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How long does Denial last?

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flayed posted 1/19/2014 22:47 PM

It occurred to me today that I am still in Denial and I am 2 1/2 months out from DDay. I may not be in denial all day long, but at certain times, especially in the morning. I wake up thinking this must all be some bad dream only to be stabbed in the heart with the reality that it's not. This is something he did, something he chose, something he maintained and nurtured.

I love him so fiercely - how can this be my life????

How long can a person be in Denial?

jemimapd posted 1/19/2014 23:04 PM

I think denial does not crack so much as erode as time passes and more information comes to light.

My D Day was 14 months ago and I divorced my WH 3 months ago. I am still in denial to some extent, partly because I have never been told the whole story and partly because I still cannot quite believe that the man I married did these things. I know he did but I just can't completely 100% believe it.

My WH had 3 PA's and probably much else besides. But prior to discovering his very secret life I loved him, believed in him, supported him, had a child with him. To go from believing that he was the love of my life to acknowledging that he betrayed me and lied to me for years is extremely hard to do. People have been shocked at the news: they didn't realize either.

The betrayal is so overwhelming that for me it has taken a long time to really accept it and I am still not there.

So I think your reaction is completely normal. This changes us.

Kyrie posted 1/19/2014 23:51 PM

Flayed, I am starting year 3 of R tomorrow and I'd say I am just finally able to say the denial of all that's happened is over. I say denial and shock go hand in hand. Finding out about the A was a trauma that sent me into shock and denial was the only way I had to cope.

But everyone is different and every A and R are different to a certain extent. For me, giving up my resistance to believing/accepting this happened was threatening. It was like an odd kind of self soothing. I think I held on to denial as a way of protecting myself from further pain and suffering. Of course, it doesn't make any sense and in the long run, it doesn't work.

I remember about a year ago saying to my IC that I couldn't accept what's happened. She gave me a perplexed look and said something like, it happened just like the sun came up this morning. Why would you not accept it when it's happening right in front of you? She said, maybe you mean you are overwhelmed by the reality of it all - that this reality played out right in front of you and you didn't see it - that's a lot to comprehend. She said, so maybe now is the time to start understanding why and how it happened. Of course, all of that had to come from my H and that took about 2 years. I also am close to earning a degree in Infidelity Science - I don't think there's a book, article, website or blog out there I haven't read. Educating myself about affairs in general helped the denial fade, too.

I remember thinking, OK yes, the A happened, but even so, it is unacceptable to me. Translate: I will not tolerate being treated this way, I will not tolerate my husband behaving this way, I will not tolerate the OW invading our marriage. And you know what? I found a great deal of strength in this perspective - I was able to get up off the floor and start demanding better because anything less is just not acceptable to me.

I'd say the denial slowly fades, but only after a lot of work and a lot of time. At 2-1/2 months, you are more than likely still in shock. Like so many things, you can't force or will yourself to feel differently. The most you can do is offer yourself a lot of TLC and do what you can to educate and inform your feelings. Sometimes you have to honor your feelings, your disbelief, your suffering and let yourself be.

I hope you can find comfort in the knowledge that you will not be stuck in this shocked/denial state forever. Right now, it is a natural response. Be patient with yourself.

Hope this helps! (((flayed)))

bionicgal posted 1/20/2014 07:23 AM

Kyrie, I always resonate with your posts. I hope today can be a day where you guys look back on all the growth you've had since dday. Thanks for sharing your story.

sisoon posted 1/20/2014 07:36 AM

The stages of grief aren't necessarily sequential. Many people report bouncing back and forth from one 'stage' to another.

For a long time, I think I experienced every stage for part of every day. I stopped worrying about that, so I don't really know when I last experienced denial, but it was probably 6 months ago or so. At 2.5 months, I was still pretty much in shock.

Being betrayed is a much bigger shock - or at least it takes a lot longer to - to process than you'd think. SI's rule of thumb of 2-5 years from last big hurt to recovery is based on lots of real experience.

Crushed15Feb13 posted 1/20/2014 07:48 AM

To me, acceptance is like a cold swimming pool. I get can't in all at once; I can't even wade in slowly. I get in for a short bit but then retreat to the warmth and false comfort of denial, until I'm ready to try again. And each time I stay in the water a little longer.

Justgreatnews posted 1/20/2014 08:11 AM

^^ That was a good post.

