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Making Progress but Still Hurting

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Snowbird posted 1/30/2014 19:03 PM

I posted a few times in the New Member D-Day thread.....then have been working on R for the past two months. My D-Day was Dec 2nd....we have been married 48 years...yes 48! I found an email from the OW on his computer and it all fell apart. He admitted the affair, ongoing 18 years...a "friend with benefits"..and he cared for her. Within 10 minutes of my finding the email he called her and ended it, we have started IC and MC and he seems truly remorseful and not only ready but eager for changes and to make our M work. The first 5 weeks was a black hole for me...he said and appeared to be relieved to move forward, the deceit was over. I had just found out and was just beginning my journey....questions, answers...he was honest with me. Much of it hurt terribly! He started the affair years ago during a 1 year separation, and continued it beyond the point when we got back together again. Which I am still trying to understand. He is super codependent, a people pleaser....told me it started during the separation and he couldn't break it off because he didn't want to hurt her, or me if I found out, and was afraid if he did, the OW would tell me. I swing between understanding his issues and why he was vulnerable...and totally not believing how anyone could continue for that long without doing anything about it...if he REALLY wanted it to end.
The MC we saw was more destructive to me than the felt like she was blaming me, that I should have been different, a better wife, that I should understand him....huh? That I shouldn't punish him felt like everyone was moving forward except me..that no one was concerned with the betrayal and pain I felt....just "lets just build a better marriage". I found another counselor after seeing this person with my H, for 4 session and feeling worse each time....Maybe therapists are trained this way about affairs? My H is still seeing her for IC as she seems to like him better...I am seeing someone else now for IC and doing much better. We are both starting MC with MY therapist using Imago Therapy approach, in about a week. Took us a while individually before we could really work together and not fear hurting the other or killing each other in the MC session. I think we are ready for MC now.
The R swings between good days, great days...and horrible days when my triggers kick in and I fall into the hole again. He has made many more present, remorseful, listens, is more open and available...he has always been emotionally unavailable and a runner..running from emotions and conflict, keeping it all in, telling me what he thinks I want to hear...then blowing up later when it gets overwhelming...the affair was one result of that, I guess. He now says he is done lying and covering up...and I am seeing that to be true. Some of his honesty hurts me...but we are doing it lovingly...and not hurtfully...and we are better together for it. He is working on his codependent issues and I am working on my control issues.....slow progress, but progress anyway. We both feel like it is a new M, and we are newlyweds at times....and other times the work to be done seems so overwhelming that is it hard not to give up. I believe there is real love between us....I understand that the affair was to meet needs he felt weren't getting met in the M....yet I had my own unmet needs over the years, one being his lack of investment in the relationship and his emotional unavailability. And I didn't have an affair.

Instead he took his emotions elsewhere. The OW got that and it kills me to know that. Yet I know it was easier for him to do that because it wasn't "real"...she didn't have to do the daily living, bills, real life, with him. Understanding does not mean I condone it, nor do I excuse it....or forgive it, yet. I just am understanding what happened and how we got there and were are trying to build a new M relationship. Sometimes my stuff gets in the way....I try to control asking questions that no one can forsee the answer to...thinking if I get the right answers everything will be fine. Down deep I know I can only control myself and not his behaviors and have to concentrate on making myself stronger and better able to handle whatever happens. I think we will make it but no guarantees..this A has taught me that! I do believe he will not see the OW long as we are married...yet I know he had feelings for her, that she was a friend (in his mind..he has not come to the conclusion that she was a homewrecker) and unrealistically I want him to NOT have feelings for her. How stupid, I know! I'm asking him NOT to lie, then I ask him a question like that! I am setting him up, I know!
We had a discussion this evening about "If I were to die would he go back to her?" I know..I asked a dumb question...I wanted him to say "no, it is over" but he said he didn't know. I could see he was struggling with telling me the truth....after much discussion, he finally said "maybe, because she is the only one I know...but maybe she will have found someone else by them". That makes me think she is sort of waiting in the wings....and if he doesn't have me, he will go back there....didn't make me feel good. I wanted him to say that he ended it because he loved me and wanted it to be over with her...he says he had wanted it to end for the last 10 years but just could not end it himself and was hoping SHE would end it...On the other hand I keep telling myself he has chosen to be with me...the last separation, and this time....and the only reason I am giving it another chance this time is that I see big changes in his attitude and desire to get help and he IS changing, being open, and more emotionally present. The last separation we just picked up and continued, had some MC but he was not invested and I overlooked it. That wont happen again!

