactly what to call it right now) with my own remorseful WH, things definitely could have been better for us if he had just handled things a little better in the early days. So I am responding to you in the hope that my words might save your wife some pain.
1) Do. Not. Lie. Do not lie. Don't lie about anything, no matter how small. Affairs don't kill marriages, Trickle Truth kills marriages. She might be able to forgive you for the affair, but once your good word and trust is gone, it's gone forever. There will be things you are ashamed to admit, things you are scared to admit because you think she might leave, things you just want to forget about. But don't hold back. Have enough respect for her to let her make her own decisions with full knowledge.
I cannot emphasize this point enough. If you lie to her about anything during this process, you are seriously undermining your chances at reconciliation. DON'T TRICKLE TRUTH!
2) It sounds like you already went NC. Keep NC. If she wants you to make it formal, do it with a formal paper letter that your wife sees and approves. My WH did it in person when I wasn't there, I have no idea what was said, and his AP and her husband viciously attacked me after the conversation, which did more damage than his affair, and still causes me to have doubt about what was said and done during that conversation. It still comes up every time we have a fight.
3) Offer her complete transparency without being asked. This was something my WH did right, and it really made me feel safe and gave me some power back over the situation. Give her all your passwords to everything, let her check your phone, etc.
Other than that, I wish you the best. This will likely be the hardest thing you will ever have to go through in your life, and as hard as it is for you, it will be harder for your wife. I hope things get better for both of you.
[This message edited by TheGarden at 8:50 PM, December 13th (Friday)]
Transfer power to your wife.
In having an affair, you stole power, agency and freedom from her. You have threatened her safety and stability at an existential level.
It will be impossible to just restore that, but you can slow down some of the damage that you are doing by getting as much power as possible in her hands.
Give her all of your account information. Not just email/voicemail/social media but give her access to all of the financials too. Is the gas bill in your name and you pay online? Give her the account. Cable bill? Life insurance? Let her see who your beneficiaries are.
Do you have separate cars? Make sure she has a key. This will make you vulnerable in real, practical ways. It will increase her power in real, practical ways. It means more than 'sorry'.
Know that doing all of this gives you a form of power too. Telling everything, transferring power to her, this will give you the best chance at coming out of this with a marriage worth having.
Strength to you. This is going to be a life-changing event. Be brave.
I would spend some time thinking about that one. Make sure it's not just something you pull out of the air, but give a long look at what got you there and how you are fixing that. Then communicate it to her both in words and deeds.
Glad you're here.
Don't give up. Reconciliation does happen. Happened to me and Wifehad5.
Its so ridiculous that I have been with my partner for 6 years and most of the really deep thought about the relationship has happened in the few days since DDay.
Therapy is a way of me proving to myself and my wife that I have changed the conditions that made this possible.
Having seen the awful pain that i have caused I know personally that I could not do it again.
This statement really means nothing to a BS. If you had any idea how many times a WS has said this and then turned around and either rekindled their affair or had another one(s), then you'd understand why nobody really believes that statement. You will just need to prove it through your consistent, transparent actions.
If someone keeps stabbing you in the back, then quit handing them the knife.