Justgreatnews posted 1/20/2014 08:16 AM

Kyrie's words about acceptance/denial ring true for me, too.

I know good and well what happened, yet still refuse to accept it. Can't quite express.

As I've said before, we are all left with a choice we don't want.

Pack it in, divorce, leave, etc. or
Stay, try to forgive and realize you will always be married to an adulterer.

I can only say that I want NEITHER, and couldn't be more emphatic about it.

flayed posted 1/20/2014 12:33 PM

Thank you all for your replies. Kyrie's reply resonated with me and I also really enjoyed Crushed's analogy of the swimming pool. I will keep reminding myself of that but this new reality is just so painful.

Kyrie posted 1/20/2014 16:16 PM

I'm glad I could help. Bottom line - the new reality is extremely painful. Nothing can change what happened. You have to let yourself grieve all of it. Just know that your grief won't always look like it does right now. Go ahead and express your pain and sadness. You gotta let it out of you so you can heal. (((Flayed)))

morethantrying posted 1/21/2014 21:01 PM

grieving is so hard...and just the fact that I have to grieve makes me grieve...ugh....

At once you are fine and then suddenly something triggers...anything can do it...ANYTHING...almost anything at times becomes a trigger which triggers another thought which triggers another thought...I guess the key is to stop the "thought" in its tracks before it goes to the dominoes effect....It is sad being sad...

At about 11 months now something will just get me and I will sob...I don't always share with WS because as strange as it seems his comforting me make the A all seem to real again....yes into a cold pool just a little at a time...

Exhausted in OH posted 1/22/2014 08:42 AM

For me, the "denial" stage lasted about 6 months. For much of that time, I numbed myself to the actual horror of what had happened. I think I needed that time to try to reconnect with my H - sexually, emotionally. Of course, we talked about the A ALL THE TIME, and started the work, but I don't think I was ready to really let myself FEEL. I knew on some level that if I let myself feel too much, during those early months, that I would completely fall apart. At 6 months, I felt stronger, and then bam! The anger hit. I felt it all. That was hard, on me, on him, on us, but in retrospect, I'm glad I had those months of "denial". It gave me time to gather strength for the real work.

womaninflux posted 1/22/2014 09:05 AM

For me, the DENIAL was all pretty much from the time the affair started up through DD. I was in denial for about 2.5 years (the length of the affair) because I knew something wasn't right but I was too busy filling in the blanks for why it did not feel right (DH under stress, hadn't gotten over a major career blow in 2008, depressed, worried about money, I'm consumed with a project, kids, stuff going on at school, etc.). After I confronted, I was briefly in SHOCK - that this went on as long as it did, that I suspected it and was gaslit from every direction, that he took advantage of my trust - and then firmly entrenched in the ANGER stage and there I have remained, inching slowly into ACCEPTANCE and every once in awhile experience a flare up of ANGER and SHOCK that I married someone who could do this.

Be kind to yourself. Be patient with yourself. You did not choose to be in this situation. Allow yourself as much time as you need to take care of yourself and get what you need to move forward. I will say that moving forward - regardless of it being alone or in your relationship - is the best gift you can give yourself. After a certain point - and you will be the only person who can decide this - it's a choice to stay back "there" (in anger and re-living the trauma of the affair) or live in the present where hopefully your WS is doing everything possible to R or you have decided with a clear conscience that you have done everything you can do and you have decided to go forward alone. Personally, I haven't made the final decision about this yet, but with the help of therapy - his, hers and ours - I feel we will at least be able to co-parent no matter what happens.

rachelc posted 1/22/2014 09:20 AM

if we deem what happened as unacceptable, how to move forward? We can demand better treatment, but that doesn't make what happened go away.

we are all left with a choice we don't want.

Pack it in, divorce, leave, etc. or
Stay, try to forgive and realize you will always be married to an adulterer.

I can only say that I want NEITHER, and couldn't be more emphatic about it.

this.. although some have had stronger marriages as they come out of it.

I'm at a precipice (well I've been here for a while) and don't want it to have happened. If I accept it that means I accept my husband cheated on me twice. That is un fucking acceptable in my book. And that just leads to one thing: breaking up, I can't even write the D word.
Crap, just realized I'm in denial.
Wow, it's hard to make a decision, isn't it? Peace to everyone at this place.

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