SO my questions...
What does 2 months of R look like?
Am I asking stupid questions?
Am I asking for guarantees that don't exist?
Can we succeed on R if he still has feelings for the OW, even though he has stopped contact and says he will never see her again?

I try to remain in the present and not think about the future...just take a day at a time. Sometimes I feel guilty when we have a good day....thinking it is too soon..should I be still in my dark hole all the time? Does it send the wrong signal to him that he can get away with the A if it seems like I am not always concentrating on it? We have been in intense therapy sessions and our own discussions daily...spending hours sometimes...and the emotions are overwhelming at I think we both feel we need to come up for air and "do real life" and have a bit of fun...go out for dinner, see a movie, out for a drink, etc. We are both retired so we have the time to do that...AND to work non-stop on the relationship. I just need some pointers and input from some R veterans....when does it get easier, what does it look like? Thanks!

Alex CR posted 1/31/2014 05:37 AM

So sorry you are going through this but you've found the right place to get help. It's a little over four years since I discovered my H had been involved with an OW overseas for five years.

First thing I want to say is his cheating is not your no way does the blame lie anywhere in you. As to him not getting what he needed from his marriage so he cheated, in my opinion, that's bull. He could have spoken with you...he could have worked harder...he chose to cheat instead. Many BS had issues in our marriage too, but we didn't choose to cheat.

Please read through the healing library here. There are also several good books about healing from infidelity, including How To Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair, which might be helpful for your H. There's another book called The Five Love Languages from which we learned a lot, even though we've been together almost 40 years.

It sounds like your H is remorseful and if he is willing to be totally transparent and give 200% to repair the damage to the marriage and help you heal, reconciliation and, even happiness together again is possible. It takes work by both parties and the dreaded word we see here a lot on SI, time.

As to some of your questions, no question is stupid. At two months out, for me, I was still in shock and so much pain, I asked many questions, over and over, for months. From what I've read here at SI, that's normal. But there were also questions, for me, I decided not to ask...specifically about the can't unknow something and I decided I didn't want those details. Some here at SI, do though... we all find our own road through this trauma.

There is a lot written about the 'fog' here at SI that may help you. My H, when I confronted him, told me the OW was sweet, but that he'd been trying to end it also....that he'd realized what he had had at home with me was what he wanted, not her. He had never intended to leave me and never thought he'd get caught. But after much talking and over time, he came to realize, that he'd used her...that he was filling his own selfish needs...that there are places inside him that are broken and today he feels guilt that he did that to someone......

There are no guarantees for any of us.. The difference, for me, now, is I have worked on myself and our marriage. I love my husband and I know he loves me, but if (and there will always be an if in my mind since the betrayal) we do not stay together for any reason, I will make it without him....I am stronger than I thought I was.....and you are too.

You and your H can successfully R if you both want it bad enough to do the work.....they call it a roller coaster here and they are right. Some days were really really bad for me and the nights were sooo long....but as we worked through my H helped me heal and did what it took to rebuild our marriage, the good days started to outnumber the bad. And now, there is rarely a bad day.

Take really good care of yourself...this is not an easy ride. And keep posting. There are many more members who will come along to share their wisdom....we are all here for you.

Stay well......

sisoon posted 1/31/2014 11:25 AM

Wow, someone M longer than us, with a D-Day late in the game.... But my W's A was about a year long.

Other diffs:

My W committed to R on D-Day, but I didn't; I just committed to stay and not decide between D & R until I was ready - but I wanted R from the beginning.

Her IC saw us together on D-Day. She (IC/MC) confronted my W hard and often during a 2 hour session. She supported me in almost everything I wanted, so I had a lot of validated thoughts and feelings from the start.

I believe I was in shock for at least 3 months, and I suspect you're still in shock. My feelings got more and more monopolized by grief, anger, and fear for at least 6 months. Then I started to settle down, but getting some equilibrium was a slow process.

My point is that your best bet is just to roll with the feelings and not judge or criticize yourself. You're likely to be very volatile - accept yourself as volatile.

Pull over to the side of the road, if you're driving wen you're overcome by feelings.

The bad news is that there are no guarantees.

Some good news: you can and will heal if you do the work you need to do.

More good news: you can and will R, if your H does the work he needs to do and if you both want R. His work is to change from being a cheater to being a great partner. Giving up longing for ow is a normal part of that - and if he doesn't do his work, you probably won't want him....

Still more good news: if you do the work to heal yourself, you can thrive emotionally no matter what your H does.

What work do you need to do? Process the grief, rage, and fear that comes from being betrayed ... and resolve the issues, if any, that are uncovered while you're processing the feelings.

It's a lot less daunting than it sound.

I don't think there are any stupid questions about recovering from infidelity - especially not 2 months out from D-Day.

Snowbird posted 1/31/2014 18:14 PM

Thanks so much for your support...ALex CR and sisoon! Your words really helped me! I know in my heart the A is not my fault, yet I also know we both had issues that we should have addressed learning how our stuff plays off each other...yet I DO know he had other ways of handling them. Its hard not to fall into the low self esteem and destructive thinking that this produces! As you said, I did not cheat...and put a lot into the relationship to save it. We went to MC 20 years ago, when he had his "midlife crisis" and left...that is when he met the OW...just friends to begin with, then developed into sexual affair over the years. And continued after he came back home then....I have been reading and have checked the Healing library..the articles there have been very helpful, I just started reading "His Needs, Her Needs..." and it seems to fit for us!


Please read through the healing library here. There are also several good books about healing from infidelity, including How To Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair, which might be helpful for your H. There's another book called The Five Love Languages from which we learned a lot, even though we've been together almost 40 years.

I did read "how to help our spouse heal..." and it was great. It was like it was written for me....and I actually had my H read it surprised me that he agreed to read it....but he did. Said it "scared him"...but I think it helped him see what I needed from him during the first weeks when I was immobilized with hurt. Instead of his usual leaving and clamming up and running away, he actually stayed in the room, asked how he could help and was there for me. That is one of the changes I am seeing in him ...which gives me hope.
I asked questions daily..every minute, until I had no more..then they come up again..every time there is a trigger that sets me off. I am struggling less with the obsessions and thoughts and visuals....there are even some days when I don't go there and can actually think it is a normal day......then something will come up and I am back in the hole...but seems like I can get out sooner now....and he is helping me by talking, and listening...and being there with me.

I asked many questions, over and over, for months. From what I've read here at SI, that's normal. But there were also questions, for me, I decided not to ask...specifically about the can't unknow something and I decided I didn't want those details. Some here at SI, do though... we all find our own road through this trauma

I did ask some questions about the sexual part...was not sure at first if I wanted to know...but I couldn't help myself. Some of the answers hut terribly but I felt that I needed to know as much as possible for me to judge just how serious the A was and the level of his commitment to her. We are in Florida right now for the winter and will be here another 2 has felt like a couples retreat....and we are both glad we have no visitors this year and we can concentrate on each other....and being retired gives us time to process whenever we need to. I am scared of returning home in April as the OW is there and all the all places he frequented.....he has promised to never go there again, to never see her, or his friends from those places....part of me feels sad he has to give up friends but the other part knows that it MUST happen! Those friends of his knew about the affair for years and supported him and evidently the not doing anything with the they are no friends or mine or his or of our M. It will take many changes when we return and will be more difficult as we are in a protected place now....but there will be triggers and dangers there that we will have to deal with. We do plan on continuing IC and MC when we return so hopefully that will help.

As well as my H seems to be doing I am not sure that he "gets it" yet abut the reality of the A and the OW. He still maintains she was a good friend....that he cares for her...."as a friend" which scares me. And I'm not sure he sees the reality of the fantasy relationship with her....he maintains that because she didn't want to marry anyone and was not asking for a commitment from him (in fact he told her he would never leave his wife) that it was OK...that because of that he was not using her....he does not see the selfishness of his actions yet.....but I can see him processing that information....hopefully he will get some help in IC with that. The therapists dont seem to be focusing on the A very much .....I still don't understand that. Nor are they focusing on our individual issues which contributed to our difficulties...mostly focus on how to go forward and build a better relationship. I guess that's good....but I'm not sure its easy to go forward if you don't know what happened and why so you don't repeat it? Thanks for the help helps so much to know I am not alone..especially not the only one who has been married for so long and dealing with this now! I will keep checking SI and posting...thanks again for the support!

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